War and Despair

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Chapter 13

Though Drennan’s life full of darkness, there was still sounds and scents. There would be nothing but darkness, his life would be misery then, without the sounds of laughter and singing, without the scents of flowers and fresh soil. Those were what had saved him.

But today, Drennan heard screams and smelled burning wood. He heard a thump and a scraping noise as one of the screaming creatures from the sky landed near him.

He pulled himself up and tried to shuffle away, to somewhere safe from the monsters. He heard a woman scream in terror, and instead of running away, he shuffled towards the sound as quickly as he could.

“Die!” He heard a woman’s voice scream. He lunged towards the noise and knocked the owner of the voice to the ground. He heard scuffling as the woman rolled away. He felt a soft hand on his shoulder, drawing him away. Then he felt the cold bite of metal on his chest.

Drennan felt the blade slide out of his chest like ice entering his veins. The burning pain followed, raging through his body like a wildfire. He heard the rustling of wings as the dragon rider left him to die. Then the soft hands pulled him away.

Drennan felt a pair slim arms cradle his head. He smelled the soft scent of wet moss and rain clinging to the person he had saved.

"Thank you." The woman whispered.

He clung to the sound of her clear, ringing voice as pain washed over him, letting it carry him away. He felt her tears fall into his open eyes and for the first time ever, he saw the woman's face.

She was beautiful. Her large brown eyes somehow looked fierce and gentle at the same time. Her long chestnut hair brushed his face, tears shimmered at the corners of her eyes. Her ivory skin, her full lips, she was so beautiful.

“You're welcome." He moaned, a fresh wave of pain came with every word.

“No!” She gasped, her face screwing up, tears running down her cheeks. "Please don't die! Just hold on for a few minutes, I'll find the healers."

“It…It’s okay…” He whispered, squeezing her hand. The sorrow in her eyes threatened to drag him under and drown him. "There's no way I'll survive this anyway. My name is Drennan,"

"My name is Marisindin, eldest child of the king, and you will not be forgotten!" She cried.

He stared into her large brown eyes, and she stared into his pale blue ones. She smiled sadly at him. Then her face blurred, and everything went dark for the final time.

"Thank you Drennan.” Marisindin whispered to his cooling body. She held him even after he’d already been dead for hours. That was how Lord Peterrin found her hours later.

“Marisindin! Are you alright? We’ve been looking for you for hours! We never would have found you if one of the maids hadn’t seen you leaving.” Peterrin exclaimed.

“I’m sorry.” She said softly.

“Were you out here when the attack happened? Who’s he?” Peterrin asked, pointing to Drennan’s body.

“His name was Drennan.” Marisindin gasped, the tears starting anew. “He saved my life."

Pity sparked in his eyes. “I’m sorry for your loss. I’ll send guards for his body, we’ll make sure he gets a funeral fit for a hero.” Peterrin said gently.

“I want to stay with his body.” Marisindin whispered, meeting Peterrin’s jade-green eyes. He nodded and ran to ask a peasant to fetch the castle guards.

Five guards arrived with a stretcher. They loaded Drennan’s body onto it, and the solemn procession made its way to the castle.

Marisindin stayed with Drennan’s body as the healers cleaned the blood off his chest and dressed him in white linen for burial. She stayed with him through the funeral and watched as they lowered his body into the earth and watched as the earth covered it.

Marisindin sat staring at the granite stone that marked his grave for hours after the funeral. Her eyes were red and swollen from sleep deprivation and tears, her hair was a mess, strands of hair escaping her braid. Soil had stained the hem of her black dress brown.

“Hey.” Peterrin said gently, crouching beside her. “You look awful. When was the last time you slept?”

“Two days ago. Before the dragon attack. If they can just attack our city, what's stopping them from burning us alive in our castle?” She said, her voice breaking. Tears fell from her eyes, running down her neck and dripping from her chin. Peterrin said nothing, simply handed her a handkerchief and wrapped his arms around her.

After a moment, Marisindin hugged him back.

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