3. Beginning of the end

It felt like evening had arrived quicker than the day before. Practicing your profession with a good friend who is also a master artisan can definitely make time fly by. As Fuzzy gathered his tools and prepared to settle into a long night sleep back at the Inn, he looked off to the horizon. The sky had turned dark red and orange. The fresh sea air was now laden by a thick fiery smoke. The tanning agents must have overpowered Fuzzy’s sense of smell, there was no other way that he could have missed this. Was part of the forest on fire? It was hard to tell, the smoke was thick and making visibility nearly zero. How did this happen so fast? Voices began to cry out from the tradesman’s terrace. Panic began to set in and everyone was running to find shelter. Screams of “Fire! FIRE!” rang out. Several Mages tried to put out the flames that were now creeping into the city, consuming every bit of wood they touched. The orange flicker eating away at every board, every beam, every building that it could find. Within minutes, the tradesman’s terrace was completely engulfed.

“Telonis!” Fuzzy called for his friend, he had to find him and help him to safety. “Telonis! Darianna!” The smoke was now crowding his lungs. The embers floating in the air made every breath hotter than the one before it. Fuzzy could barely see a shape moving through the smoke. It was a large shape, and moving quickly. Unsure of the shape or its intent, Fuzzy reached for his bow and quiver. Removing an arrow from it’s slumber and placing the arrow shaft against the rest, pulling the nock to meet the string and preparing to bring tension to the entire mechanism. His eyes fixed on the area the shape last appeared. It was difficult to keep focus, the smoke was now irritating his eyes, making them itchy and sore, but he dare not blink for fear of missing his chance to identify the ghost in the smoke. Again the shape came, swooping down and…..grabbing citizens?! Something just dove toward a group of citizens and scooped them all up before spiriting away to the skies. A creature unknown.

What was happening? What was this creature? A young dragon, maybe? That would explain the fire…but surely we would have heard the dragon roar? Fuzzy’s lungs were now joining his eyes in lament. He needed to find relief from the inferno. Ah! The tailor! It was just beneath the leather shop, surely there would be cloth there to fashion a face cover. Fuzzy, still holding his bow, quickly moved the arrow to grasp it with the same hand as his bow and jumped down from the second floor. The impact from the leap was rough but adrenaline pulsed through his veins. He sprang to his feet and began searching the tailor shop. There were so many boxes and bolts of cloth, but only one would help with the smoke. He had to find it quickly but there were so many boxes. Maybe finding by feel would work? The box he wanted would be cold to the touch. Fuzzy began placing his palm on each box for a brief moment before moving on to the next. At last, he felt a box that was cool. He had found it! Frostweave! He fashioned a bandanna from the rare cloth and placed the rest in his bag.

The Frostweave bandanna gave an immediate reprieve of filtered air. There was a reason this magical fabric was used to make bandages. It could heal wounds, and now it was helping him breathe. With hope in his heart that his friends had moved to safety, he started searching for other citizens that needed help. Fuzzy began moving from building to building, calling out, looking for survivors. Call after call went unanswered. He searched for what seemed like an eternity. He made his way back to the Inn. Just as he walked through the front door, he heard an eerie creaking noise that was growing louder. A main beam in the once calm and peaceful building gave way and fell before Fuzzy. As it struck the ground, a whirlwind of dust and ash surrounded him. Another beam gave way and struck his leg, knocking him to the ground. The fashioned bandanna was pulled away from his face by a swinging piece of the door that was so welcoming just hours before, but now was hostile and conspiring with the fire to cause him harm. The smoke filled Fuzzy’s lungs once more, this time it was too much. He couldn’t hold on. His lungs burned and made him cough, his leg ached as if it were broken. He couldn’t move. “This is it”, he thought. “After all this life, my adventures, my battles, I am to succumb to a fiery death.” As he lay in the smoldering dirt, he thought of his family. How far did the fire reach? Did they get to safety? Did they get warning early enough? He couldn’t bear the thought of his daughters going through this same pain; alone, scared, unable to breathe. It made his heart ache and crushed his very soul. His thoughts grew weak and his breathing shallow. It wouldn’t be long now. Fuzzy closed his eyes and thought of his home. The beautiful wood work on the trellis and the pictures his children had painted under the window sills. Oh what he would give to see their faces again and hold them one last time. Tears welled up in his eyes and fell down his cheeks. His heart now as heavy as stone. Fuzzy laid down his head, tightened the grip on his bow, thought of his dear wife, and accepted his fate. It was the end of his adventures.

Author: Fuzzy