Chapter 1 - StrangersMature

Across the new ash-ruins are footsteps. Not of those who died from the fires’ rage but from someone very much alive.

A tall figure of a man in his own right walks through the ash, looking for anything that might have survived. For something that could answer the questions; who did this and why?

His handsome face is set in a grim line as his green eyes try detecting anything that could help, but he knows that it’s useless. Fires like these are always the same; strong, over-powering and ruthless in their quest to destroy anything of value in the arena of its own, twisted battlefield.

Swinging the lantern slightly, the man scowls at the flame, shaking his head and turning to leave…

The wind picks up slightly, making the man turn back for one more look… something is there, he can feel it. Something important.

A small cough draws his attention to the large pile of ashen rubble to his left, followed by a few charcoaled wooden boards breaking off and moving towards the Earth.

The man jumps to a fighting stance, adrenaline in his veins as he prepares himself.

A deep fog of ash appears as the pile starts to shake, followed by a few more coughs and uttered curses.

A small shadow appears, the lanterns flame too weak to catch its features in the eternal darkness.

The shadow jumps down from the rubble, landing in front of the man to show him the shadows identity of a young, pale woman.

Her hair is white and flows down past her elbows like the moonlight being reflected on the ripples of a dark, deep lake. The man stares, transfixed with her eyes, the wide black pools drawing him in and getting him lost within them like many before who got lost looking up at the nights sky. Her plumb, red lips smile showing perfectly white teeth, dazzling the stranger even more.

The mysterious woman stares at the man, taking in his tall form, the sword at his belt and the bow and quiver on his back. He is dressed in rich leather and his shoes are of good quality. This is a man of riches.

Both continue to look at the other, their minds thinking about the stranger in front of them as they continue to stand in silence. The woman laughs slightly, musically, snapping the man out of his trance.

“What are you doing here? It is not safe for a woman to be out on her own nowadays, this is no place for you.” His voice is strong and despite his curiousity, he is still on guard.

“I can handle myself better than you know Stranger.” The woman starts to move soot with her toes, coating her bare feet in grey as she looks at the man. “What name do you go by?”

Her lashes blink, the man stands taller, prouder. “I am Ren Lockwood, son of Villiat Lockwood of the Lunar Village. And who are you?”

Her smile stretches, a sparkle in her eyes. “I am Nova and it is a pleasure to meet you son of Villiat. What brings you to the remains of this village?”

“I am the son of Villiat, it is my duty to protect my village and its people. I shall discover who is creating these fires and destroy them before they can destroy my people.” With the proud voice and strong figure, the anger is obvious in his green eyes.

Turning her head to the side, Nova stares up at the empty sky, her face becoming vacant. “You cannot destroy him, it will mean certain death to even try.”

Ren’s eyes are alert, almost frantic. “You know who is doing this don’t you? You have to tell me.”

Taking her eyes away from the empty sky, Nova tilts her head to the side and squints. “Your eagerness to find him goes beyond that of duty. Who did you lose?”

The muscles in Ren’s jaw tightens, squaring his jaw. “Tell me Nova.”

“A friend? No, the wound is stronger than that. Must be a family member. A sibling. A brother.” Ren’s nostrils flare as he glares at Nova, her face indifferent. “Your brother was the one to perish in a fire caused by him and you want to find him for revenge.”

Stepping forward, Ren grips her arms roughly and shakes her. “Tell me now! I order you to tell me!”

The blade of swords and the sound of various other weapons being drawn circles Nova and Ren, her still in his harsh grasp.  “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

The End

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