Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)
TITLE: NOT ALONE
By mick dawson
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A lone figure sat at his vigil by the spire of an orphanage. In the drizzling rain, the hessian bag he wore as a mask clung to his face, moving in and out with each breath.
Although athletic of frame, his limbs were heavy, having them seem disproportionate to the rest of his body, like the apes of “Kundra.”
Civa savoured the moment still, the night he was first released to steal for his new employer; it was the most exhilarating time of his life. For the first time, he was truly free, leaping, tumbling, running without restraint, and the rooftops of Caliet were his playground.
That was then…he no longer stole, but watched the streets from above, assisting the watch in keeping order.
At times, the task seemed so lonely although he had heard there was another champion who patrolled the streets with the strength of ten men.
Civa guffawed to himself. It was a myth, which he only ever heard around the fires, which guttered low in the taverns. It was said that a phantom guardsman of the king, braved the streets of the poorer quarter alone, donating to the poor, finding homes for orphans and dealing out justice with a double-edged, long hafted axe.
It was also said that he was horrifying to look upon; wearing the ragged remains of the uniform of the king’s elite and clad from head to foot in bandages. An unstoppable fiend, according to the denizens of the poorer quarter; one who it was said, was nameless.
For now, his concerns were more tangible as he had followed a Soravian man through the streets for the past two turns of the glass. This one wore overall armour, seeking the phantom.
Civa snorted derisively.
‘I wish you well in your search for a myth,’ he said softly.
The ironclad figure patrolled the back lanes, asking, and for the most part, presenting no threat to the few who roamed so late at night, but it seemed that the armour gave this one, power unparalleled.
In his frustration, he saw the Soravian overturn a wagon in an alley, shattering the hardwood boards with his gauntleted fists as if they were rotten twigs.
It was for this reason that Civa followed, dreading, yet ready to intervene, if need be.
A sweep of his eyes, took his view further ahead of the armoured man, where a stone bridge spanned over a section of the Pentraca River. A lone figure stood, leaning on the edge, looking into the water.
Civa leapt free of the edge, taking hold of a clothesline. From there, he kicked his legs upward, letting go of the rope, only to catch hold of it again further along. “Hopping” along the rope in this manner, he gained the opposite building in moments, quickly pulling himself up onto the roof.
Sprinting now, breached the steep apex, leaping over, sliding down the opposite side, coming to a halt at the edge with the aid of his clawed fingers.
On the bridge now, the figure had shape, clad in bindings and wearing the bedraggled remains of a guardsman’s uniform.
‘Forgotten One, beware!’ shouted Civa.
Alerted to the rushing of footsteps, the guardsman swung his axe at the source. Steel against steel reverberated as it met with the Soravian’s tulwar, sending it spinning from the gauntleted hand.
Now disarmed, the Forgotten One pressed his attack, delivering his axe to the breastplate of his assailant in a mighty upward arc. It sent the Soravian, sprawling into the sandstone wall of the bridge, shattering away shards of rock on contact.
Civa gasped in horror, watching the Soravian rise to his feet with barely a score on his armour.
Leaping at the Forgotten One, the two combatants smashed through the stone wall on the opposite side of the bridge into the dark, swirling water.
The Cat-man craned his head for a closer look, apprehensively waiting for the outcome, yet at the same time, knowing that neither the legend nor the armoured one would survive.
A horned helmet broke the surface at last, climbing the river bank.
With dripping axe in hand, he raised it in salute to Civa, who in turn replied with a nod.
Leaping free of the edge for a waiting balcony, Civa headed for home, safe in the knowledge that the streets of Caliet were safe for another night and secure that he didn't battle them alone.
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