Gayl looked out the window at the burning city. They had tried to retreat after the initial attack but found that the city had been surrounded. Sevenarches was under siege and there was no was to escape. Sevenarches lay within the River Kingdoms and was no stranger to attack, however the disasters that had struck after the Sundering had weakened them and they were caught unaware. Once they learned they could not leave the city, Darius ordered everyone to the center of town to try and build up their defenses. He ordered Gayl to stand guard at the town hall and watch over the city officials. This is where he was now, staring out the window at the top level of the hall. The town Treasurer, Magistrate and Seneschal were all under his care. The town’s leader, Lady Dekash, refused to stay and marched off to fight at the front lines. Her assistant, Khristian Montian, stayed however and was caring for a baby that Gayl did not recognize.
Gayl turned away from the window and looked at the men in the room. With the exception of Khristian, who was busy trying to keep the child calm, they all looked scared and tired. Gayl realized that he was as well. Now that he had some time to calm down, the weight of the situation was sinking in. What were they going to do? He had seen a fraction of the forces that moved against them and he knew they were doomed. He turned back to the window and gazed out. He didn’t want to be here babysitting the officials. He wanted to be out there fighting with the others. He realized that this bothered him more then his eventually death. That and the waiting. What was going on out there? He began to pace around the room running his hands through his hair.
A moment later he heard the doors to the hall fly open and the sound of running footsteps. The men in the room jumped up and Gayl and another guard named Borin drew their weapons and moved to the stairway. They recognized the man running up as one of the guards and they let him pass. The boy was young, a mere youth. He stopped at the top and was breathing heavily, his face covered in sweat. Gayl helped him over to the chair by the window to help him catch his breath. After a moment he turned to them and announced that the attacking forces had broken through their barricades and that Lady Dekash had fallen in battle. The news hit them hard and no one in the room spoke for several minutes. Finally Gayl spoke up and asked the messenger what they were ordered to do. The messenger told them that Darius was retreating back to the center of town and that they should remain put and….
He was cut short as his head was struck by a bolt and exploded. Gayl was splattered with gore and stood frozen. There was a startled cries from everyone in the room and the baby began to cry. Gayl gazed down at the fallen corpse of the boy at his feet. He gritted his teeth as rage began to replace shock. He let out a roar and rushed to the window. He pointed his gun down at the street and fired and then picked up a basin from the table next to the window and threw down at the street as well. He knew he didn’t hit anyone but didn’t know what else to do. The sounds of fighting below brought him to his senses. He wiped the blood from his face and began to reload his gun as he and Borin walked to the stairway. He gazed down and saw two men charging up the stairs. He turned away from the stairway and put his back to the corner. Gayl took a deep breath and raised his gun. He spun back around firing and then lept down the stairway.
The first man running up the stairs was struck dead by Gayls shot and the other stood frozen in surprise as Gayl flew down at him. Gayl struck the man hard and they both rolled down the stairs. Gayl ended up on top of the man when they reached the bottom. He punched him hard in the jaw and knocked him out. Before Gaylcould get up another attacker jumped on top of him, driving a blade into Gayl’s side. Gayl’s armor deflected the blow but the man grabbed Galy’s throat and began to strangle him. Gayl tried pushing the man away while he also grabbed the mans other arm that carried the blade. The attacker was much stronger then he was however, and Gayl felt himself blacking out. The attacker cried out as an arrow bolt struck him in the back. Gayl rolled his dead body off of him. He looked up and saw Borin coming down the stairs while re-notching. They looked outside and saw the remaining guards fighting outside the door. Borin let out a cry and ran forward into the fray. Gayl began to follow when a hand on his shoulder stopped him. He turned and saw Khristian Montain holding him back while still carrying the crying baby.
“We need to get out of here” he said.
“We were ordered to stay,” Gayl responded and turned to head out the door, but Khristian held on to him.
“You know that if you head out there you’ll be killed and we’ll soon follow”.
“We were ordered to remain here,” Gayl snapped back and pulled his arm away from Khristian.
Khristian’s eyes narrowed with determination. “You were also ordered to defend us. I was Lady Dekash’s assistant which puts me in charge now that she has fallen. I’m leaving, and if you want to protect me you’ll have to follow”. He turned around and marched down the hall towards the back door. Gayl looked back towards the front door and then grunted in frustration and turned to follow Khristian. Gayl gazed cautiously around as he opened the door, but no attackers were in sight. Khristian was already half way down the ally, apparently unconcerned about being attacked. Gayl caught up to him and grabbed his arm and spun him around. “What about the others?” he asked.
“They wanted to stay and arrange a surrender but you and I both know that they would just be killed”.
“How do you know?” Gayl responded. “The town is surrounded! There’s no way out! The only way were going to live through this is if we try and…”
The top of the town hall erupted in flames and drowned out the rest of Gayl’s response.
The baby was crying louder and Khristian looked up in shock. Gayl rushed down the ally and peaked around the corner. The rest of the guard, including Darius, laid dead on the street. A man stood chanting in the center of the street surrounded by several of the attackers. Gayl watched as the man pointed his finger and shot a red bead into a building. The building erupted in flames just like the hall. Gayl turned and rushed back to Khristian knowing there was nothing more he could do.
“Where can we go?” Gayl asked.
Khristian thought for a moment and then responded “The sewers under the town. Some of them lead far downstream and they might not have them guarded”. They both knew it was a long shot, but it was their only chance. They turned to leave but stopped dead as they faced two attackers coming down the end of the ally. One was a dwarven woman with a crossbow and the other was human man armed with a long sword. The dwarf let out a scream and fired her crossbow at Khristian while the human rushed towards Gayl. Khristian turned around to shield the baby and cried out as he took the bolt in the shoulder. Gayl shot the dwarf in the head and drew his sword as the human slashed at him. Gayl parried the slash and then kicked the man in the groin. He flipped his gun around and cracked the man on the back of the head as he was bending over. He fell unconscious at Gayl’s feet. Gayl rushed over and to Khristian. Khristian was breathing heavily and was trying to staunch to flow of blood from his shoulder. He handed the child to Gayl who held her awkwardly with his weapons still in his hands. Khristian gritted his teeth to keep from screaming as he removed the bolt. Gayl watched as Khristian put his hands on his bleeding shoulder and began to pray. A faint white light emanated from from Khristian’s hands and the blood stopped flowing. He took the baby back from Gayl and they both turned and headed off.
They crept as silently as they could. Thankfully the baby fallen to sleep, too overwhelmed and tired of crying out. They weren’t discovered when they reached one of the portals that lead down into the sewers. They climbed down and covered to portal after them, leaving the burning city for the unknown darkness below.