Aline walked purposefully towards the largest structure inside the black wooden walls of Kados, an inn called the Angry Bear. Two other inns were within the walls of the town, but the Angry Bear was by far the most popular. Kados was a small pioneer town of just more than two thousand people and there was not a need for a great number of inns anyway. The Yarith Mountains loomed large to the south, sporting white capped peaks and green colored slopes because of the evergreens. Tendrils of blown snow extended out from the lower peaks, brushing the sky with thin wisps of white. The largest mountain in the range, Balaam's Peak, was perpetually covered with thick clouds. Her mother told her it was bad luck to build Kados so close to Balaam's Peak. Her mother told her tales of the vilest deeds done there. Deeds so wicked that the gods themselves hid it from the sight of humans. "Someday the elves will regret building Kados so close to that place. Even the spirits fear it." She pulled her angora cloak tighter around her thin shoulders as a frigid wind blew southward toward those verdant slopes.
Although it was uncomfortable, Aline was grateful for the cold. She knew that by this time of the year she should have been trudging through snow up to her knees. The extended summer and fall resulted in a larger harvest, but the older townspeople walked around with restrained worry on their faces. The last Demonwar ended long before Aline was born, but towns here on the frontier never really saw an end to the battle. It was always contested ground, where demons fought for the lands that were theirs before humans came. Kados had not seen a full fledged assault on its walls in nearly fifty years, but the older townspeople knew what the unchanging seasons meant. She prayed that things would not be as they were when she was young.
She remembered when the demonspawn, twisted offspring of demon and animal, spewed forth from the the mountains like an evil avalanche. They killed indiscriminately, destroying everything they touched. It was only a valiant battle fought by the elves of Darkwood that saved Kados. For two days she layed motionless in a pile of corpses until the elves reclaimed the town and rescued her. Aline remembered the Angry Bear burned to cinders and maimed bodies strewn about like dolls. The demonspawn killed everything, but especially enjoyed killing men. At times women and children were also victims, but elation could be seen on their twisted faces when they killed fighting men. Demons never compromised, and were incapable of showing mercy. Why should their animal offspring be any different? Death had to be merciful compared to capture, though. Women and young children had it much worse in the hands of demonspawn and their darkling masters.
A group of children ran laughingly in front of her, throwing sticks at an effigy near a wooden fence that marked off Katie Moran's dye shop. The children leaped with glee when they struck the paper effigy. She was their age when the demonspawn came.