Is There Splendor II

Beatrice had managed to extract herself from what appeared to be a warzone. Upon fleeing the house, she wound a path to a nearby river, far away from the shrill noises and explosions. Most of the surrounding farms had also been obliterated: House Adini had actually taken less of a beating than most. Whoever was doing this seemed content to launch individual shells at the farms.

The bombardment was an eternity of two hours, an endless stream of smoke and shrapnel. Hunching down next to a magnanimous tree, Beatrice clasped her hands and absorbed the whole scene. She didn’t cry, or shake with anxiety, she just bit her lip and furrowed her brow. Even after the detruction passed on into the distance, she sat there, watching tendrils of smoke stretch into the sky, following their masters on a march towards heaven.

As night fell, she drooped her head and plucked herself up, meandering towards the ruins of the nearest farm. Careful not to crush anything as she stepped through the smoldering ash, she caught herself looking for items to take. She wasn’t aiming to steal, really, only to find things that might be useful: it was clear she would have a journey ahead of her.

Picking up a couple of slightly blackened blankets, Beatrice made her way back to Adini. Upon entering the crater that was her home, a little bile rose into her mouth, only for her to swallow it back down. Glancing around for any food, she noticed an upturned barrel that appeared intact. She kicked it onto its side and removed a few loaves of bread and some apples. A moan came from upstairs, followed by a thud.

Her head jerked up and jaw steeled shut. She called out and listened for any response, but no noise followed. Shutting her eyes, Beatrice allowed herself a moment of pain. When she opened them, however, only action remained: she ran from the house, and didn’t stop running for a long time.

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