Unknown - Chapter 4
Enil took another bottle of juice and poured it down his mug. Alen looked around, eyeing for anything worth seeing. The plaza was packed with people but only for the day. The next day and for the whole two weeks, the market district will be the main attraction.
“Lucky that old man let us go with just his bedtime stories. Imagine having to hear that dreaded War of the Lordship for the tenth time, ugh, I can’t even imagine it”, Enil gulped the juice in his mug. A lord stepped into the stage and announced his merchants, the items he would be auction and any special treatments he would give starting tomorrow and for the rest of the Trade Festivity. Alen looked at the lord and wondered would he done the same had he had all the money he could muster.
“Hey, you listening?” Enil’s voice snapped his attention.
Alen looked at his friend. “Yeah, partially, I lost after you laugh at the lady wearing the white long skirt who tripped over herself”, he took a sip from his mug. The ice in the mug had thawed. Dews dropped from the sides of the mug onto the wooden table underneath.
Enil looked at the crowd. “You ever wondered why my dad and your uncle, never tried to venture out of this colony?”, he tilted his head into the sky, watching the silver clouds drift beyond the administration building heading north. He sounded like a drunken man without the drunk.
Alen looked to the sky with him. “I don’t know, never thought of asking that question when he came to visit me”, the sky was glamorous much to Alen liking. He looked at Enil whose eyes still drifting at the sky. “I bet they were afraid to go beyond the realm of the lordship”, he sniggered. “How about it?” he snapped his face to Alen who looked with eyes widened. “How about what?”
Enil inched closer. “How about you and I venture into the outer realms of the lordship? Who knows what kind of treasures await us!”, his voice was full of grandiose ideas. Alen rolled his eyes. “Yeah right, you and your wild ideas, this is like what? The thirty-sixth ideas you plowed over me?”, he joked as he took another sip from his mug. “You know very well how your father would react if he knew you’d sail the ocean, you think he’d let you? On an adventure?”, Alen played his with fingers in front of his face like a magician saying his incantations. He laughed and Enil grinned.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. One step at a time, huh?”, he pushed his mug across his face towards Alen whose eyes glanced at him. Alen smiled and their mug clanked on each other. “Yep my friend, we take one step at a time”. The afternoon sky turned evening and the orange of the sun was pushed away by the armies of purple and black back into the horizon where it claws for the sky. Alen stepped into his room and stopped. He turned around to face Enil. “Tonight”, Enil said, patting his bulging sling bag. Alen smiled, “Tonight”. Their fists met and the door closed.
Alen threw his sling bag next to his bedside table and slumped himself on the soft bed. His head drifted to the gauntlet and how it detached itself from his arm without him knowing. Then Enil’s word floats into his mind and he smiled. Adventures, yeah right… as if it was that easy…
The sky outside was gray and black with a tinge of red and maroon over the horizon.
A knock on the metal door shook Alen from his drifting mind. He looked at the sky outside. Tinges of maroon still paint the horizon. “It’s not even night yet”, he picked himself up and wobbled himself towards the door. He leaned his head on the door, “who is it?” he shouts hoping to hear Enil’s voice.
“It’s me”, a soft but deep voice replied. Alen’s eyes widened. He quickly opened the door and saw his godfather, eyes sunken and face boned. He was wearing his usual hunting clothes, his leather vambrace with leather breastplate and his intricately designed pauldron on his right shoulder only he was wearing them underneath his leather coat. He was heaving for air. His body was completely drenched in water and he looked terrified. Alen moved to the side to allow his godfather to enter. The man’s boots splashed into the kitchen. His eyes darted everywhere as if eyeing for something.
“Uncle Carvas”, Alen’s voice halted. The man held his palm to Alen’s face, taking the young man by surprise. “No words right now, you have food?”, he sat down on one of the chairs. Alen nods and rushed himself towards the cabinet where he stored his bread and cheese. He took them and placed them in front of his uncle who ate it with the greed of a beggar.
“What happened?”, he sat down opposite the old man as he gulped a huge chunk of bread down his boney throat. “Water!”, his voice was low. He points to his throat and gestured for something to drink. Alen grabbed his mug and poured water into it. The old man grabbed it before Alen could place it on the table and gulped it empty.
“Ah, that was good”, Alen passed a napkin which he took and rubbed his mouth with it as his nephew watch with hundreds of questions in his eyes. Alen looked at the empty table and wondered how a man could empty his cabinet of breads and cheese.
“Nephew, you are a good kid”, the old man spoke. Water dripped down into the puddle underneath the chair where he sits.
Alen went to the sink and washed his previously used mug. He poured warm clear water into it and placed it on the table. “Uncle, what happened? Why are you drenched in a sunny day?”, his eyes locked to his uncle’s.
The old man looked away. His leather coat swayed heavy in the room, sagged as if something heavy sat inside its pocket. The old man sighed. “It’s nothing, I was hunting near the sea when a wave caught me off guard and I fell into the ocean”, the old man waved his words like it was a joke. Alen frowned. The old man’s coat swayed again as he jerked his head backwards and pressed his hands to his face. Alen squints.
“Well kid, thanks for the food, I thought I’d die starving”, he pats Alen’s shoulder and walked to the door. Alen turned around and followed his uncle. “Uncle, you’re telling me you’ve been hunting for five months?” he shot his uncle with a questioning glance.
