Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Penitent's Tale - Part 1

An eagle descends out of a sunrise. In the morning light, the shadow of the Black Cliffs stretches long over the Mighty Porthmos. Below pass the majestic villas and once-golden spires of Oppara - the Gilded City.

The eagle sails beyond the bustle and din of the city and travels out, out over a pastoral countryside. The streets of the city are replaced with cultivated fields, livestock, and hedgerows. A village catches the bird’s eye - covered in cobbled roads, fresh paint, and people in well-mended clothes. A churchbell rings and the smell of the morning baking is on the air. Dipping to avoid the lazy stroke of a windmill, the eagle lands on a branch outside a long hall and peers inside.

A sturdy man sits at a worktable with a simple knife in hand. His brow furrowed over piercing gray eyes in concentration, he shapes a wooden rod.

One stroke, two stroke - turn. One stroke, two stroke - turn. One stroke, two stroke - turn.

His hands stop. He nods in approval and blows sawdust from the rod. Bending down he affixes it to the side of a cradle and reaches for another piece of wood. A hanging woodblock carving of a man in hunting garb watches over him as he toils.

There is a bang and a gust of wind as the door at the end of the hall flies open. Startled, the man draws blood with the knife and utters a low curse.

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