“Everything will be fine,” Allamu said to the worried people before him. Some had been slaves in the Magistrate’s house. Most had been held as hostage to keep the champions loyal—old men, young women, children, brothers, and lovers. There was not a fighting-man among them. “I know it’s dark, but all of us will stay together. This will take us to the river. Follow me.”
Allamu flashed a broad, encouraging smile, took Qaansoole’s young son by the hand, and ducked his head to step through the hole torn open in the cellar wall. Beyond the opening, the floor was rough-hewn stone sloping down. Holding a flickering torch before him, Allamu walked with careful step. The air was damp and cool on his face. From behind Allamu came the scuffle of frightened sandals, the huff of worried breath. From ahead, he could only hear the sound of flowing water. Was there another sort of murmuring? He could not say for certain.
With the splash of a sandal, Allamu found the flowing water. He stopped and carefully felt the walls, where the rough-hewn passageway he had come down connected to the older opening containing the waterway. Probing the bottom with his foot, Allamu determined that the flow moved slowly, at only ankle depth. The liquid was chilly, but far from frigid. It would make a fine walkway to the river.
“Allamu,” asked Qays, the young son of the archer in the patched cloak. “What shall we find down here?”
Allamu opened his mouth to tell the boy of Melcior’s ship, awaiting them on the riverbank. He drew breath to soothe Qays’ fears and offer him hope.
The voice that reverberated through the cavern was not Allamu’s.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Tumult is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every weekday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/