Chapter 12 Scene 1

by Richard Perkins
This entry is part 48 of 65 in the series Doormaker's Fall

Chapter 12: Answer Seeking

“The value of intelligence can’t be emphasized enough. A single well trained scout can save the lives of scores of fighters if a commander uses them effectively.”

Training Manual of the Soldiers Guild

Devon’s heart thundered in his ears. The roof tiles throbbed against his sweat slicked palms. He felt sure they must be amplifying the wild rhythm for everyone to hear. But amazingly, no one looked up from the streets below him. No one poked their head out of an open window in search of the giant who’s racing heart and panting breath must surely be rattling their foundations. His pulse slowed as the seconds turned to minutes and no startled cries of discovery rang out.

Devon felt exhilarated and his confidence soared up to, well, to the rooftops, carrying him with it. He had been afraid of being discovered, but not because it would put him in any danger. These villagers were people he had grown up with after all. But being discovered would mean he had failed to meet Fronek’s expectations. The old mercenary’s opinion of him was what Devon cherished most in his young life.

And the warrior’s regard had become more even important in recent days. Wasn’t that strange? Such thoughts flitted briefly through Devon’s head, barely registering in his consciousness before being cast aside by the needs of the moment.

Right now he needed to get across the main village road to a vantage point where he could see and hear what was happening at the Bazaar. It would not be easy. He had climbed the village wall from the northwest side where the tree shadows were darkest and reached highest on the crumbling three story façade.

The village wall hadn’t been patrolled in ‘turns, not since the end of the quarantine imposed during the Dust Plague. There were no guards for Devon to avoid. But many villagers thought the open ramparts were a nice place for a picnic, with panoramic views of the village nestled at the foot of the imposing escarpments of the Barrier Mountains. Luckily, the northwest watch tower had been damaged and abandoned for as long as Devon could remember, so only the most adventurous of the village boys ventured there.

Devon had scrambled through the outside window of the darkened tower and crouched in the shadows inside while he waited for his eyes to adjust. Then he had sprung from the ragged hole in the interior tower wall across the narrow alley onto the steep roof of a tanner’s shed. He had gambled that the workers in this quarter of the village would all be at the Bazaar, and his luck had held.

The roofs of this closely packed part of the village were as well trod as the great trade routes by tomcats and mischievous children alike. Devon knew all the pathways by heart, but remaining unseen while traveling them in broad daylight added a new challenge for him. He found it invigorating.

He pressed against chimneys whenever possible. He crouched flat against the tiles when crossing open areas or ducking from one vantage point to the next. He had tucked his shoes into a small pack strapped tightly to his back. His bare feet whispered across the varied surfaces of each roof, leaving no sound or other sign of his passage.

But at last he had reached an impassable divide. The main thoroughfare through the village was broad, well traveled, and exposed. It lead from the southern gate up past Mabel’s Inn to the Market Square and past the Town Hall. Then it split into three lesser roads that serviced the homes and businesses in the northeast of the village. The Bazaar was on the east side of the main road between the Market Square and the Town Hall. Devon could not cross the road using the anonymous cover of the village roofs. But there was another way. He eased back away from the busy road through the center of town, and then crept silently south on all fours.

Comments are closed.