The Silver City Chapter One: Mornings Author: Bane Syndrome Rating: PG

Warnings: Swearing, minor romance (slash and het) in future chapters. Summary: Klyet, an idealistic young girl entering the newly industrialized work force, finds that things aren't quite how she imagined them. Author's Note: ^_^ Hola. This is "The Silver City". Read it, and love it.

Mornings, as always, were Klyet's least favorite part of the day. Awaking from her peaceful slumber as the sun rose, she stared up at the wooden ceiling. She climbed out of bed, stumbling over to her dresser drawer. Still half-asleep, Klyet mumbled profanities under her breath, trying to pry open the stubborn top dresser. It popped open abruptly, sending Klyet out of her stupor and onto the floor.

She stood up, growling. What a stupid design. She should have known better than to buy those inferior foreign products, which were seemingly made by monkey slaves in faraway lands. Somehow managing to compose herself, Klyet hobbled back to the drawer and picked out some very professional looking clothes for her job interview. Being a recent graduate of Morningdale's University for Young Ladies (with a degree in Commercial Business), Klyet felt that she was a viable candidate for the position of Head Field Researcher at the Omika International Corporation. It also help that she was contacted by Vranda Uyov Uyoko, her potential boss, and was asked to come and be interviewed. Her choice to enter the fast-paced world of business had paid off, rather than being a teacher, housewife or a maid like her mother insisted. Her father would be proud, were he not evil incarnate.

Klyet's eyes darted from her stylish wardrobe choices to her reflection shown in a nearby mirror. She wondered if she should rather go for a "practical, down-to-earth" look, rather than using the "female bitch" look. Maybe being a little more feminine would help her at the interview. Besides, there were probably many male applicants, and it'd be best to show off that she was more than a man.she was a woman, too!

She placed her formal clothing back in the dresser drawer. She'd have to look for something more formal. She closed the top drawer and opened the next one down. Bingo! Inside was a ravishing little number that she felt would knock Mr. Uyoko and his men dead. And she still managed to come off as warm and friendly! She picked up the clothes in a hurry and scurried off to have her morning bath and get dressed and face the day.

-

Klyet regarded herself in the mirror. She was dressed rather liberally by society's standards, as women's fashions tended to be all-covering and highly conservative. Her blouse was sort of tight, and her skirt stopped just below her knees. Most women often just wore a dress on their daily duties, so even a two-piece outfit was rather risqué, let alone a tight blouse and a short skirt. Looking at herself, she considered if her outfit was a wee bit too suggestive, but she shook off those emotions and flipped her curled tawny hair. She had to be strong, confident and independent: a protofeminist role-model. If that meant dressing like a slut, then a slut she'd be!

She scurried out the door, realizing that she'd probably be late for her interview if she continued primping by the mirror. Her mother had always taught her to be prompt and efficient and her father had always taught her to beat up those weaker than her. She took those sage and timeless words of parental wisdom to heart as she hurried down the cobblestone streets, getting a few glares from little old ladies as she passed them.

Klyet's face lit up like fireworks as she left the cheerful, picturesque section of the city and entered the city's bustling commercial district. It was filled with strange, tall buildings and magical messages lighting up the sky, advertising various products. There were women dressed like her on the streets, with some women dressed even more liberally than her. Though there were a few women visible, Klyet noted that the district was packed with men, all dressed the same. They were all in a hurry, seeming to want to get somewhere, and get there fast. Klyet couldn't stop and enjoy the scenery, as she was being jostled from all sides by pushy business folk.

Klyet quickly maneuvered her way through the city's maze-like streets, occasionally stopping and admiring a statue that had been erected on the street, once she was not on the main road. Random people on the street smiled and pleasantly greeted her as they passed. She seemed at home with these strange, waddling business-types. She also loved the commercial atmosphere, with its vendors setting up shop on the streets. She waved to them as she passed, and they waved back. Everyone seemed so friendly and jovial here in the commercial district.it was almost like heaven, but with tacky fluorescent signs.

