Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wang Dong, Cantonese Pirate

Chapter 1, hopefully I can hit the same mindset again tomorrow to do the other half of this so the tone meshes...I hate picking up writing again after stopping, I prefer going straight through, but its 1:15am and I work in the morning. Blech.

As Nurios sat on a coil of rope near the bow of the ship, staring off into the lightly-capped green swells rising off the bow, he reflected on the fact that he couldn’t really recall his mother’s face. He had a vague sense that she had been a blond as she leaned over him to kiss him goodnight, but that could easily have been Teasa or Mirri or one of the other whores at the brothel; blond was the desired coloration by the patrons. Mostly he knew her by the tales others told him after she was murdered, that she was very young, birthing him when she was but fifteen, but she loved him dearly and gave praise every day that she hadn’t passed him, as was generally done by the brothel girls.
When he was but six years of age, a drunken ships mate had crushed her windpipe in a bit of ‘rough play’, and though he bawled that it were an accident, Lord Sovreim had sent him to the gallows for murder. So it was that justice had been served, but he was bereft of a mother, and never had an inkling whom his father might be, though Nyreema always teased that he had Loram, the brothel-keeper’s, eyes. It may be that there was some truth to her words, because instead of becoming just another homeless orphan begging the streets, Loram brought him back into the brothel to live as he had before his mother’s death and Loram was not typically known for his charity.
He was a decent man, as far as that went, he never allowed his girls to be mishandled or swindled, always saw that they were well enough fed, and prohibited the harsher street drugs from entering his walls. A great mountain of a man whose powerful muscles had gone largely to fat in his middle years, a master-at-arms in his youth to one of a High House that had fallen to the machinations of another House, to hear Nyreema tell it. When a patron got out of hand, Loram didn’t rely on a hired bouncer to take care of the delinquent, hurling the offender out of his establishment himself, with a strength he still prided himself on. He had always been a lover of food and wine, as his slowly broadening form gave testament, but after the death of Nurios’s mother, he seemed to take rather less joy in his food and more in his wine and more than once Nurios heard the girls whispering that he had been in love with his mother, and blamed himself for her death.
The next several years saw Nurios grow from a boy to a slender young man on the cusp of puberty, blond hair hanging to his shoulders in light waves reminiscent of his mother, with long quick fingers and clear blue eyes. When he was old enough, Loram put him to work assisting him with the upkeep of the brothel, helping the girls haul bedding once a month to be beaten and aired out in the yard, emptying the chamber pots, and scrubbing floors and windows and generally keeping the house clean so as to maintain its status as a safe and reputable brothel for merchants and officers rather than a common dockside whorehouse. He missed his mother, but he could not complain of his life, he had seen other orphan boys on the streets and knew how fortunate he was that Loram had seen fit to take him in and raise him virtually as a son.
Fate however, does not always deal cards favorably, and in his thirteenth year, tragedy struck the young man’s life once more. A fire broke out one night in the house, quickly engulfing the entire establishment. Nurios and most of the girls had escaped the flames, but sadly not all. Two of the newer girls, Sara and Leesi, nor did Nyreema who Nurios had known all his life did not emerge from the burning brothel. And neither did Loram.
From what the city guard’s mage could determine, looking through the wreckage the next day, it was speculated that Loram’s heart finally gave out and he knocked over a candle, starting the blaze. Once again, Nurios had lost his protector, and now his home, but this time there was no one to take him in and shelter him. He asked some of the girls he’d known the longest if he might come with them, but they had no idea where they would go either and told him that he would make it more difficult for them to find work in another house. They all cried and said they were sorry, but in the end it added up to the same thing; that he was now a street orphan, and would have to find his own way to survive.