Chapter 2: The Market

Chapter 2: The Market

A Chapter by TheGrayOutcast

Chapter 2: The Market

    Above the catacombs and surrounding the Plated Keep is the hubbub and clamour of Cugluch's famed commercial district. Everyday, travellers pile into the city to ply their wares and stock up on rarities from around the globe while the local merchants (predominantly the reptilian and amphibian folks) take advantage of the influx of foreigners, selling 'authentic' war relics and other fraudulent goods. They may be merchants to homelanders but, to foreigners, the amphibians are as slimy as they look.

    At the heart of the colourful tents and awnings that deck the main square, juxtaposed perfectly with the jagged edges of the Keep, is a ring of lighter cobblestones guarded by the canine militia. They circle ominously, staring out into the crowd. Every now and then, a reveller stumbles out of the hazy air of commerce and into the ring just to be rebuffed solidly by a hard staff being brought up to meet their face. “No one enters the Keep without a pass” the guards holler occasionally, attempting to be heard above the perpetual chorus of buying and selling.

    For once, however, a different commotion had formed on the ring's edge. The shouting and yelling had a bitter, vindictive edge to it and people were moving away from the sound. Normally they would almost beat each other to death to hear more. Even the clouds seemed to want a quick escape from the ruckus below, scudding quickly away. From behind them the sun finally shone down onto the parched red sandstone of the town. Amongst a pile of broken and crushed boxes lay the rather disgruntled figure of a sand wasp.

    The insect buzzed twice and struggled to his feet, evidently dazed by the impact. He gently kneaded one shoulder with his hand and lifted himself a couple of feet off of the ground. The fine wings twisting and whirring behind him reflected a faint rainbow as the moved, framing the slender shoulders and torso of the wasp as he hovered. Green compound eyes sparkled like emeralds in the dazzling sunshine and the white stripes that cut through his thorax and abdomen seemed to glow with their own light. He clicked his mandibles and shouted loudly into the depths of a shop, the doors of which now hung limp on their hinges.

    “Come on Pent, you bottom feeder! It's not theft if you didn't own it in the first place!” Vehemence dripped from every word. A click sounded as the wasp ceased his agitated flight and landed heavily on the stones.

    “I didn't own it, eh? That's why it was sitting in a now-broken case, was it?” Equal hatred spewed from the broken door, closely followed by the angry face of the shop's proprietor. “You are dirty thief, Tazz!”

    Tazz carefully studied the lizard's stature. He could have sworn that Pent had never been in full sunlight before now. It was quite a threatening sight. The lizard's skin was an opalescent blue colour, almost turquoise with flecks of navy towards the base, and it armoured a tall, quite muscled figure. Pent tensed and flexed underneath his pastel kaftan, rage swelling up inside him. Three crashing steps and he was face to face with Tazz, staring down on him. He was a good half a foot taller than the wasp and just as strong. The extra weight and height would give the anolis an advantage, but lizards couldn't fly. Tazz had him there.

    Out from the hushed crowd lumbered a chunky guard dog, his droopy eyes gazing lazily at the scene in from of him. For a moment he seemed to tense up and almost blush beneath his fur before speaking up in a surprisingly high voice.

    “Well, what be 'appening 'ere then?” he squeaked, his cumbersome black armour clinking together across the joints as he gesticulated to the general area before him.

    “This wasp is a theif!”

    “This lizard is an a*****e!”

    A new argument sparked itself up, both wasp and lizard bellowing obscenities into each others' faces. The basset hound guard watched for a moment before carefully but pointedly dropping his axe to the ground between the warring parties. Tazz shot back and crouched against a wall, his wings humming in fury while Pent turned his snout up to the side.

    “I couldn' care less about yer little gripes Pent, ever'one nicks stuff about here. It's the way o' the world.”

    “But-but, it was an insect!”

    “I know,” the guard sighed. Why had he decided to work on a Sunday? Because you are a nice person, he assured himself silently before shaking himself back to the conversation. “Again, I don't care. Jus' do what we all do, kick 'em 'til they bleed and throw 'em down a hole. Done.”

    With that, the dog sniffed and dragged his battle-axe away before walking back to the ring to resume service. Under his breath he muttered gently about getting a nicer job up north before standing at attention with his comrades. Back in the clearing, Pent squared up to Tazz, who had finally come back to the ground again.

    “Well, a fight it is then,” Pent cried triumphantly, tugging his kaftan off and tying it around the waist of his ripped brown pants. Tazz was silent. He simply pulled the fine scarf from around his neck and wrapped it around his arm. He took a deep breath and lowered himself down, legs spread, until his thorax almost brushed the floor. He raised one arm confidently behind him and stretched the other out to Pent. His finely striped abdomen stood erect, primal instincts kicking in.

