It was autumn in Berasia.
Kharador, the Golden City, was living up to its name as the trees shed their greenery for the rich yellow garments of fall. Smoke from the city’s chimneys mingled with the increasingly crisp air as its citizens traded their linens and cottons for wools. The Dogs roaming the streets wore thicker coats than summer would allow, and everywhere there was the spicy aroma of roasting apples.
It was the time of the banners. Blue and green banners, embroidered with the Golden Fox, fluttered from every arched window and lamppost and beneath every bridge and covered walkway. Little girls wore blue and green ribbons in their hair, giggling with excitement as they ran to the schoolhouses, beating their miniature tambourines, leading their Dogs by their leashes.
Up and down the street, stone-faced city guardsmen sat erect on their great grey Wolves which loped easily along the cobblestones, making the usual rounds. Even they wore green and blue armbands around their thick wrists. Steam puffed from the Wolves’ nostrils and over their great lolling tongues: clouds of warm mist in the chilly early morning air.
Blue and green and gold were everywhere.
Beyond the island city walls stretched the shimmering lake, which reflected the clean blue of the sky in the shards of its icy waters. The first of the ships were beginning to pull away from the city for the distant Berasian shore, their white sails fat in the steady breeze that ricocheted from the craggy city walls.
Within and without, the men and women of Kharador began the business of the autumn day, looking down at their hands or into the eyes of their neighbors, only looking up to check the placement of the sun or admire the fluttering banners glinting in its light.
They did not see the shadow running along the top of the turreted walls of their beloved city. The shadow whose dark hair streamed behind it as clouds of steam escaped from its lungs in the fiery exertion of an early morning run.
They did not see the Guardian. They never did.
(To my faithful readers: character scene requests? Who do you want more of–Nayr, Nacjar, Enilor, AIleen? Let me know in the comments. Thanks.)