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…

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