Chapter Eleven: Finale

With only the fate of Jodar in his mind, Jonrah ignored the heat that was swelling around him, pulsing through his body, making him sweat.

Turning around, he retraced his steps up the stairs and narrowly avoided another falling piece of the roof that plummeted to the ground where he he been standing only seconds ago.

Ignoring the danger he was in, Jonrah clambered over the beam that lay on top of his wife’s now ashen corpse, and tried his best to ignore his wish to remain here and die with her. But he would not lose all of his family in one night. Never.

Passing his wife, he found himself trapped from the other half of the room inaccessible – blocked by another beam that spanned the entire room. It was burning fiercely, and even from three or four feet away, the heat dried out his skin and he had to look away to stop his eyes hurting.

His original plan had been to cross to the other side of the room and try to smash through the wall, and climb gracefully down the tree that grew just to the side of their house.

He however, could not smash through the other side of the wall, because it conjoined with the house next door, which was also probably now ablaze. They would not be happy. If they were alive.

This left Jonrah with one remaining choice – jump from the window down onto the street. This seemed like the only choice that would not result in definite death. Maybe a fracture or two, but he would surely survive. Sixteen feet drop onto cobblestone floor? He calculated quickly, and decided it was better than burning alive. Karlin would have agreed.

Picking up a plank which was yet to burn from the floor, Jonrah made his way to the window, which already had been somewhat smashed, maybe by Karlin and Jodar, maybe by the sheer heat of the flames.

Either way, Jonrah hit the plank against the window several times before it cracked. With one last hit it smashed, providing an exit, albeit a small one.

Taking one last look at the home that he had grown up in, and taking one last look at the body of his wife, now reduced to little more than ash, Jonrah climbed up to the window, where he sat on the edge, numb to the glass tearing into his flesh.

He took a look down, where there were no longer single men trying to put the fire out, but instead about a dozen with buckets lined up behind them, dousing the flames as best they could, but to no avail.

They had not seen him, as the smoke blocked his view of them just as it did their view of him.

Gripping onto the edge of the glass, the sharp crystals dug into his palms, drawing blood which Jonrah did not feel.

He took a deep breath, and decided to count to three.

One…

Two…

Before he could bring himself to jump to the ground, Jonrah heard an explosion from behind him – a number of gaslamps by the side of his bed had obviously been exposed to the flames for too long, and were now burning under the heat.

Jonrah felt the flames lick his back as he was thrown from the window, not directly to the ground below, but six feet forwards and then down.

Losing his position in the air, Jonrah fell with his back to the ground, connecting hard with the awkward cobblestone road.

The men around his house must have caught sight of him flying through the air, because before he even knew he had hit the ground, five of them surrounded him, one of them being Lorda, another being Orlan. By the house, he could see Faldu desperately attempting to distinguish the flames, but his water was futile against the raging fire.

Tears trickled down his cheeks as Jonrah lay on the cold cobblestone road, numb from the neck down.

'This can't be it,' he cried to himself, 'this can't be the end.'

His words came out as no more than a croak as he felt the blood from his organs fill his mouth and dribble down his face.

Jonrah had lost everything to the group of bandits that had raided Litana, the kingdom that Jonrah called home.

They were hooded. Black serpents creeping through the shadows of the night, taking him by surprise.

Jonrah fell into their hoods, losing himself in unconsciousness.

Even in his comatose state, he could feel the heat of the flames against his face, and see the light pierce his eyelids.

The End

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