April 17, 3969 BC, City-State of Venice
Once we arrived inside the city proper Steve Jobs made a beeline straight for the home of the Venetian ruler, Doge Martino Felipe. We were under the impression we were to join him, but to our surprise he insisted we explore the city instead and leave him to his own devices.
Lars, Ralph, Otto, David, Martin, Joseph, Peter, and Carl wasted no time and set off immediately in search for the nearest place to eat. Alfred went off on his own, saying something about "studying the city's architecture." George went off on his own as well, heading to the city center to see if he could make some trades for some supplies. This left Lucas and myself.
He turned to me. "What do you want to do?" I shrugged. "Walk around and take a look at the place, I guess." So that's exactly what we did.
There wasn't much to the city; it was slightly smaller than Berlin, and did not have quite as many notable buildings. There was certainly a life to it, though. The abundance of food brought in from the farms and fishing boats had made Venice a very populated place, and the streets were bustling with activity. Lucas groaned about having to push through the crowds, but I didn't mind at all. As a matter of fact, it gave me a good feeling, as if I were truly alive and a part of something.
We crossed into one of the less-populated streets, where there were only a few groups of two or three citizens making their way through. Lucas and I walked on, chatting about this and that, until we heard a scream coming from one of the alleys. We exchanged glances and both got a firmer grip on our clubs. Our walk turned into a run as we rounded the corner into the alley the scream originated from. We were both taken back with what we saw.
A Venetian girl, looking to be in her late teens, was lying upon the ground, her clothes torn and ripped. A large Venetian man loomed over her, his tunic and bald head covered in muck and filth. As it dawned on me what had happened, my shock turned to disgust and anger. If I was angry though, Lucas looked enraged.
"What's going on here?" he shouted at the man. Both and the girl turned to look at us.
"None of your business, stringbean," the man growled back, "Now get outta here."
The girl, who had been panting, drew a breath and said hurriedly, "Please, help me, I'm-"
"SHUT UP!" the man roared, and he gave her a swift kick in the ribs.
Before I had even registered what he had done, Lucas leapt into action.
He rushed the man, who made a grab for him. He dodged and clubbed the man in the stomach. The man doubled over, trying to catch his breath, but before he could, Lucas drove his club into one of the man's kneecaps, sending him plunging to the ground. He then turned his back to the man and mad his way toward the girl. But he had only gone a few steps when the man stirred and tried to get up. By this point I had the good sense to know to jump in. Before the man could get up I brought my club down on his head, knocking him unconscious.
The man dealt with, Lucas and I focused our full attention on the girl.
She had dark hair and a pretty if dirty face. I realized her clothes, already in shreds, weren't very substantial to begin with it. I forced myself to look elsewhere.
Lucas knelt down next to her. "It's alright," he said, in a soothing and gentle voice I had never heard from him, "Everything is going to be okay."
"Thank you," she replied to him in a strained voice, "Thank you both."
"Who was that man?' I asked, gesturing towards his limp figure.
"A client," she said, "The worst kind of client. The kind who doesn't know when to stop." Seeing our confused looks, she added, "I'm a prostitute."
Prostitution had arisen a few decades ago. Due to man's superiority to women, they had a harder time finding work, and thus usually had to marry in order to survive. Prostitution wasn't very big in Berlin; we only had about five or six in a population of a couple hundred. Rumors and stories had come back with the merchants on their trips however; they often spoke of the prostitutes of the cities they had just returned from. In Genoa, a distant city-state, they were apparently so many prostitutes that they had their own hut called a "brothel." Prostitutes were often looked down upon, seen as women who had failed at both marriage and conventional work and who now had to sell their bodies just to survive.
Looking back at her I suddenly noticed her left pant leg was stained red. I tapped Lucas on the shoulder and gestured toward it. "Her leg's bleeding."
Without hesitation Lucas took off his shirt and starting ripping it into strips of cloth.
"What's your name?" he asked her as he began wrapping the strips of cloth over around her leg.
"Claudia," she said, "And what about yours?"
"I'm Lucas," he said with a smile.
"I'm Erik," I chimed in, but neither of them seemed to notice.
"Erik," Lucas said without looking at me, "Why don't you go to the Doge and tell him what happened here? I'll look after Claudia."
"I bet you will," I grumbled as I turned and left the alley.
The Doge's home wasn't hard to find. I just looked for the grandest house in the city.
It was smaller than the Berlin Palace, but nonetheless impressive. Perhaps most impressive about it was the fact it was located right on the oceanfront, as if it was the bridge between the city of Venice and the ocean itself.
Two guards stopped me as I approached the entrance.
"Who are you and why are you here?" One asked.
