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A Ballad of Everthorn, the City of Black Fogs

It’s late, but this little thing was bouncing around in my head, so I got it down on virtual paper. Nothing else to do with it but throw it out there. Inspired by not much at all.

I tried to get out of the life, get free of it. That’s what brought me to Everthorn. I thought I could get lost in the city. So many people. Could I drown in the humanity, that which I had lost so long ago?

Those streets—cobblestone or dirt, rough or level—my feet didn’t know them. I knew nothing of this place and no one knew me. The past was beyond those walls, those mementoes of a long gone day. There, where nothing reminded me of all for which I would answer, I thought I could hide.

That’s not how it works.

So I find myself with three feet of steel between me and those who need to die. I just don’t want to kill them. I don’t want to kill anyone.

It all smells of coal smoke and fear. The fogs, clinging to me like gossamer tar, leave us as shadows, circling, watching, waiting. I try to remove myself from the fight, I try a subtle withdrawal. No. I am surrounded.

I reached Everthorn with one small speck of my soul unblemished. It should’ve meant more to me than my life. They proved the lie in that.

Twelve men. They sent so many. Did they know me? Had they heard my name, heard my story, knew that damn piece of death I held in my hand?

It didn’t matter. It ended like it always ended: someone moved.

This time, it started with a drawn gun. Maybe he thought I couldn’t face bullets. We’ll never know.

Twelve more dead and the dark metal of my blade just that much darker. So much blood. It’s gone well beyond too much.

Some day, the City of Chimneys will swallow me. Some day, the blade will drink my blood.

Some day.

Not today.