Part 11 – Family in Flames
It was smell of smoke that woke her up, and it was the act of waking up that saved her life. She slipped out of bed, hearing the crackling of flames all around her, and an instant later, the ceiling caved in, dumping a heavy, flaming chunk of wood right where her head had lain mere moments before.
She stumbled back in surprise and pain, the heat searing the skin of her arms. Her child’s mind couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Why was her house on fire? Where were her parents? Her siblings?
She ran out into the hallway on her stumpy child feet, jumping through the flames that licked at her legs. She reached her parents room and shoved the door open, before reeling back in terror. There was blood everywhere, glistening black in the flickering firelight. Her mother lay on her back, a scorched hole in her chest marking where a Soulsword had pierced her heart.
Her father hadn’t gone down so easily. He was covered in wounds, all over his body, and his sword, an ancient cutlass of green-tinged crystal, was streaked with blood that wasn’t his. “No, don’t leave me!” she sobbed, kneeling beside her father and shaking him, even as the walls themselves threatened to cave in on her.
“Who’s there?” a voice coughed from out in the hallway. She looked up to see an unfamiliar Menti, Soulsword in hand, silhouetted in the hallway. “Looks like we missed one!” she shouted to someone out of sight. A second Menti appeared, dragging the bodies of her siblings, both of their throats cut.
“Why did you do this?” she sobbed, reaching desperately for the only weapon she could find: the sword still clutched in her father’s dead hands.
“You’re parents were traitors, threatening to turn agaisnt the Rora,” the woman shrugged, “we don’t need that sort of thing in our community, so we took matters into our own hands.” She strode forwards, Soulsword crackling in her hand. “I guess we have to kill you as well. No loose ends.”
The child sat there, shaking with fright, until her would-be murder stood right over her. Then she rose to her feet and swung out wildly with her sword, slicing across the Menti’s gut. The woman let out a cry of surprise and stumbled backwards, crashing through a damaged wooden wall.
The child cried out, realising too late what she’d caused. The destroyed wall wavered, then collapsed, bringing the roof down with it, trapping the child in a world of pain and flame.
* * *
When the flames had finally died down, the two murderers, who’d both managed to survive the roof collapse, picked through the wreckage for the rest of the bodies. They never found the little girl. Nor did they find the family’s ancient sword, the one the girl had tried to fight back with.
Years later, they saw both the girl and the sword again. It was the last thing either of them ever saw: Vazaria taking their lives.