Chapter 17

120 21 28

Leithan was too early to visit his mother, so instead of the tram, he walked to the East Side. He decided to stop by Little Cheztrian, where you could find all the best Cieltz products if you knew how to see through the eye-catching crap.

By now, the sun was out, and Leithan was glad he'd left his coat behind.

Compared to the West Side's Central Plaza, where all the shops and stalls were neatly organized and lined up in tidy rows, Little Cheztrian was messy and all over the place. The shops all looked different – some appeared closed-down or completely vacated, a few even had broken windows.

It didn't matter, because the action was outside.

Most of Little Cheztrian was a large flagstone expanse where merchants, artisans, or even travelers could try to sell or barter whatever products they had on hand. Many of them simply spread out a blanket or sarong across the flagstones and arrayed clothing, jewelry, cooking accessories, spices, liquor – so on. Sometimes with portable canopies at the ready for when it rained.

A Cieltz woman had once told Leithan that Little Cheztrian didn't remind her at all of Cheztrian.

Apparently, Cheztrian was this big city where buildings were mostly gray and people didn't do their shopping outside, and there certainly were no colorful blankets or canopies anywhere.

Leithan supposed the name Little Cheztrian fit, if not for the appearance of the place, because of the people that hung out here. A majority of Cieltz, or partly-Cieltz folk gave the area its unique vibe, with Rengleam East Siders casually mixing in, and sometimes even a few Yoxai from Clan of the Fox.

Asheth Island was situated pretty much exactly in the center of the Siren Ocean, between the two continents where Rengleam and Cieltz respectively thrived, so it had become a typical port of call over the years.

Leithan bought a bottle of something called thrandzir – a very strong, greenish, herbal Cieltz liquor that Fin, his mother's cellmate, loved. Jasper quite fancied the stuff too, actually, and Fin was inclined to share, on a good day.

Then, he lingered by a stand of watches, but found them too expensive. He'd buy one at Ella's shop tomorrow instead, he was already going for his haircut anyway.

He looked at some of the other displays, but he already had enough gifts for his mom, and his messenger bag was full almost to the point of bursting.

Still, he had a bit more time to spare, so he traveled the rest of the way to East Harbor and stopped in front of the Snake Charmer.

Built with sandstone blocks and standing three-stories tall, the famous East Harbor inn wasn't just an inn, it was a bordello and everyone knew it. The City Watch too, but they rarely came this far east of New Rimar, and mostly they seemed okay with tolerating it from a safe distance.

The bordello was famous because it was pretty much the only one. Owned by a half-Cieltz woman named Darlene, but everyone called her the Queen of the East Side because she also owned both the East Harbor pub and the Hive.

Leithan got lucky, the girl he wanted to see was out on the porch, having a smoke.

"Hey," she said, leaning her skinny hips against the railing. "What are you doing here? You wanna switch careers?"

She was joking, of course, a smile in the corner of her mouth, but he played along.

"I thought about it, but I'm not pretty enough."

She seemed to disagree, "Don't sell yourself short."

He climbed the porch stairs and stood with her. She took a draft of smoke, blew it to the side. A Cieltz cigarillo, Leithan noted, not voss.

Son of No CityWhere stories live. Discover now