Opening Engagement

The city of Aldynn had changed. It felt grimier, reflecting the shift in power. The difference between the two kings shouldn’t have been so pronounced. The blood was still the same, title merely passing from father to son, but that had made all the difference in the world. In less than a month signs of decay were visible- trash accumulated along the sides of the streets, unexplained deaths were found by the light of dawn, and gang activity surged.

On the corner between the bakery and boot maker’s shop, a hooded figure watched the people who moved in the street with a canny eye. He was looking to make another sale. I’d already seen him exchange one small pouch for another with a filthy urchin. I didn’t know who claimed him. Three gangs operated openly.

He shrunk, hunching his shoulders and looking away as two members of the city’s guard escorted an obese, red-faced merchant, down the middle of the cobble-stone street.

Making a decision, I loosened my blade as I approached the dealer. “Excuse me, friend…”

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