Chapter 5:

Forced by Flames

Afflicted by Snow

     Over the years Haetia grew more and more tired of lazing about the town and would patrol the outskirts; obviously being forced to drag Linias along with him. The now 28 year-old Haetia was as irritable as ever from being stuck in one place his whole life, while Linias, despite being seven years older and lived here a little longer, didn’t really mind. If anything it was easier to safeguard him in territory he was exceptionally familiar with.

Haetia pranced about the mountain, complaining about this and that as per usual while Linias watched.

“You know how easily I could just run off right now? Who’d stop me!”

Linias stared blankly at his Master.

“Right, you and your repulsive self. What’s the point in having a servant if they have an exception to when they have to listen to you? You can just use that all the time! I say ‘Get me a glass of water’ and you can just say ‘Oh, what if someone tries to kill you while I’m away?’ It’s so stupid! You better not do that, you hear me?”

“Yes, Sire.”

“Good, now carry me back. I’m tired of walking in these heels.”

He never understood why Haetia always wore such clothes unbefitting for travel if he was always so earnest at the prospect of fleeing from his hometown. A long, scarlet cardigan draped with gold patterns matched by a cropped lavender turtleneck and a pair of navy blue high-waisted buttoned shorts; not to mention his harnesses, sleeves, and thigh high heels connecting it all together. If anything he looked ready to go to a bar…or a brothel. Not that Linias would ever say so aloud.

By comparison, he himself was much more prepared for the outdoors with his black boots, cargo pants, and jacket, the collar lined with light caramel wolf’s fur. And last but not least, his treasured locket.

It was always cold in this town, so it was a wonder how Haetia always dressed so lightly. Then again he seemed to be impervious to the cold so maybe that’s why.

Holding back one of his many desirable sighs, Linias pushed himself off the tree and almost lost his footing in the process as the ground suddenly shook in chime with the sound of a thunderous burst far off in the distance.

Immediately, Linias’s survival instincts activated and moved to pinpoint the source.

West of here so…the town?..!

He ran towards a clearance in the forest with Haetia tightly following behind him.

“Hey! Where are you going?!” His Master shouted after him but he continued on nonetheless.

The only time he came to a stop was to observe the source of the sound…or rather the aftermath. From the cliffside the devastation that had struck Gwyneira was clear as day. Ashes upon ashes climbed the sky, dying it orange as flames flooded the village filled with far off faint cries.


Linias was able to get rid of most of his childhood fears to better serve his Lordship to the best of his ability but the one thing he never overcame was his fear of fire.

And so he stood, paralyzed. Watching the flames rise and engulf the village further and further from a far off distance until a muffled voice became clearer and clearer, “Li…nias…Linias!”

With fast blinks he came back to his senses, recollecting the breath and locket he didn’t realize he had been holding. “Y-Yes, Sire?”

“We can leave right? We’re gonna leave right!?”

Linias looked on to the burning village once more. Maybe this is what Dharax and Emmett meant by the fact that they’d know when the time comes. Still, was he ready? If he couldn’t even get over his fear of fire could he protect Haetia from whatever else was out there?

No, he had to. He didn’t have a choice.

“Yes, we’re leaving.”

“Fucking finally!” Haetia groaned a sigh of relief then suddenly his celebration came to a sharp halt as he snapped his heel in a sharp turn and screeched, “FUCK! MY MAKEUP!!!” Disheveling his pure white locks in utter agony, he panic-shook Linias and desperately mourned, “My makeup! You have to get my eyeshadow! There’s no way I’m buying that back again! What if they don’t have my shade?!!”

Through Haetia’s frantic shaking of his body, Linias glanced back at the roaring flames below. He’d have to go through them…Worse yet, leave Haetia alone. It’d be undeniably more dangerous to take him to where he knew there was danger rather than keep him here where he knew that it was safe, at least for now.

Or, he could forgo the cosmetics altogether. But, he knew if he did that, from now and forever Haetia would be exponentially more difficult to deal with if he didn’t have his cosmetics and Linias needed his cooperation as much as possible in order to keep him safe.

Almost gritting his teeth, Linias bit back a sigh. “Wait here, I’ll go get it.”

“So you’re just gonna leave me here! What if someone comes!”

“Then please be quiet.”

With a motion of his hands, a multitude of branches and vines grew to surround his Master, camouflaging him with the rest of the forest.

In the event that someone did appear and spot him, he knew that the surrounding vegetation would do well enough to defend his Master in his stead until he returned. But with how occupied the raiders were with the village currently, an attack here wasn’t likely.

As much as Haetia wanted to protest, he ultimately didn’t as he prioritized his cosmetics. “You better be quick then!”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

     Keeping low to the ground, Linias quickly waded through the forest and towards Gwyneira. The closer he got the more the blaring heat of the flames raged and louder the cries became; and so did voices that he didn’t recognize.

