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Prelude to Death: part 5 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Uther Di Asturien   
Tuesday, 07 October 2008
Article Index
Prelude to Death: part 5
Page 2

Prelude to Death

Finally! The final part of my Prelude to Death series! Hope you enjoyed it :)

He looked out towards the sea, the docks were filled with ships, yet the bay itself was empty, for only now did the sun start to shine again. Dawn had arrived, and looking to his right he could just see the rays of light beaming trough clouds just above the Elf Enclave. It was an amazing spectacle, one he had never tired of, the start of a day in Marienburg.

 

 

Maya looked up, and for a moment, was speechless.  The city of Marienburg just appearing around the corner of the forest she had made her way trough. With the sun shining just behind it, the rays of light passing through the rooftops made it a spectacular view, an amazing contrast between the city and the wastes around it. After some moments of just standing there her eyes slowly made their way down the towers to the huge mass of buildings spread out around the landscape, with a huge line visible throughout the whole expansion of the city in the marshes, a huge wall Maya reckoned. The distance was still considerable, about five miles Maya would guess, and so her eyes drifted to the ocean beyond the city, where white sails reflected the sun's light, and made her think of home. It had not been more than a couple of months since she had last sailed a boat. One of the best things in her life she considered the fact that their small house was right by the Bay of quietude, and thus she had grown up with her father taking her out to the sea every day.

                Her thoughts loomed around her family and home for quite a bit, while the wall of Marienburg grew considerably larger as she approached, as did the amount of traffic. Until she could no longer ride at her normal pace and instead slowed down, considering dismounting, but had second thoughts as she remembered the tales she had heard of pickpockets in the thick crowds. But this was not the only bad aspect, the other she noticed as she coughed and smelled the air. It seemed that despite this being a city in no way it diminished the swamp's odor, and could be said to make it worse with the sewers, and the dust constantly rising from the multitude of people walking in the road rose to great heights, creating a gigantic column of dust above them.  Ahead of her she could see the Westenpoort Gate, the crowd almost coming to a halt as it came nearer to it. This in itself was impressive, as the gate was the largest she had ever seen.  Wide enough for more than a couple wagons she reckoned, and as tall as a wall could get.  Men were standing to the sides -the city watchmen Maya guessed- hurrying the people along. She noticed that they did not seem to have any uniform at all, but instead the only piece of clothing which distinguished them from the crowd was their big black hats.

                Instinctively she reached in her back and grabbing the rifle tucked it away, hiding it in the folds of the mantles she had across the saddle. This quickly proved to be a life saver, as one of the Watchmen raised his hand, signaling her to stop and dismount when she approached the gate. He walked up to her, a young man with broad shoulders eyeing her up and down, with a weary hand on his sword's hilt. Suddenly without ceremony, he reached inside her jacket, and as quickly as she might have taken it out, he had her gun on his hand. "What's this?" he asked, his voice bearing authority, unflinching yet with a bit of stress behind it she could notice. "It's protection. The roads are full of bandits these days, don't you think?' she answered instinctively, an answer she had used before in other cities, the success depending on the guard. He did not seem to believe her, but more importantly he did not seem to care, and after a quick look he gave her back the pistol and recommended signing at the Proper Defense Guild. "A lot of words for Mercenary" he said with some contempt while stepping to the side and already focusing on someone else. Maya exhaled, glad she had passed through what she thought was to be the hardest part of the day, and rather easily too. She did not bother to mount her horse again, the crowd at its thickest here, and instead walked to one of the side streets, finding a small sign saying "The Dancing Pony Inn". There she was able to pay a stable boy the last of her meager economies for her horse to be well taken care of, and asked the Innkeeper for directions to another Inn, the one she was supposed to meet her employers at, a place called "The Salty Sartosian"."Aye." he answered. "You are a fair distance from it, you'd be wanting to go to northern Suiddock, if I recall correctly that place is a few streets down from the Three Penny bridge." And so off she went, confident in her own skills to find the place. This was a mistake however, and she found herself quickly lost, and begging for directions she could understand.

                "There it is!" she thought to herself, she was tired, had nearly slipped into one of the canals, and only after hours of searching and asking had someone told her some actual helpful directions. She looked up, swearing she had heard a crow, but dismissed it, even wondering how she could have heard one in the busy place that the Suiddock district was. She would have described it as a district around a dock, with a eastern shore and western shore, with a canal to the north leading back to the Reik, and the canal to the south going to the city canals and eventually the swamp. Sailors moved up and down, loading, unloading, carrying, cursing, shouting and a very diverse manner of people going around in this district. She could just hear the accent of a Bretonnian, the Reikspiel, Estalia, Tilean, and a dozen others she had no idea of. She saw people of all shapes and sizes, with Halflings, dwarves and had even seen a couple of elves. Yet, the place was to her liking, as it reminded her of the docks Maya had worked at in Estalia when she was younger. 

