casual posting order.
The air was thick with a fog of war.

The sky was darkened with the clouds of hell.

The water was blackened with a dusty palour.

The ground was covered in a thin grey snow of terror.

And this death was nobody's fault. At least that was what she presumed.

She strode down the street, her eyes darting left and right as she held her naked blade in hand. Lips pursed she was alert and watching, taking in the information as best as she could. Chest rose and fell beneath her tight drakescale corselet, that was as much protective as it was provocative. The chainmail beneath swung and clinked gently to no particular rhythm, but her feet at least stomped out their own.

Her feet. Or her hooves. They strode over the grey ground, looking like a winter's day but it far from the throes of the later months. Instead the fog, the dark sky and the ground was all linked, being that of ash from a great volcano that the rumours had said had exploded very many miles south. Scara Brae, some said, others mentioned Terrinore. A great wind seemed to be pushing the cloud north, right into Corone, where there was a war ongoing, and mass exodus taking place.

Philomel Van Der Aart, matriarch and leader of the Guilded Lily had been on her way to partake in that war, on the road from Underwood to Radasanth, when she had come across this town. It was eeriely quiet, lost and seemingly forgotten. She had halted her faithful friend and steed, the wingless dragon Delath, to begin to walk through here. The long main road was like a graveyard, littered with abandoned pots and pans, toys and blankets.

As the fog grew thicker she sliced a strip of fabric from her trailing, ragged skirt and tied it stiffly around her mouth. It was not too late, for soon she heard the sounds of coughing. Eyes narrowing she scanned the area of sight once more before she saw a man, sallow faced and hunched against the wall. He held a heavily-stained handkerchief to his face and looked as gaunt as death itself.

Immediately she turned and began to stalk over to him, a strong, proud creature in this horrible place. It would be so different to Radasanth, who beat back the dark fog with bright lamps and shouting couriers. Instead this was a place of nightmares. Indeed, she had already been to Underwood, who survived through keeping indoors and their small, strong militia of rangers. Here the most itself seemed thicker and the ground seemed more scorched. Perhaps it was because the town was in a valley, or maybe it was just cursed.

"You alright?" she asked in a strong voice.

Wearily, the man looked up to her. Strange, ill eyes looked out from his face. He wheezed and did not answer.

She leant closer. "Where are your family?" she insisted.

The man paused, before raising a shaking finger and pointing beyond her. The faun glanced where he indicated, seeing a house with a shut door, boarded windows, and no smoke rising from the chimney. She cringed a little, hoping that he told the truth. But what reason would he have to lie?

She nodded once. "I'll see what I can do." And she began to turn back to him. "What is your name? Perhaps I can ..."

But she broke off when she saw him, slumped fully, head back and eyes looking empty. Lips parting she stared. In those few seconds ... How?

Leaning forwards she gently prodded him with her finger. "Hey. Hey?"

But his chest did not move. Nor did he blink. Instead he only looked up to the black fog, and beyond that the nightmare sky, finally broken from the terror that is life.