Waves of what looked to be some form of gang would run past, some on horses some on foot and all looking for Haetia as they shouted variations of “Where is he?!”, “Find him!”, “Find that pale kid!” They all wore the same colors: black and crimson. He took note and moved forth.

It was essential that he remained hidden, alerting them would only give them suspicion as to survivors and thus Haetia’s escape and even he knew trying to fend off this many attackers wasn’t wise.

Linias swallowed hard, trying his best to quickly yet quietly maneuver through the flames and into what was once Haetia’s home. Now it was missing an abundance of walls and furniture, all in ashes or in the process of burning to such. He kept his eyes low to the ground in order to avoid the sight of the violent flames altogether. If he saw it–How they destroyed everything they came into contact with, charring it black and leaving nothing left he’d be reminded of—

Rapidly he disheveled his faint curls, reminding himself to relinquish his tight constriction of his locket. With multiple slow, deep breaths, he continued forth, gaze still to the orange-glowed floor.

Luckily the fire had only just started to reach the second floor and Haetia’s room was almost untouched by comparison, save for some embers leaking in and a vast cloud of smoke; although the raiders had clearly invaded the room as the furniture was tossed left and right and fissured beyond use.

With what was left of the vanity turned on its side, the eyeshadow in its drawers had spilled onto the hardwood flooring. He had barely gotten there in time to retrieve his cosmetics, any longer and it would’ve melted beyond use. The way it was now was still below its previously polished state but still usable.

Then he went to the medicine cabinet and threw in Haetia’s contraceptives as well, knowing that it’d probably be necessary in the future with his Master’s habits.

Shoving the products into his jacket’s pocket, he swiftly left the bedroom but not before a thought came to his mind: What of Dharax and Haetia’s father? Were they alright? Or did…

He shook his head. The thought of them dying didn’t bother him too much but he still had to be sure. Living the rest of his life without definitively knowing would leave him uneasy, so he searched the house for them both, telling himself that if they were anywhere else in the ruined town that he would leave it be, whether he could’ve possibly saved them or not.

The more he descended the more intense the heat became and subsequently the flames. Even through the collapsing walls and the roars of the raiders and their flames could he still hear the faint wails of the perishing crops, shrubbery, and ferns. It tore his heart to shreds to hear their pain and be unable to help, but he had to prioritize his Master. Linias refocused his eyes down and forward, trying his hardest to ignore his blaring fear.

In the destroyed and almost agape living area he found them, or rather just Emmett. Dharax had evidently passed on already as all manners of weaponry erected from his torso and limbs. He couldn’t say that he didn’t feel saddened at all considering Dharax was the closest person he had to a father, but, he knew this would happen eventually and that he’d likely die in such a fashion as well.

Haetia’s father, however, was still barely breathing yet breathing he was. He vomited harsh coughs, trying to diminish the smoke from his fogged lungs as pointless as the endeavor was now that he was on death’s door.

Cautiously, Linias drew close and knelt down.

….He could heal him…

…No, it was too risky. It’d take too much time and he was already leaving Haetia alone for far too long. The moment he reared back up, a frail and feeble hand pinched his shins.


The retainer stopped in his tracks, gazing upon the man below him. He’d known him his whole life though they never interacted much. Of course he felt some guilt for leaving him but…it was a must.

As soon as he was about to shake off his grasp, Haetia’s father called out to him again, “P…lease..Take care…of..him…th-e…Shore….y-ou’ll…learn…every–…”

With those final words, his ashen hand fell to the rubble.

The Ivory Shore. They’d heard of it only in name countless times before. Wherever and whatever it was, it was now time for them to find out, now that there was nothing keeping them here in this now demolished town.

     As quickly as possible he returned to his Master, who thankfully remained unharmed.

Immediately Haetia patted Linias up and down hastily asking, “Did you get them–?” Once he felt the weight in his pocket, he sighed in relief, answering his own question. “Okay, good.”

“My Lord, your father–”

“Dead right? Not surprised. I’m just bummed I can’t leach off of him anymore but it’s whatever, I’m sure Dharax is dead too right?”

Linias nodded slowly, simultaneously surprised but not at all from Haetia’s total lack of empathy.

“Thank fuck! I hated him, not as much as I hate you, but still. Him and his boar face–”


“Boar, bull, same difference. Whatever, can we go now?”

Staring at his Lord, Linias already began to see an abundance of problems sprouting. They needed to be quick and quiet and Haetia could do neither of those things, especially with those kinds of sharp heels on.

As such he grew a vine accompanied by a flower then puffed the pollen in Haetia’s face, and like that he was out like a light. It was better this way, as much as he’d yell at him when he woke up.

The servant threw his Master over his shoulder, gazing back at the demolished Gwyneira one last time before turning away, never to look back again.

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