There are two, always two, like hunters in a secluded area there are two. And they burn, they burn flesh and flora.
They came upon us, this was usual. What was unusual was the number. Only a few, scouts or a vanguard perhaps, who caused havoc and then, the long-haired arsons arrived.
This is what the conscious scout told me. That they had already cut around the camp, and that we were in trouble by fire. Fire. He could say no more, having also ceased consciousness.
I readied the men for battle, and then, the entire camp was surrounded by flame.
The temperature rose. We may have burned.
For this battle, I will not go into strict detail, however I will admit that once the men saw the flames around the village, many did begin to lose heart, especially the leaders. And because of this, because of the sudden fickleness of the leaders, I myself was the only person who could be trusted to lead the retreat of the citizens; so that while men fought the Riley on the Eastern front, on the other side of the village, West, I led the people out.
The first thing I did was set a fire on our side. Fire with fire. Their flames met mine twice as quickly, and soon ran out of fuel, and thus we made our escape. I pulled men from the front and promoted one particularly diligent person to lead them out, and then I left to join the fight and see if we could retreat.
We could see them in the back, the arsons, the apparently more intelligent Riley, stoking the fires. Once I returned, the battlefield shifted. The men, turned from losing and cowardice, to suddenly finding the courage they had lost. This was not the effect of a warden; this was the effect of a King.
But because their lines were secured by the fires, since somehow they could navigate in and out where we could not, we could not create the advantage we were used to making. Worse, this meant that retreat was far more difficult since we could neither rout nor intimidate them.
And then, the leader of the escape party came. I could see that, without her helmet, it was a woman. We did not recruit women, she must have lied. Regardless, the escapees had been driven back into the village, back into the center of the flames.
“We’re flanked, surrounded. We need help, they are entering and taking people! And there is—”
But I did not listen. I gave her control of the front and exited, hoping they would not for a second time lose courage without their monarch, though at that time, I was not yet so.
And then I saw what it was that the woman was trying to tell me of, what I left in the middle of her saying.
A handful of the men were dead, and some citizens too. And somehow, standing between our remaining soldiers and the enemy, stood an angel with blood-streaked wings. She fought at the vanguard, not in the fray, but wholly within it. She fought with two swords, one raised above her head, I learned later, to keep it out of the way of the other. She had long blonde hair, and wore the white-grey robes. And she fought like a demon.