Clearly I was out of place. I didn’t try to fit in too much, but with the way I looked, it would have been impossible to even try. My plan was just to try and conceal myself as much as possible in order to prevent any rising suspicion.

I pulled on the strings of my hood to try and shrink it, both hiding more of my face, and reducing my visibility. “Need to keep moving, need to keep moving.”

The crowd was moving towards the center of town, the direction I was trying to get away from. People kept shoving into me as I tried to carefully navigate the crowded streets. No matter who bumped into me, I didn’t dare to bring my head up to see who it was. As far as I was concerned, anybody and everybody around me was a guard in civilian clothing just waiting to get their hands on me. From the small hole in my hood, I tried to weave through the crowd, only being able to see them from their naval and below; I timed my steps and movements to mirror that of who was in front of me, and side stepped when I knew I could slip through with ease. In the event that there was no chance for me to get through, I would brace my shoulder for a collision and steady myself, allowing me to keep my balance and momentum. There were a couple times where civilians spat out slurs of anger, but I happily ignored them, knowing that something much more precious was on the line than a back and forth with strangers.

I continued these movements until I felt like I made some kind of distance, roughly a dozen meters or so, when the urgency in my escape took a sudden rise. Above on the small buildings and structures the large bells of the capital began ringing. The crowd came to a sudden halt, trapping me and stopping my escape. Left with nowhere to go, I lifted my hood just a bit, allowing me to get a clear look of the rooftops. On the edge of the nearest building was an archer, dressed in the imperial armor—gold arm and chest plate, helm made of thick animal hide, the High King’s insignia resting in the center of their chest plate—drawing an arrow down on the motionless crowd.

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