Lake Merrin: Chapter Five.

Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four

Thinking about it, I was so hung up on street names. But I found out who thought them all up, or was I drunk, because his name was Stupid Stupidson …

 

Leaving, just wondering where I am. Look, it’s Residential Road, which leads to Bakers Street and I can cut across the marketplace to Market Lane. Market Lane connects to Route Street, cut across to Fish Lane, down to Dock Street. So, let me guess, you need to a take Route Street from Dock Street to get to Market Lane.

Someone needs to put forward a formal complaint against the people who name the streets, or just find someone to smack them on the side of the head and say, “Come on, just come on! I think it is time to rethink the names of the streets.” Then smack them again, just to make sure they understand.

Those Dock Boys should be working the docks now, moving this and that. Hopefully there isn’t many inside.

Walking into Anvil and Musket, there is Malik, Jimmy, and the rest of the Dock Boys. What are they doing here? Just one day, that’s all I ask. Why have you forsaken me, Trinity? I give, well, some money, and pray to you. You need to have my back sometimes.

Move back outside quickly! No one has followed me. Now I just have to think of a way to blend in.

Oomph! Some rude Dwarf just shouldered me out of the way. Hey, I think it’s a lady Dwarf; bloody broad shoulders though. Armed—they make anyone Adventurers. Why me? This is not helping me. Must decide soon. Standing out here makes me look weird.

A chord is struck. That sounds familiar. Poking my head back through. That same bard from the Hall is playing the best song ever—‘A Sailor Came to Port’!

 

A sailor came to port one day

to see what he could find.

He found a lusty wench that day,

which boggled his mind.

But in the end, he found

that he had no play in sight.

So the sailor left port that day,

as he called it a night.

 

A sailor came to port one day

to see what he could find.

He found a gold slip upon this day,

which boggled his mind.

After shouting a few rounds,

he ran out of drinks to delight.

So the sailor left port that day,

as he called it a night.

 

Second verse. Most should be up and singing along. That Dwarf is being surrounded by Malik and crew. Great, I can make it to the back stairs.

 

A sailor came to port one day

to see what he could find.

He found a sure bet upon this day,

which boggled his mind.

The bet was not so sound,

so he had to run for his life.

So the sailor left port that day,

as he called it a night.

 

Love this song. I have a few verses I know quite well too. My sailor finds a party or he finds a great meal. On to important matters—nearing the back staircase. Don’t want to be in that Dwarf’s shoes.

 

A sailor came to port one day

to see what he could find.

He found some trouble upon this day,

which boggled his mind.

The fight was quite short,

as he gave it some knife.

So the sailor left port that day,

as he called it a night.

 

A sailor came to port one day

to see what he could find.

He found a fool upon this day,

which boggled his mind.

He was quite drunk,

and it was a mirror he spied.

So the sailor left port that day,

as he called it a night.

 

A sailor came to port …

 

Made it up. Should be easy sailing from here. Please, Trinity, make it easy for me. No one on the first. One more flight of stairs. And Trinity is frowning upon me—two of Malik’s goons guarding my door. Hang on, aren’t they? Yeah, the same thugs from yesterday. My luck! Thanks, Trinity! Took them once, why not again?

Drawing my sword, I walk up to them. “Hi, guys, fancy seeing you here. I see you drew the short straws, standing watch at little old me’s room. You shouldn’t have.”

One thug, well, I must have mashed his nose. Have to admit, his face wasn’t pretty before but now it’s a mess of bruises. He says, “Here you are, dung-head!”

Wow, amazing that they could still remember that funny nickname of mine.

“We’re gonna kill you!”

“Just remember, boys, what happened before. I don’t want to hurt you two, but I will if you force me.”

Hang on, if I let them go they will tell Malik. How to keep them here … Oh, don’t worry, they’re coming at me.

The other one yells, “Payback is sweet, dung-head!”

These Dock Boys seem serious now. From their body language, they are here to kill me. Maybe I should run. Such a coward sometimes. Run, yeah, that would end up great! Let’s be sober—and murderous. Them or me, and I like me. Two verse one, not bad odds. They can’t spread out. Angles will be determined by skill. Having the advantage of length—and I have a big sword too. Score two for the dead man!

