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Alastor took the hill road which went around the town of Attica. The byway was a narrow path, one that added two hours to his journey.

He had to avoid the town, for there were many enemies there, led by the resident blacksmith and his confederates. What had started off as rivalry between two tradesmen had ended in a flurry of fisticuffs.

Alastor, though built like a bull, was a retiring sort of a fellow. After that fight, he decided to take his mother, his only family, to a nearby village. The gods smiled upon him. Without the need to pay local gangs, as was the lot of tradesmen in Attica, Alastor levied lower prices for his services and that channelled a ready stream of custom to his iron works. Over the years, the village, an eclectic collection of people who had fallen foul with the overt and covert powers in Attica, steadily flourished and grew.

The village did not have a name, and travellers started referring to it as ‘Atticides’ and that aroused the ire of the residents of the town. But for now, the simmering pot had not overflowed.

Alastor plodded away the hours and by the second watch, with the moon at its zenith, he was several paces from the peak of the hill when a chilling call of the wild reached his ears.

Wolves!

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***

Context: In ancient days, most settlements took root near sources of water, food and natural resources such as mines and forests—and terrain that afforded natural defence. Others grew from wayfarers’ stations—along trade routes and border posts. Outcasts, mostly criminals, also founded settlements but some were people fleeing persecution.

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