The Wicked Rocks clung close together. Often, barely a shoulder’s width of space separated the cold, stone surfaces. In places, the soft earth underfoot gave way to jumbles of unforgiving stones, forcing Allamu and Wensa to slow their pace and choose each step with care. The closeness of the rocks and the odd angles of the paths between them created bizarre echoes. One moment, Allamu could hear nothing but the beating of his own heart. The next, the sound of voices was so close that he jumped in surprise. At least now he could recognize the tongue of the southern trade routes around the Soke of Kelmaars, but a more modern dialect than Wensa’s people spoke. Snatches of conversation hung upon the breeze.
“…how much longer they can keep digging…”
“…eat another mashed tuber and I’ll scream…”
“…think His Honor will keep his word with the hunter…”
“…how such power could have come to a place like this…”
Allamu was so intent on the distant voices that his foot was nearly within a snare before Wensa yanked him back by the shoulders. With a silent look, he conveyed his thanks. After that, Wensa led the way through the warren of boulders.
Coming upon an open area at the base of a spire, the pair crouched behind a boulder, looking for signs of the outsiders. Once assured of the clearing’s vacancy, they made their way through. They were halfway across its length when a new sound echoed off the rocks. A deep, grunting snarl filled the clearing. From a narrow cleft between stones charged a large boar, its tusks sharp and savage.
Wensa and Allamu ran down a path away from the animal—stumbling over stones, hands and elbows bloodied on the rocky walls. Wensa stopped abruptly and Allamu barreled into her. The two tumbled, but not far. Their escape was blocked by a thick grid of tree branches, lashed sturdily together.
Wensa began the work of cutting the lashings with the sharp edge of her flint knife. The fibrous rope made slow work. A vicious grunt signaled the arrival of the boar, Turning, Allamu faced the beast. It tossed its head with rage, tusks slicing the air.
Then, the boar lowered its head and charged.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Isle of the Wicked is copyright (c) 2016 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