Kormar and Krosk, Stories of The Port

Kormar and Krosk, Stories of The Port

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

These are the stories of two thieves and life-long best friends. They live in the free city-state of Port Karpricious. Though the city is "free" from the Empire, racial and social oppression runs deep. Our two anti-heroes find themselves on the wrong side of the oppression and live a fast paced life fueled by action, mystery, and debauchery with danger around every corner. Patrols, competing thieves, guilds, and Imperial spies all pose a threat.
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Summary

These are the stories of two thieves and life-long best friends. They live in the free city-state of Port Karpricious. Though the city is "free" from the Empire, racial and social oppression runs deep. Our two anti-heroes find themselves on the wrong side of the oppression and live a fast paced life fueled by action, mystery, and debauchery with danger around every corner. Patrols, competing thieves, guilds, and Imperial spies all pose a threat.

Chapter1 (v.1) - The Beginning

Author Chapter Note

The story begins from Kormar's POV and late into the relationship of our two heroes.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 22, 2017

Reads: 55

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 22, 2017

A A A

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I close one eye to focus. The burning taste sticks in my throat. My head spins with corn liquor as I fail to keep it from swaying. 

The round arches of the old, brown stucco tavern glow with the warm, orange light of oil lanterns and the fireplace. The smells of smoke and stale booze flare my nostrils, which catch the scent of the Sailor’s Soup’s gray roux warming over the fire.

Sweat drips from my brow. I switch eyes to regain focus. The room swirls with the rustles and squeaks of leather and chainmaille armor, the hollow clomps of boots on the wooden floor, and the endless chatter of liars. Some fool is trying to recite the Bard’s Lie with the lines out of order. The cracked, smoke stained sign over the hearth reads SAILORS SOUPE, ALL DAI, ALL NITE, FUR OVER 200 YEARES.

A young, blonde bar-maiden blurs into my view. “Are you going to be alright, cutie?”

I do my best to sit up straight. “Never better, my dear.”

“I think you should switch to coffee and bread—so you can come home with me, instead of ending up in an alley with your throat cut.”

She leans over the table forcing her cleavage into my view, and looking at me with a wicked smile that forces me to return my own smirk of depravity.

“Hey, wench!” I hear, as the young barmaid spins and falls backwards onto my table. The room stops.

I hate a woman-hitting coward. A surge of life pulls me to my feet. As I help the young woman up, I can’t believe who I see. Fuck! Wrak Tagnot, his tall skinny Ilsigg sidekick, and another of Stilcho’s guild lackeys. They stand in front of the abused girl. The third member, a sandskin like Wrak, looks very young. They wear all black and the red mark of Stilcho’s gang.

Wrak, a short, skinny, Enlibrite man, moves in a jittery manner and speaks in a hurry. His thin mustache and greasy, sloppy, short hair glow a dirty-mustard blond against his tanned white skin.

“This just got even better. Now, I get to slap around two bitches.” Wrak snickers, squints his gray-blue eyes at me, and elbows his Ilsigg buddy in the ribs.

“You mean him,” pops out of my mouth as I point to Wrak’s friend. “I mean no one even knows his name, just Wrak’s bitch. That’s all I know him by.” I raise my hands out to the side. “What? What are going to do?”

The Ilsigg man’s long, straight, black hair covers his red-brown face as he lunges at me. I fade back and he stumbles forward over the table. I pull the thumb release, dumping a small dagger from my forearm into my left hand. Wrak slaps the girl and pulls her up as a shield in front of him.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, Wrak? What are you going to do? Let the girl go. What did she do to you anyway?”

“She ran into me. What does it matter to you? Are you still looking for a whore with a pure soul? You’re a sad song, Kormar. What was that Shou-Lung slut’s name? Tamari was it? I can’t remember every slave I ship to the North. As long as the skin is darker than sand, right Half-breed?”

The thoughts, I fuckin’ hate you, and I’m going to cut you from ear-to-ear, bound through my mind.

As I say, “Come get some, you ass kissin’, cock suckin’, son of a sailor’s whore.” I motion him toward me with a wave of my hand. Rage pumps my blood with a fierce thump. My eyes widen with focus.

Wrak throws the girl to his new lackey, and he and his Ilsigg buddy draw their daggers.

“Why don’t you tell your boyfriend to stay out of this, Wrak? Unless you’re too scared to fight me on your own?”

The two men begin to circle around the table from opposite sides to trap me. The Ilsigg man makes his move. I jump between them launching myself over the table, knocking it down, and falling on the other side with a roll and a stumble. I stagger to my feet.

 The thud of a club against a cracking skull echoes into my ears. The dirty, plump owner of the bar stands over Wrak’s young Enlibrite lackey who was holding the girl hostage. “She belongs to me!” he screams through his yellow teeth. He cases the room with wicked eyes.

