Nicolas left the house and walked down the stone road.The road was lined with rows of houses on either side.Each house had a large garden, as this was not uncommon to this class in Tulin.
Nicolas kept walking down the road.In the distance, he saw some children playing tag.The young boy with ruffled hazelnut hair and a round cap ran after the young girl, who had her gold locks tied in a flowery wreath.The young girl’s bonnet wafted in the breeze, as she kept her distance from the young boy.
“You can’t catch me!” the girl tattled.
The girl ran past Nicolas, with the boy in close pursuit.
“Yes I can…” the boy huffed.
Nicolas kept walking, and suddenly noticed a mounted soldier that about to hit him.
The Tulin soldier grabbed the reins and abruptly changed the direction of his horse, missing Nicolas by just inches.“Out of my way, peasant!” the soldier shouted.
Nicolas kept walking.He began to smell fresh bread, spices, and several cooked dishes.He saw the sign prominently displayed in the center: Tulin Square.
Tulin Square was a bustling marketplace.Residents from all over the town sold the fruits of their labor.Many Tulinites saw this place as a land of opportunity.“It’s the only way to prosper”, some say.
Nicolas understood the hierarchy in Tulin Square.In Tulin, you’re either a noble, a merchant, or a peasant.In regarding the hierarchy, each Tulinite kept their distance, and didn’t associate with the other hierarchy.Merchants were the exception to the rule and associated with both nobles and peasants together.They benefited from both hierarchies so it didn’t matter to them.
Nicolas walked toward the center of Tulin Square, which displayed various bulletin boards for the Tulinites to view.There were bulletin boards that displayed announcements, bounties, job offerings, and listed miscellaneous items for sale.The common Tulin peasant shrugs when they pass the bulletins.It doesn’t make much sense to them. When they see the bulletins, they often look away to avoid ridicule from the Tulin nobles.
As Nicolas approached the bulletin boards, he heard a shout.It came from a nearby bread vendor.
“Stop, thief!” The vendor shouted.
A fairly tall boy ran, holding a couple loaves of bread.
“Stop that thief!” The vendor shouted.
A nearby fruit vendor saw the boy and tripped him, sending him and the two loaves to the ground.The fruit vendor grabbed the boy by the wrist.The boy kicked and shook his wrists but was unable to get free.He almost shook free from the vendor when a vegetable vendor grabbed his other wrist.
“We got him,” the vegetable vendor said.
The bread vendor walked right up to the boy and stood over him.“That will be two gold coins,” he demanded.
The boy shook his head and trembled. “I don’t have two gold coins…”
“You don’t, huh?I oughta fetch the Tulin cavalry on you.Soldier!”
A nearby mounted soldier came over to the vendor.“What seems to be the problem?”
“This peasant stole two loaves of bread and he will not pay for them!”
The soldier shook his head and sighed.He reached in his pouch and flung two gold coins at the merchant.“Let that peasant go.I have much more important matters to deal with.”
The vendor gathered his coins and stared at the boy.“Lucky you,” he scowled, releasing his grip.“You got off lucky this time.Don’t steal from my stand again!”
“I-I won’t…” he gasped.
The boy grabbed the two loaves and ran out of the town square.
Nicolas shook his head and turned to the bulletin board.There were scads of jobs listed.He glanced though the listings…
Tulin Square Job Listings
Blacksmith apprentice wanted!
Learn the trade of a blacksmith!
Assist him in forging metal to
create a vast array of swords,
armor and other objects! No
experience is required. Pay is
10 gold coins a day. Take this
listing to the Blacksmith’s
Guild if you’re interested.
Innkeeper apprentice wanted!
Are you a hospitable person?
Then learn the trade of an
Innkeeper! Treat and pamper
wearied guests at Tulin Inn and
learn a valuable and rewarding
trade. No experience is required.
Pay is 15 gold coins a day. Take
this listing to the Innkeeper’s
Guild if this trade is for you.
Barkeep apprentice wanted!
Tulin Tavern is looking for
fun and outgoing individuals
for this trade. Blend different
drinks and learn to make the
finest wines in Tulin! Mix
beers and spirits and work
in a lively atmosphere. The
applicant must be 18 years of
age or older. No experience
is required. Pay is 5 gold
coins a day plus tips. Take
this listing to the Tulin
Tavern if you want to make
fine drinks for the bar patrons.
Merchant apprentice wanted!
Interested in setting up your
own shop? Do you want to be
a vendor of goods? Learn the
trade of a lifetime! Become a
merchant’s apprentice! Learn
all the skills of establishing
and managing a shop to
become a successful merchant!
Experience is not required. Pay
is 10 gold coins a day.Take this
listing to the Merchant’s Guild if
you want this exciting trade.
Seamstress apprentice wanted!