    Pent adopted a more traditional stance. Planting his feet comfortably apart, he brought his arms up tight to his chest. He growled deep before springing forward, his right hand coming across to hook Tazz right under his eye. The fist never made contact, but Tazz's foot was buried perfectly in Pent's stomach. A well executed push kick brought the anolis to his knees and the wasp to rest his weight on his right leg. From here, Tazz swept around behind him with his left and delivered a powerful abdomen swipe followed by a sweep kick. The lizard was a blue blur as he shot into the wall of his own establishment. 

    Beaten but not overcome, Pent pulled himself up and tried a new approach. Next to him, a box of assorted fruits went flying cracking Tazz in the mandibles and knocking him off balance. The air filled with the thrum of wings as the wasp struggled to regain his composure. A quick flurry of scaled legs, finished by a sharp tail pin had Tazz against the floor and struggling. Blinded by the sun, he could just about make out a clawed hand coming down onto his neck. He was not prepared to lose like this. The gleaming claws never managed to make contact. Instead, they met the sharp edge of Tazz's tibial spurs. And flexibility. I have that over him too, he thought smugly as he raked the spur down the lizards scales.

    Red drops had started to spill down onto the sand under the duo before Pent realised the pain shooting up his body. He rolled over and clutched the deep wound and screamed with his whole body. Tazz pulled the scarf from around his own arm and draped it over the lizard's quaking form. 

   Silently, he slipped away as the market clamour struck up again, whispers of the fight spreading behind him and frightened faces looking disdainfully at him. He smiled to himself and stretched his arms out. It was a fine fight and he'd gotten what he wanted. From a bag tightly secured to his tergum, Tazz pulled out a string of round, purple coloured gems. They glinted and shimmered in the sunlight as they turned in a non-existant breeze.

    “Anma will be so pleased,” he mumbled. He started to think about all the old stories his grandmother, Anma, had told him. Of daring adventures and great magic, spellslinging bandits, magical bards, enchanted groves, unicorns and everything else from under a fairy tail sun.

    A wailing from around his neck pulled his thoughts off track and back into reality. He yanked on a cord attached to the ebony collar that wound like a snake around his neck. His own personal choke chain. Words filled his mind as he walked towards the ring.

    “Another client. Great. I don't really have time,” he whispered.

    The wall of guards looked down at him as he approached. None of them were below seven foot tall, but Tazz just smiled sweetly. He knew what they thought but it didn't affect him. Many thought ill of him anyway, even the ones in the same predicament. The basset hound approached him and leaned in. His breath was warm and offputting.

    “So, Tazz, what ye got goin' on in t'Keep?” he queried, his nostrils flaring involuntarily.

    “Another job Markus. Just another job,” he replied calmly, running his hand through the tufts of black hair that sprouted on top of his head.

    “Very well,” Markus snorted, standing to one side.

Tazz hurried through and patted the canine on the head.

    “Thanks for the save back there Marky, ol' boy!” He shouted back to the dog, slipping through one of the many servant's entries into the Keep. “Maybe next time you need me, I'll give you a discount!”

    Markus's body snapped to attention and the other guards looked at him. Some were laughing while others smirked under their helms. The basset hound simply growled, his eyes watering with embarrassment.

© 2012 TheGrayOutcast

Author's Note

Yay protagonist! Also, try and guess his 'job'. I tried to do a whole fight bit because I can. Pent is a bro of mine's fursona btw. That's all guys.

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YEAHH, go bug fighting! hahaha i still think the idea of an all bug cast is great!

Posted 8 Years Ago


8 Years Ago

All bugs? I maybe be a warmlander but I'm not prejudiced. I'm sure diversity will come eventually..... read more
Matt Evans

8 Years Ago

Ohh, are we gonna have more species playing as important characters?

8 Years Ago

Most likely. Tazz is the main protagonist but he's gonna have allies from all over. People with his .. read more

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Added on July 13, 2012
Last Updated on July 13, 2012
Tags: Desert, Kings, Magic, Tech, Science, anthropomorphous, war, fantasy, adventure, insects, mammals, birds, fish



Herne Bay, Kent, United Kingdom

Name: Jordan Board Age: 16 (22/8/1995) Gender: Male Sexuality: Gay Personality: Basically, I'm bitchy, controlling and argumentative most of the time. But I can be kind and funny... apparently. W.. more..