The Empire of Venn had suffered for eight years now. It’d been eight years of oppression and hardships; of wives widowed as their war-bound husbands never returned; of children left orphaned. They’d been promised a life free of worry, though such promises were long forgotten now. Each year, the peasants woes were left to fester, their stomachs shriveling, and their hopes of a new beginning dying with every passing day of starvation and poverty. The human cities along its southern shores, known by most outsiders as ‘The Human Isles’, were bustling and heaving, but not with wealth and prosperity, but a slum of the poor hoping to find better chances within the filth of the cities.
The privileged and rich nobility keep themselves well distanced from the scum of the street, riding in elegant carriages, and upturning their noses at the stench. Though still, they suffer too. Under the cruel, but brilliant hand of King Zarr, The Usurper, The Witch King, their numbers are waning. Families that had built on centuries of tradition and gentle-breeding disappear, their wealth seized by the state, and not even the youngest of their linage spared. Though none are so bold to accuse their King of such atrocities, they are not ignorant to his schemes.
Even the other races, though a particular few seemed to have earned the King’s favor, were not spared of his iron fist. The Elves, ancient and wise, were smart enough to keep hidden up in their city, under the veil of their mystic forests, and strong magicks. The Dwarves were not so lucky, under constant bombardment by the Witch King’s armies, their underground system of caves and mineshafts would not hold much longer against the cannon fire. He claimed to be fighting for their rich iron veins, but his true content is not well-disguised. Even the most ignorant to Dwarven innovation can decipher he is after Dwarven metal in particular. Their metal alloy is fabled to be forged stronger then a dragon’s scale, and such a metal would help immensely with his conquest to the south.
Though arguably so, none have it worse off then those to those of the Obsidian Desert. Across the Southern Seas, King Zarr’s fruitless search for valuable resources such as gold, in the wasteland of the desert has cost many lives. Not only the lives of the desert armies that fight to fend off this foreign invader, but his own people as coin that could be used to feed the poor is wasted on a conquest in a land of dust and mirage.
They embraced the revolution of Zarr thirteen years back, it’d seem that their troubles had only multiplied since he took the throne. The bloody revolt lasted five years, and it was just the prequel to eight more when the crown was settled firmly on Zarr’s head. He was not fool enough to allow them the means to up-rise again; he kept people of Venn were disjointed and weak. Being no fool, he was not ignorant of his people’s unpleasant lives, and he is not so perverted to think that they appreciate their sorrows. But, such is the cost of empire building, each unsatisfied soul a cog to his great machine, though crude and ugly to unenlightened eyes, he sees the grandeur and magnificence beyond. Many must die so the few may prosper, such is the way of life and in his eyes, the end is justified by his barbaric means.
Times may be bad, and many be going hungry, but that was not about to cease the ever turning wheels of commerce from turning. The market district of Örjóta were no different, water pooled in ruts, yet to be filled in from the traffic that only waned in the wee hours of the night. The sun sagged heavy in the sky, rays dancing across the sturdy, if ancient walls of the city. People tired from the day, still bustled about the various merchant stalls, a mother making a last ditch effort to obtain deals on some produce before the merchants packed up for the evening. Men, coming home from their various duties, covered in sweat, and mud heading for the nearest tavern to drown away the worries of the day.
The city was still very much alive. A bell chimed the hour in the distance, sending sparrows into a flustered series of squawks and shrieks, before they settled back down from their startle. Animals, either brought into the city to be sold off, or to be butchered for tomorrows meals, bayed,snort, and whinnied in the background, mingling with hushed whispers, men and women alike bartering, and all the other sounds that accompany the symphony of the city.
Within all this bustle stood a figure, fighting his way as delicately as a leaf drifting in the wind, moving at a steady, if seemingly lazy pace, they were clothed in simple clothing, brown boots worn with wear, if still very much in working order. A cloak draped around the mans shoulders, green-olive in color, and trailing down to just where the top of his boots met snugly with his pants. A simple brass chain connected the cloth around the shoulders, where a decorative leaf, painted green clasped both sides together. The man still had the hood of the simple, if finely woven garment over his head, his head slightly tilted downward. Likely a just a passing traveler, who had survived the deluge earlier that morning, and in his hurry to find an inn, had forgotten to lower his hood.
The man allowed the crowd to carry him to his destination, eyes flashing in various direction, and head snapping in the direction of the sounds that managed to break out across the dull roar of the market district. Finally he made his way to a spot in between two merchant stalls, one selling various pieces of leather, some of it made it clothing, other bits into saddles, or sheathes for Knives or tools. The other stall was one selling Various baked goods, though many were gone, there were still a few peices of flatbread resting atop the wooden counter of the stall, and a whole menagerie of decadent, if simple confections. It was there at the man went rigid for only the slightest of split seconds, green eyes flashing in a blur as he caught sight of something that made his chest pound, a silent gasp to escape his lips.