The sun rises once more over Volkshaven, the shining star of Lorigav, where its denizens seldom sleep.
Its golden rays peak over tall, wall-like buildings, their coarse red brickwork robust and charming. The gilded light refracts off of broken glass and blackened pools which tinge the street with a pungent odor of iron and rot. Bodies once belonging to zealots and revolutionaries lay huddled, cold and pale. Banners of war and banners of law drape over the slain as tattered blue and crimson blankets.
The sun rises once more the capital, a place where dreams once thrived.
It’s citizens, indeed the survivors of the night, tired and weary stumble from their homes into the aftermath, no amount of sunlight can disperse the shadows in their hearts. The children are locked away in their rooms, safe, there will be no school this day.
At once, they take to moving bodies from their porches, washing stains from their stairwells all the while salving the pain with nostalgia. Indeed they remember a time, before the nightly struggles, when horses trotted down the road leisurely, taxiing wholesome folks to the market before it had been burned. Children could walk down the cobbled paths to their schools, where they could enrich themselves and bloom into something great and noble, something more than refugees in their own homes. Once the smith’s bellows belched smoke into the air from its chimneys, guardsmen were signs of hope, and people could dream at night.
That was before they were forced to take sides.
The Sun rises once more over Victory Road, laying just in the shadow of the Senatorial District, where the Hangman has made his hunting ground amidst its tall, gilded building. Their sharp points cradle the sun high like a pedestal as if it were a curious eye looking down on the horror.
Strangers come, to attend to the dead. The lawmen in their dark blue coats, grim and frustrated frown at their lost brothers who lay tangled in the remnants of an ill-fated melee. They stoop down low and silently mourn, before loading them onto a cart prematurely hearing the weeping of another condemned family afflicted by a devil’s game.
Across the way, men in plain jackets, wearing scarlet scarves tied thick about their necks congregate. They clutch rifles tightly as they mirror the misery of their foe. Once they were youths driven by tempting and powerful ideas, now, however, the only reason for their fighting is the eternal mourning war that pushes them to vengeance.
The lawmen make squinting glares, urges primal and desperate calling their judgment to war. Yet no shot is fired, for there has been enough for the day.
The sun rises on the innocents, its warmth their only comfort.
A child no more than fourteen looms over a body, sprawled wide about the cobbled road. His palm, ivory in the light, extending, presenting a rifle. The boy’s face turns scarlet and puffy, tears pouring from his face as it twists and inflames. His head jerks about wildly as he cries “Father…father…” in an almost inaudible moan.
His neighbor watches, numbness paralyzing him. He stares as if at a statue, listless and cold despite the sun. He knew the boy, he knew the father, the blacksmith, a quiet and charming man. Once so robust in character and skillful in his trade the surreal calm of death wrapped the onlooker’s soul in existential agony. In truth, much of the deceased bore familiar faces. They were neighbors, merchants, officers of the law.
Once the city mourned, but this was long ago. Oceans of tears had been spilled, voices cried out until they were hoarse and mourners congregated about the bereaved. Now the dead were a normal feature of Volkshaven just as the crimson brickwork and cobbled roads now paved in flesh.
Once they attended to the bodies, hauling them to the cemeteries, initiating proper farewells. Yet as casualties mounted, mourners and graves became scarce forcing those left behind to pile them high and burn them like primordial sacrifices. Pillars can be seen all through the districts, onyx rising high carrying their souls up to the heavens.
Even the priests ceased making their journeys under fear of the erratic violence.
The neighbor desperately wanted to feel pity for the boy, he wanted to reach out and comfort him, but he could see little use, how long would be until he himself was victim to it? None were left to mourn him, not his family nor his friends. Numbness chews at his mind as the world pulsed and blurred the buildings into one hellish wall, closing in slowly like a vice.
The sun rises over pain, the wicked product of strife.
The boy catches the dull eyes of an officer and this snaps something delicate within. Overwhelmed by grief, overwhelmed by hatred, a devil takes possession of his actions. He sees their rigid stature, their apathy not as a product of pain but arrogance. The rifle calls to him, vengeance calls to him, his father’s rigid corpse calls to him with a loud and ghastly cry!
His neighbor watches, silent and cold as he takes the rifle in hand. He wants to yell to the boy, he wants to reason with him and say “No! Don’t do it!” but he could hardly muster up the will to bear that desire in its infancy.
He watches, accepting. He watches, knowing. All the onlookers watch, knowing. He takes the rifle and aims it, then in his desperation pulls the trigger for more pain, more agony, more vengeance. A plume of smoke consumes him as thunder rumbles down the way, blue is stained red while the scarfed men ready themselves tiredly.
The sun rises on another tragedy.
The lawmen, the soldiers, they retaliate in hatred. The boy is smitten by lead, tearing apart his once innocent figure, pounding it into a bloody pulp, another body laid prostrate in the mounting piles. The revolutionaries, they see youth wasted, youth torn by oppressive and brutal means. Their minds cry for retribution, cry for an end.
They return their malice, bystanders watching on grimly. The boy’s neighbor does not return to his home, he simply sits on his stoop, watching the battle unfold.
He silently prays to Devos, to Tamir God of the Norse, to every Angel in the pantheon and even to every Elven Demon. He prays to all the Gods, to all the elements.
He prays that perhaps one bullet will go astray and like the child will take him away from all the violence, the vitriol, the cruel and unrelenting suffering.
The sun rises on another bloody day in Lorigav where smoke and death reign supreme.