Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
Period 03 A Fortified City by eagi Period 03 A Fortified City by eagi
Mall stood before the towering wall while the morning light reflected in his sparkling eyes. The farmers wife who gave him shelter for the night had said that the gates usually opened at dawn, but this morning there seemed like something had interrupted the daily routine. The gate remained closed and he heard angry voices from the inside. 

Eventually a man who did not resemble a guard, but rather a notary walked to the middle of the crenelation above the gate and blew a small horn to get the crowd that had now gathered in front of the gate's attention. 

"The city gate will soon be opened for anyone who wants to travel into the city with urgent business. However, at the moment there is a lock down. A number of crimes and unexplained events have passed during the night and until we have more clarity in what happened, we can not let anyone leave the wall enclosure. I propose that you who came for today's market, make a provisional trading post in the field west of the city. We hope to open the flow back up as soon as possible, until then we ask for your forgiveness and understanding. " With his announcement completed, the bureaucrat gave a signal to the gate forts guards who were ready to let those who did not oppose the forced isolation enter. 

In the mixed group at the foot of the gate, the arguments ran wild, many were upset at having to face this ultimatum, others were split on whether they really needed to do their business in such a hurry that they could not wait for this crisis to blow over. While some turned their back and returned to their homes in the neighborhood. 

Mall had built a reputation for being vigorous and enterprising during his twelve years of life in the Black Cross, something he also strove to live up to. "If any of you have a minor errand or message that you need to get delivered to someone within the city then I can do it for you for five coppers a head!" 

After mixed reactions regarding the young boy's trustworthiness, Mall still entered the fortified city with pockets filled with jingling coins. And a full day of courier work in front of him. However, promise and loyalty put their original destinations first on the list. 

It had been many years since he had last been in this city at the continents point. At the time he had been riding his father's shoulders playing with an iron puzzle that he had made him. Nevertheless he could still see that much had changed over the years. In addition to the new wall and its adjoining palisade. The city within had expanded feverishly. Many of the buildings he passed in the commercial district were now large two-story houses. 

He strolled in what he thought was the right direction to his uncle's office, but soon found himself disoriented. He considered heading for the house on the cliff, but then saw some guards flanking the side entrance of a house. Hoping to save some time in his search he went up to ask for directions. "Excuse me, I'm looking for Almu ..." Within the doorway at the foot of a staircase lay a body whose legs were spread at a definitely unnatural angle. Hunched over the corpse was the biggest man that Mall had ever seen. With black ruffled hair and a beard that concealed half his face, the giant looked like a monster from one of his mothers faerie tales. 

Suddenly the door to the entrance was slammed shut by one of the guards who looked uncomfortable. "-Almund .. M-m-my uncle. I can't seem to find his workshop." Stammered Mall with a pale but oh so curious face. 

Despite the tense situation, the guards were friendly and helpful. It turned out that Mall had already passed behind his uncle's property without realizing it, and he was now retracing his own footsteps back two blocks. If he could not find the way in his own service, the plan to run others errands suddenly seemed somewhat daunting. Maybe he could ask his uncle for help with a map or something simillar. 

Once at the workshops, Mall slid through the open double doors and then sidled up to Almund's office beyond the busy work floor. He heard voices from within the closed of area and decided he did not want to interrupt them, so instead he stopped to listen. 

"Do we know if the counselor has an alibi?" Said a rough voice that he thought belonged to his uncle. 

"I think he's still in Roddrik's heath but I can look into it." Answered a quieter voice that could barely be distinguished over the hammering in the workshop. 

"I guess it was to much to hope that the ferret would turn out to be a real monster in addition to his corruption ..." Sighed Almund. 

Mall suddenly felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. "Going in or out? Choose before someone tramples you." He stumbled into the room, and felt how his cheeks blush when the men in the office switched their attention to him. 

A series of emotions played over his uncle's face, everything from surprise to irritation and suspicion, over to confusion and landing on joy. "Malcolm?" He asked uncerntainly. 

"Please say Mall, I'd prefer to avoid comparisons with grandfather." He responded as he leaned against a wall in a corner making room for the worker that followed him into the small room that now had begun to feel uncomfortably crowded. 

Mall found himself out of focus and the conversation slipped into the days logistical problems of conducting exports in a city isolated from the outside world. "Let the trolleys remain loaded, but unharness the oxen and let the drivers have the morning of, Do we have someone at the North Gate so that we will know when the situation changes?" 

The worker assured that someone would be sent on the assignment, excused himself and left. 

"Should we really expect the gates to open so soon? Herman is not really known for letting up even lacking clues. The man is more blood hound than hum.." The older man was interrupted by Almund who had raised his finger, and then pointed it at the corner where Mal stood. "Well, Mall, if that's what you want to be called. It's not like we're not happy to see you, but what are you doing here?" 

Mall walked up to the writing desk where the adults waited, dug around in his bag and produced a letter that he placed on the table. It was addressed to Almund but the wax seal was already broken. His uncle looked inquiring at his brother's sigil and then back up at Mall. "Yes, I realize it may look a bit bad, but I thought that if I get robbed on the road, I can pass on the message from my father risking my life over a piece of paper..." The fact that he had been worried about being mentioned in the letter and there by being tasked with delivering his own judgment, was never uttered. 

"It's pretty dry in any case. Some scouting reports saying that the sellswords have now crossed over the Hammer River, and that you are free to reopen the trade route up to the Black Cross. Suggestions for a joint effort in helping the farmers along the coast getting back on their feet. And lastly an offer to help negotiating a truce between you and Uncle Jonas. I think that's all, but you have the letter so look for yourself." He turned around and jumped up into the only window the room had to offer, it stood slightly ajar airing out all the dust that came in from the workshop. 

"Do you have any idea how he had planned to sort out our family feud?" Asked Almund with a humorless smile. 

"Judging from your letters, Perhaps he hopes for you to set aside what separates you and instead remember that you are brothers, or something like that... It's better that he gets to present his arguments, rather than me trying to predict the future? " Mall now leaned his back out the window with his legs dangled as counterweights into the room. 

"Your letters? ... Have you read what he wrote to Jonas too?" Almund took a subconscious step toward his nephew. Who quickly flipped out the window. 

"Shame Uncle! I'm just a child, nobody gets upset if I'm curious. But you should know better!" He laughed as he ran up the alley toward the square and the fortress on The Rock. He realized later that he had forgotten to ask for the map. But he was not in any direct hurry, so he should be able to sort out his mail duties, even if it took him a week.

Previous:  Period 03 Post War

Next: Period 03 Investigation

For the full blog visit: 
Galendae-Foro Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2018
Excellent work!  Well done.  Did you use Sketch Up, or did you draw this all free hand?
eagi Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2018
Thank you, It's free hand. In a later version, where the city continues to expand, I did use a hand drawn map like this one Period 02 Map Surroundings which i angled down in a 3D software in order to make sure the geography matched.
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
January 9, 2018
Image Size
42.0 MB


8 (who?)

Camera Data

MP980 series
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows