Saturday, December 05, 2009

Witty Titled story, part 2

Ugh, I knew this would happen, my brain has the damnedest time getting back into the groove of a piece of writing if I don't get it all out in one go, been trying all week to find that tone, bah! So here finally is the second part of the backstory, with the 3rd and probably final one to come either tomorrow or sometime in the near future once I can find that muse for the 3rd time (maybe I should have kept it its 4:30 and I've been up since 7am, I'm allowed to prattle!)


As it turned out, he was not on the streets for very long, though that wasn’t entirely his idea. After a few weeks of picking through scraps and trying to beg for coins he grew desperate and tried to steal a purse in the morning rush in the market district. Unfortunately however, his very first mark turned out to be a member of the watch dressed in plainclothes, and when the man rounded on him, Nurios was so shocked and dismayed he just stood there horrified as his wrists were bound and he was dragged off to the magistrate for justice.

The lowering sun found Nurios shaking and on the edge of tears before an elderly magistrate, waiting to hear his punishment handed down; a public whipping if he was lucky, years of hard labor if the judge was in a foul mood, and the creases around the man’s mouth made it appear that he hadn’t so much as smiled since before even his mother was born. The magistrate split the difference, ordering a half dozen lashes, and a half year in the labor camp, to Nurios’s horror and dismay. “It might be that I have use for this boy,” a stately voice called from a darkened alcove. The magistrate had grimaced in disapproval but bowed his head as Prince Sovreim stepped into the light, staring down at the boy with measuring eyes. “Yes Ozzik, a criminal he may be, but not a hardened one and young enough to be malleable. I think he shall do just fine; and if not, he will be no trouble to the city. Come boy, it is time to meet your new brothers and start your life anew.”

Brothers…the thought of his brothers almost doubles Nurios over in pain. His brothers, taken from him by a fool who didn’t understand wouldn’t listen, by a fool who refused to bring Prince Sovreim’s plans to fruition, by a fool who saw fit to ruin the second lives Nurios and his brothers had been given…

Teller, the eldest of them, bullheaded and stubborn and so named by his brothers because he always claimed to know what was best and was constantly telling them what to do. A former acolyte of St. Cuthbert caught taking alms from the try to give to beggar children of his choosing rather than allowing his masters to distribute them. He always claimed that not all of the alms made it to the hands of the poor and that the priests were living comfortably off charity meant for others. There was no proof of his allegations and he was caught red-handed in the donation tray and was immediately dismissed from the order and given to the authorities as a thief, and from there he had been recruited by the Prince. His calm, steady voice had been the rock that gave them direction, determination, and inspiration, and now it was just an echo in Nurios’s ears.

Gaff never minded much though, he was born to follow he always said. Younger than Teller by a year, fourteen when Nurios first met him, he still stood a full head taller and was destined to be a massively powerful man, if not the brightest. His tendancy to think and act before he thought earned him his name and also is what brought him to the Prince’s service to begin with. When a snobbish young son of a merchant demanded he move from his path as he was riding through the city one day, Gaff moved to the side, but shoved the boys foot as he passed by, toppling him from his saddle and causing him to break his arm in the process. Gaff was to receive twenty lashes and was going to be sent to a work camp to pay back the cost of a healer to fix the boys arm, but the Prince saw promise in the boy if he could consider the consequences of his actions. As he grew older, he did learn that patience, mostly as it was beaten into him by Jozan, the Master Sergeant in charge of their martial training. By eighteen he had fulfilled the promise he had shown as a boy, standing over six feet tall with shoulders like an ox. It hadn’t saved him though, and Nurios would never again be able to hear Gaff embarrass himself by pondering the contents of a lady’s bodice a bit too loudly in public.

Nor would he be joined in that laughter by Rondo, the firey-headed scout of their little group. Taken for poaching, he was delivered to justice for much the same reason Nurios himself was; trying to escape the demon of hunger gnawing at his belly. He had given him his nickname personally, mocking him for dancing around like a fool on the first day of their weapon training when Jozan had slapped him across the arse with a wooden training sword. Giving as good as he got, Rondo had named Nurios Tailor after discovering that Nurios had learned to sew by helping the women at the brothel mend their dresses that were torn by amorous patrons. Rondo seemed physically incapable of taking anyone seriously, leastwise his brothers, pinching his nose and speaking in a nasal monotone as an unflattering impression of Teller, roaring when Gaff would spout some painfully thick-witted sounding observation, embarrassing him and causing him to wrestle Rondo to the ground to try and choke the laughter from him, or the constant string of ribald jokes pondering how well Tailor had ‘known’ the women at the brothel he grew up with. Nurios still found himself occasionally turning to Rondo when he heard a new joke or bawdy song, but he was gone as well, and Nurios missed his laughter the most.

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