Back to this. They have thrusting swords in their hands; a recruit’s sword. Guessing their skill levels, they both just come at me. Thrusting with abandon.

Just need to deflect, and now step. Lop the hand off one of the thugs. Stupid goons. The other just steps in and blindly stabs into his mate. Sidestep and quick throat stab and it is over. Trying to just overpower people with little skill is not how you win a sword fight. Oh well.

What do they have? Two short swords, a couple of knives, a few more slips, and a lovely semi-precious gem. For being unskilled thugs, they keep their weapons well oiled. Should find someone to buy this stuff. No time to stand here thinking about it—gotta get my stuff.

Wash off the blood, change my clothes. What to take: Backpack, few odds and ends. Clothes, whetstone, oil. Flog the blanket for the weapons. Cocking my ear, can’t hear the song that much anymore. Must have died down. That is enough, haven’t taken everything—Malik would still think I’m here. But the bodies, I stash them in another room. One of these rooms must be unlocked. It has to be the one furthest away. Now, the blood? Blankets and water. Doesn’t need to be perfectly clean—there’s always been bloodstains in this place anyway.

Not going to be going down the front stairs, taking the discrete back entrance. Why didn’t I use that one in the first place? I can be dumb sometimes. Should head over to Blacksmith Street off Tradesmen Court to sell these weapons. Route Street first. There must be a better way. If I take Warehouse Place to Tanner Lane, then Wall Boulevard, that would take me past Craftsmen Avenue and Blacksmith Street. No main roads, better for me in the long run. Malik has pickpocket spies around.

The smell of tanners is not very nice, like stale piss and dung. But most people don’t hang out here, except for one of Malik’s rival gangs—the Wilting Flower Gang. Not sure why they call themselves that when they smell like a sweaty tanner. One way to always find out where they are.

Wall Boulevard is a great road—no patrols, not many people either. Just a clear walk to where you need to go. Peace time is great, not like there has been a war in ages.

Finally here. Hang on, before I choose a smithy, is there a maker’s mark on these swords? Of course not—that will drive the price down. Was thinking twenty gold slips, now lucky to receive ten.

This one looks good—The Tinker’s Place. Seems to be a little more dodgy than most of these shops. Walking in, a bell sounds off. A Gnome with thick goggles on pokes his head out from the back. “Yes, you need help?”

“Ah, yes. I have come into possession of a few well-made weapons. I was wondering if you are willing to buy?”

Pulling off his goggles, eyes ringed with soot, hair greasy. “You an Adventurer?”

Great, do I have my licence on me? Should do, in my wallet.

“Sure, sure. One second.” Damn, I don’t have a licence, but here is a receipt from Royce. “Just signed up yesterday, here’s the receipt.”

He looks over it. “Looks like Royce’s writing, hmm.” Looks up at me with his deep purple eyes. “Okay, what you got?”

Unwrapping the weapons, placing each in front of the Gnome. “Excuse me, may I ask your name?”

“Sure! It’s Winkle Tinker.” Picks up each one and looks at them. “Where is the maker’s mark?”

Damn, he noticed straightaway! “Okay, Winkle—” Great name. “—I defeated a few foes on a job, and this is the spoils.”

“You know owning a sword without a mark could land you in jail?”

“Yes, but I don’t own these, just want to sell them. Besides, I am a registered Adventurer so those rules don’t apply.”

“Well-made, no grinder marks or other signatures. I give you three slips for both.”

Say what—three? Calm down. Bloody Gnomes and their smarts.

“Make it fifteen and I’ll throw in this gem.”

Handing it over, Winkle’s eyes light up. “Six.”

Haggling with this one will not be fun. “Make it ten and we’ll call it a day.”

“Fine, you have a deal.” I know I attained the worse end of this deal. “Here you go. If you want a better weapon, don’t forget Winkle Tinker’s Place.”

Yanking my money out of his hand. Yeah, I’ll be back. After this I need an ale.

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