Home of Sword and Soul
Omari Ket stood on the hill overlooking the Kiswala port of Bashaba, fighting to hold back tears. At that moment he was the happiest man in Kenja, if not all of Ki Khanga. For weeks he'd trudged across the Kenja savanna hounded by Nubia's militias and harassed by the local fauna that thought we was an easier meal than the thousands of herd animals whose shit his feet had an uncanny ability to find. He wiped away the tear trails with his grimy hands, then raised them high in celestial praise.
"I don't always believe in you, Creator," he croaked. "But today I do!"
He stumbled down the sandy slope onto the nearest road. A group of farmers with donkey loads of grain quickly distanced themselves from him, their pinched faces making their reason obvious. Under any other circumstances Omari would have either beat them up, robbed them, or beat them up and robbed them. But on that day he had neither the energy or the inclination. All he wanted was a bath.
He made a quick trip to the local brothel. It wasn't hard to find for all Kiswala ports were laid out basically the same no matter where they were located. Two guards flanked the tall wooden doors, their bulk and turbans marking them as Zimbabwans. They snarled at his approach then held their noses.
"On your way," one of them snapped. "Monafiki only services Kiswala and Mikijen."
Omari lifted the tattered sleeve covering his left bicep, revealing the Kraken tatoo.
"What about a Mikijen with gold dust?" he patted the leather back strapped to his waist.
The guards pushed the doors open then stepped aside. Omari stepped into the brothel as if he was entering the gates of a palace. The building was empty, as it should have been early in the day. The Kiswala were handling their business and the Mikijen were busy protecting them. He would have the place to himself for at least half a day. No sooner had his foot touched wood did a tall woman emerge from a room opposite him, her shapely body wrapped tight in a yellow kanga. She approached Omari with a suggestive smile and only flinched briefly when close enough to smell him.
"You are quite the handsome man," she said. "Apparently you've spent some time on the road."
Omari's spirits were rising. "Longer than I'd like to remember. I need a bath, and maybe some other things."
He winked and the woman smiled. "All things are possible with the proper motivation."
Omari was not the show off type, at least when it came to his money but he deserved some pampering after all he'd been through in Kenja. His chest was still sore from his encounter with the short people, and his ego was still bruised from Kadira's rebuffs. He took his bag from his belt and opened it enough for the woman to see. Her eyes went wide.
"I'd like exclusive use of your hospitality for the day," he said. "I think I have enough to make it possible."
"For that bag I will tend to you myself," the woman replied.
"That won't happen," Omari said. "Give me what a pinch of this bag will pay for."
The woman snarled. "You Mikijen are all the same!"
"Thank you," he replied. "Now where's my room?"