Memories flooded his mind with every passing moment. Were they real, or was it just something he imagined in his weary state? He retraced the steps that led to that dreary part of the city, where a once proud people moved toward something important with all of Tellest in mind.
But then, the floating continent fell. While some of it descended into the ocean, a huge portion of the central island fell upon shale, the land in darkness below. Cracks and fissures ripped through the once beautiful island—like the crevasse that separated Fennic from his oldest friend.
“Wherever ye are, I’m sure yer laughing at me,” the dwarf mumbled.
“Save your strength,” the feminine voice cooed.
He couldn’t focus on that lovely sound, for another rumble echoed throughout Baridryn then. The White City had seemed to hold fast when it first fell—a testament to elven and dwarven craftsmanship. But with the unyielding storm brewing fierce winds, the damage that was done was exacerbated.
Fennic looked up and winced as a golden dome fell from atop a beautiful alabaster tower. Smoke and dust exploded in a plume a stone’s throw away, and the dwarf waved away that intrusive debris.
“We can’t stay here anymore,” she said. “The White City is no longer safe. Can you walk?”
“I only had an entire building fall on me, lass,” he said. “I’ll be fine.” Fennic looked to his companion, his vision still blurry from the hardships he had faced since Shandranar’s fall. Her fair skin seemed to glow, and he couldn’t look at her for too long. “What about you, girlie? Are you alright?”
“We should be concerned for you,” she bade. “You survived, but you were badly injured. The next time a building comes down…”
“I know, Llenaduil,” he said. “I’ll be far away.”
She extended her hand, the only thing he could see with his downward gaze. “Come now, Fennic. You mustn’t fall asleep. If you do, I fear—”
“Just catching me breath, lass. You lead, I’ll follow.”
“Of course. If you need to take a break, just let me know.”
The dwarf grumbled. “I don’t need to be coddled. It’s just a bump on the ol’ noggin.”
“In the world we live in now, that’s enough to be worried about. There aren’t any clerics left to soothe your pain. None that we know of anyway.”
“Maybe we should still be in Baridryn then,” Fennic surmised. “There could be one there. Or someone else might need our help.”
“No,” Llenaduil was firm in her reply. “That place is death. We have to get you as far away from there as possible, before you decide to be a hero again.”
A little grin was all he could offer. He did have second guesses about leaving after all. He turned, and was surprised by how much ground they had covered. Those once pearly white buildings were far in the distance, crumbling and faded. “You’re quite the motivator,” the dwarf muttered.
The path before them was uneven and broken. In many places, the sea had risen up over the land, creating odd new formations. The elf maiden led the recovering fellow along the safest routes, until he sputtered and grumbled.
“Are you alright, master dwarf?”
He coughed and waved his hand. “I’ll live. But I could use one of those breaks ye were talking about.”
“Well, why don’t we set down here for a spell? There really isn’t a better place I can see. And as long as there’s no rain, we should be fine.”
“Aye,” he said. Fennic willfully collapsed to the ground, giving his wobbly legs some respite. Once he was there, he could feel the other pain in his body: that of a grumbling belly. “Ye don’t have any food, do ye?”
Regret was there in her eyes. “I can’t give you anything.”
The dwarf nodded. “Right. I forgot all ye elves eat that silly bread. What’s the point in eating at all if not to gorge yerself on something delicious?”
For a while, all was quiet. Fennic contended with the aches in some parts of his body, and the rejuvenation of others. The rasp in his every breath subsided, and he could feel his legs soothe. As his vision stabilized, he stared off into the distance. The storm still lingered there, yet no rain had come.
Llenaduil grew quiet, and the dwarf considered that she probably needed a break from him. All the better, he thought. He could use some silence for a change.
An odd clap of thunder resounded somewhere far away. When Fennic saw no flash of lightning, he furrowed his brow, looking this way and that. A subtle difference in the color of the horizon caught his attention, and he narrowed his eyes. Figures seemed to appear from thin air, and then dropped from the sky.
“What is it?” Llenaduil asked.
The dwarf swallowed a mouthful of air. “It’s nothing,” he insisted. “My eyes are playing tricks on me.”