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Sunday, 23 September 2007
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Prelude to Death: part 4
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Prelude of Death

Fourth part of my marienburg series, second to last, more detailed, but a bit smaller than the others. Though still a crucial part in the story.

Hope you like it!

Dawn. Somewhere close a dog barked, but like everything in the city, begging was of no use and taking was the only way to survive. Such thoughts did not matter to him now. All that mattered was the piece of paper in his hand, with an address scribbled on it. He stopped at a crossing and looked up. The rays of light were just becoming visible, reflecting off the golden rooftops of the buildings of the Marienburg finest and creating an amazing spectacle to those who cared to watch. Then he heard another noise and quickly looked around for its source. It was a different sound, not like barking, and only at the last moment did he realize it was a low growling coming somewhere behind him. To any observer, the movement the man made would have made them think the blade came out of nowhere, but experienced fighters would know better. Then the fragile truce which had seemingly been put on the former night was over, and once again blood ran on the streets of Marienburg.

Marienburg was behind them, not too far, but far enough. Maya felt uncomfortable in her saddle, and was constantly trying to find a better position. Problems which she saw her partners did not have, or simply ignored. Eventually, after several minutes of struggle, she resigned, and practically slumped in the saddle. She didn't quite like travel, though she didn't mind seeing new things, and even enjoyed it. A trait which she knew her daughter had inherited. Maya treasured the memories of her, and it would sometimes seem to her as if it was the only thing getting her trough the job. Thinking about her daughter and how from the time she could walk she became a danger, walking around the house, touching and grabbing everything, eager to discover a new world. Suddenly, a yell from ahead made her instinctively pull the reins. It might just as well have been a cannonball for the violence with which she snapped back to reality, which required her attention to an old man crossing the road.

She breathed in hard, the fresh country air helping her recall the whereabouts and her present status. Maya looked ahead again, and once again saw the road going on and on, the white bricks which composed it shining in response to the sunny day it presently was, until the road disappeared behind the beginning of a forest about half a dozen miles away. Her lungs hurt as she sighed, the pollution of the air in Marienburg had taken its toll on her, especially due to her southern origins, where the Estalians were proud of their open spaces and whose cities did not even get close to Marienburg's size, the most populated city in the Old World. The dust that was lifted from the carriages some miles away from the city was annoying enough though it could not be compared to that within the city, and she dared not remember the water that ran in the canals.

They were making slow progress, Maya noticed, due to the amount of carriages going in and out of the city, an amount that was normal in the morning and afternoon, times when the gates opened and closed. To her though the actually normal amount of traffic could be deemed as the most amount of people moving in one road only she had seen in her life. Here she saw two carriage owners arguing and shouting in a language she did not recognize but would guess Bretonnian. By the side of the road she saw multitudes of peasants and horseless people just passing trough, with occasional groups of beggars just standing or sitting down, their thin and frail bodies seeming even more so at the hot sun's care.

Her companions seemed unmoved or affected by anything of what was going around, and in that moment Maya was glad she had lived in Vizeaya for some time, which had given her familiarity with the environment in the cities. Though the same as the first time she entered Marienburg, it was taking all her might not to panic and run away in any direction which looked free of human traffic.

After these thoughts passed through her mind, it seemed as the world had gone silent, and she looked around to find herself and her companions already many miles ahead of the crowd of travelers and carriages which they had struggled to, and finally they had only open road ahead of them. "Pick up the pace people! We need to get by the Jolly Raft tonight or there goes our job!" Clark shouted at our group, his voice commanding as ever, and not one bit of hesitation. "And why should it?" Maya asked herself. "He's been doing this for his whole life." And then she gripped her reins tighter and off they went, Maya behind all of them, Marvin right ahead, then Lorenz, with Maria just a few feet to the left, Rickard in front of them both, and Clark at the head of the group.

Time went by, first minutes, then hours, and still there was no sign of change in the landscape. Still the rode went on and on, with green hills in the distance, the only differences were that there was now a forest on their right, and several patches of wood on their left. The sun had moved in the skies, and thankfully in Maya's opinion, it no longer shone down on them mercilessly, but rather helped them sustain the wind coming from the south, which was only worse with the fact that they were riding. But not for long would it be so, she noticed, for night was approaching, rapidly, and the sky was becoming darker, the clouds that had appeared during the day shone with a bright shade of red.

Again her thoughts were blank, and she forced herself to think of her daughter, but for some reason was not able to. Time seemed to go slowly for her, but she blamed it on her anxiety for this whole travel. She heard the wind blowing on the trees, now becoming abundant around them, and it reminded her of home. This made her look up, just in time to see an explosion of red light, the sun's last rays desperately trying to survive the arriving darkness, but were quickly dispatched. And in that moment, she heard a crow caw.

Last Updated ( Monday, 24 September 2007 )
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