Lost in the Apocalypse Discarded Prologue as it is now 3rd person

Chapter 1: First day

I was never a fan of flying. Though I couldn’t remember my early childhood I’d been told the fear came from almost falling from one of father’s helicopters when I was younger. I had never recovered fully from the fear that, one day, I wouldn’t have someone to catch me when I tumbled. It was because of this that I never flew anywhere that I didn’t have to. I would take a ship, or go on foot or by car, even when it took several days more to get there. It was a deep fear that made me sick to my stomach and uncomfortable for days afterwards. Which is why I should have known that when I agreed to go to father’s northern lab, as a company liaison, that it would come with a catch. I had jumped at the opportunity to take such a grand leap in my career. Going from a glorified accountant to an onsite personnel manager was a dream come true. What I didn’t count on was that where we were going was little more than a hole in the mountains and the only road up to the villages had closed off with snows and wouldn’t be clear for a few weeks at least.

“You look green.” Lensi, one of my escorts and bodyguards, remarked as she watched from her seat across from me. “You okay?”

“I’ll be fine.” I mumble trying not to look out the closed window. We’d been in the air for about thirty minutes already and the view was beautiful or so I believed. I was too much of a coward to actually look. I’d have to enjoy the views on the ground, if I wanted to keep my dinner down. “Just as soon as we land.”

“We’re about ten minutes out!” Kristoff, my personal bodyguard and nanny of many years, as well as the current pilot of the copter, shouted back at us. “You’ll be alright girl. We’ll land in the lot soon and you can whine about it then.”

“Perhaps you should lay down.” A bit kinder than the old man, and not as familiar with me, Lensi advised as she pulled out a spare pillow from her side compartment and offered it to me. “You won’t have to look out the window at least.”

I take the pillow and tuck it into the empty seat beside me. Grateful that I was small enough to fit on the double bench, without bending my legs much I curl up and lay as still as possible to try and wait it out. It was an almost peaceful few minutes, until Kristoff announced that the labs landing pad had come into view.

As we start to land I’m forced to sit up and buckle my belt. Lensi starts to talk to me, telling me about her kids and the vacation they just had before she was assigned to escort me to my new home. About how her, and her husband Edmond, plan on going to Paris come the end of her assignment. She seemed excited enough that the distraction works and I am happily listening to her bubbly words with only a slight feeling of unease. That is until we actually land and the entire world seems to press down on me the instant that the wheels touch down.

Weak kneed, and a bit pale, I stumble from the helicopter and try to straighten my dress shirt and slacks so the approaching lab techs and security don’t see me so flustered.

Advertisements

I did it!!! My Horror Shorts are finished and Published!

Sorry everyone its Angel and I’m really excited I just got my rough draft back from my editor with her revisions and finished my final copy and sent it off to my pronoun page to go live. At the moment the rough copy is still up but within the next few days the revision should replace it.

This is my first official published work and I’m bouncing in excitement over the finality of it. XD I guess Happy is the right word, nervous a close second and just a bit afraid. If any of you want to take a look I’ll leave the link here. It’s .99 on several platforms but for those who will do a review of the final draft for me on one of the sites I’ll provide a free digital copy for you to read.

https://www.twogeeksonecamera.com/store I have both the printed copy of my new Horror shorts and the Digital copy available now! You can find the printed copy and the link to the digital copies here. The digital are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Ibooks, and Google Play for .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited.

 

Thanks to those who helped me get here and to those who are willing to give my stories a chance 🙂

Angel~

Let’s Play – Final Fantasy

Be sure to give the first part of my Final Fantasy playthrough a view. It’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. https://youtu.be/vZQip59CHS4

Written by David Sisson

The three year anniversary of Geekstyle was back in April. There was no fanfare, no hoopla. Angel and I were very much busy with real life. But now we’re back. Geekstyle, and by extension Two Geeks, One Camera, will be posting regular videos starting yesterday (May 15th). On Mondays, you’ll be treated to my blind playthrough of Horizon: Zero Dawn. Every other Friday starting on the 26th, a brand-new episode of OCG will be posted. Saturdays will be dedicated to our cooperative play of 7 Days to Die. Other than that, there is no set schedule for Geekstyle videos.

This brings me to my favorite news of the day. I’ve begun a solo Let’s Play series in PlayStation remake of Final Fantasy. There will be an episode of this going up every single day, Sunday through Saturday. Once I finish Final Fantasy (and let’s be honest, the game isn’t very long), I’m going to start doing the same style Let’s Play in the original Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest for the international fans). This is exciting stuff for me. I’m a super jaded individual so genuine excitement for something is awesome!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you guys today. As always, stay beautiful, my friends!

