War at My Door: The Final Day

Piper.

I found your letters dear sister and I read every last word. I have finally come home.

Two weeks had passed before word of the attack reached the gates of Amberfall and it was two weeks too fucking many. I passed by the bodies of those who were slain, devoured and then discarded by the side of the road. I’m guessing they tried to flee. They did not succeed. I tried to look upon their faces to see if they belonged to someone I know. I couldn’t though, it was too painful. What if I saw your face?

The village has been utterly destroyed. The King ordered every last building to be cleansed with flame from the taint of our enemy and so the Baroness and her Amberguard have dutifully obliged. The homes and bodies of our friends and neighbours have become only smoke and ash as the final fires dim before the setting of the sun. I am holding the key to our front door in my hand as I write this and there is no sodding door to unlock anymore. The only way I was able to read what you wrote is because the cellar and everything in it was all that was left of our home.

It’s funny though, that even after all these years and everything that has happened over the last fortnight and more, it still reeks of mother’s reels of cheese down here. So many memories, even amongst a smouldering ruin.

I managed to get here with the aid of an attendant from House Emberheart. My time spent in the city has been fruitful and I have become close friends with the Lady of the House. When she heard of the attack on our home she immediately summoned for an escort to bring me back to you and father. His name is Sigmund and all I know of him is that he’s from Wintermere, or at least he used to be. He doesn’t tell me much but Lady Emberheart assured me that he is the fastest rider in the Westervale and she wasn’t wrong. But it was too late. I knew it was too late. The entire journey here I knew that I would probably never get to speak to you again but I just couldn’t, did not want to believe that until the grim reality of it all was burning before my eyes when we arrived.

After mother passed away and father didn’t speak a word for weeks, we only had each other. It was you who helped me to become the person I am today. It was because of you that I dared dream of leaving home for the city to follow in the footsteps of our great grandfather. I am only who I am now because of you, because of father, because of mother. Now you are all gone. Who am I now without you?

I don’t know where you are and we tried so hard to find you. The remains of the village, the nearby farmsteads that had been ransacked, the roads, I searched everywhere for you. We even tried the edge of the Wraithwind Woods but without a guide from the Citadel, it wouldn’t have been long before we too were lost. Sigmund is an excellent tracker but even he wouldn’t be able to guide us through for more than half a day. If it wasn’t for him, I would probably still be in there right now shouting your name loud enough for every wolf, brigand and grimlurk to have their way with me.

Where are you Piper?

My heart aches in my chest and tells me to keep looking but my mind speaks other words. It says to me that you are long gone. The Dothylfar were driven back into the Eastreach where they fell to the Silver Legion in one swift and bloody massacre. Every soldier, every rider, every prisoner that they took. All who remained were killed in minutes. If I were a historian looking back upon these events through old tomes of the Crimson War, centuries from now, I would describe the ambush as a stroke of pure, unmerciful genius. But as your sister, thinking about how you may have been one of them – it makes me sick to my stomach.

The red moon shone brightly that night. It was as if Ashyara, the Lady of Death herself, was watching.

We managed to recover what was left of father from our doorstep. I cannot write down on this paper exactly what had become of his body for I haven’t the nerve to. It was frightening to see him that way. Even now my hand shakes as I struggle to withhold my anger, my absolute and bitter resentment for a war that has already claimed too much.

But not for much longer. The Amberguard have mustered their strength at the behest of Lady Emberheart and they have joined the fight to rid Ayrlaston of these vermin. The Legion marches now with the River Bann and the Amberguard and they will make their move at dawn. They will drive these gods damned blood drinkers back beyond the Silverblade and join the warfront in Frosthaven.

Their days polluting our soil with the blood of our people are coming to an end. You have my word sister.

Father will be buried next to mother where she lies in the valley. At least they left her grave well enough alone. They will be reunited once more but I will never see them again, I will never see nor hear from or speak to you one last time. So, I shall bury this letter along with those that you wrote to me with them. I’m going to put them with mother’s letters in her chest so that in some way our family will always stay together, beyond death.

I will be leaving for the city again when the sun rises. The Legion shall move against our enemy and so shall I. Lady Emberheart has kindly offered me a place in her court but I shall decline her most gracious proposal. Once I am done with my tasks in Amberfall I am to set sail for Hammarkand and I intend to never again set foot upon the shores of Ayrlaston.

I write this to you, my sweet little sister, so that a part of me will forever remain with a part of you in the grave of our parents. This is my final farewell to you, to mother and father and to our home.

I love you Piper, from now until the final day of my life.

Goodbye.

Erin.

28 thoughts on “War at My Door: The Final Day

  1. A fragment of someone’s very heart, happened upon. I felt Erin’s pain, her loss, rage and ultimately uselessness. The grim need to banish herself beyond shore holding such pain. Talent mate. Talent. Loved this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I put human characters through violent testing times. Any happiness they feel is always, always, short-lived. I’ve always wrote this way. For me – happiness has always been the enemy of invention. I think as writers we often feel for our creations. A normal part of the process?

    Liked by 1 person

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