Liasna yawned as she opened the door to the schoolroom. The night had been long and sleep had not been forthcoming. A worry knot squeezed her stomach and she was becoming more and more convinced that Karayana had not run away. Mona sat leaning her head on the wall and staring out of the window, looking weary too. Galron was scrunched over his desk, squinting through an old pair of glasses that he held to his eyes, scrutinising some papers. Neither moved nor acknowledged her entrance.
For a while she watched as dust motes swirled in the rays of sunshine that brightened the room. What a wonderful place to learn in. So bright and airy, it reminded her of the tower room at Highview where she had spent years studying hard with Galron. She let her eyes settle on Karayana’s chair, and smiled as she remembered the little girl reciting her lessons, while trying to tear her eyes away from the window and the beautiful day outside. Blinking back tears, she walked purposefully towards Galron’s desk. Mona looked up first and smiled faintly at her mother, before picking up her open book and trying to read again.
“Galron?” Liasna spoke quietly, not wishing to make the old man jump.
His head snapped up and he looked blankly at Liasna. Then, with a slight shudder, he managed to focus again.
“Liasna, my dear, how are you fairing this morning?”
“Tired and worried, I fear. I wonder if we can talk in my rooms after Mona’s lesson?” Liasna stared intently at the old man and he nodded.
“Certainly, dear. Could you have Cook bring me some of her adorable crumpets?”
Liasna smiled fondly and glanced at Mona, who raised her eyebrows.
“Of course I will.” She squeezed the wizened old hand before leaving.
She decided to walk the long way back to her rooms, and so, after first visiting the kitchens to order crumpets, she meandered through corridors and up staircases, lost in thoughts of her daughter. Without realising it, she had taken the route to Karayana’s rooms. Passing the end of the corridor, she caught a faint waft of stale air that brought her up short. Frowning, she followed the smell, but it drifted away to nothing halfway along the hallway. She sighed and carried on to Karayana’s chambers. Maids had been in and prepared the rooms for her return. Everywhere was spotless. Not even a fallen hair to say that Karayana had ever been there. The travelling clothes that she had arrived in the day before were folded neatly on a chest under the bedroom window and Liasna picked up the wool cloak, breathing in its scent. She smiled. It smelt of fresh air and woodlands. As she refolded it, a square of paper floated to the floor. Her daughter’s flowing script covered the page, hurried notes that lightened Liasna’s heart. Her initial thoughts had been correct, then. Karayana had learnt a little of the art of her ancestors. Liasna prayed that she had learnt enough to help her in whatever predicament she was now in. She pocketed the paper and silently left the room.
A lantern in the corridor had blown out and she stopped to relight it from its neighbour. As she replaced the glass over the flame, a tingling sensation ran up her spine and caused her to freeze. She let her senses roam the air, searching for a source. Carefully, she turned round and scoured the corridor. Nothing was obvious. Shutting her eyes, she allowed her other senses to take over. Subtle movement, like the whisper of the softest breeze, played in front of her and she stretched her hand forward into it. The solid wall stopped her short and she opened her eyes, puzzled. Running a hand along the wall, she managed to find it again. Fear clutched at her heart as she realised what it was she could feel. Only an adept could create a door of this nature, using his or her own energy. If the energy had been her daughter’s, she would recognise it instantly. This was not of Karayana’s making, which probably meant she was in more danger than Liasna dared contemplate. She needed help. Hurriedly, she left the passage and made her way to her rooms. Morden was of no help in this matter. Only Galron knew this magic well enough to open that door. And even with the help of her own, now meagre, energy, she wasn’t sure if he still had the strength to do it.
Karayana came round to the smell of harness leather. Her head ached terribly, but she was warm and comfortable. As she became more aware, she realised she was being held close to someone, someone whose grip was firm but kind. With a sudden start of panic, she opened her eyes and attempted to get up from her prone position.
“Be careful. You’re all right; you just passed out for a minute. I managed to catch you before you hit your head.”
She relaxed slightly.
“How are you feeling?”
“Woozy.” She tried to calm her racing heart and breathe normally.
“I’ll lift you onto the bed. Put your arms round my neck.”
She found herself doing as she was told. Leaning her head against Portheas’s shoulder, she closed her eyes as he lifted her easily and gently placed her onto the stone pallet. As the back of her head touched down, she groaned and turned quickly onto her side.