Chapter 3: A letter – Unpublished chapter that was scrapped from the current novel

Chapter 3: A letter

Things were rather normal after the barghest was taken care of. Or at least as normal as it could be. Ferros left, after giving me a scroll with directions to his guild, and most of the adventurers followed soon after.

This was both a good and a bad thing. With more time and less customers we were able to repair the tavern. With less customers we had less money though and while there was less destruction there was also no real flow of coin either. We were in a deeper hole than we’d started with after we paid our debts.

We were barely holding on. The worst part was how mother reacted to the added stress. She locked herself up in the family quarters and not left the rooms for days after the final bill had been settled for some new tables. She wouldn’t even come out to check on Ayden.

Sevenna, reluctant to help with tavern chores but willing to cook, and Ayden, young but capable of taking customers requests were the only help I had without mother. Cayden did what he could on repairs but in the end I was forced to deal with most of them myself. I was exhausted and at wits end. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t keep everything together on my own.

So it came that I stood before mother’s door. Almost two full moons after she’d first sealed herself up. Things weren’t looking any better and mother still wouldn’t come out. She only ate when we brought her food and was adamant that she be left alone with her letters. She wrote dozens of them. In a quick flurry she sent out many and received just as many in return. None of them seemed to be the replies she wanted as each returned letter made her draw further away. It had to change she couldn’t keep doing this.

“Mother?” I gently open the door, not wanting to give her an excuse to turn me away.

I find her room dark with only a single candle lit on her desk. She sat on a stool and held a still sealed letter. She didn’t look at me when I entered and closed the door behind me.

“We need to talk,” I tell her as plainly as I can.

“Yes we do, but first I want you to take this. It arrived today. I don’t have the heart to open it.” Mother glanced at me before holding out the letter. Her hands were shaking as I reached for the dusty parchment.

It was thick and sealed with an odd herald that looked both familiar and foreign. “What is this?” I ask not sure if I should open it.

“A reply,” She said softly.

“From who? Mother you’re scaring all of us. Ayden doesn’t understand what’s going on and I can’t keep telling him it’s going to be okay. You need to explain to me what you’ve been doing. I can’t help if you bottle yourself up like this.”

“I’ve been trying to find a match for Sevenna. Trying to secure some kind of hope for this place and I…” She stopped and looked at me, tears welling in her eyes. “I’ve only gotten refusals. Her reputation is too broken and no local lords will take her. I didn’t know what else to do so I sent one last letter. I never dreamt he’d answer me.”

The way she said the last few words made my blood run cold. There was only one man that made her sound that cruel.

“Why would you send him a letter?” I longed to tear open the parchment. To see what he’d written. It’d been years since he’d last bothered to write us. Then again I also wanted to throw that piece of paper into the flames of the candle. If mother was so desperate to send a plea of aid out to my father things were far more dire than I thought.

“When I made him leave he promised that he’d answer me if I ever called out to him.” Mother’s tone dropped low as she spoke. The words that came from her were halted and choppy as if she didn’t want to speak them.

“What do you mean when you made him leave?” I didn’t understand what mother was talking about. Father had left when I was still just a child because he’d grown tired of our family. Right?

“He and I never saw eye to eye on magick Tiris,” She stood and took a small step towards me. I didn’t want to hear what she was about to say so I drew back. My entire body was shaking and I could feel the burn of tears in my own eyes now. Mother didn’t stop talking. “He wanted you to train under a fellow wizard but I refused to allow it. I made him leave so we could have a normal life. So you could live a normal life. I’m sorry but I did it to keep you safe.”

“Safe? Mother if you are begging him for help then…” I make myself stop talking. I was angry. I was tired and not in the right mind to argue about who was at fault for father leaving. Mother who sent him away or him who agreed to go. I take a deep breath and look up at mother who is standing some distance away hand held out towards me in a plea.

I slip my thumb into the wax holding the letter from father closed in order to avoid confronting her. She just sighed in defeat. The letter was short. Simple words of greeting dissolving into a line of text that was far too familial for the distance between the man and I.

“Tiris,” The second part read. “I have no doubt that you’re the one actually opening this, Matilda never was one for fighting her own battles. I’m sure you’re angry and debating on throwing this away. I’d like you to remember it was not I that reached out first. I only waited.

