Saturday, July 4, 2015

Street Rats

I wrote a short story about the first time two characters meet in Children of the Nameless. And flailed about it. A lot.

  “What’re you snivellin’ for?” Katria demanded, shoving her hands into her pockets.
  “‘ungry,” the boy said, wiping the tears from his dirty face with a dirtier hand. He looked a little bit older than Katria, maybe nine or even ten.
  “Tha’s it? You’re ‘ungry? Why dontcha do somethin’ about it?” she asked.
  “Don’t got any parents,” he muttered.
  Katria laughed. “What’s that got to do with anythin’? I don’t got any either. I live with my aunt. And even if I didn’t, I could still take care of myself.”
  The boy stood up, thick brown hair almost blocking his eyes. “I don’t believe you.”
  Katria glared. “You think I’m some weak li’l girl, dontcha? I’ll show ya. Follow me.”
  The boy nodded and followed, intimidated by her fierceness. She grinned and led him through the alleyways and backstreets of Tsuki until they reached the marketplace.
  The smells of food and bodies and metal clashed with the sounds of wind and shouting and clopping hooves until it became a disaster that would overwhelm almost anyone. But for Katria, it was home, and she knew just how to pick apart the sights and sounds to get the best result, like Aunt Jada taught her.
  “What’re you-”
  She slapped a hand over his mouth, not caring if she hurt him.
  “Shut up,” she hissed. “I’m tryin’ ta getcha somethin’.”
  He pushed her hand away. “You’re gonna steal something?” he asked quietly.
  “Meet me back where I met ya,” she whispered, then slipped into the crowd.
  She was no longer Katria, orphan, street rat, niece of the most famous assassin in all of Totenshi. She was a little girl, delighted by the bustle of the marketplace, thrilled by the kites dancing overhead, swaying to the music from a pipe-player’s stall. No one suspected a girl like that. And so no one noticed when she slipped a tiny loaf of bread from a baker’s stand into the pouch on her waist.
  If there was one thing Katria Blackthorne knew how to do, it was how to play a part.
  But she was also very good at climbing on roofs, so when she jumped down with a thud, the dark-skinned boy from earlier jumped nearly a foot in the air.
  Katria laughed wildly. “I scared ya!” she crowed.
  “No you didn’t,” he sulked.
  “Did too. I bet your heart’s poundin’.” She punched his shoulder with delight.
  “I didn’t think you was comin’ back, was all,” he said, rubbing his shoulder and glaring.
  She glared right back. “I told ya I’d meet ya back here, an’ so I met ya back here. I keep my word.” She tossed him the bread. “Name’s Katria, by the way.”
  The boy caught it, hands fumbling, and eat hungrily. “Conryn,” he mumbled as he stuffed half the loaf in his mouth.
  Katria plopped down in the hard-packed dirt. “So, you’re a street rat who ain’t used to the idea of stealin’, ey?”
  “I ain’t a street rat,” Conryn said, sitting next to her.
  “You sure look it,” she said.
  Conryn had a square jaw, a long nose, skin that looked a lovely shade of brown under all that dirt, and thick shaggy hair so dark it was almost black. And he had stubborn brown eyes that seemed very sad but very strong. His shirt and vest were even dirtier than Katria’s(which was something she thought she’d never see), his trousers had holes in the knees, and he had a tiny knife strapped to his belt.
  Katria suddenly decided that she liked him.
  “You good at anythin’?” she asked.
  “What’s that s’pposed to mean?” he huffed, probably angry at the idea that he seemed useless.
  “I like you, Conryn. I think Imma keep you around.”
  Poor soul. How thick could one person be?
  “What’re you good at? I want ya to work for my aunt, so I can torment ya more often.” She grinned.
  “I…” Conryn stared at the ground, a look of intense concentration on his face, the same look Katria guessed she had when she tried to read something. “I’m good enough at fightin’. I know some o’ my letters and I can add an’ subtract an’ I’m good with numbers.”
  Katria grinned, grabbing his arm and pulling him to his feet. “I’m sure Aunt Jada can find a use for ya. She’ll teach ya to fight and Ballid can teach ya to read and write-” she grimaced as she pulled Conryn through the streets, “and you can eat and sleep with us and one day you and I’ll get jobs like my aunt.”
  “What does she do?” Conryn said, smiling down at her.
  “She’s an assassin,” Katria boasted. “I’m gonna be one too, when I get big.”

What do you guys think of my sassy, violent little assassin-to-be and her future best friend?


  1. They sound like an interesting pair. XD Now I'm wondering how they fit into the main book you're writing.

    1. Oh yes, they are /very/ interesting. XD Sadly, Conryn isn't in Children of the Nameless very much, but Katria is one of the main characters.
      Thanks for reading!

    2. I hope I'll get to hear more about Children of the Nameless, either on GTW or in the cabin. :)