Title: Some Dreams Do Come True
Description: tag: nyarai
Galia Baryk - May 4, 2012 05:08 AM (GMT)
There wasn't a particularly high rate of desertion in Escova's armed forces; given how little work was actually required of most soldiers (they'd been at peace for so long, after all), joining the military was a fairly viable career option for most young, virile men. It paid enough and, if you knew how to play the system right, you could get away with being absolutely terrible at your job and still manage a comfortable living.
But every once in a while, a man got it in his head that it was just too much for him to take. The worst of this came to a head during the cold season, a bleak winter leading to stir craziness and acts of desperation. Worse yet, the news about the missing scouts had spread even greater fear and paranoia through the barracks. No one wanted to be sent out there, where unholy creatures lurked in the shade of the forests, waiting to tear apart unsuspecting travelers.
Lieutenant Raske was a new transfer to Maristheum, some second son of one baron or lord or another, commissioned with coin rather than merit. It didn't matter that he'd had little field experience; he was expected to lead a small platoon out to establish defense in a nearby town.
Except he'd gone missing without a trace that very morning.
While the operation had been conducted without him, the men marching out at the first light of dawn, it was simply unacceptable for him to remain unaccounted for. To her chagrin, it had fallen to Galia to track him down. Captain's orders. He couldn't have gone very far, but no one seemed to know where he'd actually gone. Much as she wouldn't mind purging the weak from the ranks, they weren't in any shape to lose able bodies, let alone that of any officers. That not only sent a poor message to the subordinates, but Raske's particular status as nobility meant his disappearance wouldn't go unnoticed.
After a day spent interrogating Raske's closest associates, all inquiries had led her to this door. It didn't look like much on the outside, but by all accounts, this little shack was the domicile of one of Maristheum's best whores. As unlikely as it seemed that she might actually find the soldier here, it was as good as any place to start looking for him. And who knew the streets better than a street walker?
The sergeant lifted a gloved hand to the door and brought it down hard on the wood. "Hello? Is anyone home?"
Nyarai Khartuul - May 4, 2012 05:35 AM (GMT)
She awoke to pounding at her door.
Turning slightly, she watched the man in her bed shift noisily, his naked body hot against hers. His snores had kept her up most of the night, and every pointed suggestion that he leave was met with obliviousness. Even when she told him to go away, he stayed, rolling onto his side—away from her—and falling into a deep sleep. The bastard even had the audacity to chuckle.
And thus she'd slept fitfully, waking every few hours to the touch of him—the smell of him. She would have pushed him out of bed, but he paid well and times were tough.
So she made due.
But with daylight streaming through her window and someone knocking at her door, Nyarai now found a reason to push herself up out of bed and grab a long, loose robe. She draped this around herself and secured it with an old sash. Then, for vanity's sake, she teased back her hair and walked to the door, sleep still clinging to her like an old, needy friend.
It opened with a creak.
Her eyes narrowed immediately at the sight of armour. What was this? But for all the sudden panic, she kept herself calm, and when she spoke, her words came with a brittle little smile.
Galia Baryk - May 4, 2012 06:03 AM (GMT)
It took a long moment for anyone to come to the door; she was starting to lose her patience when she finally heard someone shuffling around within. So someone was around. Listening carefully, only one person could be heard moving, the floorboards moaning underneath presumably bare feet, but she could also hear the faint rattle of a snore. So, two occupants.
She took a step back when she heard the lightly padding footsteps settle at the door, uncertain what to expect when it finally opened. The thin wood was only pulled back enough to see a little of the woman behind it, heat from within the room seeping out around her. This woman, the seemingly infamous whore of the Quarter, was actually quite tall, forcing Galia to look up at her, for a change. She was slender from what she could judge underneath the sheer robe, and had a pretty face, almost exotic in her features.
Well, Galia supposed she could understand the appeal. She looked healthier than some of the other prostitutes she'd encountered, and some men had a particular taste for Refugee women over locals. There was validity to the claim of her popularity, it seemed.
