TKoT 1-3: Dunkir

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07: The First Brick Crumbles

Faster you fool

The inner walls of Dunkir provided the wealthy merchants and nobles a reasonably comfortable environment. The housing is limited to only the wealthy and well to do. The expensive pricing and taxes provided the best protection that could be afforded in the city. The small estate where the Shithen family resided contained its gardens, manor house, and pools. Stone statues of Voloth could be found dotting the well-maintained gardens as well as several poisonous guard snakes to persuade trespassers not to trespass.

Natasha waited patiently in her slender turquoise silk dress. Like her other family members, she was bald and hairless. The green and blue scaled skin just did not grow hair. Her eyes, red and serpentine, flicked back and forth as she read a report on the business that helped her family support the lavish noble lifestyle. The candle on the bronze dragon-shaped holder burned lower than usual, and she had sent her younger brother out to find tonight’s entertainment. She found that taking from the traveling population was safer than taking the local citizens, and he always found the best treat that she enjoyed playing with. Plebs are meant to be her entertainment, and the gods had decreed that anyone who did not have their blood is inferior.

Kyle, a large muscular volothian male, pushed the door open to the study, his white silk robes embroidered with silver trim. His slick bald scaly head held the same pattern as Natasha, though his dark red eyes scanned the room, finally locking on Natasha sitting at her desk. Holding a big crystal cup of red wine, he sipped slowly as he entered. “Our imbecile of a brother is late with tonight’s entertainment.”

Natasha put down her quill and ink, adjusting some figures on a sheet of paper, gazing back up at her brother, “He may be just enjoying himself with the pleb before presenting her to us. Sometimes other plebs don’t like sharing their responsibilities to provide us what is ours by birthright.”

Richards Retreat

Richard now crossed the threshold of his home, being carried by his two bodyguards. He would have to live this insult down, an unknown House had just disgraced him, and the whole event had been recorded to the city’s archives. His two bodyguards brought him to his rooms inside the multi-story building. After having an attendant place him in his favorite chair, a plush feather-filled recliner. “Go fetch the healers and go ask my brother to come to my chamber at his earliest convenience. He insures to tell him that tonight’s entertainment has been canceled tonight.”

Adjusting himself in his chair, he continued to mumble, “Crap, crap. Shaitar, who the hell is this man? He’s not royalty, but I can’t deny he is Blooded.” Thumping his right arm down, he hit the arm of the chair. He must be a rogue. A bastard of another house.”

A volothian attendant wearing simple brown robes approached, “My lord?” he looked down at the stumps and, with his behavior, did not stare at the missing limbs.

Richard looked up at the servant, raising his stumps into the air.“You will be my hands and feet for a while my wounds heal.”

“As you wish, my lord. What is your desire?” He moved to the side of his master.

“Wine, the most potent I have,” Richard said with what was left of his dignity.

Nodding, the servant left to fetch the requested drink.

Head of the HouseHold

The door to his apartment opened, Kyle strode in. “What is this about you canceling tonight’s entertainment.” Then he stopped staring at Richard’s missing appendages. He then burst out laughing, “My brother, you surely have handled that well. Now tell me did you anger Samson of House Tellgar again?”

Richard shook his head, “No. I ran into a rogue Blooded. We dueled, and I lost. This rogue is dangerous, and he has ideas above his station.”

Kyle looked down at him, “Well, I can’t let this insult sit; what would the other House’s think. We would look weak, and then the wolves would come to our door thinking we were sheep.”

Richard sighed, “It’s worse than you think. He did not announce himself as Blooded until after the fight. I thought him just a pleb and meant to teach him his place. We hashed out a wager for the insults. We pay for the repairs to his ship, and I give a personal apology to his crew and no retribution against him or his crew.”

Kyle continued to listen, then spoke when he had a chance. “Easy to deal, just ignore the wager. He’s a rogue, and he won’t draw that much attention to himself. I will take sister, and we will eliminate this rogue as we have done with other bastards.”

Richard kept quiet for a moment, shameful, and looked up at his brother. “The wager was witnessed by a constable.”

Kyle’s face turned to anger in an instant, he quickly moved over to his brother and slapped his scaly head hard. The smack reverberated through his body. “How foolish are you? You lost and had this recorded?”