Calling all fair maidens! Learn
a valuable trade and make clothing
for the fine people of Tulin! Make
clothing, trimming, and linens!
This trade is high in demand and
all maidens are eligible. Experience
is not required. Pay is 1 gold coin a
day. Take this listing to the
Seamstress’s Guild if you want a
Nicolas skipped the last job and carefully glanced at the rest of the bulletin board.A voice made him look up from the bulletin board.
“Hey you!”The voice shouted.“D’ ya think ya kin tell me wot th’ sign says?I con’ read th’ sign an’ ya look like th’ kind o’ person h’knows how t’ read.Can ya please read th’ sign fer me?”
Nicolas looked up at the vulgar and sighed. “I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”
Nicolas then ignored the vulgar and went back to the bulletin board. The vulgar kept carrying on, first pleading Nicolas to read the “sign” to him. He then complained about not having any place to work and not being able to read.Still ignoring him, Nicolas noticed several listings for seamstress apprentice and just a few more for blacksmith’s apprentice.There were several more listings for other jobs, but they didn’t interest Nicolas that much.
A finely dressed nobleman passed Nicolas to look at the announcements.“Oh.A peasant that can read?That is priceless!”
He then turned to the vulgar. “Ah.The typical Tulin vulgar! Of course you cannot read!You are not supposed to!”
The vulgar just smiled and looked at the noble.“Yer dressed up all nicely. Ya surlay look like th’ kind o’ person that can read th’ sign t’ me.Can ya d’ that fer me?”
Nicolas looked up at the vulgar and sighed. “I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”
Nicolas then ignored the vulgar and went back to the bulletin board. The vulgar kept carrying on, first pleading Nicolas to read the “sign” to him. He then complained about not having any place to work and not being able to read. Still ignoring him, Nicolas noticed several listings for seamstress apprentice and just a few more for blacksmith’s apprentice. There were several more listings for other jobs, but they didn’t interest Nicolas that much.
A finely dressed nobleman passed Nicolas to look at the announcements. “Oh. A peasant that can read? That is priceless!”
He then turned to the vulgar. “Ah. The typical Tulin vulgar! Of course you cannot read! You are not supposed to!”
The vulgar just smiled and looked at the noble. “Yer dressed up all nicely. Ya surlay look like th’ kind o’ person that can read th’ sign t’ me. Can ya d’ that fer me?”
The nobleman arrogantly grinned. “Sure. I can tell you what that sign says. It says that you are an incompetent ignoramus and that you will never amount to anything!”
“Incomp’tant? Iggerrainis? Y’know big words. Wot d’ they mean?”
“It means you are an complete idiot and you will never amount to anything!”
“It does? That’s t’ bad. My mama always tode me that I wood amount t’ someting someday.”
Nicolas shook his head and sighed. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for the vulgar. The poor vulgars always get ridiculed like that. He ignored the nobleman and continued glancing at the bulletin board. He finally tore off the listing for merchant’s apprentice. It was the only remaining listing for that job, as other jobs had at least a couple of listings or more.
He glanced at the posting that he tore off, when he noticed a tap on his back.
He turned to notice a girl a little younger than he was. The girl’s flowing chestnut hair was adorned with wreath of primroses. She was dressed in a white robe, with the end folding up over her hair. This clothing was fairly common for seamstresses.
Standing next to the girl was a boy who looked about her age. The boy’s chestnut hair was moist with sweat. His white shirt was faded and his brown coat was blackened.
Nicolas leaped back in surprise. “Ruth! You kind of surprised me there.”
Ruth covered her mouth as she giggled. “I didn’t mean to, Nicolas! We just wanted to see what you were up to. What brings you to Tulin Square?”
Nicolas looked at Bradley and Ruth. “What else? I’m just out looking for a job. I know that I need to find one. My mother kind of forced me to go out and look.”
Bradley shook his head. “Forced you? Don’t you want to work? I hate to tell you this. Working is not an option. It’s an obligation that we all must fulfill. Why haven’t you started already like you promised? We’re both younger than you and we have already put in three years!”
Nicolas let out a sigh. “You don’t need to rub it in. I just haven’t really found a job that I would enjoy doing yet.”
“Enjoy…” Bradley grinned. “You’re not really supposed enjoy work. You just pick a pick a job and go with it. After a while, it kind of grows on you and you begin to accept it. I guess what I do is kind of fun.”
“Working all day as a junior blacksmith, tempering and forging weapons with a hammer and anvil? How can that be fun?”
“Well, I don’t really do that exactly yet. I just assist the blacksmith, put the steel into the fire, and take it out. What do you call fun?”
“Training and fighting beasts. I would love to fight in Tulin’s army but I am too young to enlist. I’m stuck in this square, holding a listing to a job that I’m not that interested in.”
Ruth shot a double take. “Not interested? What listing did you get?”
