R. J. Hanson
One brother carried another, his own wounds seeping and dripping blood onto white marble that would one day be a street of the great trade city of Moras. King Ivant, never one to lead from behind, now labored under the pain of his injuries and the weight of a noble brother in arms. Their long black hair, identical in its respective obsidian waves, mingled together in loose tangles. The crimson flow of blood tinted their dark locks and stained their white and red tunics.
Now he ran from the coast and ruined docks farther inland, hoping to escape the reach of the dreadful beast. Ivant, more than seven feet tall, had a great stride that lent to his speed. However, burdened with Truthorne’s weight and dodging hatchlings and collapsing buildings made for slow progress.
“I can make another stand,” Truthorne grunted as Ivant’s shoulder pounded into his gut while he jogged along. “Put me down and let me stand!”
Ivant had hastily thrown Truthorne over his shoulder before running for the protection of the vast stone citadel of Ivory Rose.
“I can see the bone sticking out of your leg,” King Ivant barked, perhaps harsher than he intended. “It’s in its death throes now, I’m sure. I have to get you back to a priest or a healer.”
As he spoke, a black tentacle struck a chunk of stone the size of a five-masted ship from the top of a nearby temple. The ground beneath Ivant’s feet trembled with the force as the mountain-size steeple loomed over them, blocking out the sun.
Ivant frantically scanned their surroundings and the doom that toppled above them. Seeing what he hoped would be a route of escape, Ivant charged up the steps of the magnificent cathedral from which the stone was being dislodged. He hit the gilded door with his shoulder, and both warriors were knocked to the ground when the door gave not a bit.
Ivant scrambled to his knees and pulled his Shrou-Hayn, Swift Blood, from his side. As he moved to the bottom edge of the cathedral’s door, Truthorne called out.
“No,” he cried. “You’ll break her!”
“Not her crosspiece, I won’t,” Ivant said, not looking up. “Her crosspiece is dragon-forged Roarke’s Ore.”
Using his considerable, and in fact, legendary, strength Ivant wedged the crosspiece more than four inches under the door and heaved. Truthorne’s surprise was complete when the sectot wood cried out along its hinges, and the door rose. With great effort, Ivant pried the door up and off its hinges. As the door tilted in, Ivant was already dragging his sword and his friend through the archway and into the holy place.
Ivant then rolled violently to the side with his cargo, bringing a scream of pain from Truthorne’s throat. Just as they reached the sanctuary of thick timber and crafted stone, the steeple struck the street outside. Debris shot past them with vicious indifference to the sanctity of the holy building.
“Death throes?” Truthorne managed after easing his leg to one side.
“Well…” Ivant began but couldn’t finish.
In spite of their dire situation, both men began laughing. That laugh was cut short when the huge steel church bell crashed through the ceiling, destroying the beautiful murals, and slammed violently into the marble floor. Both rolled to the cover of Truthorne’s upraised shield, but the terrible collision of the bell only filled the air with choking dust and a ring that would deafen both warriors for several minutes