Such beautiful weather today.
Scarlett, princess of Rottheim Kingdom, glanced down at her elderwood tea. Her hands cupped the warmth of her golden teacup. Bright sunlight shone down onto the table, and the entire hilltop patio glistened elegantly. Mister Bear, a large stuffed animal that the girl was fond of, sat quietly on her lap.
The princess looked down the street, and noticed a group of rowdy soldiers chatting with civilians. One lanky looking soldier was brandishing a makeshift broom-sword and shouting something at a slightly bewildered but giggling civilian girl.
Something about the scene felt strangely familiar.
Wasn’t there that boy? That idiot. What was his name… Frank? Ford?
“Miss, tea time is over- you don’t want to be late for your arithmetic tutor,” her motherly caretaker chimed as she lifted the princess off her seat.
As she was being carried away, she glanced back down the street. The high spirited soldier was now energetically chatting with the civilian girl as his soldier mates heckled him with playful insults. The princess could distantly hear some crass remarks thrown into the mix. Although she didn’t know what they meant, she instinctively blushed.
Oh. Forte. His name was Forte.
Forte rolled on the ground in pain. His iridescent grey gravitite sword burned into his back as he struggled to get the sword strap off. He finally found the buckle, throwing the steaming sword off his back and breathing a sigh of relief.
Something triggered the sword to act up, causing it to resonate and turn white hot.
But for the moment, Forte really did not care enough to investigate. He was sprawled on his back, looking straight up into the sky. Clear and blue, without a single cloud in sight.
Beside him, an exhausted tiny black dragon purred and nuzzled against his shoulder. Forte grinned. Nightmare really bailed him out this time.
They were not far from the port city of Sawen. First he’d find a bite to eat and a place to stay, and then he’d go look for some work. But before that he’d have to register with the city center to get his F class license, and then he could do miscellaneous work for guilds like the Adventurer’s guild, Merchant’s guild, or Hunter’s guild. The pay won’t be great, but he’d have to make ends meet.
Although he had lost the rest of his belongings, Forte still had his hidden money purse. He had 362 silver left. What a travesty… prior to his kidnapping in Adith, he had amassed a fortune of two thousand silver coins from looting merchant caravans, slavers, and soldiers.
The majority of his wealth was stolen by that slaver leader with the ruby encrusted sword. If he could recall correctly, Count Florien called him Thaddus. Forte vowed to remember that name.
I’ll make him pay…
Forte grimaced as he calculated his grim financial situation in his head. A square meal would cost him around 3 silver, and lodging at a shoddy place about 10 silvers per night.
So, his daily minimum upkeep expense would run around 20 silvers, and so his money could last him for 18 days. To break even he’d have to earn 20+ silvers a day. Ideally he’d also have some spending money for better equipment.
Forte stood up, and Nightmare perched onto his shoulder. They began the long hike to the city entrance.
Forte passed into Sawen uneventfully, and was luckily not stopped by the guards. He was immediately overwhelmed by the energy of the bustling city. Street vendors were hollering to advertise their various wares, everything from candies to potions. All sorts of shops lined the dirty streets. It was clear that Sawen was a commercial center much like Adith.
“Extra, extra, read all about it! Duke Von Hausen found dead! The price of tea tripled overnight! Read all about it!”
Forte paid the newsboy a silver piece for a newspaper, and glanced at the headlines.
Sawen’s mayor Duke Van Hausen was found dead last night in his study with multiple stab wounds… motive is unclear but it appears to be a robbery.
Rumors are abound that troops are mobilizing in the inner cities… no official word from the King… consider the possibility of an attack from our neighboring Kingdom of Halfast.
No news about raptors in Adith yet, Forte noted, as he dodged around a group of armored adventurers discussing plans as they headed out of the city. Nightmare purred.
Forte made his way down the busy main road, squeezing through the crowd before finally arriving at his destination, the city registrar. He got on line for registration. To his dismay, the line wrapped around the block.
“Hey,” said a friendly voice behind him. Forte turned around to see a grinning boy about his age with ash blond hair and a big toothy grin to accompany his sooty clothing.
“M’ name’s Vaun. You?”
“I’m Forte. Nice to meet you. You’re also looking for a job?” Forte asked. Nightmare stirred on his shoulder, then continued to snooze.
“Yeah… well I was working at the coal mine down the road. Been there for a few months. Made decent money, 23 silver a day… but the boys kept getting injured, and the air down there was god awful. Just last week one of the boys lost his finger working the carts. So I got us all together, tried to unionize or summin like that. To ask for a raise. You know, because of the dangers and stuff. ”
“Did you get a raise?”
“Nope. And now I’m in line here just like you. We all got fired, and they brought in a new buncha kids. Just like that. And I heard they get 25 silver a day!” Vaun frowned,
“the thing is… you know how much coal costs? I checked down at the market, a fist sized chunk of coal goes for around 50 silvers. I mined ten times that amount a day! The problem is our boss owns the rights to the mine in this town, so not just anyone can go pokin’ there nose around for some coal….”
“Plus business is bad these days... Everyone’s on edge. If you read the news-“
“I’m not from around here actually,” Forte interrupted.
“Yeah I can tell. You got the attitude of one of those rich kids. Not that that’s a bad thing. Anyways, if you read the news you’d know that our mayor was killed last night. The news says it looked like a robbery but….” Vaun leaned in and lowered his voice.
“…I’m pretty sure it was the Assassins. You can’t totally trust the news; they get paid to shut up by the Templar. And Duke Van Hausen was Templar, I’m almost positive.”
Forte’s eyes lit up at the word Templar. Count Florien had mentioned something about being a Templar….
It was Forte’s turn to register. He filled out his paperwork, lying about his birthplace and last name, and then paid an exorbitant 100 silver registration fee. And that was it—Forte was now a certified F class adventurer.
He waited for Vaun to finish. Forte liked his company, and the boy seemed trustworthy. He watched in amazement as Vaun chatted with the young clerk and managed to not pay the fee. It looked like they knew each other.
The duo went down to the job postings.
“You know what, let’s do this tomorrow. I know a good place to grab a hot meal for cheap around here. Then we can split a room down at the Hog’s Pit Inn for just 8 silver, 4 for each.”
They had a very basic hot meal of beef stew and stale bread for just 2 silver, and then checked in to the Hog’s Pit Inn. Although the rooms were tiny and not well maintained, the mustached innkeeper was warm and friendly. Hot showers cost an extra silver, which Forte gladly paid.
Vaun skipped the shower for the day, stating that he only bathed three times a week to save money.
Level 3 Vaun has joined the party! :D