Two | The End of a Kingdom

Acsel shot upright into a sitting position.

‘Where am I?’

The room was unfamiliar and Acsel searched it frantically with darting eyes. He was perspiring a little, as though he had been exerting himself to some degree, but it was the more important thing to assess the situation and whether there was any immediate danger. The room was plain, however, and unthreatening, even if it was strange. The walls were blank wood, a cabinet stood in the far corner of the room, and a flickering light streamed in from a window in one of the walls. There was a door in the wall opposite the window. While Acsel likely came in only one way, he had two potential exits.

‘How did I get here? I need to–‘ Acsel swung his legs off the bed and slipped out of the sheet he had been wrapped in. ‘I need to what? What had I been doing?’ Acsel tried to remember, but his brain felt numb.

Despite missing his boots, Acsel was relieved to find he was still clothed in his own clothes. Upon closer inspection, however, Acsel couldn’t help but notice the singe marks at the sleeves of his white jumper and at the ends of his white trousers.

‘Burns?’ This new discovery was certainly disconcerting. Acsel did not remember being involved in a fire before–

‘Before what?’ Acsel struggled to remember how he had come to find himself here, but the numbness in his mind only grew. It was as though his brain had been sedated and thinking was slow. He considered Reaching Out, but decided that would be unwise. After all, Acsel had no way of knowing who would be listening. Instead, he padded over to the window and peered out.

Acsel did not like the look of what he saw outside the window. A city appeared to be burning below him and the distant shapes of people were running about between the buildings. Acsel looked again at the singe marks on his clothes and wondered whether they and the fire were related.

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