"I'm Erkenbald Herrman," I replied, "German Warrior. I need to speak with the Doge."
The guards exchanged a glance, than turned back to me.
"Do you have any identification?" the other asked.
"Um… no." I said, "But if you could just get Mr. Jobs, he could-"
"Mr. Jobs," the first guard interrupted, "Is in an important meeting with the Doge. If you think we're going to interrupt because some street rat thought he could get inside if he posed as a German Warrior you're sorely mistaken."
"But I am a German Warrior!' I protested, "A prostitute was attacked by one of her clients in an alley; my cohort and I managed to dispatch him, but we need the Doge to lock him up and get the girl medical attention!"
"The Doge does not deal with such matters," The second guard said, "The guards do. But, seeing as prostitutes are not recognized as citizens of the city of Venice, it makes no difference."
"I suggest," the first guard mockingly offered, "you go find someone who cares."
They both laughed as I furiously stormed away.
I returned to the inn, as it was no doubt the place Lucas would have taken Claudia once she felt up to it. I found them both inside the room Lucas and I shared, with Claudia lying on Lucas' bed as he cleaned her wound. They both turned toward me as I walked in and sat on my bed.
"I couldn't get into the Doge's house," I said, "We can expect no justice nor medical treatment."
Lucas swore, but Claudia simply said, "I am not surprised."
To be honest, neither was I. What was really getting to me was the fact that I had no way of proving I was a German Warrior. I would need to speak with Lord Bismarck when we retuned to Berlin.
"Well, what do we do now?" Lucas asked.
I shrugged. "I'd say we kicked that guy's ass hard enough for him to learn his lesson, and to seem to be making a fine medic in Otto's absence." I turned to Claudia. "Do you have a place to stay tonight?"
She shook her head. "I usually stay with my clients at night."
"She can sleep in my bed," Lucas offered.
"Well, then where will you sleep?" I asked.
"He can share with me," Claudia spoke up.
"In that case," I said, "Why don't I just bunk with some of the other guys and you two can have this room?"
"Thanks, Erik," Claudia said.
I got up to leave.
"Yeah," Lucas agreed, "Thanks Erik. You're a good friend."
"Damn right I am," I replied, shutting the door behind me.
"One day in Venice," Peter exclaimed, "And Lucas is already spending the night with a prostitute!"
We were all sitting around the fire in the inn's main room. Lucas was noticeably absent, and was, as such, the topic of discussion.
"She's injured, you idiot," Ralph shot back, "What could they possibly do?"
"Oh, you'd be surprised," Joseph said with a smirk, "People can be awfully creative in-"
"Alright," George interrupted, "I think I've had enough with this topic. So I'm changing it. Mr. Jobs was able to pull of the trade successfully. As such, we'll be leaving tomorrow with the furs. So I want everyone to get a good night's sleep."
"Bet Lucas doesn't get a good night's sleep," Peter mumbled. Carl smacked his head.
"We've leaving already, boss?" Martin asked, "We just got here! I was hoping to see more of the sights, you know?"
"I think you just want to find a prostitute of your own to rescue." David teased.
We all laughed expect George, who gave a grimacing smile.
"Everyone go to bed," he ordered as he stood, "Lest you ladies spend all evening gossiping."
There were a lot of nonchalant "Yes, sir"s as we all got up with groans and made our ways back to our respective rooms. Due to the… loss of mine, I was bunking with Peter and Alfred.
The three of us got into the room and shut the door. Peter and Alfred crawled into their beds as I crawled into my makeshift one, which was little more than a bail of hay and some blankets.
"I don't get it, Erik," Peter asked, "You saved the prostitute too, how come you aren't… you know…"
"Because I'm married Peter," I replied, "And if Joseph didn't kill me, he would tell Hannah and she would."
"I know, Erik," Peter said, "She's just been looking… different, you know?"
"Watch your tongue, Peter," Alfred warned.
"It's alright, Alfred," I said, not wanting to make a scene right before bed, "Let's just all go to sleep, eh?"
"If you say so, Erik," Alfred said. He blew out the candle lighting the room.
"I didn't mean to be rude or nothing, Erik," Peter said, "I was just-"
"S'alright, Peter," I said, already being overcome by exhaustion. But it wasn't alright.
My last thought before I finally succumbed to sleep was how much my wife had used to look like the young women Lucas was with tonight and how much we still looked like that.
A/N: Between Assassin's Creed and Crusader Kings II, the latter of which provide the music with which I wrote this chapter to, I can't wait to get to the Medieval Era. But, there's a few more loose end to tie up before we can make anther timeskip…
Hope you enjoyed the chapter. Reviews always appreciated.