“What is it? Are you hurt?”
“Someone hit me on the back of the head. That’s how they got me here. I can’t lay on it.”
Portheas placed his hand on her cheek, making her jump.
“Sorry, I can’t see a thing. I was going to check that there was no wound there. Does it feel tight, as if blood has matted in your hair?”
Karayana thought for a minute.
“No. I think it’s very bruised. It’s like an egg at the base of my skull.”
“You’re probably suffering from concussion. Wait a minute.”
She heard rustling and then he gently lifted her head and placed a bundle of folded cloth under it.
“Thank you,” she whispered. Tiredness was creeping up on her and her eyelids began to droop. She could smell leather again and another smell that was comforting. Sleep crept slowly around her.
“Karayana. Don’t fall asleep.”
Groggily, she prised open her eyes.
“Karayana, answer me. You mustn’t sleep. Try to stay awake.”
Portheas shook her slightly.
“I’m trying,” she muttered.
“Let’s talk, see if we can piece things together. I haven’t got a clue as to who’s holding us, or why.”
Karayana listened to his voice. It was deep and clear. I wonder if he sings well, she thought, drifting off again. He was being so nice to her. Shouldn’t be, because she’d been horrible to him, and thought horrible things about him; perhaps he was nice really.
“Karayana.” She jumped as his voice whispered loudly in her ear.
“Yes, I’m here,” she stumbled over the words, trying to wade out of the fog in her mind.
“Perhaps it was a bad idea, laying you down. Come on, sit up a bit. I need you to have a clear head, in case they come in again.”
Portheas eased his arm under her neck and helped her sit up. She had to grab at him while her head caught up with her body, drooping forward until she leant against his chest.
“Take it steady. It’ll soon pass. I’ve hit my head more times than I care to remember. It’s not much fun.”
“No,” she whispered. She stayed as she was, breathing deeply until she was able to lift her head without the blackness encroaching on her mind.
“Better?” There was genuine concern in Portheas’s voice.
He let her go and jumped up to sit beside her.
“Why are you being so nice to me?” she whispered.
“We’re in this together,” he paused. “Whether we like it or not, we need each other if we mean to escape.”
“But how can we possibly do that?” She knew she sounded defeated and hated herself for it.
“I haven’t figured that out yet,” he replied in a small voice.
“So you ran away, I hear,” he said suddenly.
“From me?” he asked a little too brightly.
Karayana grimaced. She really did not want to discuss this with him.
“It’s a long story.”
“Well it doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere for a while.”
He settled back against the wall, waiting.
“I want my life to mean something,” she began.
“Don’t we all?” he asked quietly.
She sighed and rubbed the back of her head tenderly.
“I can’t see that it will mean much at all if I’m married to you.”
“It will mean much to your people if Ebrocia is joined with Araevia. And your sons will be heirs to a powerful and prosperous province.”
Although she knew he was trying to be nice, she could feel her anger brewing again. She wanted to hit him for being so pompous. Through gritted teeth, she tried to explain.
“I am not entirely sure that I want any sons. And what if I had daughters?” she added. “I am also not clear how relinquishing control of my father’s lands to you would make much difference to Ebrocia. I can only see Araevia’s advantage in that.”
Instantly, she regretted not giving more thought to her words. She didn’t mean them to sound so insulting. She could almost feel Portheas seething beside her.
“You are a woman and, as such, have no choice,” he eventually muttered darkly.
This time her anger became a flame inside her.
“If I don’t marry you, Ebrocia will never be yours,” she growled.
“If you don’t marry me,” he returned, “your sister will and you will be the only one that loses.”
He jumped down to return to his own bunk.
“You are so pompous,” she hurled at him.
“And you are a spoilt little girl who needs to grow up,” he threw back.
Karayana stared into the dark after him, imagining herself as a dragon blowing out her anger as flames aimed at his head.
She lay back down, finding his cloak pillow. It was soft, and that smell – it smelled of him. Now her anger turned inward. Why do I find myself wanting him? I hate everything he stands for. Why do I find his smell a comfort? Sitting up a little too quickly for her head to cope with, she forced herself to speak civilly.
“Would you like your cloak back?”
He cleared his throat before speaking.
“Perhaps I should.”
Karayana crossed to him and held out the garment, suddenly reluctant to let it go. He took it and, with a practised movement, slung it around his shoulders.