It seems that your mother has let the state of her family deteriorate to the point that she no longer has control. Another thing she lacked in the first place. I’m sure you’ve been the brunt force behind most of the real power over the years and as young as you are that was not a wise thing for her to allow. That being said, I will help fix her broken home. In turn, however, I need something.

I gave you a tome. A large leather bound book that I’m sure you remember. That book is the price I ask. And no I do not want it returned to me. I will provide your mother and her children what gold and supplies they need to survive. I will send guards and I will defend them as best I can. In turn Tiris I ask that she release you from whatever servitude she’d bound you to, and don’t pretend you could tell her no on your own you were always such a pleasing child.

You will take that book and accept an apprenticeship with a council chosen Wizard. I will know if you accept these terms when the book is opened. I will once more be waiting.”

I stare at the words for a few moments. Their meaning rather hard to grasp. I must’ve looked dazed enough that mother snatched the paper from my grasp and read through father’s words on her own. The longer she read the more her ire burned. By the end mother was fuming.

“That pompous bastard! Who does he think he is to demand such things!? Talking that way about me! The ass!!”

“He said he’d help,” My voice was hoarse and I felt the need to have a stiff drink. I wasn’t sure what I felt about this. Relief? Fear? Happiness? This was a way out, a way to walk free and they’d be safe.

“Only if you leave! Tiris this is the reason I made him go in the first place!”

“You asked him for help mother! He agreed. I can’t keep this up anymore. You’ve been in here hiding from everyone for several fortnights. You’ve ignored your kids and you’ve been begging local lords to take in a girl you knew they’d refuse. Stop acting like this is a surprise. Just because reality hit hard you can’t break down and leave us like that. Get up and get out there. Talk to Sevenna. Talk to Ayden.” I was heaving and half sobbing as I ranted and yelled at mother. She just stood there staring at me in shock. I began to laugh. “This entire ordeal is sick mother. I’m not you. I can’t be you.” Backing away I turn for the door and grit my teeth to stop anymore of my words from spilling out. My throat burnt from the curses that I held back. Not just at mother.

“Where are you going!?” Mother demanded once her surprise had worn off.

“To read a book,” I muttered before walking away.

The Dharian Chronicles Chapter I, Part 3

Stealth and Death

Written by David Sisson

The alleyways began to open more as we drew nearer the center of town. The square was littered with dead bodies and debris. A small statue that once stood in the center, a proud homage to some great leader or hero, had been torn down, bits of stone lay scattered from the impact. The children whimpered quietly.

The ruckus drew our gaze. To the south, three people ran into the square, headed towards the keep. They were followed by a woman clad in a worn breastplate. The woman halted and turn towards the alley they had escaped from. Several rat-like creatures emerged from the shadows and swarmed her. They stood three feet tall and had common ancestry with dragons, but you could never tell my their rodent demeanor.

“Kobolds!” The ranger exclaimed in hushed tones.

I pushed the children and old man into the shadows of the alley. “Stay here!”

As I stepped from between the small houses, I drew my sword and gripped my shield tighter. “Halt, knaves!” I shouted at the swarm of kobolds.

That caught the attention of a few, they turned on their heels to face me, slings and daggers ready. The ranger dove against the side of the house to my right, trying desperately to remain hidden. The uneven ground and loose stones caused her to fumble, as her back slammed loudly against the wall.

“What’re ya doin’?” The warlock Tyvira’s gaze was a mixture of judgment and disappointment.

“Shh! I’m bein’ stealthy!” The ranger retorted.

All this commotion caught the attention of more kobolds, as small stones flew at us. Most missed, but a few caught me square in the breastplate, making clangs before falling ineffectively to the ground. This angered the diminutive rat-folk as they collectively began screaming and growling at their new threats.

I charged, shield up and sword at the ready. The nearest kobold took the brunt of my shield, flying backwards into another. An arrow whizzed past my head, catching one of our foes in the side of the neck, tearing his jugular. Blood spurted from the fresh wound as the kobold crumpled to the ground in a heap.

The woman in the back was fending off two kobolds and didn’t see the dagger wielding kobold until it was too late. It slid it’s dagger between the gap in her tattered chain shirt and plunged it deep into her side. She let out a scream and fell to the ground, writhing in pain. The three kobolds pounced on her.

Bolts of blue energy and arrows flew threw the air, as kobolds dropped around me. The side of my shield caught a kobold in the face as I thrust my longsword into the chest of another. The battlefield fell quiet.

