Barrett sat in the carriage and watched the buildings go by. They were good buildings, and made up a good city. Durham was a good city, and his father hard worked hard to make it that way… and his father before him, and so on. It was prosperous, and Barrett admired the many rich storefronts they were passing by.
Even before they entered the next part of the city, Barrett could already see the spires of the cathedral. It was the largest and most impressive one even in the surrounding regions- second only to the one in the capital, Tinas. It was dedicated to Ristos, the god of prosperity. Barrett felt there was no more appropriate god to worship in their city.
Barrett and his family stepped out of the carriage and entered the grand sanctuary. It was truly impressive the way light streamed through the colored glass. As always, the service was enheartening and delightful. Of course, they gave to the offering- the money would be distributed to those in need.
Barrett was glad for such days. Not only because it provided a break from the constant studying, but because it was nice to be reminded of all the good in the world. It made him feel like nothing could go wrong.
Barrett slept deeply, so it was with some surprise that he actually woke in the night. At first, he was disoriented. He couldn’t make sense of the noise, and the light… was it morning already? It didn’t feel right. It only took him a few more moments to realize the sounds- the crackling of fire, and… had there been an explosion? He got up and ran to the window, and saw through the slats that one of the neighboring estates was on fire, and some of it had already collapsed. He could also see that the fire was not just limited to there. Even the east wing of the Ravenhall estate, and probably more, was on fire.
There was no time to think, no time to dress in proper clothing. He quickly ran out of the room. He could smell the smoke now, feel the heat, and hear the crackle of the fire clearly. It seemed to be everywhere. He ran to one end of the hallway, and found the doorknob hot. Even so, he pulled open the door, only to be met by a wall of flames. He retreated, but then he heard a loud crack. By the time he looked up, it was too late. A support was falling, and he didn’t even have time to think about getting out of the way before he was flat on his back with the wind knocked out of him.
The only thing he could think of was that it was hot. That was to be expected, with a burning log on top of him, but even so the thought came to him. It took a few moments before the thought came to him to push it off, but when he tried to put strength in his arms they wouldn’t move. His arms were fine, but with the wind knocked out of him and more weight on top, he wasn’t functioning well. The coughing from the smoke wasn’t helping either, especially since he was pretty sure that some of it was from his flesh searing. It smelled like that, though he could barely feel it.
Barrett hazily waited to die. However, even as he thought about death, he heard a voice. “… master! Young master!” It was Reina. The servant’s rooms were on the first floor, which meant she had to have come through most of the house to get to him. He wanted to say something, but couldn’t. “Don’t worry, young master, I’ll get this off of you.” Barrett heard some grunting noises, and then the weight was lifted off of him. He got a good breath for the first time in what felt like forever… but could have only been a few moments. At least the air down at floor level was mostly smoke free.
Reina reached out to help Barrett stand up, but when he took her hand he saw her wince. He looked down at her hands which were charred black, then let go. He somehow pushed himself off the floor himself. He could stand, though running was out of the question. He started hobbling toward the other end of the hallway. They could still make it out. However, before he got far, Reina stopped him.
“There is too much fire back that way. We won’t make it.” She went over to a window and started pushing and pulling on some of the wooden slats. It was a pitiful sight, and Barrett couldn’t stand to see it happen. She tried not to grimace in pain, but he still saw it, if somewhat dimly in the flickering light. Barrett was regaining some control over his body, and started tearing off the slats one at a time. All of the exercise wasn’t for nothing after all…
The roof was crumbling, behind and around them. The heat was almost intolerable, but it seemed as if any sweat evaporated as soon as it appeared. After what felt like forever, the two had managed to remove the slats from the lower half of the window. Reina jumped out first, landing heavily on the ground below and staggering to her knees. Barrett wasn’t fond of heights, but he wasn’t going to stay in a burning building. He jumped, and tried his best to control his impact to the ground. His legs felt like they would break… but they didn’t. At least, he remained standing.
Then, there was a further sound of an explosion, and a groaning sound. Barrett saw the whole wall of the house leaning, falling. As if in slow motion. The flames trailed behind it as it came down. Reina was still crouched down. Barrett’s body moved on its own, throwing her to the ground and himself over her as the wall and much of the nearby building came crashing down. He propped himself over her with his arms as debris crashed down all around them… and on him. What felt like an entire wall fell on him… but in a moment he realized it was only a small piece as the rest of it fell next. He felt his arms shatter… at least his forearms. His back was in great pain as well, but the pain was muted and unreal. Somehow, he ended up propped up on his elbows nearly face to face with Reina, and somehow still conscious. The last thing he saw was a burning timber landing on her face as he collapsed into unconsciousness.