Heavy, laboured footsteps on the wooden walkway sent a shower of debris to the alley floor 20 or so feet below.
Feyde Gen Jorhan stoped to catch his breath, clutching the sodden handrail and breathing out a dragons breath into the cold night air. A deep breath, and off again, quietly this time, careful footsteps on the slippery woodwork that could easy send the unwary to a hard landing in the dimness of Kanker below. The dark cloak of night did its best to hide him, but as heavy clouds parted momentarily, a half moon left him caught in its eery light, silhouetted against a backdrop of roofs and chimneys, easy pickings.
'There lads! theres the bastard!' they cry went up and chase was given. Fleeting thoughts of turn and fight were quickly dismissed at the bright flash and whizz of lead in the air around Feyde. The thunder peel report caught up with him as he jumped to the nearest flat roof, landed at a run and vaulted a low parapet to another roof below. The sound of so many on the walkway behind him and the thought of their weaponry gave him an extra boost as he clambered down an old drainpipe to the safety of the shadows and alleyways that wound about the warren that was Kanker Court.
The sound of splintering wood and creaking pilings could herald only one eventuality, the chase was about to descend to the floor the quick way. Taking a moment to orient himself in the confines of Kanker, Feyde set off into the dark of a nearby alley. Shouting and commotion behind was opening doors and windows, and the eyes of Kanker were peering into every nook and crany. Feyde flattened himself against a wall below an old brick overhang, one with the shadows. Slowly, as a shadow himself, he made his way deeper into the maze. Left, right, right, up the narrow steps behind an old warehouse, hold, watch, listen, gods even breath a bit. Feyde was not happy. Kanker was a bad place to get lost in, too many cuts and lanes, too many steps and arches that all look the same.
'Damn my stupidity' he risked the words under his breath, as he heard the soft steps of wary persuers now caught in a game of cat and mouse, his hand moving to the place his rapier hilt should be. 'Damn your stupidity Feyde Gen Jorhan' thought this time, not said. The ruddy light of a guttering torch lapped into the dark that held him, reflected momentarily off some exposed trinket still dangling from his pocket and the cry went up.
Like a pack of dogs the bravados charged in tumolt into the narrow alley, crowding and snarling at the base of a wall as Feyde just managed to fling himself over its top. Cat and mouse? no, he thought as he regainded his feet, cat and dog! Another climb up risked a shot from unseen muskets below, but it was up, or be caught. Old plaster fell away from the wall in chunks as He just managed to gain the roof above, another climb, reach out and stretch and he has on a flat roof again, high above the floor below. It was not raining, but the sea mist was sending tendrils creeping into the heart of Old Solis, making everything wet and treacherous. Below he could see the Dogs gatherings, pulling new pack members from hitherto un-noticed places, could see the glow of torches and lanterns iluminating the mist making it an eery sight.
Grim faces were illuminated in an instant of powder fire, a volley of shot screamed in the heavy air. Feyde dived for the uncertainty of the a walkway below, hoping it would hold his weight on impact. Luck was with him, at least for now. At a pace too fast for safety he charged along the boards, jumping the gaps and rotten bits, slipping where wood was sodden and mildewed, snagging his cloak on rusty nails and jutting timbers. Down some steps, slamming into another walkway as they gave way under his weight.
Torches in procession danced behind him in a many pronged attack, some up above, most down below.
Breathing hard and fast he rounded a corner at speed. The walkway ended. No rail, no handhold. No sound either, just the wind as he carreered downward toward the uncertainty below. With a crack and splintering Feyde hit the ground. But he did not stop, as rubbish engulfed him, covering his track he did not stop. His mind raced as he continued to tumble, and he felt something crack as he hit solidity. But still he did not stop, over and over, smack into a wall, crash off a ledge, the wind driven out of him and the sense knocked out of him, disorientation and more falling until at last he lay crumpled and broken in the cold, silent darkness that could become his grave.
extract from Fight or Flight