After wandering around the fascinating district for ten minutes, Klyet realized that she had no idea where she was going. She slapped herself as she realized that she probably was late for her interview. She stopped a portly, sweaty man on the street and asked him about the whereabouts of the Omika building. The man nodded and pointed Klyet towards a rather grim looking stone building that stood, alone, in a sizeable lot. Klyet frowned. It seemed a bit gloomy, and it could use a bit of creative design to it. It looked a bit like the office building where her father used to work when she was a preteen. Her father always said that a grim stone building was the best way to suck creativity out of the workers. Of course, Klyet's father found that to be the advantage of dull office buildings. Reminiscing, Klyet crossed the street and looked up at the slate monstrosity and heaved a sigh. Mustering up her courage, Klyet moved towards the door with baited breath. She was suddenly hit with a nervous spell. What if her boss thought she was a slut? What if no one liked her? What if the building suddenly collapsed on top of her? These questions shot around Klyet's head like a bouncy ball. Klyet placed her shaking hand on the door handle, and opened it.

What greeted her was a very homey atmosphere. It looked less like an office building, and more like a modern accomplishment of architecture. The entire interior of the building seemed to be made from very thick glass. There were people bustling about inside their glass offices, filing paperwork, communicating via Orbs or casting complex magical spells to ensure a sizeable raise come the next performance review.

Still anxious, Klyet entered the building, looking around. A strong and brutish security guard stopped her before she entered the office space.

"Where do you think you're going, missy?"

"I..uh.well, I'm applying for a job.here," Klyet stammered, looking up into the bulky security guard's cold eyes.

"Oh, yeah. You're that dame. Mr. U-Uyoko is expecting you."

Klyet nervously smiled, thanked the guard, and speed walked out of his sight.

Looking around for Mr. Uyoko's office, Klyet was mesmerized. The inside of the office was brightly coloured and magical. It was like visiting an amusement park, but a lot less fun.

"Can we help you?"

Klyet turned and saw three people behind her. One, the woman who had spoken, was a smooth, red-haired beauty with luscious eyes. She looked more like a beauty model than an office employee. Thinking back, Klyet noticed that all of the female workers she had seen on her way to the Omika building were very pretty girls. Must be a coincidence.

The other two were men. One was tall, pale and middle-aged. He had slick black hair tied into a ponytail, and he had watery brown eyes. The second man was younger, shorter and good-looking. He had short, curly blond hair and glasses. His face was lit up with a smile, and his eyes were a dazzling green.

"Yes, actually. I'm looking for Mr. U-Uyoko," Klyet said, thinking it would be good if she put his name in the respectful form. It pays to be polite, her mother always said.

"Vranda? Oh, he's over in the North Wing," said the short man.

"But I don't think he's expecting you for a while." The woman smiled, extending her hand, "My name is Elis Ooto Omacko. But call me Elis, please."

Klyet shook the woman's hand, "I'm Klyet Osas Okron."

"Okron?" The tall man sneered at Klyet, "Jeez, no wonder Vranda chose you."

"Luddley, be polite!" The short man shot a warning glare at him, "My name is Pavo Ekrat Ellot, and this inconsiderate jackass is Luddley Teot Tevone."

"You've got to excuse Luddley's behavior," Elis muttered with a piercing glare directed at him, "He's just jealous of you."

"Jealous?" Klyet wondered aloud.

"As you can tell from my second and third names, I'm poor by origin," Luddley began, "And I worked long and hard to become a Field Researcher. Now some rich daughter of an affluent business man waltzes in and gets to be my supervisor."

"I don't have the job yet," Klyet said meekly.

"I think you do. No one else applied for the job." Pavo shrugged.

"What?"

"Vranda only called you up for this interview."

"Why?"

Elis shook her head, "I'm sure he'll explain it to you during the interview, Klyet. Now, your interview should start in a bit, so you probably should go."

Klyet frowned, "Alright. Thank you. Well, it was nice meeting you all..."

