Prologue & Chapter 1: The Master Plan

Prologue & Chapter 1: The Master Plan

A Chapter by Mika Franolich

The plans Marcius has laid are finally coming to fruition.



A teenage girl knelt at the altar, clenching the robes of the priest before her tightly. “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.” she pleaded, head bowed, voice cracking. Her shoulders began shaking and light sobs issued out into the open air.

Startled, the priest turned around. He’d just finished praying and had risen up when the woman had accosted him. When first he’d felt the tug on his robes, he had been unsure of who was grabbing at him and his heart had leapt. Now he was just irritated. “My child, I want to help you, as it is the will of the Gods that I look after all of their creations, but really, this is highly irregular!”

The girl looked up, tears streaking becomingly down her pretty face, and the priest saw she was but sixteen years of age. “I must confess, I must!” the girl cried, before throwing herself against the priest's legs once more, wrapping her arms around them as she drenched the lapis material of his silken robe with her tears.

Mortified, the priest tried to shake her off, but to no avail. “If you must, my child, then you first must cleanse yourself-”

“No!” the girl cried as she pulled back, alarmed, and for one moment the priest thought he saw a look of anger come over her face, but it was there and gone so quickly he convinced himself that he had only imagined it. “No, I need to confess them now.”

“This is hardly proper, I must insist…” the priest began, but as he was talking there came a shrill whistle. The girl stopped sobbing instantly and stood up, suddenly completely calm. She brushed off her skirts primly, and the priest staggered back, suddenly realizing something wasn’t quite right. Faster than he could blink, the girl whipped out a knife and shoved it up against his stomach, holding it there so that it poked through his robe and pricked the skin beneath. He began to sweat nervously, making the sign of the Gods against the evil that besieged him. “Now I be takin’ that gold ye have in that offerin’ box, and ye won’ do a thing ter stop me, yeh hear?” she sneered, twisting the blade so it dug in just a little deeper. So saying, she stepped past the priest, and he fell to his knees, vigorously making the sign of the Gods once more, as if he wouldn’t have gotten their attention the first time, before clasping his hands together and turning his face heavenwards.

“Gods above, who art ever merciful…” he began. The girl at the altar turned around, having gotten everything she needed. She gave the priest a kick to his back upon hearing his words, sending him falling forward.

“Don’ be doin none o’ that now. Yer’ll be savin’ yer prayers fer when I’m gone, ye will, or elsen I’ll haf ter come back and put a halt to ‘em for ye.”

The priest turned ashen white from where he lay on the floor, and the girl ran off, cackling as she left.

She ran two blocks, turning right on Canter Lane and left on Asbury, before she finally slowed down, turning into Greengotch Alley. It was so named by the street urchins in that area because of the mold and moss that covered every inch of the wooden walls of the buildings that fenced either side of the alleyway. She tossed her long, blonde hair prissily back, ripping off the fine, pink satin skirt she had stolen off a clothesline that morning and the matching blouse, revealing a much more worn and simple shift underneath it. It was dirty and about four sizes too small, having been taken off of a tyke much tinier than her she’d found in the streets, but it covered her well enough for her liking. Out there on the streets it was kill or be killed, and Wress, the girl who had just moments before held the dagger to the priest, always came out on top when those rules were in place. She set the dress aside carefully- she would sell it later for it would fetch a pretty penny, but she couldn’t be seen in it now. As she went to slip on the tight cotton dress that she had hidden behind a barrel earlier, she felt a pair of strong arms slip around her, and she giggled, relaxing into the broad and familiar chest that was there. The hands pressed into her stomach, turning her around, and the mouth came down on hers in a crushing and brutal kiss, not that Wress minded.

“‘Ello darlin’. Get yerself riches, did ye?”

Chapter 1: The Master Plan

I smiled down at Wress charmingly. “You tell me.” I said smoothly before lifting her hand, sliding one of the priests rings onto a calloused finger. I kissed the ring where it came to rest before straightening up and looking at her. “There’s loads more where that came from. We have enough for the ship now.”

She squealed happily before throwing herself into my arms. I wrapped them around her, patting her back patronizingly, though she would never be able to tell. Wress never had been the brightest. She had her moments, but I tolerated them, as she tolerated me. Out here on the streets I was an oddity, what with my way of speaking. I could go cockney but I had never seen the point. Speaking proper could command respect but also prompt fear, if the words were right. The language of the street could never say the same, it only transmitted fear onto others. I have plans, and so I will never give up that part of myself, the part that is educated and high-class. Of course, that makes me too hoity-toity out here, but so be it. Even Wress had mocked me when she had first heard me speak, but I had showed her exactly why that was a mistake and she has stuck by my side ever since.

She pulled back and eagerly reached out to grab ahold of my cloak. “Go on wiff yerself, then. Lemme see the haul, ya sod.”

Knowing she wasn’t to be put off, I glanced around us suspiciously, checking to make sure there was nobody hovering about before I allowed her to pull open my cloak. Underneath was a  billowing shirt, and she lifted it, revealing the coins I had tightly wrapped in leather packages and tied there, and a wide, avaricious smile slowly spread across her face as she took it all in.

