In other worlds, not all is perfect; nor should it be.
Not all stories end in a typical happily ever after; it's a matter of perspective ...
Excerpt from Stolen Property:
The stink of low tide almost made Elnis gag. The smell of old fish, mud and rotting garbage hung in the air with the vague scent of seawater. The night breeze was gentle enough to keep the stench lingering. He quelled the urge to spit the horrid taste out of his mouth.
No wonder the port workers congregated in the drinking establishments. They came to wash away the flavours of the tide.
At this time of early evening, the taverns and alehouses were overflowing with stevedores, sailors and dockers. Elnis wanted out of this rank city. He’d had enough of their rough ways, their bad manners, and their awful nasal accents. Unfortunately, he had business; business he couldn’t let go - no matter the urgings of his friends.
He looked up at the gently swaying sign. The Sea Mistress looked down at him with a faded expression of seduction and creaked on her hinges.
The front door burst open, raucous noise erupted and two men stumbled onto the street, attempted to sing but were laughing too hard. Elnis’s lip curled with distaste.
He would find his prey here; after all, they had invited him.
Adjusting his charcoal-grey robes around his tall, spare frame, he stepped into the tavern, closed the door behind him.
The din lessened as people turned to stare, then resumed as they decided he was no one of note.
The men were grubby, stank of fish and sweat, and Elnis tried not wrinkle his nose. They’d obviously stopped for a cleansing libation before heading home. They were not his concern, unless they made it so.
Elnis scanned the crowd, looking for the two familiar men. He almost missed the couple as someone stepped in his way, but he’d seen the shock of carrot-coloured hair before the bulky man stood before him.
“Dis ain’t no place for the likes o’ yuh.” The burly man said.
Elnis looked up at him. The man’s eyes - blurred by ale, blue and faded by time - attempted to focus on Elnis without success. In one meaty hand, he held a tankard. Elnis smelled the bitter brew and quelled his rebelling stomach.
“I’m sorry, were you speaking to me?” He asked and earned a sneer from the thick-lipped man.
“Aye.” He indicated the door with his head. “’op it.”
“I don’t think so, sir, I have business here.”
The man scowled. “Didja not ‘ear me? ‘op it or I’ll be makin’ yuh sorry.”
“You are obviously a man of distinction, and trying to protect me from the… less fortunate in this tavern.” Elnis reached into his robe and pulled out a circle of silver. “Here.” He handed the man the coin. The man stared down at the gleaming money, puzzled. “I’d be more grateful if you would watch my back for me.” Elnis smiled.