Friday, July 4, 2014

KotC: Book 2: A Girl Named Son: Chp 1: Traveling with Strangers

            “Are you well, Mr. Din Allorowro Vela D’Pomani D’Moro?” Amisbhake came up beside him on the rail of the skiff.
            “I am well enough, Sir.  Overjoyed to be free of the Docks if somewhat…ill at ease to find myself once again putting out into the Sea again.  And please, if we are going to be companions on this journey of several months, I am going to need you to call me just ‘Kurga’.”
            “You are ashamed of your family’s history?”
            “No.  Quite the opposite actually, I believe I bring shame to it.  It is better for them if everyone just thinks Kurga has failed, not the ignoble son of a great house has failed.”
            “I see.  You feel the weight of people’s expectations for you.  That can be a heavy burden.”
            “You have no idea,” Kurga said, then amended, “or do you?  I’m sorry, I really don’t know anything about you…or your rather silent companion.  Where is she?”
            “She seems rather frail.  This is not a journey for the weak you know.”
            The great, hulking Tigra bodyguard raised one eyebrow, “She is stronger than she appears.  How much did you know about Ch’Voga when you sailed from here with him?  Did you know his family?  His past?  His burdens?”
            “Not really, no.  I met him in a dockside café.  We both wanted to go east.  He had a contact with a boat but no money.  I had a contact with money but no boat.  That was all I needed to know.  I took him to be another child of privilege on a summer project of social justice.”
            “It would seem then, you are developing the habit of traveling with strangers.”
            “Well,” Kurga raised his waterskin, “Here’s to bad habits with better outcomes!”  He took a drink, wiping his muzzle with the back of his hand, his mother would be appalled, especially if she knew how much liquor he had added to the water.  Maybe this musclehead was right, he really was developing a lot of bad habits.  “Well, then Mr. Amisbhake, let us not tempt fate.  Tell me a little about yourself.”
            “What would you like to know?”
            “You said you work for the Viceroy?”
            “I serve him.”
            “Well, what’s it like being a bodyguard of a near-king?”
            “I am not his bodyguard.  Others do that work.”
            “Oh, I had assumed from your.. you’re not a..?  Well then how big are..?”  The eyebrow went up again and Kurga regrouped and restarted before he heard about another of his bad habits, “So what is it you do for the Viceroy?”
            “I sit on his council.”
            “You’re an advisor?”
            “I am.”
            “Well, fancy that.”
            “Yes.  Fancy that.”
            “Must be… interesting.”
            “It can be.”
            “Probably took a lot of schooling.”
            “A lifetime.”
            “Yes.”  The sand hissed under the boat.  The rigging creaked.
            “Why is she named, ‘Son’?” Kurga blurted.
            The Tigra smiled, “I was wondering when you would get around to asking me that.”


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