Klyet waved goodbye to the three workers as she walked over to the North Wing. Why did Mr. Uyoko only ask her? Why was she chosen? Was it because she was Uzeiaked Okevo Okron's daughter? Or - worse yet - was it because she was a woman? Besides Elis, she didn't see any other women inside the building.

She needed answers, and she supposed that Vranda Uyov Uyoko was the only man who could give them to her.

--

"Ms. Okron! Please, come in!"

Klyet stood in Vranda's doorway, looking in at him. He was a short, bald man with a very ruddy complexion. He was pudgy, but not obese. His striking blue eyes that were masked by thick, horn-rimmed glasses that seemed to pinch his nose. He wore a bright red suit, which matched his flushed complexion perfectly. "I'm glad to meet you, Mr. U-Uyoko."

"Please call me Vranda. I don't insist on my employees looking up to me.but it doesn't hurt them to anyways." He laughed boisterously at his own joke. Klyet chuckled, thinking it was best to laugh at his stupid joke, and she slid into a chair across the desk from him.

"Now, Ms. Okron.do you feel that you could be the Head Field Researcher here at Omika?"

Klyet frowned, "Mr. U.I mean, Vranda, before I answer that question, can I ask you one of my own?"

Vranda raised a bushy black eyebrow, "Go ahead."

"Well, why did you call me here? Was it because of my stellar marks at Morningdale?" Klyet asked nervously, casting her eyes downwards.

Vranda paused for a moment, then he harrumphed, "To be frank, Ms. Okron, you were chosen because you were well-educated."

"I knew it!"

"And a woman. The feminist organizations have been on my back for quite some time for not hiring any women but Elis, who happens to be engaged to my brother."

Her worst fears realized, Klyet couldn't do anything but stammer, "B- but.I."

"Of course, you're also the daughter of Uzeiaked, and that never hurts!"

"Mr. Uyoko.are you saying that you're hiring me because of my gender and my familial connections?"

"Is that a problem?"

Klyet stared at the man before her in disbelief. This porky, nepotistic misogynist couldn't believe that someone had integrity. She glared, and stood, "Yes, yes it is. Goodbye, Mr. Uyoko."

"You're making a mistake, Ms. Okron!"

"I'm not. I'm sure I can find another job where I'll be hired based on my talents and merits, not because of my family and my gender!"

Vranda groaned, "Ms. Okron! Look at it realistically! Women's rights still have a long way to go, and no one's going to hire you just for your talents. Do you really want to give up a high-paying job because you can't see the big picture?"

Klyet stopped and turned around, "Don't patronize me, Mr. Uyoko."

"I'm not. I'm telling you the truth. You can fight your stupid, pointless fight.or you can take this job that will let you get ahead in life. This is your dream job, Ms. Okron."

Klyet paused. She thought long and hard about all the options. On one had this would be the perfect opportunity to prove that she was more than just another mindless woman.but on the other hand, a girl's got to eat, in the end. "Fine. You win. I'll do it."

"That's a good girl!" Vranda said, brightening immediately. He shot Klyet a toothy grin and winked, "You can begin tomorrow. Be here bright and early, so I can show you your partner!"

"Partner?" Klyet asked, trying with all of her might not to jump across the room and throttle his fat neck.

"Yes. As Head Field Researcher, you'll need a trained Mage to help you in case you get into sticky situations while on a case."

"Sticky situations?" Klyet didn't like the sound of that. She was a brave girl, but wasn't exactly as strong as they came. She definitely wasn't about to take a job where she'd put her life on the line.every day of the week.

Vranda waved his hand dismissively, "Oh, don't be a baby. Nothing will happen. It's just good to have a Mage around."

Klyet grinned nervously, "So, it's a safe job?"

Vranda didn't answer Klyet's question. "Your partner will be Saal, a talented young man who's quite skilled at healing."

Klyet's eyes got so wide they almost exploded, "Healing? Why would he need that?"

Vranda eyed Klyet with suspicion, "Are you -sure- you're strong enough to take this job?"

"Of course, sir!"

"Then stop asking these idiotic questions. You can leave now, and remember to be in bright and early tomorrow!"

"Yes sir."

