Imagining the city before her in flames was torturing. Like a starving woman envisioning a fresh cooked goose, picturing the destruction only left her salivating with no satisfaction. Seva took another long drink from the bottle and set it back on the rail, cringing at the sweet taste of rum as it coated her throat. The balcony, her balcony she corrected herself with a sneer, and its view only served to darken her mood.
Set on the east of Cliffwalk, as far from the docks as a city villa could get, her new home looked over the winding streets and multi-layered districts that made up the largest social hub of the country. A year past, Seva would have fallen upon the rich maze of bars, whorehouse, powder dens, and underside degeneracy of Cliffside with gluttonous abandon. Now the thought left her sick. Above those bars and dens the other aristocracy in their villas watched.
Someone settled themselves on the balcony rail next to her. She stiffened, only two people freely came and went through her rooms. She didn’t want to face either of them right now. Coward, the word came floating up through the sickly haze of rum. She promptly told whatever pansy-ass-introspective part of her brain that was mouthing off to stow it, and turned with a sigh.
It was neither of the people she was avoiding. “Hey kid.”
Leon narrowed his eyes at the nickname she sometimes pulled on him. He was older than Sean, but Seva never called the brawler kid. Leon only mentioned the reason for that when at a safe distance from both of them. “Enjoying the view?”
She didn’t answer that, just took another long swig from the bottle. From the corner of her vision, she could see him open his mouth. Seva interrupted before he could get the question out, eyes still on the distant and moonlit waves. “So help you, if you ask me how I am fucking feeling I am going to throw you off this fucking balcony.”
He laughed at her, and Seva debated doing it anyway. “Fine.” He said.”How about a gift instead?” Leon drew something from his left pocket, splaying his hand over the rail. Three small square pieces glinted in the moonlight.
Seva squinted at the iron. “Dice?”
He nodded at her.
She picked them up. They were heavy and rough against her fingers. The mark etched deep into her back stirred, the skin tightening across her shoulder blades like an old burn. Pure iron, she could feel it calling to the magic in her veins. Seva set the dice down quickly.
She didn’t want to talk about the mark growing over her back, its effects on metal, or the nobles overjoyed it was happening, but this was her own damn balcony and Leon looked too comfortable leaning over the balcony rail. Seva starting counting down the minutes before she scruffed him and dragged him back to his sister. “You want me to help you win at crown and anchor? Talk to Sean, or Dirk. I don’t cheat at dice.”
“Might want to start.” He looked at her sideways. “Could be good practice.”
Seva growled. Brat, coming in here, telling her how to do her thrice-damned job. A messy flop of hair obscured his eyes, she couldn’t tell whether he was serious or if this was particularly effective jibe.
Leon continued. “You know, before you have to impress that council and their teachers. Get a feel for the small stuff.”
She felt her her lip twitch into a snarl. Next week, she had until next week before the lessons started. They wouldn’t have her crashing ships or shattering swords. The lessons would be safe, controlled, and infuriating. “Don’t you have someone else to bother?”
He grinned at her but took a step back, swinging his arms. “Yes. You were just first on my list. Enjoy the view.”
The salute he gave her was barely recognizable as one, laden down with mockery. Seva listened to his footsteps off the balcony and through her new chambers. She’d shake him down for whatever he pinched later.
The city before her was still serene when she turned back to the view. Seva took a deep breath, another long drink of rum, and pocketed the dice.
Pirates, thieves, and degenerates, I have them all. The librarian over at The Gate in the Wood can be thanked for this week’s prompt three metal dice. See what they, and the rest of the thieves too, did over at the Legal Theft Project.