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To the Fiendlings for all the support. You guys keep me writing.


by Paul Elard Cooley

Chapter 1

The market was crowded and smelled of unwashed bodies; sheep bleated, horses whinnied and snorted and the hawkers plied their wares over the din. Drimesh wiped the sweat from his brow and fought the urge to rub at his face with his shawl.

He loathed walking through the large crowd, doing his best to pass through them to get to the booths and purchase the necessities or visit the lapis man. Inevitably, there would be a scene.

Hammurabi had made it very clear that pick-pockets would suffer extreme penalties if they interfered with the market. The Code was already very stern, but the market day penalties were far worse. Every market day someone was accused of being a pick-pocket. Once that happened, the accused and the accuser were carted off to face the wrath of Hammurabi’s royal guard.

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