5. Choices

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As soon as he woke up, he went to the lobby of the inn and grabbed a cup of coffee. First thing he needed to find was a map. Even if it was an area map. The way to the next town should be his next step.

He made his way to the town hall building and went inside. There he asked the clerk for the largest area map. When he received the map, he turned towards the door and saw the board. In bold letters it read 'WANTED'.

One of the posters had a familiar looking young man drawn on it. Sophron Espardat. 5000 Gold. For Kidnapping and Murder. It was marked 27 years ago.

He reached for the poster and tore it down. Next to the young man that looked like his father, was another poster. With a smaller bounty, perhaps Doren would be able to make some money this way. He tucked both away.

Walking out of the building, he saw the intimidating woman with ears. He tipped his head down and walked past her. She had noticed him and looked back. The man she was with noticed she had turned her head, stopped, and smacked her.

The smack was so loud, Doren had heard it. Turning around, he started walking towards the two.

Even though that woman had just put him in a cell days before, that was unusual. Doren had never believed in unrightful violence. There always needed to be a reason to throw the first punch.

"What gives you the right to hit her?" Doren confronted the two.

The man turned around with his hand still raised to her. "Excuse me?" he let go of the woman and walked up to Doren. The man stood over Doren, the muscles on his arms were even more toned than his.

Doren set his sack down and looked up to him. "Well, I said, 'What gives you the right to hit her?'."

"I bought her, buddy. I get to do whatever I want. It's part of the brothel contract." the man smirked. "Let's go Katrina." he grabbed her arm and walked away.

The woman looked back at him once more as she was dragged. She had fear in her eyes. While the other couple of times he ran into her, she was the one instilling fear.

This must be his first test in becoming the strongest in the world. He picked up his sack and started following the two. The streets were busy today, so their little scuttle drew very little attention. And because of that fact, Doren could blend in with the crowd of loud merchants and stay incognito.

Conflicting emotions begun filling him. What going to happen when he confronts them? This was a decision he needed to make as he tailed them. Easiest way would be to kill him, the smartest way would be subdue him.

What about the girl. The last encounter they had was a little better than their first, but this encounter could be even worse. Or it could be the best they'd had so far.

In honesty, why was he even worried about how she would treat him. He might save her, and if someone's not grateful for that, than they obviously wanted to be taken in the first place.

But if he doesn't save her, then he could possibly make an already bad decision much worse. He shivered and shook his head. Looks like he needs to figure out how to keep his nerves calm.

The two ended up at a small abandoned farm heading back towards Theedres. He had been following them for almost an hour. The sounds of Mertin were just barely audible.

In what way would he be going in. The front might be the easiest. It is right there after all. There also might be more people in there. And he took her as a slave.

The time to act was now. He crept closer to the house when the dancing of flames hit the grass. There was a window on each side of the door, and he hid under the one closest to him.

He peaked into the window and saw the woman sitting in front of the fire. The man was on the other side of the room at the sink. pumping water, he had a pot on the stove. He walked over to her with a cup and handed it to her.

"So have you found out who the ladder of the brothel is?" the man asked and sat across from her.

She sipped on the coffee he brought her and said, "A man named Master. He ships most of these poor girls from Desserney. If he doesn't make what he says for them, he kills them." Setting the cup down, she reached into her hair and installed the ears. reaching behind her she unhooked the tail. She gave him a cold stare. "And let me tell you one thing, Meko, if you ever hit me again like that, I will have your head. Understood?"

"Yeah of course. So tell me who was that kid back in town?" he learned forward and whispered, "because he has been following us since then." he pointed at the window.

She growled and stood from her chair. "Are you kidding me?" she yelled, kicking the door open. Pointing to him, he stood from his hiding spot, holding his hands up in surrender.

"I thought you were in trouble, I was just trying to help you." he cried out.

"Well you should have butted out!" she held her arms up as strings wrapped around Doren. When Doren's face hot the ground once again, the man can out of the house.

"I guess he was angry about the encounter earlier. Glad you came, kid. Now we can get another person on the inside." Meko said as he leaned down and cut the strings tying him up. "Why don't you come in and get a cup of coffee?" he held a hand out to Doren.

Once all three were inside, Katrina kept her eye on Doren. He was suspicious enough, stealing from the hard working farmers of Mertin. What could Meko be thinking, letting this random kid join them. She scoffed and turned away from the both of them.

When the coffee was poured, Meko informed the two of the new plan. Meko was going to come back with a complaint about the slave he had bought the day before, that being Katrina. When Katrina goes to the master to serve her punishment, Doren, who had been in the building the whole time, is going to sneak his way into the back.

Once he was in the back, taking care of any guards along the way, he was to find the Masters quarters by listening in for the screams of Katrina. She was to make a scene as soon as the master began talking. Prolonging the situation as much as she could.

If all goes as plan, Doren and Katrina were to find and eliminate the master at all costs. It was for the women who had been held here since they made their immigration to Etern.

Doren nodded but with a nervous tone to his voice, he asked, "So I'm going to have to kill people?"

Meko put both hands together and closed his eyes. "So," he said, "I just want to tell you what will happen if you don't help us at this point. Since you now know the full scale of our plan, I will personally see to your funeral." his brown eyes opened and stared directly into Doren's. "So what will it be?"

Doren shook and looked down. Thinking about taking a life and actually doing it are two very different things. And that was if he even had the stomach for it. At this point, not many other choices could be made.

He took a deep breath and drank the rest of his coffee in the cup. "It doesn't really look like I have much of a choice. I can't guarantee how well I'll do. I've never killed anyone before."

Meko stood up and pushed his chair to the table. "The very first time you feel blood, you'll have to make the decision yourself to whether you can keep going. You and only you can make that decision." he walked the room until he stood behind the silent Katrina. "If you can't make the right choice, Katrina here will probably die. And that is a choice she has made. It's your turn now. Save her and a dozen other woman or keep your gut soft."

Doren's eyes caught the ground again and his head moved in between his knees. He only had about six hours to make up his mind. Katrina's life as well as all these woman. Or retain his  blood less hands.

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