Captain Voler stood with a slight smile on his face and watched as the inn burned. He issued an order to one of the soldiers and the soldier dragged the lifeless form of Lexa away into the darkness. The only people in the streets were Captain Voler’s men. Townspeople opened their windows and doors and were greeted with a bright orange light and thick smoke of the bar burning. Amidst the sound of the fire, Voler could hear the townspeople exclaiming about the bar.
“Come on! Grab what buckets you can and form a line.” a voice called from the darkness of one of the houses, “We must contain the fire and if we’re lucky, we can still save what’s left of the inn.”
A man came running out of the darkness towards the fire with a bucket; water was sloshing out of the bucket as he ran. As he ran towards Voler and his guard, the soldiers stepped aside to let the man run past, Voler stuck out his foot. The bucket flew from his hands soaking the dirt yards from its destination. The man went sprawling across the ground and slid covering him from head to waist in mud.
“What are you doing you twit? We have to put out the fire.” The man said as he picked himself up, grabbing the bucket.
“Sieze him.” Voler said quietly
The bucket was knocked from his hands. He was forced back to the ground and his hands were bound behind his back.
“What the hell are you doin’? Let me go!” The man screamed in protest. “What’s got into you?”
He was silenced as a soldier’s boot slammed his face into the ground. Voler walked slowly up to the man. The townspeople now watched Voler and his soldiers, ignoring the fire.
“What time of day is it?” Voler asked the man.
“Wha? Fuck off!” the man replied a soldier kicked him in the side with a sickening crunch. “AAHHRRGGH!”
“Is it not night time and isn’t there a curfew? Voler asked.
The man shook his head feebly as he spit up blood.
“Yes and you are outside of your quarters after the curfew.” Voler said.
“fire” was all the man could mumble.
“Yes, it’s a pretty fire and one which you will let burn unless you are ordered to put out.” Voler explained.
“TOWNSPEOPLE LISTEN!” Voler announced, pointing his sword towards the bar, “Tonight you have seen a display of what happens to people and the things they care about if I am defied. I can assure you that if any of you wish to defy me, you are welcome to accept the same fate.
As each and every one of you are aware by my proclamation as commander of this town; there is a curfew in effect. The curfew extends from dusk to dawn, and no one is allowed on the streets at this time. This man has chosen to break the curfew and will be dealt with accordingly. Since he is the first to break the curfew and because I have decided to use him as an example, his life will be spared at this time. Be aware that if any of you are caught breaking curfew, you will not be so lucky.”
Voler turned to his men and ordered, “String him up!”
The soldiers grabbed the man, tied a rope under his arms and around his chest and hoisted him up a pole in the center of town. The man cried out in protest.
Voler turned back to the townspeople, “Let this man serve as a reminder of the curfew and if anyone is caught helping or feeding this man, they will face the same or a worse fate. Now you are ordered to go back into your homes.”
He turned and began to stroll away as the windows and doors of the townspeople slammed shut.
Kiri stirred, it hurt to breathe and coughing sent waves of pain and white light through her body. She tried to open her eyes, the light hurt. Everything was blurry, as her eyes adjusted; she focused on the dancing flames in the fireplace when the realization dawned upon her.
She sat straight up, “My b…” she was cut short as the pain from the sudden movement overtook her.
Kiri stirred again, this time it was different. It wasn’t so much the pain and the breathing as it was the heat. She felt a cool rag on her forehead.
“Aaahhh” she thought, “relief”.
She opened her eyes a crack and saw the blurry shapes of two people.
“You better go.” the first voice said.
“I can’t leave now.” the second said.
“It won’t do any of us any good if you get caught; especially here. She’ll be fine.”
“Take care of her.”
“I give you my word.”
With that Kiri closed her eyes and drifted off back into the sweet blackness.
Kiri started to become aware of her surroundings. She rolled over and opened her eyes. The light didn’t seem to bother them as much as they had before. Dark shapes began to take form. Kiri began to sit up.
“I would take it slow if I were you.” a voice said.
Kiri’s spun around and the pain caused her to wince and she collapsed back on the cot.