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JanisChambers

Story segment - The Rose (working title)

This is a segment of story I am working on at the moment, a novel I hope to finish by the end of this year (well I hope at least).  I would love some opinion by both professional writers and just lovers of the written word.  I am a novice so please be kind but honest.

Synopsis :  This segment of story opens up on a city known as Rose, a politically vital point in between two great empires.  This part not only introduces two main characters but also sets up a mystery later to be explained a little further.  The setting is something of a mix of periods, the reason to be explained about the same time the others are.  I hope you enjoy this and give me the feedback I need to become better.

Also, please forgive any errors, this is a rough draft.

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The valley of Rose came alive with six bells.  Echoing off buildings and houses, the distant mountain tops and glass towers, the sound of bells large and small chimed with perfect unison six times to mark one of two moments the most superstitious fear.  The sun had become only a sliver over the western peeks, what was left of the day was only a red hue that made the affluent mansions high up in the west, the towers of glass and marble further down, and the factory roof tops closer to the shore a mixture of shadows and faded rusty light.  Large doors opened allover this massive city, holy buildings of stone and tall copper roofed spires with their bells sounding the last of their chimes housed the processions.  Large and small, some in vestments of rich silks and some in second hand robes all came out with prayers and their sacred leader walking ahead of the slowly marching line.

Somewhere in between the smoky factories near the river and the massive towers further west was a place within Rose preserved in time.  Here all buildings looked like cottages one would find hundreds of years before all lovingly built to catch the eye of tourists from either side of the world.  The streets were cobble stone and only the larger more critical ones meant to allow horse drawn cart or the newer type of fuel powered autos.  Many streets were only for foot traffic, and many of those hosting large circular fountains with clear water spouting from nude statues directly in the center of cross sections.  Down one of these cobbled streets a small procession walked.  In shop windows the vendors of many things set their wares and closed their shops as pubs prepared for the nightly crowds.  In old second or third hand robes a procession of six preistesses chanted in a language long since dead while another female figure shrouded in a green hooded cloak lead them.  Words of blessing and protection came from the followers mouths as the green shrouded figure swung a censor of burning incense in one paw as the other remained held to her heart.  People stopped what they were doing as the seven robes passed them by.  A fox dressed in tattered clothes, an obvious begger, took off his ratty hat and held it to his chest in respect.  Near the begging fox a white cat still plump from motherhood bowed her head to the one in green but never the less curled her arms around her kitten before the young girl could sprint into the street and talk to the praying leader.  The mother cat didn't scold her child but instead looked on at the solemn woman with fear on the edge of contempt.

“It is always the same, isn't it Lyra?”

Standing on the curve ahead of the holy procession was two figures both dressed in black.  The shorter one broke a silence between them, a ash gray mouse of only four feet and eleven inches who wore a black cloak that obscured her toned slender form very well.  A hood spilled around her shoulders exposed the small woman's raven hair and the midnight violet hue of her eyes.

“Is what always the same, Allysa?”, her partner answered with honest disinterest.  A white tiger with an inverse color, white stripes on black fur, stood close to the mouse making her look even smaller than normal.  Lyra stood at an intimidating six foot four, her body still feminine but under a leather coat and form fitting black shirt and slacks not a figure one looking for a submissive would desire.  The hair between her cupped ears was cropped short out of pure practicality, her curved body toned and refined for the sole purpose of fufilling her role as protector and enforcer for this city.

Allysa continued to look on at the seven robes as they slowly made their way down the street.  So many stopped to bow their heads in respect but looked down at their feet muttering some type of prayer for their own safety against the figure in green.  It seemed to be a mixed blessing, Allysa observed, to be one of those green shrouded figures blessing the world and protecting the world from oblivion.  The figure had the face of a cat with tall ears and eyes of bright emerald, beautiful by any standard and yet everyone knew that beyond that beauty was something too strange for most to accept.  The lore of religion ran through Allysa's mind with no reverence, recalling the stories that made figures like the one in green so loved and yet so feared.

“Come on, our shift begins when the sun goes down and I'm thirsty”

Lyra chimed in on Allysa's silent wondering and turned her back towards the stairway of a pub  at the corner they stood.  The short mouse continued to watch as the figure continued on but soon joined her partner.  Even as Allysa climbed the stairs behind the tall tigress her mind remained on those green eyes.  The figure was proud of her existence, the mouse assumed, but still there was such a sadness behind that solemn forward stare.

Inside the pub a few eager members of the night life in Rose began their drinking early.  Only a handful of bodies, three at the bar and two chatting in a booth, sat with drinks in hand.  Behind the bar a heavy old badger busily washed mugs and set up taps, always his remaining eye wearily glancing to see if any of the three at his bar tried to nick a bottle of his product.  With a respectful grunt he bowed his head to the two dark figures that entered his business though quickly continued his preparations and nervous glances.

Before Lyra or Allysa could enter a young man stood in garb that threatened to make the always serious tigress crack a grin.  He was Allysa's height and a mouse all the same, but his slender figure was neatly covered by a dress of black lace and white trimming.  With his mouth closed one would think him a young woman but his smooth young tone didn't hold up to the illusion.  He reguarded the two with a soft blush to his pure white cheeks and curtseyed.

“Madam Lyra and Allysa of the Shade, shall I see to your weapons and show you to your table?”

The boy, whom Lyra hoped was of legal age, was obviously new his position.  The old Badger overheard and waved the boy away, the young man's bright eyes going from professional respect to embarrassed confusion .  Lyra placed her hand on the beautiful males shoulder with assurance and a warm smile one never thought such an intimating figure could produce before sweeping open her coat and exposing one of her two side-handle batons.  The black metal bar hung from a leather holster about her waist,  a thick metal bar with a perpendicular handle two thirds up it's length.

“For one, My partner carries no weapons and this particular weapon I hold can only be handled by a Shade like myself.”

Lyra left it at that and made her way to the same booth they had always sat before the sun fully settled and their patrols began.  Allysa gave the young man a passing grin that deepened his blush before he turned back towards the door ready to greet other customers.

“What does she mean?” he muttered to himself before he bowed.  From the open frame of the pub the very same figure in green passed by continuing her prayers until night finally came and the crack between night and day had safely passed the world by.  
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