hit counter code The Package 1
the World




The Package
Author: Keith Haney

A storm drain is an unusual construct, Mouse thought to himself with amusement. What arrogance to believe that nature, in any form, could be harnessed or contained. Bars and gutters that would channel and redirect what nature had intended to flow freely. The irony of his thought was not lost on him. He too was like the rain. No matter how cleaver the engineer, he would not be snared by the constructs and dictums of men. Life was never meant to be bridled. The artifice of order was like a fence around sheep, a mere illusion of safety. Did a wolf see the fence? he mused, not likely. All the preditor saw was prey gathered in close proximity with no hope of escape.

The rain above him intensified and the flow of water into the culvert increased. It was evident to him that even with his sleight build he could move no further down the drain without becoming irrevocably wedged within. Mouse craned his head to look further down the shaft. A ledge, some five feet beyond his reach, held the object of his attention. A cloth sack surrounding a wooden box, the whole of it no bigger than a bread box. Visible on the bag were the markings of a merchant family of good reputation. Damn!" he cursed venting anger like a boiling pot released steam. He was only in this predicament due to his own impatience.

There had been a time when his life was much different. Chainmail and pikes were an accessory for men of another ilk. There are those back home who would split their sides to see him in a soldiers uniform. He too felt the conflict of imagry. It had taken some time to settle into this role. There would come a time when he could set down these implements of war. Until that time he would serve. He had become a member of a brotherhood here that was as strong as the one he had left behind.

Florenta had been home to him all of his life. He had grown up in an environment many would consider tenebrous and nefarious. For him it was comforting and predictable. The Facci were a brotherhood and within that brotherhood were codes of conduct. If one understood those codes and paid attention to the alliances of the day. It would be easy to survive and even thrive.


Mouse had grown up an only child, but not the only child born to his parents. He had had older siblings, but they were no more. Several years before Mouse had come of age there had been a power struggle among factions of the Facci. Father had been clear on which side he stood. Even at the age of seven, Mouse had understood the events to come and what lie in the balance.

When the conflict came the price had been dear. Father had survived the initial fray, but the same did not hold true for the others of his family and would soon consume his father. His return was to perform the only act within his power, protect his remaining seed.

Few words were exchanged between them. They travelled across the city to places and landmarks unfamiliar at the time. They had arrived at a merchant's house. This was to be his new home. He knew somehow he would never see his father again, or for that matter any of his family. At the time he was overcome with emotion. The final word his father said to him was delivered with such intensity that it cut through his selfish grief. With steely resolve is father looked at him delivering the word with vengeance on his countenance Remember". Then he departed to meet his fate.

The family that took him in knew of his origins. They had owed favors to the Facci did not question the order to see after the welfare of a young boy. For all they knew it was a legitimate command deserving of obeisance, They were not aware of the internal struggle and his father's fall from favor. They did as they were commanded and saw to his welfare.

Living with the merchant's family had given him a taste of what life was like for the citizens of the Imperium. They worked hard to eek out an existence. Bowing to the whims of the tax enforcers and the unexplained changes in the laws. To live as a compliant citizen was to surrender reason and accept a yoke that would never bear out the labor's yield.

Mouse never understood them and eventually found a way back to the only place he felt at home. Keeping the name given him by is adoptive family seemed like a sensible way of avoiding his past for now. The guise allowed him to reenter the Facci without revealing his origins. He was in the enemy's camp.