The Flames were heavy and thick. An onslaught of both dark red and orange merged with black to spiral to the otherwise darkened, moon-less sky. Petra, usually quiet, was thrust into complete pandemonium. Villagers ran about the small dwelling, some screaming, others trying to achieve the lower pathway, down the mountains. He could not leave. He would not. The seventeen year old with unkempt blonde hair parted down the middle and falling down to the sides of his long, hairless face. Unlike the rest, he’d not run, he’d not leave. No matter how thick the smoke clogged his lungs. He was stretched out in the village square, near the only well water source, staring up at the burning foundation. What the Flames ate at to reach the sky: His old man, Starlo’s Father. The man still screamed as he was being eaten alive on the created mount, hands and legs bound by susceptible rope. It tore through Starlo to watch this, hear those agonized screams and be able to do nothing. What would his sister think? He rolled on his knees now, pushed up onto his feet by pressed hands to the lying dirt. The young man ran toward where his Father was held prisoner. He shielded his eyes against the heat, they were wide. What could he do? It happened in an instant. “Father!” He cried out. To no avail, the man would only experience pain, and more pressing, behind him stood the one responsible. Shrouded by a red cloak, blackish-red long hair dangling outward moved as did the stranger. “Guh…” Starlo clenched his fists together taking a step back, his eyesight in capture to the dangerous one approaching slowly, that one’s hands curled up, flames surrounding them. A monster, that was what Starlo thought him to be. He’d disobeyed his old man. Not done what he asked by leaving Petra-the village-with his sister, no, Starlo had come back to find utter chaos and it was assumed he thrust his own existence into death’s grasp. Breathing hard, he turned his attention on his Father, the screams died down. The man’s corpse burned now, into nothingness. Light blue eyes diverted back onto the approaching stranger. Starlo whirled around, nearly tripping, remembering that his Father dropped the old Family weapon somewhere around here. The prized sword heirloom passed throughout the Cohen line from when they were blacksmiths. He bit down on his lip, unable to get the image of his father burning from his head. He glanced back, at the new stranger. Two villagers, attempting to escape, up the mountains, were caught leaving their home. The stranger’s attention remained on them now as their right hand raised, flames engulfing it. With a swoop, those same flames flew towards the two, igniting them, they drop to the ground where screams filled the air. Starlo couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It was something like a nightmare, had Petra really been invaded by the danger the elders warned people of in the past? The reason why their village lied in the mountains? He ran as quickly as possible knowing what he was about to do could potential have him end up like the last two, his Father even. His lungs Felt ready to explode. The cold mixed in with the heat expelling from the nearby flames. He saw it in the light. The shimmering broad sword lying underneath slight debris. Starlo dove toward it, his hand reaching out to ensnare the bronze-tipped hilt. As he finished rolling, his eyesight caught the phantom lingering close by, upside down by his own vantage point. The youth had been no stranger to using the blade, he’d not go down without a fight. He came to a complete stop. He gathered up on his knees, eyes narrowed, unable to see the Face which belonged to the stranger. It didn’t matter. He brought both hands on the hilt now bringing it back slowly then forward. At what was a mere second or two, the stranger reached up, behind their own body, withdrawing their own engraved steel blade, in a eased move. Both blades collided together. Starlo could feel the intense heat resonating from this one. His enemy. He kept his position, adding pressure to try to push the other back. It didn’t work, the other was equally strong, no more. Father…. Starlo thought about his sire, now dead, his light blue eyes trying to pierce the darkness belonging to the one near him, wanting to understand where such a thing was not possible. The air was both a mixture to cold and heat. He heard it next. A raspy laugh. The stranger needed only one hand to grip their own sword. With the other free hand, a fist decked Starlo sending him staggering back a distance and no longer in possession to the family sword. It dropped somewhere again. He lie rendered on his back, coughing up blood, looking at the darkened sky, hearing the footsteps approach him. That dangerous one lingered over him, obtaining both their sword and the one Starlo used, looking down at him. Laughing. Both blade tips came to Starlo’s neck. “No….” He managed to say feeling his skin being penetrated slightly. This couldn’t be the end. What about his sister? Where had she hidden, he needed to make sure she was safe. The stranger withdrew both swords turning them in their palms. Launching forward, both weapons came down upon Starlo, cutting into him like a pain never experienced before. He Felt a separation, couldn’t pinpoint it, but life was leaving him and he only glimpsed the sky. The dark sky. “Father….” His