The Troy children in the city of Dorsi had their noses pressed against the glass of the windows. Each breath created a foggy patch, as the excited little faces peered out into the dark streets. The adults were all out celebrating a victory of some sorts, and the kids wanted to try to catch a glimpse of the action. The youngest child, bored with the lack of action at the window, danced to the music that could be heard throughout the entire town. He jumped up and down on the bed, swinging his arms in wild circles.
“Ouch, Paris!” Andromache squealed. The little boy had accidently hit his older sister while dancing.
“Sowwy,” Paris stated automatically, with absolutely no regrets or contrition.
“He is only three years old, Anne,” Helen, the oldest daughter, scolded. “It couldn’t possibly have hurt you.” The magic of the moment was lost, and the children moved away from the window.
Anne pouted for a moment, and then responded to Helen. “You may look like mommy, but you ain’t her.” She ran to her bed and jumped under the blanket.
“All of you need to be in bed; Pollux and Castor, you two especially.” Helen pointed at the twins. “You have a big day tomorrow.” The two boys grumbled as they went to their beds. “Paris, stop jumping around and go to your bed.”
“I wanna sleep wit you!”
“You can sleep with me, buddy.” Priam grabbed Paris and gave him a big squeeze. “Let me talk to Helen for a minute and I will meet you in my bed.” Paris grabbed his crab toy and ran to Priam’s bed.
Helen shook her head, “He may as well not even have a bed if you are always going to let him sleep with you.”
“He won’t always want to be around,” Priam said as he escorted Helen out of the bedroom. “Just like you.” Helen looked confused. “I know you are planning on sneaking out again tonight, and I beg you not to go.”
“What do you know of it?”
“I know that since mom and dad started letting Hector go out during celebrations, you have been sneaking out as well.” Priam was calm; concern clear in his voice. “Hector is a young man, and that is a lot different than a young girl going out. The world ain’t right nowadays.”
Helen grabbed Priam by the arm. “You better not tell mom and dad,” she whispered sharply.
“I haven’t and I won’t,” Priam pulled his arm free. “But this is the last time. If you do it again, I am telling.”
Ale and music flowed through the tavern, and the party had even spilled out into the streets. The Crab Trap had not seen this much business since Memkin had bought the former brothel three years back. The married women of the town had dubbed the whorehouse, “The Crab Trap” and Memkin decided he liked the name, so he let the name stand. It was only fitting since Memkin made some of the finest crab dishes on the coast. He stopped trying to keep up with his gourmet cooking on this night, and just churned out food as quickly as he could. Everyone was too drunk to even taste it anyway.
A group was dancing around the tavern, led by a handsome figure with slightly pointed ears and wavy hair. His motions were smooth as he spun the ladies of Dorsi around in twists and circles; a feat which enchanted the women, but make the men incredibly jealous. He was called Berg, and he had been a hero earlier that day.
Finally after many dances, Berg had to take a seat. He plopped down next to one of the soldiers who had fought beside him earlier that day. The man’s name was Randy, but from the look on his face Berg doubted that Randy knew his own name.
“You alright, Randy?”
Randy slowly turned his head toward Berg. “You know, man…” the smell of alcohol forced Berg to turn away. “… All you care about is fighting and fucking.” Randy pointed his finger in Berg’s face while he still clutched a bottle of ale. “It ain’t right, man.”
“Ah Randy, it’s all you care about too. However, I am actually good at both of those things.” Berg patted the man on the leg and started to move along. “Oh, and don’t call it ‘fucking’; the ladies don’t like that.” Randy just nodded. He had already forgotten what Berg was talking about.
Berg was being called over to a table by man who happened to be sitting next to a beautiful woman. He decided to go on over. “Come here, Berg,” the man, Ricci, motioned for him to sit. Ricci was the leader of the city of Dorsi, but the woman next to him was definitely not his wife. “So tell us exactly what happened on the bridge today.”
Berg shook his head, not wanting to give away any battle tactics. He attempted to diffuse the question politely, “A great victory for us.” He patted the table and stood to leave. Ricci grabbed his arm. Berg was so surprised by the action that he did not immediately react. However when the man did not let go, Berg started to get angry.
Ricci pulled his hand from Berg’s skin, and rubbed it with his other hand; almost as if to warm it up. “I need to know what happened out there today.”
“If you want to talk to someone,” Berg spat, “Then you need to talk to Larkin. I ain’t telling you shit about what happened.”
“Come on, Berg.” Ricci coaxed. “Everyone knows that you are the brains of the operation. Larkin is just the muscle.” The woman next to Ricci reached out to stroke Berg’s arm, but he pulled it away without taking his eyes off of Ricci.
“Well, you can take that up with him.”
“Oh, I plan to.” Ricci smiled. “I plan to.”
Larkin hovered over his wife, Dani, as she lay on her back in their bed. She chewed on her bottom lip as he stared into her eyes. Larkin always made her nervous when he looked at her like that. “Was it alright?” she asked, just like she did nearly every time the two made love.
“Perfect,” Larkin answered. “You are perfect for me.” He raised himself higher and kissed her on the forehead. His necklace swung and hit Dani in the chin. The two of them shared a laugh.
Dani grabbed the charm on the necklace, and studied it once again. It had been a while since she had really looked at it. “I still don’t understand why you wear this thing.” She ran her fingers over the whale etched on the medallion. “I mean, daddy gave you a charm but you never wore it.”
Larkin laughed. “Your dad gave me a pineapple charm that was the size of my hand.” He put his hand on Dani’s chest. “You know as well as I do that he only got me that because it was expensive.”
Dani feigned offense. Then she laughed, “It was so gaudy. Man, that thing was hideous.”
Larkin rolled over onto his back and looked at his whale medallion. “This means something, baby.”
“I know. I just hate that it is the symbol of the Knights.”
“The whale represents gentle strength, which is what this city is known for.” Larkin was talking to himself, just as much as he was to Dani. “Gentle strength. The Knights of the Coast were once the epitome of that strength.” Larkin dropped the necklace back down to his chest and looked Dani in the face. “Some of the knights I saw today had skulls on their shields and armor.”
“What exactly does that mean?”
“It means they are no longer even trying to hide their demonic nature. It means we are in trouble.”
“So your dad was a demon?” a young man asked Berg. Apparently the ale had made everyone forget themselves.
“I am sorry, boy,” Berg said perplexed, “What is your name?”
“Well Hector,” Berg decided to hand out life lessons, “It is probably past your bedtime, and you really need to calm down on the ale. However, since you so rudely jumped right into my life story; I will tell you.” Hector smiled wide. “I seriously hope you have nightmares from this,” Berg added. “Seriously.”