Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Berserker Part 58

Jarn saw the the comet whistle its way to the ground and explode, ending the lives of dozens and sending the world into panicked confusion. Silva shrieked in terror as the wagon they had occupied moments before caught fire, the oil treated canvas sizzled and popped with strikingly blue flame.

Their path back to the city blocked by the flaming wagon, Jarn grabbed hold of Silva’s wrist and plunged into the tall grasses. Regaining his bearings in the closely packed foliage, he set out back toward the city. After a few strides he wondered how the orcs could’ve possibly navigated in the thick plant life. At his great height his head just poked above the stuff, allowing him to keep an eye on his goal. Silva, however, was lost in the confines of the greenery and required that Jarn constantly stomp down a path in the stiff grass for her to follow in his wake.

After a few moments Jarn noticed the distinct odor of burning grass. Looking around, he saw that a great amount of the catapults’ payload had landed in the grass. The extremely flammable substances contained within those clay urns combined with the very dry grass which had yet to be scythed for cattle-feed created a flashfire.

Seeing the great fingers of flame racing across the ground sent a jolt of fear through him. Gripping Silva’s arm firmly he broke into a run. Crashing through the cursedly dense growth while pulling along a full grown woman despite her protests and carrying an extra twelve stone he could only manage a fast trot.

They were within five hundred strides of the city walls when the raging fire caught up to them. Jarn felt the increasing heat for some time before Silva cried out, the hem of her skirt had begun to smolder. She continued to run, knowing full well the extent of the danger they were in.

Flames arced out from either side of the fleeing three, passing them and arcing inward as if conciously trapping them. Meeting a wall of flame they were forced to angle to the right and began threading through a hellish maze of searing flame and shimmering heat.

Finally they came to a dead end. The two concious persons’ eyes tearing for the utter futility of their endeavor rather than because of the thick acrid smoke or choking ash raining down on them.

Jarn, saw that the wall before them was not more than a foot thick, bracing himself for the imminent searing agony he charged forth. Never reaching the wall, instead the ground dropped out from under them and they tumbled into darkness with Silva at his side and poor Selenne on his shoulder. The image that Jarn carried with him into the blackness was a scene of utter Stygian horror. A world dancing in flame, twisting and contorting as waves of heat distorted the world while ash and embers rained down to the blasted earth below.

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