The duo ended up learning a lot about the world they were in. The people were kindly for the most part, but there were individuals within the city who were dedicated to bringing discomfort upon the people, beating and taking advantage of them. Of course, these were the kind of people that worked the hard labour as well. Batic encountered them at the shipyard.
“You’re looking for work, huh?” a thuggish man asked. He held a wooden mallet in one hand, behind him there were other thug-like men working wood into the shape fit for a ship.
“Yes, I am,” Batic replied coldly, in a voice that was a perfect match for Lorconian. “I heard there was work to be had on the shipyard.”
“It isn’t easy work,” the man replied with a shrug. “But I do admit we are short of some strong men. Do you know anything about ship craft?”
Batic was silent and the man nodded scratching the back of his head.
“There is some manual labour you can do, but we will need you shaping wood for ship construction as soon as possible,” the man explained. “Jor! Komna!”
Two thugs stepped up.
“What is your name?” the thug asked massaging his arm.
“Dorha,” Batic lied. A name he overheard in a conversation on the street.
“Dorha, these two will show you where you can help. At the end of the day you will get a small pay, but at the end of each week there is a bonus for every worker. Lucky for you the end of the week is tomorrow so you joined just in time. Jor and Komna here are two of my best workers and you will do everything they say, understood.”
Batic nodded. He wasn’t much for taking orders, but this was work and work meant a chance to blend in until danger for him died down. Working in the shipyard was one of the last options Batic had in mind, these people knew everyone and spoke with travelers even from the Everlasting Desert. Still, Batic kept his head down like Allula told him and did everything the two men asked. It was simple moving of resources from one side of the shipyard to assembly.
In order to blend in with the rest of the men Batic gave the work his best shot and pushed himself, carrying the most wood and resources than the other workers in his position. The month on the ship truly aided him in this, his muscles rippled and stronger than they were before the trip across the ocean.
The next day came and Batic returned to the shipyard ready for the next batch of work. For most of the day it was the same thing, but nearing the evening the foreman, by the name of Kutwa, gathered everyone and split them up in groups. Kutwa assigned Batic with Jor and Komna. The two thugs led Batic out into the city and the three passed street after street until the two spotted average civilians on an evening stroll.
Batic soon realized he had been pulled into a thieving gang as the two surrounded the couple and threatened them for money. The couple conceded while Batic watched and the three moved on in search of another victim. He was disgusted by the conversation between Jor and Komna as they wished that the couple had resisted so that they may beat them. To them it wasn’t ‘fun’ if their victims surrendered immediately. Knowing that it would only cause more trouble to confront them, he kept his mouth shut and followed.
There were two more victims, both gave their money, but the last was beaten in anger for cursing the thugs. It seemed the night would draw on, but then the three came across two other thugs in an alleyway holding a girl against the wall. The thugs seemed angry and out of curiosity the three approached. Batic was horrified to find that the girl was Allula.
“What’s happened here?” Jor asked. “Don’t tell me this girl is giving you two trouble.”
“It ain’t like that,” the first thug replied, struggling to keep Allula pinned. “She stole me money, the brat!”
“Irony isn’t easy to swallow, is it!” Allula muttered trying to remove the thugs hand from her neck.
It was then that Batic struck. His first attack was a fatal one, snapping Jor’s neck. As the thug fell dead the next strike fell on Komna followed by a punch that knocked him out. Allula took the distraction as opportunity to strike the weak spot in one of the thugs neck. The man clutched his throat and gagged as he tried to breath. Before the last thug could say anything he was jumped by Allula who sent a flurry of punches towards the man’s face and neck. By the time Batic had dealt with the others properly the last thug was bloodied, unconscious and suffocating as his throat swelled from the blows.
Batic looked at Allula and she stared back with anger.
“I surely hope you weren’t a part of this, Batic,” Allula hissed.
“I was not,” Batic assured. “These men are the shipyard workers I told you about. They mentioned today being a bonus day, but I had no idea it would be from robbing people of their money.”
“Leave it to the scum if the earth to use their gift of strength to abuse others,” Allula murmured. “The people won’t be happy when they find these four.”
“Perhaps they will,” Batic replied dismissively. “The city seemed to be tormented by these lowly men and their law does nothing to aid them. I wonder if they even know.”
“That’s the difference between you, me and these criminals,” Allula explained. “I don’t take so much that it will be missed, even if I could. I don’t kill, beat or rob, but I have no delusions that I am doing something wrong. These men attack, but do not kill, leaving very little reason to pursue them, but you, you kill whenever you meet someone that has a moral compass that points too far south.”
Batic fell silent. How could Allula speak so confidently against him?
“I thank you, however, for saving my life,” Allula replied. “You did not hear what these men said, but if you did I believe you would have made their deaths slower. We must leave this city, Batic, and make our lives somewhere further into this world.”
“After all I have done you still wish to have my company?” Batic asked the girl.
“Of course,” Allula replied. “We are more than accomplices, we are friends and I believe alone we would both not last very long. Let us go.”
Be sure to follow!