Due to Internet fail I am posting this using the equivalent of smoke signals. It may look a mess.
By Neil Beynon
“Where are you going?”
Fahl stopped at the foot of the stairs, turning to the speaker with the creak of age as old as the tower he intended to walk up. It was Lumin staring defiantly back at him, his robes freshly pressed and his bright blue eyes gleaming in the torch light. Fahl sighed and leant on the rail that lined the stairs, in his other hand a long stone knife gleamed.
“Where are you going?” repeated Lumin.
“To do what must be done.”
“The city is no longer under siege Fahl.”
“And I would have it remain so,” said Fahl, turning to climb the stairs. The Mage’s pale skin looked even worse under the torch light, he moved as if the scars crossing his arms were piped with lead and his hair fell in matted knots.
“No,” said Lumin. “Nonsense, they’re gone and it’s time for you to get some rest. When did you last eat?”
“It is my duty.”
“If they return you will be no use to us in this state,” said Lumin. “You can barely stand.”
Fahl paused. The arm stretched out to the rail bore an angry scab from the last time. It still hadn’t healed. Not a good sign. His eyes felt like orbs of sand that were slowly disintegrating into the dust he had to keep wiping from his face.
“OK,” he acquiesced.
“Let me take the knife.”
Fahl passed the blade handle first.
“Good, now come and have some breakfast.”
The two walked out of the tower into the courtyard. The troops had been busy overnight and the grass that had sprung up during their long confinement had been removed. The sun rose over the city walls on the still beat of pink wings. The warmth made Fahl stop and let his tired eyes bathe in the light.
“See,” said Lumin. “The sun still rises.”
In the distance, beyond the walls, there came the sound of swords crashing and lives lost.