KSW Exercise - “Breathing Atmosphere”

Derik paced the room. His knuckles were white against the back of his russet brown robe, as if by clenching his hands he could prevent the flood of expletives that clamored in the back of his throat. His circular, heavy footsteps gave unsatisfactory fwumps on the thick, lush carpet that offered neither comfort nor calm.

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Writeworld prompt 1

The children’s giggles echoed morosely through the stone ruins. It had once been an outpost, manned by soldiers to watch the border. But after the Big Plague, it had been deserted, left to nature to do as she pleased.

"Over here! Over here!" A boy called from outside. His playmates ran to his voice, and looked up in awe. He had found a creeping vine that clung to the side of the old stones, its tendrils thicker than his forearm and the leaves larger than an adult’s hand. He was already clinging to it, and was a third of the way up the wall.

"What’s at the top? What do you see?" The smallest of them, a 9 year old girl, called up to him. Her blue eyes were wide as she gazed up the tall ruin.

"I’m not at the top yet, silly!" And he proceeded to fix that by continuing his progress up the wall. His raven black hair whipped in the wind, but that didn’t make him pause or hesitate.

"Be careful!" His older brother called out worriedly.

"He’ll be fine," The girl flipped a hand airily. "Narduk is always fine.”

Irritation flashed across his face, but she didn’t notice, looking eagerly up at Narduk as he neared the top of the tower.

"You should be a little more cautious, Ennie. What if your father finds out you’re out with us again?"

She rolled her eyes in comic exasperation. “You’re such a worrywart, Werun. I don’t care if he catches me with you. Him and the rest of the adults are all just gossiping hens, outcast this, dangerous that.” She turned to eye him. “Don’t you want to play together?”

"Of course I do!" He protested. "But I don’t want you getting in trouble…nor Narduk," He added hastily.

"You both worry too much," She sniffed with a charming toss of her brown curls. "Ooooh! Look! He’s at the top!"

"What do you see?" Werun called up.

"Nothing, really." Disappointment was clear even in the distance of his voice. "Though the view is amazing. There’s a gap here, I can see inside the building." His voice grew excited. "I say, you two should come up here! There’s something— aarrgghh!"

"NARRY!" Werun hollered, green eyes wide with fear. Ennie was already grasping the vines and pulling herself up, quick as a monkey. Werun hastened to follow suit, his imagination going wild as the two clambered up as fast as they could.

Visual: writeworld prompt
Music: FFX - Lucca

exercise 1B: When he walked into the room, my first thought was…”

Amateur. His jagged steps practically screamed it. The dim, flickering light of the fireplace lit nervous, shaking hands. His face was strained, as one trying to act casually, but his eyes flicked back and forth too quickly, from faces to clothing; an appraising look of one who doesn’t know what he’s doing. He sat down with a sudden movement, almost jerking the chair back. The idiot didn’t even order a drink from me, making the pickpocket stand out even more. His eyes rested on the couple across from him, a slight smile growing on his face. I turn to look at them.

A woman and a man in the opposite corner, she with a slight sneer on her face, he with a false smile that didn’t reach his eyes, eyes that darted back and forth, between the woman next to him and the door across the room.  Both are dressed to look rich, with shining jewelry and clothing cut to imitate the upper class fashion. But if you look more closely, the dress she wears is of cheap, gaudy material, and the layered shirt of the man next to her is ill-fitting, with a bad cut. On top of that, he smells like he hasn’t washed in weeks. Might be a sham, though they’ve been sitting long enough with few enough drinks that it might not be.

Another man at the bar, patch-worked clothing giving him the air of a beggar. Mismatched boots and ale-stained clothing. Only his movement betrays him; quick, sharp actions; he seems an impatient man, itching to get out of this sorry excuse for a tavern. I watch from the corner of my eye as he raises his cup and seems to take a deep drink. A sip went into his mouth, the rest onto the floor. As he turns slightly, I smile at the sight of the glint of steel. Law enforcer in disguise, it looked like. If that idiot decided to do anything in my establishment, he’d definitely get himself caught. I may have a middle-class business, but I still have somewhat of a reputation to keep.

exercise 1A: “I opened the door and walked into the room …”

Confidence. Be suave, witty, but don’t stand out. I immediately notice the hinges on the door. I like a good, stout door as much as any other person, but do tavern doors always have to squeal so much? A loud bang, and the door shuts me inside the bright interior.

“Welcome, welcome!”

The barkeeper. His mustache makes him look like a rat got glued to his face. He’s of the same profession as me, I’ve always thought, but he’s made it a legit business, and soaks his victims so deeply in stinking barrels of ale they don’t even notice when they’ve reached the bottom of their purses. I don’t let them see the bottom of their purse; I simply take the whole thing, or cut the bottom out. Merchants. Disgusting class, if you ask me. They’re thieves as much as I am, but they sweet-talk their targets into giving their money willingly. They make it so their customers only have themselves to blame for losing their money. At least I give them someone else to blame.

I walk across the room with slow footsteps and sit down in a corner where I can see everyone . It’s important to pick your targets carefully. Take opportunity when she drops by, but planning ahead of time saves me the hassle, and is less likely to get the authorities on my heels.

In the opposite corner, a couple sits together. Both are dressed in middle-class clothing. They remind me of a rich couple I had recently gotten away from with a healthy amount of money. Well, granted, they weren’t that rich, but I still had managed to get a relatively- ah, well, enough to buy a meal or two, anyway. Well,  I guess the tavern has a good enough reputation that the upper class come in every now and then. I allow a small smile to creep across my face. Those two would be a good option. I’m sure they have a good amount of silver in their pockets. All it would need is a casual bump on the way out. I’m a professional, after all, so I’ll probably be able to get it in one go. Well, I haven’t exactly done this too many times, but I still consider myself a professional anyway. My success rate has been one hundred percent, after all. Well, except for that one time- ah, but no need to think of that, no need.

I look around for any other targets, ignoring the merchantman’s steady gaze. He’s probably looking at the dirty beggar in front of me. An ugly-looking man with patch-work clothing drank deeply from his cup, some of the stuff dribbling down his sordid face. He wouldn’t have anything on him. Even if he had any pennies, he should at least spend them on cleaning himself up. Well, I suppose I’ll head outside to get away from his stink. I’ll wait at a convenient spot for the couple when they exit.