Now Hiring Hero!

Now Hiring Hero!

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

Introduction to the Untoldworlds and the start of an adventure.
Share :
Twitter

Summary

Introduction to the Untoldworlds and the start of an adventure.

Chapter1 (v.1) - An Unlikely Job Interview

Author Chapter Note

We are introduced to our hero as he suddenly realises that he may be over his head and this interview might not be everything he was expecting.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 05, 2017

Reads: 56

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 05, 2017

A A A

A A A

Chapter 1 – An Unlikely Job Interview

 

For a city of constant change one thing interminably remains the same, and that is a person’s tendency to become very bored, very quickly. This is especially true for many citizens of Evershift who desire constant change, bordering on obsession, to discover the newest and most novel idea or thing.

In its long assorted past these novel ideas from the people of Evershift had stretched from the latest invention to the newest political ideologies. For instance, in the span of one hundred and fifty years Evershift had gone from being a democracy of the people, arrived briefly at a monarchy (which lasted the rule of one and half kings[1]), skipped quickly over tyranny, until finally settling down to an ‘elected’ democratic council of eleven. 

This was how the oldest city of cities worked, it changed things, and today it had changed one particular individual in such a way that he now found himself racing down the shopping district T23, or more commonly known as ‘Cribbs-Way’, wielding a piece of paper.

*

Today would be a good day. Thought the tailor watching the ticking clock from behind his countertop.

It wasn’t a very interesting clock, but it worked. In addition to being functional it was also generally correct and what the clock showed him was that it was fast approaching ten in the morning and not one soul had bothered to come in to disturb him.

He liked when this happened as it meant a nice quiet life with as few people to bother him as possible. Of course, having no one to serve hurt his profits, but having time to think to one’s self in peace was glorious and far more valuable.

This is because the tailor knew that as soon as he returned home, if it was still there later that evening that is, the mother-in-law would be on his case probing him for information and calling him lazy, all while tapping her slippered foot.

The tailor wasn’t lazy however, at least, not in the usual sense and meaning of the word.

Instead, he was a ‘busy’ lazy person, which is an oxymoron term applied to someone that puts up the act of being busy but made sure they put themselves in positions that required minimal effort and participation.

The busy lazy person then was the type to do just enough to scrape through in whatever situation or activity they put their mind to.

It was in this moment of tranquil peace that the doorbell announced the entrance of a customer. The tailor quickly masked his face with a false welcoming smile and looked at the wretched newcomer who had just destroyed his peaceful world.

The person was a young man who looked like he was in his early-twenties. He was skinny, but had grown into his lanky frame. His skin was pale and he had a shaved face that was framed by short black hair. The slanting of his dark eyes informed the tailor that the young man, like himself, was of Wut decent, the most populous demographic in Evershift and Meridian.

The dark eyes glanced around the room as if taking in every detail and the tailor felt a queer unexplained feeling in the pit of his stomach.

‘Can I help you young master?’ he enquired.  

‘I’d like to purchase a suit please.’ said the young man politely glancing to the area where several fine suits hung on racks.

‘Of course, right over here if you please.’

The tailor moved across to the suit fitting area and mentally prepared his well-rehearsed speech while waiting for the young man to slowly follow.  

‘A good suit, my good young sir, should never be underestimated for its importance. Not only can it change how people perceive you, but it can ignite within you a self-confidence that you never thought existed before. A precise and sharp suit says therefore that “this person is very good and knows what they’re about”.’

This was a speech the tailor had told countless customers. He detested the repetition of it, but it always had the desired effect on the uninitiated. 

‘May I enquire as to the occasion that a suit is needed?’

‘It’s for a job interview I’ve got coming up, so I’d like one that’s really going to impress.’ said the young man.

‘Well, you’ve come to the right place my fine sir as making good first impressions on those that are notoriously hard to impress is what we’re all about here at “First Impressions”’.

‘In fact, I’ll let you in on a trade secret.’ He lowered his voice to a dramatic whisper ‘we have a very special suit for such occasions as this. One that is lined with technomagi thread that makes the person you’re talking to think you’re very impressive.’

The tailor added the necessary slow wink from behind moon shaped spectacles to seal the deal. It elicited the response he was after as the young man’s eyes widened in surprise and his mouth made an ‘O’ shape.

The ‘special’ suit of course didn’t exist, but “always tailor to your customers’ needs” he could hear his father say, no pun intended of course. Personally, the tailor wished the whole business could be over and done with so he could get back to his peaceful bubble.

‘That sounds great! How much are they?’ asked the young man.

A glint appeared in the tailors face.

‘Hmm…let’s see. A two-piece ‘special’ suit, with the shoes of course. Oh, and the tie, and the socks. That will be…ten gold ingots.’ said the tailor ticking of each required item on his fingers while calculating.