Several men with batons corner Wrak’s Ilsigg buddy, and an instant wave of chaos rolls throughout the bar. Wrak lunges toward me. I lock his arm and pull his shoulder into the edge of the spilled table. I reach to slice his throat, but some member of the brawl pulls me back and I slice across his cheek.

Wrak stands, touches his wound, and looks at me with amazement. He picks his dagger off the floor, and charges my way. He swipes at me nicking my arm, as I free myself with an elbow low to the gut of whoever has hold of me.

We face off. Wrak signals his next lunge with a dip of his shoulder. Our daggers bang together with a loud clank. I kick at his guts, but he catches my foot. In my drunkenness, I easily fall. A cover of blackness flashes over my eyes as my head hits the floor. I drop my dagger. My foot comes free of Wrak’s grasp. I roll to my right. Wrak’s boot stomps down, barely missing my face. I pull myself up, stumbling back against the old knotty pine bar soaked and stained with cheap drink.

Wrak pokes at me again, but I catch his hand with both of mine. Another flash of black as Wrak gives me a left hook, catching me just above my ear. I slide to my left with the force of the blow, raising his captured arm over my head, spinning behind him.

I slam his dagger hand into the bar. I slide to my left toward the door, and put Wrak’s back to the brawl. I see the girl wiping her lip as she gets pushed my way. Someone grabs Wrak from behind.

I’m too drunk for this shit, now’s my chance. I grab the girl and we plow toward the door. I look back to Wrak engulfed in the chaos. He points at me and yells over the crowd, “Kormar! You’ll pay for this!”

I stop in the doorway, spit on the floor, giving him my dirtiest scowl. Then I wave to him like a lady with my fingers, smiling, giggling, and blowing him kisses.

The maiden pushes me onto the old dirt path of the bustling slum. “Come on, smart-ass. I think he hates you enough.”

The crisp evening cools my sweat as we walk. The rush of the fight wears off and a wave hits my gut. The spit flows into my mouth. The water from my gut spills up, and sweat drips from my every pore as the unstoppable force of my vomit spills into the street.

A group of priests of the sun god Krozious stand across the street surrounded by their guards. They hum their chant of creation. An old white-haired bishop in gold and white robes spits through missing teeth to the passers-by on the street. “Fools and lost souls, turn from this darkness, from this cloud of debauchery, and turn to the light of the creator.”

I look up at my newest love. “Let’s get out of here. He’s going to make me sick again.”

I look back to the bishop and I can see the rest of the group with him. It looks like another bishop and four arch-bishops. Hunched over, I search for focus. They’re all Enlibrites. On their heads they dawn black camauros with red trim marking their status. They wear crimson and black robes, Arch-bishops.

I raise up, wipe the sweat from my face, and focus back on the sun-worshipers. But I don’t see any symbols of the sun, but instead they wear golden ladders. The Order of High Ascension, those that run the church and Empire, said to be holders of sacred powers and knowledge. What are they doing down here? A group of hungry beggar-boys follows them. I’m done with this. Who cares what they fuckin’ want?

I grab the maiden’s hand and we run south across Worker’s Road toward the sea, laughing and yelling curses into the night.

I stretch my eyes open to see a tall ropy man standing over me as I feel the small, uncomfortable bed shake. Through my haze, I realize it’s my uncle kicking the old wooden frame. So, I roll over and put my back to him.

“Oh no you don’t,” I hear him say as his rough hands grab my bare ankles, and he begins to pull me from the bed.

I kick at his hands and rise up. “O.K. Fuck!”

“It’s almost time for dinner, boy. Get out of my bed. The Winds of Fredor pushed us around today on our journey home, and beat me to a pile of corn dust.” He tickles at my feet sticking out of the worn woolen blanket.

“Get up and make me something to eat. Since you’ve been using my bed while I’ve been gone, it’s the least you could do,” my uncle squawks from his bearded, sun-scorched, Ilsigg face.

I stand up and adjust my hard cock, which throbs and aches with last night’s drink. My head spins and pounds. I stumble toward the pale blue door and say, “I thought you weren’t coming back until tomorrow. Where’s the girl?”

“What girl? Have you been fucking whores in my bed again?”

I wonder when she left. Oh well. “I gotta go fill the sea,” pops out of my mouth.

“You look more like your father’s side of the family every time I see you.” I hear as I slip outside.

The salty air hits my nose as I stretch and the memories of a lifetime of summers in these waters pulls a smile across my face. “You mean like a white boy,” I fire back as the door closes.

I walk down the sea weathered stairs and south across Fish Street to the edge of a crooked pier. The dewed planks chill my bare-feet and wet the cuffs of my brown leather pants.

