Shadow of the Assasin
The Life and Times of Clyde Arrowny Prologue
He opened his eyes, taking in the blue sky, filled with white clouds. He saw no reason to get up. He sighed. He wasn't a superstitious man, by any means, and put no faith whatsoever in luck. But if one was looking for proof that luck existed, he realized, he would be the perfect example. He sat up, taking in his surroundings. Grey. And brown. A sea of stone, all around him. Grey, drab, and lifeless. An ironic setting for a rebirth. He stood, feeling the recent wounds. He could tell that his right arm was broken. He looked down as he felt the familiar tug. There, his left hand clutched his blade. He hadn't let go of it since the tower had begun to crumble. He dropped the sword to the ground, ignoring the fact that it would dull the blade. He wouldn't be needing it anymore.
His hand raised, habitually, to his mouth. "INTERCE..." he stopped. Dropped his hand. His dog wasn't here. His jaw tightened. Clyde's dog wasn't here. Why would he be? Clyde had finally died with Shadow. He felt the fabric of the hood rub against the cuts on his face. Was Shadow dead?
Reaching up to his face, he grabbed hold of the upper-face mask within his hood, and pulled it out. With a flick of his wrist, it flew off into the rubble. He then reached up behind his head, and swiftly loosened the knot, letting the hood fall to his shoulders. He reached down to his waist, and unbuckled his belt, letting it fall with a thump as the sheath hit the ground. He pulled one side of the open-fronted shirt to his shoulder, followed by the other side, slipping them over his shoulders, and letting it fall to the ground as well. He closed his eyes as the wind ran over his arms, and through the grey muscle shirt he still wore. Bending over, he picked up the belt, but let the sheath slide off it as he re-buckled it about his waist. He wouldn't be needing that either. His feet were soon given boots. His gloves soon followed onto the dusty earth. He stepped out of the pile of black cloth, but turned back to them. He bent over, picking up his sheath and sword. They were soon in place. He felt as if there was something else, and snapped his fingers as he thought of it. He bent again, picking up the hood. He had no intention of wearing it again, but... things happened.
He turned on his heel sharply, and began to march off, not looking back. It was rather easy for him to climb over the mountains of stone, but he was soon tired, based solely on the distance he had moved. Any normal person would have stopped to rest. Emphasis on normal, he thought as he continued on. It was about mid-afternoon when he cleared all the major rubble. He stopped for a moment, to savor the sky, but gasped as he saw a dot on the horizon. As it grew, he quickly recognized it as the Falcon. He ducked behind a rock, and looked upward. The airship whooshed overhead, and turned around, apparently to search the sea of stone again. After a few more passes, he heard the sound intensify, and looked around his rock to see the ship land, about a mile away, outside the rubble. They had apparently stopped to look for him more closely. Too bad. He walked off, quite confindent that they would not be able to see him from this far, even if they chanced to look in his direction, which was unlikely. He was very soon too far to even see the ship.
As he walked on, he found no occasion to draw his sword, as many of the creatures he saw were in bad shape. The loss of magic had affected many of them, as many of them used magic to hunt or as defense. If they were to survive, they would have to adapt. He stopped at one pond, to look at his reflection. He was pale, now, paler than any man he had ever seen, without the aid of makeup. His hair was now dark brown, as its former blondness had been only of the sun's kindness. He'd have to get it colored. He realized that he looked quite different from that day, so many years ago...
He stood. He had no time for reminiscing now. He had somewhere to go. Although time probably wasn't much of the essence, he still was compelled. Quite soon, night had fallen. He almost wished he had thought to bring a tent or sleeping bag, but, What's done is done, and you can't undo it. He was somewhat surprised that he had remembered that moment so well, from so many years ago. He silently wondered if there was a Heaven or Hell, and where Baram had gone if they existed. But he had plenty of time to worry about that when he got there, although he was somewhat unsure as to what he'd do at that point. He lied down on his back, and cradled his head in the crooks of his arms. As he watched the stars blink, he wondered why he was going there. That was Clyde's home. He wasn't Clyde. He was... he was...
He continued to watch the stars as he thought of a name. An anagram of Shadow or Clyde wouldn't be any good. Strago was too smart for that. He felt himself start to drift off, but steadfastly retained his hold on consciousness, so he could finish this thought tonight. He had always been efficient, and time-saving techniques were a necessity. Time. He thought about the word, mixing up the letters. Mite. Imet. Meti. Emit. He blinked. Emitt. As of that night, Emitt walked the earth.
He let himself sleep, and began to dream. Clyde, the high voice called. Clyde, wait up!
Because I want to come with you.
What'll you give me for it?
Oh, Clyde, you sound like such a mercenary...
While there's life, there's hope
-Terence [Publius Terentius Afer]