Thursday, September 4, 2008


The will of the Gods isn’t always merciful, nor is it kind. That is why I pray that I find their favor.

~A dying elderly man speaking to his son

Dampness brushed her forehead. A cool sea breeze blew across her face. Voices. Sunlight.

She cracked an eye open. The blurry form of the Piet hovered over her holding a damp rag, stroking it across her forehead. She tried to push herself up, but the world tilted beneath her. The priest pushed her back with a gentle shove, a smile lit his face. "Glad to see you're back with us, Madame Rachelle."

Her voice cracked as she whispered, "Wellan?"

Piet Lithor replied with a frown and a shake of his head.

Rachelle looked around her. She lay on the deck of a boat. A motley group of survivors sat on the deck in little groups or leaned against the rail, looking out at the ocean. The flamboyant girl and her brother stood at the helm with Duke Renier. Niether looked as though they had escaped the city unscathed.

She drew in a shaky breath. In twenty-four hours the population of Renier had been reduced from a few hundred thousand to a mere boatful, no more than thirty.

With tears blurring her vision she looked back at the priest. "Where to now? Where is the Duke taking us?"

Piet Lithor glanced toward the Duke and then looked down at her. The priest didn't look happy about the answer. "We are going to the Baron as refugees. The Duke wants warn the Baron of Renier's fate and to ask for his help in ridding Renier of the scourge that has taken it over."

Rachelle shifted back to look at the Duke. Shanai turned at the same moment and smiled down at her. Rachelle returned the smile.

Good remained in the world and with any luck their warning might help to stop the epidemic from taking over another city. Hopefully that warning would be heeded before it was too late.

The End
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