City

Written by George Sanders

The gangplank slid out and was locked into place. The waves continued to brush up against the ship in dock. The wood creaked and groaned. A bell could be heard here and there among the ships. People clamored to get down the pier to the city. Birds flew overhead looking for opportunities to grab a treat. I didn't expect it would be busy, Mel thought. Ships lined the docks. Workers carrying crates and tools crisscrossed the walkways. His fine boots thumped on the wood of the gangplank. He stepped onto the wood of the dock and followed the flow of people on the pier toward the warehouse district.   A strong breeze pushed him from the left. Conversations floated past. A halfling pushed several crates on a floating disc past him. A half-orc dangled from a mast and used a wand to mend a tear in a sail. Mel could only sigh. These frontier towns took any manner of creature and gave them magic, he scoffed to himself as he walked down the pier.   A guard stopped people at the end of the pier. Dock workers were let through with a nod. Most had a necklace with a symbol on it, Mel took note. As his turn with the guard came up, he reached into his coin pouch and placed 10 gold on the table by the guard. The guard said "Name please, destination." Mel was a little displeased, "I left my information on the table," and he attempted to walk past. A second guard came up and put up his hand to block the way.   Fine.   "I am Melvin Percelhime from the Coral Gate. I am here on business with the Mining Guild."   The second guard put his hand down. "Don't forget your coin."   Great, these guards aren't going to let it go. "That is what you should be paid for your efforts. Any of the Coral Coast Cities would command that price. Have a good day and remember your value." Geez, it was going to be a long term project to get a bribe to work here. It had been 10 years since he had been to the backwater town of Etonia. They have too many guards now.   The guard at the desk asked "You need directions?" Mel was already a good 15 feet down the road. "No, only two directions you can go." The guard at the desk dropped the coins into a heavy metal box under the desk. The second guard waved a flag to catch the eye of several scouts sitting in an alleyway. One came over and got the name of the traveler, his description, and destination then ran off down the street.   The warehouse district led newcomers around a corner and into a residential area. There were four or five streets one after another. Several taverns dotted the first street. This wasn't here before. Mel's inner voice was getting frustrated. He wandered around a bit but found his way to the guild district, this was familiar ground now. The mining guild's campus had been here for years, the rest of the town filled in around it.   Mel walked into the guild hall and showed his badge to the bartender. "I'll take a Thorngage Ale and tell Clay that Mel is here."


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