Home of Sword and Soul
Omari Ket watched Dessella bend her head forward, lowering her beaded braids over his face. She swayed her head in sync with her wide hips as she lowered herself on his waist in time with the distant drumming from the marketplace. He smiled so hard he thought his teeth would shatter.
She sat in his lap then tossed her hair back with a jeweled hand, kissing him hard.
"Now what was that nonsense you were saying about leaving?"
Omari chuckled. "Good try, goddess. Your performance will get you another twenty minutes but nothing more. You love me well, but you do not pay me well."
Dessella snarled then slapped him. "I hate you!"
Omari rubbed his cheek. "No you don't."
Dessella climbed off his lap then strode across the room. She leaned against the door then glared at him.
"I wish I did hate you. I wish I could."
Omari stood then went to his weapons resting at the foot of the bed. His time in port had been fun, but his money and his patience was running low. Paying jobs were few and far between for a former Mikijen, and the opportunity waiting for him was just too lucrative to pass up, even for the bronze vision of loveliness pouting at him.
After making sure all was secure he strode to the door.
"I'll be back for you," he whispered. He attempted to kiss her but she bit his lip.
"You won't be back," she fussed. "If you were any other man I would believe it. But not you. You don't have to come back. I'm sure there are many other women waiting for you to fulfill that promise."
She was right, but he wasn't going to admit it. He took a silver dagger with a jewel encrusted hilt from his belt.
"Here," he said. "Insurance that I'll return."
Dessella's eyes widened. "For me?"
"Until I return," he said.
She flung herself on him then kissed him hard.
"I'll be waiting," she said.
"Okay. Now will you please get out of the way?"
Dessella stepped aside, blowing him a kiss as he exited. The knife he gave her was expensive but of no consequence. It had been given to him in gratitude of a tryst with a woman whose name he didn't remember. When Dessella finally realized he wasn't returning her feeling would be soothed by the stacks she would make from selling the weapon. Either that or she would keep it in the hopes that he would return and she could stab him with it Omari shrugged. It wouldn't be the first time.
Omari stretched as he took in the view from Dressella's third story porch. They build high on Ors, for land was at a premium on the small island embedded in the belly of Lake Sati. He could turn full circle and see bustling shoreline in every direction. It was a tiny, busy, dirty little isle, a way station for those travelling the full length of the massive lake down the center instead of hugging the shoreline.
As he descended the stairs he mused on how he'd fallen so far in such a short time. The first few years of freelancing had been a heady rush of fat, easy contracts. But somehow he always found himself on the bad side of his employers, so much so that the word has spread that he was Cleave tainted. It probably had something to do with the occasional indiscretion with a wife or daughter, but he was a man with appetites and women were quite fond of him. So now he haunted the shadows of the port towns hoping to get work, sometimes accepting pay for more nefarious purposes. But Omari was a child of the streets, and if he knew anything he knew how to thrive in the shadows.
He sauntered through the dilapidated central market, buying a couple of redfruit that seemed in reasonable shape. He ate them as he approached the warehouses of his current employer, a tall dark man from Mali who had little humor and strange taste for merchandise. Whatever the task he had planned it was bound to be unsavory.
Omari met the man at the docks near his dhow, the only thing he kept in immaculate shape. The men waiting with him were not mercenaries. They were stout men with dangerous eyes, carrying ropes, hooks and shackles.
"Slavers," Omari spat. "Damn them to the Cleave!"