Three Minutes to Midnight
A Lands of HopeSM Story
By Wm. L. Hahn
Copyright 2011 Wm. L. Hahn
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The full lower moon was so beautiful, Trekelny couldn’t help but stop a moment and admire it, cradling the temple guard slumped unconscious in his arms. He played an old game with the moon, raising the thumb of his free hand to match Aral’s stately speed, until he felt he was pushing the orb along its polar path. Hurry, moon, get down and bring me my destiny. Chuckling, he gently lowered the guard to the sward and checked his pulse. Alive. Good- let no man say that Trekelny, true follower of Astor and greatest stealthic of the age, diminished the danger before him with even a single unnecessary death.
Crouching there a minute longer, he looked out from the low hilltop of the temple precinct to the shops and inns immediately below. The City of the Heroes was brightly lit even half an hour before midnight, and every glint marked another scheme devised, a plot quietly discussed or silently ruminated. But only Trekelny’s plan was enacted tonight, he thought with a confident smile. His gaze ran further west towards the city’s darker sections, where the gymnasium was now closed, and the broad marketplace lay dark, to the tightly-packed tenements where the honest folk slept. They would awake to sing of him, and of an act beyond despised theft, a plan above greed and plunder. Tonight, there would be stealth committed, risk in the service of Hope. His legs were quivering with the need to go, but he spared one glance for the broad plains outside the city, where fields lay growing and herds roamed free, to the leagues beyond where the spell-twisted hills kept everyone trapped here for life. All but the most heroic, whom legend said could leave. Tomorrow, Trekelny would be a part of legend. Now, it was time to move- for either the body worked or the mind raced, there was no in-between for him.