They sat in silence on their respective beds for what seemed like hours. Karayana’s thoughts spiralled around her head, and no matter what she did she couldn’t make them stop. The cold gradually sank deeper into her bones until she wondered whether she would ever be warm again. Wrapping her arms around her knees she tucked her head down trying to create a small pocket of warm air. Her head pounded mercilessly now and her body was attacked by bouts of shivering. A shuffling from Portheas made her raise her head. He stood before her.
“Are you as cold as I?” he asked quietly.
“Probably colder,” she whispered sarcastically, “seeing as I have no cloak.”
He was quiet for a moment and she berated her tone, yet again.
“I was going to offer to share it with you,” he said, his voice clipped.
“Portheas, I am sorry. I will gladly share your cloak.”
He jumped back up beside her and wrapped the cloak around them both, forcing them to huddle so that their bodies touched. Karayana tensed and then gave herself up to his body heat. Gradually, the shivers subsided and sleepiness took over. She fought the urge to snuggle into his arms and close her eyes.
“So,” Portheas whispered into her hair, “where did you disappear to exactly?”
She thought carefully about what she should tell him. She didn’t wish to get Ral into any sort of trouble, but then again, she didn’t have to tell all the details either.
“I didn’t really have a plan. It was an impulse. I was halfway round a trip to see Ebrocia before my marriage. As we started back towards home I …. I suppose I panicked.”
“Do you really dislike me that much?” he asked softly. “And if so, why did you return?”
Karayana felt shame wash over her.
“Not you, Portheas. But the thought of marriage scares me to death. I treasure my freedom. Please don’t take offence, but if I married you I would lose that.”
After a while, he spoke again.
“You still haven’t told me where you went.”
His tone, she noticed, was decidedly neutral.
“Well, at first I disguised myself as a peasant woman and headed for the nearest town. It was an interesting experience. It made me appreciate people more, their struggles, the hardships they live with every day that are just part of life to them. I used my money carefully and kept my own company, just happy to observe. I actually began to see myself quite differently, and to despise rather a lot about myself and the life I had always lived. Then one day, I was robbed. Not hurt, fortunately, but I was left penniless. I had a day’s worth of food left, which I managed to stretch out over three.”
“You didn’t think to contact the local constable?” Portheas interrupted.
“I considered it, but I felt like… well, it didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”
“I don’t understand.”
She sighed. “Perhaps this isn’t the best time to talk through this. I don’t think you’ll understand any of it.”
She felt him stiffen. Fearing he would storm off again, she carried on.
“I will try though if you want.”
“I think you owe it to me.”
She swallowed down the flare of consternation and carried on.
“I left the town, thinking I might find food in the countryside. I actually did quite well. It occurred to me that having everything you want was actually a form of imprisonment. It stops you seeking, growing and accomplishing things for yourself. Suddenly I was free and I knew I wanted to stay free. Then one day I met Ral.”
She felt him tense again.
“Who’s Ral?” he asked quickly, a jealous edge to his voice that surprised her.
“An old man from a land somewhere across the sea. He became my teacher.”
She thought for a moment, not wanting to give too much away.
“He taught me to look at life differently. To see things you would not normally see, to be aware of my surroundings in completely new ways. He showed me how to gain energy to keep me healthy and to heal people, and to defend myself.”
Portheas gave a little snort of laughter.
“Sounds lovely but hardly something to stop you getting married.”
“You are missing the point,” she whispered sadly, “I suddenly knew that I could give so much more to Ebrocia by learning these ancient arts, than by giving myself and my lands over to you. I saw a point to my life.”
Portheas had no time to react to her words as heavy footsteps foretold the arrival of someone at their door. He launched himself across the room, pulling his cloak with him, while Karayana couldn’t move; fear and confusion wrapping her in their cold clutches. She could hear urgent movements from Portheas but didn’t have time to ask what he was doing as the door opened stiffly. The light fell into the room and she had to quickly look away. Someone approached and a large hand grabbed her roughly by the arm.
Whoever he was, he managed to put so much menace into that one word, that Karayana wouldn’t have considered disobeying. Her stomach churned as she stood unsteadily. If she slitted her eyes she could just about stand the light. Another man had hold of Portheas and was shoving him roughly out of the room. He had somehow managed to fashion the ropes so that he still looked bound and he shuffled in front of her, blocking any view ahead. He stood tall, taller than both their guards, and held his head high.
