Due West of River Fatal

Prologue

Written by Antagony on 12 Jun 2017 21:45.

Fatal ran south through the territory. A mighty river, cutting well into the earth. After thousands of years it had incised a rough valley nearly a mile deep and over five hundred miles long in a stretch known as Wounded Canyon. And at its widest point, L’appel Divide, the gorge was a mere thirty feet across. A departure from the tear’s average five.
Of all the places Jed could have come upon however, of the entire course of the river and the whole of the canyon, it was there, L’appel Divide. Where there was no escape from those who pursued him. Had it been anywhere else, he could have jumped across, or at least attempted to. There, he would surely die.
He panted and sweat as he raced from out of the desert and onto the edge. The sun seemed vindictive, and the heat sweltering. How they pounded him.
It was a sturdy cliff face he stood over, though he heard rocks and gravel tumble down the vertice as he skidded to a stop. However, just barely. His ears were filled with ringing, blood pumping rapidly through his head; the hoofbeats of hundreds; their drums; and of course the river. While soothing enough to put one asleep in town, such a roar was pounding up close. As pounding as that unforgiving star in the sky.
The day made him an easy target with its spotlight on him. And so without cover, this left Jed with nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. Nothing but low brush. Of the dry scratching variety.
Jed bent in the middle, coughing and spitting in between breaths.
He groaned.
As he paused, the drummers smashed their fists against their instruments with even greater ferocity than before. They screamed at the top of their lungs: their battle cry. And the horses racing forward became louder and louder. Moving faster and faster, with no sign of slowing down. Yet the river continued to surge most loudly. It could be heard for miles around, despite it being so far down. As if the narrow gorge amplified the echoes of Fatal up its smooth limestone walls. Carried to the surface as if through a funnel.
With perhaps seconds to live, Jed quickly decided how he wanted die. Rather than be trampled in a stampede, the man stood up straight, and backed up to the ledge of the cliff so that his heels were hanging over it. Then before the equine wall and the mounted warriors charged into him, he took a single step backward.

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