Saturday, 28 May 2016

Of Ash And Dew - Nine

   Even as fire rained from the sky and the market-goers scattered in a panic, I didn't miss the bastard's distraction. As a shadow passed overhead and stole away his attention, I was able to snatch the amulet from his accursed hand and turn and run. He noticed, I heard him shout, but he didn't give chase. His life, it seems, was worth more than his ill-gotten goods after all.
   But from that moment on, I was a part of the world again, no longer consumed in the frightening but empowering realm of my hatred. I dashed as best I could among all the people, but I don't remember more than putting one foot in front of the other. The long, restrictive skirt I was stuck in didn't hinder me as much as I had expected it to, and I moved quicker than the rest despite it, but other than that, I recall little. Deep, fleeting shadows followed by loud yet muffled booms of air, and my eyes watering from the sting of sulphur as fire bombs were spewed from draconic mouths above.
   I made for the river, seeking shelter beneath the stone bridge. Others had the same idea, and they pushed and shoved me and eachother to get there first, but fortunately they only hurried my approach as I ricocheted from one to another.
   From that point, though, there is one thing I remember clearly: voices. Harsh cries in uncommon tongue, chants and declarations that surely landed as an alien language upon the ears of everyone else. But I knew them. Even now their vile, twisted meanings burn in the pit of my stomach like acid.
   'Scoran will sear the rivers!'
   'Followers of the waves will wash into a burning abyss!'
   'Scoran will rule the Mountain once more!'
   I barely had time to think on it then, as when I finally reached the bridge I was accused by the others of being involved, either the target of the attack or, outrageously, part of it. But I paid them little heed.
   The fire tribes are invoking dragons, summoning their fire god's servitors.
   Have things really become so severe?

   I try to push it from my mind. I have the amulet, its familiar weight hanging now around my neck beneath the shirt Edwin gave me - the skirt I have since traded for my own skins - but while I wish to return home...what awaits me?
   Reclaiming the amulet with no one to return it to is a hollow victory. It will not bring my family back. I knew that when I set out, but...I thought I would feel some sense of satisfaction. I feel only empty.
   And with the fire tribe's attack on Dumas, it has been made not only hollow, but insignificant.
   The attack was extreme, it was organised - just like Edwin had said. And to be so close to my tribe's territory, it will swallow my home before long, and our numbers are too small to fight back.

   Suddenly, I feel only more lost...



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