Mists of Kel Doran
Season 1 - Dragon-Touched
Episode 1 - The Weave of Fate
Chapter XI - Shadows on the Road
Chapter XI - Shadows on the Road
Approximate read time ~ 9 minutes
The trio of wagons creaked through the broken streets of Wyvern’s Rest. To the east, the dark water defied the light of the morning sky. Jagged rocks stood watch over the bay, brutalized by the relentless waves of the Abyssal Sea. To the west, the ghost town of a fabled city. Shops were boarded up, buildings collapsed, and trees had taken up residence in the middle of the roads. Eerie shadows loomed over the abandoned street, deepened by the black sands of the nearby beach.
Amoran, Servan, and Camille gaped at the discarded remnants of the highway. All seemed eager to speak, but neither could translate their thoughts into word. Buildings rolled by the window, without a soul in sight.
The carriages passed through an old square. Wooden signs creaked as they hung from their last hook and shutters knocked against their boarded up windows. Camille peered out her window in awe when the sun faded from view. Shadows painted her side of the carriage, as well as the carriages behind her. Her field of view was blocked by an enormous statue. She stuck her head out her window and gazed skyward, catching the form of an incredible dragon, its wings outstretched as though taking to flight. At the base of the dragon sat a large, ornamental series of benches, lined with hedges, trees, and wildflowers. Many of the stone benches had broken, and the foliage had grown well beyond its borders, but the sight of the old statue drew amazement from the inquisitive girl.
“What is that, Mr. Davilla?” she questioned as she turned her head briefly into the cabin, her finger fixed in the direction of the magnificent statue. “It’s incredible!” She spun her head back out the window, ensuring she would not miss a precious second.
Amoran, crossed the cabin and looked upon the remains of the town square in reflection. “Ah,” he began. “That…well, that is Tindera. Or I should say, she is Tindera.” He placed a hand on her shoulder and extended the other, panning from left to right. “This is…err, was Tindera Square,” Amoran said. “This city is full of these statues, in honor of the dragons that rose against the old Gods.”
Camille tugged on her golden necklace as her eyebrows turned upward. “You mean…” She thought for a moment. “This one fought in the war?” Her curious eyes darted back to the square, soaking in as much as her childlike creativity could imagine.
“Were you in the war, Mr. Davilla?” she asked as she turned back toward her old friend.
A glorious chuckle erupted from the far side of the cabin as Servan reminded them of his presence. “Yes, my old friend. You’ve seen more winters than anyone here. Tell us about the war, will you,” he said, sarcasm bleeding through every word.
Amoran smiled and looked to the young girl, then let out an honest laugh. “I’m afraid not, dear Camille. I’ve not been around quite as long as our friend would have you believe.”
Camille’s excitement did not fade, however. She turned to the large, yellow robed man and continued her question. “What about you Mr. Kendle? Do you remem…” Camille’s eyes grew wide and her body shot upright. Her eyes fixed toward Servan, but her lips would no longer move. Amoran jumped as the young girl sprang out of her seat.
“Camille?” He said. “Is everything alright?” His eyes followed hers toward Servan, then beyond, into the empty square. Amoran squinted to bring the empty streets into focus, but all he could see were bushes, trees, and highland grass blowing across the road.
Servan looked at the shocked girl’s face, his own expression turning to one of concern. He looked to Amoran, then back to Camille. “I say, little girl. You look as though you’ve spotted a ghost.” He laughed at the remark, hoping to dispel the tension in the carriage, but Camille’s eyes remained unmoved.
“There’s something out there,” she said. Camille finally exhaled, but her fear was palpable.
Servan rolled his eyes, “It’s been a very long trip my dear. I’m sure there’s nothing to be worried about.” He turned around to gaze into the courtyard, straining to see beyond the crowded bushes and highland grass.
