Chapter 29: What Happened Here?


I returned after nightfall, the final sweep proving fruitless. All I found were bodies. Today was for the living, but tomorrow, I promised, tomorrow was for the dead. It was a black night, with the outline of the city still faintly orange in the distance.

Those that Aloreina healed were exhausted, and even, I could hardly stay upright in the saddle. "Where is Lady Aloreina?" I asked the first person I saw.

"She is over yonder." I was told, "She just collapsed, poor girl. She's so tired." I made my way into the temple, finding where Aloreina lay, under a cloak someone had lain over her. I slid down the wall by her head, and watched her sleep. She'd saved my life today, when by all rights I should have died. I watched her silently, the whisper of her breath lulling me to sleep in minutes.

Morning came, and it was a steel gray color, seeming on the brink of tears. It was fitting I suppose, considering the grief of the day. All the bodies we'd commended back to the earth. "How did this happen?" I asked one of the living, for the dead offered no answers.

He was a large-eyed, pale-haired youth of no more than fifteen, though his face wore the lines of grief, lines that may only leave in time. He shook his head, seeming to fade back into a memory he did not wish to see, "They came and circled over for hours. At first, the Knights forbade us to leave, but some didn't listen." he shuddered, "They were scared, they didn't know what to do, and the knights told them they had to stay, that they couldn't leave...they were all so scared..."

I frowned bitterly, "Who came?"

The by had a far-away look in his eyes, "As soon as they broke through the guard, they attacked. They were so huge..."

"Who?!" I yelled, grabbing onto his shirt in frustration.

"They were so evil. They just killed. And they laughed!" He said, as though he were living it again, eyes fixed on the sky, "They were so horrible!" He cried in horror.

"Who!" I bellowed, shaking him roughly.

He looked into my face slowly; as though he had to tear his eyes from some awful sight he saw above, "Dragons..." he whispered his voice nearly inaudible. "Great black dragons..."

I let him drop, and he fell like a sack of potatoes to the ground. He scrambled away from me as though I was a mad man, but I didn't care, his words rang in my ears, "Dragons . . ." I shuddered and repeated his words softly, "Great black dragons . . ."