OOC - New Arcadia Chapter 1 - Part 1

OOC : Rehash of of previous posts to follow on from Epilogue

Chapter One

Jared Fal ran like his life depended on it. His heart was beating like a hammer and his breath coming ragged as he tried to pick up more speed to lose his pursuer. Above the thud of his own boots against the hard cobbles he could still hear the sharp clatter that seemed to be growing ever closer. It was a cold night and his breath was billowing out into thick gouts of white steam to match the rolling mists that were shrouding the ground. He glanced up to see a clear sky and a full moon overhead, its white light was bright and accusing.

There came a sharp whistle from far behind him, followed by another. Jared cursed as he threw himself to the right, darting into an alleyway. He dodged between barrels and crates as he weaved his way towards the other end of the passage. Splashing through mud and gods knows what other foul liquids he started to feel the damp seeping into his boots. The sharp whistle came again and the clatter of pursuit was ever present. He had not lost them.

Jared burst from the alleyway into another wide street. Spotting the Golden Fleece, a familiar tavern across the street he regained his bearings. He considered ducking inside and trying to lose himself amidst the patrons, but quickly discarded the idea. At this time of night most would have staggered home and he would be easily picked out. Instead he charged to the right and moved diagonally across the street to where another alleyway opened up.

He heard a loud cry from behind followed by another whistle and he threw himself forward at a breakneck speed. It was not until he was half way down the this dark corridor that he realised his mistake. A dead end loomed before him. He cursed silently and glanced around as he was forced to slow his pace. Seeing that the wall the to right was lower he dragged a crate up against the wall and scrambled up and over, just in time to see a shadowed figure appear at the open end of the alley.

In desperation he threw himself over the wall and came crashing to the ground atop a low log pile. He rolled and hit the ground hard driving the wind from his lungs. He lay there for a moment his eyes closed and his body aching before a low growl caused his eyes to snap open in alarm. He could taste blood in his mouth where he had bit into his cheek during the fall and he was pretty sure he had broken a rib, but that was the least of his concern at that moment.

An arm’s length from where he lay an open kennel sheltered an enormous black dog. Its eyes glistened golden in the dark and Jared watched in horror as his muzzle drew back to show rows of sharp white teeth. The growling grew more heated as the beast edged forward. Jared made to move and the dog snarled and snapped its jaws a hairs breadth from his outstretched fingers. Jared whimpered and closed his eyes, unable to move. He could feel the hot breath of the animal now as he stood over him, that growl filling his mind with terror. Any moment now it would bite and…

There came a whimpering noise and then the sound of scuffling. Jared opened his eyes and to his amazement the dog was gone. It was then that he saw the hooves. Slowly he looked up to see the tall figure standing over him. A Satyr, no wonder he had not been able to lose the bastard. The damned thing was holding the dog aloft by the scruff of the neck and glaring at it with inhuman eyes. Jared made to move and the Satyr looked down at him and shook his head.

“Be still boy or I will set him back to his task.” He growled, and Jared obeyed. He watched as the Satyr gently lowered the dog to the ground and patted it towards its kennel and the beast obeyed, cowed somehow by the bloody gods spawn.

The Satyr wore the uniform of the City Watch, if somewhat adjusted for his non-human physiology. Short black trousers and a loose fitting black jacket. The horns made a cap impossible, but the silver badge on the creatures breast was clear enough. Jared was screwed.

The Satyr offered a hand down to Jared and after a moment he took it and allowed himself to be dragged to his feet.

“Are you armed?” the watchman asked and Jared was silent for a moment before handing over a long dirk that he had strapped to his leg. The Satyr gave a grunt of displeasure as he took the weapon and removed a set of cuffs from his belt.

“You are lucky you did not stab yourself with that fall.” He grumbled as he snapped the cuffs over Jared wrist then turned him to fasten both arms behind his back.

“I want a lawyer.” Jared said, the gods knew that he could not afford one but it seemed the right thing to say. The watchman only gave an amused grunt and pushed Jared towards the open gate of the courtyard.

“You are under arrest for disturbing the peace of Arcadia and endangering the lives of its citizens.” The Satyr went through the obligatory lines as he marched Jared out into the street where two other members of the watch were just now arriving, both humans Jared noted. They seemed to keep a wary distance from their Satyr colleague and unlike the Satyr they were panting, trying to catch their breath.

“We’ll take him from here constable.” The taller of the two men said, holding out his hand to receive Jared.

“But sergeant , he is my catch. I…”

“Constable Orsamal, need I remind you that your position on the watch it dependent on the good grace of your superiors, and I as your superior am giving you a direct order to hand over the prisoner.”

Jared glanced between the Satyr and the two men and wondered how this might play out. Satyr were known for their tempers and did not take well to rough handling. It was one reason that it was unusual to find one in public office. Just his luck to have the only Satyr on the Watch chasing him down. It was clear that his human counterparts would have lost him long ago. To his surprise he found himself being propelled forward towards his fellow humans.

