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Old 07-27-2006, 11:40 AM   #118
Messenger of Hope
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
A movement from half way across the floor of their prison woke Kwell. He didn’t move for a moment as he tried to think what could have waked him. How long had he slept? An hour. . .maybe. . .he couldn’t tell. All he knew was that things weren’t quite as dark as they had been. A small light was creeping in through the grate above. It was early dawn, he thought, but what had waked him?

He finally lifted his head to look about. In front of him, the stream of water ran. Beyond that, the stone wall of the pit rose up. Kwell carefully shifted, moving over and putting his legs beneath him so he could rise up on his knees. His hands were bound behind him again, and his ankles were tied together, too, constricting his movements. His eyes scanned the small prison and then they lit on Azhar.

She lay in a heap not three yards away. Asleep, apparently, and -

Kwell stared with surprise. The girl was unbound! How had she managed that and why hadn’t she done something about it? But why was she lying like that? She lay half way on her side, one arm out at an uncomfortable looking angle behind her. Her face turned towards the ground, her other arm lying limply before her.

She had to have been the one who woke him, but he couldn’t understand how - if she had been asleep. And what about the ropes that had bound her? They hadn’t. . .they hadn’t killed her? “Azhar?” he said, whispering as loudly as he could. “Azhar? Can you wake up?” There was no answer. Not the slightest stir. He moved towards her, slowly, crawling with tiny movements on his knees. In a little more than thirty seconds, he made it to her side. His hands were bound, so he could not touch her, but he bent over her. Instinct told him something was wrong, but he didn’t know what.

As his face drew near to hers, he could feel the heat radiating up towards him. She was alive, he could see her breathing, but some inward fire burned in her. Slowly he sat up again, concern etched in his face.

He had seen fever in the slaves before. One or two of them would fall into one after some terribly hot day in the field. . .or after they’d been punished severely. . .pain, stress, and weariness combined could cause a weak slave to collapse. Few of them ever survived if the fever was bad. But he had not thought that Azhar was such to break under what had happened. Would she live?

“Azhar,” he said again, and this time his voice was a little louder and stronger, and more desperate. “I didn’t mean it so harshly. Wake up! Please wake up! There’ll be another chance to get out. I’ll help you.” He sat down, edging his weight off his knees, and he pushed himself up against the cold rock wall. What could he do?

The light grew stronger every minute. He slowly let his eyes sweep over their entire prison. He spotted the bundle that Azhar had discovered and for a moment he stared at it. The dimness was still too heavy to see clearly what it was. Kwell felt curiosity prick him dully. Not curious enough to go to the effort of moving himself to it, he decided. He passed it up and went on with his scanning.

His eyes lit on the second bundle. He realized with surprise that it was lying just next to where he had been sleeping.

“What are they?” he muttered. “How’d they get in here?” He moved very slightly. “Mph. . .blast these cursed ropes.” He fell back against the wall and allowed his chin to sink to his chest. What was the good of looking at it? Maybe it was some form of poison and maybe that’s what caused Azhar to become sick. He didn’t know, nor did he care. He only wanted Azhar to wake up and tell him she was alright. . .
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