Tales around Mirateia 2

Azran was having some time off from training and his commander had thought it would be a good idea if Azran took some time off before being assigned to his new post as a member of the Imperial Guard, a section of the 9th Legion that along with the palace guard protected the Imperial family.   Deciding to spend his days off wandering around Pearlhal, it was a massive city so there was always something new to explore. One of the days Azran decided that he would check out one of the many markets in the city. He had heard from other legionnaires that the markets were something that one should experience so he headed for the marketplace close to the harbour which also was the largest in the city where merchants coming in from the sea would try and sell their goods together with other merchants from the surrounding villages.   After having wandered around the market for a few hours, he was beginning to get a bit hungry so he decided that it would be a good time to get something to eat, having found a stand that was selling a local dish, he had barely started when someone tapped him on his shoulder, turning to see who it would be he saw nothing but instead hearing a peal of girly laughter to his other side, turning he looked straight into Ira who was smiling all over her face.   “AZRAN!! What are you doing here?”   “Well eating”   “You dumb human..” she said smiling and rolling her eyes.   “Do you want some?” Azran said while gesturing for Ira to sit down.   ”Yeah, I could go for a bite”   Azran lifted his arm and signalled the servant to bring another bowl.   “Oh yeah well to answer your question, I got transferred to a new post but there is still a few days before I start on my new assignment. So I decided to go explore the capital bit.   “A new assignment? What is it? Will you have to leave the city?”   she said still while smiling, but Azran could hear with the last question that she did sound a bit sad, but he shook it out of his mind since why would a girl like her who probably could get anything she wanted plus when they met those 2 months prior he had never expected to see her again why would she be sad.   “ Yeah I got a new assignment, sadly I'm not allowed to tell anyone about it but ehmm…. I can say that no I will not have to leave the city”   “ So a secret mission in the heart of the empire,” she said theatrically   “Heh I would not say it's secret in the normal sense, more in the way that it's to protect ourselves and those we have to protect”   “ I see, so do you have any plans for today?”   “No, I…”   Before Azran could even finish the sentence, Ira grabbed his hands and pulled him up from where he was sitting, he barely managed to throw the money for the food at the table, before she dragged him around and through the market, she showed him places in the city that he didn't even know was there, for several hours they wandered the city talking and laughing until it began to get too dark to see anything, then Ira stopped before an inn, Azran looking up could see that it was called “Thunders inn”   “Come on, Azran there is something you have to see”   Azran having more or less given up trying to say anything just followed her lead.     “What is it, Ria? Looks like a normal inn to me?”   “It is, but it's what's going on tonight that I want you to see”   “What's going on?”   “Have I mentioned that I'm a fighter?”   “Yeah, I think so, so you are a fighter in a tournament and that ??” It came from Azran rather surprised, he had not expected this from her. The beautiful half-elf fought in what had to be underground semi-illegal fights. Then again, thinking back to when he saw her at the “Kingsway inn” how she had fought her way over to his table, he should have expected something like this from her.   “Yeah, is that a problem?” She said rather hurt or angry that Azran seemed not to believe her”   “No, why would it? I think it's pretty cool, maybe you can show me some dirty tricks”   she laughed at that before they both walked in, she walked up to the bartender and whispered something in her ear, the bartender pointed at a door in the back of the inn. then waved to Azran to follow her before walking through the door that leads down to an underground cellar that was lit up by what had to be magical lights. The cellar was full of people drinking and in a corner, Azran could see the ring where two big looking orcs were in full swing beating the living daylight out of each other. The cellar even had its bar where Ira was in full swing ordering some beer for them before walking back to the only empathy table Azran had managed to secure.   “Thanks, so you come here often?”   Before she could answer two half-orcs came walking over to the table.   “ Hi Ria, are you fighting here tonight?”   “ Oh hey, yeah it's one of the last ones, nothing big”   “ Can't wait to see it, I see you have a friend with you who is this?”   “ guys this is Azran, he is a…. Eh friend of mine”   After a few more polite conversations the two left to prepare for one of the warm-up matches.   Azran looking at Ira, a bit confused   “So what was that they seemed to know about you?”   “What? Oh that, I just thought that considering I never have friends with me to my fights I would not tell them that you are a legionnaire, and they probably knew about me from other places where I have fought”   The two of them sat there for a few minutes drinking their beer when the announcer came forth and said that if anyone was interested in some quick cash there was a warm-up spot free since one of the participants had failed to show up.   She looked over at Azran.   “Come on, show them what you can do”   “I don't know…”   “come on, if you win, the beers will be on me this time”   “Alright” Azran took a deep breath and said with a teasing voice “Fine… as your highness commands”   “DON'T call me that” It came from Ira both angry and rapidly.   The fight was over very quickly, even if the other fighter didn't fight fair, he could not keep up with one that had 4 years of training in close-quarter combat in the Imperial army, and to be fair Azran didn't fight fair either but still, Azran did take a good punch to the ribs, good thing it didn't break anything but it sure was going to hurt for a few days.   Shortly after Ira's fight came up Azran studied her technique closely, maybe he could learn something he thought, he did seem to pick up some weird techniques, or maybe not weird, but they seemed to be too advanced or refined to be just something you would learn on the street. He would have to ask her about it at some point. The rest of the evening Ira and Azran spent talking and watching the other fights and after the big finale, they decided that it was time to leave, and after having said goodbye to her at her hotel. Azran walked back home to his hotel.

Cover image: by Gayle Porter Hoskins


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