Meylinn made her way through to the throng. She noted the angry shouting of man and the smell of horseflesh above the sounds and smells of an unrelenting rain. The ravens were silent though. That means they have been let loose. Good.
Meylinn ensured that she appeared outwardly calm, she knew that her presence would sill the emotions of those around her. One hand rested on her makeshift walking stick, the other around the shoulders of her granddaughter, Lani. She was a picture of serenity, an old lady out for a leisurely walk with a favoured grandchild. Let them think that.
‘Pardon me,’ she nudged a particularly loud and rotund man. At first he was resistant to moving, too caught up in hurling obscenities at the men on horseback. Then his wife began cursing and slapping him. That got his attention much more efficiently than Meylinn’s pleasantries. ‘Thank you,’ she smiled over her shoulder at the still cursing wife.
Slowly making her way through the crowd, Meylinn was more aware of the noise ahead of her and the silence at her back. It was like sound and silence were entrenched in a vigorous battle. Neither was making any headway until Meylinn made her way through the crowd.
She could now clearly pick out the individual voices from the din. She could also see a sword being waved around. Since the Imperial Decree, it was a rare thing to see a sword. Stories told of their beauty and deadly elegance. Others described their curves or keenness.
In truth, this was a dull weapon, notched in places and partially rusted in others. No true Farense would keep their blade in such disrepair. The damage, as they say, had been done. Many of her people had never seen a sword, they had only heard how easy it was to kill with one in hand. She could sense that the moral of the Scrapi was low. For all of their cursing and jeering they were scared. Or worse.
Pushing past the last of her people, Meylinn noted that the sword had a very slight red sheen to it. Not well kept, but sharp enough. For the second time in the same day, she called upon what remained of her will power and approached a man with optimism and courage intertwined in her heart.
‘Forgive this old lady for not offering you food and warmth,’ she recited the traditional greeting before noticing a young boy with blood covering half his face. While Varick Einar and his son had not been with Meylinn for long, she knew that the senior was not to be trifled with.
By the fierce look in the young one’s eyes, he’s fixing to do something stupid. What was his name again? Searching through the recesses of her mind, she took the boy’s face in her hands. Blood oozed out of an angry red line all the way from nose to earlobe.
‘Lani,’ she said over her shoulder. ‘Fetch some bandages,’ Meylinn made sure to keep the anger out of her voice and her hands firmly on the child before her. She had yet to recall his name. ‘We’ll need some disinfectant too. If you can’t find any, bring vinegar.’
Meylinn looked up at the wielder of the sword. ‘Well, his father won’t be happy.’ And with that the optimism was gone. Like a daisy crushed beneath a heap of dung.
CW SY 2013