Scene 14  1560 4D

Night had shadowed everything under the trees. The starlight, diffused by the snow-clung needles of the pines, brought only a ghostly veil of light to the travelers’ faces. Inkurisar held up a hand. “All of you wait right here. The Gellin Sintherou folks on this route take their security very seriously. If any of you try to follow me, or wander off, this whole trip will get turned around and sent back. Do you understand me?”

Everyone slowly nodded. Inkurisar slipped off into the darkness ahead. Minutes passed. A groan from Tellina as Mentrianos helped her to sit against a tree. He turned to Astina. “She needs to rest. Do we have some water?”

Nakiran came to them. “Here. Inkui always carries extra.” She handed the skin of water to Tellina, who drank with relief.

As she handed back the skin, soft lights came up around all of them, and a woman’s voice, accented, said, “Greetings to you all. We have some questions for you.” The woman stepped out to face Derizan. “Are you the leader here of this family? I already know Nakiran and Munizkara. Will you introduce everyone else?”

He went through his own family first. When he came to Mentrianos and Tellina, the woman stopped him. “These two must come with me right now.” She led the two off into the shadows ahead as a man stepped out to replace her.

Derizan gestured to Guinban and Piotras. “Introduce yourselves.” Before either one could speak, a second man, smaller but moving quickly, emerged silently from the darkness and approached Piotras, sniffing.

After stroking Piotras’ left arm, he turned to the other and said, “No sign of the Hounds on him.” Then he vanished, but as he turned to go, Derizan saw a momentary flash of neck tattoos on him, and the sight made the hairs on his neck rise in fear.

All the lights faded but one, and a man’s voice said, “Follow this light. Quick and quiet. No talking. Single line.” The light bore left and down, and Derizan and the others followed it through an arch of roots into a narrow passageway. A thump sounded behind them; he guessed that the way had been closed. Dim mazes of tree roots arched over their heads as they went on, in a gradual descent.

After a while the passage expanded and they could stand and walk upright The man leading them stopped at a wall ending the passage, signaling them to stay quiet. They waited. A minute passed. The wall opened, showing a hidden door and a softly-lit room beyond. “Come on in,” a woman’s friendly voice said. “Welcome to a home of the Gellin Sintherou Coll. We offer you sanctuary as you go.”

Gratefully, Derizan, his family, and the two deserters came in. Their hosts sat them at a table and brought food and drink. Mentrianos and Tellina were nowhere to be seen.


Next scene.

Last Updated Friday, June 21 2024 @ 02:35 pm  11 Hits   
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