A chill overcame Boris as he leaned against what remained of the wooden wall of The Drunken Dancer. Embers softly simmered amongst the ruins from the fire that had destroyed the once-grand brawling tavern in the wake of Kor’s attack upon the city of Menzysii. Trying his best to control his breath in the frigid night and pressured circumstances, Boris leaned further into the wall.
A creak from the weakened wood threatened his position in the still night. The patrolling automaton just outside of the tavern’s remains turned a mechanical head towards the sound and began to stride rhythmically in that direction.
With a silent curse, Boris readied the makeshift cudgel in his right hand for the oncoming foe. It had been roughly a week since the fall of his city, but in those critical days he had learned much about surviving in this hostile environment. Being the primary person leading the rescue operations in the city ruins, he had needed to learn fast.
As the shadow of the automaton passed through the doorway just ahead, Boris leapt with an elegance unknown prior to his current lifestyle. The large man had once worked as a dock worker in the city harbor but had always weaseled his way into the easier and less work-intensive jobs. Years of such tactful avoidance had left him lazy and unfit; something he had regretted greatly in the wake of the assault.
The automaton let out a mechanical grunt in surprise as Boris attacked and attempted to raise its arms in defense, but it was too late. Cudgel met with metal and cudgel won. A bright spark of blue energy erupted from the head of the automaton as its head exploded in a flurry of shrapnel.
Acting in quick succession with Boris’s strike, a dwarven woman leapt from the side opposite the doorway and caught the automaton as it fell from the attack. Easing the body down, Elena pulled the body to where she had come from and set it into the shadows. Then, with a thumb that was crooked to the side from past life experiences, she let Boris know they were safe to proceed.
Boris looked to the group huddled behind him and gave a toothy smile, waving them forward. He did not know what fate had brought him to this point in life, smuggling people he had never known out of a warzone. He had never been much of a charitable man in his past life or one to go out of his way for others. The docks had been a dog-eat-dog world at times, and that ruthless existence had shaped Boris into what he had become.
But the invasion had changed him and in these dark days, despite it still being a dog-eat-dog world, he knew if he did not change his ways that he and the rest of his people might die out completely.
Off in the distance, a beam of light began to emanate upon the horizon as the sun began its slow descent up. And so it was that a once lazy and selfish man continued to lead a party of seven out of the ruined city of Menzysii.