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Old 11-18-2006, 06:44 PM   #267
Illusionary Holbytla
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!

Johari squatted down uneasily near some of the women she had overheard talking the previous night, waiting with them for the battle to start. She wished now that she had paid more attention to the battle plans; she was in the middle of it, whether she liked it or not, and had no idea what was going on or what she would be expected to do, or what these people she had finally settled in with were planning on doing. She should have asked Hadith while she was talking to him, but even the thought of asking him about anything left an unpleasant taste in her mouth.

Her talk with him had ended badly. After her outburst, he had stood there shocked for several moments trying to think of something to say when Johari had interrupted, fighting hard to keep her voice under control. "Right then. You had best be getting on with the rest of the group... the battle seems about to begin." Then she had turned on her heel and left, keeping her pace strictly measured. She wanted to break off and run as she might have as a child or young teen. She didn't know what kind of answer she had wanted or expected from Hadith, or even if she had wanted to hear one. It was as if some part of her wanted only to reject any offer of caring or friendliness as one of those things it was easier and better to live without. Wasn't that why she wanted to find Kalin? To feel as if she wasn't so alone in the world?

You are alone in the world, some voice told her.

Not while Kalin's still out there somewhere, she answered fiercely.

Why not let someone else in? Why not let Hadith in?

He's young - naive - confused - obnoxious sometimes... But they were feeble excuses, and if Johari would admit it to herself, she would realize that she wanted Hadith to come out of the battle all right.

Of course he would. By believing it, she could make it fact, a strategy that had worked well over the years. She had believed she would make it out of slavery, hadn't she? And that had happened. She would find Kalin, and Hadith would survive the battle. Simple as that.

Before she ever saw the horses, she heard the hoofbeats. They were coming. In the gusting wind and gathering darkness, she could not see. She only wished she knew what was going on. She wished she knew as much as Hadith sometimes seemed to think she did.
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