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|Survival, at any cost personal survival is all that matters...||
The moon had set; the world was in the grey light of pre-dawn. Sam lay with his hands cradling his dice, while Jack leaned against the wall.
“What do you thinks going to happen us Jack?”
“Hmm?” Jack shook the heavy pull of sleep from his eyes.
“What’s Lordel going to do to with us?”
“Well that’s hard to say Sam. I don’t think we’ll pull watch for a while. With all this rain, can’t say I mind that.”
“You’re avoiding my point!” Sam said with a grin.
“Yes, yes I believe I am.”
“Because I don’t know!”
In the silence that fell, they heard the soft footsteps outside. A quick glance between them and both Sam and Jack were on their feet ready for almost anything.
The handle twitched first one way, then the other. Neither Sam nor Jack breathed or blinked. The subtle sound of the lock being picked could be heard over their pounding hearts.
The telltale click of the lock was all the warning they had.
* * * * *
Matt grumbled as he trudged up the stairs. He shouldn’t have snapped at that officer. Now he had to clean the chamber pots of the Holding Rooms. At least Lomwen was with him, but only to ensure no one got out; or hurt.
It seemed sad, that most of the pots were empty. The Touched folk were almost afraid to go…
Lomwen gripped Matt’s shoulder and pointed. Matt stared at the spots of blood on the floor.
“Stars above! One must have got loose!”
They drew their swords and advanced quickly but carefully.
* * * * *
The door swung open very slowly. There was no one there!
Neither Jack nor Sam moved. Every muscle was tense.
Sam didn’t see the black object flying towards him. Jack saw the flash of a dark wrist as it released the object. Without thought Jack moved.
The obsidian knife connected with Jack’s left side with a sickening thud. He sank to his knees.
Their attacker growled and raced at Sam.
Jack pulled the black knife from his side and slashed at the approaching enemy. Not used to such a short blade, combined with his injury slowed his movements. He sliced his attackers arm.
The charcoal eyes turned and focused on Jack.
“Annoying fly.” He gripped Jack by the throat.
Jack couldn’t look away. Where was Sam?
“You are lost…
You are confused
Why do you think you have something left to lose?
They don’t care for you! They know you are lost.
They are plotting against you
Only I can help, only I can save you
Come to T’irrinir, poor lost one
Only I can help, only I care
Come, come to me and my care.”
The words rippled through Jack. The haunting voice drowned all other thought. Something was wrong… he had to get out…
Sam stared in horror as this humanoid thing chocked he friend; but he had to get out. She was calling to him.
He ran the room and skidded to a halt. What were they doing? She was right he had to get out. In panic he ran the other way.
* * * * *
“SAM!” Matt couldn’t believe it Sam was out! And the look of fear and confusion he gave them before running…
“No, wait-” Lomwen stopped Matt from running after Sam. Which probably saved his life.
T’irrinir dropped the lifeless Jack to the floor and raced out the cell and was confronted by Matt and Lomwen. Knife hand he lunged forward.
Both Matt and Lomwen acted by trained instinct. Matt dodged the oncoming blade, and parried the blow away from both of them.
Lomwen flicked his wrist and his sword tip protruded from between the strangers ribs.
T’irrinir was stunned he was dying. He felt Nadir’s stupefied reaction. At least she’d found safety. T’ahir was angry, the Ti’Annir, disappointed. His last thoughts were of she who had trained him. Cysiri, his Acoolie birth mother She was taken at a young age, lured away from her family. She became a ‘Lurife’, one who was trained to the Master level, only to bear children. Once she had trained Tirrian (who grew to be T’irrinir on reaching the Master level), she was taken away and most likely killed Tirrian had always asked her many questions before she was taken away from him. Cysiri had prepared him for life she never spoke of death.
* * * * *
Matt spotted Jack first, sprawled face down on the ground.
They both moved to his side. Matt rolled Jack over; one look at his slack features told them he was gone. As Matt looked into Jack’s mischievous friends mercurial eyes he saw the same look he had glimpsed in Sam’s eyes moments before.
“Lomwen, that fellow was a Gull! Did he tough you?”
“No, if that is so then you friend here was lucky. Come, we must find Sam.”
They left the keep in search of a frighted puppy-like Sam.
* * * * *
Sam ran from the Holding Room corridor, remembering at the last moment to walk out normally. He nodded as people passed him.
There was the gate. Would they try to stop him?
He walked smoothly to the small postern and he was through with a nod to the guard on duty.
He was free.
Nadir was upset she needed him. Sam set off with a purposeful stride.
* * * * *
Nadir was hiding under an upturned dinghy. She was murmuring to herself.
“The spells half cast, return I must
The boyling Sam, he will be dust
If he does not enter into my trust
Soon he will see, the great honour
That is being Acoolie
Now T’irrinir is gone
I become the Master
The boy will be mine to train.” She burst into hysterical weeping laughter.
* * * * *
Sam wondered that he did not wander aimlessly, but knew which ally’s to go down, which turns to take. Somewhere deep in his mind something screamed ‘This is wrong!’ he paid it no heed because Nadir needed him and he would find her. Nothing else mattered till then. He would work out what was wrong later.
He smiled at people as they passed. Everyone avoided coming in contact with others. So the small crowds were orderly and moved swiftly. Left here, right there, straight ahead, he was close.
Here, she was here! Why couldn’t he see her? He knew she was here.
‘Sam… Sam.. Come to me. I need your help; your protection.’
The voice in his head was pleading. He drifted to the old dinghy.
He neither cried nor struggled as the pale-scarred arm reached over and pulled him from view.
|Chapter 10, In the Royal Court, part 1||Chapter 08 - The Scout, part 2|
|Chapter 02 - The Tunnel, Part 1||Chapter 07 - On to Elven home|
|Chapter 02 - The Tunnel, Part 2||Chapter 15, Visions and Fellowship|