Will groaned, his arm suddenly aching from the impact, he sat up and saw Tayna lying across from him.
‘Tayna, wake up,' he said, though he knew she couldn't hear him - he was surprised when she began to stir, moaning and sitting up. Equus was nowhere to be found, neither were the riders, they had all disappeared into the smog, apart from the crackling of fires, it was eerily silent. All that surrounded them was a thick layer of density.
‘Mother? Mother!’ Tayna screeched, the smoke tickled her throat but she shouted on, standing and looking around to orientate where she was. She realised after some deduction she was in the square, the pump had been knocked open and water was fountaining upwards, making huge puddles on the ground. Tayna walked past and received a sprinkling which cooled her burnt skin. One of the lampposts had fallen onto the bench, ripping it apart.
The village of Castia was unrecognisable.
‘Mother? Are you there?’ Tayna called again.
No answer. Tayna knew where she needed to go, and ran down the side-street where the roofs of both houses had caved in. She came out onto the main street, running with her head down to protect her face from the embers, knowing that the farmhouse was at the end. But when she looked up, she skidded to a halt, staring in horror.
The thatch of the roof was gone and left only the heavy wooden supports which creaked and crackled, the barn was completely burnt to the ground and there was nothing left, while the stables were a lump of wooden pylons.
‘Mother! Kennedan, Jason, Alex!’ she shouted, racing to the door. She rattled on the handle, but saw that the outside lock had been clamped on; somebody had sealed her family inside.
‘Can anybody hear me?’ She bashed on the door and kicked at the lock, she knew that it was old and rusted, it easily broke off the catch. However, the rest of the door had been damaged from the inside, dented and mishapen where somebody had tried to get out. Tayna kicked the door several times but failed, exhaustedly she backed away in a stumble.
Her hysterical face was wiped away, replaced with concentration. She clasped her hands together in a prayer gesture, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. The wind blew fiercely around her, whipping her hair in front of her face and sticking to her tear-streaked cheeks. She opened her eyes, and feeling the magick stirring in her, she summoned the sylphs for the first time. There were three of them, they had the transparency of ghosts and had silver complexions from their hair to their eyelashes. They were completely naked, their legs encased in spinning tornadoes.
'My princess,' one of them said in a echoic, pious voice, 'what are your orders?'
If Tayna was still afraid, she didn't show it. 'Save them,' she ordered and gestured towards the door. The sylphs shot through the air to the door and ripped it to shreds into chippings. Fire surged out and engulfed them, but Tayna ran straight inside, ignoring the searing on her flesh.