Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here! Join me and I will spin a tale of the Land of La Longi!
“Halt! Stay Right Where You Are!”
Leaving the Puking Peasant, 17 men led by Nicholas were confronted by a smaller man in an official looking uniform. He held a lantern.
“Good day. I am Wayne Nixon, Northwich Watch. Some of you look familiar. “
He stepped up to Lulach and looked him up and down, quite a feat as Wayne was much smaller than the warrior.
“Yes, criminals from Silent Gallows. You carry the brand. What brings you to the docks tonight?”
Baldwin Mailer, Nicholas’ scribe, and veteran of the battle of La Longi responded.
“The Netty Northwich, a vessel chartered by Emerson Berengar of Northwich is under repair. On our departure, We seek Captain Gryll last seen commandeering the Grasshopper.
“Ah, I see, and who among you Is Captain Nicholas?”
Nick lifted his hand. “That would be me.”
“Nicholas…. Peralta, correct?”
“I have heard about you and how you broke the siege of La Longi under the leadership of Thane Berengar of Northwich. I presume these are your men?”
Nicholas was growing impatient. There was a tinge of irritation in his voice.
Watchman Wayne paused, letting the tension build.
“I will have you know that I have spent my entire career in the Docks, and have endured many administrators. One thing has remained consistent in all the political goings on. The Docks and the neighborhoods surrounding the Puking Peasant is my beat, not yours. I will not stand idle and allow you to say ” these are your docks.” It simply is not true and I will hold you accountable for any missteps during your stay. Is this understood?
Nicholas stared hard at Wayne.
He put his hand on his sword and his mates followed suit.
“You are mighty big hiding behind that shiny badge little man,” Nicholas replied.
Watchman Wayne Nicholas had heard all this before. Ships came and went in the waterfront, bringing the worst out of folks as they partied at the Puke. Regimes we’re in constant upheaval and sometimes his pay was suspended while the books passed hands, but this was his beat.
He looked down at his shirt near his heart.
“It can always come off, Mr. Peralta.”
Baldwin Mailer interjected. “Boo that lawman!”
The men cried “Boo!” In unison and began laughing.
Wayne laughed along.
“That was pretty funny. Here, hold this, will you?”
Flippantly, he tossed his lantern in the air and it landed in the center of the men, breaking and causing a small fire. Fixated and shocked, Watchman Wayne took the moment’s advantage and pulled his nightstick.
Ferocity ruled, and Wayne drove them away, teaching with blunt wooden conversation a flurry of poetic pentameter.
Wayne Nixon stopped and caught his breath.
He wasn’t getting any younger. And Violet his wife would have been mortified at his violence.
Picking up the broken lantern and discarding it in a rubbish bin, he patrolled his beat.
They were strong lads, and probably a good lot, but there would be order when he was around. Any one of these men could have wrecked his meathouse, but deep inside they knew he represented authority and left.
He had seen it before and would see it again.
His dinner, a slab of beef, had been corned and salted. He parted it out with a loaf and washed it down with a jar of cider. He was pleased with the meal and happy he had met Violet. She was a keeper.
It was lonely work, patrolling the beat at night. He was well acquainted with every cobblestone slab, wall, and structure on the waterfront. He knew every drunkard, thief, and illicit business dealer, but the interaction was not fulfilling, to say the least.
Violet had been gently pressing him to find new work, and perhaps even get a change of scenery in a new town. There was just so much baggage here. She was right. He was in a rut, and keeping the ruffians in check wasn’t getting any easier.
He resumed his rounds. His superiors did not always look fondly on his methods, but they wouldn’t even visit his beat. It was beneath them and they might not fare well of they tried.
They just took the complaints at the patrol office and chewed him out every once in a while. Who knows, maybe next month the leadership would change and he would have a new set of problems.
The grey of morning light brought hope for the end of shift. He would go home, sleep a little, and start it all up again. It was a tough, thankless job he swore an oath to uphold.
His relief was slovenly and smelled of Screaming Peaches. Briefing the young man was irrelevant. He was probably going to find a place to sleep off the effects. He shook his head and began the walk home.
Thinking back on the events of the night, he regretted setting a few veterans straight with his nightstick. They lived rough and no one cared about them from what he could tell. They were used up and had no benefit to the administration. No pension, no accolades, and all that folks saw was the branding of Silent Gallows prison that would forever mark them.
Nonetheless, order had to be maintained on the waterfront and he was the man to do it.