It was a gross overestimation, the tailor knew this, but he always had the keen ability to read those that were impatient. He also knew after years of experience those that were the most gullible. Both applied to the young man standing in front of him at that moment.

The young man considered the price.

‘Well if it will help me get the job then I’ll pay it. I really need it right away.’

A crooked knowing smile appeared on the tailor’s face as he made some quick measurements. He then selected a suit that hung below a wooden sign that read ‘specials’, which seemed about the young man’s size, and then went to get the rest of the items he had listed.

‘Do you mind if I get changed here? I have the interview very soon you see.’ said the young man when the tailor returned.

‘Of course young master. The changing rooms are right over there.’ and he gestured to the corner of the shop where some purple curtains hid the changing booths. He gave the young man the suit and accessories, and then went to the counter to add all the items onto his mechanical till.

After several minutes the curtain to the changing room was pulled back and the young man emerged. The outfit the tailor had chosen was a generic two-piece black suit, white shirt and black tie that you would see on most inner-city workers of Evershift.

‘Very smart in deed young master. You’re bound to get that job.’

Just as the young man made his way to the counter to pay there was a sudden large explosion that could be heard in the distance. The pair rushed to the window and could see black smoke rising several districts away.

‘We have to go and see if anyone needs help!’ exclaimed the young man and quickly ran out of the shop.

That queer sensation in his stomach returned and the tailor felt something stir within himself, and for a brief moment felt a compulsion, no, a need, to follow the young man out into the streets.

Just as he was about to step outside however he quickly shook off that foolish notion when he realised there would be no profit or benefit in doing so.

It was at this moment that he realised with a sinking feeling that the quickly receding figure of the young man hadn’t paid and the image of his questioning mother-in-law waiting at home tapping her slippered foot in disapproval popped into his mind.

Today would be a very bad day.

*

There are many conclusions that people come to when witnessing a recent explosion. For those with a sense of preservation the first one is generally a very logical one: explosions equal destruction and fire, which in turn could potentially cause pain and the possibility of losing a treasured attachment.

However, this did not seem to bother the smartly dressed young man in his two-piece suit as he ran keeping an eye on the smoke cloud rising above the rooftops. 

Around him people were starting to emerge from the other shops of Cribbs-Way, pointing at the source location.

None showed any panic. Why should they? Explosions were common enough in Evershift not to cause fright. This was due to the hostile bubbling nature that multiple worlds, and thus multiple cultures, brought to this massive jigsaw of a city smashing them together into a barely contained organised entanglement. For these observers, there was no reason to think this was any different than a normal circumstance.

‘Normal’ to the onlookers was generally defined as potentially being a couple of Technomagi from Nadir letting off some steam, quite literally. Or perhaps it was some of those uncivilised and uneducated medieval barbarians from Zenith causing a ruckus in their usual drunken state.

For the people now watching the dissipating cloud they assumed it was one of these likely scenarios, shrugged in unison, and went back to their previous routine.

Since his arrival in Evershift a few months ago he had soon realised that there was a complete lack of concern for others in the city. He shouldn’t be surprised however as the people of Evershift took the view that if it doesn’t concern you then its none of your concern.

Just last night for instance he himself had lost his home and all his worldly possessions leaving him just the clothes on his back and the money in his wallet. Everything had simply disappeared and not a soul was willing to help or tell him that keeping track of your own house was a thing needed doing. Even if he did find his home in this jigsaw maze of a city it was probably sold to someone else.

As he made his was closer he realised that the smoke was coming from the very district he had to go to for his interview, district M4, known locally as Upper Skommit.  

This was a very old part of the city, even for the oldest and greatest city. The district had only ever moved six times, which for a city that is constantly changing was a rarity. In fact, since historical records began two and half thousand years ago each time the district had moved legends signify some big event would usually follow. 

It is no surprise therefore that one of the oldest districts would house one of the oldest guilds ‘That Adventure Company’.

They were an organisation devoted to solving the people of Evershifts problems. Need a rose of Remedium from the poison garden of district X66? Get a hero to do it. Family member or acquaintance murdered and need an investigator? Submit a quest. Found an old relic that might contain the soul of an old necromancer? Contact the company immediately.

It was so rare to have an opportunity to join this elite group and more than anything he desired change from his old life of boring predictable routine.

Eventually he arrived at the entrance to the old district. Its entrance was a gatehouse with large wooden doors that stood two stories’ high. Above the doors in the stonework archway was an inscription with the words “Upper Skommit Welcomes Careful Persons”.

Running under the archway he was fully expecting there to be a scene of chaos, but what greeted him was a surprise. Instead of gathering crowds he was greeted with a compound completely deserted except for one individual currently yelling at a door with smoke peeling off him.

