A cloaked figure slipped down the gloomy streets of the dark city of Marazino. He silently moved into a deserted alley, watching as the Night Guard rushed by him. He chuckled slightly, his mismatched eyes shining mischievously in the thin yellow light of the oil street lamps that lined the road.
He disappeared into the shadows of the alley, weaving his way through the dark underbelly of the port city. Those that he passed took another look at the man. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first glance. Nothing that is, except for his eyes. His strange eyes of different colors were not the only indication. No… It was the color of one of the eyes that showed exactly how cursed he was. For in the dim lamp light, his right eye was the dark black of obsidian. But his left eye was a surreal shade of fiery orange. The color of the fabled Land of Midnight, the isle of demons. A cursed color.
The man frowned slightly as an old woman made a sign to ward off the evil eye, quickly shuffling down the street under his glare. But it didn’t matter. He had a destination to reach, and quickly. He could hear the clock tower in the city’s square ring out the half hour- only thirty minutes left.
The man passed through the worn down districts, letting nothing distract him. He could see the men in the bars, getting intoxicated from music and ale. He could hear the calls of the women, offering what little they had. This was the lowest of the low, the worst part of the city. And it was here that he had to pass, in order to get to his destination.
He felt a person nudge up against him, trying to take what wasn’t there. A glare was all it took to send him staggering away, searching for another victim with looser pockets. He turned into another alley, irritated by the smell of tobacco and stale perfume. He mentally vowed to never visit this part of town for the rest of his unnatural life, no matter what the circumstances.
Finally, he was clear of the city’s criminal side. All that was before him now was the ocean.
He could smell it, taste it on his tongue. The salty air of the ocean, wafting off the tiny waves that lapped upon the shore, erasing all existence of the day. It was melancholy. It was unstoppable. And it was what he loved the most. He watched for a few moments, before the ringing of the clock in the town square shook him out of his thoughts. Forty-five minutes past the hour. . . He needed to get there quickly.
Quietly, he wandered down the lonely, empty streets of the Trader's Block. The night’s fog had already begun to settle in, enveloping the salty street in a chilly blanket of mist. He would have enjoyed it, savored it if it was any other night. But he had a deadline to meet, and his time was almost up. His footsteps quickened as he neared the place he was supposed to meet this so-called ‘Lord of Darkness’.
The large house sat by the harbor, it’s worn and weathered face looking out with empty eyes over the water. It was run down, with missing tiles and broken railings on the rotting steps. There was no glass in the windows, but large shards littered the overgrown yard surrounding the old trader’s house. Soot and ash clung to the sides of the building, the obvious sign of a fire that had ravaged the area around it almost twenty years ago. It was amazing that this house had even survived.
The cloaked figure climbed the wooden steps, which groaned under his weight and at least a decade of termite damage. He half-feared for his life. Or, at least, his legs.
The house was unlocked. Good. The mysterious man would already be here, waiting for him. He pushed the burnt chestnut slab away from him, its hinges screeching in the night air, making him wince. He looked around quickly, to see if anyone was following him, before quickly entering the old wharf house. There were no signs of the man he was supposed to be meeting. No signs whatsoever that he would be getting his reward.
A flicker of light under one of the doors caught his attention. So, the so-called ‘Lord of Darkness’ was here, huh? Sneaky, that man. A frown marred his face as he approached the door, his shoes resonating loudly on the dirty and damaged floor. He slammed open the door to what had to be the parlor, squinting in the dim light of only a single lit candle. As soon as he could see, the he pulled a shining object out of his cloak, tossing it to the wood in front of a pair of black boots.
“There. The deed is done.”
A man, his face veiled with thick cobwebs that distorted his appearance, bent down to retrieve the sparkling item front the floor in front of him. A few drops of ruby-red blood fell to the darkened floor, vanishing into the mire below his feet. He grinned at the stained dagger in his hands, his obscured eyes flickering to the face of his cloaked conspirator. His smile turned malicious as he tucked the blade away into the shadows that made his form.
“Very good, Sariel. The gears of fate will begin to turn. It shall all go according to plan.”
He got up from the large, slightly water damaged wingback chair, walking towards the door. He only paused to speak with the man once again.
“Sariel, angel of death… you will help make the world into my vision.” He crossed the room, with one foot out the door before Sariel called back for him.
“Wait a minute! You promised-”
The strange, obscured man laughed at his protests, his disguised eyes glaring mockingly at Sariel.
“What? You honestly thought I was going to break your curse just for a simple murder? No, Sariel. You are going to have to work for me for some time before our deal bears its fruit.” He moved, then paused again. “Oh, yes. I almost forgot. Happy birthday.”
A cruel smile played on his lips as he left the house, just as the large clock in the city’s square began to strike ten o'clock. A bright, almost unnatural light filled the dilapidated house behind him. When the light vanished, so had the two men.
- Title: The Beginning of a Mystery
- Artist: Sada Pure
This is the prologue to the book I'm writing, slightly altered so that, if anyone steals it, I still have my original.
This is only the beginning, a piece to set the mood... and to get you hooked.
- Date: 07/17/2008
- Tags: fantasy fiction murder mystery prologue