The burning of Trinsic

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by Paladin Japheth

‘Twas a sight to see, the sunlight falling lightly on the sandstone walls of Trinsic ‘pon a morning in spring.

Children ran along the parapets and walkways, their laughter and running providing music to the daybreak, despite their oft-ragged clothing.

The guards who maintained a vigilant outlook from atop the towers would smile indulgently as children slammed into their armored legs and brushed past them.

And I was one of those young ones, letting my joy rise up to the skies.

Little did we all know of the darker days that would lie ahead, for we were too young.

Had we but gained access to the quiet coucils held in the Paladin tower as it faced the sea, councils lit by candlelight and worry, we would have learned more of the fears of imminent attack from the forest, where foul creatures born of dank caves and darkness were marauding ever more often into the lands around Trinsic’s moat.

But we were children! The parapets and the moat were places to play, not stout defenses, and we gave no thought to the necessities that must have required their construction.

We used to reach the sheltered orchards on the lee side of the parapet walls, where the southern river cut through the city, by swimming across the water.

The rich folk who lived in the great manses there would shout from their windows and shake their fists, for we would run through their gardens and tear up the delicate foxgloves and orfleurs with our unshod dirty feet.

Then we would dive into the water and splash merrily to the fruit trees.

The southern river lazily slid under an ungated arch in the mighty wall, and we would lay on the grassy bank and watch it gurgle by the lily pads.

That spring that pleasant spot became the doorway through which our city of Trinsic let in the monstrous deformed humanoids that savaged us.

I lay upon that grassy bank and watched them wade in, their coarse hair wet and matted, algae and muck festooning their wild brows. They caught sight of a quicksilver girl with bright blond hair and lively eyes. Her name was Leyla and that spring I had held fond dreams of holding her hand and sharing flavored ice while dangling our feet off the small bridge by Smugglers Gate.

And I said nothing when they caught her, and did not cry out when they dragged her off through that breach in our wall, and did not warn the city when I saw the helmeted orc captains call the charge upon the mansions.

Blame me not, for I was but a child, and one who hid in the branches of the peach trees, all a-tremble whilst I watched the smoke rise from Sean the tailor’s, and fire lash out at the roof of witchy Eleanor’s tavern.

To this day I have had no word of Leyla, and to this day the smell of burning wood can conjure terrible dreams. Yet with the eyes of adulthood, ’tis possible to examine the flaws in the defense of Trinsic on that fateful day, and the reasons why our walls are now double-thick, and why our buildings are now built as fortresses within a somber fortified city.

While I can look out from the top of the new Paladin tower, and spy the mighty white sails across the barrier island, and can descry the small hollow south of the city where gypsies are wont to camp, I can also envision the city as it might be burning, and I bless the bargain we made: space for safety, grace for sturdiness and wood for stone.

Whilst I live, I shall not see Trinsic burn, and no more cries of little girls will haunt the sleep of our fair citizens.

This is mine oath, as I live and breath.

Paladin Guildmaster of the City of Trinsic

Last modified: May 14, 2011

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