Father Ervin, for that was his name, had been taking tithes from the people to, “Save their immortal souls from the Gods’ fury.” There formed a line that stretched all the way down the street when he began telling people payment was the only way they could join the Gods’ in immortal bliss. When Wress and I had heard that, we knew it was the perfect opportunity. Father Ervin was too much of a greedy b*****d by a half to disperse the money out or put it towards honest causes. We knew he would keep it for himself, so we had formed a plan. While Wress had distracted him and the rest of the servants and pastors of the church were occupied with setting up for the next service, I’d snuck into their rooms and found their stashes of gold. But as the saying goes, their loss… is our gain.

“Come ‘ere ye beast of a man. I wants me a kiss, I do.” I was all too happy to oblige. Wress knew how to use her tongue, and she was a rare beauty to boot. She had long blonde hair and round, green eyes, that could go from wide and innocent to stormy in a flash. Her lips were full and soft, and right now they felt damn good pressed against mine. I splayed my hand across her lower back, pressing her up tight against me as the other one slipped down lower... with a groan I broke away.

“We have to leave, now.” I told her, running a finger across her enticing lips. Unable to resist, I leaned down and gave it one final nip. “The gang will be waiting for us, after all. We wouldn’t want them to send Vik after that priest because they suspected he did something to us.”

“An’ why is it that we don’t be wantin’ tha’? I think it would be a right bit of fun ta watch tha’ sod get a good thras’in’.” she giggled, a dark light coming over her eyes. She always was a vindictive one, not that I’m complaining. Quite the contrary- it suits me. I gave out a low chuckle as she threw on her dress, making sure it settled into place and that her breasts were properly on display. Satisfied, she came up to me and I slid an arm around her waist, pulling her close.

“You are an exciting woman.” I told her, emphasizing the words with a squeeze to her waist. My eyes lit up as I thought about what was coming. “Just think, soon we’ll have that ship, and be city rats no more. We’ll sail the open seas and make a true living, and anyone who stands in our way will regret it. It’ll be us against the world.”

She reached up and slid her hand across my chest, smiling all the wider at my words. “I knews ye could do it. I can’ wait to get me hands on a nice, fat ship owned by some stin’in rich lord what who don’ know left from right. I’ll imagine the looks on ‘is piggish face when he hears ‘is ship was cap’ured by some mangy pirate crew.” she gave out a lusty laugh at that, her breasts heaving, but I tensed, whipping my eyes from side to side. Satisfied none of the people around us had heard, I pulled her to the side and shook her violently. Her eyes flew open in surprise.

“Quiet yourself, you daft idiot. We don’t want people learning of our plans now. No more talking until we reach our kip.” I told her firmly, before grabbing her arm and forcing her along behind me. I had my bouts of anger, but she never minded. She liked it when I was rough with her and, considering it is not in my nature to be gentle or courteous, it worked out well between us.

We hurried along until we finally reached it- Satin Treasure, a ruined dive that I doubted had a single scrap of satin in it and was in no way a treasure. This whorehouse was where I first met Wress, who had been picked off the street by the proprietor, a fellow I was now happy to call my friend and went by the simple name of Red. While Red was by no means trustworthy, being of the same sordid mix as me, he was wise enough to know not to get on my bad side. We got along well, him and I- he didn’t interfere with my plans, and I made him a wealthy chap. I ushered Wress into the joint, giving a grim smile at the thought of all the adventures Red had given me over the past few years. I’m not just a thief- I am the muscle, a bodyguard at some times, a collector of money and material goods at others. I am a top notch scam artist, being able to mix with those of the upper class without drawing suspicion, and I always have an ace up my sleeve. Mostly, though, I am a thief.

“Wress, there be me top- sellin’ beauty. Marcius, scum of the scum, come, sit! Have a drink on the house.”

“Drinks on me tonight, Red.” I said, making a swiveling motion with my finger to tell him to start passing them around. Our silent signal. I had succeeded. “And a pig of ear for every man who has stood by my side through the years!”

There was a roar from my companions at my words, and those with mugs raised them in the air, the watered-down ale in some splashing out. I watched the ale fall to the floor with a blank expression, but inside my senses were curling back in disdain. The glasses here are so dirty it’s an improvement when Red spits in them to clean them up. The ale tastes like piss more often than not, and is about the same temperature. It’s hardly sophisticated drinking. If it weren’t for the fact that Wress worked here, I would never frequent the place, but I had to make sure Red stays away from what used to be his. Besides, the people that come here are my kind of people. Thieves and slashers, a sordid mix the lot of them are, and I fit right in at the top, where I am most comfortable being. I slide onto a rickety barstool, laying down a handful of coins with a tiny clink that I had already had out and ready.

“Ye seem to be righ’ top o’ the barrel, Marcius.” Red remarked casually as he hawked a loogie into one of the glass mugs. I grimaced distastefully before pulling myself together.  Cockney code for doing well.

“I think I’ll be able to advance myself well enough.” I responded, just as coolly. Nobody watching would be able to discern what we were actually saying. Wress snuggled up closer to me.

