The Setting of Sirith

I do not know how I survived the leap. The glass pricked at my face, and my stomach leapt up into my mouth as I fell. I had only the thought to escape, and if that meant my death, then so be it.

Death continued to evade me, however. I hit something, hard, though I do not believe it was the ground, since moments later I was crashing into the actual ground, and I am pretty sure I broke my wrist as I tried to catch myself, falling forward onto my face. At least I did not break my nose.

The pain made my vision go black, and I flailed in a direction away from the tower, yet I couldn’t tell if I was actually running or simply clawing at the ground until a shadow loomed up before me. I put out my good hand to push it back and felt rough, cool stone: the wall of a house. Thinking was difficult through the black of the pain and the rushing in my ears. I knew the Lord Baenarn was sure to send his guards after me. So I clung to the wall and pulled myself around it, until the house was between me and the tower.

Only then did I dare to look back.

I could just see Lord Baenarn standing, framed in his broken window. If he was looking at me, I couldn’t tell; the distance was too great. I would have expected a lesser man to be calling his guards, or even to be rushing down the stairs in pursuit, but he just…looked. When he finally turned away, something glittered off his chest, like the sun had placed a spark in his heart.

I wasn’t out of danger, I knew. I took my kerchief out of my pocket and wound it tight around my injured wrist, hoping that would hold it steady until I could construct a better brace. I did not think I could escape notice in the little town at the base of the Glooming Tower’s feet. I was a criminal, a fugitive. I could only act like one.

I dashed out into the town square, ignoring the villagers are they shouted at me to stop or watch where I was going. I found myself just outside a tavern, with horses hitched up outside it. I tore one free, leaped onto its back, and charged away.

Once I had gotten far enough from the tavern, the villagers no longer perceived me as a horse thief, only a courier of the lord, perhaps, and got out of my way, rather than run screaming after ,e. I whipped the horse harder, heading for the treeline of Bataklik. In the back of my head I whispered an apology to Saul, and tried not to think of the trouble I had caused him. The Lord Baenarn had recognized me as Chard, and the farmstead was the first place he was sure to look for my trouble.

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