“Well,” he said, removing the annoyed look from his face. “We are in a city, dear girl. It is therefore my assumption that you may have seen.” He paused for a moment for effect, a craft he learned in the court of Cambridge. With a disapproving look, he continued, “a person, perhaps.” With this last word, he stuck his face out the window to keep the expression from Amoran’s eyes.
Camille’s face scrunched at the remark. “Now listen, Mr. Kendle. I may be a little girl, but…” she said as she drew her hands across her body. Amoran rested his worn eyes upon hers and gave a steady shake of his head.
“It’s alright, Camille,” Amoran said. “Maybe he’s right. But we’ve come a long way and we’re nearing the inn. Let’s do our best to stay calm, shall we?” he added with a polite smile.
Camille kept her arms crossed and glared at the back of Servan’s head, adding an overt sigh of disapproval to ensure Servan heard. As she exhaled, she heard an odd sound, as though she stepped into a puddle of mud. A slurping noise echoed through the carriage, but only for a moment. She looked around and saw the back of Servan’s robes turn red. The stain grew, sinking deeper into the oversized robe.
Camille gasped, “M…Mr. Kendle? Are you okay?” She took a step closer to the large man and placed her hand on his shoulder.
Amoran studied the scene. Servan was leaning into the window, his weight coming to rest against the wall. He reached for the little blue dress and tugged. Camille spun around; her eyes watered and wide open. Their eyes met in recognition and Amoran slowly raised a finger to his mouth, pulling her away from their travel companion.
Screams erupted from outside the carriage; not the screams of women, or even the screams of men. They were shrill and cold, like a hysterical child amidst a torrid fit. With a jolt, the carriage lunged forward, sending Amoran and Camille flying onto the bench. Servan fell from his window and collapsed to the floor, a large spear protruding from his forehead. As the carriage continued to accelerate, Camille looked wordlessly at Servan’s face, and the look of terror that it still wore.
“Aaaaaaaaaaaahh,” Camille screamed as Servan’s eyes blankly stared back at her.
The wails grew louder outside the window. Amoran shuffled across the bench, catching glimpses of pale figures racing through the square. Short and ghostly white, the creatures hurled themselves toward the carriages while they emitted their cries of battle. The carriage walls splintered as small, hand-carved spearheads erupted in quick succession throughout the wooden frame. Groans of agony sounded from the oxen, peppered with the spears of the Macaran horde.
With a sudden lurch, Camille flew from her seat, landing in an obscene mixture of blood and splintered wood. She opened her eyes to find herself face to face with Servan’s lifeless body, the spear still lodged in his forehead. The floor of the carriage was slick with blood as the rampaging oxen galloped off the highway. They raced through the grass, bathing the little girl in the merchant’s blood.
“Bloody Hell,” Amoran proclaimed as he strained to pull himself away from the bench. Camille screamed, helpless to the incessant bouncing and sliding of the runaway carriage. Amoran reached for her dress, but it was soaked with blood and the fabric slipped through his fingertips with each attempt. Another jolt sent the pair flying to the sea side of the wagon and Camille tumbled underneath the seat, wedged under the ruined silk cushions.
“Camille!” came a shout from outside as Anduin raced through the Macaran ranks for his daughter. “Camille!” he shouted again, hoping for a response.
“Daddy!” Camille screamed with a glimpse of hope in her eyes. The clashing of swords followed, along with the shrill cries of the pale creatures. “Daddy?” Camille shouted again, more of a question. She pushed herself upright, forgetting the large bench over her head. Her head struck the beams spanning the carriage and her vision blurred. She collapsed onto the floorboards as her body jumped side to side along with the bounding wagon.
Amoran jumped off his bench, trying to reach the limp form under the opposite seat. He fell to the floor and crawled to her, his robe blood-soaked and torn. “Dear girl,” he said as he felt her forehead and the long crimson streak left by the wooden beam. He reached under the bench to pull her out as a piercing shrill erupted throughout the cabin. Withered pale fingers gripped the frame of the carriage window as two Macaran warriors clawed their way through, plunging the secrets of the brilliantly decorated wagons.
