Of Random Chances
“Follow the wall to the North Watch Tower! Rawan, you and your men head to the gates and patrol the outer wall. He will not leave this city, men. For the Queen!”
“For the Queen,” echoed the reply.
Othan, a sergeant of Thronefast’s army, barked orders to his bright eyed soldiers just after rotation to first watch. The sun was long below the mountain’s silhouette to the west and the darkness would make their duty tonight even worse than it already was.
The order had just come down from a commander that his mentor and hero, E’mani Karos, was a wanted man. Earlier that morning, Karos had still been the shining example of Thronefast’s greatness. He was a man of humble beginnings and had risen through the ranks of the military on his demeanor and his deeds. He was a natural leader and his courage and skill in battle were the inspiration of most every boy in the city. Everyone wanted to be E’mani Karos. Now, it seemed, everyone just wanted to kill him. Othan looked back at his men rushing down the corridors on alert to arrest the hero of Thronefast on his orders. And he didn’t even know why.
The water sloshed with every step. It penetrated the shined leather boots, then the warm socks, ran down into his feet and wicked up his pants. E’mani Karos struggled to contain his gag reflex as he trod through the rancid drains in the underbelly of the city of Thronefast. The slight sparkle of moonlit clouds bouncing off of the waters ahead were not sufficient to light his way through the maze of tunnels. He braced himself on the curved walls to his side as he made his way, crouched over. His foot found a hidden stone. He braced against the wall only to find it too slick to support his angle. E’mani stumbled forward and landed chest down in the foul water, feeling it slip past his collar and run into his shirt. He pushed against the sides of the small tunnel in a panic, trying not to submerge any other parts of his body down into the bottom of the drain, but he found no firm place from which to push. Water splashed all over his clothes as he raced to return to his feet. He finally shoved his hands straight down through the water and into a carpet of thick sludge and pushed himself out of the water. He couldn’t see his hands but he felt it. He smelled it. He vomited.
The tunnel lightened in front of E’mani as he made a turn. He heard the trickle of a slow stream ahead and he rushed as quickly as he could toward it. Moonlight bathed the larger passageway ahead and he noticed a steady flow of water racing toward it. The runoff from the mountains found its way into the sewers of Thronefast from drains on the backside of the city where it met the mountain’s base. He played in the grates as a child but never thought about their purpose until now.
He reached the main line for the city and knelt in the flow. He knew it wasn’t clean, but it was better than what he was currently covered in. He washed his body off as best he could and crept to the edge of the drain. He stayed motionless, flat against the walls of the tunnel for several minutes, listening for the sounds of his accusers, his friends, searching him out undoubtedly to drag him to his death. He hadn’t noticed from the adrenaline and his recent conditions, but both his hands were shaking, and his breaths were short sperts as his heart pounded in his chest. He closed his eyes and tried to settle his nerves.
**This is a brief excerpt of the opening of the first installment of Amensol's Focus called Of Random Chances. Amensol's Focus will deal with aftermath of the Deicide War and the early days of the Frail Age, and how the nations were placed in their positions like pieces on a chess board. The question is, who is playing?**