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The Valley of Humanity – Part 16

May 16, 2016

Drala and Drath looked to the eastern cliff for a place to leave the boat. There was the increasing noise of raised voices above them from the rope bridge, which still swayed and shook. ‘We can’t go south anymore, they’ll have the whole of Corren Bridge waiting for us’, said Drath, looking back at Drala, who nodded in agreement. They moved adjacent to the eastern bank for a good place to alight, the cliffs became lower and the ground below slightly greener. The outer bank was rocky and would not accommodate the boat. ‘We’ll have to climb over the rocks to get to the cliffs’, said Drala, breathing almost as a heavily as Drath. ‘It’s been a very long time since I’ve travelled one of these, I’m not as fit as I used to be’, he said.

There were a string of thuds as the boat became jammed between two of the many half-submerged rocks that formed most of the eastern bank. Kele clambered out first, crawling up upon one of the wet rocks, almost slipping and losing his grip in the process. Drath moved across the boat carefully then began to climb on the same rock as Kele, who had already reached the next and made his way towards the green turf below the cliffs. ‘Kele, stay where you are, I need to scout ahead,’ said Drala. Kele stopped where he was. He glanced down between the rock he crouched upon and the one in front of him. Foamy water lapped up the edges on both sides and washed to and fro through the small canyon, like a toy model, he thought to himself. Drala finally left the boat and quickly stepped onto the rock on the other side of the boat; very surefooted she easily jumped from one rock to another – only slipping once before recovering – overtaking both Drath and Kele in a matter of seconds. ‘Come on, we need to get to dry ground’, she said as she passed Kele.
Suddenly she froze, before looking up at the cliff edge from north to south. ‘We she should head further down the bank, they’re waiting for us up there’, she looked back to Kele and Drath who waited on their own rocks like monuments, then nodded up at the cliff directly ahead of them. ‘We’ll get under the cliffs and move down towards the trees down there’. She pointed South at a slope where Corren Wood spilled into the glade, the Corren trees replaced with smaller fir trees.

They reached the grassier ground below the cliffs, though not without a few slips and the occasional leg dropping into the cold frothing water. It began to rain, the clouds became a dark grey; Kele suddenly felt the chill of both weather and danger looming over him. He followed Drath who lumbered under the weight of his backpack. All things considered, the inventor had seemed rather sunny throughout their escape from death, as if something dormant had awoken from within him. Drala was further ahead, alert, crossbow in hand, looking in every possible direction as they made their way south.

High above, in the shadows of the wood, the hunters watched the three fugitives creep southwards. They knew Drala had sensed they were near, and they would follow them regardless. Slowly, they too crept towards the wooded slope that poured into the glade.

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