October 27, 794 Talismanian Reckoning
Marathon, a small town at the southern tip of the Oor-Taelian mountains on Dantimos
The mid-morning sun glared in Gwydion's eyes. He brought up his right hand as a visor, and braced the other arm against the seat so that he could better control the reigns with his single hand. It didn't matter that much, the mules pulling the cart were barely moving as it stood -- they'd grown quite old. Today though, they'd been more ornery than usual. One of them bucked and complained; Gwydion was forced to use both hands. Odd, the glare was gone now. Perhaps a cloud was passing by the sun. No, there was the glare again. Off and on, almost like a signal. Gwydion was just wondering if it was being caused by the bumpy road when a searing pain tore through his chest just below the sternum. The streets stayed surprisingly quiet. Any who screamed when they saw the top half of Gwydion's body fall from the wagon were promptly dispatched by the wraith-kin.
Sara was, fortunately, too petrified to speak. Her maternal instincts soon kicked in. She ushered her children back into the house shushing queries of, "Why did daddy's cart stop?" She shoved the two boys into the cupboard. Oh, shit. Where's Eily?! Oh god oh god oh god. Sara almost called out for her, but at that moment her neighbor screamed and one of the ghost-things cut her neighbor's head off. Each scream of a townsperson quickly became the gurgle and spout of blood, as arteries were severed. Sara's stomach turned and she didn't have the power to scream. What was she doing?! She was standing still, out in the open. She had to move, had to hide. Sara's thoughts ran together and too quickly for her to glean any information. Another scream, and she dove for the mules' water trough.
The trough hadn't been refilled recently so the water level was low and she didn't have to hold her breath. Sara lay face-down, quivering. She heard a tremendous crash and smelled cinder in the air. She heard the unmistakable cackling of Noth, the old reclusive mage, and another crash, and the smell of sulfur and copper and smoke. That cruel cold bastard! No wonder Gwydion never trusted him. He's gone crazy and attacked the town.
It was quiet and after some indeterminate time, Sara slowly lifted her head. She saw Noth's body, if it could still be called that. Sara vomited. Noth's body lay, pale and deflated in a great pool of blood. His jaw was fixed open and his dead eyes locked open wide, in horror. Then she saw her house, and the burning hole where the kitchen and cupboard were, and the two charred corpses. Bruised, wet, exhausted, angry, sickened, sorry; she fell to her knees there on Market Road and wept. Her tears mixed with the blood and they trickled off the side of the road into the ditch where Gwydion's willow trees grew, and sept into the ground.