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The Valley of Humanity – Part 15

April 14, 2016

‘We’ll have to row north to the lake then circle about into the main river, from there we will make our way down past the village and under Corren Bridge. When we reach a good distance from the village we’ll alight on the western bank and make our way north-west,’ They were all sat in the boat, Kele at the front looking forwards, Drath behind him and Drala – explaining what the current plan was – at the aft; Drath and Drala were rowing. The boat swayed and bobbed as they headed for the bottom of the waterfall, where they would manoeuvre across the small lake that gave birth to the forked river, of which they would be travelling down the larger body of water that ran adjacent to the docks around the village’s outskirts. Drala explained that this part of the river would have less activity than that of the docks and would subsequently reduce the chances of being spotted, unless Feran had sent word throughout Lycian that Drala and Kele (and now Drath) were wanted and should be prevented from leaving the village. It seemed unlikely though, as Feran would want to ensure that all of the Mayoress’s armed supporters were dead before announcing his reign; any aggression could be easily suppressed afterwards. Kele looked up at the roaring waterfall. He’d seen it up close before, though only from one of the banks near the edge of the cliff. A long and continuous line of white foam, only occasionally broken minutely by a few ledges of the cliff-face, crashed into the cold frothy mixture a short distance from the boat. The cliffs were almost as tall as Lycian and lined nearly the entire glade surrounding the village. Kele wondered why they still called it a glade; it was too big and from what he understood a place like this should really be called a valley. He remembered his adventure outside the village a few weeks before, when he had snuck into the field to the west on the other side of Lycian, then followed a steep passage through shrub and rock up until reaching the woods at the top. From there he’d made his way through the south and over Corren Bridge – a huge construction of stone that joined the east and west of Corren Wood together and held up by spacious pillars that allowed large boats to travel to and fro between Lycian and the southern settlements down river. He had smiled innocently at the lookout guards on the bridge as he passed them. They knew who he was and understood he was to be left to his own devices, but they did give him the usual warnings: “Don’t wander too far!” and “Shouldn’t you have your hunting equipment if you’re going out there?!”

The waterfall was behind them now, the noise of the water on water impact slowly faded as Drath and Drala rowed laboriously down the outside fork of the river. Kele wanted to help, to do something to advance them all further and to take his mind off the perilousness of the situation, but he knew he wasn’t strong enough to keep the pace up for very long. Instead, he kept a lookout for other boats that could be trying to catch up to them. There was a ringing noise coming from the village, they all looked up at the gigantic mound of huts above them. There were shouts mixing with the constant ringing of bells, and then Drala spotted them. On the higher levels of the village two figures stood. One pointed down in their direction, the other seemed to yell as they ran out of sight; Kele and his companions had been spotted.

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