“No!” It was the man that had run across the courtyard before the kobolds emerged. He ran to the heap that was once the woman. “Maria!”

As he cradled her lifeless body, we could tell that this was his love.

“She’s gone. We’ve got to move!” I grabbed his arm and wrenched his away from Maria.

“No! Let me go! Please, just leave me alone!” He fought me every step, determined to stay with his now deceased wife.

I couldn’t in good conscience let this happen. I pulled the man to his feet, using all the strength I could muster. The party led the way, we were a hundred yards from the keep. With the man screaming and fighting, I dragged him to the keep’s portcullis, which was being lowered as we approached.

The loud bang of heavy steel against stone signified our safety, and our imprisonment. We were trapped in a stone coffin with a makeshift army of men and beasts beyond the gate and a dragon circling overhead.

Cayden’s Job offer – Another discarded idea XD

Chapter 1: Job

I was never a fan of morning, didn’t like the chill in the air, didn’t care much for the dark, but the thing I hated most of all about mornings. Was Cayden.

“Wake the hell up Reaven! I gotta job for you!” My peaceful morning was always shattered in the same way. Cayden bursting into the small room I kept for myself in the tavern. Always loud and always wide awake. This morning he seemed especially so.

By instinct, and routine practice, the moment I heard the door slam into my wall was the moment I flung a hand out, not bothering to move from my face down, amazingly comfortable position under my covers, and sent a magical gust of wind from my half opened window towards the wall. I heard the door slam back against it’s frame and hoped I’d caught Cayden with it. As there had been no yelp I doubted he’d stood still long enough.

“Oh! morning magic and here I was thinking you’d just ignore me like normal.” Cayden’s voice was loud by my ear and I tried to swat him away. My palm only found cool air and I jerked it back under the nice warmth of my blankets.

“Go away Cayden. It’s Suntide. I told you I wasn’t doing shit till Moontide.” I bury my face further into the goose feather pillow and wish the man would just leave me be.

“Can’t do it,” My covers were jerked away leaving me with no more than a thin night shift to keep me warm. I turned and hissed at the offender who just stepped back out of my reach knowing I wouldn’t brave the cold wooden floors. Bastard. “We’re on a time frame Reaven. I found some adventures in need of a place to crash. They’ve agreed to rent out the four private rooms you have that you never use! But only if you’ll agree on long term, like from now till next harvest.”

“Cayden those rooms are not furnished and they’re full of produce.” Enclosing myself in a cloak of warmed air I pad out of bed and pull the wooden shutters of my room closed before turning back to the man who filled a goodly portion of my quarters not occupied by my bed or wardrobe. “Besides that’s nearly an entire rotation. We’ve never kept tenets for more than a moon. What’s so important they need lodging for so long?”

“Don’t know,” he admitted sheepishly now that I was fully out of bed and irate. “But you need this Reaven. You’ve been running marshaling jobs with me to keep this place afloat. this is a chance to do that without you having to pull extra work.”

He was right. It was a damn good opportunity but I knew nothing about these people he wanted to bring into my tavern. I had my younger brother and sister to think of. When mother died I’d inherited more than just a dying little tavern. It was my responsibility to keep them safe. And fed… the latter was becoming harder to do and with the dead season upon us it’d be even harder without gold. Not many travelers took our road when harvest was done.

“Ok,” I gave in. “But they best behave. Or I will toss them out.” I’d have to have Meran clean out the rooms and find some suitable beds. Probably have him pull some of the better ones from the communal rooms in the cellar. We had four or five travelers rent overnight beds down there but there were a dozen more hardly ever used. Repurposed they might serve us better.

“I knew you’d come through Rey,”Cayden beamed at me his tanned face splitting into a fox like grin. Blue eyes twinkling. “They’re staying in the city right now. I’ll let em know you agreed”

“The rooms won’t be ready for a few days Cayden. I warned his back as he scampered out of my room and practically hopped down the ladder that led up.

OCG

Written by David Sisson

Let’s take a moment to chat. Those who know me know that I am a very jaded individual. I don’t smile often and I show almost zero excitement for most things. Maybe I should see a doctor and get some antidepressants, but I’ve made it over three decades just fine. My outlet, my passion, is gaming. I run the spectrum for games and genres I like. I’ll go into a top list one day but that’s not what this blog is for. This here, this is my own ultimatum.

