Carts and horses rumble along the worn dirt paths carrying goods and people. Merchants in the latest imported fashions haggle with men and women over prices as the sun sets behind the greystone houses of the capital. On the darkest corners of the streets a force struggles being restrained, being taught how to channel the anger. A man passes through silent and unnoticed like the night itself. His hood is pulled up concealing his head; his robe hides away the rest of his body. Striding forward confident passing the gaze of two soldiers on patrol. They let him on without as so much as a stare, he was no lord the clothes on his back weren’t gaudy enough—they were however clean and neat a minor noble or of a comfortable merchant still to feared by a simple guardsmen. The man casts a glance over them and they avert their eyes a sign of respect.
He opens the door to the local pub, the smell is intoxicating salvia lingers in the air mixed with sweat, he takes a seat at the far table opposite to the wall. Seconds follow and a man much dirtier and simple garbs takes the seat across from him.
“Why did we have to meet at night?” questions newly arrived fellow.
“Canis I didn’t want anyone overhearing a word of what we said, and if they did I wanted my face to remain masked,” replies the hooded figure. The candle resting on the table between flickers in the gasps of air with their conversation.
“How many men do you have?” says the mysterious man.
“At the moment I have about five hundred men,” said Canis in a silenced breath.
“That few, if we are to succeed we require more.”
“I am trying my best,” rushed Canis upholding his pride.
“That is why I’m here,” the stranger reclined on his chair tipping the legs into the air.
“What exactly are you going to accomplish again?” he said with the sarcasm dripping like honey out of a broken hive. The man kept his stance, displaying anger would make him more memorable something he wanted to avoid. He took every precaution to avoid risks.
“You’ll recognize my hand in things. It will very public sure to stir up trouble.”
“I see,” with a bit of hesitation he asks “ Can you tell me your name?”
“Too many question today and questions make a man all the more suspicious, but you may call me Jared.” The stood up with a whip of his cloak, then proceeded to shake hands.
“You should get out here,” he said leaning in to speak directly into his ear. Instead of arguing or demanding an explanation he obeyed and followed. His senses lit in alarm as the wood burned hot and began to creak like a hull of a ship under pressure. The roof split and dangerously long and sharp columns of dry hardwood fell killing everyone inside.
“What,” muttered Canis as he stared at the destruction he had just been saved from. Better to leave no witnesses then take the slightest chance of a risk.
The market as usual was crowded, busy and very angry. It could be the traders who insisted that the King’s taxes were unfair and too expensive, there was the common man who grumbled on how prices just seemed to skyrocket, finally the nobles that held most of the power who complained about the quality of life in the city. If you had a starving rat you would feed it, but if you continued to take what little food it had there was going to be trouble somewhere down the line, you knew it. Unfortunately the city was the rat and the King wanted to seize more and more of it’s cheese. In times of distress, men always manipulated the situation to fit them. I was going to be that man.
No heads turned as I walked through the center of market, just another face among the jumble of the people that they walked past without a thought. My bodyguard, Rarak was cloaked in a normal dress held up only by a small metal clasp running on his chest, his head was hidden more of preference then protection. My own hood was pulled down, I was going make a very public address they needed a face, a symbol to hang on to long after the words.
I stood on the aging platform used for executions. Already I was drawing attention, not many dared to trespass on the Emperor's property. I looked to the skies and saw a empty clear blue, you never knew. Like the ocean on the surface everything seemed beautiful but past the surface was the harsh and unforgiving ocean life.
“Men of Galin, look and see the destruction caused by the Emperor's laws. He has the stick and he is poking it at us—seeing much we will endure. The choice is yours. Like a phoenix the city is turning to ashes. What will happen? Will the ashes be the end or can we seize the opportunity to rebuild from the ashes?” I pronounced in the clearest voice I was capable of. Eyes glanced woman and men eager to see the crazy man probably announcing his own death. The Emperor’s laws were divine, he would be struck down by the gods for meddling in their affairs.
“Enough get down,” commanded a more than enthusiastic man. A squad of six guards had pushed up through the marketplace to the front of the stage. Rarak pounced on the men bringing down his claws on them. A refute of of spears were barely met as the majority disappeared leaving the strangler to his fate. Rarak stood up over the body of the now dead guardsmen, the other encircled them believing that they now held the advantage. More spears dropped and a single sword as he dispatched another one of the soldiers with one of his daggers. The remaining five were afraid when he turned, they made haste towards the town barracks. No time to waste soon they would be back with at least twice the number. Not that Rarak and I couldn’t handle, but I couldn’t afford to be bogged down fighting.
“There is protection. Don’t be afraid to seek it,” I finished as I finished my debut on stage. To be continued