Mika finished the man between her legs. She wiped her mouth on a patterned handkerchief and lifted the officer’s pack from the table. Its weight implied a hefty tip. She emptied its contents into her hands, running the coins between her fingers. Her guest paid well and then some. She leaned over and kissed the officer’s forehead, “This room is yours for however long you need. Janiz will clean you up and see you out.”
“You’re beautiful,” he sighed and grabbed her sleeve.
“I know.” She pried his fingers off the silk and pet his hair until he began to snore. Finally, she could take a break. She needed something to wash the taste of work from her mouth, preferably something alcoholic.
An orange-haired girl in a short dress entered the room, carrying a leather-bound notebook. “Mika, there is someone here to see you.”
“I thought I said I only take clients by appointment, now.” She stood to collect her clothes.
“I mean, yes, it isn’t an appointment, but he asked for you by name.”
“Along with everyone else who has heard of me.”
“He is waiting in the small quarters.” Mika pursed her lips. The small quarters were for people with less experience. No appointment and small quarters. At least, if he were good looking, she could get some fun out of it. She made a mental note to have a talk with Janiz later.
She waved her hand towards the soldier as she buttoned her robes. The assistant nodded. As Mika left the room, she looked over her shoulder to see Janiz rousing her previous client. The younger inhabitants of the house moved out of the way when Mika approached.
She ran her hands along the colored silks that lined the hallways. They had been her idea, to minimize noise and increase sensuality. She heard a shout on the other side of the wall. Sometimes the silks didn’t work.
Mika opened the door to the small quarters. Her client was more attractive than her usual, but not nearly as attractive as she’d hoped. Clearly a foreigner, he had clever eyes, but a disappointingly thin build. She liked his pale skin and high cheekbones, but his facial structure was offset by a clearly broken nose. His clothes were simple but well-kept. Perhaps he was a tradesman. At least he seemed to be in good shape. She had clients whose age and health often got the better of their activities.
“I know where you’re from.” She sat sideways on his lap and touched the cross-shaped scar on the side of his face. “We don’t get many Alisians clients here. Usually they’re too proud - or too poor - to sample their own wares.”
“I’m not your typical Alisian.” The man’s voice had an innate laughing quality. He handed a purse to Mika who proceeded to empty and count its contents.
“Not the typical Alisian indeed.” More than satisfied, she ran her fingers through his dark hair. “This will be a treat.”
Mika placed her hands on his bare cheek and leaned forward to kiss his neck, slowly moving in a line towards his open mouth. Their lips locked, and she tasted pine and mint on his breath. “What should I call you?” she whispered.
“Don’t worry about that now…” He gripped her dress and teased her neck with his tongue, to which she responded by gently biting his ear. His hands tightened around her waist. She unbuttoned his shirt and slipped it down to his elbows, revealing more scars and a six-pointed star tattooed to his upper arm.
Mika broke the kiss and removed her hands. “How dare you enter my house with that mark of shame.”
The guest removed his hands and began to button his shirt, “I said that I wasn’t your typical Alisian.”
“So you are dirt poor as the rest of them. And branded to boot.”
“Quite.” The client nodded at the purse, “That’s all I have. Took me weeks to get.”
Mika closed her hands around the coins. “I don’t give refunds. Full or partial.”
“Don’t worry, I wasn’t expecting one. I am paying to talk to you.”
Mika stood and settled into another chair, crossing her legs. “If you want to talk, what’s your name.”
“Ailinar. I could tell by the scar.” Mika remembered her own rite of Alisian passage, when she took on the name Indigar. Her father gave her the two marks below her navel and handed her an empty purse.
“Very good, very good. You know what it means, right?”
“Assassin.” She quickly scanned the room. Rivek hadn’t brought anything with him, and she would have felt a concealed weapon during their intimate exchange.
“And second to head the Ailinar guild. So if I meant to kill you, don’t you think I would have done it by now?”
“I’d like your help. I have a friend who needs to go home very badly. And I need spies to ensure her safety.”
“That’s not in my job description.” Mika nodded at the purse. Her brow had begun to sweat. “Besides, what can you offer me?”
“That was all I had, but people exist outside of me. They can fill the purse you received when you pledged yourself to Indigar, and you will be free to take your birthright.” Mika gritted his teeth, but he let the stranger continue, “You can’t be the head of the Indigar guild until you’ve sucked and fucked enough customers to earn your buy price.”
“I can make any man - or woman - think I love them. I am perfectly capable of purchasing my own freedom.”
“But you can’t, can you? If you could, why hasn’t the Indigar master announced you as his heir? There must be more to it than that.” Mika covered her shaking hands with her sleeves and turned away, trying to hide her flushing face. “You’re sick.”
“And I can’t be fixed,” she whispered. She stood and headed toward the door. “You can keep your money.”
“I can offer you a cure.”
Mika paused. She tugged the sleeve of her dress. With a shaking breath, she returned to her chair, folding her arms and crossing her legs. She locked eyes on the man before her. “Go on, I’m listening.”
---View on Tumblr
.” Out Cold
- 084/100 Themes.
A new character appears! Meet Mika Indigar. While Rivek’s guild, the Ailinar came from hunters who learned to be assassins, the Indigar guild came from housewives who turned to prostitution. Confident and powerful in her own sexuality, Mika would be the next guildmaster, but she doesn’t know how long she has left to live.
(You know, I’ve always wondered why in fantasy novels and the ilk, people don’t get STDs all the time.)
Mika Indigar and Rivek Ailinar belong to Grace Fong,