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By Douglas Park

Copyright reserved 1999 Douglas Park

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Mesmni Namun stared emptily at the street. He didnít realize till moments ago that the market street was unusually quiet today. Not that it mattered to him anyway. He leaned his head against the wall behind him, hoping that it would somehow make him more comfortable. For a moment he studied a merchant to his right because he was unusually quite for a merchant. As they always do, the man wore a merchant's brown leather apron with two deep pockets. The lower pocket for change, and the upper pocket that reached deeper into the lower pocket for goods that he didn't dare display out on front. He realized with sudden interest that the man's hands were unusually clean for a street merchant. His fingers were long and pale with almost all the veins showing. The hands reminded him of pair of white spiders with very long limbs. Meeting his empty gaze the merchant muttered in Chaal tongue,

"Shiks nu be.. Bashal lo dum."

Losing his interest and little angry, Mesmni turned away, for he knew it was something all merchants said at the sight of a beggar.

Again, he leaned his head against the wall, trying to use least strength as possible. He looked down at his bowl and grimaced inwardly because there were only two copper coins with hole in the middle, the lowest unit of its kind. He reached into his pocket and took out a small piece of bread from two days ago. He popped the whole piece in his mouth because the bread was hard and brittle, and he didn't want to lose any crumbs. He started chewing it very slowly, a trick he learned to consume as much nutrients as possible from what little food he got. After chewing it for countless minutes, he finally swallowed. He returned his attention to the street with his ever expression less eyes. Finally, he saw something interesting approaching. A group of priestess in flowing yellow robe guiding a hand drawn carriage. A group of priestess was really nothing unusual, for they rarely traveled alone, but the carriage was. During his entire 14 years of life, he has never seen such a carriage. The carriage didn't have any kind of decoration on it and it seemed to be made out of steel. He quickly dismissed the thought because he knew it was impossible to carry such carriage, let alone lift it, and the priestesses guiding the carriage seemed not to bear any weight at all. Yet, it was an intriguing sight. First of all, he never saw priestesses carrying a carriage, for they would not bother with such worldly duty, and secondly, he never saw a priestess in a yellow robe either for yellow robes were only for Urethís followers. The god of war.

As the group approached closer, he could hear their soft murmuring chants and a better sight of who sat inside the carriage. His eyes widened a little while he continued his strength saving posture. In side the carriage was a man who looked more like a piece of meat rather than a human being. All of his limbs except his left arm were gone. Mesmni felt little sorry for the man and concentrated his gaze to the meat man's face. Again, his eyes widened a little to find the man's face extremely handsome; dark hair, long straight brows, sharp nose, and defiant lips.

"No wonder the priestesses wants to carry him around," Mesmni chuckled to himself.

When the group came close enough for him to see their flowing robes, Mesmni noticed another interesting fact about the group. All their robes were made out of silk. He than realized that he was looking at a group that belonged to the royal family or someone noble, for only the noble born had the right to use yellow silk on their cloth. Probably realizing the same matter all the merchants on the street bowed their head and touched the ground with their forehead. Regardless of the merchants the group continued to progress with even stride toward the west end of the street. Even as he saw all the other merchants bow, he didn't change his posture. He felt quite comfortable the way he was and didn't feel like moving at all. To his surprise, he noticed that the merchant to his right did not bow either. The merchant started to walk and stopped, standing in the middle of the road. Slowly he took out two long bladed daggers from his upper pocket, holding each in his hand with defiant smile on his lips. Mesmni continued to stare at the man, bewildered by the man's crazed action. Than he noticed that all the merchants to his right were doing same thing. Standing in the middle of the road with daggers in each hand. There seemed to be about twenty of them, all wearing same outfit with the merchant's apron.

Even with the imminent danger ahead, the group of priests progressed without pause, as if they didn't see the group of assassins ahead. When the carriage finally came to about 20 feet from Mesmni, he felt the hair of his arm rise. As if the air was filled with some unknown tension or charge, he almost felt a push coming from the carriage's direction.

Suddenly, the merchant he noticed previously started to sprint toward the carriage with his daggers in what seemed to be a blurring speed. Leaping into air as to jump over the priestesses to get to the man in the carriage, the merchant soared in the air about 12 feet above the ground. As if she didn't notice the man at all, the priestess in the front of the group simply raised her right hand and muttered another chant. Even faster than the way he jumped, he started flying back toward where he came from as if he bounced into an invisible shield. Somehow he knew that the merchant was dead even before the man rammed into a wall next to him.

As if under spell, all of the assassins followed the first assassin's action and began to run toward the carriage even after the first one's misfortune. One after another they flew back and fell every time priestess chanted. In about 5 seconds all of the assassins were lying dead on the ground. During the whole time the carriage proceeded at pace.

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