Richard moved his stumpy arm’s in front of his face to block his brother’s next strike. “I thought he was a pleb! I did not know he was Blooded! Ohh, besides, the infernal I was bringing us was a beauty. I know how you like sabuci, especially if you get them young.”

Kyle readied to strike him again, and his open hand reached up high above him.

Richard started to cry, “And there was a damned dragon, a small little blue one. That creature devoured my hands and feet. It mocked me! They all mocked me! They mocked the US!”

Kyle slapped him again, “Brother, you have brought our house shame. I will have to correct this, and I will go to the city’s archive in the morning to review the witness’s statement. Most verbal contracts are nowhere as structured as a well written one.”

The attendant returned carrying a silver platter, a bottle of the most potent wine Richard had in his storage, and a crystal goblet. He waited several feet away by the main door for the proper time to approach his master.

Kyle went to strike again and pulled his hand back. His anger is now spent with a few well-placed strikes. “Now tell me about this rogue. Why do you think he is dangerous? I hate to say, brother, you are not a fighter; you are barely a man.”

Richard, now happy that his punishment was over, started to talk about this mystery rogue. “He goes by the name of Shaitar, and he said that it’s his house. He’s the captain of an airship by the name of the Chimera. I think he was part of the Canadance Air Navy fleet, and he still wears the old uniform, that wretched blue coat.” pausing for a moment, trying to recall more details, “Oh, and we have screwed one of his crew members. A big-chested brunette a few years ago, I don’t remember her name. I remember her chest and the screams of her passion.”

Kyle waited while his brother gave him the details, “So he already hated us. We defiled one of his crew. He let you live when he clearly could have killed you. Since he won the duel, he will continue to insult you and our family by default. I will have to think about what to do; for now, be prepared to get on your hands and knees to grovel, oh wait, your stubs and knees.” Turning from his brother Kyle headed to the exit. Stopping just before he leaves, turning his head slightly, “Brother, you should always treat your battles as it might be your last. You lost because you did not think. Your advisory knew more about you and his own abilities. Remember, know yourself and know your enemy, and you will always be victorious.” Shutting the door behind him, he continued down the hall back to the study.

The Family that Stays Together

Kyle passed the marble replica statues of himself and his siblings. The manor had all the trappings of wealth and power, expensive carpets and tapestries. He paused before entering the study where his sister worked her mathematical predictions of what would sell well in the next season. She had a rather lovely gift of sight. Most of the family’s problems were prevented by changing the event slightly from what she had seen in her premonitions. She had not seen this insult coming, and she would have warned Richard if something like this could have happened and took proper precautions.

Opening the study, she looked up from her desk, her forked tongue slipped out and slipped back in. “So why no entertainment tonight?”

Kyle moved closer and sat in a comfy chair next to her. “Richard decided to take a member of an air-ship, as usual, an outsider.”

Natasha tilted her head, “So?”

Kyle leaned back, relaxing a bit. “The captain of the ship told him no. Richard decided to teach this pleb a lesson. He told him, straight out. He would take the infernal selected for us and cut the captain’s hands and feet off. The captain told him to screw off and countered with a wager for the insult and duel. If he wins, then we pay for his ship repairs, he gives an apology to him, and his ship’s crew and our family can not take repercussions against them.”

Natasha giggled, “So I assume the captain lost his hands and feet? Ohh, where is this infernal?”

Kyle leaned forward, “No, Richard lost his hands and feet in the public duel, witnessed by a constable.”

Natasha stopped giggling, “A constable? He allowed this to be witnessed?”

Kyle nodded, “Yes, apparently the ship captain is a rogue Blooded by the name of Shaitar. He is familiar with us as we have had one of his female crew entertain us a few years back.”

Natasha’s eyes squinted tightly. “I see. He is an enemy of our house then.”

Kyle again nodded, “Yes. I will go to the archive in the morning to review the witness statement. I will ensure the contract is followed in the most painful way possible. We will make his stay here unbearable. Then we will eliminate him, his crew, and his ship. He will just fade out like he never existed.”

Kyle looked deep into her red eyes, “Did you have any foresight before this event?”

Natasha shrugged, “No, my sight does not tell me everything. I had no warning in this event.”

Kyle turned, "Looks like no entertainment tonight."

Natasha tossed her head back, grinning. "Always got the servants."

Kyle shook his head, "Good night."

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