Thrax sat in a low lit Inn. He chose a table in the back of the room that faced the front door. He was in his civilian clothes, no sword and no armor. He had a dagger at his side and that made him feel more comfortable.
He was hungry and it had been a long day. His sword arm hurt but not enough to stop him from lifting a mug of ale to his mouth. He greedily gulped the cool amber liquid.
More ale, he thought, he needed more ale! He looked around for the serving girl. She raced between tables, mugs of ale in one hand and plates of food in the other. It was a busy night and the Inn was full of locals, sailors, and ladies of the evening plying their trade.
The serving girl appeared as if by magic and placed a plate of roasted chicken and root vegetables in front of him. A large mug of ale came a short second later, it hit the wooden table and made a hollow noise. Thrax watched as foam spilled over its side.
“Put it on your room, sir?” The buxom young girl said.
“Yes,” Thrax said as he rummaged through his pocket for a key. He took it out and said, “Room 13.” The girl twirled away in an instant.
The food smelled like heaven to Thrax. He took out his dagger, stabbed a potato, and ripped a leg off the chicken. He shoved them both in his mouth and took a long pull from his mug.
He thought back to the earlier part of the week when he split up from his adventuring group. He headed south to Sanhollow, they continued onto Doglenrun. Along the way, bandits attacked him. He dispatched them with ease but not before one of them landed a good blow to his sword arm.
By the time he walked through the West Gate of Sanhollow, all he wanted was to find a room and have his fill of food and drink. He opted for one of the better Inns in Sanhollow, the Cock and the Hen. It cost more but the rooms have magic protection to guard against theft. Besides, the food always tasted better in those Inns.
He ate the food furiously and glanced up at the Inn door. It opened and more sailors stumbled in. They all wore the royal insignia of the Kingdom of Duland and of the First Fleet Navy. Sanhollow was a port city and the First Fleet dropped anchor here. It filled the city with sailors on shore leave every day of the week.
Thrax finished his food and emptied his mug. He yelled over to the serving girl, “More ale!”
He started to feel better now and after a couple of days of rest and relaxation, he’d head down to the docks to pay for passage to Doglenrun. He promised his group to meet up with them in a fortnight.
His immediate hunger now satisfied, he looked around the room at all the prostitutes laughing with their patrons. Most were dressed in vibrant flashy revealing clothes, others dressed more demurely.
Typical Dulands, he thought, their Gods are less prudish. Prostitution was legal in the City but selling it in the open was frowned upon. If you wanted company for the evening, you’d have to do your bargaining in these Inns.
The serving girl appeared and dropped two mugs of ale in front of Thrax. He raised an eyebrow, he had only ordered one.
“Hey there Sailor!” A melodic voice rolled over Thrax. He felt two hands on his shoulder. Someone had slipped behind him. He lifted his ale to his lips and said, “I’m no Sailor.”
“Oh, you’re not?” the voice purred, “Too bad, I bought that ale for a brave sailor returning from the war. Should I take it back then?”
Thrax smiled, “No, please join me.” He had no idea who was behind him but with his hunger satisfied, his thoughts turned to another hunger.
Her slender arm dragged its way across Thrax’s back that sent a shiver up his spine. A lithe body slid into a chair across from Thrax. She had wavy dark hair that cascaded over her shoulders, her eyes were piercing. She wore a purple and black blouse with short sleeves that exposed her creamy slender arms. Brown pantaloons hugged her hips and she wore a small dagger at her side. She didn’t dress like the rest of the prostitutes, he thought, she was less flashy, almost elegant.
“If you’re not a Sailor, then what kind of man are you?”
“I’m a man of opportunity.”
“Oh, an adventurer? You must be brave!”
“You could say that,” he said. He took a long drink from his mug and wiped his mouth.
“Well then, tell me a story of one of your adventures,” she said, leaning back in the chair.
Thrax couldn’t tell if she was a prostitute or something else.
“How much for company tonight?” He asked.
Her eyes narrowed and she took a long drink from her mug.
“You mistake me for one of those girls,” she casually waved to all the women across the room, “I’m a storyteller and writer.”
Thrax snorted, “My apologies then.” He sat back in his chair and tried to figure out who she was. Was she a noblewoman that likes to go ‘slumming’ every once in a while? This was a port city after all, and sailors were plenty. Any bored house wife had an easy alibi here.
“What brings you to the Cock and Hen?”
“I collect stories from brave men and write them down, it’s a passion of mine.”
She took another long draw from her mug. Thrax finished his. She raised her hand and snapped her fingers. Seconds later the barkeep placed two more mugs in front of them both.
“That’s a handy trick,” Thrax said, “I should try it.”
“Oh, it won’t work for you, only for me.”
Thrax paused for a moment.
“You don’t look like you belong in a place like this.”
“I’m friends with the barkeep,” she said, “he lets me know when the ships come in so I can collect new stories from brave men.”
She looked at Thrax, leaned in mischievously, and said, “So, tell me a story.”
