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Cost Of Money

Arxaleem Skyros, many say is the light of Arxlandia. It shines in places where it is needed the most. For some, it is nothing more than a fairytale.
These are the people who live beneath the shadows of the great monuments of Skyros. These are the people who struggle every day to find their next meal.
Families like the Derks. The Derks had once lived as masters. They had once held lands, horses, and ships. They can only dream about those days now.
This is the price of their ancestors picking the wrong side during the rebellion. Their family has been cast into the shadows. Here they have struggled to meet the daily needs.
The family is led by Corthian, the eldest son of the late Derk. After his father he took up the responsibility of providing for his family of seven.

Another day in the life of Corthian and another fight to find food for his family. He heads to his favorite place to look for food, the sewers.
Rats have learned to flourish beneath the city roads and Corthian has learned to take advantage of this. His family knows that they can count on him to come home with a dozen rats or so.
It will take care of the day's meal for the entire family.

He spends the entire morning hunting rats. Another tough day for him but he manages to find enough for his family. What he doesn't know is that this is no ordinary day,
little did he know that his life is about to change.

He comes home, expecting his family to welcome him with open arms and he expects to finally have a decent meal. He is surprised to see no one coming to the door to help him out.
He cautiously walks in to see his entire family gathered around the bed. His wife has fallen ill and she needs medicine. He can bring food to his family but bringing enough
money to pay for medicine is a whole another issue.

He walks the streets of Skyros trying to find a source of income. Day one, day two and the end of day three is near with his wife near death. He finally reduces himself to begging.
Even that does not work for him. He knows what must be done for the sake of his family but he also knows the consequences. He must become a thief to save his wife.
He says his final goodbye to his family. Explaining that he will have to pay the price of his thievery and that he will spend some time in prison. He gives final instructions to his younger brother,
shows him where to find food.

He explains that thievery is wrong but "temptation alone cannot be the cause or the blame; necessity ultimately decides the final fate of the person's decision. I must do this, I hope you understand."
He walks away knowing that he won't see his family for at least a couple of years. He reaches what he sees to be a suitable spot and waits for the right person. He doesn't want to rob the poor;
he wants to choose his target carefully. After hours of waiting, he sees his target, a rich merchant with coins overflowing out of his pockets.
He lunges forward and grabs as many coins as he can; then runs as fast as he can to his house, hands the coins to his younger brother and waits for the guardians of peace to show up.
They do, much quickly than he anticipated.

"Corthian, you are being detained under the laws of the Red Dragon." Says the captain of the guards.
Corthian does not reply, he simply walks with them. He inquires to the captain about the trial and how long he might be in jail for this crime.

Captain responds "jail, no jail. You are being detained for murder and will be sent to the mines for life."

Corthian is shocked, he is led past the crime scene and he sees the dead merchant and his empty pockets. He realizes what may have happened but there is little he can do.

He is quickly led south west into the Ordoidium mines in shackles. There he will spend the rest of his life, mining the red metal that is used by the armies of the Red Dragon.
Many do not live past a few years as the metal ore is poisonous in its natural state.

His family knows nothing of his fate. He fears for the life of his wife and the safety of his family.

His explanations and pleas are ignored. There he stays for 5 long years. Each day he is woken up at sunup, given little food to eat, worked in the mines until sundown
. The ores are taken back to the city for refining. The prisoners are given mailing privileges; they are able to write one letter every fortnight.
Corthian chooses not to inform his family of his fate. He instead chooses to write to the magistrate of the city, explaining, pleading his case. This of course did nothing.

He grows weak as time passes.

One day after all hope is gone, there is light. A small group of soldiers have come to the mine.

Apparently, the old knight is dead; to celebrate his death and a new beginning, it is customary for the new knight to pardon prisoners. His letters were not in vain after all. His story has been noticed, he has been pardoned.

He is taken to the foothills of the city and let loose. He dreams of things to say to his family when he sees them. His mind wanders. He admires the city before moving into it.
There are moments where we hear not only our beating heart but of those who are around us; those are the moments to cherish and remember. This was one of those moments.
He has admired the city long enough; he attempts to rush to his family.

Suddenly, the city is covered in mist. The trees are swaying much slower. Darkness has crept up. He attempts to move but his legs will not respond. All he can see is evening in the sky.
It takes him a while to realize that he is on the ground and is unable to move.

All those years of mining poison has caught up with him. With his last breath, he sheds a tear for the one mistake that he has regretted for all these years.
One mistake he knows that he will once again make if he is put back in the same situation.

Copyright Arxlandia (2013) written by NG

PichiPichi PichiPichi 26-30 Jan 29, 2013

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