Destruction and death were put on our doorstep. Salvage and hope out our back window.
Three silhouettes crept through darkness. The cratered ground shook with the ongoing battle raging throughout the countryside. What was left of the forest was, at least for the most part, no longer on fire. Julia Kanutte ran in silence with her child hand in hand, her other hand protecting her face from the smoke enclosed around them. The group hurried, pushing apart long reeds and moving uphill, next to a small river, Julia’s silver hair flowing in her wake. Running beside her was Drusus Scaurius, in his arms a baby cradled, while his face wept openly with blood. They wore tattered finery underneath white cloaks, made of soft grey satin and silk. Their bare feet bore throbbing reminders of the scorching embers strewn throughout the forest.
Finally the reeds gave way to a clearing cut in two by a fast running river. The group stopped to regain their breath and Drusus, leaving the newborn he was carrying with his elder son, casting his eyes from their hiding place to the reeds the area awaiting them. Silence was the rule and Drusus had no doubt it would be kept.
He looked over their bedraggled group, and moved into the clearing slowly, continuing his frantic searching. Eventually he motioned for the group to move to him and turned to look at Julia, his height dwarfing hers as it did most, as she delicately cleaned his frowning face of the sticky blood that covered it. Motioning her to stop, he crouched down near the lake, glancing at himself in the water. Tonight he sported dark circles obvious on his pale skin, and a hollow stump where one of his ears used to be. Once a battle-ready warrior, he was passed the spring of his youth, and with a wound to weigh him down he was struggling. Drusus tore strips from his cloak and started covering his wound with the silver bandages.
His son looked up at him through violet eyes shivering. Drusus gave him a quick hug and handed him his cloak, which the boy gladly took. Last week Apollyon had been punished for getting into a fight, as some children were inclined to do at his age. Avitus grasped Julia’s hand, his own blue skin blending with hers, as his mother ruffled his straight black hair. Today the child learnt a new lesson. Drusus looked away, numb, and allowed his eyes to pass over the insignia on Julia’s cloak, a sphere with two open palms in its centre, as the past flickered through his mind’s eye. Hopefully the right lesson.
Three moon’s turned around the sky, each a different shade of red, leaving perfect darkness where they blotted out the sun. Julia sat beside her two children, using torn segments of her cloak to cover her feet, as what light there was illuminated a man as he dragged his way through the reeds to the other half of the clearing. The man immediately forged eye contact with her. She gasped, her fear seemingly being answered, and held tight to her children thinking through how to act. Looking over to Drusus her gaze was answered with a wry smile and hopeful whisper. “His uniform. He’s definitely not with the republic.” She squinted her eyes. No, as she too noticed the insignia on his jacket, the same that was embroidered on her cloak “His cloak. That’s the same as my cloak!” she whispered in her son’s ear. Drusus was finishing bandaging his ear as he looked over to her and felt relief take his body, seeing what she had seen. Julia started a slow jog to meet the comrade.
As she approached, the man smiled. His clothes were spattered with blood, one of his hands clutching a broken spear stained red. She trembled at the sight.
“Comrade! Are you ok? “She asked of him earnestly.
The man looked around the clearing, then back at her before speaking “Are you alone? We must leave immediately!”
He moved towards her, letting his spear drop down. To Julia he looked a tall and proud looking man, while his features were covered by his armoured mask his hair was free. Parts of it were matted, with what seemed to be blood, and what was clean revealed to be the same colour as hers. Silver.
That’s it for tonight!