After the fire came a period of great pain. And then a chance to relax in the peaceful balm of healing. The tell me that I saved lives that day, but all I can see is the flames as they closed in from all sides.
All I had on me was my axe, and the inn was on fire.
But there were people trapped inside, as well as my rat companion and my cat owner.
What else was I to do?
I shaped what mana I could into a wedge that got me in the door. I moved as fast as I could, locating people and pushing them out behind me. That stupid, fat little Prince was particularly annoyed with me. Apparently laying hands on his royal person was a crime punishable by burning me at the stake. I explained calmly where he could insert his stake, and saved him anyway because my cat owner would not be pleased otherwise.
So I’m not a hero. My motives were not pure. I saved everyone I could, my rat companion, and my cat owner because it was what had to be done. I don’t do heroism. I don’t do fairy tales. I did not do this to rescue a princess or slay a dragon.
Of course, I am slightly curious what set the inn on fire. When I last saw it, the sod roof was well watered and the half-timber walls were intact. Now, fully a quarter of the building is just gone, and much of the rest is at least scorched if not burned beyond recognition. My room now has a view of the orchard beyond the mill that was not visible with the roof on. This makes the room rather less comfortable that before the fire.
There apparently was a hobo hanging around the back before the fire broke. No one seems willing to blame it on him. But then, no one has an alternative explanation. Even the obvious suspects have ironclad alibis.
The hobo has apparently fled town, which tends to lend some credence to the idea that the fire was his fault. But if it was his fault, exactly how did he do it?
As I’ve said already, the sod roof was well watered and recent rains had the timbers above the stone wall well wet down and difficult to light. The inn yard was well lit by oil lamps in sconces, but those all had the patented extinguishers. No one wants to be in a hay barn with an open flame.
I am not a hero by choice. But I might just be the hero this town needs, if I can bring them hope.
After the fire, and with a new resolve, I roll up my sleeves, wind up as much mana as I can find, and get to work.