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The Valley of Humanity – Part 9

December 1, 2015

Kele took a few minutes to take in the cool air whist Drala scouted ahead in the adjoining room beyond the narrow corridor. From distant reaches of the palace hut Kele could no longer hear the battle that raging outside his chamber just a short while ago. He’d stopped sweating and once he was cool enough started about brushing the dust and dirt from the crawlspace off his body and clothes. It was eerily quiet here in the softly lit room; Kele could feel the presence of the hollow armour around him, as if eyes stared down at him from within those black and vacant helmets. He noticed when looking around him that there were empty armour stands. In fact, more than half of them were missing any form of battle clothing. ‘Looks clear ahead’ said Drala as she emerged from the dark corridor, startling Kele out of his observations. ‘Drala, was there anything missing from the other room, like weapons and arrows and things?’ Drala looked static, like she’d been caught out suddenly. She reasserted herself, ‘Possibly, I’m not sure, it’s quite dark in there. We have to keep moving, the way ahead will only be clear for a short time, come on’. She gestured him to follow her down the dark corridor and, after taking a look back to the small section of the wall they had crawled out – just to check the strange secret bricked door was closed – he followed. They emerged into the next room and Kele looked about him for the same signs of missing equipment. Drala was right, it was dark but he could make out a few weapon racks from the feint glow of the hearth. They looked empty. She’s hiding something from me he thought to himself. He turned to see her slowly open the door at the end of the room and peer outside; he became hesitant, waiting close behind the whetstone wheel, just studying her. But I may have to stay with her for now if I really am in danger, and she may still lead me to Mother and Nelco.

‘Right lets go’ she whispered to him, signalling him to approach the door. He started forward, but stopped suddenly, a thought sprung to life in his head; from the shadows a frown appeared across Drala’s face. Kele looked about the dark room until he saw one: to the left of the dying hearth fire the top of a strung bow peeked out from behind a barrel of practice weapons. He quickly (but carefully) removed the obscuring wooden weapons and took the bow, then began hurriedly searching again, almost immediately finding what he needed underneath a work bench. The shimmering metal heads gave away the arrows in the darkness. There were about fifteen of them packed into a leather quiver lying on its side under the bench. He bent down and grabbed it. ‘What are you doing?! We have to go now! Drala’s voice reached above a whisper. ‘Almost done’ he replied quietly, whilst he slung the quiver over his shoulder and tightened the diagonal strap across his chest. He gripped the bow firmly with his left hand and hurried over to the door. ‘Are you sure you’re ready to use that?’ said Drala as he approached her. ‘Yes, if they’re coming to kill me then at least I’ll make it harder for them’ he said, a fear building in him suddenly, as if a distant memory had just come back to haunt him. ‘Good’ replied Drala. She took another look out the door, ‘because they’re coming’.

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