Chapter 9: Steam City
Once upon a time there lived a young boy by the name of Sedrick, he lived a happy life. His family weren't the richest but his fathers traiding outpost was modest and had room to grow. He had an older brother, who was set to the the heir to the business and Sedrick was going to help run it. Things were good for the young boy.
As planned, the modest little traiding outpost grew, more people wanted to use the contacts Sedrick's father had to move goods and everyone was happy. More work for a now young man Sedrick and workers who his father paid. His brother, all the man he had ever been planned to be helped their father with much of the tasks. Both of the boys quickly were learning what would one day be needed of them to run the business.
The older brother became the one their father depended on more and more. Sedrick, though a smart boy, was still too young to be given too much responsibility in the business. But he begged and begged, and pleaded and whined, until his father and brother agreed to let him lead a short trading expedition just over in the next bigger town. But the men who had been picked to escort him had other plans.
One night before returning home, they took all the money and goods Sedric had gathered. The crept out of the little in the were sleeping in, leaving Sedric not so much as a pony to ride home on. When he awoke to find himself alone, Sedrick already knew what the reaction os his father and brother would be. Deeply ashamed he stole a horse and rode far, far away from home.
It didn't take long for Sedrick to find a little town he liked the look of, big but not so big he would be recognised. He decided to change his name to Rick and look a job in a small shop, he didn't earn much but had a roof above his head and food in his belly. There was even a girl, the daughter of the man he was working for. She was shy and about the same age as Rick. It didn't take long for all he had to go sour.
One day, which started much like any other in Ricks new life, she ran into the shop. he father looked up and saw her crying, another boy had tried to force himself on her. Her father was shocked and huged his daughter telling her everything would be ok, he didn't even hear the bell above the door as Rick, in a rage went to find the boy.
And find him he did. The argument was short and ended with Rick being punched in the face. This made him even more mad so he pushed the boy over. Then came the blood. More blood than Rick had seen come from one body. The boy had banged his head on a large stone as he fell. Rick ran back to the man and his daughter and told them what had happened, the man was shocked and told Rick to go towards the coast, he would tell anyone who came looking he had gone the other way. And with that Rick was on the move again.
He traveled to the coast, then took a seaship to a popular destination. As a passenger he spend a lot of time with the engineers, who kept the ship's old machines in working order. When Rick talked to them, he could forget all his troubles, and learning about machines turned out to be fascinating. When they pulled into port, he was ready to be hired as an apprentice. But news had caught up with him. The First Mate recognised him from a wanted poster. Rick had no choice but to run again.
The dock was busy, a ship was ready to leave. A bald man with an eye patch was standing on deck, looking out for someone. With people swarming on and off the ship, he waved to Rick and called out to him.
"You! Get on board! You're keeping everyone waiting, boy!" That sounded good enough to Rick. He ran up the gangplank. "Get down to engineering, they need some help preping the stores of coal."
Rick worked hard, he seemed to be a general dogsbody, moving things from one place to another, shoving coal, cleaning cogs and what not. On the second day out of port, he stopped for a moment and had been about to lean against one of the machines when the bald chief engineer shouted "YOU! STOP THERE!
He stood up straight and the chief was looking right at him "What's your name boy?" he said.
"erm..." Rick stuttered a little worried that the chief might realise that he wasn't supposed to be there
"Well Erm, can you tell me..."
Erm, Rick thought, well with that would be a name nobody would know him, maybe he could live as Erm.