The Scales of War
Think about the gear your character travels with. What’s the most important physical object in the world to your character?
Night. Taerath Hold. Father’s workshop.
Flee. Flee or fall.
I grab a backpack from the cupboard. Rope from the wall, a flint, a waterskin, lantern oil, I rip the blanket off the side room bed; I stuff all of it into the bag.
How long now? How long until they’re here? A minute maybe; two, if the night patrol happened to be on the far side of the street. I’m running out of time.
I scan the room quickly, looking for anything else of value. My eyes try their best to avoid what lies motionless behind the counter. I see the silken cloak folded over a chair in the corner. I throw it over my back and tie it loosely. I pull the hood up over my face. I smell the still present scent of sage on the black cloth and for half a second my mind drifts to the night before. The midnight gamble, the chase over the rooftops, the confusion in the guard’s eyes as he falls. It all seems so long ago.
I leave now or I’m caught. I make for the door, stuffing a stale hunk of bread into my side pouch. I reach for the door handle, but I stop short. I turn my head back to the counter.
My Mother died while giving birth to my brother. I was too young to remember. Once, when I was small and stupid, but old enough to be bold, I asked my father why we had nothing left of my Mother’s. Not a brush, or a mirror, or a necklace; nothing remained.
My Father had stopped working when he heard that; he put his tools down onto the bench and took the smoking pipe from his mouth. With the sternest of looks that put a pit in my stomach, he responded, “It is better that way.”
I never agreed with him. And I do not mean to change my mind now.
Steeling myself, I walk behind the counter as quickly as I can manage, jaw clenched tight. And there he is, hunched over on the floor, the bloody quarrel still in his chest. My Father.
I reach down to pick up his pipe on the ground. It had fallen from his mouth only moments before, when he had stood there so bravely. With that same stern look.
I place the pipe gently in my pocket and turn away.
Opening the door quickly, I rush out into the black. The heavy rain fits the mood of the night. I hear the guardsmen finally reach the workshop just as I round the corner.
I head for the Ram’s Head Inn a few streets down. The only roof close enough to jump to the castle wall.
A few minutes later, I’m dropping down onto the muddy ground outside the city. I pull my cloak close against the rain. Nothing remains for me here.
I head west.