This is Part of Angrethar, the story of The Battle for the Wrathgate from Aelflaed’s point of view. You can see all of the posts in this story on the Story Archives page, by searching for the Wrathgate category, or through this link.
Hearing her name, the paladin turned, saw nothing, and looked back towards Angrathar.
Fordragon’s shouting stopped, and a chill whisper like the sound of death responded.
She hopped down, trying to find the voice among the swirls of snow, ghoul parts, and wounded men. “Ayeh, I hear ye – who are ye, an’ where?”
“Under the wagon, please Aely.”
Running back and pulling loose another set of linen bandages, she found him. His side had been split open from ribcage to hip, and he was breathing blood as much as air.
A horrified gasp and shudder went through the armies gathered around the Wrathgate.
“Sweet Ligh’, Bert… I… ” and she set to bandaging his wounds. “I’ve nowt left bu’ bandages, I cannae fin’ anneh Ligh’ here now…” She bustled. He stopped her.
“Don’t. Please. I’ve died once, and dying now to know that you live and are well… is better than the first time. This life is not one that I want, nor care to keep – I want peace. Please. Peace, and rest…”
From somewhere high above, a booming voice, and the creaking squeak of siege engines.
A crash, and screaming. More crashes.
She looked out from behind the splintered wood, and fear sunk back into her stomach with all the delicacy of lead and rotten fish. Green gas, everywhere – and men screaming until their lungs filled with the choking fumes and their lives ended, drowning in open air.
A wafting wall of death floated towards them.
His voice rasped, with the rattle she knew the meaning of but didn’t want to believe. He reached for his pocket and handed her something. “You made this once, have it again. Now /run/.” Half a dozen steps and she looked back to see the wagon disappear under the oncoming wave – and there was no sound from underneath.
She ran as the screaming behind her died to a choking whisper, and as dragon and felfire blazed from the sky. She ran as breath caught in her throat and the wound in her arm grew numb. She ran, without looking back, until she collapsed in the snow, chest heaving with exhaustion and pain and cold.
In her hand, blue-purple against the pale, twilight lit snow, was a knotted cord of prayer beads.
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