Nicolas firmed his grip on the notice and brought it toward his chest. “Why do you need to see it? It’s really none of your business.”
Ruth’s eyes flared. “None of my business, huh? Give me that notice!”
Ruth lunged at Nicolas when the vulgar approached them.
“E’scuse me!” The vulgar shouted. “Y’ three look like th’ type o’ people who cud read th’ sign t’ me.”
Bradley sighed and shook his head. “Ignore him. He’s a vulgar.”
Ruth turned away from Nicolas and faced Bradley. “Bradley! You’re mean!”
With that, Ruth ran up to Bradley and gave him a shove. It knocked Bradley backward, but Bradley regained his footing. Bradley blocked all of Ruth’s strikes. Ruth then quickly yanked Bradley’s right foot back, causing him to fall flat on the ground.
“That’s what you get for teasing that vulgar!” Ruth shouted.
Ruth then turned to the vulgar. “What sign do you need help reading, kind fellow?”
The vulgar scratched his head and thought for a moment. Finally, he said “Th’ sign that I want t’ read is th’ kind o’ sign that th’ otha person is hoding. Y’ know, th’ sign that y’ tried t’ take from him?”
“You mean those job listings on the bulletin board?”
“I’ll read this one for you. It is for a priest aide at the Tulin Chapel. I strongly recommend this job since it will help you learn to read. It says, ‘Are you lost? Do you need help finding way through life? Serve as a priest aide. Assist the priest in his duties and learn the Copian Scriptures. If you can’t read this, get someone to help you. Then take this notice to the Tulin Chapel and experience a new life today!’ Here is the notice. You know where the chapel is, right?”
“Uh huh. It’s th’ big bilding wit’ th’ point on th’ top. Tank ya fer giving me th’ sign. I will go t’ th’ chapul now.”
The vulgar smiled and skipped away, holding the notice over his head.
Bradley stood up and wiped the dirt off his coat. “That was rather stupid of me to say and I apologize.”
Ruth stared forward to see the vulgar in the distance. “Don’t apologize to me. Apologize to him. He’s of the same Copian blood as you and I. Just be careful what you say next time.”
Ruth then stared at the notice that Nicolas was still holding. “Can I see the notice?”
Nicolas shrugged and gave her the notice. “Whatever. Just take it. It’s not like I want that job anyway.”
Ruth read the job description, with Bradley looking over her shoulder. “Merchant apprentice? What’s wrong with that? It makes way more than I make as a seamstress aide!”
“That’s true,” Nicolas said. “But it isn’t really anything that I am interested in. Aren’t we supposed to find what we like to do? I mean, why are you a seamstress aide?”
Ruth touched her robe and smiled. “Why? Well, it’s the only job us ladies can really do. I actually really like being a seamstress. I enjoy making clothes, bedding, and tapestry for different people. Don’t you think it’s good to help people?”
“Yes. But I would rather help people by fighting to protect Tulin. I want my duty to be to protect the people from Tulin.”
“I know what you really want to do.”
“Here we go again.” Bradley sighed. “Don’t get him started. He’ll never shut up.”
“What?!” Nicolas frowned. “What is it?”
“You should know.” Bradley said. “You talk about it all the time.”
Nicolas scratched his head. “…You mean fight as an elite soldier in Diamondheart? Yeah. I would just love that. Did I ever tell you my dad was in Diamondheart?”
Bradley rolled his eyes. “You only told us a million times.”
“And he got the highest rank in Diamondheart….” Nicolas continued.
“Diamondheart,” Bradley interrupted. “We know. Can you please stop carrying on about Diamondheart?”
Nicolas frowned. “Okay, okay. The only problem with that bulletin board is that there are no job postings for Diamondheart.”
“A guild like Diamondheart would never post a job anywhere.” Bradley frowned.
“I know. Their guild is invitation only. I know that. I have a lot of training to do if I ever want to be even close to getting in to Diamondheart. I want to get in like my father did…”
Ruth gave Nicolas the posting back. “You’re not your father. You’re Nicolas, and that’s all you will be.”
“I know. But I am like my father. I want to get into Diamondheart somehow. I know how tough it is to join but it doesn’t hurt to try.”
Bradley stared at Nicolas and shook his head. “You should just focus on getting a job for now. I mean, you’re older than us and you haven’t worked yet!”
“You need to get working,” Ruth said. “You’re almost old enough to drink!”
“Okay. I’ll get working. Before I go, I would like to know something. What are you doing down here in Tulin Square?”
Bradley and Ruth exchanged glances. “We’re both on break,” Bradley said. “We came down here to spend some of our money.”
“Well, I’ll see you two later.”
Bradley faced Nicolas and gave him a pat on the back. “Me and Ruth both need to be getting back to work anyway. Good luck, Nicolas!”
“Hope you get that job!” Ruth shouted.
©2011 K. L. Walker