“Walk.” Her guard pushed her roughly, and she stumbled through the doorway to stand in a dimly lit corridor, although it seemed like daylight after the blackness of their cell. The girl leant against one wall, and behind her, keeping to the shadows, was a cloaked and hooded figure, of medium height. Karayana stood at the side of Portheas, aware that her head only just reached his shoulder. She felt dwarfed by his height and his presence, for he stood proudly, defiantly staring at the girl. Karayana felt like a ragged servant at his side.
“What a handsome couple you do make,” the girl said, walking seductively over to them.
She stood in front of Portheas, looking him up and down. She must have been around Karayana’s age and she would have been beautiful if it weren’t for the scowl on her face. Her hair was cut short, and was a rich dark brown. Exuding confidence, she sauntered round them, a slight grin playing on her lips, until she stopped in front of Karayana and spoke confidentially, as if speaking to a friend.
“Why would you run from him? He is a hunk. Just look at him. Tall, dark, handsome. Blue eyes, muscular,” here she ran her hands along Portheas’s chest and down both arms. “Oh yes,” she crooned. “Extremely muscular. What would I do to be held in those arms? Perhaps I should keep him for myself. He would make a rather interesting plaything. Would you like that, Portheas?”
She draped her arms around Portheas’s neck and looked up at him with big, innocent eyes. Karayana was shocked to feel jealousy rising in her. She also felt her energy washing through her body, making her tingle. It had risen to her aid, but did she have the confidence to use it? Did she have the strength?
She watched on as Portheas looked down at the girl and smiled appreciatively. Karayana felt her anger flare again, and add to her energy. How dare he flirt? He was betrothed to her!
“You are an attractive girl. What is your name?” He spoke warmly, coyly almost.
“Mica,” she answered with a shrug.
“Mica. Pretty,” he smiled. “But I prefer to put my arms around a woman, rather than them being tied behind my back. Rather like this.”
And before she knew it, Portheas had freed his hands and caught hold of Mica by the throat.
“Touch me and she dies,” he snarled at the shocked guards. Karayana watched in fascination as Portheas’s hand completely wrapped around Mica’s slender neck, but still she smiled cruelly.
“Ah, dear Portheas. You have much to learn.”
And Portheas was instantly propelled away, crashing against the nearest wall, where Karayana was horrified to see him crumple to the floor. Before she knew what she was doing she raised a finger and pointed at Mica, unleashing a completely uncontrolled burst of energy. The girl skidded backwards into the cell, her hands held up as if to ward off the energy, an almost comical look of shock registering on her face. Karayana glanced once at the cell door, pulling it closed with her gaze. It shut with a loud crash and she heard a lock click into place. Spinning around, she saw the two guards heading up the passage, but the cloaked figure still stood in his corner. She turned her fury towards him, and raised her hand.
“Interesting” he said, and then vanished.
The passage stood empty. There was a loud pounding on the door of the cell, and Mica’s angry voice was demanding to be let out. The door must have been thick, because she seemed very far away. Or was it the roaring in Karayana’s ears that made it seem that way? Dazed, she tried to breathe normally. Portheas carefully picked himself up off the floor and approached her. She could see a trickle of blood making its way down his cheek.
“You hit your head,” she said weakly.
He raised his hand and wiped at the cut.
“Just a graze. We better get moving, before any one else comes.”
He took her arm, watching her, unsure of what to expect.
“Don’t worry. I don’t think I could do that again in a hurry.” She spoke slowly. He smiled.
“You look drained.”
She managed a small laugh.
“That’s exactly how I feel.”
Liasna paced the floor, trying to quell her fears, until the door to her day rooms creaked open and she turned to see Galron entering. He walked slowly but purposefully, and she suddenly wished he were twenty years younger. How could he possibly help her now? Crossing to the man who had been as a father to her, she gripped his arm and helped him lower his ancient frame down into a large armchair.
“Thank you, Liasna,” he said smiling. “It’s quite a climb up here these days.”
“Galron, I am scared for Karayana,” she said urgently foregoing any unnecessary small talk. “I found something this morning when I left you, that is beyond my abilities to deal with, but I feel will lead us to my daughter.”
“What are you talking about, my dear?”
She took a deep breath to steady her voice.
“There is a trace of magic on the wall in the passage leading to Karayana’s rooms. I think it’s a door.”
