He looked away from them and towards the sky to ease himself. Stars peppered the firmament, but they did little to light the path. That was accomplished by the hazy oil lamps swinging at the coach’s front, splashing gold onto the dirt and the slumped driver who navigated over it. His top hat was slid forward and shaded his eyes, he looked very much asleep until you noticed his hands, tugging, loosening and winding with the same awesome precision as an artist commands a brush or a musician their instrument. It was an effortless instinct, guiding the pair of horses that galloped along; the abominable Noxian breed were the only creatures helping the passenger stay alive.
“Sicarius!” the driver called, flicking up the rim of his hat and looking ahead with clouded, dun eyes. The passenger rose to attention, leaning out of the door window and narrowing his sight ahead, making out the sharp silhouette of Sicarius’ Gate, the twenty-foot high barrier hung with the hundreds of chains of the dead, a reminder of death and its eternal reach, sealing prisoners in their colonies, hiding the boy for so long. The old man’s search had taken him through the shadows and motes of the world, he had hunted secrets like game and made incisions into the scars that highborns had tried to cover up. He had travelled across Maegard, from tearooms and banqueting halls to the crags of Veyréri that hung over the world’s edge and risked falling into the ether, finding nothing. In the end, his turmoil had been for nothing. All along, the most-desired child had been in Anamae, his mighty home, in the place of the undesirables.
The sound of encroaching steps dimmed in his ears, and when he turned his head, only two riders were assailing him on the road. The remaining four were split, loping through the adjacent fields of greygrass, parting it like water and gaining speed around the stagecoach. Their iron swords danced with a splendid light.