Read The Third Eye Initiative Online

Authors: J. J. Newman

The Third Eye Initiative (6 page)

“Here, boy. Eat.” He placed the food on the ground behind Tsaeris, and then unbound his hands.

‘I’m not hungry,
” Tsaeris replied stubbornly.


I don’t give a damn if you’re hungry, boy. Your health is of financial interest to me. If you refuse to eat I’ll shove it down your throat. You got it?”

Tsaeris glared at the man, and began to eat.

“There’s a good lad.”

After he had eaten, his legs and arms were bound, and he was told to sleep. In the morning the men and Tsaeris ate, and they began their journey again. Tsaeris almost screamed in pain when he was placed in the saddle again, his legs aching in resentment.

The hours dragged by again. Tsaeris had no idea where he was, and had lost all hope of Market and fortune. He would be a slave. He gritted his teeth in defiance. He would kill himself first! Yes, that was a victory, wasn’t it? He would kill himself before he could be sold. These slavers would earn no profit from him. The fantasy was short lived, however, as killing one’s self with no weapon, while bound and held on the back of a horse, was exactly as difficult as it sounded.

The slavers stopped occasionally to eat and to feed their prisoner. At first Tsaeris had felt like time was passing slowly, but as he began to think of what slavery
would be like, and began to feel the dread, time seemed to speed up so as hours felt like mere minutes. Time was a cruel trickster.

It was almost the end of his third day in the tunnel when it happened. A booming voice shouted for the slavers to halt, and the horse stopped moving. Tsaeris weakly opened his eyes, and tried to see where the voice was coming from
.

The man who had first spoken to Tsaeris, and who Tsaeris had determined to be the leader, rode forward and spoke to the voice.

“What’s the trouble, Constable?”

Constable? Tsaeris sighed. It was the Watch. A few coins
exchanged, and they would be on their way. Tsaeris closed his eyes again.


That boy, is he one of yours?”


Yes. He’s one of my servants.”


Really? And who are you people anyway?”


I assure you, we’re just simple guilds men. I have all the documents right here.”

There was a moment of silence.
“Documents? This looks like coin to me. I think he’s trying to bribe me. What do you think, Isaac?”

Tsaeris opened his eyes.

“It looks that way, sir,” another voice replied.


Seems honest men are rarely in the need to bribe.”  The gruff voice took on a dark tone. “I think I’ll speak to the boy.”

Armored men pushed the slavers back, and Tsaeris got his first look at the voice. It belonged to a dwarf with fiery red hair, and a beard so long it was tucked into his belt. He wore half plate armor, an
d the golden shield surcoat of The City Watch. A red shield badge was adorned to his surcoat. He also carried what looked to be a large and mean looking hammer in his right hand.


Hey boy. You with these men by your own free will?”


No.” Tsaeris found his voice harsh from lack of use. “Slavers...” He managed, before his dry throat forced him into a fit of coughing. The dwarf frowned, and then turned away.

The head slaver spoke in a desperate voice.
“Surely, constable, we can come to and understanding.” The man shook a heavy coin purse in front of the dwarf.


First off, I ain't no constable. My names
Captain
Blorick. And I hate slavers.”

The Watch surrounded the slavers, pointed crossbows in their directions. The dwarf ordered the men arrested, and the slavers dropped their weapons, as a fight with the better equipped and more numerous City Watch was suicide.

After the men had been bound and lead away, the captain approached Tsaeris.


Are you doing alright, lad?” He asked, his voice sympathetic. He offered the boy some water, and Tsaeris drank greedily.

He found speaking came easier after the drink.
“I’m fine. Thank you.”


Just doing my job, boy. Where are you from? Do I need to take you somewhere? To your parents perhaps?” The dwarf asked.


No, that’s alright. Can you give me directions on how best to get to Market from here?” The stubborn boy was not ready to abandon his plans yet.


Market? Sure boy.” The dwarf pointed to an iron bar gate about ten paces away. “You’re there. Market is just through those gates.”

Tsaeris felt hope again for the first time in two days.
Market
. He had made it.

Chapter
Five
The Shadow

 

Cyra was having a good day.

The annual Dwarven Arms Fair had come to Market, and the district was filled with people eager to purchase the finest weapons and armor. People had lined the streets as the stout, bearded folk paraded into the city with a long train of wagons overflowing with weapons, armor, and barrels of the finest dwarven ale.

The fair was more than just blacksmiths selling their wares. It was an entire festival held in the Market square, which was large enough to accommodate many hundreds of eager citizens. The Dwarves filled the square with
ale and food tents, and hosted a large variety of games. There were knife throwing contests, and archery tournaments. Men who wanted to show their wives and lovers how strong they were would have a chance to prove themselves in the fisticuffs ring. Those who were weak of arm, but strong of stomach would compete with their fellow lushes in an ale drinking contest. Games of chance were found in abundance for the gamblers, and a brothel pavilion was set up for men who simply needed a new place to pay for sex. The Dwarves knew their audience, and there was a little something for everyone at the fair.