‘I was so close. You can’t fail me just for one mistake!’ the blond man yelled in a very upper cast accent. He tried pulling on the door, but it would not budge.

Suddenly, what looked like a stone eye opened above the door and shocked the blond man and with a loud explosion he was blasted back. He slowly got to his feet anger emanating from him.

‘Fine, I don’t need this anyway!’ and he stomped with a red face and dark look out through the main gate, smoke trailing in his wake.

It was now clear what had caused the explosion earlier and suddenly the smartly dressed young man didn’t feel this was such a good idea.

No. This is my chance for something new!

Taking in the compound he could see it was composed of a large open courtyard with a what looked like a well at its centre. It was surrounded by a stone wall and on the left, was a building with a wooden sign that read ‘The Leaky Nail Inn’ and beneath was a picture of a boat and nail.

At the opposite end of the gatehouse he could see what looked like stables for horses, which had been an outdated method of travel in Evershift for fifty years!

Finally, on the right of the courtyard was the location of the main building, which was obvious from the large letters T.A.C sitting proudly above its entrance.

Standing alone in the courtyard he tentatively approached the main door that was now vacant of attention and kept close attention on the eye that had appeared. Upon close inspection, he realised where the angry blond man had erred, reached out and lightly pushed the door, which complied allowing him to enter.

He had passed the first test.

Inside, the room was dimly lit by lights in the ceiling and the temperature was cool. It was a square room with several chairs lining the walls. At the furthest end from the entrance was a door and a very large desk with a sign above that read “Reception”.

There were two other occupants, one was a man obviously from Zenith, notable in his medieval dress, sitting nervously in one of the chairs. The other occupant made him pause as he approached the reception desk for what sat behind was the largest woman he had ever seen.

The receptionist was what could only be described as spherical as the sun that rose in the sky. She wasn’t ‘fat’, but rather was seemingly built for a specific purpose.

He could see she was of Wut heritage like himself with dark eyes and black hair, which she had cut shoulder length. Her pink hooded jumper was in stark contrast to the dim stone room and had a name tag pinned to it reading “Ms. Small”.

It was a surname that grossly underplayed the person it was attached to. 

‘Have you come for the interview my lovely?’ she asked.

Her voice was strong and in contrast to her youthful pretty face and he thought she could only be a few years older than himself. 

‘I have’ he replied hoping his voice did not betray the nervousness he felt.

‘I must say darling you are the most sharply dressed interviewee we’ve ever had.’

She beamed a pearly white smile at him while writing down something on the pad in front of her.

‘Can I have your name please? It’s for the records you see in case of maiming and or other bodily harm that may occur. It’s just so we can identify you.’ she winked at him.

This did little to ease his nervousness however.

Maiming? Other bodily harm?

‘It’s Ki. Ki Fung.’ He said after the initial shock and she wrote down his name.

‘Ok Mr Fung would you please take a seat. We’re currently waiting on one other candidate to finish up, which should be soon I believe, and then you’ll be after this gentleman.’ she said gesturing at the man who looked, if it was at all possible, even more nervous.

Dismissed, Ki took one of the vacant seats and tried to calm his nerves by looking once again at the recruitment poster he had found.

“Now Hiring Hero!” emblazoned the top of the poster.

“Seeking adventure, fame, fortune and the chance to be remembered in the Hero annals of history? If yes to any of those then maybe That Adventure Company is the place for you. All applicants welcome, but 99.9% fail.”

This was it. This was why he had wanted to come to Evershift, for the chance to escape his old monotonous life. This was the city of change after all and it now offered him the chance to not just be another someone, but to be Ki Fung hero of the city of dreams in the clouds.

Lost momentarily in his dreams he jumped at the loud blood curdling scream that echoed into the reception waiting room making him drop the recruitment poster on the floor.

‘That would be another unsuccessful interview then my dears’ the receptionist said. ‘Mr Wilson would you be so kind as to follow me.’

At this she stood up and gestured that the man from Zenith follow her into the door next to her desk. Ki could now see she was wearing what looked like a sporty white skirt, socks and shoes, which again he thought stood in contrast to the gloomy room she watches over.

The man, with a shocked and pale face drained of blood, glanced at Ki, audibly swallowed, stood and followed with his knees visibly knocking together.

‘You’re next Mr Fung.’ said the receptionist flashing him one more white toothy smile, which reminded him of a predator eyeing up its prey and closed the door behind her.

What kind of interview is this!

 

[1] The half being the unfortunate Prince Titus who was unceremoniously beheaded a mere three hours after his father, King Vespus III, had met his own untimely end.


© Copyright 2017 J. E. Eckardt. All rights reserved.

Chapters