Writer’s Note: Yeah, I’m gonna start doing these now. I’ve wanted to do them since the beginning but I was afraid of breaking up the story too much. I think we’ve gone deep enough into this that only the die-hards are left, and a conversation about this process would be appreciated. Also, I haven’t posted in over a month and a half and that warrants an apology. So, yeah, I’ll do better going forward. Minecraft is a hell of a drug.
Another major hang up is the scene coming up next. In fact, it should have been included in this post but it still needs time. I’m still going back and forth on the look of the brothel itself. It’s almost there. Next week, next week! I can do it!
You may want to refresh with Post 33 , and then on with the show!
Alberich sighed. “Cael-”
Ilya tugged at Cael’s sleeve as they stood before what looked to be a pair of nondescript doors. “Why not? What’s going on?” A large Moungren man stood between them and the entrance, arms crossed. She nervously pushed the breather against her face as he scowled at her.
“This!” Cael hissed at Alberich in commons, “This is a brothel! I can’t bring Ilya into a brothel.”
“She’s not a child, Cael.”
“What! Why did you say my name?”
“We have to protect her. You saw what happened on the train! …Wait, right? That was you?”
The large man cocked his head and glared.
“Yes, yes, yes, not the time. I get it.”
“He Bhaga! Someone talk to me!
Alberich looked down at her. “He doesn’t want to take you in there.”
“Because it is a whorehouse.”
Ilya flinched. She knew immediately that this Alberich was trying to upset her. If he really wanted to hurt her, he could, easily. Why bother with words? She straightened her back and turned to Cael.
“That is where Mari and Sieffre are? Then let’s go. They’re expecting us.”
“I’ve seen prostitutes before, Cael. They make up a good number of our patients as you’ll recall!” She held onto her breather and pushed past him to the man at the door. When he didn’t step aside, she made a point of scowling up at him. “Will someone tell him we are invited!”
Cael couldn’t help grinning before stepping to her side.
“Um, sir, may we enter?”
“No timoun allowed. Sir.”
“Timoun…” Cael racked his brain for what he knew of the Moungren language. “Oh,” Cael glanced down at the little woman wrapped in the garishly fur coat. “She’s not, um… a child. Her people are just sh-short… um, they are all ti.”
“She’s had a child herself! Just look at her, I mean, no wait,” Cael faltered as the guard reacted in disgust. “Don’t look at her! That’s not what I meant.”
Alberich interrupted with a groaned as he pushed himself up off the bike. “The woman here is our friend, not our trade. Where we go, she must also go and I assure you we were invited to this establishment. If you won’t let her in, we’ll have to leave her out here in your care.”
“Invited? Man, you apart of dat group d’lady brought in?”
Cael started, “Group the.. lady brought in. Was she sort of tall, with a shaved head?”
“Yah, you wit her, no? She brought a huge crowd earliah.”
Cael rolled his head back for a moment. Subtlety was never a concern of Mari’s. “Yes. I’m sure she can vouch for us.”
“Hold up.” The guard pulled something hand-sized out from inside his jacket and brought it up to his face. “Oy! Get dat lady on the gami.”
Ilya strained to see the device he was speaking into, but it disappeared in the man’s large hands. The box squawked and crackled back at the man. Even if she could understand the common speech she would have been amazed to have pieced out any clear syllables from that noise. The hand drawn posters, nothing but clunky kampdators and not a sign anywhere. As she watched the man bark back and forth with the device in his hand, the level of technology on this moon struck her as archaic. She felt absurdly homesick for the sleekness of even the cheap skrina from her mother’s nightstand.
Mari burst through the double doors.
“You!” She jabbed a finger at them, “In! Now!” The bald woman turned and left them so abruptly, Ilya couldn’t tell if she were excited or angry to see them.
Cael looked to bemused guard. As their eyes met, the man shrugged. He tucked his device back into his dark, puffy coat and held the door open for the abandoned trio.
“But, you keep da tifi close, you hear?”
Cael wrapped an arm around Ilya’s shoulders protectively. “Yes, of course. Thank you.”
Ilya reasserted her hard stare at Moungren man as they walked past.