Galron was quiet for a minute, and then he sighed and said, “I don’t know if I have the strength to open a door like that anymore.”
Liasna tried to stay positive. “I can help. Surely between us we have enough power.”
“There’s only one way to find out.” The old man smiled. “The next problem will be what we might find if we do get through. I think you need to tell Morden about this. We will need some backup.”
Liasna stared at the floor.
“He doesn’t know I kept up with my Mat-Su. How can I begin to explain all this to him now? We don’t know how much time we have.”
“I don’t think we have much choice.” He touched the top of her head lightly and Liasna felt like a little girl again.
“Come,” he said with a smile. “We will go take a look at this door first, and then we will make decisions.”
Liasna helped him back out of the chair, and they proceeded at a snail’s pace to Karayana’s rooms. As they walked, Liasna told him of her suspicions about Karayana.
“Her eating habits have changed too,” she explained. “ She no longer eats meat and the plainer the dish, the better.”
“I see,” Galron said sagely. “It sounds like your daughter may have unknowingly taken on an old family tradition, doesn’t it my dear?” He raised his eyebrows at Liasna questioningly.
She nodded. “I think this is proof of that.” She handed him the piece of paper she had found.
He scanned its contents quickly. “What we really need to know, of course, is who the teacher is. Hopefully he is Mat-Su and not Mat-Tse.”
Liasna shuddered. She dearly hoped her daughter had not learned to look in that direction.
The lamps were still lit in the passage, and Liasna counted them until she found the right one. Running her fingers along the wall, she found the energy lines instantly.
“They’re still here, but fainter I think.” She was puzzled. Why would they fade?
Galron placed his frail fingers next to hers on the wall, and traced the line of the door.
“This is strange. The energy seems familiar to me.” Frowning, he ran his fingers once more around the outline of energy.
“Well, one problem is solved. We have no time to get help. We must open this immediately. It is fading fast.”
“What does that mean?” Liasna asked.
“Whoever made this is gone from here, so his energy isn’t around to keep it open. It is dispersing as we speak. But it does mean that if we are quick, we should find it easier to open. Instead of overriding his energy with our own, we must follow its path and add our energy to the lines. It will then become our doorway.”
“I think I understand,” Liasna whispered in wonder.
“You must stand behind me now and place both your palms on my shoulders.”
Liasna did as she was asked. Galron positioned himself squarely in front of the door, and, with a small groan, bent to its beginning at floor level. He pointed at the lines running parallel to each other and breathed deeply.
“Now, send your energy into me. We must be careful to protect ourselves. We don’t want to risk bringing any of his energy into our bodies. When you’re ready.”
Liasna concentrated. Breathing deeply down, she found her store of energy and slowly released, allowing it to flow up through her arms and into Galron. She began to tingle, and warmth spread along the path she had created. Closing her eyes lightly, she drifted into a meditative state. She was vaguely aware of Galron slowly rising to an upright position, and eventually he spoke her name.
Liasna brought herself back to reality. She felt refreshed from the experience and hoped Galron did too. Opening her eyes, she gasped at the gaping hole in the wall in front of her. A stale odour rose out of the darkness.
Reaching for a lamp, Galron said, “I think this is one of the old network of tunnels.”
He held the light high and it revealed a short landing and stone steps going down, as well as a passage running parallel to the one they were in.
“Ah yes. There are probably old peepholes along this wall. This is a spy tunnel.”
“But who would know about this?”
“That is something we are unlikely to find out. This person has gone, and probably taken Karayana too, if she was ever even here. But there may be some clues. Come on. The trail is going cold, but I know it came from down those steps.”
Galron set off purposefully. She hoped there wouldn’t be too many steps, although at the moment he was managing them well. Sending energy through him obviously helped. Perhaps she should do it more often.
The steps ran straight down. They were wide and not too steep. Their footsteps echoed softly off stone walls, and Liasna hoped Galron was correct in his assumption that no one was still down here. Perhaps she should have spoken to Morden after all.
After a couple of minutes, they reached another corridor that again ran in a straight line. Liasna tried to envisage which bit of the palace they were now in, but found her sense of direction was hopelessly confused. Galron suddenly turned with a finger to his lips. They had reached another set of stairs, this one going at right angles to the passage they were in. Someone was shouting from the level below. It sounded like a woman.