Finally, after some minutes of her mind drifting and of dodging the large sailors and the swift moving crowd Maya found herself standing in front of "The Salty Sartosian". She looked up at the building itself, there was nothing remarkable about it, and if it wasn't for the colorful sign hanging outside then she was sure she would have missed it.  Just as Maya was about to push the door open two men came out the door, talking loudly, but not as distracted as to disallow one of the men to take a long look at her and whistle. He smelled of ale, was obviously drunk, and was making a move for her "personal area", not even two seconds were needed for him to be lying on the ground, moaning and grabbing his crotch, an event which nobody seemed to notice and which strangely enough made his partner laugh even more and just walk down the street.

Maya pushed the door open and stepped inside, immediately absorbing the hot, dense atmosphere with a distinct taste in the air. There was a long "L" shaped balcony to one side, with several tables filling the rest of the place. It had a decent amount of people inside, which was good enough considering that night had yet to arrive.  Looking around, she spotted on the end of the room a table with three men sitting on it, and seeing as it was her best bet she made her way to them. The moment she was ten or so feet the man in the centre was quick to question her. "Maya?" "Yes." She answered, struggling to keep her face straight. "You're late." Were his words, said without anger or any emotion Maya could detect, but mayhap contempt.

Her pride was wounded, but she knew better than to let her tongue loose, and instead kept a passive expression.  His eyes, now changing to an expression of curiosity, but by no means less severe, were still focused on her. "I am aware of the traffic Marienburg has at this hour, but our other new companion arrived nearly two hours ago." He said gesturing to one of the men at his left, a young man, not much more than twenty she would guess, with a bright face, and an expression which immediately reminded her of the type of person who enjoys making witty remarks. The Captain- she assumed this was the Captain Clark she had heard of- was about to continue when a woman, with heavy steps and smelling of beer comes from the front of the Inn and joins the table, almost tripping and falling in the process. "So Captain, is this the woman I must thank for the extra hour of drinking? Sigmar knows how much money I won from Rickard in this hour alone!" She said laughing in a drunken way, this woman seemed strong for a woman, broader than most Maya had seen, and she had not missed the amazingly crafted guns this woman had at her waist. "Thank you for this entrance Maria" he said in a sarcastic tone after giving her a look "I was just about to introduce everyone. I am Captain Clark, the leader in this group of ours and all you need to know about me is that I make the rules. This man to my right is Lorenz, a Tilean and a fine swordsman. The woman you just had such a nice first impression of is Maria, another Tilean and expert in handguns. The big man behind you is Rickard" Maya nearly jumped as she noticed there was a tall broad with shaven head man just a few inches behind her, but she was mostly impressed a person this size could be so stealthy. Even more due to him stinking of beer, but she guessed that would not matter in this place "he's from Middenheim. And this fellow to my left here is Marvin, the other replacement we got."

Maya looked at each of them again, stepping a little back as to have Rickard in his field of vision and then nodded to Clark. "Captain Rogan said you had plenty of experience, though with no meaning of offense you look just as green as this boy over here." She frowned at this, and without thinking spoke. "The last man who said that won't repeat it, in fact, I don't think he will be saying anything for a long time." The Captain arched an eyebrow, and gave a simple answer. "We shall see." Tension settled in, and for a few moments their gazes focused only on each other, until Maria broke changed the mood. "Drop it already Clark, this one isn't falling for that impersonation, unlike this one over here." She said gesturing to Marvin, whose face showed a mix of angriness and embarrassment. "I'm not saying you are right on this one Maria, but I must go anyway, our employer is waiting. Another ten minutes and you wouldn't have seen me." Clark said, while rising and putting a hat on his head. "That wouldn't have been so bad..." she muttered under her breath, too loudly and too quickly she soon judged by the instant grins on her new partners face and the too obvious indifference on the captain's. The moment he passed through the door Maria turned to her, with but one question. "Fancy a drink?"



Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 October 2008 )
 
Discuss (3 posts)
Prelude to Death: part 5 Oct 07 2008 22:19
This thread discusses the Content article: Prelude to Death: part 5

Took me bloody long, and it literally stayed pretty much unchanged in my warhammer folder for a year.
All simply because I could not agree with myself over the last sentence
But I finally finished it!

Hope you (whoever you are who have miraculously read the other 4 parts) like it!
Re:Prelude to Death: part 5 Oct 08 2008 08:52
You've really evolved as a writer, Uther, throughout the five stories. It's good and I have no remarks (odd, isn't it?). Shame though that the other stories are so deep tucked away.
Re:Prelude to Death: part 5 Oct 08 2008 09:25
Thank you for that comment Gisoreux, that really means a lot to me
And indeed, no remarks from you is an odd thing indeed!!

And aye, it is sad how the other stories seem to have faded away
Maybe i'll create a category for all 5 parts now that its completed.


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