Over two months ago, I began work on a video series that allowed me to embrace the way I play games. Ask Angel, I’m insufferable to play with. I have to complete everything in a game. There are games I’ve completely given up on in the first level because there are too many damned achievements or collectibles. I’d really love to finish Dragon Age: Inquisition one day…

The project I’m referring to is Obsessive-Compulsive Gamer, or OCG for short. It’s a series where I complete a game to 100% (or as close as I possibly can), write up review style segments and voiceover, record a live-action skit to go along with it, then present my opinion and accomplishments to the world (you guys!).

I intend to release an episode of OCG every two weeks on Friday starting 26 May 2017. That’s just about two weeks from now. Alongside ‘The Devil’s Deal’, OCG is going to be one of the cornerstones of Geekstyle and Two Geeks, One Camera. We’ll be discussing The Devil’s Deal is greater detail later, but for now know that myself and Angel are dedicated to bringing you guys content to enjoy.

As always, stay beautiful, my friends!

Shark with wings: Everend Adventures short

Ferros had given me the day off and I had decided to spend it at the beach just north of Highport. It was warm and sunny as I walked along the rocky outcrop, just over the waves, and sighed happily. I hardly ever got time to myself and the quiet breeze and smell of the ocean made me feel relaxed.

Due to the warm weather I wore my lightest tunic and shorts so that I could swim in the water. My heavier leather armor would have only been a bother on a day like today. Even if it was safer to wear it.

I make my way down the rock cropping and come to stop at a large rock ledge. I couldn’t help but smile. The wind about the small cliff I stood on was delightful against my bare legs in the heat of midday and I was glad to have chosen such light clothing.

Trying to think of what to do first I take note of Several water birds just a little further down the rocks. They sat about the crevices looking for food not even paying me a speck of mind. I decide to do a bit of watching before taking a swim.

I began observing them curiously, from a distance, as they pecked at some wiggling worms within the cracks. I hadn’t been crouched for long before I saw a shadow fall over one of the boulders beside me.

“You going swimming in your clothes?” The gruff voice of Garrett, the guilds only bowmen and resident asshole, asked just before he scattered the birds with a well placed rock.

“I had planned on it,” I replied sourly. I had hoped to spend the day relaxing and preferably alone. Why couldn’t it have been anyone but Garrett? “Did you follow me up here?”

A cold smirk flashed across Garrett’s face, his brown eyes flickered with amusement. “Sorry to burst your bubble princess but I was already here before you.”

I looked around at the area where I stood and frowned. There was nowhere he could have been hiding except for the tree line some fifty feet up the embankment behind us. “Creeping around in the trees then?”

“Looks like someone wants to talk themselves out of venison tonight,” Garrett growled at me his eyes narrowing dangerously. He was wearing his ragged leather armor, which I didn’t understand his need to keep using it when he could just buy a new set, and had his bow in hand. So he had been hunting and decided to bother me instead of actually killing anything.

“Oh well don’t let me keep you then,” I hop down the slight lip of the outcrop and land in hot sand that feels great against my bare feet. I had left my boots on the rocks near the birds.

“And miss the show?” Garrett landed in the sand beside me.

“It can’t be all that fun,” I prodded a scratch in the leather chestguard he wore in the slim hope that he’d lose interest in following me down the beach. “You can’t swim in your leathers.”

My attempt to get him to leave backfired badly when Garrett stripped off his chest guard and leggings. Left only in his tunic and loose cotton pants he gave an infuriating smile. He’d known full well I wanted him to go away.

“I hope you drown,” I say seriously and head off down the beach moodily.

Garrett follows with an annoying kick in his step that sends waves of sand all over my legs and feet. So much for a relaxing day on the beach.

I was grumbling to myself about annoyances when I noticed a sliver of metal poking out of a sandy bar just a fraction in the water. I run up to it, grateful for something to give me a valid excuse to ignore Garrett, and dig out the metal to find it was, in fact, a large trident made out of blue glittering water steel. A blessing from Ilien perhaps. The lady of the water liked to leave beachgoers presents.

“Bit unwieldy,” Garrett commented as he followed me to the edge of the water. In spite of his taunts he didn’t seem too willing to get his boots wet. “That thing is bigger than you are.”

“Its enchanted,” I mumble as I drag it back to the beach. It was a good two feet longer than I was tall and I had some trouble holding it up. I could feel the pulse of magic under my palm though and I didn’t want to leave it on the shore. “Wonder what it does.”

“Probably something stupid,” Garrett said jokingly. He examined it from a distance. Garrett was rather mistrustful of anything magical and I found it ironic that I was his favorite person to pick at seeing as how I was the only mage in our little guild.

