[I’ve had so much fun with the first chapter of “The Chosen” that I’ve decided to forge right ahead with the next chapter. No title yet — I expect that will come some time before I’m finished.]
Constable Gent was in his court house office, reviewing the Safety Committee role with Deputy Stenson, when a stable hand entered the room and announced the arrival of a visitor. “He didn’t say what his name was,” the young man said, “but he did say he was one of the pilgrims who were attacked yesterday.”
Deputy Stenson stepped towards the window, and peered out. He then stepped back, and nodded at the constable. “It’s the nobleman.” Constable Gent ordered the stable hand to invite the visitor inside.
A moment later, the large man entered the office, both constable and deputy standing in greeting. Stenson noticed he was wearing the same clothing as yesterday, but carried a large sack, containing a bulky and weighty object, under his right arm.
Stenson extended his right hand. “I trust you and your companions found the Two Brothers Inn to your liking, Lord Aegis.”
“It was splendid, thank you.” The man inhaled deeply. “I’ve come today to offer you an apology, deputy, and you as well, constable. For reasons that I hope to make obvious to you, I lied to you yesterday, about my identity.” He took the sack from under his arm, and held it forward. “If I may?”
The two other men in the room nodded, the nobleman responding by opening the sack, reaching into it, and retrieving an object both wondrous and instantly recognizable. It was a bronze helmet, the top and back side forged from one piece of metal, the cheek plates covering the entire face save for a narrow vertical opening from the chin to the bottom of the narrow horizontal opening for the eyes. Its craftsmanship, as well as its inscriptions, was an unmistakable sign of its origin.
His eyes wide in disbelief, Constable Gent commented with an awed whisper. “The Imperial Guard.”