A cold wind swept through the dimly lit streets on an early winter Monday morning. The castle, its turrets standing high against the stark night sky and capped with crowns of snow, gave a dreamlike impression over the sprawled city. The castle walls were tall and thick, enveloping the large rectangular keep which was dotted with rows and rows of unlit gothic windows. Slowly, the sky was basked in bright red light as the sun crept up on the horizon. A baker came out of his thatched house and placed his bread on the counter. Window shutters were opened everywhere to let the sunlight in and stray dogs began prowling the alleys for scraps of food. The city was waking up and soon the streets were thriving with people on their daily business and haggling at the marketplace. A rider clad in red, marking him out as a soldier, galloped towards the white castle gates. He was stopped by two guards clutching vicious halberds. “And who may you be?” said the larger of the two guards.
“I am a soldier of the Reynor guard,” the soldier declared, “And you would be wise to let such a man in.”
“Hah! And I’m an Arch daemon!” the guard replied, “The Reynor guard was wiped out two years ago! Them guards fought bravely, but even they were no match for the Easterners. Outnumbered ’em ten to one! Now run along, we ain’t got no patience for frauds and liars!”
“Speaking of daemons, I heard thousands of the creatures came straight from Hell itself to fight against them Reynors!” the other guard chimed in.
“Don’t be talking rubbish, Aaron! Nobody believes in daemons. They’re a thing from fairy tales.”
“But daemons are real! I saw one with me own two eyes! It was big an’ red with two long horns and wings as long as you an’ me! Mark my words, they’re out there somewhere.” the larger guard turned to the soldier.
“Pay no heed to ‘im, that’s just the Drake beer talking. See, small Aaron ‘ere’s a war veteran from the Stone Divide. Foolish men drowned in that strong beer could as well be seeing ice spirits,” he said brusquely, “Anyway. We can’t just be lettin’ you in! If everyone dressed like a knight and demanded entry any sane assassin would use that as an advantage. So I’ll have to ask you to identify yourself.”
“Well, you’re not stupid, I’ll grant you that.” replied the rider, his eyes glinting and calculating from under his crimson hood. He reached for his saddle bag and produced a small medallion with two white eyes engraved upon a red background.
To be continued…