Soris dropped a ring into a beggars hand, not even looking to see if it was silver or gold. Money, after all, held no value to a devout servant of the Heralds. No, it was the poor who needed the money, though Soris could not see why. Food in Fetona was plentiful and not even the poorest of the homeless Commons went without it. This money Soris was giving out was going to go to one of two things: Alcohol or women.
“Sir, why must we take this duty?” Nash, a spindly boy in armor, said from Soris’ right.
“Because, it is what the Radiant One would want,” Soris replied, his voice crystal clear and sounding more like a Herald each day.
The regiment of five officers rode on horseback through the outer section of Fetona. Buildings were tight and made in the most efficient way the people of old had known, so there was little in the way of decoration like the middle section had. And compared to the very center of Fetona, where the churches of Trinity and the Heralds themselves lived, these buildings were draft and no better than rocks with purpose.
The regiment passed a large shop, then. The first thing Soris took note of, as always, was the amount of people around him and their distances; currently, six surrounded them, but none seemed close. Then, he checked out the shop from a distance.
Glass was spread across the street and some of the boxes from the storage area in the back of the place were strewn about, the contents destroyed by stomping or beatings. Whoever had done this had wanted to leave a message. But, what could the message be? Well, Soris had been sent to find out.
Dismounting, Soris called to his second in command, who was a very large, yet short, man. Grentle dismounted and walked over, inspecting the broken bits. They were all that remained from the items stored in this shop.
“Looks to me to be a sort of crossbow, Mr. Vandeel,” the large man said. Contrary to Soris’ own long black hair, Grentle had a short blonde patch covering his head. Soris always found that odd, but now he knew why it was so short.
It was because of the temptation to rip his own hair out, sometimes.
Of course, the men thought of Soris Vandeel, Hero of the people and devout follower of the Trinity Gods and Heralds, to be a very calm collected man. He was one who gave to the poor out of the kindness of his heart and saved any he could at even the cost of his life, right? Well, they were right in what he did, just not why he did them…
“Were there any casualties?” Soris asked, watching the passing people. They weren’t used to security officers in the outer section of the city. Any one of them could be the one who had vandalized this building.
“No, Mr. Vandeel,” Grentle said, standing up and walking toward the shop. Soris trusted the man, but he still didn’t want to miss anything so he followed inside after giving the other officers a sign to be alert. Ho knew what could happen in the outer section with all the Commons running about.
The inside of the place was loads worse than the outside. Soris cursed the name of the Abyssal God several times when he looked at the damage. There were pieces of wood that he could only guess to be broken bows and crossbows laying everywhere. Where had the floor gone? The tension between the Commons and Divines were bad, sure, but Soris never thought the Commons would go about ruining shops to spite the Divines.
This particular shop was owned by Granite Coleson, a Divine who was head of quite a few small companies and provided a good bit of funds to the sports of Fetona. He had sent for security officers, and so Soris answered, eager to show his faith.
“Sir,” Grentle called from the back of the building, “I think you should see this.”
Curious, Soris ventured to the back of the shop and passed through a door that was only hanging on one hinge. Who was strong enough to do that, even? When he reached the back part of the shop, Soris thought he realized why Grentle had called him back there.
All throughout the massive storage room, there were broken tools. Not just crossbows and bows, but swords, knives, scissors, torches, wrenches, hammers, and so on. This was a shop that sold weapons and tools, then? That was odd….
Grentle saw Soris’ face turn into its thinking mode, then. Soris knew the man was usually quiet unless he had something to say, and that he always left Soris alone to think, but this time he interrupted the process.
“Mr. Vandeel, this is not what I wanted to show you,” he said, motioning to the back of the large storage area. I had to light a torch that I found on the ground with my tinderbox to see it, but see it I did.
In the back of the room was a large opening into a lit room. At first, Soris was confused by the lack of torches, but then he remembered that electrical lights were becoming more frequent. That, however, isn’t what he was really supposed to notics, though.
The room was massive, even larger than the whole shop they had been in, and contained rows upon rows of empty shelves. The top of the building they were now in seemed much higher than in the shop’s main room. What was this placed used for.
“What is this place, Grentle?” Soris asked, his eyes curiously looking at the dangerous electrical lamps surrounding the area.
Soris snickered. “The Farmers haven’t been filling it?”
Grentle shook his head, making Soris’ stomach plummet. He knew what was coming. “It was full as of two days ago, just before the attack, Mr. Vandeel.”
“Abyssal’s Cycle!” Soris cursed, letting his anger show, if just barely. Grentle nearly jumped at the sound of anger in Soris’ voice. After all, why would the cool and collected Soris Vandeel be angry?
Well, this was a good reason.
“Come on,” Soris said, leading the way back to his waiting group. He needed to report this to the Heralds and he would not like the outcome.
“Mr. Vandeel,” Grentle said as they reached the door to the street, “I am not one to ask questions, but why has this thing brought anger to you? The land has plenty of food, does it not?”
Soris was almost surprised at the large man speaking more than a sentence. Well, Soris being angry was a rare thing and Grentle wasn’t from Fetona originally, anyway. He was one of the few that weren’t. “I forgot that you were originally a Farmer, Grentle,” Soris said, mounting his horse then looking down on the man. It was odd, really, looking down on a Farmer. They were considered to be the only ones above Divines, though the Divines never admitted it.
“You know how we have a limited number of people in Jana, those Rebels included, right?”
Grentle nodded and mounted his own horse. It was larger and more muscled than any of the other officers horses. Well, he was a larger man with a bit more weight.
“That rule applies to the plants, too.”
Grentle seemed confused, but slowly recognition came to his eyes. “So you mean..?”
Soris nodded. “Yes. If they stole the food, then it is essentially lost to us from the land itself until it is consumed. Also, since the Farmers preserve their food and leave them in jars, we won’t have that food back anytime soon.”
As the news settled in with the rest of the guards, Soris looked around. One thing was for sure: these rebels were becoming dangerous.