Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Crooked Kindness- Part 3

The Festival of Planks occurs in late spring in Goshen. Most of the city docks shut down during the festival, with a handful remaining opening to any river traffic that insist on harbor and trade during the activities. In a rare sign of solidarity, the Covi family decided to head down to the Horseshoe District to partake in the celebration. The district is somewhat of a misnomer, as it doesn't actually refer to what is produced there but rather the shape as the city spans out over the Cefron for a little less than a league. After the Horseshoe the city tucks back landward, forming the Warehouse District for a mile, after, the land reaches out again to the river with the Porcaro Hill District, home of the Thirteen, the name of Goshen's wealthiest families. The water in between Horshoe and Porcaro Hill forms the city's solitary bay. The city council insisted that a portion of the Warehouse docks remain open to river business for this year's celebration.

Lanfranco walked with his wife in hand (and a bottle in the other) down the Bargeman's Way to the festivities. Arrigo trailed a few steps behind, he had never been to this part of the city. Traffic along the thoroughfare was relatively light, but as the family reached the south end of the road, it increased tenfold. Suprisingly, the city watch was seldom seen as the throngs of festival-goers grew larger.

“Stay close to me Arrigo,” Meridiana let go of Lanfranco's hand and grabbed her son's, “Please be mindful of where you walk.”

“Relax Meri,” Lanfranco rumbled, “You'll be in Otterman territory soon. We'll be all right.”

“Lanny! Lanny!” The voice shouted to be heard over the noisy crowds. A smaller man with ruffled brown hair made his way through the knots of people to Lanfranco.

“Hail Jacca!” Lanfranco picked up the man in a bearhug. “How goes the offerings to the River Goddess?”

“Hmph, I see you've already started on your donation,” Jacca winked at Lanfranco, gazing knowingly at the bottle in his hand. “Did you bring Meri and the runt?”

“Right behind me.”

“Aha! There is the jewel of the Cefron herself!” Jacca approached Meridiana and Arrigo, bowing and kissing his mother's hand. “And Arrigo! Are you being fed proper boy? I've not seen you grow one thumb taller this year.”

“If I'm to be the jewel here, then my Arrigo is a sapphire as well,” Meridiana smiled and squeezed her son's hand.

“So shall it be. Come! Come! Let me lead you to the best events of the festival! Feats of strength, acrobatic excellence and other exploits of derring do. Right this way!” With a flourish of his right hand, Jacca motioned mother and son to follow, then walked beside Lanfranco.

“So where is the Watch Jacca?” Lanfranco slapped the man's back. “Usually it's tighter than a taxman's grip on his tax chest here.”

“There's trouble over at Warehouse, some of the workers are dropping kegs of ale in the river and setting them alight.”

“Must be shitty ale one would hope.” Lanfranco sighed.

“Lanfranco please!”

“Oh Meri, the boy has heard much worse, leave it be woman.”

“Vest Import and Exports has bought out Alfred's Barge and Storage,” Jacca spat once he finished.

“Another gods damned business, is there no stopping these bastards?” Lanfranco added more saliva to the street. “If this keeps up, then there will be only a handful of dockers working as independents.”

“ If this keeps up it'll be just Vest, Rees's outfit and us. I bet it's Iddawg and his crew that's doing the dropping. Vest cut their wages after buying out Yadler's.” Jacca whinced as he said this.

Lanfranco snorted. “ Rees is no better. And where is Iddwag's bloody guild in all this?,” He threw his bottle in a nearby rain barrel.

“Lanny, it's tied up in the fucking magistrates with the lawyers.”

“And that asshole is rumored to be in Vest's pocket. Iddawg is fucked, drop or no drop.”

“Husband, please be a little more discreet with the language.” Meridiana began humming an old Amsernan folk tune. It was one of Arrigo's favorite songs.

Jacca changed the topic. “Meridiana will you sing for us tonight?”

“If you gentlemen can articulate yourselves in a more honorable fashion I might consider it.”

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