"Ma'am," the sergeant tipped her head politely. "I hope I'm not disturbing you. I'm looking for a man, whom you might know."
Nyarai Khartuul - May 4, 2012 06:16 AM (GMT)
It had been a long time since anyone had called her that—never, actually. It came as a strange, blunt sort of word. Ma'am. That's what Nyarai called some of the women she worked for, when she tried to make an honest living cleaning houses or doing laundry. Ma'am. It sounded wrong somehow.
She eyed the soldier carefully. The woman seemed hardened somehow, her blond hair about the only thing that seemed out of place in an otherwise capable figure.
An Islander then.
At first there was the very real fear that she'd come to shut Nyarai down—or drag her to some prison. Nyarai wasn't sure what she did was illegal, but then, a lot of things were forgotten out here, in the Refugee Quarter. Laws didn't matter—not when there was no one to enforce them. Thus it reasoned that this woman was here for some other reason. A reason which was abundantly clear a few seconds later. She was looking for a man. For a second Nyarai considered that she might be a scorned lover—a wife—here to extract some sort of justice. She knew she had to be careful. Maybe even try and be nice for once.
Tucking some hair behind an ear, Nyarai opened the door and stepped out into the light of day.
“I can try,” she said in her heavy accent. “Who is he?”
Galia Baryk - May 4, 2012 06:35 AM (GMT)
So far, so good. Most Refugees either wouldn't or simply couldn't cooperate with the local law enforcement. Galia wasn't being met with any resistance, for a change, nor was she being misunderstood. She wondered how long the woman had been in the country, as she still had a thick accent, but didn't seem to have any trouble with translation. That made this situation a lot easier.
"A soldier. Jonothan Raske, or...Jon, I suppose," she shrugged. They weren't familiar enough for her to address him informally, though that was the nickname his colleagues had used. There was also a chance that he used an alias instead, but it was worth asking.
Nyarai Khartuul - May 8, 2012 07:29 AM (GMT)
Cooperation was key.
Let this woman think they were temporary allies. It was the least Nyarai could do.
A name was given to her—Jonothan Raske. Or Jon. Or some variant thereof. Nyarai wanted to point out that she usually didn't ask for names, but that would just be a confirmation of the kind of business she ran behind her door. It wasn't anything she was ashamed of—at least it had come to a point where she wasn't—but she wasn't in the habit of seeing judgement on peoples' faces either.
So, still fixing a lock of hair behind an ear, she cast her gaze around them before returning it to the female soldier. “Do you know what he looks like?”
Galia Baryk - May 8, 2012 03:20 PM (GMT)
As she suspected, a name would get her nowhere. It could have gone either way, really. Some men used a whore for therapy, others were discreet and wanted one thing only. Galia didn't care to know which sort the Lieutenant was, nor did it seem likely this woman would tell her, anyway.
The people who drew up the Wanted posters would have come in handy right now. She sighed, closing her eyes to picture Raske's appearance. The most tempting and apt descriptor was average, but that didn't help at all. The soldier raised one hand a few inches above herself, roughly at six feet. "This tall. Average build, but well fed." Borderline plump, if you asked her. She would never have gone so easy on him in training. "Short, blond hair. Fair skinned. Pimpled," she gestured at the edges of her face. "No older than twenty. Does that seem familiar?"
Nyarai Khartuul - May 14, 2012 05:00 AM (GMT)
That was half her clientele.
Nyarai swept her gaze to the right, catching sight of her neighbours. They were a handful of women who gathered and gossiped—as they did now. Probably about her.
Then she looked back at the soldier.
Yes, she knew the man. Average was a good word. He paid well too, which told Nyarai that he was from wealth—probably even nobility. At least, he also talked like one. Nyarai smoothed down the sleeves of her robe, letting the loose fabric fall around her wrists. “You will not find him easily,” she said. Men were a strange group—they would tell her anything. More than that, they would tell her what not to say.
