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The Valley of Humanity – Part 11

December 20, 2015

They were heading down a stairwell, this time on the correct side much to Kele’s relief; or what would have passed for relief. Drala led him down cautiously, but with a continuous pace, her sword drawn. They were now in the depths of the palace hut that connected with the lower section of the village according to Drala. They had passed through another secret door, this one hidden outside the armoury to the left; it looked like any old wall. Drala had pushed a brick near the bottom right corner and almost the entire wall swung back. She shut it firmly after them and they had made their way through an unlit narrow corridor then finally reached a spiral staircase, it seemed to go on forever. Kele’s hands were shaking and he felt sick, he wanted to tell Drala but guessed she would tell him they had to keep quiet and keep moving. So he focused on his breathing and the timing of each step as they both descended.

He hadn’t taken the arrow. He knew he should have, might save his life in the future. But have couldn’t bring himself to pull it out of that guard’s chest. He shook the image from his head like he’d done so many times since that moment in the armoury. Drala was leading him by the hand through the darkness and feeling her way with the sword, tapping the curved walls enclosing the stairwell. There was a sudden shift in in Kele’s balance as the steps ended and flat ground began. In the distance ahead, Kele could see lines of light in a rectangular shape much like the one in the crawlspace, only taller. Drala released his hand, ‘right, lets hurry’ she said, and they moved quickly toward the slithers of light.

 

Drala opened the heavy brick door a few inches and peered outside. Kele could hear the feint flow of water and the sound of people shouting and calling and moving heavy things, most probably wooden cates and tools. Drala sheathed her blade then beckoned Kele to follow her through the door. They emerged into a small space surrounded by barrels and crates; Drala closed the brick door behind them, one would have to look very closely to where the edges don’t quite touch. Kele suddenly felt sick again, and this time he could not hold it in. He hurried to a corner. Drala quickly turned away and remained silent. When Kele was finished he was still facing the corner, hands on his knees supporting him as he bent over slightly; he took deep long breaths. A hand gripped his shoulder, then Drala spoke with a heavy effort to be reassuring, ‘The first time’s the worst. Today was also my first; In fact I barely had time to acknowledge it before I was forced to do it again’. Kele struggled between words breathing steadily, trying to keep his stomach at bay. ‘I… thought you’d… killed another Alysmon before…?’

I’ve hunted and killed plenty of animals, some in defence our kind, but never one of our own kind.’ She squeezed his shoulder tighter. ‘I’m sorry you had to do it, but we’re both in danger.’ Kele stood straight and turned to face her, he looked up into the bright green orbs of her eyes, fierce with some distant focus. ‘What’s going on Drala?’ He asked finally. ‘I have to know, you knew things were missing in the armoury. The guard I killed, the one you killed, I’ve seen them around, they were palace hut guards. Why did they try to kill us?’ His voice broke above a whisper and Drala’s hands were raised slightly, on the verge of signalling him to keep his voice down. Her green eyes became sad, honest and almost remorseful, he noted. There was an audible sigh. ‘Kele…’ she began. He just stood firm, the same fixed expression on his face. ‘Your stepfather Feran, he’s overthrown your Mother.’

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