Pulling myself free to piss, I look east and west. Nearly a hundred piers dart off of the floating boardwalk. I hear the roll of the waves underneath me, and the caw of gulls passing over my head. The green water harbor of the Kassian Sea rocks full of fishing and shrimp boats, Merchants’ junks, Theibian triremes, Rankan long boats, and City frigates.

The setting red sun shimmers off the foamy tips of the waves and the white sugar sands of the grass dotted beaches. The tall palm trees bend with the heavy winds that carry the scent of fish from the buyer’s market.

Resting on the point, in the distance to the west beyond the Beach district and the mouth of the mighty Smugglers’ River, the flames of the huge light tower glimmer in my eyes. Ferries glide back and forth across the smooth water of the mouth. It’s said that the river plunges so deep that cargo ships can be towed over 300 leagues north.

I sigh with relief as my water flows into the sea. The white structure of the light tower spirals up in the shape of an upside down spire shell, honoring Fredor’s Shell of Waves. The city’s naval piers and base-walls surround the massive tower. On the west side of the base, tucked safely away, rests the wealthy and Le Soberano’s beach manors. Lucky fuckers.

 I tuck myself back into my pants. Our beach sits between the river and Fish Street’s piers, young wave-boarder’s ride the evening’s last rolling tide. I guess we’re lucky they let us have any sand at all.

We’ve been enslaved and oppressed for generations, through the 100 year rule of Les Tierabeaux, to the 120 years of the Enlibrite Empire, the Rankan invasion, and even now as a territory free of slavery and the Empire’s law; the lines between the haves and have-nots, the white and brown grow even clearer. I can’t stay here at my uncle’s. I need to get some gold crowns from somewhere.

I turn north and begin to work my way back to my uncle’s apartment. The street stacks east and west with stilted wooden marina buildings flaking with gray and white paint.

Reaching the top of the stairs I can see far enough north into the Pit I can almost see my parent’s apartment from here. I can’t stay there either, odd hours and drunken whoring makes sure of that.

I enter my uncle’s modest flat. The fire lightly glows from his small fireplace. The cool nights of winter have past, and soon the evenings will be as hot as the days.

My uncle raises his curly, matted, black hair off the bed. “I started the fire. The grouper is on the table.”

The worry of having no place to live comes over me as I prepare the fish and warm the pot of grits on the iron griddle over the coal fire. I know exactly how my uncle likes his meals from the three seasons I spent as his net-man, but there are no women out on the sea. The city suits me fine.

I just need some crowns or nobles from somewhere. Maybe I can cut a purse, get in a game, and scare up enough for a moon or two’s worth of rent. Na, I always lose. Maybe I’ll find a good house to rob, but that will take at least days or weeks. Maybe, I can stay with Krosk, cut a purse, and throw the coin to the sea by the way of whores and drink. YES! That one, I mischievously chuckle out loud as I easily sink into my own depravity. The food is ready.

I gather my things and dress, and I wake my uncle as I leave. “Your food is ready.” He rolls up and on the edge of the small bed, scratches his head, and waves to me without a word or a glance.

I walk through the grime of the docks to the filth of the Pit, and twist my way to Krosk’s apartment. Young poor kids of all colors play stickball and Here Piggy-Piggy in the narrow path.

Krosk’s typical, old, brown stucco apartment sits off the street. I walk under the weathered pine stairs, kick past the rats, and knock on the old, arched, solid oak door. He peeks out with his brown eyes, as the sounds of children playing booms by my ears. Krosk slips his short, powerful frame out of the door and closes it behind him.

We exchange a shake of hands like brothers, with half a hug. “What’s with all the noise?” I ask, standing eye to eye with him.

“My sister and her kids are here from Varisvaaria. They’ll be here for the whole summer,” Krosk answers, as the moonlight soaks into his dark red-brown skin.

“For the whole summer? Shit, Why so long?” I shrug.

“The Queens of Varisvaaria took their farm, and they are tired of living inside the Empire’s rule—and her husband wanted to come here to shrimp. He will be in and out of here all season too.” Krosk scratches his black, curly hair.

“Shit, Fuck! Greedy fuckin’ lords. I was going to stow here a few days.” I shake my long, wavy, sea streaked, sandy-blond hair in disappointment.

“Sorry brother, filled up. My cousin came here with her. He got his own place just a few streets away. Maybe you could stay with him. I think he already paid for the whole season, so, you could just throw him a few crowns here and there. He’s a tramp of the night too.” Krosk rubs his black goatee.

“What are we waiting for? Let’s go.” I wave toward the street.

“Let me grab my things.” Krosk goes inside.

He comes out to the dirt street and walks with me through the muck of the Pit to his cousin’s apartment. I see Stilcho’s mark of his territory, an ‘S’ with a line running through the middle from top to bottom, carved through the alleys.

