It was dark, then it was light. Theronil faded out, and back in again. He stood on the wall. All was quiet. Eversong was always so peaceful looking, although reports from further south indicated things may not remain that way.
Thero, there you are.
He smiled, turning his attention to the voice calling to him from the street below. Hi Sol. He hopped down from his watch. His dragonhawk, Arelanis stayed where she could see over the gate. She would alert him if he needed to return to his post. She stayed at her place, but he suddenly felt something was wrong.
I just went to the florist. They had some wonderful ideas for flower arrangements. Did you want to come see them with me?
He walked along with her. Something wasn’t right. The florist was nearby. It would only take a second. He glanced back at Arelanis before stepping into the shop. She hovered quietly at his post. Nothing was wrong. He followed Solonnae into the shop.
There were all sorts of flowers and the florist had readied an assortment of different arrangements to see. Theronil thought Isandri would be impressed. “Isandri!” Where was she? He stared at Solonnae puzzling over how she was here. Something was wrong, but he had to pick the flowers out.
It was dark, then it was light. Theronil faded out, and back in again. He stood on the wall. Others were with him. He smiled as he saw his older brother climb up and join him.
Any news yet. Teniron asked while handing Theronil a bag.
“No.” Nothing. There was word from Fairbreeze this morning that they’re still pushing north. They’re trying to divert their path around the village, and hopefully away from the city as well. We haven’t heard back from the messenger since. Theronil opened the bag.
I brought lunch. Teniron nodded at the bag. Maralle’s driving me nuts asking me when I’m going to finish this and start that. Did you know she had the nerve to enroll Tanna in private lessons after I told her not to?
That’s what rich families do, Teniron.
I expressly said no. She needs to be with other kids so she can learn how to interact with people. Group lessons are much better for that. You know, that may be Maralle’s problem after all. She never learned to deal with people. I bet Solonnae–
Teniron jumped as a horn blew. Theronil jumped to his feet and looked over the wall. Orders to close the gates and take positions were shouted back and forth. Theronil handed his lunch bag back to Teniron. They’re here, heading for this gate. Go get everyone to safety. Don’t forget Solonnae. Take them to the other side of the city. “Go now!”
It was dark, then it was light. Theronil faded out, and back in again. He stood on the wall. Ghouls and skeletal creatures climbed over it. Below, the gate doors creaked and groaned with the weight of so many undead pressing against it. Theronil shot ghouls as they came up over the top to the ledge where he and other high elven rangers had gathered to drive back the scourge. They were overwhelmed. One by one, his friends around him fell. He turned to run. He tripped over a dead ranger’s body. A ghoul caught up with him, and sunk it’s clawed fingers into the flesh of his leg. He cried out in pain and struggled to get away as the ghoul ripped off bits of his flesh with its teeth.
He rolled over and kicked it with his other leg. It staggered backwards. As it started lunging for him again, Theronil drew back his bow. It thudded to the ground just inches before him. Theronil passed out. Just before closing his eyes, he saw a dragonhawk nearby fighting scourge near him. “Arelanis… go. Get away. Be safe.”
It was dark, then it was light. Theronil faded out, and back in again. He could hear groans coming from somewhere. Was that him? And so much pain. He felt so weak. What was going on?
Thero? Wake up, Thero.
“I’m awake.” His eyes remained closed. He was so weak. The pain! He could hear more groans. This time he knew it was him.
The other voice sounded tired and distraught. You’re still alive.
So he was. He had heard the dead didn’t feel pain at all. He was definitely alive. He forced his eyes open. His brother sat on the ground beside the small cot where Theronil lay. Suddenly, it dawned on him what had happened. “Where’s Thess?” Where’s Tedralyn? Minn’da and Ann’da? They made it out, didn’t they? You remembered Solonnae? He paused. Someone was missing. He tried to sit up, but the pain shooting down his left leg forced him to lie back down. Did you get Isandri? Something didn’t make sense.
Teniron looked at him. They’re all gone. I didn’t have time.
Theronil tried to sit up again. A few missing teeth might teach his brother a lesson. Then again, the healers would probably just put them back in again. They always did.
Lie down. They’re not sure if they can save your leg. Moving may make it worse. Lie down.
You had plenty of time. How could you let them die? They’re all gone? “They’re all gone?”
There wasn’t time. There was a rush to evacuate. They wouldn’t have been at home anyway. Everyone was trying to leave.
Theronil sat up enough to pull the blanket aside. His leg was a mess, wrapped in bloodied bandages. Where are the healers?
Teniron frowned. They’re busy. They’re weak as well. Theronil, some people are saying we’re all going to die. The sunwell was destroyed. A worried look crept over his brother’s face. I’ll go check to see if they’re close to being able to see you.
“I’m not supposed to die. They’re supposed to fix it.” He groaned in pain as he lie back down on the cot.
It was dark. Theronil faded out again, and fell back into a deeper sleep.