Thursday, February 07, 2019

Flash Fiction #341 -- Connor of Northgate/25

After one last glance at the body of his friend, Connor turned and began to scramble over the fallen stone and down the other side.  The odd light from the courtyard remained to the right along the edge of the building, but nothing moved on this side in the kitchen gardens.  They'd been trampled though, the scents of herbs strong.

Connor slid down by the bushes and crouched there, listening and watching.  A couple trolls stomped by, their huge, hairy feet barely inches from him.  He thought they both sniffed, but if they smelled human, they must not have known what it was.  They kept going.

Connor crawled forward, looking around the side of the building.

They were just shoving Druce and Nylia into the edge of a glowing wall that flickered with power.  Perhaps another thirty people were already in there, and he feared they might be the only survivors from the Keep.

There was another light, though -- and he looked to see the High Tower glowing far above them.  Lord Northgate had made it there, then.  The light gave him hope.

"They won't survive long like that," someone said, not far away.

"No matter.  We'd kill all of them anyway.  Lord Northgate knows they're there.  He won't let them die."

"He's not done anything yet."

The shadowy figures walked on, past him and into the garden.  He'd been lucky not to be spotted.

Couldn't stay here.  Needed to get clear of the area and find a way to help the others.  Liam -- damn Liam for his secrets -- had said he was their only hope.  He didn't trust --


No matter what else had happened, Connor suspected Liam had pushed him in this direction for a reason, and he could not believe the Seer would join forces with the others --

Though he looked at the wall and didn't think he saw Liam there.  Didn't see Antisha or Ordin either, and that gave him a chill.

Couldn't stay here.  Couldn't see how to get to the wall.  Liam could have given him a better answer.  Where was Liam?  With whoever was in charge?  Had he sent Connor running so that he wouldn't be there to help the others?

Damn him --

A glance around showed him one place he might go, at least for the moment.  He hadn't often visited the tomb of his parents in the last few years, but it sat there by the far wall, dark stone and probably not something the others even noted more than to search. The door stood partly open.  Had they realized it was the burial spot for humans?  He hoped not.

Connor had to take a chance.  Get inside that little area and lay low until he had a way to help.  Not much time, though.  He had to save the others, whether Liam wanted it or not.  He couldn't decide which might be true.

Connor moved along the shadows again, inching his way out from the keep wall and into the more open area.  The destruction helped.  The trolls had pulled down everything they could and left it in piles all across the area.  The horses were all dead, he realized.  So were the people who had worked in the stables.

Damn them.  Damn Liam.  Damn --

The light of the wall grew brighter just when he least needed it.  Connor threw himself into a pile of wood, ignoring when something caught at his arm and drew blood.  He looked to the wall and held his breath, knowing this couldn't be a good sign, not the way those in the wall tried to move --

Gava, who was about midway along the wall, began to wither, her arms and legs moving frantically and her mouth open in a scream he was glad he couldn't hear -- though it seemed, still to echo in his mind.   He wanted to help!  He had to do something --

She glowed, and then in a burst of light, the cloth burnt, skin burnt -- muscles and bones, until fine ash spread out and fell from the wall.

He had started to stand to yell -- but he couldn't find the words.  He might have screamed something, but it was lost in the howls of pleasure from the trolls.  He didn't care if they saw him.

Liam walked out of the shadows and into clear sight so that everyone looked his way.

"You won't win, Galen."

A man he hadn't noticed stepped forward from the doorway; not very tall for a fae, but looking so much like Ordin that he knew this had to be his father.

"So, the Seer finally comes to light.  Good.  Ordin --"

Ordin came out of the Keep.  He had his hand on Antisha's arm, and for a moment he thought --

She glared at him, and there was magic in that hold.  Not enough, it seemed.  She yanked free, and he looked at her with a frown.

"Come on, cousin," Ordin said with a smirk.  "You don't want to be on the losing side."

"I want nothing to do with you or your loathsome snake of a father."

Ordin grabbed at her.  She darted away, and he must have expected her to attack.  Instead, she threw herself into the magical wall, trapped with the others.

"Stupid bitch!" Ordin yelled, but his father hit him.  Liam took that moment to leap at the two, as though to attack, though he had to know -- truly had to know -- that he had no hope.

Giving Connor a chance.  Everyone was focused on the sudden fight, and Connor took the opportunity to dash straight to the tomb and throw himself inside, squeezing past the enormous wooden doors without moving either of them.

The trolls or the elves had been in here.  Connor kicked something and realized it was a bone and felt a new wave of illness.  He didn't want to look, and with his heart pounding, he stared at the crack of light by the door, gasping for breath.

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