Finding Gratitude, Part 5

Lady Violet

            Sela awoke from her bed. A quick look at the clock confirmed that it was nearly midnight. Exactly as she had hoped. Time to start her evaluations.

The room Sela had chosen was not pristine. It was truly a chest of drawers, a bed, and a window. There were not even easy access to facilities. But it was cheap, and paid by the hour. Sela had not asked any questions, and when a passerby had inquired whether she was sleeping alone, she had shown them Sir Violet. Anyone with a passing interest in the sharp beauty quickly found other pursuits.

Sela looked at the blade. The violet hilt that helped give the sword its name was velvet to her touch. The single-edged blade mirrored her, showing a face that stared back without empathy or real interest. Sir Violet knew she loved the sword, she did not need to look on with adoration.

She belted the sword to her side. The duelist threw on her cape and boots, and walked out of the no-name inn. It was time to see what Gratitude had to offer her.

The city night life was intoxicating. While the shops and bakeries closed up shop as the sun went down, other businesses opened their doors. Cafes and taverns, a few theaters. But the streets themselves were what truly came alive.

Sela walked through a celebration of art. Trumpeters, flautists, a pantomime, every few feet there was a new attraction. Tourists and critics gathered at what drew their interest. Every act was cutthroat. They were in competition with each other and the business of the night. Who could catch interest, and hold it long enough for the interested soul to part with a coin?

A fight broke out between a puppeteer and a mime. The two each felt that the other was encroaching on territory, or creative license, or perhaps the mime did not appreciate the color palette of a certain puppet. The puppets were soon banging on an invisible box as the mime wailed in silent horror.

Sela smiled. Not at the violence, though it seemed real enough. However, given the crowd that gathered around the two acts to lay bets and watch a strange fight, it could have been staged. Certainly the rest of the street suspected such.

Sela kept moving. While interesting, that was not the entertainment she needed.

She kept her eyes peeled. The duelist could pick out the thieves, the scoundrels, the hucksters. They followed everyone as well, hoping to separate fools from coin far faster than the artists ever could. If Sela was in a mood, she could have cleared them out as well.

But that was not a challenge. It was, at most, a mild interest. She needed to fill her blood with fire, set it alight with passion that could not be quenched by a beer or passing fancy.

In short, she needed a real fight.

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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