[OOC: WARNING: This one is a little intense, so if you have trouble with intense, you might want to skip it.]
November 2, 794 Talismanian Reckoning
At camp on the east trail from Marathon to the D'ner River
"Till! Get that stake dow-" CRASH! John Goldsmith tried to shout over the raging thunderstorm. With that thunderclap, the rain picked up to a downpour and the winds edged their way toward gale-force. A rope flew loose, whipping about madly; the thunder echoed over the plains. There was no shelter here unless you made it yourself.
After some failed attempts, the Goldsmiths managed to cover their wagon and secure it to the ground. Barring tornadoes, they would be safe tonight from the weather. Everybody had piled into the wagon and now they were huddling together trying, between the dim lantern hanging from the top of the wagon canopy and their own body heat, to stay warm.
Actually, everybody was not in the wagon. John was still outside. He had to guard the horses. Neither of them was particularly happy about it, but John had done this once or twice before, when he'd been caught like this on business trips. Till had volunteered to take second watch, but John didn't know if he had the heart to wake him. Of course, if he didn't, his son would shout at him. Till would claim the John didn't trust him.
And when morning came, John hadn't had the heart to wake Till, and barely had the heart to listen to his protests, so he half listened, nodding and speaking of "next time, when the weather's not so bad." Till fumed, but John knew, well he hoped, Till would get over it.
Sara had gone back over a hill in the path to fetch some water at a stream they had passed the previous day. She had filled one bucked and was working on the next when she felt a slight vibration and rumble in the ground. Something was approaching. Her whole body tensed. A dark shadow fell over the water in front of her. She could make out the reflection of somebody looming over her. The figure began to bend down. Sara took a deep breath. She pulled the bucket from the stream. Her heart pounded against her ribcage.
Sara swung the half-filled bucket up around her left shoulder in a wide arc. The man behind her screamed as the bucket slammed into his face, breaking his nose.
"WHYYY YOU LITTLE BITCH!" John Goldsmith screamed. He threw a kick at Sara, knocking the bucket out of her hand. She stepped backwards, tripping and falling into the stream. "Somebody needs to teach you a lesson. Aww, look, you got your pretty little ass wet. I'll just have to dry you off." Sara didn't understand what John was talking about until he began to remove his pants. She tried to scramble away, but John grabbed her and forced her to the ground. She slapped him, but it didn't seem to have any effect. Sara was panicking. She had never imagined. John began tearing at her dress. Sara's mind raced trying to think of a way. Oh god, his hands were all over her. Blood from his nose was dripping on her, and she didn't want to think about what was about to happen to her.
But she had to. Sara was not going to let him do this to her. She tried to push him off of her, but he was too strong. The bucket was a few feet away, but she couldn't quite reach it. It was a good thing her clothes were wet; John was having a hard time with them. Then she saw a glint of light. John's knife. She built up enough strength to grab it from its leather scabbard on his loose belt. In a quick motion, she plunged the jagged blade into his side beneath the shoulder, puncturing his lung. Blood poured from the wound and John's eyes widened and he rolled off of her.
Wet, bloody, and almost broken for the second time in a week, Sara stumbled to her feet. The rumble she had heard earlier did not seem to have stopped. Maybe it was her heart still thumping wildly. She was hyperventilating. Sara scrambled towards the wagon, not sure what she would do when she got there. She had killed a man. Surely she would die now.
She would have welcomed death. She found what was left of the Goldsmiths strewn around the wagon, barely recognizable, limbs and guts and blood. The rumbling was dying down. She could see a pack of what must be the biggest wolves in Phaema running north across the plains. One stopped and turned. Sara froze. It was coming to kill her. The dark-haired beast took a few steps in her direction. A piercing scream cut through the air. The beast turned and ran back in the direction its companions had gone.
Sara collapsed in relief. Her scream must have frightened it. But wait. She hadn't screamed. Another scream made her cover her airs. Overhead, a black winged creature soared northward. It was up quite high, and she couldn't be sure, but Sara could have sworn it looked back at her. And it had the face of John Goldsmith.