They reached for Amoran and grabbed his robe, but the blood made the silken fabric slippery. Amoran spun away and backed himself against the far wall, kicking and cursing at the abominations. “Get BACK you damn beasts!” he proclaimed with every kick of his polished alabaster boots. Repeatedly, he kicked their arms and faces, but it did little to diminish their resolve. As Amoran continued to kick, he realized their eyes were entranced, locked onto the golden necklace around Camille’s neck. As if charmed by Rheilar herself, the creatures’ attention could not be turned.
He moved his body in front of Camille and reached for the spear still sticking out of Servan’s head; but as he reached, another ghastly set of hands clawed from the window above, grabbing the little girl’s hair. Amoran looked up to see another pair of Macaran climbing over the roof, reaching in through the seaside window. Surrounded, he flailed his arms, cursing the mutant creatures. “You can’t have her! To the Hells with you!”
The ghostly white hand pulled Camille upward by her hair while another hand reached around and grabbed the necklace. Her body hung limply beneath her as the jewelry was snapped away from her neck. With a look of utter exaltation, the pale-skinned creature raised the golden symbol over his head in victory. Amoran recoiled as the creature’s crusted, scarred lips twisted into a malevolent smile. Pointed and blackened, the Macaran’s teeth looked as though they could saw through steel. Amoran winced at the sight…and the smell…of the overjoyed albino creature, celebrating its own personal victory.
With reckless abandon, Amoran swung his fist and caught the Macaran in the mouth, sending it backwards against the carriage wall. He reached for Camille’s necklace as the creature continued to hold tight. Amoran felt another creature jump over his back, clawing at the jewelry as well. Chaos ensued as all three battled for possession of the golden necklace. More creatures clawed through the windows, their eyes widened at the treasure before them. Amoran glanced back to see Camille’s body, still rising toward the window, suspended by her hair and the mutant fist still attached. “No!” he shouted. “Damn you!”
A deafening “SNAP” echoed through the carriage and all those inside tumbled end over end. Amoran’s world looped and his eyes lost focus. Over and over they turned, throwing several Macaran back through their windows. The carriage wheel bounded down the rocky embankment toward the sea while the hapless carriage, filled with rich men and ragged creatures, tumbled after it.
Amoran braced against the wall of the carriage as it plunged down the rocks and boulders that lined the Abyssal Sea. The old man reached for Camille’s blue dress, but the wall snapped away, followed by a brilliant light that erupted through the side of the carriage. Amoran strained through the spinning whirlwind of debris and saw a large, bent oak tree half way up the slope, now decorated with a dozen pale creatures and several chunks of colorful wooden beams. Before he could muster a smile, he thrusted forward as the remains of the carriage folded around him. The cold, black water of the Abyssal Sea rose around him, engulfing the carriage, himself, and the few Macaran trapped within.
As his robes, bloodstained and splintered, floated over his head, Amoran felt rocky ground beneath his feet. He bent his knees then thrust upward as debris fell around him. Within seconds, he burst through the water, back into the early morning sun. He reached toward the shore and grabbed hold of the rocks, stained with the eerie blackness of the sea.
As he clutched the rocks of the bay, Amoran surveyed his surroundings. To the left and right stood once proud structures of civilization, now crumbling under their own weight. Behind him loomed the ever-widening expanse of black water, the Abyssal Sea. Up the slope, a battle raged as sick, pale creatures climbed into carriages and jumped onto the blue-cloaked guards that defended them.
The bodies of Macaran littered the rocky slope, along with colored fragments of his carriage. He looked at the gangly bodies and wondered which had taken Camille’s necklace. Oh no, he thought. His eyes widened in horror while his head darted from side to side, then back toward the water, shouting, “Camille!!”
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Mists of Kel Doran