Nightrunner Commissary

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Nightrunner Commissary

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:07 pm

Preface: This was written for a creative writing class, which involved trying to characterize someone other than the main character without talking about them. Therefore, as far as writing about RoKK is involved, I didn't really do everything I wanted. I'll be touching it up at some later point when I complete a set of short stories that detail what the Commissariat is in Kailzimoth (goes based on the definition of "Commissary" as a military-associated supply depot sort-of-thing. That, and the economy is pretty much based on Communism due to the situation in the region).



There’s a certain trick to opening the door of a commissary. Although no wraith should be able to pass over the caltrop fields and spike pits, some members of a large enough pack might make it to the door and try to claw their way in for the treats inside. Some commissaries require the door to be pulled outward or to manipulate the locking mechanism from the outside. I lift the solid cedar using the grooves near the top up and away from a latch inside the wall and push it aside. Gathering again my basket with its empty clay vials, I retreat into the small stone-brick hovel, away from the night and the starlight shadows cast by the dead city.

With the door safely on its latch behind me, I turn to look at the room and smile. A lone vigil-candle burns softly on its half-stalk, the melted wax carefully collected in the bronze pan beneath it. I light a few of the perimeter candles in turn; my stay won’t be long, but I am pleased to be reminded of active civilization. I snuff the vigil to save its light for my absence afterwards.

I realize I’ve never asked how the Commissariat managed to move the massive stump-table of those large evergreens south of Piotren into the center of the commissary. Perhaps it’s just so fitting there, able to contain the sprawling vellum map of the southern border with room to spare, its red speckles peeking out from under the worn edges. After placing my own vellum onto the side table, I take note of the myriad figures and lightly scrawled dates beneath. The map has changed slightly since I’ve last seen it. I smile again when I see a particular dip in the local woods, for I recall penning it that way myself.

The chores complete and my fellows’ position updated, I allow myself the simple pleasure of the moment. Natural white-red benches and shelves line the walls, dutifully organized into sections of foodstuffs, spices, charcoal, ropes and ties, candles, clothes, armor, weapons, tools. There are two levels each for items manufactured from the capitol: space for received supplies and space for the worn and used to be judged fit or otherwise. I eye a knife I’ve seen on the shelf for over a year, marked on its dulled and chipped edges with the slightest traces of red. How would it taste, I wonder, and then move on as I always do, knowing that the knife will be there even a year from now, with or without me, just like every other bruised utensil abandoned on the upper shelves. The judging process never occurs, for when is something truly no longer of use?

The far wall of the commissary features an indent in the stonework, a sign that a window had once existed, back when terrors didn’t prey on dreamers. The monotony of the shelving is broken by the indents which now serve as climbing-steps to the second story where the commissar and his assistant rest. I am relieved to see the metal hatch secure, the last line of defense for those living here firmly in place.

I step quietly towards the alcove, choosing not to sit in the ancient rocking chair this time. I often wonder what’s it’s like to sit there and greet the day-runners with a smile and brown eyes. Does the world appear differently when seen through brown eyes or maybe just through the eyes of a ‘letter? Though my musings matter little, as no one will ever know, the luxury of free thought is appreciable.

I’ve a schedule to keep, but that’s fine. There are three baskets on the right bench, one of which has already been cycled out. I recognize mine quickly from the wicker-markings and take stock of its content. Two-and-a-half weeks’ rations of steak and smoked heart, a small latched spice-box for special occasions, water in a flask and mixed blood in the two-dozen clay vials. My heart quickens just a bit, and I can’t stop myself from grinning while I lift the padding of the false-bottom to reveal a section of lavender. This is my guilty pleasure, I suppose, stealing away a bit of lavender under my tongue to savor my favorite flavor. He indulges me, though, so it has become something of a secret between us. I wonder whether the other runners have such secrets or not. I wouldn’t know if he smiles at them on the rare occasion they meet face-to-face, too.

I cycle out the baskets, relight the vigil-candle and snuff the rest. Unlatching and re-latching, I’m back amongst the faint silhouettes against the moonless sky. The stars to the north above the mountains tell me I’ve spent a bit too much time, but I’ve never had a problem before. Maybe there’s something to the ‘letter’s notions of ‘feminine grace and agility.’
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