I’ve revisited the opening for Borrowed Luck so many times. First time, there was too much setting. It took too long for something to happen. Then… I jumped into the action too quickly. Why do we care about this guy who’s getting into a fight? Then I reworked it.. to show Kirrin running an errand and then loafing around down at the docks. Fishing. But– for someone who becomes a thrill-seeker.. does fishing really feel right? no. No, it didn’t:) SO– I think I have finally found a balance that gives some background, setting, character etc while keeping the opening page/s interesting.
Let me know what you think:)
Even in the middle of the day, Tatak Square was bustling with a mix of merchants, locals and customers. Vendors shouted across the market, hoping to attract customers to their stalls. The crowds milled about, jostling each other under the bright sun. Kirrin wove through the crowd, making his way directly to one of the wine merchants.
The exclusive inn where he lived and worked, had a new arrival and the owner was worried about running out of wine on short notice.
The solution? Send Kirrin traipsing out to procure additional supply.
The middle of the day was generally his own time, even if he didn’t have that much to do. In this case, it gave him an excuse to get away, before someone could grab him, “if you have moment”
It only took a moment to order three casks of wine plus an additional fine brandy and give delivery instructions to the merchant, who looked quite pleased with the large order.
Then Kirrin moseyed through the market, catching the spicy pungent scent of meat pastries. He realized he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. As he walked over, he reached toward his belt.
Damn! he swore to himself. He’d left in a hurry and forgotten his coin purse.
His stomach rumbled as he eyed the table.
It was a long walk home. He glanced around, noticed a few customers waiting for the merchant, who was busy unloading some fresh pastries from the wagon.
Just then, a young boy dashed by and without thinking about it, Kirrin gave the child a light shove. It wasn’t enough to hurt him but it sent the boy crashing into the end of the table. The customer closest reached out instinctively to grab hold of the boy and help him up.
“Hey!” the merchant shouted, turning his attention to the minor distraction. “Watch yourself, you filthy little troublemaker! All of you, running around the market and causing all sorts of mischief!”
Evidently, if you weren’t a paying customer, you must be some shiftless begging derelict.
Kirrin took advantage of the ruckus and slipped a meat pie off the other end of the table and disappeared into the crowds.
I’ll drop the coins at his table the next time I come to the market. So, it’s not really stealing.
Despite his promise to make good, he decided not to linger in the square, so he took his prize and headed down towards the docks.
Before he even reached the lower level of the eastern tier, he caught the light scent of vanilla and citrus, coming from the Tagas trees across the harbor. Underneath that, he could also smell wet rope, sweat and dirt coming from the wharf.
He leaned on the stone balustrade and watched the ships sailing in. The docks had a different energy than the market, as workers loaded and unloaded ships, bantered and argued back and forth with little pretense of courtesy or manners. Kirrin imagined where each ship might have come from and what it might be like to travel to those places.
After a while, he looked up, scanning the eastern sky for the Nibbin. Nothing. The tiny silver moon had set.
How long ago?
If the Nibbin had finished its second pass, he knew it was mid-afternoon. Probably late afternoon. He’d have to hurry if he was going to get home in time for the evening barn chores.
Breshan’s balls! He swore to himself.
Guests’ horses needed grooming and feeding, stalls cleaned, chickens fed and eggs collected. Harness leather would need oiling and any other repairs that had come up while he was out. The Red Coach Inn maintained impeccable standards and Kirrin didn’t like being late.
He jumped to his feet, wound the fishing line into a tight coil, and tucked it into his pack. Then he dashed back towards the stairs that led into the main city. By the time he got to the top, he was out of breath and sweating from the heat.
Wiping his forehead, Kirrin blinked as he stepped into the bright afternoon sunlight at the south end of the plaza. Raising a hand, he shaded his eyes against the glare, as the afternoon heat rose in waves off of the paving stones in the empty square. The market was over for the day, leaving just a few sweepers cleaning up.
As his eyes came into focus, he made out three figures arguing with each other. Kirrin spotted thick curly hair by the base of the statue, a practice sword in one hand, a jug in the other.
Drunk idiots pretending to be soldiers! As if the city watch would recruit a bunch of illiterate dockworkers.
Kirrin recognized one of the voices. So did every bone in his body.
Aldon worked on the docks, giving him a lot more muscle than Kirrin had. And he had a nasty streak. The other two, Traz and Freil, were his lackeys, drinking and fighting as a trio.
Kirrin tensed, taking a step backward. Too late. Aldon had spotted him.
Any single one of them and he might have stood a chance. All three of them together? “Breshan’s balls!” he swore, taking another step backward.
It’s a big city! How do I always run into these three?
With red hair and a foreign mother, Kirrin had always been a target. Foreigners came and went from Tatak Rhe. Merchants and traders as well as travelers. He wondered if others got harassed or if it was only for those who tried to stay. His mother seemed to do fine, working at the inn, aside from the occasional client that grew difficult.
Of course, most of their patrons were from outside the city. Aldon and his like were born and bred from the lower docks. Far less tolerant of outsiders than the wealthy elite who profited from their presence.
He’d learned how to avoid these three, who were a bit younger and not that bright. He doubted he was going to be that lucky today.
End of opening. On Borrowed Luck is Available at Amazon and Kindle Unlimited