The Decree, Part 3
Feedback is Appreciated!
I have worked three years on The Decree, and this is the last part of the first chapter. I would greatly appreciate critique (or praise), so I can determine whether or not to officially publish the entire novel. Thank you for your time!
Skosar is the pride and glory of the Sands. It’s backed by a portion of the Mountains and they shade the magnificent city from the unforgiving heat of the sun when it hides behind the great rock wall on the west side. The Mountains loom over the city denizens and gives the guise of night when it is only late afternoon. However, I was glad of a break from the sun’s rays.
I was bedecked in an ugly grey, heavy patrolling outfit, and the lack of heat made the suit more bearable to wear. My head cloth and mouth covering protected me from the sand that the rare wind would pick up and my scimitars were in their sheaths, slapping against my sides with every step I took.
I was keeping watch in the city outskirts, and the streets seemed eerily empty for this time of day. There would be an occasional person milling along, but there was no reason I should’ve been worried. The punishments were extreme, which scared away criminals.
The outskirts were a rather poor place, where the houses were mostly made from hardened sand and weren’t too fancily decorated. I enjoyed walking through this part of the city because it seemed like everyone was happy, despite the modest conditions.
I envied how they could walk through the streets without a whispers behind their backs. The name and face of Talem Shadowing was very popular in Skosar, and my reputation also proceeded any first impression I may have offered. Unfortunately, I had no veil to cover my famously ‘luminous green eyes,’ rare for my people. I’m sure that trait comes from my father, whom I have never met.
Even though I was covered head to toe in a full, ugly garb, I was sure some of the citizens already knew who I was. I continued to walk along the streets and kick sand dust with every step, and I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I didn’t notice the sound of footsteps following me until I stopped to look at a small flower market.
The steps stopped, but I heard the familiar sound of swords being drawn from their sheaths. I retaliated by drawing mine and poising the blade at the grey throat. I exhaled and put my swords back, knowing full well who my follower was, seeing bright green eyes.
“Come on, sis. I think your sense of hearing is deadening with age.”
I laughed aloud at my dearest brother. “Ha! I Well, sir, remember I am only two minutes older than yourself. I would fear for your senses too. Now, Tamber, put your weapons away. You’re drawing attention,” I added, noticing some passerby becoming alarmed.
“Alright,” he chuckled.
He drew back his mouth covering to reveal his well-known face. He smiled and showed off his beautiful white teeth, catching the notice of some young ladies, and I hid my amusement at their wonderment of his handsome face.
“Have you seen anything out of the ordinary?” I asked.
“Nope. Sand got inside my suit, girls stared at me, everything’s normal.”
I drew back my mouth covering to get some air. And now the men took notice of me. My twin brother and I are famous for our mother’s position as an spokesperson for our city, and for us being her attractive and single children.
“Hey, our shifts are almost over. Want to head back? Besides, the sooner we get back, the sooner mom will know you’re safe.”
My brother knew too well how to push my buttons. I could take care of myself.
“Oh, please,” I teased. “She’s the only one who doesn’t recognize that I’m the best-trained guard.”
“But you’re her baby girl!” He exclaimed, clinging to my arm.
“And you are her mama’s boy!” I said patting his head.
We walked back toward the large Market District, where we lived, and Tamber was still stuck to my arm, pathetically. He didn’t care people were staring, he never did, one reason why I loved my brother dearly. But once we got closer to the busy square, he casually let go of my arm and we both covered our mouths again, not liking the attention by the greater masses of people.
My brother doesn’t normally like the cover his mouth, but he knew he was with me, which would betray that I was beside him. I would cover mine because there have been a few attempts at kidnapping me. Because of our reputation, the men of Skosar were familiar with my status, and knew my mama would be willing to pay a huge ransom. Some were stupid enough to face my lifetime scimitar training and losing their hands to kidnapping me because was I the spokeswoman’s daughter and was more meek than my brother, due to my sex. I scoff at the idea every time, but my brother was always alert for my sake.
We passed through the gate into the marketplace and the sounds of vendors yelling, customers chit-chatting, and the rumble of carts met our ears. At the end of the market place were the houses of the city officials. The entire city was shaded by the Mountains’ shadow at this time of day, and we could see without squinting past the sun’s light.
We dodged merchants and wandering patrons to reach the wrought-iron gate of our home. I loved the familiar hustle and bustle of the people in the market, and I enjoyed watching the kids weave through the masses in a rush to get somewhere.
“We’re old, Tamber. We were that small once,” I said, observing the little ones.
“Wrong, you’re old.” I could spot the smirk in his eyes, and I retorted, “Remember, in two minutes, you’ll be old too! We are twins after all.”
My brother was not in a serious mood apparently, so I reminisced us playing hide and seek when we were little in silence until we saw the strange creature in front of our gate. The children had been running to a purple and blue Phyra in front of our house.
We both stopped and wondered what to do with this rare animal. We both looked at each other for an answer, but then, a nicely dressed man had walked out of our gate and mounted the Phyra. This man wasn’t dressed like the officials here, and it was evident he was an outsider because no person here would be stupid enough to bring a Phyra into the city. It’s paws were surely being burned.
I was amazed by it’s beautifully natural colors and long tail, strong body, and elegant, feline face. It’s green eyes were much like ours, and it looked ready to get off the hot sand.
I jogged up to the rider before he departed and asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m a messenger from Silstead with news about the candidates chosen for training. The two children that reside in that house were chosen.”