A Requiem in the Dark

Part four of the series.
Part One: A Song of Glory
Part Two: A Choir of Intrigue
Part Three: Etude in the Sun

Despite being less than a tenth of the size of Night Town, the difference in population density leaves The Day feels excessively spacious. Right through the centre the river Sol flows flows down from the mountain carrying with it serenity until it crashes over the ledge of the mountain. Godhead Lake catches the water that falls and pools it in great lake at the bottom from which innumerable artificial waterways eek out into the countryside to irrigate the farms that feed the city.
I linger at the cliff face that overlooks Night Town on my way towards the Baronet’s estate. Far below the sprawling city is beautiful. The sun is quickly setting and the growing shadows reach towards the mountain like a drowning man reaches for the sun. Less than an hours daylight remains, by my reckoning. The shadows clawing at the base of the Twilight Wall confirm my suspicion. I have tarried long today, but there should be just enough time to gather some useful information.

There is still light as I reach the Baronet’s district, one can discern much by observing these estates. Far enough from the roar of the waterfall to be quiet but with a view that overlooks Night Town in the distance. I suspect the Baronet’s lineage holds some measure of influence. More than likely his is a hereditary title. No battle-won aristocrat could boast a view of the city below. The aristocrat estates in The Day prize a view of the river or Night Town like the commoners prize a warm hearth in the winter.
Finding a place to observe from takes longer than I would like. Shadows caress the lip of the Twilight Wall and promise to engulf The Day. From my vantage I can see the estate of Baronet Thierris in private. The entire building is brightly lit by lanterns which will allow me to evaluate the layout and security even as the sun disappears beneath the horizon.
Night has finally overtaken The Day. I rest my weight against the railing of the clock tower smugly satisfied by my cleverness. Evening service provided me an entrance while disappearing unseen into the cathedral was achieved by my own daring and stealth. Casting my gaze over the estate I count but a handful of guards with dogs patrolling the ground, more than usual for this area, but less than I had expected for an aristocrat blackmailing one of his peers. Curious, but not entirely damning. I continue looking. The hours drag, the hourly tolling of the bell inflicting me with some regret over my position but otherwise only the same small number of guards rotating out with replacements twice during the night.
By the third hour of morning by the bells count I am frustrated with impatience. This job could be knocked over in a night by a clutch of mewling amateurs with the right motivation. I must be missing something. For how many years now I’d searched for her, only to find her here! Surely there must be something to this Baronet to warrant not only her attention, but also the attention of a crow keeper.

The first ray of the sun peeks over the Dawn Wall causing my weary eyes to squint in pain. Morning already, and still no sign of meaning behind this job. The morning service would be opening soon, signalling my cue to leave the clock tower so as to disappear into the crowd of worshippers. Resolving to return the next night I creep down the stairs and slip into the knot of people.
Fighting back weariness as the priest drones his way through the mornings prayers, I spy a familiar face across the aisle, a row back from where I am seated. A relatively young man that I recognise as James Thierris, our Baronet’s young son and the husband to Sophia, or Ava as the dossier called her. Curious that he was here alone, perhaps he alone practices the faith in his family. Regardless, as we leave the service I am already following him.

The young man walks with the relaxed speed of a man who is comfortable using his body. I judge by his frame that he is likely an athlete of some some, possibly a rower or swimmer. His walk leads him away from his fathers estate and towards the centre of The Day.
Very well liked and seemingly in no hurry to get anywhere he stops a number of times to chat with all manners of people. While only the aristocracy and their servants actively live in The Day, a complex ecosystem of upscale merchants and artisans make shop here. The baronet’s son seems humbler than many spoiled sons of aristocrats. During his conversations with store owners he offers to help several times before being politely declined.
We walk along the river for a time, breathtaking in its radiance. Fatigue is beginning to interfere with my ability to shadow the man and I am considering cutting it short rather than push my luck further when suddenly I realise that we are all alone in this street. My instincts flare in panic, cursing myself for my mistake I lower my head and slow my pace. He looks around nervously, I think perhaps he has noticed me subconsciously when I notice a third individual enter the street. The sight of them filling me with terror pushing me to hide and pray they hadn’t noticed me.

Breathing deep silent breaths, I recite my mantra of emptiness as I attempt to melt into the stone wall that I have hidden behind. Far closer than I should have ever been I hear James’ voice offer a greeting which conceals his own fear well. Then in a voice that sets my heart to tremble, the angel replies,

“Heaven’s blessings, Thierris. You are expected.”

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

18 thoughts on “A Requiem in the Dark”

  1. Pingback: Writing Regularly

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