The man she spoke of was currently avoiding 'trouble', as he'd told her. He didn't say much, but Nyarai could guess as to his intentions. He was trying to avoid some sort of military duty.
She licked her lip in thought.
“I do not want trouble,” she admitted.
Galia Baryk - May 14, 2012 05:37 AM (GMT)
While the refugee didn't say as much, the implication in her answer was that she was familiar with Raske, at least. But that wasn't enough. Galia needed to find him, not just make a list of women he'd paid to bed.
No, of course she wouldn't find him easily. That was what had brought her here in the first place. Galia resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the vague statement, as burning bridges with patronizing looks was not the smart thing to do in this situation.
She had begun to think she was wasting her time when the woman spoke again. "You won't be in any trouble, ma'am," the scout replied, attempting to sound reassuring. "Just help me if you know something, and I'll be on my way."
Nyarai Khartuul - May 14, 2012 05:44 AM (GMT)
Nyarai felt her lips purse.
“No; you do not understand. You will have trouble finding him.” She opened her hand and swept it up and down, indicating the uniform. “No one will speak to you dressed like this—and there are many others you must speak with.” She dropped her hand and sighed. Leaning back, she spied the man still in her bed, snoring the morning away. The bastard. His limp cock, so insistent last night, seemed almost comical now.
Nyarai pushed open her door.
“You should come in.”
Galia Baryk - May 14, 2012 06:13 AM (GMT)
Now a hooker was giving her fashion advice.
Great. This was an absolutely fantastic start to the day and delightful boost to the ego.
Galia glanced around, hesitant to set foot inside a den of sin and debauchery, as if she might contract a disease just from inhaling. All in service of the great nation of Escova, right? "Fine," she said curtly, stepping forward into the warm little hovel.
To absolutely no surprise, there was a naked man sprawled in the bed across the room. And if she had taken up any other occupation, she might have averted her eyes from his pasty, prone form. But she'd seen more than enough dicks in her past ten years of military service that she was completely desensitized to his indecent exposure.
Galia glanced back to the woman expectantly, voice low. "He's not one of the people I need to speak to, is he?" she gestured with a wave.
Nyarai Khartuul - May 15, 2012 04:53 AM (GMT)
Nyarai shook her head.
"Though if you could make him leave, my life would be a lot easier." Maybe then she could fall asleep and stay asleep. Even now, as she spoke, she watched the man flip onto his belly, a mess of pillows marring his dark hair. The words were a jest though, given with a cold smile. It was clear Nyarai didn't mean it—nor did she expect this soldier to understand.
Walking deeper into her little residence, she fished out two clay cups and a jug of water. These she planted on her little table and invited the woman to take a seat, pouring out both cups.
Then she spoke in hushed tones.
"The man you see is deep in the Quarter—deeper than most Guards go. You would do well to change and come back. You will only invite trouble wearing that." Again she indicated the clothing. It was nice, but conspicuous—and there was only one man who was stupid enough to saunter through the Quarter decked in full soldier's garb.
Galia Baryk - May 15, 2012 05:56 AM (GMT)
Making that guy leave was absolutely doable. If you asked anyone who knew her, Galia had a particular knack for scaring men away. Unfortunately, the request was meant as some sort of joke, judging by the wryness of her expression and flippant tone.
She sat, stiffly, after a second of eyeing the chair and wondering just what sort of activities other than sitting had occurred in it. The same sort of scrutiny went into sniffing the cup of water (it was, indeed, water) before taking a polite sip. Or at least pretending to. She wasn't thirsty.
Galia looked down at her outfit, well aware that it was too clean and neat for her to blend in with the locals, and perhaps a little too masculine in cut for an average woman. But that was all she owned, and she wasn't expecting to go undercover in this district. The last time she'd had to wear a disguise was in Kyha... And she didn't want to think about that thrilling adventure.
"I don't have time for that," she stated bluntly. Trekking all the way back to the barracks wasn't going to help, anyway. There weren't enough women around to spare an extra dress. And she didn't have any female friends (or any friends, to be honest) to borrow from, either.