“I will go file me report.” The constable murmured.

“You go do that.” The sergeant replied and the Satyr turned and left them there in the street. The two watchmen stood there for a time saying nothing.

“Which crew you with?” asked one of them once the Satyr was out of sight.

Jared looked at them in confusion for a moment until he realised what was happening. These two were dirty and if he were a member of one of the crew that kept them on the books they could claim a commission for his “escape.” On the other hand if he gave the wrong name he could just as easily end this night with a knife in his ribs.

He considered his options, and given that there was no way to know who might be lining their pockets he decided to go with the truth.

“Chimera.” He said and winced as they did not immediately react. Then to his utter relief one of them produced a set of keys and unfastened his cuffs.

“You tell Farrell that Dolan and Hicks let you loose.” The sergeant said, Dolan he presumed.

“I will.” Jared agreed and to his utter disbelief found himself running away a free man. A free man with a broken rib and a bloody mouth but still, a free man.

***

Orsamal watched from a darkened alley as his colleagues set the young criminal free. He bared his teeth, growling softly as the rage within him began to build. His hand drop to the confiscated Dirk that was tucked into his belt. They were walking towards his hiding place, laughing and chattering between themselves. He gripped the handle of the weapon and slowly drew it.

Movement in the alley behind him caused him to turn. His eyes normally adept at seeing in the dark could make out nothing unusual between the barrels and crates. Perhaps a cat? He had to be sure. There could be no witnesses. he could hear the two corrupt watchmen approaching His hiding place and turned once more to await their arrival.

His body was tense, his almost inaudible growl I constant now as he prepared to spring and deliver swift justice. They were but a few steps away and his blood was boiling in his veins ready for the kill, the sweet taste of blood.

A hand gripped his right shoulder and he froze eyes growing wide at the familiar female voice that followed.

"Do not do it." She whispered in his ear and he felt an immediate release as the anger drain from him. His shoulders relaxing. Her scent filled his nostrils. Dolan and Hicks were passing by now, just a few feet away. It would be an easy kill, swift and just. He blinked in confusion, but did not move.

The hand remained on his shoulder, the scent in his nostrils until the watchmen were long gone and then they were withdrawn. Before he could fully regain his senses a gentle hand reaches past his torso and snaked along his arm, causing every hair on his body to bristle with sudden arousal. The Dirk was deftly removed from his clenched hand.

He rose slowly and turned to see her standing before him. Standing barely five foot to his own seven she looked up towards him with a knowing smile. Her silver grey eyes shone in the darkness and her hair, jet black and long was caught back in a silver tie. She stood waiting for him to speak.

"They were corrupt." He growled after a moment.

"The whole city is corrupt, would you burn it all to the ground?"

Orsamal gave a sudden grin and she shook her head in disgust.

"Do not answer," she snapped, "I do not need the nightmares."

"Sienn, why are you here?" The Satyr demanded keen to change the subject, "It is late for you to found outside of the groves, I could arrest you for breaking curfew."

She laughed at that, a sound like silver bells chiming in a moonlit meadow. "I would like to see you try my friend. The night has ever belonged to the Meliae."

"Perhaps not for much longer." Orsamal grumbled, "The High Parliment is keen to tighten its grip. There is talk of purging the groves and forcing registration."

"We will cross that bridge when we come to it, but I do not see how this could be achieved without inciting a civil war. Would the Satyr stand for the same?" Siena looked up at him already knowing the answer.

"You know they would not." He answered, "There would be war. But you avoid my question, why are you here? Were you following me?"

She shrugged and smiled up at him, "I like to watch you work. What a Chase you gave to the human boy. I thought he lost you twice and then you were upon him. Like the wild hunt of old." She grinned with sudden wickedness.

"Speak not of the wild hunt Sienn." He growled in sudden seriousness, "I have left that behind me."

She stepped forward and placed a slim finger on the metal badge her wore. "A poor trade I think."

She let the Dirk slip from her other hand and snatched his pistol from the holster at his belt.

"Take a care with that." He hissed.

"You carry their weapons." She studied the pistol with interest, "it is a powerful thing, why not use this to deliver your justice?"

"Too loud." He grunted careful removing it from her hands and reapplying the safety which she had removed. He placed the weapon back in his holster and clipped it firmly in place.

She looked up into his eyes once more and her scent began to fill his nostrils. He shook his head to clear the effects.

"Stop that." He growled.

"I like to watch you run." She whispered as she drew closer to him. She placed her hand upon his chest and gasped as she felt his heart beat beneath her palm. She grasped his hand bringing it up to her lips kissing softly.

"Sienn I..." His protestation were cut short as she bit down hard drawing blood. She caught his wide eyes with her own her lips drawing back to show the sharp fangs that had drawn his blood and then she was gone, running headlong down the alleyway.

Orsamal gave a beastile howl of rage and passion as he watched her flee and then he was running, bereft of all reason, of all thought. There was nothing but the hunt.

***

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