Friday, 10 October 2014

Scent: Part 1


Reven ran through the door of the inn to be greeted by an explosion of splinters and flame. One of the fiery projectiles that had been hurled by a trebuchet outside the city walls had crashed through the roof of the inn and landed squarely on the bar reducing it to little more than kindling. Reven was only a child and scared, old enough to understand what was going on but not old enough to know why. He regained his feet unsteadily, picking splinters out of his arm as he did so. The common room of the inn had fast filled with flames fuelled by the projectiles deadly flammable contents. Reven moved through the inn leaping through the fire as he went. His eyes were streaming, the heat and smoke stung them, his heart pounded in his chest, his legs ached and his head swam. He staggered through the smoke heading out the back of the inn and into the street. People were running past him heading toward the keep in the centre of town. Chaos reigned as more and more of the besiegers projectiles rained down. The screams of the injured and dying mingled with the roar of the ever spreading fires to create a nightmarish cacophony. Reven looked at the tall walls of the keep in the distance and saw liquid fire running down its sides where the projectiles hit. He quickly decided he would head away from the keep, away from where the attackers were focusing their attention. Another explosion sounded to his left, sending shrapnel from the destroyed building spraying into the street. An elderly woman slumped to the floor with a piece of wood the length of a forearm through her neck. Reven stared in horror as an ever growing pool of crimson surrounded the woman’s head and shoulders. It was too much, the insanity of his situation gave him renewed strength and he sprinted away in the opposite direction of the keep. This was better, after a few short minutes of running the fires receded behind him and the sound of screaming died away to almost nothing. It looked as if this part of the city was near empty. In his desperation Reven starting trying doors to houses hoping to find shelter. He pushed against door after door to no avail. At the end of the street he saw what looked to be a stable of sorts. He heard a roar go up from the besiegers; so loud that it would have made a god quiver. It was followed by a ground shaking crash. Reven was no expert but assumed the walls to the city had finally been breached, brought down by the relentless barrage that was set against them.
He sprinted toward the stable and vaulted over a fence landing on the soft hay that covered the floor. He made his way over to the door that led into the stable complex proper. He slid the latch aside and made his way in. Weak light crept in through the small windows at the top of the walls. More hay covered the floor and the place stank of excrement. The light wasn’t great but Reven could see well enough to note that the floor sloped away and down around a bend. It struck him as strange that there were no stalls to keep the horses in. As he paused to take in his surroundings a wave of exhaustion washed over him and he decided that this place was as good as any to hide out for a while. He made sure the door was shut behind him and headed down the slope. It grew darker as he made his way round the bend. Almost as soon as he started down the slope he noticed a metal gate set into the wall. The door had a metal bar hung through metal loops on its front which acted as its lock. The original lock sat behind this bar and from the rust on it Reven assumed it didn’t work. He tugged at the bar trying to draw it out of the rings but its weight was more than his arms could manage and after several futile attempts he slumped to the floor next to the gate too tired to do anymore. As he sat there he thought of the events of the past few hours. The horror he had felt as he had seen his home destroyed by a wayward projectile. The people inside may not have been his blood but they had taken him in and cared for him as if he was one of their own. They were his family, they were all he knew, all he remembered and he loved them. Tears welled in his eyes as the realisation dawned on him that he would not see them again but his sadness was soon replaced with anger. Who were these attackers? Why had they come to this city? Why did they want to see it burn? He surged to his feet hatred burning through his veins. He marched back up the ramp and looked closer at his surroundings. He saw a shovel in the corner. He picked it up and returned to the gate. He battered at the bar holding the door shut with the shovel, his anger lending him renewed strength. His hits were wild but one of them landed on the bottom of the bar loosening it. Seeing this Reven threw the shovel aside and tugged at the bar again. This time it came free, he tugged with such force that it sent him sprawling backwards. His head struck the floor as the metal bar clattered across the floor. Briefly stars danced before Reven’s eyes. The last thing he saw before losing consciousness was the gate swinging inwards and a set of burning red eyes staring out of the pitch black.

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