Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The King's Challenge #22

TKC 22

The jailhouse is a squat stone building surrounded by high walls. Damin leads us through a gap and whistles softly.

“Here,” a voice responds.

Mirlin is old, but one look into his dark eyes and I know never to underestimate him. This one is a survivor and possibly a killer.

“Why bring the woman?” he demands.

In answer, Damin flips my hood briefly back.

Mirlin nods. “Indeed. Come then. We can’t afford to waste this night.” Glancing around a last time, he heads for the same gap. “Two others wait for us at the stairway,” he throws over his shoulder.

Soon we are running. Mirlin sets the pace and his urgency communicates. I suspect this has more to do with the foul weather suddenly ending and thus leaving us without our veils of protection, than with a feeling of being watched. I know Attis watches, but his is the good kind.

Near Normur’s northern limit, Mirlin turns abruptly west for the edge of the plateau. Between ancient and crumbling buildings, which seem to teeter and sway as if about to plunge into the abyss below, we come to a mess of wire and stakes. This is to discourage climbers from the marsh … and it hides a hidden set of stairs.

Not that I see them, for darkness is now absolute. Damin told me what to expect.

Mirlin finds a lantern in the rubble nearby and lights it. In the wavering pool of yellow, I see two others and they shift the barrier aside. Everyone moves fast. The rain is lessening. Sound alone will now give us away.

“Go, Lyra; I’m right behind you,” Damin whispers, and I set feet to this dangerous path and endeavour. There is no turning back. Three men are ready to kill me if I even think it.

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