Monday, May 1, 2017

Ash Knight, Scene 3

Edrin had taken a room in one of the tenements in the Sink, where the Watch never patrolled and he would be hidden from the attention of the High Church. Only the poorest and most desperate lived here; only the Gardeners and a handful of actual priests ministered to them.

The Sink had grown up in the lowlands west of the docks and the warehouse district. Only the main streets were cobbled, and even those were in poor repair. The smaller streets and alleys were dirt, or more frequently mud, and in the spring the whole district would flood with runoff from the river. The pervasive scent of mildew was occasionally buried by the smell of smoke, rotting garbage, or human waste; the area was home to more rats, snakes, and feral cats than people.

Edrin slipped in through the narrow doorway, and made his way down the dirty hallway to the tiny wooden stairwell. When he'd first taken a room here, the custodian -- a big, burly man whose sharp eyes belied his rough looks, ragged clothing, and broken teeth -- had looked him over carefully and then said: "This is a lawful building, you understand? You fight, you steal, you cause trouble, you do that somewhere else. You don't bring the Watch here, you don't bother the other tenants, and you pay on time." Edrin had nodded and agreed; he had no intention of causing trouble here. These people had enough of their own.

So when he came around the corner and found the two men in front of the custodian's door, one of them kneeling as he wiggled a lifter between the frame and the edge of the door, the other standing over the mostly-hooded lantern and watching him work, Edrin's flare of outrage was immediate and overwhelming. He wasn't carrying a light; by reflex, he'd used the small blessing that allowed him to see in the dark, so the two men didn't see him immediately. So he kept walking, whispering another quick blessing to keep his steps silent on the creaky wooden floor. A third blessing, exhaled just at the threshold of audibility, snuffed out their lamp.

There was no other light in the hallway. The two would-be thieves never knew what hit them. By the time the custodian lifted the bar and opened the door, a length of axe handle clutched in one hand, Edrin was gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave comments; it lets me know that people are actually reading my blog. Interesting tangents and topic drift just add flavor. Linking to your own stuff is fine, as long as it's at least loosely relevant. Be civil, and have fun!