This was stupid. But worth a shot. She sized the other woman up, taking in her proportions. "I have money, though."
Nyarai Khartuul - May 17, 2012 12:56 AM (GMT)
Nyarai wanted to shake her head.
They had no subtly, no desire to listen. They just barged in, thinking they could bend the world if they just pushed hard enough. Even the women seemed rough and masculine. Like this one.
“Keep your money,” Nyarai said, putting down her cup and rising to her feet. Standing, she took in the other woman, trying to figure out what would fit. They were about the same body type: slender, toned—but this woman was a little shorter, a little more muscular. But still very female. Tapping a few fingers against her mouth, she turned smartly and disappeared behind a wall.
Sometime later, Nyarai returned with a cream coloured blouse and a dark blue skirt. It wasn't much, but she knew the garments would fit.
She folded the clothes and held them out to the scout.
“I don't want your money,” she said. “Just don't bring trouble to my door.”
Galia Baryk - May 17, 2012 04:12 AM (GMT)
Good. She didn't really want to give up any of her money for this, and she wasn't sure that administration would compensate her for the expenses. What kind of transaction would she classify that under, anyway?
"Trouble already came and went out your door, ma'am," Galia replied gruffly, still misliking the woman's tone in spite of her cooperation, "I'm just here to pick up after it." After a moment's deliberation, she threw in an extra, "Thank you. Excuse me." Because she could mind her courtesies, even with strangers who were borderline hostile.
She stood up, finding a corner of the room that looked relatively clean (for it being the corner of a rundown shack) and out of sight. There was no time to find another place to undress and redress. She untied her cloak, then began to unlace her breeches. Her tunic and undershirt were the last items to go, everything folded neatly and piled in order.
The soldier was midway through setting aside her personal items when she heard a shuffling step behind her. "Heeeey, she didn't say she was having friends over..." Galia turned her head. The beast had awoken, and he was leering, "Do I have to pay extra for you, sweetheart?"
Nyarai Khartuul - May 20, 2012 04:56 AM (GMT)
This was decidedly less nice.
The man in the bed awoke. He wasn't handsome, but in the light of last night's lantern and the shine of his coins, he was charming.
Not so much this morning.
She strode towards the bed and planted herself in his eye line. She looked down at his unruly dark hair and his open smile. He reminded her of that other man—the stupid one with the endless questions. Jam Zaran or something. “Sir, you will leave,” she said in her heavy accent. Her hands were on her hips and her mouth was pursed.
He took her wrist. “C'mon baby; it's not so bad. I'll pay.”
She pulled herself out of his grip. “She is not—” Nyarai stopped herself. Glancing at the other soldier briefly, she turned back to the man standing naked in her house. “You will leave, sir.” She pointed to the door.
"This is bad customer service," he complained.
"You haven't paid for this!"
Then the man leered at the scout.
Galia Baryk - May 20, 2012 06:09 AM (GMT)
What an asshole. He wanted to pay? Fine.
Galia smiled, striding forward, a certain sway to her hips that she found awkward, but men seemed to like in other women. She stopped in front of the man. "How much?"
"Oh, so she can speak for herself," he grinned at the refugee woman.
If she was reluctant to touch him (and she was), it didn't show in her expression, as she raised a hand to tilt his face back to her, one finger on his cheek. "How much are you willing to pay?"
"Got a few extra coppers that could use some attention. Along with something else." He pointed below his waistline, brow waggling. She'd already seen enough to avoid looking again. It wasn't even impressive the first time. Not that it mattered.
She shook her head, but he wasn't looking at her face at this point. Galia wrapped her arms around herself, a defiant pose, though where they came to rest under the wrapping on her torso, they managed to push her breasts up a little higher. Maximum cleavage. "Not enough."
"Fine, a bronze. I'll triple it if you can convince this one to join in," he thumbed at the other woman with a lecherous grin.
"Show me the money, first."
