The sun had taken sanctuary behind the dark clouds, which now dominated the heavens above the city of El Morado. Dark, identical stone buildings flanked the River Morado, a concoction of sludge and slime which flowed though the city like horrifically contaminated honey. Perhaps the most significant structure on this part of the river was the City Palace, a colossal building with its towers and turrets shrouded in the silhouette of the soaring clouds, and secrecy.
In the forest surrounding the Palace, Commander Twitchell, El Morado City Watch, flung himself to the ground to evade a small tree. Beside him, Corporal Coulomb hurled himself at the Giant uttering a shrill battle cry.
“Look Out!” cried Twitchell.
Too late. An immense hand knocked the corporal twenty feet away as if he was a fly while Captain Spoonsbury marched up to the scene and saluted.
“The Patrician wishes to see you, sir,” said Spoonsbury eyeing the scene facing him.
“Take care of this until I return,” replied Twitchell indicating at the Giant behind him, who was now being amused by a dandelion.
The Giant was a human-like creature only very tall and astonishingly fat. It had hair that reminded a person of coffee and its wrinkled face was matted by a dark brown beard. Most people would think it looked guiltless like a tree. But to Twitchell it was monster, a gigantic demon with the brain of a mule. Twitchell also held the view that all life apart from his was expendable, and it was the Commander’s opinion that counted in the Watch.
The Entrance Hall lay only a few hundred yards away from the fight but was concealed from sight by the dense trees of the forest, which whispered to each other in the wind. Today, they seemed to be howling in the wind with agony.
“By the prickling of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes,” cried the Patrician’s insane, blind seer, flailing his arms madly, as Twitchell entered the Hall. This earned him a deadly glare from Twitchell and a gentle pat on the back from the Patrician.
The Entrance Hall of the El Morado City Palace was arguably the most magnificent room in the Palace: the marble floor was a spotless, dazzling white; the walls, created out of chocolate-brown and black marble, rose to the ceiling, stunningly immaculate, and the furniture was solid mahogany, native to El Morado but still tremendously pricey.
In the heart of the Hall, the Patrician stood motionless, wearing a crimson robe. He was a short, pale skinned man, bald with a wrinkled, good-natured face and a pointed, pure white beard. However, he was a wise and cunning ruler, and he had charisma. It was said that he had been trained as an elite warrior, though no one knew which weapon he had been skilled in: all his instructors had ended up being assassinated in cold blood. Twitchell viewed the Patrician as a weak fool who trusted people even if the person next to him was howling “He is a liar.” He was the sort of person who solved problems using reason, a pathetic method in Twitchell’s opinion.
“Commander,” said the Patrician in an authoritative voice.
“Sir,” replied Twitchell, standing to attention.
The Patrician hesitated. “Was that a yes sir, or a no sir?” questioned the Patrician.
“It was a sir, sir.”
The Patrician paused before continuing.
“What are those sounds in the forest?”
“Oh…um…we’re just holding a training session, sir,” lied Twitchell. Suspicion climbed all over the Patrician’s face. The Patrician keenly observed Twitchell’s expression for any sign of dishonesty or deception, but Twitchell easily deceived the old man with a faï¿½ade of innocence and sincerity. Twitchell did not like to lie and he had done so simply because if he told the Patrician the truth, that the Giant was harmless unless provoked, he would surely be given the sack.
“In that case, Commander, you may resume your exercises but on the next occasion get my approval before conducting any activity on Palace property,” the Patrician finally said, clearly satisfied that Twitchell must be telling the truth.
“Yes sir,” replied Twitchell, his voice radiating with respect he did not feel for the man. He saluted and made his way out of the Entrance Hall.
Once out of the Hall, Twitchell practically ran towards the Giant. He saw his men raining arrows on the Giant from a safe distance. He couldn’t believe that this scum for actually threatening his job. In his fury, he grabbed a pike and plunged it deep into the Giant’s back. It wailed in despair as it hit the floor. Death lay on the innocent being, like an untimely summer frost, just another innocent fatality that helped save Commander Twitchell’s job.