Sword & Sorcery Epic Fiction
Chapter 1 (Sample)
Asta stayed in the alley until well past midnight. She had waited here many times but tonight was special.
If she took part this year, tonight would be her last chance to receive the message.
Just after dusk she crawled from the sewer, a place she hid during the day, and into this backstreet to wait. Remaining until she saw a small candle light in a third-story window across the street—the signal there was a note waiting for her.
Asta hunched down beside apple barrel since her birth from the sewer system. The only place in the alley that afford her cover. She no longer risked standing at the edge of the dark lane since the guards in the city doubled at the news that the crown jewels had gone "missing."
The young woman, only sixteen winters old by her estimate, fit well enough crammed between two barrels. Asta hoped this would be her year. The girl grew tired of hiding in the sewers by day like many of her profession. Asta became weary of many of the routines of the city. That and it was harder for her to make a living now.
A small almost imperceptible flicker of flame came into view. The candle lit, the signal given, Asta was ready to cross the street and enter the dilapidated dwelling.
She eased herself out from between the barrels, moving slowly so anyone passing by would not hear or notice her. Creeping to the edge of the alley. Asta's movements were cat-like. Colleagues would tell the young girl that felines are jealous of her silent ways.
The street lamps made her visible once she crossed into the street. Light is always a problem for someone in Asta's line of work.
The young girl closed her eyes, stretching out her hearing as far as possible. She caught booted feet and the clank of heavy armor nearby, the telltale sign the city guard was coming. They would round the corner in moments, find her skulking in the alley and arrest her for being out after curfew.
Cross now, it’s my only chance, thought Asta. She made a run for the front of the building. Fast like a rabbit running from prey. She could almost reach it, her hand outstretched, when the door opened from the other side. Asta saw the purple and gold cloth of a city guard.
Son of a-, thought the girl as she shifted her momentum right using her energy to leap to a water barrel, launching herself up the side of the building. Another foot off the structure's side pergola gave her enough height to catch two fingers on the sill of the third-story window. The signal candle was burning an inch from her knuckles.
Asta dangled in the breeze, her slender fingers locked in a death grip, the muscles in her arms straining. She stiffened her free hand around her wrist and pulled herself up on the sill, pushing until she sat in the window. Down below, under her dangling legs, stood two city guards. Humph! Useless, thought the young woman, but that's good for me. Asta unfolded the note. It read,
Your request is granted. King Fontiss requires you before the next red moon.