[Mock-Fiction] V - Fures Misericordiam

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Aye. Tis me again.

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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9. 7 – Good Liar

Author's Note:

I was supposed to post up to chapter nine, but my chapter eight got corrupted for some reason. Sorry. Will add soon :/

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“No going back…?” said Edward, surprised.

“Aye,” said Mariqah, “No going back. I’m sorry,” she rose and put the dishes together.

Edward followed her as she walked up the stairs to the kitchen, “But I have to go back! Who’s gonna man me ship?”

“Adewale,” said Mariqah bluntly.

“But me crew! They’ll never accept a Black man for their captain!”

“He’s your quarter-master.”

“Aye, but I’m their captain!”

Mariqah turned to him brusquely, “I’m sure,” she said, “they can manage without you.”

 

“Top o’the morning to you both!” said Father Samuels, as he he saw them both walk in. He was sitting at the dining room table and had just put down his paper, “I hope you’ve gotten over the initial shock of meeting each other?”

Mariqah nodded, “Good morning, Father,” she put the dishes in the sink and began to wash them. Edward sat opposite Father Samuels and said nothing.

“Shouldn’t you be going off to work, Mari?” asked the Father.

“I will leave soon, Father.”

“Good, good. Punctuality is important,” said Father Samuels, “as is attendance.”

“Please, Father, don’t make it sound like school. Too many things about work already remind me of my high school years,” she shook her head and set the dishes in their tray to drip-dry.

 

“What do you work as?” asked Edward.

“Mari sells cakes and pastries,” replied Father Samuels.

“Cake? A rich merchant, are you, lass?”

The Father gave him an odd look, but Mariqah replied, drying her hands on a kitchen towel, “I wouldn’t call myself a rich merchant, Edward,” she laughed, “I’d say I work for him.”

“Ah, so you’re his slave-girl?”

“What? No! The man pays me.”
“Oh, oh, I see, sorry,” Edward shook his head, “You’re his mistress.”
“Edward, no. I sell his cakes.”
“His cakes, sure. Whatever you say, Mari.”
Father Samuels was giving Mariqah a queer look.

 

“I think I’ll go to work now,” said Mariqah, awkwardly. She grabbed Edward by the collar, and pulled him with her, “And I think I’ll give you a tour of the work-place, Kenway.”

“Fancy words don’t change a brothel from being a brothel, Mari,” he said, as she pulled on her coat, “Tell me. Where’s your dress and your bonnet?”

“My what and my what?” she replied, pulling on her gloves and handing Edward a pair of shoes. Then it hit her, “Oh Good God, this is going to be a long day.”
“Aye, Betty, it is. How much coin does it take?”
 

“What did you…?” Mariqah grabbed him by the collar and pinned him to the wall, “Listen to me, Kenway!” she whispered angrily, “This isn’t the eighteenth century. This isn’t the world you used to know. You had better keep your mouth shut, before people start noticing you’re odd! They’ll burn you as a bloomin’ witch at the stake if you go on the way you are! And if you keep saying what you’re saying, me with you!” she pointed towards the kitchen, “That man over there is a church-father!”

“I care little for such things, Mari.”

“Well, you’d better start caring a little more – because this country’s run by ‘em!”
Edward stared at her and then said, “Alright, I’ll shut my gob.”
“Good,” she said, letting him go.

“So you’re not a whore?”

Mariqah stared at the ceiling and sighed, “We don’t have whores any more, Ed,” she said. But then she remembered the waitresses at the shop, “Well… not ones you pay anyway.”

 

She opened the front door and stepped out, Edward following her. He kept pace with her, looking around London as if it was something he’d simply not encountered.

“Your father must be rich,” he mumbled, “to live in a place like this.”

“He’s not my father. Just a man who gives me a room to live in.”

“You’re his…”

Tenant,” Mariqah snapped.

“Aye, I was gonna say that,” said Edward defensively, “Look, I meant no offence by what I said before. I was just playing, Mari.”

