The city of Trin had been called Trinity many ages ago. Many small wars and battles had been fought over it. Now there was peace but it was not always an easy peace. The city was in the junction of three rivers and at the junction of three countries. There were three city lords, one from each country.
The city had hundreds of man made stone canals instead of streets. On each side of a canal was a walk that bordered the houses, stores or shops. To the southeast between the river and one branch was Norman. To the southwest between the river and another branch was Cidney. The last third was to the north and spanned the branches into the main river and called Antha.
Together they made up the city of Trin. The city had three different city Guardsmen, one for each sector but there was a fourth. They were simply called the Watch and handled disputes between areas of the city and or Guardsmen. Unlike the uniforms of the three areas theirs was a plain grey.
I swung down from the horse and looked around as I stretched. I had asked my duke for something different and he had sent me here. Granted I had grown up beside a large river but this was something else. I turned and moved to the pack horse and pulled off the two packs. I nodded to the caravan master, “thank you sir.”
He smiled, “anything for a friend.”
I grinned as I shouldered one pack and turned to walk into the city. I had a map of sorts but the place I was going to was not marked and did not have anything to show what it was. I crossed a lot of high arched foot bridges before I came to the first large one over the eastern branch of the river.
This one was stone and had several huge stone supports under it. A city guardsman in red was at the southeastern end and when I reached the other side the city guardsman wore a dark blue uniform. He looked at me as I turned and headed southwest towards the point. There were a lot more bridges before I stopped and looked at an intersection of canals.
I looked at the signs and crossed a last bridge and walked into a large shop. The shopkeeper glanced at me while helping a woman. I touched a bronze clasp I was told to wear and he gestured towards the back of the shop. When I stepped through the curtain a tall woman in a grey uniform looked up from a desk.
She sat back as she looked me over, “you would be Hunter Cartir.”
I nodded and she gestured to a table, “set your things there.”
I put the packs on the table and she pointed to a chair, “first we do not wear edged weapons except a single knife. Each of the three sections have a Watch house. Each is behind a shop and hidden. We are not the city Guardsmen. When they can not cross from one area into another they contact us.”
She nodded to a map, “we are the only law that is allowed to cross into all three sections of the city. When we arrest someone we take them to the Guardsmen to face a judge or magister. With all the canals and water it is a very bad idea to wear armor.”
I snorted and then grinned, “and walking takes time.”
She nodded, “did you notice the system of ropes over every canal?”
I nodded and she smiled, “besides poling the street barges or boats they usually use those to pull them up stream using a type of pole with a catch on the end. Once you learn the canals it is easy to get where you are going. For now you will be assigned here. Through the other door is our supply and headquarters.”
She looked me over, “try to find a place to stay that is not far. There is a list of places on the wall by the supplies. Draw uniforms and get them fitted and be back tomorrow morning. Our shifts can go from twelve hours to as long as we need you.”
The uniform turned out to be very comfortable and did not take long to get fitted. Instead of a night stick I found a staff. I used iron studs and tacked them around on each end and added a brass foot cap on both ends. I looked at the list of places to stay and went to grab my packs. I went north and crossed two canals before I entered an old tavern.
There were several people already here even though it was early. The man behind the bar looked ancient and I nodded to him, “I am here about a room.”
He might look extremely old but I saw the way his eyes searched me and stopped on the bronze clasp. He nodded, “a silver a week.”
I agreed and he moved out from behind the bar, “I am Jacob.”
I began to follow him, “Hunter.”
He led me up to the attic and opened the door and I stepped in and looked around. It was very large and had two standing closets, a table and a wide bed. I set everything down, “perfect.”
I pulled out my belt pouch and fished out a silver and handed it to him. He nodded and handed me a key before leaving. I took a deep breath and began to unpack and put everything into one of the closets. I changed and went out and walked around the area to learn it. I ate in a small corner eatery and then returned to my room and went to bed.
I was up early and dressed in the grey uniform and left. When I stepped into the shop a slim man in a uniform like mine turned. He nodded and gestured as he headed for the door, “you are with me.”
He strode out and turned to the left and I followed. It was not long before I realized we were headed to the southeast, “we going to Norman?”
He glanced at me, “they had a kin killing that went into Cidney. The Guard on the south bridge will have the name and description of the wanted man.”
I walked beside him and when we reached the bridge the Guardsmen on this side frowned at us. The ones on the other side just looked pissed. I leaned on the staff and Eric, my partner growled, “you have his name and description?”
One of the Guardsman glared, “about your height. Sandy hair wearing grey pants and a brown button shirt, the buttons are horn. His name is Mort Clemins and you will find him at the Scarlet Fish.”
I shifted, “why are you angry at us?”
Eric glanced at me and started to open his mouth. The Guardsman spit, “I should have the right to go get him.”
I straightened, “trade me clothes. You can leave me your weapons and take my staff and you can go get him.”
Eric stiffened as the Guardsman snorted, “give you my weapons? I am not giving you my weapons.”
I shrugged, “if you want to go after him you can wear my clothes but we are not allowed edged weapons.”
The Guardsmen looked at each other and I turned and then looked back, “I feel sorry for you. You get to carry a sword and dagger and if someone attacks you they get killed. Now us ... when we get attacked we have night sticks and staffs but we get to beat them bloody so they get to feel it longer.”
I started walking and Eric fell in and looked at me. Behind us I heard chuckling and he shook his head, “offering to exchange clothes?”
I grinned, “they enjoy their fancy uniform and the weapons.”
He grinned, “and now they are thinking.”
I nodded, “and when we bring Mort Clemins back I am sure he will get a few extra lumps on the way to the magister.”
He laughed and the Cidney Guardsmen looked at us funny. Eric led the way and it was twisted and finally we reached a large tavern. I was a little surprised there were so many people inside this early in the morning. Right away I saw the man we had come for and started for him. Eric murmured as we walked, “watch yourself.”
There was a large group of men with the man we were after and I leaned on my staff, “Mr Clemins you are wanted in Norman.”
He grinned, “this is not Norman.”
The group of men laughed and one took a step towards us while pulling a dagger, “go away before...”
I straightened and snapped the staff down on his wrist and then whipped the other end around into the side of his head. He screamed as the dagger spun away and then he dropped. Another man yanked at a sword and Eric started to move. I stepped and jabbed and the end of the staff slammed into his forehead.
He dropped and the others in the group growled and reached for knives or daggers. I grinned, “come gentleman. For each one I take I make two silvers and you get twenty lashes.”
They looked at each other and moved back and I pointed the staff at Mort Clemins, “you will come with us or I will break your arms and legs and toss you into a canal.”
His face whitened and his hands moved away from his weapons, “it was a fair fight and...”
I moved to him, “we are not here to judge you. Tell the magister.”
I turned him and pulled a braided leather cord to tie his wrists. I took his weapon belt off and put it over my shoulder before I bent to slap the two men awake. I pulled them up and tied their wrists and took their weapons. Eric did not say anything as I started pushing them out. As we started back to the bridge he looked at me, “why take the other two?”
I snorted, “driving a point home.”
We stopped at the near side of the bridge and I pushed the two men that had threatened us to the Guardsman. They shifted as I took off their weapon belts and held them out, “assaulting the Watch is the charge. I believe the magister normally gives them twenty lashes in public. The weapons are to be sold or destroyed, your choice.”
We started walking as the Guardsmen looked at the two prisoners. At the other end of the bridge Eric gave the prisoner a push to the two Guardsmen. I took his weapon belt off and tossed it to one of them, “we only got to thump a couple of his friends.”
.... There is more of this story ...