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Siege of Vastyr

Author: 
Rilos Moret
From the journal of Rilos Moret. Dated 2E 365. Describing one of the last nights on the Gathering Storm's siege of Vastyr.
 
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Fire rained down on the ramparts while gale winds did their best to spread the flames from the battlements and onto our rooves last night. We worked through the long dark, pulling buckets of water from the well and passing them hand to waiting hand. The unfortunate buildings whose roofs were but kindling to the fleet of Gathering Storm ships who waged war on us. My own home was spared the indignity of burning as I toiled away many hours to ensure that my thatched roof was sufficiently doused. Still, anytime sparks from the battlements floated toward the street, I spared a moment to pray to the Eight. I prayed they keep my Atoine and the foundling we care for, Nomu-Ta, safe.
 
I heard the calls from the guards. How the Sea Elves of the Gathering Storm were spreading their vessels across our shoreline. I felt when their sea mages dropped the wind howling spell and the gales fell quiet. The burning houses roared with renewed vigor but for a moment, the buckets stopped mid pass. All was still.
 
Then, with a surprising clash of thunder, one of the guards called out, ""The sea is retreating!""
 
Some abandoned their posts in the line to rush to the ramparts and see this strange behavior. Others let their buckets clatter to the cobblestones and ran toward the locked gates out of Vastyr.
 
The knight in charge of the water line bellowed against the commotion, ""Get back to your stations before we lose this city to the fires!"" Which succeeded in restoring some to their posts, but many more made up their minds to scamper from the main square. The most foolish ran into the darkness of the old druid tunnels. I saw their shadows as they passed me and disappeared into the inky depths of the underground.
 
Buckets were righted and filled with water, though now with fewer people, our lines were broken. It took more effort to pass the buckets over the gulf between members and the work seemed fit to tear the skin from my hands. But we persisted and managed to stop the flames from engulfing the stalls of the eastern market.
 
From up above came screams of terror from civilian and guard alike. A formless, slithering keen that rose in volume and pitch as whatever sparked it did not resolve itself. I looked up as the sound of running feet brought the screams hurdling down from the ramparts. ""Move,"" the flood of bodies cried, ""move or you'll be swallowed by the great wave, too."" This made no sense to me, as I had no grasp of what would befall us, but the pressing threat of all the panicked people was danger enough.
 
""Great wave. Move. Get to high ground."" The sound pushed me forward, up steps and over steep inclines. As we ran, the sound of a wave grew louder. It was unmistakable, an elongated roar that seemed taller than possible. I heard and felt the moment the wave crested the ramparts where so many had stood not moments ago. It broke against Vastyr's high wall and crashed over the side in a destructive wall of water. Homes crumbled beneath its weight. Stones broke from their moorings. Even ships in the harbor dashed themselves to ruin against the docks in the dizzying power of its wake.
 
I'm not sure about the crowd which ran at my back, but my feet did not stop until I no longer heard the sound of water behind me. Only then, at the top of the highest peak, did I pause, my chest heaving with effort, and turn to face the horrors of what the Gathering Storm summoned.
 
Our Vastyr was partially submerged. Detritus floated and sunk in the dark waters. Strangely, my first clear thoughts were not of anger or sadness, just a glum resignation. When the dawn broke, we were going to have to fish bodies out of the old druid tunnels.