Ahadi took several steps into the ruined citadal that had once been Omelas. The main street seemed fairly clear but a short walk into one of the nearby buildings brought the truth to light. The furniture inside was mostly broken timber now, the hearth cold and the bodies...the bodies were everywhere. Some had clawed at their faces in their dying moments, as the disease savaged their flesh, destroyed their minds with fever and delusion. It was the will of the Praetor that Omelas be lessened lest it threated his own home, in the earth below. That arguement hadnt sat well with Ahadi, but it was his duty to serve and obey, not to question the ways of the Praetorians.
He stepped over the body of a rotund man, and in doing so almost lost his footing. he had stepped on the corpse of a girl, not more than six or seven years old. He qualied for a second, his heart sickened by the blatant genocide against a people who did not even know of his kind, living beneath their city. Who was this man, this girl? Did they live with malice in their hearts or were they simply in the wrong place at the wrong time? Questions were bad for a soldier.
The bell of the city rang. He lifted his paper lantern, casting its blue tinged light into the corners of what used to be an inn or a tavern. He was struck by the thought of the same happening in his home, in the small cavern that had been filled with pillows and the men would come and drink the small bottles of heated mushroom wine and laugh and sometimes girls would come and dance. Some girls were the randy kind who danced in a lewd manner, thrusting with their hips, tearing at their clothing until one of the men succumbed to lust and grabbed her and bore her away with gold coins falling on her taut belly. Others were better, some were striplings of children who would come and make at courtly dancing and sing in sweet voices. They never recieved gold for their performances but more than once he had laughed and clapped his hands as a child in a silver smock sang the songs of old, twirling about like a merry top. Those he woud give a few silver coins and a fatherly pat on the head.
"You are thinking, Ahadi." a fellow drow said. It was the commander, subordinate to the Praetor, Azriel. Even for a drow, the man was cold and merciless, and would fashion himself as an assassin, and a mercenary. It was all Ahadi could do not to spit on the mans boot. Azriel, his new taken name upon being raised to the rank of Commander, had been one of the plaguebearers, one of the men who wrought this suffering, this agonizing and black death upon these unwitting people.
"You should try it sometime Naulo." Ahadi said, using Azriels birth name. There was the whisper of steel against leather, he had touched a nerve there, but he was feeling reckless.
"You know my real name, use it." Azriel said, his sword fully drawn. "Are you feeling sorry for them, Ahadi? That is why you will never rise above your station, you are too bound by such petty emotions, perhaps if you were to devote yourself to the goddess you might do better for yourself."
"And become a spidersworn piece of offal like yourself?" Ahadi asked. He feitned to the side, Azriels strike going past him. Ahadi was the shorter, and quicker of the two warriors, and had actually seen combat whereas Azriel had only stalked and killing the unsuspecting and defenceless. He drove an elbow into Azriels side, knocking the commander of balance and almost causing him to loose his grip on his sword.
Ahadi drew his own blade, a battered and knicked warblade that had been in his family for generations, and made his own attack. Azriel staggered back, clutching at a bloody wound in his side. The strike had been wide, and had only cut along the ribs, painful, but not life threatening. Azriel made another thrusting attack, but Ahadi turned it away with his own blade. Rank and skill had nothing to do with one another, Ahadi thought as he pressed again, this time, the blade bit deep into Azriels soft belly. There was a spill of blood and the hard-ass dropped his sword in time to catch his own intenstines as they started to spill out of the wound in his abdomen.
The drow lay on the floor, his face breaking out in the sweat of a man going into shock. The haze of battle, adrenaline began to subside and Ahadi was struck by the force of what he had done. He had struck a commanding officer, and one of the spidersworn. He didnt know how far up among the spidersworn Azriel was, but the cult of the goddess had a way of extracting revenge from those who harmed their followers. He would be excecuted either by the Praetorian, or by the fanatics. his heart raced and his mouth went dry.