Nyarai Khartuul - May 23, 2012 09:27 PM (GMT)
Her eyebrows shot up into her forehead.
What was this?
The man scrambled across the room towards his fallen pants. Bending over, he tugged out his coin purse and began to pick out coins. Nyarai looked away, rolling her eyes. She was not doing this. Didn't this woman have an escapee soldier to catch?
She looked at Galia with stubborn confusion, as if demanding the scout to explain herself.
The man returned, holding out three bronze coins—something Galia knew might as well be a fortnight's wage for him. Men and their quest for an exciting fuck. He grinned at them again, waiting.
“So we fuck now, yeah?”
Galia Baryk - May 23, 2012 11:40 PM (GMT)
Galia didn't say anything as she reached for the coin with one hand. The man, protective of his meager fortune, kept a careful eye on her motion and closed his fingers around the pieces of metal. He scolded her, "Uh uh. You have to work for--"
What he neglected to look out for was her other hand, balled into a fist and decking him squarely in the jaw before he could even blink. He fell backwards, while the bronzes went flying from his open palm, scattering in the air and rolling across the floor. He'd hit the ground at about the same time with a heavy thump that caused the walls to shudder.
The soldier shook the slight pain out of her knuckles and stood over him, planting one foot on his chest so he was pinned.
"What the hell is this?" he snarled once the stun had worn off, but the only response he drew was of Galia bringing her foot higher to his throat. She kept most of her weight carefully balanced on the other leg, but if she pressed down, he would be in trouble.
"The woman asked you to leave. When you get up, you will do just that. If you cooperate, I might even let you take your clothes with you," she said with utter, cool calm, as if she did this on a regular basis.
"But...my...money..." he choked out, fingers trying to pry away her heel from his neck, but her legs were much more powerful.
"Consider it a fine for extortion."
Nyarai Khartuul - May 23, 2012 11:49 PM (GMT)
She jumped at the impact of the fist crashing into the man's face.
Startled, she stared in open surprise as the soldier took charge of the situation. The man, now on the floor, scrambled a little, but was soon brought to heel—literally.
Under Galia's boot, the man twitched. “Ugh, fine—whatever. I'll leave.”
Across the room, Nyarai was staring daggers into Galia's back. Soldiers, her mind spat. About as subtle as a brick to the face. If they didn't make lusty, generous clients, she would stay the hell away from all of them. Savages and barbarians, all of them. Her hands at her sides, she pulled her fingers into impotent fists. This was the worst way to go about doing her a favour.
Galia Baryk - May 24, 2012 03:41 AM (GMT)
It wasn't the most assuring response, but it seemed sincere enough.
"Thank you," Galia replied crisply. She slid her foot from the man's neck, taking a careful couple of steps back until she was certain he wasn't going to try anything in retaliation. Though, given his current state of exposure, he probably realized there were more convenient—and painful—places to strike at. Men placed a high value on the bits that dangled between their legs.
The man rolled over until he could get up, muttering a string of indiscernible curses and insults under his breath as he went to collect his things. She turned back to the woman, catching her angry and entirely ungrateful glare. Her own face was utterly impassive and she was unflinching.
Soon enough, the door swung open, letting in a burst of cold air, and slammed shut.
"You wanted him to leave. And I doubt he was going to go if I asked nicely," Galia said blandly, returning to the corner where both sets of clothes remained folded up neatly.
Nyarai Khartuul - May 24, 2012 04:10 AM (GMT)
Nyarai's eyes narrowed.
“I wanted him to leave...and then come back,” she hissed, stepping around her bed and pulling at the sheets. She would have to wash them. Tossing them to the ground, she began to rummage for other things.
It was bad enough that she was actively helping the military, but cutting off her own revenue streams was just a little bothersome. The man might have been a fool and braggart, but he paid well, and in the end, that was all that mattered. The fact that he wasn't completely hideous helped—though not by much.
She dropped a bar of soap on the sheets.
Looking across the room at the woman, she paused.
