Friday, August 21, 2015

The King's Challenge #24

TKC 24

Both men hold the boat Damin, Mirlin and I clamber into. The raging water threatens to sweep it away and us along with it. We bounce as if we are to overturn. When they release it, we are swept into the darkness.

How those two will manage alone with the second boat, I have no idea. All sight of them is lost within moments.

We hold on. There is some light from above and in its shadows I realise Damin dares not even touch the oars. The water is insane under us. The rushing noise is overwhelming. I begin to wonder if the lower city exists at all now. How many bodies will we discover churning in this morass?

There are points of light, however, ahead in the darkness. Lanterns lit for night. Those on high ground summon the less fortunate to haven.

Our boat grinds over something below and our swift progress finally slows.

“Walkway!” Damin bellows. He reaches for the oars and starts digging into the water.

Soon he is the one determining direction, not the current. The fear closing my throat subsides somewhat and I am able to breathe.

Mirlin lights his lantern again. I swallow convulsively when I realise we are rowing through a sea of bodies.

“You highborn can’t stomach reality,” Mirlin growls at me.

Instantly I desire to throw him overboard, to join the dead. How dare he?

“Quiet, Mirlin,” Damin snarls. He is about to say more, when a desperate shout arrests him. It has all our attention, in fact. Damin swings the boat.

Clinging to a tree we discover a woman and two children. Damin bumps against the tree and snags a lower branch. Hazardous as it, swiftly we have them with us. The little girl cries uncontrollably. Her mother draws her close.

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