thoughts were on his sister too. However the darkness ensued, taking with his vision, his life too… He’d made a grave error…. “Father!” The yell was enough to wake the dead, let alone the occupants living in the three bedroom house. Starlo plunged to the wood flooring jolting awake now, a crazed look in his azure eyes. What just happened? In a collective mess, he wore black sleeping trousers and a thin cotton white shirt. The heavy quilt-like bed covers spilled from his big bed nearly touching the floor. He held his exposed neck, touching quickly, looking around the area which belonged to his messy bedroom. He was in his bedroom. Not outside. “Not outside.” He swallowed hard. A dream, it had been just a dream. Starlo’s hands quickly ran through his blonde hair. “A dream,” He repeated. “Only a dream but it felt so real.” His head turned now, shuffling in the hall, outside his room, caused him to look at the door, it pulled opened. “What is it?” Asked the deep voice. Moments later, his Father emerged inside, holding a mug of brewing hot tea, bigger, more refined light blue eyes trained on the seventeen year old. Sandy, blonde hair slicked back, away from the man’s slightly bearded face, and drew into a thick ponytail draped against his neck. He wore a cream-colored turtle neck over grass green trousers, glasses covered his eyes. Starlo looked at him in question. “You called me.” Henry took a sip of his tea. “That or you were having some nightmare by the looks of it.” Petra’s only doctor observed his son’s state. “I heard you all the way down the hall. I’m surprised your sister didn’t. I haven’t heard her stirring about.” “Sorry…” Starlo apologized, he shook his head. “I had a terrible nightmare. I thought it was real.” “What was it about?” Inquired his Father. “I’d rather not talk about it.” The younger man scooted near his bed. He dumped the covers back where they should be staring to the ivory curtains covering his windows, the sun wasn’t even up over the horizon yet, what time was it? Too early certainly. “Very well,” Henry looked around the room. “I suggest your top chore be to clean this room.” “It’s my space.” Starlo climbed back into bed opting on whether he should go back to bed, the nightmare bothered him to a degree. “And it’s my house,” His Father countered. “Make sure you clean it.” The man took another sip of his tea, eyes moving on his son now. “Since you’re up then you can get started on the chores rather than continue to let your sister do a majority of the work. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.” Starlo rolled his eyes. “I’ve not been neglecting my chores.” “Don’t roll your eyes at me either. Yes, you have. We all have things to do around this household.” “I know.” “Then make sure you do them.” Henry scolded. “I have patients to take care of, I need both you and your sister to do what I ask you. You’re older, set an example.” The man is now turning toward the door. “Don’t sleep in again, if I catch her doing your chores so help me…” Starlo’s Father did not complete the sentence, he was out the door quickly, closing it behind him. “And a good morning to you.” Starlo spoke bitterly as he dropped back down onto his bed throwing the covers over his body. He’d grown to despise Petra. Living up in the mountains, when the winter season approached, the village felt it. He did now. He buried himself under the covers cursing the exchange between him and his Father but living in a place where nothing happened. He wanted to see the world, something other than this place. His mother had more than likely felt the same…. Where ever she was. “My room is fine.” He huffed, eyes closing. “And I won’t sleep in.” Thoughts ran on the nightmare again. Only a dream… A dream… Like the smell of breakfast… Bacon, eggs, toast, ham. Breakfast. Breakfast?! Starlo jolted up again. Had he not simply just closed his eyes?! He need not turn to the windows for the morning sunlight drifted through the light curtains onto the wood floor expanding the view of his messy room. Clothes scattered throughout the closet, his sketches riddled all over the rectangular wood desk and even the floor. The room didn’t matter. He’d overslept again. He threw his body on the floor, legs raised high as the black trousers came off, thrown into a corner, he rolled to the closet grabbing some blue overalls. He acted quickly, to put them on leaving the left shoulder unhooked. Horses had to be fed, garden tended to….dammit. Starlo hopped barefoot around his room. Boots, where were his boots? Under the bed? The smell of food made his stomach turn in a hungry way. He dashed on his knees, looking under the bed. He discovered his boots. He put them on quickly, finding his heavy green coat under there too. That wrapped around his body also. He was ready and out his room into the hallway where the smell made his mouth water, too bad he couldn’t sneak in a bite, hopefully his Father would be too engrossed in a patient to notice him oversleeping and his sister, maybe she’d not do his chores. Starlo ran down the hall, took a left, beyond the washroom, and a right past his Father’s private, rarely used study. He almost made it to the kitchen, the source of breakfast, when he turned his head, looking out a window. He saw his old man, heading around back, with their horses, two thoroughbreds. Shit… “Dammit….” Starlo shook his head.