‘It’s been a long few months since my journey started. I sent a letter to my parents yesterday about when I’m leaving. I leave tonight, I’m selling the last of my cakes today. The most popular cakes have been the red velvet cakes with the roses on top. I bring my riches to the community and I get to see my family again soon!’
I turn quickly, hearing the bell of the shop I am renting ding. I place down my quill and approach the front, “Hello!” I look down and see my favorite customer, “Why hello, Elli, here for one last cake?”
“Yes, miss.” The little girl says approaching the counter. I smile and start to wrap up the red and white cake, I finish tying the bow and I hand the box to her before she hands me the two silver.
I smile, “Hurry home now, and thanks for visiting today.”
“My mom told me to tell you she hopes your journey home is safe and quick.”
“Tell your mother, thank you. And I added an extra rose, just for you.” I wink at her.
She giggles, “Yay!” before walking out the door, carefully holding the box. I smile, readjust my grey gloves, and wave, before turning and going back to packing up the rest of my things. I start to hum as I put together a crate, but I stop as I start to hear screams. I drop the crate and run to the front of my shop, ducking behind a small wall as I see some men run past tossing white powder everywhere. I see dried blood on them. I quickly run back to my backroom and find my traveling gear. I quickly strap on the leather pieces, and pull on the cap to cover my band around my hair, which most people call a halo. I pull my stone sword out of the sheath and quickly run out of my shop. I meet up with the barkeep from across the road. I never learned his name but Green Vest nods at me. I nod back and we start running together towards the market.
“Who are they?”
“Death Thorns, kind of a myth from the Mistlands, but apparently, they have bloody business here in Osunder.” We run past something, that makes my anger grow. A little girl’s bloody body, with a cake sprayed everywhere mixed with some different white and red then what is normally on it. I grip my sword tighter and swing it hard at the first Thorn I find. I don’t kill him, but I wound him badly. He turns quickly and Green Vest and I start our attack on the Thorns in the square. We fight back to back for a long time, badly wounding many and killing only a few. A Thorn suddenly runs at us and separates us, we fight separately for a little bit. “The Rebels are coming! Just hold on!” I hear Green Vest yell not too far away. It’s not long after that yell a Thorn breaks my sword in half, I grab the separated blade and shove the broken hilt and blade into the throats of two Thorns close to me before one behind me kicks the back of my knees and two others slam me fully to the ground holding me down. I glare up at them and struggle, the hold me easily as they talk, or whatever they are doing, at each other. They grin and look down at me, laughing. The one pinning me pulls me up roughly, and it takes two of them to hold me. One of the Thorns shout to the other group and they pick up a very battered Green Vest. They pull me struggling, and him not, to the middle.
“What are they doing?”
“I…I don’t know…” he says weakly. I look around as two Thorns run ahead and tie up ropes.
“That doesn’t look good…” I’m pulled to the left and he is pulled to the right. They tie me to the post and I see them loop the ropes around his neck. I struggle violently and they tighten the ropes even more, bordering on painful. I look at the group, worried.
“They are almost here…” I hear him whisper and I look out to the harbor, I see a large ship with many smaller ships coming from it.
“Friend, I don’t think we will see them…” I say sadly as I see some Thorns approaching him with drawn bows. “No-!” They release the arrows and the arrows fly cleanly into Green Vest, with sickening sounds as the Thorns chant something. Green Vest twitches, spasms, and yells out before going silent with his head hanging. I watch his hanging body for a moment before noticing the chanting stopped. I look to the group and they all look to someone in blood red armor as he approaches me.
“They say you fought with everything in you. Unlike him, you will not have a swift death as your soul slowly goes to our god to become his new slave.” He states before waving a Thorn forward. He seems eager as he runs forward, flint and steel in hand. I stare directly into the red armored man’s eyes, not even flinching as the flint and steel flicks the flames to life. I feel the fire catching onto my clothes quickly as the Thorns start to quietly chant. I keep my eyes on him, not showing any emotion except anger, even when I feel the fire running across my skin. “Defiant until the end. Maybe our god receives a warrior as well as a slave.” He states before turning and looking to the harbor as another girl is dragged up. I look out to the harbor as some of the boats dock and some soldiers run up the docks. I feel my life slipping slowly, but I never scream, which seems to irritate the Thorns. I slowly close my eyes as I see the Rebels finally running up the street towards the square and the girl in front of me, executed by sword.
‘You were too slow…and too…late…’