“Come on Wress, leave off. You’ve been all me on day.”

She put on a pout that was as much pretense as an actor giving lines. “Ah come on now, ye bu’er. I just wants meself a kiss is all.”

I lifted up the mug of ale Red had slid my way, holding it just below my lips as I continued looking pointedly away from her. “Don’t you have work to do?”

Red shoved a tray at her when I said that, finally realizing I wanted to be left alone. “Get on with yerself, woman. Yer not bein of no use over here.” he growled threateningly, and Wress hurried off, her silver hair streaming behind her. She made sure to throw in an extra wiggle for my sake as she walked away. I turned my attentions back to my drink, nursing it slowly. I hadn’t been bothered by her attentions, only by her motivation behind them. Her coworker, Valerie, the new flavor of the month, had been making eyes at me, and Wress always had to make her territory clear. Of all her quirks, that one was by far the most aggravating.

Behind me, the door banged open, and I heard people struggling in.

“... an’ I swear, if Marcius in’t here, imma go beck an’ maek th’ son of a bich sorry ‘e lied to uss,” a voice slurred.

“Did you see his face?” another voice, much more aware than the last one, cackled as I slowly spun around on the stool, eyebrows raised.

“Please, I’m an agent of the Gods, spare me an’ save yerselfs from t’eir wrat’s!” the last one said, in mock exaggeration of who I’m guessing was the Priest Ervin.

“Vik, how good to see you. I see you’ve had a little bit of a romp. A pity I couldn’t have watched.”

“AYE, MARCIUS!” Vik roared out, storming up to give me a mighty clap on the shoulders, a bit of a stumble in his step. “I was jus’ tellin me coys ‘ere dat we was gering ter get dat damn phreach effin he hurt yer.”

“Yew guys got drunk? Where? Yew shouldna have wasted yer coin a’ another place, yew coulda spent dose nickers here.” Red growled as he furiously wiped out a mug, the anger in his voice bringing out the cockney accent of his even further.

“Don’ ye be worryin’ about that, now, ya sti’ler. We snuck in the back of Werblin’s Bar and did a li’le half inch, if ye catch me meanin’.” Tryver told Red, shooting a little wink at Valerie. She batted her eyelashes sweetly back at him, raising her skirt higher along her thigh as she turned to talk to the working girl beside her, like it was all completely natural. He stared, licking his lips.

“Get her while you can, mate. Soon enough we’ll be out on the sea and you’ll not see women like her.” I whispered to him, slipping him a coin. I wasn’t worried about the money, I had plenty enough. I’d been saving up two whole years for this, scraping along anything and everything I could.

“Rig’, tanks, Marcius. Yer alrigh’.” he told me blandly before strutting towards her confidently, looking for all the world like a preening peacock. Around me people stormed and laughed. Wress dodged grabbing hands of the patrons, giving them coy looks as she flirtatiously wagged a finger slowly back and forth at them. Vik and Daric were laughing as they told Red and a couple of attentive patrons all about what had happened with the priest. I smiled into my mug, content. This was my natural habitat, no matter the circumstances of my birth, and if I could go back I would do all of this all over again. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I don’t know how bloody late it was when I stumbled up the stairs to the room Wress and I shared, Wress under my arm, but it seemed like it was about time for the roosters to start cawing. I don’t usually get this drunk but tonight was a special occasion, and I’d had every intention of celebrating.

“Less get ye to bed. Blimey, ye shot too much o’ tha’ pigs ear. Yer blasted.”

“S’only a smittle home. Can ya tek me drunk?” I slurred, my head buzzing as I stumbled sideways. “Whys tis floor moving on me? Is maken it damn impoc’ble ta walk.”

“Don’ ye be worryin’, I be sure the bed ‘ill stay still.”

“Yer sso beashiful. Les have a kiss shweet.” I leaned towards her, trying my best to reach her lips. Something felt so wrong. I pushed the thought aside, like ignoring it would make it not be true, but the world around me was starting to spin.

“Now, now, let’s just get ye ta bed firs’. Then we’ll be seein’ about dat kiss.” those were the last words I heard before I pitched forward, and somewhere in my mind I registered a high-pitched squeal, but everything else was just a distant buzz that calmed me like the sea…

© 2017 Mika Franolich

My Review

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This was excellent. Your talent for writing is very good. I loved how well you could write in an accent. I wish I could do that. Hopefully you will be adding more of this story soon. I don't want to keep reading more.

Posted 10 Months Ago

Mika Franolich

10 Months Ago

Oh gosh! Thank you so much! You're my first ever review so I'm really excited. ^.^
There's a.. read more

10 Months Ago

Well you are a very talented writer. I can see you going far. This chapter was excellent.

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Added on November 4, 2017
Last Updated on November 4, 2017
Tags: Adventure, theft, romance, theology, priesthood, crime, cockney


Mika Franolich
Mika Franolich


Just a 20 year old college girl with... a plan? What plan? Review me and be warned... I will review you >:) haha, jk, I promise I'm nice. more..