Kylyn Carimyr was watching the bard strum his mandolin and sing a tune; she was laughing, singing, and foolishly drinking Witchwood Sweet Feyberry wine. She was now past the mug, drinking from just the bottle. Oh, would her family love to see that, so lady-like. However, it was soldierly, and now she was a lieutenant in the auspicious Twilight Brigade. A dream come true, years in the making, years in training, now commissioned and on her first assignment. Kylyn could not be any happier, well she could if her family could truly see her, tell them they are proud, but she knew that would not be the case.
“Salute,” Halyn Xanthor, another new graduate, another unit member.
He raised his bottle to hers; she slammed the bottles together, “Salute.”
“Now that we are out of college,” he yelled to over come the din of the crowded tavern. “Maybe we can now get together.”
He was cute, half-human and half grassland elf (called the Rymyth), despite the mix, he still had enchanting eyes. Rymyth Fey were dark, skin tanned by the sun, with deep brown or blue eyes. His were pale, an eerie blue that accented his dark flesh. If she were to base Hal on pure looks, she would snag the young brown haired man in a heartbeat, but unfortunately, she knew him. They spent three years in training together and he tried to seduce her and every other recruit of the female persuasion. On top of that, she knew of many of his successes, from both the seduced and the seducer. Alas, pure Halyn, she feared she was still not drunk enough to fall prey to a notch on his belt.
She leaned over to him, so seductively and placed her thin lips gently against his ear and whispered, “not. . .
A bright burst that brought with it intense heat and a sound that rang a harshly in her head. For a moment she was flying. Kylyn did not have the innate ability to fly, nor was she a sorceress with the knowledge of spells that offered flight. No, she was flying merely because of the origin of the blinding light. She was warm, then suddenly cold; she saw snow descend from the sky. There was an intense pain in her back as she came to a sudden stop horizontally only to begin to move downward. Finally, she slid to a stop on the roof of the bakery next to the tavern. Her head pounded, her ears rang, and her eyes were fuzzy. Kylyn’s instincts told her that she needed to rest, succumb to her minds desire to pass out, but her training took over.
Slowly sitting up, she cast aside the shattered wine bottle that she still held. Her ears still provided no insight, only ringing, but now she was beginning to get use to it. Her eyes however, which were her true weapon. As a sniper for the elite unit, her eyes trained to find nearly anything in all situations. Flames flickered nearly fifteen feet from her, across the narrow alley below. The second floor, where earlier she stood, was now gone, or half of it. She focused on the remains of bodies on what remained of the burning second floor. The first floor was now being devoured by the frozen water in which it was built out over. Bodies littered the tavern’s main hall, those that drank beneath the private military party above.
Kylyn’s eyes were not yet ready to look much past the flames; her delicate vision reduced when the brightness erupted. It would take her dark nearly black eyes, typical of the Saivyn Fey, a few moments to adjust to the change in the light. Her other senses honed in, Kylyn’s keen elfin nose was now overwhelmed by the smell of burnt flesh. She nearly gagged, never having smelled the nauseating odor before. Screams and cries of grown men and women, in utter pain flooded her ears. She began to scan the ground below, slightly afraid of what she might see. Training her taught her skills, sharpened her natural abilities, but did not prepare her for the results of war.
Her ears focused on the sound of a woman crying below, she looked down into the alley, nearly straight beneath her. It was Coronna Gladomain sitting in the snow; she was holding her husband, Sheriff Daryl Gladomain, in her lap, or rather what was left of him. His body ended at his lower waist. She remembered he was in the corner, across the room from her, with the Mayor Amaralith Manalaena and Major David Ailemer commander of the Twilight Brigade Forces stationed at this small village known now as Twilight’s Falls. If he was in that state, torn in half, then the mayor and her commander could not be much better.
She focused on the room in her mind, those last few moments. Kylyn placed those three men thirty feet from her, which was about the center of the building. The sheriff’s back was to her, so he followed her path. The Mayor was sitting, facing her, his back to the room’s wall. She looked into the roaring flames, that area of the Riverside Tavern was gone; she traced the line backward, through the now splinted wall. The next room was also a blaze, she focused in the room, and there was blood and gore splattered on the ceiling, near some exposed and burning rafters. She could not be sure if it was Mayor Manalaena’s or not, but she had a good guess it was.
Using the same tactics, she followed the path of flight that the major should have gone, unfortunately, that would place him in the middle of the rapid river, and with the falls only five-hundred feet away. Well what was left of him would be some four-hundred feet below her, at the base of the cliff on which the town sat. There was no more need to concentrate her efforts on them they were dead. Kylyn then thought of Halyn, he should be somewhere nearby also. He was standing next to her; she traced the path and looked down and to the right. There he was, buried in a woodpile, covered with snow that had fallen off the rooftop next to her.
She rolled over onto her stomach, grabbed the edge of the roof lightly and swung herself over. She spun coming down, placing her left foot on the wall, slowing her decent. Spinning one final time, she landed, dropping to one knee. Hal looked over at her, smiled as she stood.
“Show off,” he laughed.
Kneeling next to him, “you hurt?”
“What?” he yelled.
She looked him in the eyes, “Are you hurt?” she said slowly.
He placed his hand on the back of his head; she saw a small trickle of blood. She bent his head, twisted it, a little harsh than she should, but he deserved it. Kylyn saw the small laceration at the base of his skull. He would live, they both would, and they both were lucky. She wondered about the rest of her new unit. There were ten in all, fresh from training and sent to this frigid mountain wasteland. Her elfin race lived in the north, true, but not this far north. They lived in the forest and hills, several thousand feet lower, where it was just a bit warmer.
Kylyn stood, lowered her hand to Halyn, which he accepted. He stood, placing his left hand on his wound. They needed to find the rest; she then had to slow the nausea that was rising in her stomach. She was a rich girl; she never, ever, had seen anything like this. She shook her head and walked near Coronna.
Coronna stood, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I was the ranking deputy, so, I guess I’m the sheriff.”
“We need to find survivors,” Kylyn said.
“Everyone needs to be found,” Hal added.
“Lieutenant Halyn is right,” Coronna said. “Dead or alive, we need to account for as many as we can.
“What the hell happened?” Halyn asked.
“We’ll get to that later,” Coronna ordered.
Halyn step around her, “Excuse me? This is a military matter, and the Brigade is in charge.”
“Hal!” Kylyn snapped, “This is not the time or the place. Major Ailemer is more than likely dead. We have no superiors; it would then fall to the highest-ranking field officer, which would be Colonel Murphy. Right now, military or not, we need to work together, with her, now.”
“Alright, we will, until a ranking officer is found.”
“Good,” Kylyn said, and then looked out into the plaza, that was next to the Riverside Tavern. There was a crowd forming, of both survivors and those that came out to help. Many were already on the bridge, lowering buckets into the rushing freezing water to put out the fire. Something there caught her eye. She let her eyes adjust to the distant light, looking at the waters edge, where a bridge pier penetrated it. There was movement there, someone was out there and they would not survive much longer. She grabbed Halyn’s cloak and ran off toward the bridge, with him in tow.