“The man you are looking for is in the old Artisan's quarter. He's holed up there somewhere.” Nyarai dropped to her knees and began to gather the sheets.
Galia Baryk - May 24, 2012 05:00 AM (GMT)
"Then perhaps you should have let him out before you let me in," remarked the scout, unwilling to be baited into an argument with a refugee prostitute. She'd made a judgement call and was going to stick by it, no matter how much hissing and spitting the woman wanted to do.
For Pryyo's sake, she'd even gotten her a higher wage than what the man was planning to pay, even if it was still spread out on the floor and somewhere under the meagre furnishings. Three bronzes were a lot for one visit, and probably more than she would have made off him even with a couple returns.
Regardless, Galia was not going to bother reviewing or apologizing for the turn out. While the woman went about tidying her space, she pulled on the blouse and skirt. It was a little long in the hem, but wouldn't trail or be trodden upon by her heels, and the rest of the proportions seemed to fit. Even the bust was flattering enough, despite the visible discrepancy between their respective figures.
She fastened her cloak back on, turning to the woman. "What do you mean by 'holed up'? Is he just squatting there, or will I face opposition if I ask for him?" Maybe she was asking a lot of her, but the more Galia knew about the situation, the less she felt she might be wandering into some sort of trap.
Nyarai Khartuul - May 24, 2012 05:10 AM (GMT)
Perhaps you should have not shown up at all.
Nyarai held her tongue though. Angry though she was, she wasn't going to turn this completely hostile. This woman had gotten rid of that obnoxious man, and though stubborn pride refused to let her admit it, those three bronze would go a long way...
At the question she sighed and picked herself up. Bundling the sheets under an arm, she tossed back her hair and gave the woman a look.
“Squatting, I think. Though with soldiers you never know when violence will show up.”
She let the words, and the criticism, hang in the air.
Then, plucking at the sides of the old bedsheet, she found herself making a mistake she would no doubt regret in a few hours. Maybe sooner. “I am heading in that direction to wash these out,” she said, lifting the bundle slightly. It was a pointed offer for the woman to join her—if she so wanted. Being seen with Nyarai might hurt her standing in proper society, but people would otherwise ignore her. Certainly they would not see her as a threat.
Galia Baryk - May 24, 2012 10:06 AM (GMT)
Soldiers were violent? Shocking! That was the point.
It was hard to be insulted by an observation that was absolutely true. Galia wasn't paid to skillfully negotiate her way out of an ugly situation. She was an enforcer of law and order on Escova, not an arbitrator. Besides, had the man decided to be a brute to get what he wanted, that woman would be singing an entirely different tune.
Funny, how some people only appreciated their services when it was convenient for them.
And yet the offer, as ambiguously presented as it was, came almost as a surprise. She didn't think the refugee wanted to stand in her company for any longer than it took for Galia to go to retrieve her deserter, and come back for her real clothes later (after all, she couldn't just carry the bundle around with her; it was impractical and likely to get her posessions ruined). Was she expecting further protection outside, or was she actually trying to square up the debt that she so clearly owed for getting the money and rid of the man?
Ultimately, the motivation behind her words didn't matter. What counted was being able to get this task done in an efficient manner, convenient for both women.
"All right," Galia consented, the rest of the agreement to follow her simply implied. She took no issue to being seen with the woman. She already had low standing in proper society, with a female soldier being considered more of a joke than a plain whore. And the oft told punchline? At least one of those professions actually made a woman useful.
Nyarai Khartuul - May 25, 2012 12:52 AM (GMT)
They didn't have to be violent all the time.
She fixed her hair, tossing it over a shoulder and making for the door. “Come with me.”
The street beyond was as busy as it always was. Securing her door with a key, she bundled her sheets tighter and strode out into the Quarter. For all that people knew what she did, Nyarai walked with a grace, a purpose. Taller than most men, she marched across uneven streets and dirty puzzles, barely looking down.
A few seconds passed before she spoke. Turning into a narrow, heavily pungent alley, she gave the woman next to her a quick look.
