Lucy heard the commotion in town before she saw anything. She couldn’t tell what was happening, but there was more going on than normal, shouting and other noises. When she saw the soldiers walking up the road, she scrambled down the tower’s stairs. “Father! Soldiers are coming!” She threw open the door to the library, “Soldiers!”
Xavier looked up as she entered, playing back what he had vaguely heard her say “What? They’re coming here?” He did a quick sweep of the room, grabbing a book and tossing it to Lucy. “Take your spellbook and run into the woods. Have you seen your brother?”
Lucy shook her head. “I think he’s outside the tower.”
“I’ll look for him just in case.” Xavier put his own spellbook under his arm, “Run ahead first. I’ll meet up with you at… eagle rock. That should be far enough.”
Luck took a few quick breaths, “O-okay.” She ran out of the library down the remaining stairs to the front door, going as quickly as she could towards the woods. The stones on the way dug into her feet, but by the time she thought to go back for her shoes it was already too late. She was already just inside the woods, and she turned back to look at the tower.
Her father was just stepping outside, but the soldiers were just cresting the top of the hill. Lucy ducked behind a tree as she stood, breathing heavily, even from her short exertion. Her father looked towards the soldiers, and then towards her in the woods, then turned back to the soldiers. At her distance, she could barely hear his words but she could see runes of magic appearing as he chanted. As he did so, the soldiers marched steadily towards him. A bolt of fire, about the size of his outstretched hand, flew towards the soldiers. Lucy had seen that spell crack stone, a person hit by it would suffer a much worse fate.
Except, one of the soldiers in the front row merely raised his shield and the spell lost all substance as it collided with the shield, the runes fading and the fire not exploding but merely sputtering out. At that point, Lucy was expecting him to turn and run, but he stood facing the soldiers, not even glancing towards the woods. He began chanting another spell, but Lucy could see that it was much weaker. Her father was not a war wizard, so having any combat spells memorized was something of an exception.
A small burst of flame towards the soldiers did nothing- once again, another soldier stepped up and blocked with their shield, seemingly unperturbed at the thought of stepping towards magical fire. It was at that point that Xavier took off running- not towards the woods, but past the soldiers… away from Lucy.
It only took a moment for the soldiers to catch him as he ran by- one of them swung the butt of his spear, catching Xavier in the stomach and knocking the wind out of him. Then two of them grabbed his arms. One grabbed him by the neck, and another pulled something out. In a swift and ruthless manner, they cut out his tongue. Lucy could barely see it, and she had to cover her mouth to keep from crying out.
She turned to run- she should have been long gone- but out of the corner of her eye she spotted Douglas. He was walking towards the soldiers and their father in a daze. Lucy wanted to call out to him, but if he heard her the soldiers would as well. Perhaps he would realize on his own and turn to run, while he still had a chance.
However, none of that happened. The soldiers saw him coming and went to grab him. As the held him, Lucy shouted. “Wait! Don’t! He’s mute!” She didn’t know why she was running towards them- the logical way was away from them. However, she couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her little brother in pain. Her father… she couldn’t look at his fallen form. It was already too late to help him. One of the soldiers held up a bloody knife to Douglas’ face. “He can’t speak! Don’t!”
One of the soldiers-perhaps a captain of some sort- said something, and the soldier with the knife stopped. The soldier who had stopped him kicked Douglas in the stomach. The soldiers let Douglas fall to the ground, where the captain stomped his boot down on Douglas’ hand. Lucy could see the pain on his face, but he didn’t cry out. He couldn’t. The captain nodded, then pointed towards Lucy.
It was already far too late for her to turn to run- the soldiers were much faster than her- but she did so anyway. She almost made it to the edge of the forest again, but her feet were cut up and torn. Life in the tower hadn’t prepared her for running, either. Soon enough she was roughly grabbed by one soldier by the arm. Then the captain came up to her. Lucy had no magic she could think of to use- somewhere in her head, there were the remnants of spells, but they wouldn’t go any further.
Lucy steeled herself to have her tongue cut out. She tried her best to look brave, but her trembling didn’t stop. Her mouth was forced open and a hand reached out… not to grab her tongue, but to apply a gag. Then her hands were shackled behind her, and she was pulled firmly towards the tower where her brother and father still lay on the ground.
Douglas had no idea what was happening. He had heard of soldiers and war, but he had never seen them. When he’d seen his father surrounded, he had to go help… but he realized he couldn’t. Combat magic hadn’t seemed important to him, so he hadn’t bothered keeping any memorized. There were more useful things to memorize. Or so he had thought. Now, all he had was a light spell. In his mind, he used that directly in the eyes of a soldier to blind him and somehow save his father… but it was already too late. In reality, he couldn’t even picture a single rune in his head. He could barely even think- or maybe he couldn’t at all. Now he was lying on the ground. His guts hurt, and his right hand was in extreme pain. He couldn’t even sit up. All he saw was soldiers walking past, back and forth from the tower to a cart. They were carrying away all of their books. Douglas looked up at the sky, hoping it would rain so that he could cry. That was what he was supposed to do. Instead, he merely stared up into clear blue as all of his access to magic and his sister Lucy were taken away on the wagon. He tried to push himself up, but as his hand pressed against the ground, he blacked out from the pain.