I cowered behind the tree just outside my village. Crouched and covering my ears to block out the sounds of men, women and children dying.
And the smell...The smell.
I’d done as my uncle had told me and covered my pretty hair in mud and scraped my face with rocks and dirt. Tossing on one of uncle’s oversized tunics and cloak.
Hide how you look. Uncle Tom had told me.
But I had returned and watched in horror as the sorcerer strolled through our village. Dressed in black and followed by licking black tongues of smoke.
He lifted his hand, and a man running at him with a blade was thrown back an impossible distance until he slammed into a tree and slid up it as though lifted by an invisible man. Then his neck craned to the side with a loud snap and he dropped limply.
“Warlord.” King Detry called. Making the sorcerer turn.
Warlord. That’s what they call him. It was as terrifying as the smoky dark man himself.
When he turned and paused there was long waving black hair visible beneath a hat which had the brim pulled low to shadow light blue eyes. A single white feather dancing softly from it as he moved.
But those eyes were like flinted bits of ice. Cold and immoveable.
Even from this distance, I could sense it.
The King pointed to another man.
A flick of Warlord’s fingers sent the man careening back into a pile of boulders then crumpling to the leafy forest floor. Dead already.
He waved a flat hand and huts levelled. Crushing in on themselves. Like deflating haystacks.
I’d never seen anyone so terrifyingly powerful. What is he?
My body was shaking and I was so afraid he’d see me that I was shaking trying not to bump the tree I hid behind or the dense shrubbery at my back.
Just stay here. Don’t move. But I’d never been so terrified…