A Sellsword, A Cutpurse, and a Very Sordid Tale!
Warm sun shone down over the city-state with out a name. It was a den of sin, the home of blood thirsty mercenaries, of exotic brothels, ruthless thieves, and a mesh of technologies and cultures from the two great continents. This place was not touched by either, declared apart from the constant hatred and warfare between Shaemil of the east and Boren of the west. Two nations hell bent on destroying the other, no matter the cost. Yet each nation was held in thrall by the Gods and Demons. They influenced every action, and controlled the out come of every war. But here, here in this place set apart. The Gods and Demons had no influence. The men and woman here had no need for their petty influences, their need for power and control. This city was different, a neutral ground owned solely by men and mortal. In this place, each person controlled their own fate.
"'Ey girly! Get yer ass o'er 'ere!" A gruff voice shouted over the din of market. The voice's owner was a big burly man who's appearance would make even the toughest man think twice before picking a fight. Most of his face was covered by a thick matted beard or covered by the brim of his hat, and his general appearance was rough, dirty, and heavily armed. The girl, well woman, he was calling for was across the open square that was packed with stalls of vendors and people busily going about their business, none was dimwitted enough to see who was shouting. Rowan turned her head to peer across the cloud at Ivan. The dumb dolt was drawing attention to her, that she did not need at this moment; not with her pockets full of stolen coin. Ivan, who was leaning against the side of one of the brick buildings that lines the square, made an angry gesture, and the rage was plainly written in his posture. Adjusting her leather jacket with pockets jingles softly, Rowan turned to make her way toward the man; she slipped through the crowd with skilled ease, barely noticed by anyone.
Nearer to Ivan, Rowan slowed her hand going to one of the daggers hanging from her hip. "Ivan, love, what the bloody hell do you think you're doing? Are you wanting me to get pinched?" She hissed as she stopped just outside of reach from the fuming man. Even Rowan knew when to be wary of this giant.
Ivan whipped his hand out, yanking Rowan in closer, and she allowed him to do so. "Girly, you've been causin' me trouble again. I heard about yer little stunt down on the wharfs." He shoved his face close to hers. Rowan narrowed her eyes, trying not to gag at the stench of his breath. "Didn't think I'd figure who stolen my flesh?" The man shoved her against the brick, hand on her throat. Roawn looked up at the man calmly, not phased that the man towered over her and could probably snap her in two like a twigs; most men could, she wasn't a tall woman, and barely looked more than child. "Where are they girly? You have no right to be stealin' my slaves. That's gold outta my pocket, now you pay me, or you replace them." He shook her for emphasis.
Rowan smiled tightly and gasped for air, "You want me to talk... may want to remove your hand... from my throat." She yanked one her daggers free, shoving the tip against the sensitive inside portion of the man's wrist. With a snarl, he released her but stepped closer, trying to cow her. Rowan coughed and straightened herself up to her full height, barely more than five feet. "Now you great lummox, I did not steal your slaves. I'm not flesh dealer, and you know that."
Ivan snarled again and raised his hand as if to smack her, but Rowan was faster and ducked out of the way behind him. "You little twit! You think I don't know the rumors that you been freein' slaves from their pins in the middle of the night. We all know how high and mighty you are about the sellin' of woman and children."
Rowan laughed lightly, "Hardly. Where's the profit it in for me? When I ever done anything that didn't make me any gold. I'm not foolish. Even though I will not degrade myself with the selling of flesh, doesn't mean I'd interfere with your trade, or any other slavers. It'd be my death, and you know it." Her tone went from haughty to more seductive. "Don't be a cur, Ivan love, you've known me since I was a wee lass. I'd not do anything to cut your profits. I owe you my life, and I know that."
Ivan grumbled angrily rubbing his beard, "Aye lass, I'd never be one to call you of all women a fool." He shook his head, knowing this lass was always one who knew how to soothe him, even if she was the most likely culprit. "Fine, but mark me, girly. If I do ever find this is yer doin, you will regret it," he growled into her face.
Rowan smiled wickedly and gave him a wink, "I'll mark you Ivan, now come. I think you owe me an ale to ease my poor frightened heart." She put a gloved hand to her chest, watching his eyes linger. Rowan was a woman who knew how to play men, and Ivan was one of the easier ones to play. She had let he slaves free last night, but he would never get that out of her. She was far too clever for this great ox. "Let's go to the Wharf Rat, I know a wore there who owes me a favor. I'm sure she could ease your frustrations too." She winked again before slipping off into the crowd.
The wharves were where the fishing boats docked, nothing larger than that since large ships were easily lost at sea. No one ever dared go out of sight of the shores, and even then it was only around the city that the waters were safe even that close. Further along the inlet, to either side, the rocks and tides made it impossible to sail to the continents. The only way to travel without a guaranteed death was by land, and even then it was dangerous. With men like Ivan ready to ambush you and turn you into fresh meat for the slave markets. The Wharf Rat was the largest tavern in the city and where the worst of the thieves, mercenaries and whores congregated to drink, fight and generally have a violent good time.