Prologue (5/7): Fallout


Aeris fled to the nearest village and slept fitfully in a farmer’s pile of hay. When she awoke, the sun was rising, and the farmer and his kin were doing chores. She snuck past them, nabbing some bread and cheese, before running off to the next village. In this way, hopping from village to village, unnoticed and stealing scraps to sustain her, Aeris traveled to the closest city that wasn’t Corwick or Westspring, constantly checking behind her for any pursuit.

There was none.

She used the skills she learned through the Shadowstriders to glean information from rumors, choose a good mark, pick pockets for spare coin, and wheedle her way into contracts. For fear of being tracked, Aeris went by the name Evalyn Wright and kept away from old contacts, both hers and those known to work with the Shadowstriders. She picked up other skills to aid in her quest for survival and riches, such as playing the lute and learning various languages, some more useful than others.

Years passed with her travelling to different cities within her home country of Sine and even to some cities without, a part of her always suspecting that Eydan or some other member followed her. Sometimes she hoped for it. But the only thing that seemed to actually follow her were the stories as news travelled from Westspring, stories of a hero brutally slain by an evil villain walking in human skin, a villain who controlled the air itself.

A villain they called the Murder Tempest.

That has to be the WORST nickname I’ve ever heard, Evalyn would think while ordering five shots of their strongest and quickly downing them one after the other. If she had to hear the stupid story, she certainly wasn’t doing it sober. Shadowbreeze is probably my best. Why couldn’t that name be spread everywhere?

Evalyn found a certain contentedness in her lonely exploits. Not exactly happy, but at least content. She worked hard to earn a reputation to rival that of her previous name. Fifty years had passed since she found the Shadowstriders; she was sure her parents no longer lived. Yet thanks to her ancestry, she aged little, and so she assumed she would continue like this quite possibly for the rest of her long life.

An incorrect assumption.

“Baldur, huh. . .” Evalyn sighed.

“Well, yes. It makes sense he’d try to leave the country. Beats going to Cusal.”

“Yeah, I suppose it does at that.” Evalyn took a long draught from her tankard. Her client was a normal looking bloke, some fool who lost everything of value to one of her ilk. He was fidgety and jumpy, nervous even in this public setting of a bustling tavern.

She continued to drink and tapped the middle of the table before leaning her chair back on two legs. The man placed a handful of gold coins uncertainly where she had tapped. Tunk tunk. Another handful. Tunk tunk. One more accompanied by a glare. She winked as she reached the end of her beverage, gave a small belch, cleared her throat, and swiped the lot. “Pleasure doing business with you. I’ll expect the same when I get back with your belongings.”

He slid five more gold pieces, one under each digit. “And a bit more to make sure this particular problem doesn’t happen again.” The nervousness was replaced by angry vengeance.

She pushed his hand away. “I don’t murder people. I’m not an assassin. If he fights me, I’ll kill him, but I don’t want your blood money.”

He hesitated, smiled, then pulled his hand back. “Fine by me. Just grab what’s mine and meet me back here.”

Evalyn nodded, and he left. She smiled as she opened her fist and added five coins to her already heavy purse. “To Baldur then.”



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So you want to know about me? If so, I'm surprised and humbled. There are so many people you could bump into on the vast expanse of the internet, yet here you are reading MY words. I am one who was fooled by the system into getting a college education only to find out I would have been happier without it. And after realizing this, I returned to it like a dog to its vomit. Thus, I find myself pining after my childhood dream of being a writer while sitting on a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and attending to a Master's degree. You know how the saying goes: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Joking aside, I like what I do, but I still want to write and eventually publish my work. I see no reason why I cannot do both.

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