30

Jan

by thefourpartland

This story takes place at the same time as the events in Tarranau,in the city of Bhreac Veryan.

Canlynedig panted as he ran through the streets of Bhreac Veryan, his eyes glancing behind him. He could hear the shouts as the Brawdoliaeth chan Danio charged after him, knocking aside pedestrians and shoppers.

He ducked down an ally between several stalls, pulling at one as he went past to knock it over, and hopefully delay pursuit. Canlynedig had no idea why the secret police was chasing him. He was just a fruit seller in the market, and owned little more than a few trees near his home. Maybe he’d sold a rotten fruit that made them ill?

Thoughts disappeared from his head as he rounded the corner of the alley to see another Brawd standing there, his head turning as he saw the running man. Cursing, Canlynedig ducked down another alley, hoping that this one did not dead end like so many in the city did.

He was in luck, and sprinted out into the clear, his lungs bursting as he wove through the crowd. Behind, he could hear the shouts growing fainter and fainter, until at last they all but stopped. At that the fruit seller stopped running, and slipped out of the crowd to wait between buildings until his breath came back to him.

Soon the factories disgorged their masses, and in the flood of sweaty, smelly humanity, Canlynedig made his way to the market where his stall had been. He daren’t approach to close, and indeed he did not, merely peering through the crowd. He could see none of the Brawdoliaeth chan Danio lying in wait, but he was sure they were there. Likewise, he was sure they were at his house.

Canlynedig spent that night in a ditch with the beggars, huddled near the oasis that formed the centre of the city. The next day he was able to slip some fruit from the stand of a fellow seller, a man who had long known him. Still he did not return home, and begged what little food he could off of friends and acquaintances, his head covered in a deep cowl against the sight of others.

A week he spent, filthy, living in the ditch, barely able to beg drink. He had not the money to buy chits, those tokens needed to exchange for water, and so relied on the kindness of others to stay alive under the baking desert sun.

By the end, he had to return to his house, for new clothes, some food, some water. Most importantly, he hoped to grab what little coin he had stored and use it to slip out of town, passing along the trade route to the east and Fal Skiddy. He waited until night had fallen, and then until the midnight hour had passed, and only then did he slip into his house.

The fruit seller ran for the trapdoor that stored his drink, pulling free a ceramic jug full of clear water. Smiling in delight, he swallowed it down until he choked.

A hand clapped his shoulder and Canlynedig sunk to the floor, tears spilling from his eyes. “You still wait for me?”

“We do what we must.” Canlynedig looked up to see the speaker, and shrank away in fear, scuttling back against the wall. An Arbenigwr Ceisiedydd stood above him. More than a member of the Brawdoliaeth, these men were known sadists and tortures, and had long since gained the epithet ‘bloodshirts’ for their stained attire.

“Why you? What did I do that you come after me?”

The Arbenigwr Ceisiedydd grinned, a smile of nothing more than teeth. “You? You did nothing. But you fled from us. We don’t like running.” A club came down, slamming Canlynedig to the floor.

He woke in a glowing cage, rattling through the streets of Bhreac Veryan. Lined with the hide of the jeminan lizard, it reflected sunlight down on the unfortunate passenger until dehydration slew him. Lying at the bottom of the cage was a small knife, a present from the Arbenigwr Ceisiedydd for his innocence.

Canlynedig grasped the knife, and quickly drew it across his throat.

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