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Watchtower <Palace District>

A squared-off wooden tower with window openings on all four sides, giving shift watchmen an unimpeded view of the Imperial Thoroughfare and the surrounding territory. A ladder leads about fifteen feet down toward street level.

The watchtower creaks under the weight of Sprinter, who whinnies in fear, his hooves sliding on the floorboards as they sway beneath the unaccustomed weight. The horses head snaps about wildly.

Two Bladesmen in the watchtower turn to see the horse and its rider trotting into the cramped base of the watchtower. "Light keep us...what *are* you doing, sir?"

From Sprinter's saddle, Orell Mikin looks down from his horse, at the bladesmen, "Quick, men, help me hold the horse steady, " as he pulls steadily back on the reins to hold his horse steady.

As he pulls back on the reigns, the horse whinnies again, its teeth closing around the bit. The beast's eyes roll back in its head as a sound comes from deep within its broad chest, and its front hooves fly up, pawing at the air and starting the approaching guardsmen.

Holding on tightly to the horse's neck, Orell Mikin manages to stay on the horse. He shakes his head, as he grits his teeth and steadily tugs on Sprinter's reins as he whispers in its ears, "Come on, boy, easy.... Relax."

One brave bladesman dodges to try to get past the flailing hooves, but one iron shod hoof hits him squarely in the chest. The bladesman crumbles to the ground and the horse balances on his rear hooves, bucking wildly, then drops and bucks the rear hooves, now with the bit in his teeth, trying to throw the rider and bolt for the door.

Catapulted from the back of the horse bucking wildly, Orell Mikin is thrown against the wall, his back hitting against the wooden wall of the tower and then falling down to the floor, his leg splayed out in front, landing somewhat heavily on his behind.

Now bereft of its rider, the horse bolts for the door, its reigns trailing. It slows to pass under the door, then gallops away for all its worth in the direction of the palace.

Orell Mikin sighs as he looks at the horse galloping away, as he reaches behind his back to check for any broken ribs, "Wretched horse, that one is.... I ought to hang the stableman, he claims it will be fast and trustworthy... And it just dashed straight for this watchtower after i got onto its back and started bucking wildly." as he looks over at the armored bladesman who caught the hoof on his chest, "Blademen, check on the brave man. Get rid of that bent armor and examine his chest. His medical bills will be on me."

The unhurt Bladesman kneels beside his battered companion. "Bladesman Zahir, are you well? Can you speak?" He waves three fingers in front of the hurt soldier. "How many fingers am I holding up?"

The injured bladesman groans, "Uhhh... Uhhhh... Two..." He coughs, and a bit of spittle runs down his chin, "Good guess?"

The unhurt Bladesman looks from Zahir to the three fingers. Lifts his eyebrows. Lowers one of the fingers. "Right. Close enough." He then turns his face to look up at Orell Mikin. "M'lord, I am unsure what 'medical bills' are, but if you would be so kind as to send for a healer, or perhaps a leechmaster..."

Orell Mikin nods at the injured bladesman, "Ahhh.. a brave man from the Zahir House.. I will be sure to commend you before his Lordship Aiden, I do believe that I owe a favour to the House then." as he struggles to his feet, walking towards the bladesmen, his steps rather awkward.

Suddenly the spittle dripping from the man's mouth turns red as he coughs up frothy blood.

"No!" cries the unhurt Bladesman as he turns back to grab the shoulders of his dying companion. "Zahir! You mustn't! Be strong!"

As he is shaken, the bladesman continues to shake, his tongue jutting out of his mouth as he is wracked by a seizure, blood bubbling from his mouth as his hands grab uselessly at his armour, his head banging off the floor of the watchtower. He jerks, only his heels and shoulders touching the ground, before he drops to the ground with a gurgle and then is silent.

The surviving Bladesman closes Zahir's eyes, then folds the young man's gauntleted hands over his battered chest. "His father asked that he get watchtower duty to *keep* him from harm. He will be most displeased." Standing slowly, armor creaking, he looks toward Mikin. "And Lord Zalor Zahir is no one to displease lightly, m'lord chamberlain."

Kneeling down before the bladesman, Orell Mikin bends down and grabs hold of the dead bladesman's shoulder, "I am so sorry that you died for this," He speaks as if the dead bladesman can still hear him. Picking himself up awkwardly, he looks at the other bladesman, his eyes wet, "I will speak to Lord Zolor Zahir and Blademaster Hartnek Lomasa about this personally."

"As you wish, m'lord," the surviving Bladesman replies, resting a hand on the hilt of his sword. "Keep in the light."

Orell Mikin nods at the surviving Bladesman, "Take care of the good man's body. Inform the local commander." Rather unsteadily, Orell Mikin makes his way towards the door of the guardtower and heads out.


Return to Season 1 (2003)

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