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The Vale of the Rose

The gretch was tired, no…. exhausted. His clothing was ragged, stained with dirt, blood and his own filth. His hat was long discarded, the tricorns shape ill fit with his surrounds, straight lines were a luxury in the north. Straight lines were a thing of civilization. Of Empire. Straight roads, canals, shield walls, stabbing swords. No. The north was warped and unnatural of late, nothing ordered. Like the gretch’s journey, winding, wandering, meandering. It had to be so to throw his pursuers off his scent. He hunched against a wind blasted boulder, his dirt grey form one with it. Below was…..ruin. The town that once announced the end of the barbaric tribe lands and the start of the civilised south, gone. Its plump ruddy faced burghers were no more, their bleached bones lay amongst the ashes of their homes.

The gretch crawled, scuttled, and ran from piece of cover to piece of cover….sticking to shadows, becoming one with them.

He smelt, decay, a deep rot, seeping from the lichen covered tower, old blood, dry cracked flesh, fetid breath…..the stones still scarred from the recent assaults, seemed ….pained.

How the great fall, vicious thoughts crossed his mind. He started, and became aware of figures, they themselves moving with practised ease of folk used to stalking and being stalked….a pallid pair, but noble dressed…. They dragged a third, a human, dirty, armour rent, blood leaking from a torn throat…

The gretch pulled himself into a crack in a buttress…..and watched.


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