“Do you think…?” Liasna said softly.
“Karayana? I don’t know. We must keep all our senses working now.”
Galron turned the lamp down as far as possible without it going out.
“Put your hand on my shoulder.”
Liasna followed as quietly as possible down the stairs. They were in near darkness with just enough light for Galron to see where he was putting his feet. The voice was getting louder and then they heard footsteps somewhere ahead. Galron stopped and whisked his gown over the lamp. Liasna held her breath, straining to hear over the beating of her heart. The footsteps seemed to be getting closer. She and Galron froze for what seemed like an eternity, until the sound gradually faded again, but the occasional shout was still coming from up ahead.
“Do we go on?” Galron whispered.
“I don’t know.” She was torn. If only she could hear that voice more clearly. “I think we are of little use to Karayana on our own. We should bring help.”
Galron patted her hand and turned to go back up the steps. At the same moment, they heard footsteps above them. They were coming fast down the other flight of stairs. Galron grabbed Liasna’s hand and ran full pelt down the steps. He grunted every now and then as his old bones protested at the strain, but somehow he kept going. They reached the bottom and found an intersection of tunnels, one of which had a light at the far end. Galron pulled her to the opposite tunnel and they flattened against the wall in the dark. Two guardsmen appeared in their view, running towards the light, and Liasna sighed with relief, standing forward from the wall. Galron quickly forced her back.
“Think,” he whispered. “Only two guards? If they had discovered our open doorway, they would not be running full pelt towards whatever danger lurked down here. And they wouldn’t be alone.”
Liasna cringed at her own foolishness. Straining, she tried to catch the voices floating down towards them, but she couldn’t quite hear what was being said, until the woman’s voice suddenly seemed very loud and angry.
“You are absolute idiots. Where did you go? I’ve been stuck in there for at least half an hour, while she makes good her escape.”
There was an audible thud, followed by another. At the same time, Liasna felt the natural energies flowing through the stone around her quiver and ripple. Then a lone female figure walked down the tunnel opposite. She strode purposefully past their hiding place and down one of the other pitch-black tunnels.
Galron and Liasna remained hidden for another five minutes, waiting for some sound from the guards. The silence was becoming oppressive and Liasna couldn’t stand it any longer.
“What now?” she whispered.
“I think we better get out of here, while we have a chance.”
He started forward at his usual snail’s pace and made his way to the bottom of the stairs.
“You know, I don’t think I can make it back up,” he said in a matter of fact voice. “I think I may have overdone things slightly.”
“But you can’t stay here!” Liasna said.
“Hmm. Yes, I think I may have to. You go back and fetch help. There must be other ways out that don’t have steps.”
“You can’t investigate the other tunnels on your own.” She sounded alarmed now. “And we have only one lamp.”
Liasna stood, caught by indecision. Could she make it back in the dark?
“Perhaps we can take the one from down there.” Galron pointed to the light ahead of them. “It’s very quiet. I think something has happened to those guards. Either that or there is another exit up there.”
Liasna was beginning to panic.
She was now as worried about her own situation as she was about Karayana. What had happened to her simple life? She should never have brought Galron down here and placed them both in so much danger. Before she had come to a decision, Galron made one for her.
“The longer I stand around, the stiffer I get,” he said, as he set off up the tunnel. “Come on, girl. Be adventurous.”
Liasna didn’t want to be adventurous. But the decision had been made. She followed Galron as quietly as she could, and eventually they came to a broader area. It was dimly lit by a lamp on a table and ended in a cell. The door stood open, showing a black interior. Galron turned up his lamp and walked to the doorway.
“Ah. We seem to have found the guards, my dear.”
Liasna crept forward and peered into the room. Two darker mounds were hunched against the back wall of the small cell. They were very still.
“Just to be on the safe side,” Galron said, as he pulled the door shut. “But I don’t think they are likely to be going anywhere.”
“You mean she killed them?!” Liasna raised a shocked hand to her mouth. “Karayana ,where are you? And what have you got yourself into?” Tears ran unchecked down Liasna’s cheeks.
“There, there, now. Look, you take this lamp and go back for help. I’ll sit down here and wait for you. Go now.”
He handed her the lamp and shooed her away. Lifting her skirts in one hand, she scurried back along the route they had come, trying to be as quiet but as quick as possible.
<<<Chapter 3 Chapter 5 >>>