As the days had been getting colder, anticipation for the celestial event that preceded Cylus grew in Woe.
His master had been kind to him in his servitude, relatively speaking. He'd given him gifts on his birthdays, which itself was on the fifth of Cylus. He'd also made him kill a few of the other slave children that populated the household in rituals. So it was a mixed bag.
It helped teach young Woe that there was a reason many cultures put their male children into hunting trips as a rite of passage. Knowing whether they were willing or able to kill or not showed where they ought to fit into society. In some societies, the ones who had a successful hunt without regret would become warriors. Those who hadn't perhaps would become beggars, gatherers, or medicine men. In Erastus' household, the fact that he'd broken down emotionally afterward meant that Woe became a clerk and sometimes a disciplinarian of slaves rather than an executioner, but just by taking part in the ritual and successfully sacrificing slaves had ensured his place in Sintra's cult as a hatchling.
Many of those rituals happened during Cylus, whether by design or coincidence, Woe couldn't say. Nevertheless, the fact that he received gifts during this time had instilled in him some liking for the pale season of things dying.
Now the moon moved in front of the winter sun, and the celestial event began. No more time for philosophizing. Woe turned from the event, shielding his eyes with his hands, while observing it through the periphery of his vision. When the alignment was finally completed, the land was bathed in a pale darkness like a starless night.
He took his hand away from his brow, and looked at the source of the darkness, shrugging. It was then he was glad to have the idle time, after two decades of slavery under Erastus, to do as he pleased. He still had his duties as a jailor and slave driver, to be sure. But that only made these moments more precious.
He walked off toward the entrance to the gate. Passing the guards, it wasn't long before a letter was pressed into his hand, given to him by what appeared to be a slave child in the uniform of Erastus' household. He unfurled teh parchment, and read:
I have need of your services. More importantly, there's a poor mother in Lowtown who needs your help. Her husband died in the conflict of Saun 716 as a soldier. It's not fitting that his widow be forced to suffer hunger and hardship with five mouths to feed. I want you to make the situation right in my name. I will reimburse whatever expense is necessary.