Mindal spent most of her days cleaning the bathhouse. It didn’t pay well but it kept a roof over her head while she studied. She had to come to the capital bright eyed, with the hope that she could escape her parents farmhouse for good. Her mother had lived here when she was younger. Now though It was definitely the place to be for people of means, and she wondered how her country bumpkin mother had survived a day here. Her words lingered in the back of Mindals mind, Go make friends, I loved living in Ildercrest when I was your age. Something had definitely changed in that time but was it her mother or the city? The streets were caked with filth and anywhere she could afford to live, walking alone at night was an invitation to be mugged. The lawbringers didn’t even bother to venture into this part of the city anymore. It was contained in a rocky valley, and as long as they guarded the way out then the well to do people that lived in the wealthier areas of town could sleep soundly.
She had seen a lot of things happen in her stay so far, the bathouse itself was a meeting place for the criminals from both parts of town to discuss business. The kingpins from up the hill must have thought the steam would at least protect them from the stench to an extent. Mindal passed amoungst them unnoticed, her once white gown was now a dirty cream. Short black hair didn’t help her either, on a farm it was practical, in the city it was the trademark of a prostitute. She had won the provinces scholarship to study engineering with the brightest minds in Arrecrest, she had thought it a dream. What they failed to tell you was that it only covered the school fee and actually living in this pit was up to her. The week was considered a success if she could make it to half her lectures. Although making a point of never missing one of Proffesor Niles legendary ‘arcane containment’ classes though. Magic was rare in the world now, and Niles considered it extinct within Arrecrest. Rumours of it still being widely used across the sea still made good bedtime stories for children though.
“Mindal, the big bathroom needs cleaning.” The voice came from down the corridor and no doubt belonged to Urey. He wasn’t the worst person to work for, but he didn’t believe in overtime and said she should count her blessings that she even had a job.
“Yes, Urey do you want me to wipe your arse as well?” She shouted back at him. He wouldn’t reply, he never did. It would be easier for her to just grab the mop and bucket and do as he said. The walls of the building were tiled green on top with blue below and the red clay floors were made hazerdous by the run offs from the bathrooms. Cheap soap would cling to the brick work and no amount of scrubbing would remove it once it had possessed the clay.
She turned the corner towards the presidential bath, one of the other girls was staring through the doorway not moving. Mindal walked towards her, poking her long neck around the corner to see the state of them room. It was covered in blood. “By the six” she gasped. The other girl still stood silent, before looking at Mindal.
“I’m not cleaning up one of these rich fucks mistakes again.” She sighed, and walked past Mindal heading towards the front desk. “Urey one of your idiot friends has killed another whore.” Mindal had seen things like this before here, it wasn’t unusual for someone to be found bleeding on the floor. This was a lot of blood though, more than one person could hold. The more perculiar thing however was the lack of a body. She had been cleaning around the entrance for the last half an hour. The only person that had left was one very large man. He certainly wasn’t carrying a body though. Murder victims don’t usually walk away, but the alternative was they had disappeared. The pooled blood circled towards the centre drain, and in the middle of it was a short metal canister. Mindal was shocked, she stumbled backwards, hitting her head against the wall. she knew what it was and what it was used for. Sliding down the wall to the floor she wept, knowing that someone had died, and she was to blame.