Carpe Diem, Page 26

Time passes as famine grips the city. The baron enacted a military curfew, as expected, which prohibited anyone from leaving or entering the town. It was just as Tani predicted: with the provisions gone, chaos descended upon the town. The townsfolk survived for a bit — the smart ones at least: those who knew how to hide away any meager provisions they had left. The unlucky ones had their pantries raided by the guards — previously their protectors, but now, nothing more than wolves. 

You and your co-conspirators were also caught up in the whole ordeal. When you ran out of supplies, you began chasing the dogs on the streets. When the dogs were no more, cats sufficed for an evening meal, but when the cats were all wiped out, then even the rats began to look palatable. When even the rats were no more, you boiled the soles of your shoes.

Eventually, mania gripped the townsfolk. The virtuous ones simply befell to madness due starvation. The ones who weren’t of such indomitable character descended into becoming vicious beasts, falling so low as to dine on their own brethren.

Tobias was one of the unlucky ones. He departed from your wagon one day in the hopes that he could find some weeds to eat. He never returned.

The only thing you and Guy could do was lay in your wagon, slowly withering away, as you couldn’t even muster the strength to get up and search for your missing comrade. 

One faithful day, a commotion broke out across the city. The peasants had decided it was high time to storm the manor and regain their lost liberty. Battle raged on across the streets of Mach’Cathair: malnourished peasants pitted against equally depleted guardsmen. After a few hours of listening to the commotion, you manage to gather some strength to get up and remove the curtains of your wagon. You see a great fire raging where once stood the baron’s manor. It seems your side had won.

In the distance, you are able to spot a dark figure slowly approaching your wagon, his arm is bloodied. He is dragging his sword along the ground. When he gets nearer, you recognize the figure — it’s Tani! Although he’s noticeably slimmer than you remember him. The famine had afflicted the peasants just as much as it did the townsfolk.

“Finally… I’ve found you,” he says once he’s drawn close enough.

“Did… did we win?” you ask.

“We did… finally.”

“Are you liberated?”

“We are my friend… thanks to you. We will never forget your deed.”

You gaze past him at the burning town, before laying your eyes on him once again with a nod. “You had better not.”

The End