The War Within - Chapter 2 by Taramoc Lurrec

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SUMMARY: Chapter 2 of The War Within, fantasy novel

Chapter 2

Tomad Vomaner, Chancellor of the Sarath Kingdom couldn't help letting out a heavy sigh. He was standing on a balcony on the tenth floor of one of the several wings of the Imperial Palace. The view was breathtaking but he wasn't really looking at it.
Coranth, eternal city, was sprawling in front of him. The oldest human settlement of the continent, the city was house to more then one million inhabitants. Walking through its streets was like traveling hundreds of years every few steps.
Buildings from very far ages stood next to each other, laying on top of the rubbles of even more ancient ones. Imperial law forbade the demolition of a standing construction to build a new one in its place, but once a building succumbed to the attrition of time, the land that it occupied was fair game for the masons and architects to erect something of the style in fashion in their era. The result was a very surreal but fascinating landscape.
Tomad's mind was weary of the audience with the new Irkalian Emperor planned for that evening. Arthatus IV took power after the death of his father, Artemius II, six months earlier and he still hadn't made clear in which direction he wanted to lead the Empire. He had hoped to meet before the audience with Nidal Torus, the handler of the Sarath spies in the Irkalian capital. He hadn't showed up in two of the three planned meetings arranged before he left the kingdom and the last one wasn't schedule until tomorrow.
Under Artemius, spies were mostly tolerated as long as they weren't too intrusive. Some were even used by the Empire to leak information to the various bordering kingdoms. In time of peace the life of a spy wasn't so bad and after his masterful job during the Sarath Independence war, Nidal had probably softened a bit. A bit too much, it seemed.
The last report he got before he left for Coranth spoke of spies disappearing at an increasingly alarming rate, just after few months of the crowning of Arthatus. When the Irkalian prepared for war, the first thing they did was home cleaning, so Tomad wasn't too optimistic about the future.
One of the reasons he had come to the city was to send Nidal home, it was time for a new handler and he had already set things in motion back home for his arrival. It looked like he didn't have to worry about firing an old friend after all, to have miss two appointment wasn't normal for Nidal. He was probably already dead.

Nidal Torus was hiding in a corner in the southern part of Cateras Plaza. The weekly market was in full swing, people everywhere were bargaining with the vendors over every possible goods. He had lost his hunters in the crowd, or at least he hoped so.
What made him a great spy was his constant paranoia. He always had multiple solutions to a problem, every plan he devised had a contingency measure and every contingency measure had an emergency escape. In the past this mindset had saved him many times, but lately it felt like it just bought him some time before an inevitable conclusion. And the time was running out.
He had seen his spies die or disappear around him, one by one over the past four months.

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