“You’re a mood lifter,” I groused and gave him an irritated glare. “It could be something cool. Like I could command a fish to attack you with this thing.”

“We’re on land,” Garrett replied smugly. “What is it going to do? Spit water at me?” Garrett’s smile faltered a second later and he hopped on one foot kicking at a crab that had climbed onto his boot and pinched his leg. “What in the hell’s?!”

I stare in shock at the little crab as it flew into the water and scuttled back to stand beside the trident. I smiled. “Well, so it commands crabs. Cute.”

“Cute? That little fucker just pinched me!”

“You were being obnoxious,” I waved off the angry man and looked at the staff again. I smiled. “You think it can make fish fly?” I asked.

“It better not be able to,” Garrett eyed me and the staff and took a step back. No sooner had he done that then a slender grey fish, with sharp fins, erupted from the water and went straight for Garrett’s head. With a yelp he swatted the thing away and it shot into the sand barely missing his ear.

I gasped in delight and looked towards the water, “Shark with wings!” I squealed only to feel the trident be ripped away from my grasp.

“Don’t you fucking dare!” Garrett roared and lifted the trident as high as he could and threw it into the ocean before I could take it back from him. He rounded on me then his brown eyes flashing and his handsome, stubble shadowed face, bright red in anger. “I told Ferros letting you off alone was a bad idea. We’re going back to the Hall before you summon something that’ll destroy the city.” I was scooped up over his shoulder and hauled off back towards the road home. My things forgotten by the rocks on the cliff.

I kicked and wiggled but had no hope of being set free. Garrett had his magic suppressing token in his pocket like always so I had no way of setting him on fire. I gave up and made myself go limp in the hope I would at least make his arm sore.

Once I’d given up my struggle I looked up to see the little crab that had pinched Garrett’s leg standing where it had been left watching us walk away. I sighed and blew the little crustacean a kiss. I had not known him long but he would forever be my hero.

The Dharian Chronicles Chapter I, Part 2

Smoke-Filled Lungs

Written by David Sisson

“The templar better not get me kill,” an air of annoyed regality escape the rogue’s bright red lips.

“I never asked you to accompany me, din’rathi!” The puzzled and angry look on her face told me she didn’t know Elvish, but understood that it was an insult.

Her eyes narrowed at me as we halted just shy of intersecting paths between small thatch houses. Her mouth opened slightly, but before she could form words, a scream rang out between the buildings.

No one moved, our eyes scanning what we could. The loud crack of burning wood drew our attention east. There, three houses from the alley where we stood, a house was ablaze. The screams and cries for help to me there were people trapped inside, children. Without a word, I sprinted towards the house.

At the door, I could more clearly hear the screams. “I’m here, hold on!”

I tried to shout over the roar of the fire. I couldn’t tell if they could hear me. Peering at the shattered window to my door’s right, I could only see thick black smoke. I reared up on one foot and kick my raised steel boot squarely against the flimsy door. It burst into splinters beneath my kick, likely weakened by the fire. Black smoke billowed out through the newly created opening.

A soft hand clasped my shoulder, “I’m here.”

It was the entertainer, Doxy, I think her name was. Such a fiery-skinned devil, her hand was warm even through my armor. I shook my head, trying desperately to clear these unnatural thoughts. I would have to repent, if I lived through this.

Inside the small house, the thick smoke made it impossible to see. I followed my ears towards the sounds of distress. In a small room in the back, a woman sat huddled with three small children and an old man. I grabbed two of the children and Doxy followed my lead, hoisting the old man up to his feet.

“This way!” My shouts barely audible over the inferno we stood in.

We made our way back towards the open doorway. As we neared, a loud wooden groan and crack came from overhead. The roof was giving way! The seven of us made a mad dash to the doorway, the woman holding the infant made it outside first followed by Doxy and the old man. As I neared, the roof came crashing down on my head. I dove for the open door as hard as I could, the roof landing close enough to my suspended legs that I could feel the rush of heat on the soles of my feet.

Doxy pulled me to my feet as the two children I was carrying scrambled out of my arms and back to the woman, their mother I assumed.

“Thank you, kind sir! Thank you!” They all were genuinely grateful, though equally as terrified.

“Please, m’lord,” this time it was the old man. “We need to get to the keep.”

“Agreed. Follow us.” I didn’t consider asking the opinion of my travelling company. They were useless for all I could tell. Except for that fiery minstrel…