Prologue: The Wall

The massive stone structure stood sentinel over the great tiered city below. The city was broken into nine tiers, the outskirts of the city being composed of hovels and shacks that were undeserving of the title of building where the poorest citizens lived, and as one got closer to the center, the buildings began to rise into gleaming multi-story towers, where only the most wealthy citizens lived and worked.

The entire city was riddled with warrens and winding alleyways, which were often used to conduct shadier business better kept from the prying eyes on the main streets.

A light drizzle was coming down and the sparkling flood lights from the upper four tiers illuminated tier five better than the local torchlight but cast ominous shadows across the entire ring. Had anyone been looking outside they would have caught a glimpse of a shadow bolting across the main street and back into the shadowy alleyway.

A shout rang out in the night and five men burst out onto the main street, four of whom wore beige coats with hoods and carried bulky rectangular backpacks, the last man wore a dark coat with two large spiked metal rings around his shoulders and a heavy metal collar around his neck. He wore a metallic mask reminiscent of a shark or other predatory animal covering his entire head.

The man gave a frustrated huff and sent the others scrambling into the convoluted nest of alleyways in search of the shadow who had evaded them thus far.

General Winters Socalo was not a patient man, and it frustrated him that his quarry had escaped once again. He doubted the Finders would have any luck finding the boy. This far out it became too easy to lose oneself amongst the lower citizenry. Especially if they were familiar with the spidery network of alleyways and roads that permeated the city tiers. Their best hope of catching him would be to catch him at the gates, however gate security from Tier One going down to tier nine had always been more lax than security going up from nine to One, and in the lower districts the dividing walls rarely received maintenance, if at all.

Socalo walked down the street leading to the dividing wall between Tier five and tier six, he could see cracks in the crumbling brick and places in the rusted razor wire that any person determined enough could slip through.

The General growled, he had no doubt that his prey was determined enough. Socalo turned with a dissatisfied snort and began his march back to the center, the tallest structure was visible even from the outermost tiers. He snarled again as several Finders rejoined his march back. The steeple of a brilliant cathedral was visible for all to see, to remind the citizens of just who owned the city, and who kept it safe from those outsiders who would wish it harm.

The Grand Generals had forbidden him from crossing beyond Tier five, spineless old men that they were, they wanted to keep all their Trump cards close. A General of his level was not to leave the safety of the greater Tiers. He wanted to skin them all. Had he been allowed to act freely he would have caught the boy before he had even crossed out of Tier Three. Socalo snarled again, causing several of the Finders to startle and back away.

The Grand Generals would be disappointed that he had failed to capture the boy but that was their own damn fault for restricting him. He would go back and get permission like the good dog that he was, then he would hopefully catch the boy before he escaped the city entirely, and if he did; then Socalo would chase him down and drag him back by any means necessary. They may say what they like about him being a rabid beast that needed to be put down, but he always got the job done, one way or another.

Socalo's maniacal grin was hidden behind his full face mask. Yes, he would enjoy this hunt. He had never failed to bring back his quarry. The General was looking forward to seeing the look on the boy's face when he realized that there was nowhere left for him to run. Socalo's grin widened. The boy could only run and hide for so long before he got him.

\_/-\_/-\_/-\_/

A boy in a dark hooded cloak stood panting in the shadow of a tavern in tier six listening for sounds of pursuit. He heard none, but that was to be expected, Those of the upper Tiers rarely ventured below Tier five, and Generals were not allowed to cross without clearance from Central. He had made it to tier six. He had bought himself some time and nothing more. But it was enough.

He quickly glanced around, not many were out, but his tattered black cloak blended in well with the surroundings, the boy headed out in the direction of the closest tier seven gate.

The last obstacle in his way was the Wall, a great imposing structure surrounding the entirety of the city with twenty-four/seven armed patrols. He was hoping to catch the dawn shift exchange, where the night guards were weary of jumping at shadow all night long and the dawn guards were still waking up from their night of drunken revelry at the brothels of the bottom tiers.

Three more tiers, the Wall, then freedom. The had thought to send Socalo after him, their favorite mad dog, they were in for a surprise. As soon as he crossed that Wall he would be gone, there would be no trail to follow, no tracks, no trace. The boy allowed himself a brief uplifting of the corners of his mouth.

The boy headed off, they would not find him. It had been arranged.

The rain came down heavier, and the boy disappeared into the shadows.

Consider this DISCLAIMED I do not own -Man, just this story.

I may or may not do anything with this, honestly it depends on the response I get. This may just stay as one or two chapters, or I could go on and elaborate. This is an AU setting that will have some crossover hints if I continue it, but not enough to actually constitute to being a crossover.

Mostly I'm posting this because I want at least one story on my account that I can be proud of, I think I will probably end up taking my other story down. I don't like it enough to keep it. So depending on the reception I get I may or may not continue this.

Constructive criticism is much appreciated, but any review is much appreciated.