Friday, April 24, 2009

The Tale of The Exile -- The First Night: Into The Darkness (Part 3)

Part 3: Miir By Night
I try to put as much distance as possible between myself, the room without a door, and the Pale Man named Naros. My side aches badly. I have no idea where I'm going, aside from away. I've only been here a week, and never out this late before. The night changes everything.
Two of the moons, Stag and Hare, are out, half-full, guiding my way. I'd much prefer Hunter, but this time of year it never rises much above the horizon, and it's the wrong time of month for it provide much to see by. With the moonlight and the light from the dagger, it's just bright enough to navigate by. But where am I going to go?
The only landmark I know is The Tower, that spike of black basalt looming over the city, a sight from any point within it. I stop moving and try to breathe for a bit. I gingerly touch my hurts, but nothing's out of place. Not broken after all. Good.
I need a better view. I'm not getting anywhere like this. I spot another tower, crumbling and in disrepair, rising above brick walls.
It looks like it may have once been a watchtower, but now it's a wreck. Half of it has collapsed, but I spy an old platform near the top. The inside of the watchtower smells of mildew and rat droppings, and there is some kind of slime on the walls. I climb up the crumbling side anyway.
My chest gets nothing out of this but pain, but once I'm on the platform, the view is stunning. The western sky is washed red and orange by the Starcloud, while Stag and Hare glow serenely over the city. Over the wall The Bastion area is flecked with lights, most of them magical. But the Pen is almost totally dark...I see only a few glows from open windows. My eyes are drawn to the Tower at the center of the city. There's a chill, but it has nothing to do with wind or the hour.
Directly across from me is an archway gaping like an open maw, and two malevolent lantern eyes glaring at me. The Tower sways in the wind, almost breathing...It's watching me, waiting to swallow me whole...
Boil it, now I'm buying into the local fears. This place is not out to get me. The Shadows are just darkness. I'll get out of this. I look away, and try to map out a route through the Pen. I'm not waiting for the Pale Man to make good his threat.
With any luck, I can make the Pen Wall well before dawn, get through to the Cobwebs. City Watches normally let poor areas rot. I climb back down and check my route. Nothing is going to stop me now.
Then someone runs past me. A girl in a white dress. Boil it.
Is this the "she" Naros was blabbering about? Do I want to find out? What's it to me, anyway? Argh. She is wandering alone at night, and that madman is after her. She at least needs to be warned.
I follow after. Boil and damn these twisting streets! I only have the light of the fireglass dagger to see by, and that isn't very bright. So I shout.
"Hey! Stop!" I see her duck down a side path...she's not stopping. I can't say I blame her, really, but boil me if it isn't inconvenient. These streets are a maze. I wish I had more light, but my ears work fine. I can hear her footsteps ahead of me somewhere in the gloom. Closer...closer...I think I spotted a flash of white dress over there..."Hey! Stop Running! I'm not going to hurt you!" Maybe. Not sure about that yet.
She's sped up. Boil it! I can't keep this pace up forever, not with the stabs of pain from my wounded side. I'm barely keeping up. The footsteps are getting further away. Dragon take this. The Pale Man can do his own chasing. I'm through.
I look around.
Where am I?

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