The massive stone tower crumbled, the vaulted wooden roof throwing sparks as it blazed, the flames licking the dark sky. The burning hulk fell off of the cliff it had sat upon, crushing the wooden homes beneath, causing more coals to spread along the road and dwellings below. Screams could barely be heard, sounding almost like a distant choir behind the deafening roar of the flames and collapsing castle.
Aesop eye’s glistened with tears and shock as he stared out over the ruin that had once been the jewel of Aiolia. The tower of Ioannina that had once stood tall and proud, a beacon for all those who traveled the winding roads of the realm, now lay unrecognizable as a pile of rubble. The place where he had first met Eternal, the place where his brother had failed his father’s test, the place where Dennis had been sentenced to death. Wiping his eyes, Aesop felt anger and a sense of pride where he had felt sorrow for the grand statue. The tower of darkness was now gone, a symbol of the suffering of the masses was decimated. No longer would his father and his friends stand about the table discussing their wealth while their servants shivered and died in the stables protecting their possessions. No longer would Eternal lounge in his throne-like chair, sentencing innocent men to their deaths. This was the beginning of the revolution, and the spark that would ignite the fire.
Aesop gazed out of the stained glass, the rising sun beginning to light the room. The red and orange of the sky matched the flames almost beautifully as the fire began to spread to the warehouses lining the docks. “The merchants deserved it,” he told himself, “flaunting their wealth.”
“But Dennis was a merchant,” a little voice in the back of his mind whispered. “He was innocent and just as much a victim.” Aesop quashed the thought, but it flooded back into him at full force.
Yes, they had won. The Basiluzzites had snuck in the sallyport with his help and burned and murdered many of the nobles before being overwhelmed and driven out by the golems and guards. He had hidden in Eternal’s chambers at the height of the other tower of Salina. But, he couldn’t shake the feeling that the cost of fighting might be larger than the people they were fighting for.
Aesop just didn’t know.