Hallsat woke to the acrid smell of smoke. Shaking his head to release the last vestiges of sleep from his system he opened his eayes, staring into the frantic refelection of flames in his Uncle's eyes.
"The house is on fire Hallsat, you have to leave now!"
Hallsat's thoughts scattered and left the cruel reality, it must be General Mackay's pillaging forces. For days they had been edging towards the villages in the south, razing whole towns and slaughtering the innocent. They had finally arrived.
Hallsat instantly sprang into action, grabbing the lightweight bow hanging above the window and swiftly pulling on a thick brown cloak, able to blend in with the green forest countryside. A flash of fire exploded into the doorway, seconds before Hallsat burst through it. Black smoke began to sting his eyes, and heated air tore at his clothes. It was die now or die later, Hallsat took the second option. Gathering the thick cloak around him, he dove through the bright flames and splintered timbers that were the remains of the strong oak door that had once stood there. He made it through, narrowly impaling himself on a fallen roof beam, sharp as a spear. The cool night air provided a drastic change from the deathly atmosphere of the burning hut. Scattered around him were archers, calmly shooting flaming arrows into the thatched roof of his house. Fear slowly bubbled up from the dungeons of Hallsat's mind, he needed to run. To escape from the death that slowly stalked him. But there was no escape, if he hid in the forest they would find him, kill him. But he had to try. Dropping the bow, Hallsat sprinted into the woods where he was quickly swallowed up by the utter darkness of the trees. In that moment he relaxed, a twig snapped, breaking the silence of the forest and bringing Hallsat back to reality. Men were chasing after him, their Hickory Statehood issued boots loudly pounding the forest floor. He ran, desperatly, he knew where he needed to go, ten miles away was the border of Ursor Celtica, an allied nation, a nation of greatness, if he made it across the border to a boundary fort he would survive. With his heart drumming against his ribs, a glimmer of hope shone through the dark veal of despair.