These are a series of novel chapter drafts. They are a work in progress and the primary goal of the current work is to get the ideas on paper - not nessicarily for them to be well written
Natyr, Last Passage
Natyr wanted to run. He wanted to extert all this nervous tension and dread into a huge sprint and get to the Iron Gate as soon a possible. But he knew he needed every ounce of reserve every to make it there by noon. Each footstep he took brought him further away from Mara whom he had left almost defenceless in the woods as the Red Sun was rising, but a little closer to her rescue. He tried to concentrate on that and after several miles, he was finally there.
A huge black wall of stone dominated the flatland. Stretching all the way from the distant river to what he knew led to the sea. One tall set of iron gates protected the only entrance into the rest of the continent. It was wide enough to fit four of the largest carts Natyr had ever seen side-by-side and then some. If it was purely for striking effect or some crazed project of the Empire’s, Natyr did not know, but he was used to getting by - though usually under better circumstances.
“Trader Natyr of the mountain Kvatt, here on delivery of furs and leather solid armour to the captain of the Gate” Natyr announced loudly at the wall right of the gate where there was usually soldiers stationed. A helmeted head peered out. “I don’t see anything but you out there. Where’s your load?” “I was robbed” Natyr replied, shouting at the distant helmet. “My companion was shot and is dying. Can you spare some men on horseback?”. The helmet withdrew from the window and a few other voices mixed together, too faint for Natyr to make out. Natyr curled his toes, which were sore from walking. Finally, the helmet appeared again. “Sounds awful like a bandit trap to me. Don’t you have anything as assurance?” Natyr sighed and patted his pockets. There was half a chance Helmet’s superiors would be expecting the delivery, but without coming through the gate himself - he wasn’t getting the message past the greedy watchman. Though, he supposed, it could just be caution. “I told you, I was robbed. I have nothing but myself and the shirt on my back. Cage me while you search. I can tell them the landmarks on their way.” The watchman considered this for a time, discussed it with his peers and eventually the responded with a gesture to stand by.
As word spread along the wall, the Red Sun grew higher in the sky until it was fully uncloaked from the horizon. Natyr could hear the scuffle of horses being reigned as the Iron Gate opened creakingly with an armed escort to take him in. He held out his hands to be cuffed and was led inside. Two gallant riders strode over to him and listened to his directions. Natyr felt a little comforted by their attentiveness, but when they marched off, he was left in the cage with nothing but his own thoughts.