A streak of red raced across the dark starry sky. The inferno crashed into a small village house and created a exploding blaze of red and gold. Quickly after the first bolt of fire, came another. And another. Hundreds of fire balls flew through the ari, hitting house after house More flashes of red fire streaked across the dark night sky as the deadly attack on the small village went into full swing.
Katie jerked awake as a fire ball slammed into her house and the smell of burning wood slammed into her. She threw off her warm covers and quickly slipped her traveling boots onto her feet. She threw a white tunic over her head and grabbed the teal cloak off her bed post and slipped it around her shoulders. Her pajama pants were sweats and she was thankful for that because of the chilly air. Quickly avoiding the areas where the fire was too intense to pass, Katie made her way to her door.
A crash behind her told her that the roof was starting to cave in. Reaching the door, she placed her hand on the knob, only to quickly pull it away again. It was too hot to grasp in her bare hands. She snatched up a piece of cloth nearby and wrapped her hand in it and grabbed the knob and twisted.
She threw open her door and and tossed the cloth aside. She ran out into the thundering fire outside. Looking to both sides, her red hair flowing around her shoulders, she saw fire rising from houses all over. A hazy pile of smoke was thick in the immediate area. Crashes all over stole into the once silent night. Shouts and screams filled her ears as she ran through the thundering fires. Her necklace beat against her neck as she raced forward.
It was no longer dark, due to the fires all around.
She slide on the muddy ground, but quickly caught herself. Men and woman ran past her with buckets of water. Katie ran for the house across the street from hers. She had to make it to the house before it were too late. Fiery fire rose from the house and the roof shook, threatening to cave in.
She quickly took in the surrounding houses as she got closer. Most were collapsing. A few people were running in and out of their homes, grabbing anything they could before it was too late. Soldiers, those not of Serdio, were running around fighting helpless villagers. The soldiers appeared to be men of Sandora.
Someone shoved her from behind. She stumbled and fell to the soft ground. Rolling to her side, she quickly moved away from a pair of hands that reach out for her. She rolled onto her stomach and pushed herself up onto her feet. Hands tightly grabbed hold of her upper arms. She struggled to get away from the hands, but they held her tight.
The brute’s hands spun her around so she was forced to face her attacker. A large man with long matted hair gripped her arms. He had a long beard that was singed in places from the surrounding fires. His eyes were wild and rolling in their sockets. He wore shiny silver armor and a blood red cape that blew lightly in the small breeze.
“At last,” the brute rasped, pulling her closer. She pushed against him as he drew her closer.
“No!” she screamed, and tried to kick him, but missed. She wished dearly that Richard were here. If only he hadn’t left for the night.
“Where’s your precious protector now?” the man shouted in her ear, almost as if he had read her thoughts. She could see, in the corner of her eye, that other men in silver and red were coming closer.
“Let go of me!” she shrieked, pushing away. Hands reached out and snagged at her clothes and limbs. She bite one hand that tried to cover her mouth. She could see men crowding around her and her capturer.
“Knock her out!” a gruff voice shouted.
“Kill her!” another shouted next her ear.
“Don’t kill her! She is the property of Lord Zarha!”
“Pin her down!”
“Break her legs!”
“Let her go!” a female voice shouted with strong authority, not quite near, but not very far off either.
“Brianna, run!” Katie shouted back as she shoved hands away.
“Is this the other?” the brute holding Katie asked.
“We can check. And if not, she’s up for the taking,” the third voice said. Katie looked up to see two men reaching out to grab Brianna. Her long light brown hair bounced around her face as she yanked a knife free from the sheath at her waist.
“Get back,” she said with an air of deadly calmness, holding the knife up menacingly.
Rain started to fall in sheets from the dark sky, but not hard enough to put out the fires. Buildings crashed to the ground around them. Screams of pain and sorrow filled the air. Katie wished that she could escape these men. Luckily, it had been to Brianna’s house that she had been hoping to get to.
A man stepped forward and gripped Brianna’s wrist. He twisted it ruthfully, and Katie heard a loud snap. Brianna cried out in pain and dropped the knife as she went down to her knees. Another man stepped forward and grasped her chin in his beefy hand.
Lifting her face so she looked up into his eyes, the man pulled a sapphire orb from a pouch at his waist. He held it to her cheek and waited patiently. Brianna, clutching her broken wrist, tried to squirm out of the man’s grip. The man held her tight.
The orb glowed a golden color for a moment. After the light faded and it returned to a sapphire color, the man replaced the orb in the pouch. He released her chin and threw her to the ground.
“Bind her!” the man shouted over a crash of thunder.
“No!” Katie shouted. She kicked the man holding her just below the ribs. The man’s knees buckled, and he released her. She spun and kneed him in the face. The man crumpled. Katie spun again, but was too late. She hadn’t been able to heard the man coming for her over the pouring rain. He grabbed her arms and wrapped his own around her middle. A stream of lightning flashed past.
Her hair stuck to her face as she tried to twist out of the man’s grip. Another man was reaching for her legs. She kicked out, hitting the man in the throat. Two others came in to grab her feet.
“Brianna, run! Find Richard and tell him what happened!” Katie shouted as she struggled.
“Don’t let the other girl get away,” the man holding her shouted. Lightning lit the area for a moment. The man turned and Katie, being stuck in his grip, turned as well. She saw Brianna running through puddles towards the forest just outside of town.
“Catch her!” the man shouted. “If she gets away, it is on your heads.” Katie silently prayed that Richard was close.
Katie was shoved to the ground. She twisted out of the man’s hands and tried to pull free the knife in her boot. The men grabbed her hands and twisted them behind her back. Katie screamed in rage more than pain.
“Knock her out!” the leader shouted as he started running after the half dozen men who were chasing after Brianna. Katie clutched at the ring around her neck.
The hilt of a sword clubbed her head. Blackness enveloped her instantly.
"This extract remains the exclusive property of the author who retains all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the work. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced or used by any person or entity for any purpose without the author's express permission and authority."