Monday, October 5, 2015

The King's Challenge #67

TKC 67

By nightfall I have a room in a hovel. Despite the conditions, it suits me, for it is a mere block from the slave pen.

After hearing as much as I could from the old man, I told him to walk out this same night. This is twofold strategy. First, they need to go south and, second, they will serve as a distraction.

Around the tolling of the midnight bell, I hear the first shouts of alarm. I am ready. Giving myself a grin in the filthy mirror, I move out. They do not call me the Marsh Devil for nothing.

Panic has hit the streets. A press of people young and old move in concerted direction. All are headed to the southern gates. Hoof beats begin to pound the cobbles further along, and then the first screams sound.

I am forced to ignore that terror for the other in the pen. Flitting shadow to shadow, I eventually crouch behind the water trough Forest drank from in the morning.

There are no guards in the street. Clearly they have been deployed to the situation elsewhere. I sidle closer to the gates. They too are unattended. Swiftly ducking my head around, I noticed only two keep the watch over the inner gates. Beyond them is a mass of people. Never have I known so many to be so quiet.

Back in Grenmassin us boys used the cricket sound at night to determine sense of place. If Horin is in there, he will know. A cricket thus starts to ‘sing’, a low tone, as if hidden in masonry. I listen intently. Nothing. Again the cricket chirps, as if moving closer. I listen again.

And then one answers. Then two. Four. Six.

My hair stands on end. The Grenmassin men and boys know someone comes.

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