1 Chapter 1.1: A Murder By The Sea: Daxfoss
I walked in the middle of the black road, lit only by torches and the sunlight that the ash clouds let through when they parted. I navigated the darkness they brought when the fire sand cloud came together. I clung to my small pouch filled with gold that I swiped from unsuspecting pockets. I only had enough to get me to Esior and keep me fed for a week, I hoped that I could find a job, maybe even a place to stay by then, I doubted that dream but I hoped nonetheless. I look up at the black sky, I see the upper levels of the city and it's black and red walkways. I look at the entrances to the winding stairs that lead there as I walk. I see the sunlight hit the ground only in the way that it would hit the borders. I saw my freedom and a smile spread across my face, I was going to the prosperous, green and bountiful land of Esior, where I am not hunted for something I never chose to have, as hope swells in my gut, my smile quickly disappears when I see guards taking people into alleyways, I knew they were looking for me. They were always looking for me, I was the evil one who would destroy the world in their eyes at least.
The guards wore helmets with their faces exposed, they wore no cloaks and they carried a sword in their hand and daggers on their waist. I hear the complaints of the people as they have to wait for a guard to take them into an alleyway, make them strip and search them for The Mark, my mark. "for fuck sake, how haven't they found that evil little cunt already?" the man in front of me asked the rhetorical question, if looks could kill then his scowl would make birds fall out of the sky, well that was if they weren't already doing that, when they fly near the ash clouds, "like honestly, they didn't make these soldiers like they used to it took them a week to find the one with the Mark of The Fire God when Summer came, it's August now", the man had blue eyes, I think, being under a ceiling of darkness does limit one's vision, probably pale and blonde, like most of the native populace. "If they're so shit at their jobs maybe you could contribute instead of bitching" the man next to him retorted
"I wasn't talking to you" the man with the annoyed look retorted
"Who were you talking to?" with that blue eyed man stayed silent. I tried to repress my laughter.
I considered leaving, I didn't want to, I didn't want to give up on my dream, being in the sun, working in the fields, a wife, and a family free from persecution. I didn't want to leave that. I start to turn, my sight grew foggy with tears, as all I could see was darkness with orange blemishes. I walked away from my one chance at happiness, I didn't know, when an opportunity like that will come again, I might actually die here. I wanted to scream, I bite the inside of my mouth until I felt the flesh tear and blood pool in the mouth. I clench my fists and as I feel the pain of my long uncut fingernails press into my palm, I clench harder. I walk back into the darkness which is pierced by gaps in the clouds and glowing orange fire. I start sobbing, I try to hide the noises. I consider letting the guards take me to end all of this but something in me didn't want to die.
"Hey! Boy, come here" someone shouts, I keep walking "hey!! Boy" I turn and see the guard is looking at me, I start running, my despair turning into fear. I keep running, the guard is chasing me, the guard is gaining on me "running from a Blood Warrior is punishable by whipping!" he threatened, I paid him no mind. I still kept running, the guard was getting closer. I turn and run down the alleyway. I see the winding staircase. I turn around and kick the man down the steps, he gets up and keeps chasing me but he's a few steps back thankfully. I get to the first stage of Upper Skotash, the skyward corridors, winding and twisting around, pillar housing, I run past carriages and beggars. Flames lit up the paths, the clouds didn't part for me anymore. I start to feel tired my legs are weak, without intending to I start to slow down, I keep making attempts to push on. I see another stairway I go up the stairs and the paths become narrow I keep running taking any twist and turn that I notice making an effort to avoid going in circles. People start to hear the commotion that the guard is causing by shouting at me, people give me either confused or damning looks. I saw a number of buildings grow sparse except for one, it was level with me. I see the guard gaining on me fast. I didn't have time to think, so I jumped. I look back to be pushed to the ground. The guard intended on incapacitating me, I was not dying today. I manage to wriggle out from under him after he scratched me, he charges for another attack, I panic and kick him, he falls off the roof screaming, I couldn't see much, but I could still hear. I heard one crack and then another faint one. I start running, I jump off the pillared building, I collapse onto my knees, when I land my hand dances over the edge I recoil instantly regaining balance before I share the same fate as the Blood Warrior. I get up and walk down the stairs, I walk the twists and turns of the walkways, so when I get to the ground, I end up as far away as possible. I walk away, through the broken darkness to my home. The Black Forest, the rumoured home of the monsters, from what I've known it was only a rumour. There weren't many torches deep in the forest and the clouds left few gaps. I stole one and started walking, I walked the brown, worn, familiar paths which were speckled with dead grass and ash. I ran my hand along the trees as I walked, letting the black dust stain my fingers. I continued walking until I found a pile of sticks the ones I left and luckily there were a few freshly dead birds as well, the poor things flew into the dark from Esior only to collapse and die and be used as food, for a cursed thing. I put the torch to the bundle of sticks as I look for more. After grabbing some extra sticks I throw them into the fire. I lay down next to it hits me, I just killed someone, I didn't even think about it, I just kicked a man who could've had kids to go home to. Tears stream down my face, make no effort to wipe them away, I killed someone, I killed someone. I'm the monster everybody thinks I am. Maybe I should send myself to them. Save the world and all. No, no goddess who loves her people would let an innocent child be marked forcing him to leave his family, his sister, forcing him to hurt someone to survive.