“You did not give me your name,” she pointed out.
Galia Baryk - May 25, 2012 03:38 AM (GMT)
Where Nyarai walked with grace, Galia walked with purpose. It was hard to change her gait from that of a soldier, and more precisely, a scout, but she was trying. Her posture was a little looser, though she couldn't help giving everything the same scrutinizing stare that she used everywhere, on everyone, and everything.
As they turned, she couldn't help meeting the woman's brief look with one of surprise. "I didn't think you cared to know it," she remarked, though that was an unkind response. She hadn't meant to be rude, only honest. It just came out that way.
"Sergeant Baryk," she added after a moment, omitting her first name. Not that she thought it made a difference whether the woman knew it or not, simply that it wasn't necessary. There were only so many female soldiers, and no others shared her surname. She would be easy enough to find. "I don't expect you to make frequent use of it, but in case you do require assistance in the future, you may call on me, if you so wish."
Only then did she realize she'd been referring to the woman as...well, 'the woman' in her head the entire time. Even the officers who'd told her were to look for her shack in the Quarter hadn't even provided a name, just a location. "And yours?"
Nyarai Khartuul - June 2, 2012 12:28 AM (GMT)
Nyarai didn't want the soldier's name because she cared. She wanted her name because names were powerful—and if things turned ugly, she would at least appreciate the name of the woman who led her into this mess.
And a mess it would be.
Like the woman, she might have judged a little too fast though. The hardness in her eyes softened and she wondered if this woman meant her words—that she would assist where possible. That was...a nicer gesture than she'd expected, even if it was a little naive. This Quarter had long lost its relevance to the powers that be. Now it was a place of self-policing and gangs. And it was getting worse. “I will remember that,” she said neutrally, giving the one the first genuine smile she'd shown.
With her free hand, she swiped back some hair and tucked it into an ear. Her sandals slapped over a few cobblestones and she picked her way expertly through the disgusting little alley.
“Nyarai,” she replied simply, breaking into a wider street on the other side.
This part of the Quarter was where the Artisans gathered. It wasn't much, but there were paintings and crude sculptures here and there. Where the sun got in, it touched snow and exposed dirt, even as men and woman bustled with their exotic wears. Scented candles and wood carvings. Painted portraits—for a few. There were even a few armed men standing around, eyeing the two women with predetermine eyes.
“I would avert my gaze, friend,” she said, keeping her voice quiet. She then cocked her head subtly towards the handful of mercenaries. “They are members of the Gallowmen. Dangerous and not worth the effort.”
Galia Baryk - June 2, 2012 03:24 AM (GMT)
The offer of aid was sincere—much as she was often loathe to recognize the fact, she was a woman, too, and understood the distinct disadvantages of being of the so-called fairer sex. That didn't mean Galia was interested in any sort of sisterly solidarity, but given that Nyarai had helped her, it seemed fair to return the favor. The only way in which it seemed an empty gesture was that she didn't spend much time in the city these days, and might not even be around to call upon if real trouble did arise.
Then again, her presence might have been counterproductive to staying out of said trouble, as evidenced by the way the encounter with that pervert went.
A similar situation almost arose when she heard some hissing coming from the group of armed men that Nyarai pointed out. Galia wasn't sure what to make of the sound, but it made her distinctly uncomfortable. What was worse was the fact that she knew she couldn't do anything about it—or, more accurately, shouldn't. Even if she had the physical capability to fight off more than a few of them at once, even while unarmed, that wasn't going to help. She was bold, but (arguably) not stupid.
She kept her head down, eyes on everything but those men, taking careful note of the buildings and their route in case a hasty exit had to be made. It had been some time since Galia had taken a path this deep into the Quarter. Not many guards were stationed inside compared to the numbers securing the perimeter, and it was uncommon for her to be put on security detail.
"Guards aren't exactly welcome around these parts. So how did Raske make it all the way out here safely?" she mused aloud, her voice low.