---

Mornings, as always, were Klyet's least favorite part of the day.

Today, however, Klyet was dreading even waking up. It was her first day on the job, and her stomach was doing somersaults, jumping jacks and back flips. Not only was she nervous about trying to prove herself in her new job, she was also worried about her new partner. What would he be like? Would he even like her? What if he acted like - or worse, looked like - Vranda? Klyet shuddered at the thought.

Deciding it was finally time to stop stalling and finally pull herself out of bed, Klyet sat up slowly. She shuffled out of her bed, stifling a yawn. She walked like a zombie over to the dresser drawer, and she tried to open the top drawer.

It was stuck again.

Klyet probably didn't really want to end up on her ass again, so she should have decided to look at it logically, rationally and come up with the best solution to open the drawer. Of course, it was just before dawn, and rational thinking seemed like an alien concept to Ms. Okron. So she repeated what she did the day before.

Pop.

Klyet went flying. She landed with a dull thump on the hardwood floor. Standing up and gingerly rubbing her backside, her glare shot daggers at the shoddy dresser, which she now noticed was sort of hobbling.

Oh shit, she thought daintily.

The entire cabinet fell over with a crash, vibrating the entire house. Klyet screamed in fury.

Some days you know are bound to turn out awfully. This, unfortunately, was one of them.

---

Somehow managing to get washed up and dressed without dying, Klyet raced out of her house at breakneck speed. She knew that she was already late, and Mr. Uyoko wouldn't like that.

Turning a corner into the Commercial District, Klyet didn't even notice the scenery. She was too busy dodging stodgy businessmen as she raced through the city streets.

Bursting open the door of the Omika building, Klyet found herself face to face with a very angry looking Vranda Uyov Uyoko.

"Where the hell have you been?" Vranda said, greeting Klyet with the politeness and respect he surely treated all of his employees with.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Uyoko.I got delayed."

"Excuses, excuses! Excuses can bankrupt a company, Okron! Is that what you want? Me penniless and living on the street?"

Klyet didn't answer the question honestly, luckily for her, "No sir."

Vranda sighed, "I suppose I can't be angry with you. Your partner hasn't arrived yet, either."

"Saal's here, Vranda," Elis said from behind Vranda, gesturing towards the west wing, "He's talking to some D-Tamer."

"And the little snot didn't even bother to tell me!" Vranda fumed.

"Well, my work here is done." Elis smiled and waved at Klyet, and resumed her daily schedule.

Klyet rolled her eyes, "Mr. Uyoko."

"Vranda," he automatically corrected.

"Vranda, does it matter if he told you or not? Can I just meet him so I can start working?"

Vranda nodded, "I suppose you're right, Klyet. We can go meet him now, I guess."

"Thank you."

Vranda and Klyet walked over to the west wing. Klyet was getting nervous again. What would Saal be like? Would he be cute? She chided herself for sounding like a ditz. Would he be likeable? She hoped he wouldn't be an arrogant, pompous scumbag like Vranda was. She abhorred people like that, and she couldn't imagine working with someone who reminded her of Vranda in close proximity. Would he be smart? She didn't want to be paired with some brain-dead ignoramus who didn't know anything. Of course, she didn't want him to be *too* smart. Would he enjoy long, moonlit walks on the beach? She hoped so.

Approaching Saal's office, Vranda rapped on the door. It slowly swung open, and Vranda walked inside. Klyet took a deep breath, and followed.

Klyet's eyes first went to Saal. He was a short man, with messy blond hair that went every which way. He had a long, crooked nose that looked like it had been broken at least once. He wasn't dressed like the other men were, rather, he was dressed in ebony-coloured silk robes, typical of a Mage. He smiled at Vranda and Klyet, "Hello, Vranda. This must be my partner!"

Klyet's eyes darted to the other man in the room, and they widened. He looked eerily like her. He had the same long, dirty-blond hair and the same misty green eyes. His hair was a bit shorter than Klyet's, but not by much. He was dressed in airy, darkly-coloured clothing that hung off his thin figure.

Dear God.

It was her brother.