Cyra smiled at the thought. She had never been to the Arms Fair before. She was a whore, and was expected to work. Fairs and festivals meant more business for the Brothel, and Master Duncan would have trouble keeping up with the surge in clientele. Yet Duncan was a kind man, and he liked to keep his girls happy. Every time a festival or large event came along, he would allow one and only one of the whores to attend. Cyra, at the age of sixteen, had been working as a whore for three years, and her turn had finally come.

Cyra was a slender girl of medium height. Her long brown hair hung well past her shoulders, was well-groomed and always clean. Her pretty face was delicate, and her large green eyes dominated her features. A man could lose himself in those eyes.

When she had first been told that it was her turn to go to the fair, Cyra was conflicted. She had rarely left the brothel and it would have been nice to have a night away from work, but she wasn’t sure she even wanted to go. It wasn’t the danger of the streets that made her hesitant. And it wasn’t a lack of money; she rarely had occasion to spend the coin she earned at work. No, her reason was much simpler. She didn’t want to go alone.

That worry was gone now.
He
had asked her to go with him! She was so excited, she thought she might cry. She had never been out with a boy before. She knew men, of course. Men who wanted her body, and were willing to pay for it. There was nothing to it. No friendship, no emotion. It was work. Ordinary. Bland.

This was different. She hadn’t even had sex with him. He wanted to take her because he liked her. She had only met him four days ago when he had walked into the common room of the brothel, looking nervous and out of place. She had smiled at this
awkward boy. She had seen his type before. A boy trying to build up the courage to buy his first whore. The boy had looked around constantly, as if he were waiting for somebody to tell him that what he was doing was wrong.

Cyra smiled at the boy, and felt just a little bit sorry for him. She walked over to him, and touched him on the shoulder. The boy jumped, and turned to face her with startled eyes.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” she told him.


I wasn’t scared. You just startled me.” Color began creeping back into the boy’s face.


I know why you’re here. It’s alright. There’s no shame in it.” She laughed inwardly as his cheeks turned red.

Cyra gestured to a table.
“Let’s sit.” The two of them took a seat, and Cyra gestured to a barmaid to bring her and the boy some wine.

The boy accepted the wine, and emptied his goblet without stopping for air. Cyra smiled. It was definitely his first time.

“My name is Cyra. You don’t have to tell me your name if you don’t want to.”

The boy removed his leather cap, and placed it on the table.
“No, it’s fine. I’m Tsaeris.”

Cyra was shocked. His hair was white. Not grey or silver, like an old man’s. This
boy’s hair was white as snow.

A first time customer was always a good find. It tended to be over quickly, and they tipped better out of a mixture of guilt and gratitude. The boy was also good looking.

“You seem kind of young for a whore,” he blurted, suddenly. “How old are you?”


I’m sixteen. You?”

The boy struggled for a minute.
“Uh...also sixteen. Yeah.”

She knew he was lying, but she wouldn’t call him on it. If he wanted to be sixteen, then so be it.

The two of them had talked for about an hour. He told her that he had only been in Market for a week, and was here looking for work. He asked her questions about her life, and she gave him only vague answers. He didn’t press her. To her own surprise, she found that she was enjoying his company. He was charming, in an awkward sort of way.


Well, Tsaeris, why don’t we go up to a room?” As much as she was enjoying her conversation with him, it was time to get to work. She had other customers to see to, after all.

Tsaeris stared at her, and began shaking his head.
“I don’t think so, Cyra.”

Cyra stared at him.
“Don’t be scared, Tsaeris. It’s going to be fun.”

Tsaeris shook his head again.
“It’s not that. I just don’t want to anymore. How much is an hour of your time worth, Cyra?”

She gave him a hard stare.
“Five silver.”

Tsaeris placed seven silver on the table,
and then stood up from the chair. He smiled at her. “Best coin I’ve ever spent. I might even buy another hour tomorrow.”

She watched him go with her jaw hanging open.
What had just happened
?

True to his word, Tsaeris had returned the next night. The two had talked, and had a few goblets of wine. When the hour was up, he paid her and left. This went on for two more days.

The morning of the arms fair had arrived, and Cyra had been conflicted about going when Tsaeris suddenly showed up.


Hey, Cy. Got any plans for the Arms Fair?” he asked her.

She looked at him.
“Why?”

He shrugged.
“Well, I figured that maybe we could go together. I don’t know anybody else in Market, and I thought it would be fun.”

She almost said no. He was her client, though they had never slept together. Was this right? Wouldn’t this make them friends? Were they friends already? She decided that they were, and that she didn’t care if it was right. She wanted to go the fair.

“Sure. Why not?” She smiled at Tsaeris.

The boy smiled a big toothy grin.
“Great! I’ll see you tonight.”

Yes, she was definitely having a good day. It was almost time. She dressed in a tunic and breeches, and tied her hair back. She colle
cted her coin pouch from under a loose floor board in her room. She walked down the stairs into the common room with a bounce in her steps. She sat at the table, and waited for Tsaeris. And waited.

An hour late
r, the boy walked into the brothel.


