Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The King's Challenge #217 and #218

TKC 217 and 218

After Kay declares there is no opening overhead to reveal us in a flyby, we move into the lake cave, using the niched space for sleeping. He says the light passes along tunnels cleverly constructed for the very purpose. We are safe from view. We discover an ablution facility also, which is a godsend. Someone definitely created this space for long-term habitation.

Food is an issue. Soon a team will have to into the outside world to hunt and gather. I dread that day, for we will then be exposed.

While everyone settles into a routine – which is now able to mimic familiar day-night cycles – I am often huddled with Hal as he attempts to make contact with Damin. At the moment I cannot bear to speak to Kay, and therefore Hal at least diverts my attention … and offers an excuse to use. Kay does not deserve my anger, but I cannot erase Attis’ death from my mind.

Kay knows. I see him watching. I see him waiting. Soon. Maybe. He leaves me alone, for which I am grateful. It really is not his fault, but Attis was special.

“Siri, tell me more of the topography inside Arc,” Hal prompts.

We sit near the exit where it is quieter and can speak without interruption. I describe the slopes, the mountains, the valleys, but also tell him it is but a small part of what there is. Other than retrieving Lyra, we did not venture far.

Hal frowns. “The dips and rises interfere, I think. I sense Damin moving swiftly, but he is less accessible by the hour. He may be entering hillier country.”

“They are running, or staying on the move in order to hide,” I whisper. “What do you see?”

“Flashes of colour, but no specific image.” Hal gazes at me. “Except one.”

Snakes roil in my belly. “Tell me.” My hands clench into fists.

“A shield. I see an odd-looking shield and it glows green as if made of something otherworldly. I see it often, but can’t explain it.”

“Horin,” I murmur. Only Horin fits that description.

“The Warrior who was a mere boy only weeks ago?” Hal grimaces. “Siri, I don’t sense humanity in this ‘shield’. Are you certain it’s Horin?”

I nod. “Then he is no longer Horin. He has become Enris Makar once more.” Before I am able to explain what I mean, a shriek erupts, a malevolent sound that raises even the hair on my head. I jerk around to see Kay running swiftly towards me, his expression grim … and petrified. What? I see others slap hands over ears, falling to their knees. Standing, I shout, “What is it?”

Kay halts close to me and looks up. “There is a ship up there.” He lowers his gaze. “Something triggered something …” He silences himself, realising he makes no sense.

Except he does. To me. Something triggered something.

The name ‘Enris Makar’ has been heard by whatever listener is waiting to hear it. By the stars, they will … “RUN!” I scream.

I grip Hal’s arm and drag him with me. I hear Kay in my wake.

As we enter the dry cavern a deafening blast obliterates the cave behind us and sends us headlong to earth, scraping every exposed bit of skin. A wave of fire wafts over us. Water erupts as geysers and everywhere there is screaming … and then silence falls.

Absolute silence. Dead silence. Even the rocks are without sound.

I howl my grief as Kay’s arms enfold me. We scrabbled together into a huddle of fear, Hal included, and hold onto each other.


Everyone, young and old, is dead.


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