Krosk seems a little nervous as we slide past a group of shouting whores, the smell of frying shrimp, and beggars sleeping in the streets with drunks.

“His new place is just past Trigg’s and next to Boykin’s Bar in old lady Blossom’s place, on the second floor. You guys will get along great. His name is Thanatos,” he says like he’s trying to convince us both.

We reach the old apartment building, go up the creaking stairs, and knock on the old gray door.

“Who is it?” a man’s voice shouts through coughs from behind the door.

“Krosk.” We wait as the coughing voice gets closer.

The door opens and a sweet, skunky cloud of holy flower smoke barrels out. Through the smokes steps out a shirtless, tall, lean but muscular, light skinned Ilsigg with long straight black hair. He has a long chiseled squared face, that’s scarred and weathered, though his age seems close to my own. His deep black bloodshot eyes shine without reflection. He smiles. “Krosk! Come in cousin.”

“Thanatos!” The two cousins exchange a shake of hands with a pat on the back.

“This is my friend I told you about on my visits, Kormar. We have been friends our whole lives—and as long as you don’t wear a dress or have a heavy purse, he won’t do you wrong,” Krosk jokingly explains as he motions me in the doorway.

Thanatos and I exchange a handshake and a nod in each other’s direction. I feel the calluses of a swordsman.

“I thought he would be darker,” Thanatos says with a crooked smile as he looks me up and down.

He wears brown leather pants and wrist gauntlets. His muscles ripple as he turns and leads us into the family sized apartment. This apartment, like all others in the Pit, stands with brown stucco walls, arched, rotting, wooden windows and doors, curved clay tile roof on leaky decking, and creaking flooring that bows under your feet. A small front entrance opens into the main room that holds seating and a fireplace. We sit in the main room around a grayed table.

Krosk gets straight to the point. “My brother here needs a place to stay. I would take him in, but you know my sister is there. You have an extra room—and I thought maybe you could use some extra crowns.”

“I certainly don’t want your sister and those kids here, ya know.” Thanatos snickers through his teeth.

“Here, here. It is like being a prisoner in my own home.” Krosk shakes his head with understanding.

How long do you want to stay, friend?” Thanatos lowers his empty eyes at me.

“A moon or two.” I smile.

Thanatos turns to Krosk. “This is your running-mate, right?”

“He is my brother,” Krosk says in a heartfelt manner, “and the second best thief in the Port.”

Krosk and I have grown up together since before I can remember. Our friendship became unbreakable after he joined me and my mother as part of our street acrobat act. We have had it seems a thousand adventures together from braving the sea on our wave-boards to robbing our first house together.

“Perfect then, I will be leaving in two moons. I have another job north. Then you can have the place. I have something I will need your help on, in some time before I leave. You keep all your crowns and nobles. You’ll have the front room until I leave. Stay to yourself, and I’ll do the same. Your business is yours,” Thanatos barks.

“You don’t smoke, do ya?” he says much friendlier, and with a mischievous look on his face, as he picks up an elk bone pipe decorated with red and blue beads and a white feather off the table and puts it to his mouth.

“I do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” An uncontrollable smile comes over my face, as I anticipate my flower induced giddiness.

“Do you agree then, to do the job, to stay here?” Thanatos hands me the pipe.

“Yes.” I lock my green eyes with his black eyes, and toke the pipe. The smoke fills my lungs and puffs my cheeks. I exhale with loud coughs that spin my head and bring an echoing buzz in my ears.

“If the job is in one moon, or two, or anywhere in between, or less, or more—you stay here until we get it done. Agreed?”

 “Agreed.” I place my fingers on my shaven, round, dimpled chin.

“I don’t want to have to track someone down last moment, and the rent’s free, right? So, I got your word?”

Krosk speaks up, “Kormar always does what he says, Thanatos. Don’t worry about him.”

I always try to do what I say. So, I look Thanatos in his empty eyes and swear, “I give you my word. It sounds like a great deal to me anyways. It is what we do.”

“I’ll give you a couple days’ notice when and where. Until then we mind our own business, right?” Thanatos repeats himself looking at me to make sure I understand.

“Yes, I got it.” I get a big toke that gives me a gagging cough. I hand Krosk the pipe.

“I like you.” Thanatos points his pinkie at me. “Fair enough.” He sticks out his hand.

“Fair Enough.” I shake his hand.

“Ha! Ha! I told you he would like you.” Krosk leaks with a chuckle as the holy flower takes him over and the thick, stinky-sweet smoke rolls from his mouth."Kormar tell him about the time you fell from the roof-bridge, right ontop on te fucking patrol."

I answer with a smile, "You want me to tell him stories, well I've got stories."


© Copyright 2017 Charles "Kirk" Callaway. All rights reserved.

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