Hey, Cy,” he said.

Cyra glared at him.
“You’re late. I’ve been sitting here like an idiot for the last hour.”

Tsaeris frowned.
“I’m not late.”


Evening started an hour ago!” She tried to keep her angry voice quiet.


I said I would come in the evening, not at the start of the evening. And it’s still evening. So yeah, not late.”


In the evening means at the start of evening,” Cyra said coldly.


Since when?” he replied.


Since always!”


Well, having been alive for only sometime, and not always, you’ll have to forgive me. Also, that’s stupid.”


Stupid?” She was getting mad.


Yeah. What the hell would I say if I meant to come in the middle of the evening?”


You could have said that you would be here in the middle of the evening.”


But the evening is the whole thing. The start, middle and end. I said I would be here in the evening, and I was. You’re just being silly.”


Don’t call me silly. You were late. I have every right to be mad.”

Tsaeris pointed to the window.
“Evening, Cyra. Evening. And look who’s here. Me! So, not late. Can we just bloody go?”

Cyra sat in her chair and refused to move.

“Cyra, we’re going to miss the fair.”

Cyra took a few moments to calm herself. She really did want to go to the fair, and she didn’t want to let her temper get in the way of that. Besides, this was a stupid fight.

She gave Tsaeris a dazzling smile. “Alright. Let’s go.” She stood up, and started for the door.

Tsaeris gave her a confused look, and followed.

***

Market square was filled with more people than Cyra had ever seen in one place. She could hear music, and laughter. There was a small city’s worth of tents and pavilions. Men and woman sat at tables outside of ale tents, and there were card games, dice games, and other games of chance at each of the tables. Everywhere she looked there was something to do. Game tents, smithy tents, animal rides, and contests. She didn’t know where to start

“What do you want to do first?”  Tsaeris asked her.


I don’t know. There’s so much, it’s hard to choose.”

They decided to walk around, and get a feel of the fair. They passed dancing competitions, arm wrestling matches, musicians and storytellers. Tsaeris stopped, and pointed at a large round mat surrounded by men.

“Mind if we stop and watch the fisticuffs contest?” He asked.

She shrugged.
“Sure.”

They walked to the mat, and found themselves a place in the crowd to watch the fight. After a few minutes, a muscular dwarf with a long yellow beard walked onto the mat.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the dwarf, who was obviously the announcer, said. “The fight is about to begin. Which one of these warriors will take home the prize, a war axe of the finest quality? We shall see. First in the ring is Grinder Gus!” A dirty looking dwarf entered the ring, and took a bow. He seemed to wobble on his feet.


His opponent will be Doctor Tyrier Sydarin.”

A large beast of a man walked onto the mat. He was tall, closer to seven feet than six. He had long shoulder-length black hair, and a full beard reaching almost to his large barrel chest. His face was weathered and gruff, and his arms were almost as thick as tree trunks. He was easily the biggest man Cyra had ever seen, though there didn’t seem to be much fat on him. He didn’t fit into Cyra’s image of what a doctor should look like, either.

The fight began. Gus rushed in, and threw a beefy fist at the Doctor. The man caught the fist in midair. The dwarf twisted hard to his left, breaking the Doctors hold, and then drove his head into the large man’s stomach. The Doctor grimaced slightly and took a single step back. The dwarf, seeming to sense that he now held the advantage, rushed forward and threw another punch at the man, this time jumping to try and get a shot at his face. Doctor Sydarin accepted the punch stoically, catching Gus in midair with his two large hands. He lifted the struggling dwarf over his head and smashed him down hard onto the mat. The dwarf, dazed, struggled slowly to his feet, and was met with a heavy punch right above the bridge of his nose. His eyes lolled backwards into his head, and he collapsed to the mat in an unconscious heap. Two dwarves came out onto the mat and dragged the snoring Gus off to the side.

The Doctor faced off against three more opponents, all human. The first one was average build, and was dropped with a single punch. The last two were much larger than the other, but didn’t fare any better against the big man. Doctor Sydarin never seemed to need more than a single punch to end a fight. After the display, there were no others contestants willing to fight the Doctor, and he claimed the war axe easily.

Cyra looked at Tsaeris, who was staring hard at the Doctor.
“What is it, Tsaeris?”

Tsaeris didn’t take his eyes
off of the Doctor. “Oh...uh. It’s nothing. He just seems so familiar.” Tsaeris shook his head. “Never mind. Let’s move on.”

The two spent the
sometime playing various games. Tsaeris even tried his hand at the knife throwing contest, but was disqualified when and errant throw hit an audience member in the leg. The entire time, Tsaeris refused to let Cyra pay for anything. He paid for her to eat, and drink. Her paid her way into games of chance, and even bought her a nice dwarven steel necklace at one of the stalls.

The two were feeling light headed with drink as they walked back to the Brothel, having stayed at the fair late into the night. They laughed, and joked and held hands. Cyra decided to take a chance. As they passed an alleyway between a large house, and a bakery, Cyra stopped and pulled Tsaeris into the alleyway by the hand.

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