“Terror in Redcrest! Hear all about it!”
Some of the Shard’s inhabitants continued on their way, but the crier’s small crowd grew slowly as he regaled the neighbourhood’s citizens of the goings on without.
“Court Wizard Yvena has been outed as a traitor by Rell’s Heroes!”
At the mention of the name, a gaggle of children across the square began running.
“Rell’s Heroes! Rell’s Heroes! Quick, come on!”
They pressed themselves to the front of the crowd, weaving through the legs of the assembled Scalar crowd. They stood with rapt attention as the crier proclaimed the group’s deeds.
“The city was near reduced to ashes by the ousted wizard and foul summoned beasts, but a successful resistance was mounted by the exiled adventurers!”
The children looked gleefully at one another while some of the crowd nodded or whispered to one another.
“Witnesses at the scene described a titan of flame, banished whence it came by the group’s Aetherwright! Reports stated the woman sacrificed herself to save the city!”
The children’s expressions dropped, and as the crier moved on to news from elsewhere in the Empire, they left the scene.
“Is she really dead?”
“I guess so…”
“No, I don’t believe it! They’re Rell’s Heroes! They don’t die! The Stormcaller would have brought her back, or Sir Zorgar or...”
“But wouldn’t the crier have said that?”
“Maybe it isn’t as easy as that, maybe a devil has her soul or they have to get her back from Sepulture!”
“At least it wasn’t Lidda the Flameheart, she’s my favourite.”
The children stopped as one boy turned to face the last speaker.
“You take that back.”
The other boy seemed confused. “What?”
“You take that back. She was the best one.”
The other children watched the standoff.
“No way! What about Sir Zorgar or Captain Redscale? They’re way cooler than her!”
“Shut up! The Aetherwright was the best one and you know it!”
“Lidda would beat her in a fight any day! She’s a wizard!”
There was a clatter as the two boys lunged at one another, wrestling on the dusty street, a blur of flying fists and wayward kicks, and the other children whooped as they sparred. Eventually, Lidda’s champion emerged victorious and pushed himself to his feet.
“No wonder she was your favourite, you’re even weaker than her,” he taunted, brushing some of the dirt off his breeches.
The other boy pushed himself up to a seated position and stared down his opponent. “Well at least one day I’m going to be an artificer like her,” he said, “The Spire don’t take rock-for-brains simpletons like you.”
The opposing boy’s face contorted in rage, and he clenched his fists at his side. The prospective artificer readied himself for another blow, but watched as the boy’s expression suddenly softened and he began to sob. He turned and ran.
“Wait, I didn’t me—”
He was already out of earshot.