The old man looked at him with his stern eyes. His index finger shot to the sky and stopped in front of his face. “It’s four months and twenty six days, actually”, he smiled like a child. Alen shook his head, “whatever, but at least tell me what happened”, the young man stepped forward.
“When the time comes, you will know, my nephew”, the old man smiled again and his boots splashed on the stone road. He turned around. “Until that time, make sure you stay alive, you hear me?”, and without giving Alen another chance for question, the old man was gone. Alen looked at the empty alley, eyes concerned.
The night fell fast for Alen. His mind had wandered far enough for him to realize that night had fallen and Enil would be waiting at Akamz store. He took a quick bath, picked suitable clothes and grabbed his sling bag before rushing out into the streets.
Akamz store sat far from the market district. In fact, in wasn’t even on the market district but a few blocks down the southern end of the colony, near the mining colony where the power source for the entire colony sits. Alen walked towards the darkened archway, completely covered in ash, the once beautiful archway lies in shame. Pitch black in the cover of the night, almost invisible had it not for the lamp posts illuminating the street sides. Alen’s mind wondered back to his uncle, his godfather.
“Hey!” Enil’s voice grabbed his face. Alen walked fast towards his friend who’s wearing his night clothes, all black. His bulging sling bag strapped close to his side. His hand crossed at his chest, trying to warm his body. “Why aren’t you wearing your coat?” Alen shot him a weird look. Enil looked at him. “Hey, my dad was in the house, I couldn’t get out so I had to sneak through the window, can’t ruin my coat with that stunt”. Alen rolled his eyes and sighed. “So, you got the things?” he looked at Enil whose eyes darted everywhere. “Yeah”, his voice trembled for a while. “You should get a coat”, Alen said to him. “You should come earlier”, Enil replied.
The two teenagers stepped into the archway into the mining district. The air was heavy with the smell of coals and ash. The stone road was black and covered their boots every time they took a step. The place was almost deserted during the night save for the lone house sitting near the entrance to the mine, away from the guard post. A huge signboard sat to the side of its door, “AKAMZ RARE GOODS” was written on it. Enil pushed the door open and stepped into the warmth of the shop.
“Ahah! My two young customers, you okay?” Akamz greeted them with his usual gleeful voice. His balding head shined under the yellow bulb light. The shop was filled with the smell of cinnamon and spices Akamz traded from the market. A small teapot sat at the end of the room, boiling with the smell of jasmine, Akamz favourite tea.
“So”, the bald man rubbed his fat hands. “What did you guys bring for me tonight?”, he smiled revealing his gold tooth. His eyes drifted from Enil to Alen and back to Enil. His white, or rather once a white shirt stretched to its limit by his wide belly.
“Here”, Enil took out the items he had in his sling bag - the barrage of silverware and the silver gauntlet. Alen frowned and turned to his friend who shot his eyes to him telling him to shut up.
“Nice, nice” he cheered. He took silverware and rubbed his fingers on it. His oily fingerprints stuck to the silverware and he wiped it with his stained shirt robbing the fine shine the silverware once had. “Good, good”, he placed the silverware carefully onto the table. His eyes moved to the silver gauntlet and frowned. “This one is marvelous!” he exclaimed with joy. He shot a glance at the two teenagers. “You got this from the emporium?”, his voice almost tasted like menacing. Enil and Alen gulped and nod their heads. The fat man smiled and tried to hug them. Alen and Enil backed away but Akamz doesn’t look like he cared. “Nice job must be Enil who do the grabbing, eh?” he giggled. Enil smiled and bowed a little. “Always the man”, he said simple.
Akamz rubbed his fingers on the gauntlet like he did with the silverware but quickly pulled them away. Trickle of blood ran down the silver gauntlet. “Ouch, that hurts!”, the fat man whined and sucked his pricked thumb. He took the gauntlet and wiped the blood with his stained shirt. The glittering of the silver stayed as if nothing had ever touched it. “Oh wow, this is marvelous, really marvelous”, the fat man’s eyes glittered at the magic he had just saw. He shot his face back to the two teenagers. “Okay boys, I’ll give you three hundred for the silverware and two thousand for the gauntlet, how about it?”, his voice nearly threw the two teenagers aback. Alen looked at Enil who looked back at him. They looked at the fat man and nod simultaneously, eyes sparkling with joy.
“Two thousand and three hundred silvers! Imagine that!” Enil shout in the night. Alen shot him a smile. “Two freaking thousand and three hundred silver!” Enil shouts again. Alen shook his head, “now you’re over your head”. The two laughed.
“So, what’re you gonna do with your share?” Enil shot Alen a question over a juice. They sat on the bar counter, watching the musician played with his piano at the only corner with a light bulb pointing at it. “I don’t know, one thousand and a hundred and fifty silver is a huge amount for someone like me…”, he rubbed his chin. “I’d probably go about using it to do business or something, you know, start something for myself”, he smiled and took a sip from his oversized mug.
Enil stared at his friend. “Business? You want to do business? How lame can that be?” he laughed, annoying Alen to his core. “Okay, smart ass, what would you do with yours?”, he shot the question back to Enil.
Enil gave him a grin. “I’d go for an adventure”, he let the word fly into the air with his imagination. Alen laughed. “You still haven’t got past that wild fantasies of yours, huh?”. Enil took a sip from his mug. “Nope, my friend, and I’ll never will”, and the two laughed.