The evening wore on and the mugs of ale flowed. They drank until they both had their fill. Thrax laughed as he recalled all the crazy adventures he had with his companions. His new friend absorbed them all as a mage does with magic. She leaned over the table and kissed him. Never to miss an opportunity, he kissed her back. A fire stirred in their loins.
Arm in arm, they decided to quench that fire. Thrax dug out his key as they stumbled upstairs to his room. Kissing, he fumbled to put the key into the lock. It opened with a loud clack and the door pushed open. Lifting her with his bulging arms, he placed her on the bed.
The room he rented was a decent size. There was a small table in the corner with a pitcher and bowl. A small window was open, it let in cool salty ocean air. The bed was big enough for them both and there was a chest at the foot of the bed. Thrax stored his clothes, armor, and weapons there.
Their bodies embraced, they kissed as she unbuttoned her blouse. Thrax pulled his shirt over his head, his pants dropped to the floor. Thrax noticed how supple her body was, the way the pantaloons hugged her hips. She was no ordinary noblewoman, he thought. Thrax pushed away those thoughts when she peeled off her blouse.
Two pendulous breasts dropped out from underneath her blouse. Thrax moved to her and cupped one her breasts with his hand. She met his mouth with a hunger that only he could fill.
They made wild, passionate love. Thrax lost himself in the ecstasy as she writhed on top of him. The combination of ale, food, and the sweet release together made him sleepy. She collapsed next to him, her breath heavy and skin soaked in the dew of their lovemaking.
“What’s your name?” Thrax panted, as he felt the tendrils of sleep wash over him.
“I’ll tell you in the morning.” She cooed.
Thrax was sleeping when the sounds of fists banged on his door. It roused him from his stupor but before he got up, three Sanhollow guards stormed into the room. They surrounded his bed. He instinctively reached for his sword but it wasn’t there, it was in the chest at the foot of the bed.
“What’s going on here?” He snarled.
“You are under arrest for the kidnapping of the Magistrate’s daughter!” The lead guard bellowed. Two guards seized his arms and hoisted him up on his knees.
“What are you talking about?” His voice trailed off as he looked around the room. She was gone.
Thrax was confused. Where was this woman? Was he set up? Damn, he thought, he didn’t want to spend time in the City jail.
“Can I at least put on my pa-”, the guard’s armored glove struck him across the mouth. Thrax was knocked out.
When he came to, he was alone in a jail cell. His pants lay on the floor. He tasted dried blood in his mouth and his head was pounding. His loins were sore, deliciously so. He leaned up against the wall and wondered about the trouble he got himself into.
Before he could play back the events of the evening in his mind a well-dressed but overweight middle-aged man walked into the room. This man was no guard, he looked like a man that pushed papers all day. He was the Magistrate.
A guard and a woman in a blue cloak walked into jail room behind him. It was her! Thrax’s mind raced. What kind of trickery was this woman up to?
“Do you recognize this man Gwen?” The Magistrate asked her.
“No Father, I’ve never seen this man before in my life,” she purred as she hid a small smile.
Thrax stared at her. Gwen. That’s her name. He wasn’t sure if he should say something or keep quiet. When in doubt, he thought, keep quiet.
“There appears to have been a case of mistaken identity,” the Magistrate said, “all charges are dropped. Guard release the prisoner.”
The Guard unlocked the jail cell and opened the cast iron door. It creaked under its weight.
The Magistrate turned and waddled out the door. “You are free to go. Your sword and armor can be claimed in the processing room.”
Thrax put on his pants, gave Gwen a dirty look, and walked out of the jail cell.
“What kind of trickery are you up to woman?”
“I must apologize, Daddy gets upset when I don’t come home on time.”
Thrax snorted. Daddy’s girl. It all made sense now.
“Here’s a little something for all the trouble I caused,” she pulled out a scroll with the Magistrate’s seal on it and shoved it down his pant’s pocket. Her hands went deep until they brushed against his bulge.
She leaned into him and whispered in his ear, “We should do this again sometime, but there’s a ship that’s about to leave for Doglenrun and you have more stories to make for me.”
Thrax stood there. He remembered that he owed the Inn money and his money pouch was missing.
“I should? With what money?” He said.
“I believe you spent it all last night,” she smirked, “but you’ll find passage and food have been paid for. Give the Captain the scroll.”
She kissed him and left him standing there more confused than when he first walked into this city. Thrax collected his sword and armor and headed straight to the docks.
Thrax stood at the stern of the ship, a strong wind blew his hair to one side of his face. The salty air stung his eyes. The wind picked up, filling the ship’s sails, and a storm brewed in the distance. Thrax didn’t care, he was happy to be on his way.
The ship lurched further away from land, gaining speed. He took a long look at the city and watched the docks grow smaller in the distance. His eyes locked onto a blue colored shape. At the end of the dock stood a lone figure, dressed in a blue cloak. A smile broke across Thrax’s face. It was Gwen.
“Blast that woman,” he muttered under his breath, “I’ll be back, you can count on that.”
First published on The Junction.