The scene at the entrance to the capital was horrific. The large gate was broken—its massive wooden doors hanging at awkward angles. The sun was descending over the rooftops and an eerie pale orange light was bouncing off the distant snow-white walls. All the doors in the surrounding buildings and wooden carts and stands were in shambles. Crowded in the courtyard and outside the open gate were thousands of ill. They all just stood still making no noise. The wind howled through them and they swayed slightly with it. The snow was growing more harsh, it was already inches thick on the ground. Many of them wore normal peasant’s clothing, but there were a great many who were still wearing the armour of the Valrock guard. The irony was almost too much, those who they now feared most were wearing the symbol that only a day ago meant safety. Sadon and Lizzie stood on one of the buildings bordering this open courtyard.
“I think they’re asleep,” Sadon whispered, studying the crowd below. He was slowly inching forward; Lizzie grasped his forearm and tried to pull him away from the edge.
“Please, Sadon. Let’s find another way. I’m scared.” He could see her shivering in the cold air, but also the terror in her eyes.
“No, we could use this to our advantage.” his voice low and stern. “If we're going to escape, now would be the time.” He looked around and saw a heavy wooden beam going across to a distant building. “I have an idea.”
Sadon ran to the beam, stopping only enough so he could slide across the slick snow the rest of the way. He looked over the edge and his stomach churned as he realized he was atop a two story building. The beam was a part of a long unused grain slide system. Connected below it was a series of pulleys and rope that once would raise large wooden crates onto a stone slide that went straight to a mill at the bottom of the large incline. Across the gap was another flat topped building. Though, it was longer than the one they were on, and its opposite wall was next to the wall that bordered Valrock.
“If we can make it to the wall, all we need to do is get into a guard tower. That will lead us give us access to the top of the wall, and we can find a way down from there instead of making our way through the crowd.”
“You’re over simplifying it. This gap is a lot larger than any of the others we’ve had to cross. We would have to walk across this thing,” she said pointing to the beam, “and it’s sure to be slick.” She leaned down and scooped up a ball of snow from it, it was several inches thick and had a layer of ice below it.
“Yeah, but I know of no other way out of the city. I would rather die from this fall than accidently waking one of them up. Do you have a better idea?”
“No, no. I suppose not.” She stammered back and forth. “You go first though. I want someone to catch me on the other side if I fall.”
Sadon took a deep breath and lifted his foot onto the beam. His foot immediately slipped and his heart stopped. It was incredibly slick, but less so than the stone. He reapplied his foot and pulled himself up. He slowly advanced across the gap, it was only ten feet across, but it felt much longer for him. He took every step with great caution and firmly planted his foot in the snow. The wind shook him, but he managed to keep his balance. He managed to no look down at the had floor many stories below him, but kept focused on the snow covered beam. When he finally made it across it came as a surprise to him and realized that he had been holding his breath. He breathed in the cold winter air, and it stung his lungs as he did so.
“See? Not so bad. It was actually rather easy.” Sadon said this with an obvious lack of confidence. She was much lighter than him, and feared the wind would affect her much more. He extended his arm as far as he could, ready to grab her.
Lizzie warily leaped up and immediately locked her eyes on Sadon. She was breathing slowly and going across in an unbalanced manner. The wind kept rocking her, but she was managing to correct herself. As soon as she was close enough for Sadon to reach her, he grabbed her hand. She glanced to her side and saw the horde of ill standing silently and froze.
“Lizzie.” Sadon tried to get her attention. “Lizzie, hurry!” She shook her head and broke herself of the fear that overtook her. She noticed she was only a few feet away and tried to step forward.
A large gust of wind soared past her and she began to wobble to the side. She nor Sadon could balance her out again and she toppled over the side.
He was so surprised that he was not able to stop her—and he was not going to let go of her—so she pulled him down with her. Sadon quickly grabbed at the tangle of ropes dangling from the beam with his free hand, he immediately caught hold of a rope. He gripped as tightly as he could and screamed as the skin was stripped away from his hand. Lizzie kept gripping his hand tighter and tighter. They were beginning to slow until he hit a large knot in the rope. With a sudden jerk, a large metal pulley was ripped out of the wall and Sadon lost his grip on the rope. Behind them the metal wheel pulled several more of the pulleys out of the walls. Lizzie and Sadon both landed on the cold stone slide and immediately began to slide down. Behind them crashed a large bundle of rope and metal making a huge clamour. It bounced loudly behind them as they quickly slid down to the mill.
Within seconds they flew under the archway into complete darkness. They crashed into a pile of hay at the bottom of the slide. They let go of each other quickly rolled off the sides of the slide. Right after they did so, the metal wheels bounced over the hay stack and bashed into the wall. The sound was deafening and it could still be heard echoing up the long incline they just fell from. Over the edge at the top of the slide the ill began to show up. They had heard the noise, and were coming.
They both got up and ran to door behind the large mill stone in the centre of the room. Sadon tugged on the latch, but it had obviously been sealed for many years. They could hear the ill sliding into the room behind them, so he gave the door another strong pull, but put all his fright into it. It jerked open and cold air rushed in. He and Lizzie rushed out and pulled the door shut behind them, hoping it would be as difficult for the ill as it was for them.
There was only two ways to go, one rode that led to a dead end and the other down a desolate road. They began to sprint down the road looking left and right for an escape. After a series of smashing noises they heard the mill door behind the burst open and the patter of the feet of the ill behind them. All the doors they saw were busted open and alley ways too dark to blindly dash into.
“Here!” Lizzie took the lead and ran to a door that was still closed. Above the door was a large crimson banner with a white horse crossed by an axe and a sword. She tried to force her way in, but it was locked. “Dammit!”
“Let me try.” Sadon unsheathed his sword and jammed the blade in between the door and its frame. After some maneuvering he stepped back and kicked at the lock. The door swung open and they both rushed inside. Sadon looked outside and the ill were slowly approaching the building, as if it was obvious to them that their prey had no escape.
Lizzie slammed the door, but would not stay shut, as Sadon had broken the lock. “What are we going to do?!” She screamed frantically. Sadon paced back and forth, he had never been so scared. As a final hopeless thought, he grabbed a large war hammer off a rack on a nearby wall and started bashing at the wooden beam of the door frame. It stood strong for the first couple of blows, but Sadon was stronger. It finally snapped sideways as the first ill appeared in the door frame. The heavy beam landed on the ill and soon the rest of the door way gave way. Then stone and wood began to fall—collapsing into the empty door way.
Sadon fell backward, and knocked Lizzie onto a set of stairs. The back of her head hit the hard corner of a step—red spots clouded her vision. She watched in horror as the ceiling crashed down onto Sadon, burying him in a mound of stone and dust before she fell into darkness too.