above all, fear the fury of the meek a soldier once told me. I never realized then, that those words were to become my destiny.
Ah the infamous walled city of Valeward. The home I never wanted
I scoffed lowering the hood of my cloak and took in the evening bustling of the main thorough fare of the cities lower districts. Hung between the streets trees, strings of lanterns burning softly the colour of sodium, made a failing attempt to mask the sense of desperation and struggle that permeated the district to its very being.
Valeward the gates to the great forest valleys of Altur, the city of trade. Home to nobles and the wealthy. And the exploited, abused souls used to create the decadence that guilded the towering hillside districts that loomed ahead like glittering monuments to corruption. Glowing in the bright moonlight, they seemingly stared down in distain at the peasants and their hovels below.
I hated all of it.
Of course I wasn't born here in Valeward. I grew up to simple gentle folk in the plains just beyond the forests. Farmers. Of course the greed of the cities powerful talons gradually grasped out to our lands and beyond. Each season we had less as nobles took what they wanted from those who couldnt fight back.
By 15 I had left to work as an coach guard for the winter in hopes of bringing a few iron and copper slivers home to my family. If I were lucky, a silver pence perhaps too. An apprentice really, I had made far less than I had hoped and returned with next to nothing. This went on for the next few winters. But each time, I saw more of the world and brought back more experience along with stories of my travels that I'd tell to a enraptured audience alongside the old fire hearth of my family home.
Even this late at night the district was a sea of bodies, like leaves scattered in the wind moving every which direction but sensibly. Gingerly navigating through throngs of scrappy children to avoid purse slicers and pickpockets, I made my way towards the muted roar of a squat building on a small mound of a hill just off the market square. Tannards Tankard. One of the districts busier taverns, and one of its least reputable. Home of whores, unscrupulous merchants, mercenaries and patreonless minstrels.
Every bit as ragged looking as the patrons, I blended right in and nobody noticed my entrance nor my presence as I claimed a seat in a shadowed corner away from the firelight. The heat of which attracted the drunkenly jovial like nats to the rooms central fire spits, where the scents of meats roasting and the sweetness of spilled brandy laced the air.
Nursing a mead in my hand I waited till just past the hour until a motley trio of tarnished armoured men quietly sat next to me. One with stringy hair and more than enough scars to verify his identity slid closer to me cradling something wrapped in dirty canvas.
"Fine night, the moons thrice bright!" He whispered loud enough for me to hear over the chorus of laughter and banter.
I leaned in closer to the man. "And doubly dark, once we part."
He smiled and tucked the canvas closer to his side. " 24 silver pence and a gold half."
I nodded and dropped a leather satchel onto his lap. He handed it back to the man behind him who glanced inside and patted him on the shoulder.
"I left a bit extra for your efforts." I said and motioned to the wrappings again. The third man, the biggest of them, moved to stand between us to block any onlookers. Without fanfare the package was handed to me. I unwrapped one of the folds and glanced down at the dull matte grey blade nestled in my my arms.
"A Dracenae forged sword. Twas cough troublesome to procure." The man said wiping a lock of greasy hair from his face. "The alloy...Its said it -"
"Mutes sound and screams. I'm aware." I said interuppting him admiring the cunning weapons craftsmanship. The smell of burning hair, matted blood and the blank lifeless stare of my mother forced its way through my senses and a deepening shadow smoldered over my thoughts.
"This uh Avelian character. His father has the Potenates arm and knows how to twist it and the cities nobility to his families advantage." The man said warningly. "His manor has very expensive guards."
"I understand" I said softly looking up at him with eyes nearly as lifeless as those of my family members. It was a look a man in his line of work had seen before and he quietly stood up and wandered towards the bar.
I stood up myself, slipped the canvas under my cloak and walked into the night. There was business to be dealt. The moon had set and darkness blossomed like a veil around me. Like a part of me.
A wise man also once said 'beware the folly of cruelty for its penance is paid in the silence of the night."
This is a short story based off of the five minute freewrite prompt revenge provided by @mariannewest and the freewriters community which can be found at the link below.
In truth this five minute freewrite ended up being a 15 minute freewrite so i would like to submit it as is just a simple shirt story to the community.
I hope you enjoyed it.
Picture provided by pixabay.com