Flash Fiction: Dogged Deterrence

Like a dog, he thought, trailing a step behind her through the market street. Whatever amounted to morning here was in full effect, commoners and slaves rushing about to start whatever amounted to their days. She led him through place, pausing occasionally to pick up something at a stall, but never bothered to check if he followed. His gaze swept the angled rooftops to the deep alleyways, lingering on anyone too interested in his master.

He found the resemblance not just in the way he was kept at her heels. If by the gods’ grace he managed to survive this servitude, he’d die, perhaps five or so decades from now. She would live on for centuries more. Whenever death found him, she would replace him with another pet to follow her about and keep the knives from her back.

It was a sobering thought, and one he didn’t rest his mind too heavily upon when he could help it. The city was one of constant change and shifting power, he did not know what the next day or decade would bring. She may become bored of his occasional defiances just as he might grow brave or treacherous enough to break his word and see the sun.

Today though, he followed her dutifully through the dim, deterring the opportunistic with his glowering presence and the rest with the wide sword strapped prominently across his broad shoulders.

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