《The House of Wolves》[The House of Wolves] - Ravens and Horses

In the city of Corvachia, three primary markets exist. The Merchants Market, for the elite in Bayronds square to trade the most lavish and exotic of materials, the Ravens Market, for weapons and poisons and other mysterious substances, and the Commoners Market, for those forced to live in between the two ends of the city. The Commoners Market provides basic living materials and is very simplistic in nature, perfect for the small majority of individuals not rich enough to live in Bayronds Square, but who have enough to prevent them from needing to go to the Ravens Market.

There are also those who don have enough to sustain themselves in a stable manner, but whom also choose to not make their money in the underground, and instead keep themselves going on the meager jobs that can be found in the dwelling areas of the commonsfolk. Most of these individuals are children who settle in the alleyways and form small communities there to survive. The abundance of these groups has grown to the point that most alleys have their own designated name and their own assigned residents.

Oftentimes, the eldest who live in these communities will alternate duties, some going to the Commoners Market to buy food and new clothing, some watching the younger ones, a few completing jobs around the city. Being as the commoners market is a relatively harmless place, usually one person is sent at a time to make purchases, however two came in that day.

One was a tall, lanky, dark haired boy with a distinctly oval shaped face and hooded brown eyes. Following him was a girl who went up to his collarbone, who had dirty blonde hair and two sharp Monolid eyes, also with brown irises.

”Where do you think Aurelia could have gone too? ” said the girl, noticeable concern emerging on our face. The boy turned and wrapped the girl into a hug, followed by a brief peck on the lips.

”Well…she isn here now, meaning we have to clean up her shit and get food for the kids. ” he scowled while saying that, clearly vexed.

”Oh don be like that. Im sure she has her reasons. ”

”Really? Alder is gone as well! They could very well have just up and abandoned us! ”

”I don think they would do that. ”

”Whatever. Lets just get the food, and sit down somewhere. I wanted to spend some time with you, you know. Thats why I asked you to come. ” He pulled the girl into another kiss.

The two then branched off to different ends of the market. The boy went to go purchase fruits and vegetables at the leftmost corner. This was the most mild mannered and docile section, but only in relative terms. The entire area was abuzz with stalls screams at each other and frustrated haggling, the fruit section was no different. It had just had slightly more efficiency. In turn, lots of gossip circulated, being as most of the stalls at this end were run by middle aged women.

”Did you hear about Martha? Apparently she got together with Fionas husband! Can you believe that? ” cried one woman, who was cutting canteloupes with abnormal vigor.

”Of course I do! I always said that woman was bad news, seeing how she lives to that filthy underground. She lives alone too! As if anyone like that could ever be normal. ” another woman cried, before she adopted a sweet smile and offered some watermelons to ongoing customers.

”Aren the people in the underground commoners too? They aren too different than us you know. ” quipped a more soft spoken lady, one who dealt out smaller fruits like apples and oranges.

”Just because they
e commoners doesn mean we
e the same. We have stable lives, whilst most of the women there are whores! ” shouted the watermelon lady.

”Still…they must have exciting lives. Getting to be with a different partner each day, not having to worry about kids or boring jobs like these. Man I wi-Oh watch out dear! ”

The boy, Gale, jumped as soon as he realized he was being talked too, just in time to avoid a horses carriage galloping past him. It was a very rudimentary thing, carried by an abnormally fat horse and driven by a very angry looking owner. As soon as his heart settled however, he couldn help but think to himself, is that what they view as exciting? Cheating on their husbands? he couldn share the sentiment obviously, however it struck a particular chord in him which he couldn explain.

No, you don have time for such things. Just buy the fruit and leave. he thought to himself determinedly, before spreading out the widest grin he could muster and pretending as if he had heard nothing. This sociable persona was very useful here, when all the stalls were owned by mothers. Dissatisfied mothers, clearly, but mothers never the same who couldn help but feel something towards a simple minded boy just trying to buy food.

On the other end, was where all the meats were. Roasted pigs and chickens hung by strings from the tops of stalls, grease often spurted onto peoples faces due to the intensity of the chopping, children got nightmares from the sheer rage expressed by the butchers as they eviscerated meat. There was one butcher in particular who Eneri was very fond of. He was a soft spoken man despite his enormous frame, and who was gentle except when it came to his job. She liked his earnest nature.

He had his own full on shop, with paned windows and polished oak doors. When she stepped inside, he was cutting through a pig viciously, eyes alight and veins bulging. He did it with so much force she feared he might go through the forerib and split the cutting board. But of course he applied just enough to prevent his knife from doing so. The moment he saw Eneri the rage in his expression quelled and he put on a soft grin.

”What can I do for you young lady! ”

Eneri sauntered over to the counter and said, ”Ill take a pot of mutton please. ”

”Mutton, eh? Chopped I take it. ”

”Yes please! ”

He turned and went into a meat cellar, returning a minute later with a pot filled with finely sliced goat meat so savory its juices practically melted into the pot. Eneris mouth watered just by looking at it.

”Looks good, doesn it? ” Eneri nodded fervently, prompting a chuckle out of him. ”You know when I cut this meat I accidentally ended up slicing a piece of my finger off. ”

”Wait what? ”

The man just guffawed even louder. ”I know, crazy right? But I remember, when making this pot right here I chopped the end of my index off. ” he set down the pot and raised his right hand to show an index finger that was no more than a stub.

”W-well, how do you know it was this meat specifically? ”

”I remember every meat in this cellar, and how I cut it. I only dare to forget when its shipped off. Its just become a habit of mine, seeing as how I spent so long in this business. ”

”So…do you remember why you cut it off? ”

”Why? There was no why, at least not one that makes sense. If I had to describe it, when I was cutting the meat it felt like I was a part of it. Ive just spent so long chopping apart other animals to feed my family, that I forgot I was one of them. And that day I just saw flesh and thought welp gotta chop it off. I didn realize it was my own still the blood started gushing out. It didn get on the meat though if you
e worried. ”

”Im not worried about the meat! Is your finger okay! ” Eneri questioned.

”Oh its fine. Besides, youd be hard pressed to find a butcher not missing a finger or two. Thats just how we are. When you spend a couple of decades slicing up corpses there are times when you see a person and confuse them for one too. ”

Eneri shuddered. ”You
e not gonna cut me up accidentally are you? ” The old man just bellowed and patted Eneris shoulder with his greasy hands. For the first time Eneri felt compelled to leave the shop.

Later, after the twos hands wer