Gayl was enjoying the warm night in Seven Arches. He had been transferred here a couple of months ago after completing the gunman training under Navarre Edasseril. Lord Edasseril had wanted them transferred to different positions throughout Kyonin and its territories to help integrate his new weapon throughout the kingdom. Gayl and another student named Serrus had been assigned to town guard duty and transferred to Seven Arches. Gayl was glad he wasn’t serving on the boarder of the Tanglebriar. After training with Lord Edasseril he had become comfortable with his gun but still didn’t want to get into life or death combat with one.
When he and Serrus arrived they were taken aside by the head of the guard Darius Carpenter. Unlike the other guards who treated them and their weapons as curiosities, Darius treated them with respect and taught them the ropes of being a guard. Most importantly he taught them that a town guards job was to make sure nothing bad happened to the people, not to look for trouble and crack skulls. Gayl took this to heart and drew his weapon only once during his first month. A drunk had started a brawl at one of the taverns and when Gayl tried to restore order he was rushed by several men. He yelled a warning and drew his pistol and shot at one of the signs above the bar. After seeing the sign blown to pieces the men quickly backed off. Gayl was thankful they didn’t know he could only shoot once. After that night, word spread about the guns him and Serrus wore and all they had to do was reach for them and people backed off. Even the other guards were warming up to them and even asked to try out the guns during target practice. Everything was going easy and Gayl was starting to enjoy his placement.
That all changed with the Sundering.
Gayl will never forget that day. He was eating lunch with Serrus when it hit them. At first he thought he was having a heart attack and was about to die. Then he realized he wasn’t in pain, but he was cold and felt as if some part of him was being drained away. Serrus tried to stand but his legs gave way and he fell to his knees. As suddenly as it came it departed, but Gayl was still shivering. He felt a kind of indescribable sorrow and thought that he had become Forlorn. They learned that only the elves had been affected and people were worried that it might be a kind of plague. It wasn’t until the next day that it was learned that the elder elves had been raptured back to Sovyrian. Gayl learned later that his father was one of the ones taken and that his mother had aged overnight. Since Seven Arches was mostly inhabited by humans the Sundering did not cause the chaos that it did in Kyonin. They also had learned that Navarre and the rest of his siblings had disappeared and their father had also greatly aged. Gayl was still worried and he and the other elves felt the need to go home. That’s when the earthquake hit and the storms started.
Several buildings fell during the quake and several died. Over the next week the weather was in chaos. One day blazing heat and the next a blizzard. People were frightened and were getting dangerous. For the first time Gayl felt a sense of duty to the people and he and Serrus stayed despite feeling the pain of the Sundering. During one horrible day a crowd of people gathered in the square listening to the mad sermon of a crazed priest. The people were getting riled up started rioting. Gayl had to shoot a man in the leg and was cracked in the head with a rock. Thankfully the weather calmed but Seven Arches was still having earthquakes and was in the middle of a bad drought.
That was the darkest time Gayl experienced here. After the Sundering he and the other elves still felt a strange emptiness and longing inside of them. He’s torn between wanting to stay in Seven Arches or return home. They have heard that things in Kyonin are still bad and that there have been several attacks. Gayl and Serrus were wondering about the others they trained with that were stationed at Kyonins boarders. Were they still alive? Seven Arches was calming down however and he wasn’t sure if he was ready to deal with the chaos back home. He had heard from his brother that his mother was doing better and he was taking care of her so Gayl wasn’t as concerned about her now.
He sat near the well at the center of town and looked up into the night sky pondering. Night patrols were peaceful but very boring. It was then that he noticed a strange orange glow rising in the distance at the far end of town. It hit him suddenly that it must be a fire. With the drought as bad as it was it was only a matter of time. He quickly grabbed a bucket near the well and filled it. He grabbed it by its handle and began rushing towards the end of town yelling “Fire, Fire”. As he approached the glow was getting larger and he was fearing that it would soon grow out of control and threaten the whole town. Then he heard it. Not the crackling of burning flames (though that was there too), but shouting. Was someone arguing over what to do with the fire? Then he heard the screams of pain and sounds of battle. He stopped dead wondering if it was his imagination. Then he heard a gunshot.
He dropped the bucket and drew his own gun and approached more cautiously. If Serrus was firing something was seriously wrong. He saw that several buildings had been lit on fire now and saw several figures fighting in the street, the flames causing their silhouettes to dance like some sinister puppet show. He recognized some of the people as fellow townsman but the others he did not know. The townsman were wearing only their night clothes and trying to defend themselves with kitchen knives and other crude weapons. The others were clad in armor and wielding martial weapons. He screamed for them to halt when a figure rushed at him from the side wielding a battle ax. He turned and shot without thinking. The man fell dead at his feat with a smoking bullet wound through him. Gayl stood frozen for a second looking at the body. That was the first time he ever killed someone. The screams snapped him out trance and he looked up and saw that the towns people had been slain and the armored attackers were coming after him. He quickly began to back up and reload hoping he could drop one more before he had to draw his sword when several arrows whizzed past him. Several of the attackers dropped and the others turned and ran. Gayl glanced back while still reloading his gun and saw some of the town guard with Darius and a group of others townsman. They were carrying buckets of water preparing to douse the fire but they all stopped when they saw the slain bodies. Gayl looked down and his heart stopped. There among the dead was Serrus.
Gayl rushed over and rolled his body over and jumped as Serrus let out a gurgle. He was dead though, his body going through the last motions of death. Gayl ran his hands through his hair and began to breath heavily. What was going on? He felt a hand on his shoulder and he spun around pointing his gun at Darius. Darius let go and put his hands up cautiously “Easy son”. Gayl lowered his arm and stared back down at Serrus. Darius continued talking to him in a calming voice “You couldn’t have done anything about it. He’s gone now and you need to focus on…” Darius was cut off by peoples screams. They pointed to the sky and Gayl looked up to see a storm of fiery bolts raining down from the night sky. Their were so many it looked like dawn had come. He dove behind a barrel as arrows rained down. He heard several people scream and fall. After the volley he stood up and saw only a few of the others had lived. He looked down and saw that one of the arrows had pierced Darius’s shoulder. He was kneeling on the ground dousing his flaming clothes. Gayl ran over and helped him put out the flames, but he was badly burned. Darius gritted his teeth and snapped the arrow shaft in his shoulder. Gayl was helping him up when they saw the army advancing. There were hundreds off them, a sea of shadows advancing behind the flames, their foots steps sounding like a wave of thunder. Darius turned and yelled for them to retreat back to the center of town. Gayl turned to follow them when he remembered Serrus’s body. He rushed back and pulled Serrus’s gun and belt off of his body. When they were training Lord Eddaseril had told them that these weapons must remain a secret at all costs and they must do everything in their power not to let them fall into others hands. Gayl turned and ran to catch up with the others as several bolts whizzed past him. His heart was pounding in his chest and his lungs burned from the smoke. Covered in sweat and his eyes watering he ran on, focusing on his duty.
Seven Arches was under attack and he had to defend it.