"Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly."
– Richard Lovelace: To Lucasta, Going To The Wars.
Inexorable - Part Three.
The drums thundered over yonder, behind the trees, deep in the forest that seemed alight. The distant fires were most likely from the townships of Elwynn Forest, all ablaze with hot flames, burning the victims, soldier, farmer, wife, child and elder equally in this horrid onslaught. Already was the blessed Abbey of Northshire razed to the ground, the populace of that Valley slaughtered, if they did not escape in time.
The drums were thundering. Soon they would be at the Keep, which seemed to be the only last strong point of the Kingdom. Some were fleeing before the coming of the Horde – those who could not fight. The soldiers remained, as did the Knights of the Brotherhood of the Horse. There was no going back.
She wailed, afraid and unsure of what was going on. The thundering drums awoke a terror within her little body, the howling of wolves and war cries of the Orc enough to inspire dread in a child. Her mother wept in turn, screaming at her own parents to flee; her father merely stared at them, clad in his armour, holding aloft his shield emblazoning the head of a lion.
She gazed at him, frightened at the things she did not understand, hoping that her mother and father would stop making her more scared than she was, and that they would hold her close, to try and calm her.
Instead her mother kept her tearful screaming; her father remained emotionless – only the lion upon the shield returned her look, cold, emotionless.
“Run, father! Take her with you! Flee!”
She looked up at her grandmother that held her close. She was weeping, she was scared, and the little girl did not know why. She turned her wet eyes towards her grandfather, who seemed distraught, unwilling to move.
“Go! Now!” her mother pleaded, beating the old man on his chest. “Get her out of here!”
“Mummy!” she finally managed to cry out. “Mummy!”
Her mother looked down at her – the expression on her face only causing more fear to course through the child. Quickly she bowed down, giving her yet another kiss on her face, yet another tight hug. Then she looked up again at the old man and commanded him once more.
He held out his hand, taking hold of hers for a brief moment, then turned and forced the old woman to come with him. Holding tightly onto the hand of the little girl, she too was forced to go with them.
She cried, pleaded, but to no avail – her mother’s only response being that she went to her husband, holding him tightly as they stood watching the three leave. They remained in that way, each weeping until she lost sight of them, and they vanished behind a hill.
And still the drums echoed, the war cries resounded.