Peyt looked up as the sky quickly darkened, shocked by what he was witnessing.
“Uh, boss? Hey, should the sky be doing that? Markus?”
Peyt turned to where Markus had been standing just a moment before. In his place was a man that looked like Markus but only in a general sense, that is to say that at a distance he could have easily passed for Markus. The problem of course being that this wasn’t at a distance. Not-Markus turned to him.
“Peyt? Is that you? What happened to your eye?”
Not-Markus peered at Peyt inquisitively. Peyt decided that Not-Markus really did look like Markus, just thinner and perhaps a bit older. His uniform was completely different though and from the way he was holding his spear he appeared to be right handed. Markus was left handed. Peyt considered this to be a rather large cause for alarm.
“Peyt? Your eye is gone, what happened to your eye?”
Peyt stared at Not-Markus for several awkward seconds while he was trying to puzzle this out. It appeared that Not-Markus knew his name but was unfamiliar with the fact that Markus had accidentally caught Peyt in the face with a cudgel during a sparring match while they were in training. This injury caused a few complications with Peyt’s sight and left some scar tissue on the right side of his face from the tearing of the skin. The tear ran directly over Peyt’s eye, which itself had taken a milky sheen in the years since the accident. This caused those around him to believe that he was at least partially blind. Not-Markus knew who Peyt was and recognized him by sight but was unfamiliar with an injury from several years ago. Peyt found this troubling.
“You… Who are you and what have you done with Markus?”
Not-Markus let out a nervous little laugh and shrugged helplessly.
“Peyt, buddy, what are you talking about? I’m right here.”
Peyt narrowed his eyes and gripped his spear harder, backing up a step towards the parapet.
“You aren’t Markus. I know what Markus looks like, and you aren’t him. What did you do with my friend?”
Not-Markus leaned his spear against the cliff face to his side and took a step towards Peyt with his arms outstretched.
“Peyt, I don’t know what’s going on in that head of yours but it’s me, Markus. I’m your friend. Don’t you know me?” Not-Markus approached another step closer. “Remember that time I had to drag you home after the tavern brawl in Valley? You were so drunk you couldn’t even walk anymore. Remember that?”
Peyt took another step back.
“Peyt, I was at your wedding.”
Peyt found that he suddenly felt terribly cold and weak. He remembered the day that was supposed to be his wedding day. He also remembered the attack that came that day. His sweet bride Valerie died in that attack, she had been found in an abandoned shack on the outskirts of town. She had been defiled and beaten to death. Peyt’s heart ached just thinking about it. Markus hadn’t been able to attend the wedding anyways, he had been assigned to watch duty that day.
“Peyt, I don’t know what’s going on but I’m here for you. Put down your spear and let’s talk, you look like you’re about to pass out.”
Not-Markus stepped forward again, reaching for Peyt’s shirt. Peyt instinctively knew not to let Not-Markus touch him. He wasn’t sure what would happen but he knew it wouldn’t be good. Peyt unsteadily attempted to take another step back, forgetting that he had no more room to maneuver. Peyt’s ankle caught the edge of the parapet and Peyt lost his footing falling backwards.
It seemed to happen in slow motion. Not-Markus lunged forward to grab Peyt’s shirt but barely touched the cloth as Peyt fell backwards over the edge of the wall. Twisting in the air Peyt saw the forest floor approaching. It seemed like the trees were taller than he had remembered, the undergrowth thicker, the rocks at the base of the wall more jagged.
As he plummeted headfirst into the rocks below Peyt’s last thoughts were of Valerie.