“Well, in all seriousness – playing isn’t my strong suit. Not when a naked pirate steps into my life without a second’s warning.”

“Hey, look, I didn’t ask to be here!”

“I never said you did!”
“Well, you’re making it out as if I did! There coulda been a hundred different places I coulda been! A thousand! A million! Of all the wenches in the world, I had to land in on you!”
“Oh, I am so honored by the favor! To have been dignified with your ship-stink!”

 

“Erm… Mariqah?”

 

Mariqah became aware of her surroundings. People from all across the street were staring at her. Her boss coughed politely as he tapped her on the shoulder.

“Boss,” she said sheepishly, “what a pleasant surprise. Shouldn’t you be in the shop?”

“Well, I was looking for you… You’re five minutes late. But I can see why,” he indicated Edward, “Would you mind introducing me to your, er, friend?”
Mariqah sighed, “This is Edward. He’s… a foster-cousin from out of town.”

“Oh, from where?”

“Swansea.”

“Ah, quite out of country then,” her boss chuckled.

Mariqah ignored the bad joke, “I was hoping Ed could hang around the shop for a bit. Since he hasn’t got much else to do.”

“I can eat the cake,” Edward suggested.

“Aye, help yourself.”
“I assuming,” coughed Mariqah’s boss, “that these will be paid for?”
“Aye, Mr. Busy-Body. Haven’t I always paid my lot?” Mariqah pushed the door and stepped into the shop. She disappeared into the staff room for a moment and returned wearing her apron. She nodded to a table, and Edward sat at it and sighed.

 

A long while later, Mariqah – taking her break – sat opposite him, and knocked on the wood next to his snoring, downcast head.

“Eh?” he woke with a jolt, ignoring the giggle of gossiping waitresses, “Ah. Ahoy, Mari. You making good progress?”
“Hard to tell, with all those piss-pots bothering me. I think I’ve paid a fortune to get them away,” she gestured lazily to the men standing around the counter. She made to pass Edward a cup of water, but before he could reach out for it she splashed it in his face, “You look like a fish out of water, mate,” she said sympathetically.
He didn’t even make motion to wipe his face, “Aye. I can’t say I don’t feel like one,” he said drowsily, “Tell me, Mari, is there anywhere in this gloomy city a man can get a decent pint?”
“Well, the English never have given up their obsession with drink,” laughed Mariqah, “The Emperor failed miserably when he tried to ban it. Take a look around the corner, you’ll probably find a place,” she handed him some money, “Should buy you a bottle.”
He stared at the bits of paper in his hands, “This ain’t coin.”

 

“Oh right, sorry,” Mariqah briefly explained the way in which modern currency worked.

“You ain’t toying with me, Mari?”
“Aye, because my time’s worth that,” she laughed, “It’s odd, Edward, but it’s the way it works now.”

“Well, if you say so.”

“Don’t get too much into your system when you get back home, a’right? Father Samuels is already giving you all sorts a’funny looks.”
“Aye. I’ll behave.”

“You reckon you can find your way back?”

“Jaysus, Mari, I ain’t no child,” he rose to leave.

 

A man stepped into his path, “Who be this large ‘un?” he said to Mariqah indignantly, “Your brother?”

“Aye,” she said, rising and putting an arm around Edward’s shoulders, then pointing at her face and his, “Because we look so alike, don’t we, y’blind rat!”

“Who’s this?” asked Edward.

“The piss-pot I was referring to earlier,” Mariqah turned and headed for the staff room.

“Oi, I’m well richer this old lout,” replied the man.

“Where coin might buy you a wanking, stupid questions and a surly attitude don’t get you a woman!” she retorted.

“Oh yeah?” he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her towards him, “What’s he got that I don’t–”

 

He flew back as a fist slammed into his face.

 

The man looked up, touching his swollen jaw.

“Don’t touch her like that, lad,” hissed Edward, inching closer to the man, “Brother or no, I got jealousy to spare. Don’t touch her like that. Don’t talk to her like that. She don’t want a piss-pot like you, and you’d better respect it!”

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