The Legend of the Rah
Author: LCD

Chapter 4
Last Gift


Myquenna had been sleeping uneasily for some time, edging closer to awakening until she finally was aware. She moaned and felt that she wasn't well-rested yet. But something was bothering her. Slowly, she realized the strange scent in her nostrils but she refused to open her eyes and turned away. Then she coughed when the smoke was causing mucosal irritation in her lungs. Suddenly, she was wide awake and sat bolt upright in her bed. Only to find that her room was ablaze in fire. A piercing scream left her throat. The heat of the flames was burning in her face and instinctively she protected it with her hands.

 

“Mamma!!” Myquenna screamed. Smoke was filling the room quickly and made it difficult to see. It stung in her eyes like acid. Coughing uncontrollably, the little girl let herself glide from her bed to the floor. “Pappa!!” She called out this time. Her parents had their bedroom next door and could impossibly have overheard her calls of distress. Her brothers hadn't come to help either but Loar was probably out hunting again together with Dworne, it flashed through her mind. But why didn't one of her parents come for her or at least answer her calls? Maybe they hadn't woken up yet? Maybe they needed her help? Myquenna rolled onto her stomach and inched forward like a seal after she had tugged down her blanket as a shield against the heat. On the ground it was much cooler and she could see the door posts in front of her. Quickly, she crawled forward.

 

I need to save my parents! It went through her head.

 

Out in the hall, the situation was surprisingly better and she could get to her feet. Myquenna saw no sign of fire. But as she turned, she saw thick clouds of smoke emerging from the room of her parents. The little girl dashed forward leaving the burning blanket behind,

 

“Mamma!!”

 

She ripped  the door open and was almost blasted backwards by the blistering heat. She fell on her bottom and desperation choked in her throat. Myquenna knew that these were dangerous times and that her family was living in threat. People had been killed before in this smoldering state of peace in fear. But it had never hit her family, they had been well-protected by the guards. Where were the guards now? Why didn't anybody come for help? And where were her parents?

 

Myquenna defied the agonizing pain of the heat that emerged from her parents' bedroom and crawled in on all fours.

 

“Mamma, Pappa!!” She cried out again. The pain of losing her parents was overriding the intense burns that her skin was suffering. Barely able to see, Myquenna groped around on the floor, going from corner to corner, hoping to get hold of a breathing body. But there was no one there. Over and over again, she called out for her parents. Finally, she retreated to underneath the bed where she was protected from the heat. Carefully she opened her eyes to see the yellowish light of the flames illuminate the opening between the floor and the underside of the bed. Myquenna was terrified by the crackling sound of burning wood and other flammable materials  in the room and the whooshing sound made by the artificial drag of violently rising fumes. The fire was quickly consuming the structures of the walls and roof. She saw how more and more pieces were falling from above and crashing onto the floor. Each time a burning object hit close to her she gasped in fear that it meant the end of her own life. Tears were blurring her vision. She was losing hope to ever see her parents again and even of surviving herself. She knew that the bed would offer only a  temporary shelter and that she was trapped and surrounded by hellish fire without escape.

 

Suddenly, something different came from above and came to hang over the edge of the bed. An arm and a hand of a man!

 

“Pappa!” Myquenna squealed, half relived, half terrified. The heat above was monstrous. The girl pressed forward to reach his hand. After struggling to get there, she finally could get hold of the hand. There was no reaction when she squeezed it. Then she tugged with all her might, trying to pull down the body of her father into safety. After a few tries, she felt how he started gliding and with a final tug he slid down on the floor beside the bed. But when she saw his state, Myquenna screamed in horror. The fire had blistered his flesh and burnt his clothes on one side. Blackened blood from a deep slashing wound in his neck and stabbing wounds in his chest extinguished any hope in his daughter to be able to save him. Agonized with pain of loss, Myquenna rolled away from the horrible scene to the other side underneath the bed. Her mind was racing, trying to comprehend what had happened.

 

“Mamma, help me.” She started repeating over and over again, as if a sort of prayer.

 

“Myquenna...” A hoarse voice came from close by. Her mother! Myquenna turned her head and her heart almost stopped beating when she saw how close her mother's head was next to hers. Her mother was bending her neck over the edge of the bed, her head dangling down, upside down. Her hair was scorched, her face swollen and burnt. Her eyes were barely visible in the cracks that her eyelids had left.

 

“Myquenna are you there?” She asked weakly.

 

“Mamma!!” Her daughter screamed and reached out with her hands. Her mother's face changed into what might have been a smile. “Mamma, we have to get out of here!”

 

Instead of answering, her mother's arm fell to the ground next to her face.

 

“Take it, Quenn!”

 

Myquenna was confused at first but then she saw that her mother opened the palm of her bloodied hand and shoved over a roughly round object with a chain.

 

“It will protect you. Promise me to never let go of it!”

 

“Mamma!!” Myquenna didn't like the sound of that. She wanted to save the life of her mother at least.

 

“You must live! Take it!” Her mother said using her last effort.

 

“Mamma!!”

 

But her mother never answered again. Instead the flames were now eating through the mattress and the air was all but unbreathable. Myquenna grabbed her mother's lifeless hand and with her other hand she took what seemed to be a golden ornament, like a medallion or a locket. Then she closed her eyes and felt how the bed collapsed onto her, hoping that death would be quick on her.

 

Myquenna gasped and sat up violently in her bed. It was broad daylight and she heard the sound of cheering kids outside. It had only been a nightmare. But it had seemed so real. Myquenna reached instinctively to the locket that hung from her neck. It was her only remembrance of her mother, the last thing that she received from her. Myquenna knew that she would never let go of it as long as she lived.


 

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