30 years later…
The Forgotten One awoke in the dark of his chamber. Earlier, he overheard the sounds of voices passing in the street outside the morgue; the sounds of a city awake during the day. He largely ignored them, and exercised within the walls of what he now called “home.” By memory, he knew where everything was in the darkness of the windowless building. Reading and cooking were the only times it necessitated the lighting of a fire.
Cooler air prickled his skin, informing him night had descended again. Using a fresh batch of bandages, he wrapped all exposed areas of his flesh again. His skin had dried since he first came to live in the morgue. Not that he could see in the dark, but his black hair had turned white with age. He covered them all in the wrappings, becoming the mummified man of his youth. Slipping on his hauberk, he smelt the greased rings. How many times had he replaced shattered rings where a weapon sought to end his life?
Next he dressed in the surcoat of the Blue River Guardsmen, then donned his horned helmet, before snatching up his axe. Dressed in the garb of the king’s elite, the bandages no longer hid his age. His battered and scuffed helmet, much like his threadbare surcoat, reflected the years he trod the streets of the poorer quarter.
Gripping the leather haft of his axe, made it creak. The weapon eluded old age, remaining clean, lightly oiled and razor sharp. He knew what he looked like to others as he walked the back lanes. Late at night, when the fires of the taverns burned low, he sometimes sat in the rear, hidden by shadow. Men spoke in awed whisper of a man wearing the mail of a Blue River Guardsman abiding in every dark alcove and back lane. Some said “he became leprous and left the king’s service.” Others said “the axeman was a demon possessed corpse, walking the streets.”
The Forgotten One smiled to himself. Of late, the stories grew more elaborate.
Not all of the poorer quarter spoke of him in fearful tones. Crippled and blind denizens had coins dropped in their cups. Widows and orphans had food left at their doors. Since The Forgotten One came, the poor lived a marginally better life, but at least the majority now lived in safety. Only evil men feared him, knowing that the demon Guardsman dealt out justice with a long hafted, double-edged axe. He did all of these things to atone for his past wrongs. How many years had he done this? Had he done enough?
No he always told himself.
Nothing he did was ever enough.
He pushed door ajar and waited, watching from the gap. A woman and man walked by in threadbare attire; nothing unusual there. The Forgotten One did live in the poorer quarter. An olive skinned man with a curved slashing sword strayed by the further side of the street.
A mercenary perhaps?
With no wars to fight that he knew of, men like these hired themselves out to criminals. This one could even work for Marin, the local crime lord of the inner city.