The jingle of Duncan's coinpurse, almost inaudible against the noise of the busy streets, was music to his ears as he made his way through the Royal City. While money was technically of no concern for the length of his stay- what with the Royal Family's generous offer to provide for the needs of all the marked- it was still comforting to know he had something left over from the work he did in Prym. After all, he had no intention of staying in this city forever, no matter how grand it was. Cities were something his travels had shown him aplenty.
The streets too were crowded, even those who had no mark were using the occasion as an excuse to mingle, and he noticed many covered wrists amongst the crowds. It wouldn't surprise him if just as many people were pretending to be marked as the latter pretending to be normal. Merchants of course flocked to the streets as well, eager to make a profit while the festivities lasted. Everybody seemed to be taking the opportunity to enjoy themselves.And I should too.
The voice in his head was a weak one, and it wasn't because he could hardly hear himself think through the noise of the streets. It was due to another, far greater reason.I don't deserve to.
It was this second voice that was full of strength, confident on his own self assessment. Duncan had hardly arrived in the city and already his mood was beginning to turn sour, and the cries of mirth around him sounded hollow to his ears. Would he merely be pretending if he allowed himself to loosen up during his stay? True, he could enjoy himself with enough drink in him to forget who he was, but he had gone down that road many times. And if his Destined were unlucky enough to meet him?I have failed so many people over the course of my life. Why add one more?
Realizing that he had stopped walking, the half blind man began moving once more. He debated looking for an inn, finding a room and getting cleaned up, but Duncan suspecting it would be almost impossible to locate even a stable to sleep in at this point if the crowds were any indication. While he could
use his magic to quiet the crowd around him and get a little peace it seemed like a waste of the gift his gods had given him. They did not bless the marked with magic for frivolous reasons.I have failed my father as his son.
Spotting an alley not to far off, the ragged man made his way there. Perhaps it'd offer a little relief from the crowded streets, and allow him to make a plan for what exactly he was going to do during his stay in the city. Most people he passed were polite, but Duncan could see the wariness in their eyes as he made his way through them. At best he looked like a beggar, and potentially something far more dangerous. Still, he couldn't blame them for their assumptions, the gods had gifted them with intuition for a reason. I have failed our inn as its keeper.
When the former sailor reached his destination he slumped against the wall, more exhausted than he had any reason to be. Perhaps his travels over the past few months were finally catching up with him? It was possible, but Duncan had his doubts. At least with the sounds of the crowded street having quieted around him he could think in peace for a bit, even if the thoughts were less than pleasant.I have failed my wife as her husband.
“Oi, Dennis, look at this cat-piss rag heap that's decided to trespass in our alley!”
“I see him, I see him. More importantly did you here what I heard?”
“I heard the jink-jink
of some coins, sure as shit!”
“Not just coins, silver
Duncan trained his remaining eye on the group as they began to advance on him. Three thugs, practically boys, with the swagger of youth and a hunger in their eyes. Truthfully they did not look to be in any better shape than he was, and if their ages were the same, then the only difference between them would be that the three all had blades drawn, while he remained seemingly unarmed. If it weren't for their youth his anger would be rising rapidly, but at the moment all he could feel is pity.I have failed Cunningham as his mate.
“Where did you get that jink-jink
in your pocket, bum? Steal it from someone who actually has to work for a living? We'll just be making sure it gets back to its proper
owner now, yeah?”
“The Mother and Father gave you wisdom when you were born. Find it, before you make a mistake you regret.
With that the widower shifted his rags so that the sword at his side was visible. He had no intention of harming the boys if he didn't need to, but hopefully they wouldn't figure that out. Already he was regretting his decision to travel to the Royal City and take part in this celebration- though dying in an alley seemed like an oddly fitting end for him.
“Do you think we're bleeding daft, Cat Piss? Three on one and your blood is staining the ground while the jink-jink
is in our hands. You can shove that wisdom back up your ass because you've
made the mistake here.”I have failed my crew as their Weather Master.
The three advanced on him with clear intentions, and Duncan half considered running. He didn't want to hurt these boys, but it would probably be best that they were taught a lesson before they ended up robbing someone far more dangerous than he was. With a sigh, he met their advance with a raised hand and fingers pressed together. As the rags he was wearing slid down his arm, one of the boys went wide eyed and stopped.
“Shit! That's a-”I have failed the Mother. I have failed the Father. And I have failed Olwyn as their servant.Snap!
As the sound echoed throughout the alley the three fell screaming to the ground, clutching their ears in shock and pain. Blood could be seen running down the sides of their heads, eardrums ruptured from a significant increase in air pressure. Five years ago he would have taken the opportunity to cut their throats- after all there was little difference between alley thugs and pirates when they were both on land- however, he instead just turned away and began walking back towards the entrance.
The thugs behind him couldn't hear the apology, but it was just as much directed at the gods for hurting three of their children. When he entered the streets once more the cries behind him became barely audible, and he doubted anybody had actually witnessed the commotion. For a moment he looked amongst the crowd for a guard, but quickly gave up in the fruitless effort.
“If it be in your whims, please carry a guardsmen on your wind Olwyn, before these children recover to hurt another or themselves.
With his prayer offered, Duncan set off through the streets of the Royal City once more. In spite of the events that just transpired he was in a better mood than before, talking to the gods often did that for him. It was one of the reasons he had become a priest in the first place, even if it was not the path he was destined to tread.
Almost humorously he finished his thoughts from earlier out loud;
“And if the woman that the Mother and Father have paired me with is lucky, I will fail to find her as her Destined.