|1.||Chapter One||Read it Now|
|2.||Chapter Two||Read it Now|
|3.||Chapter Three||Read it Now|
|4.||Chapter Four||Read it Now|
|5.||Chapter Five||Read it Now|
|6.||Chapter Six||Read it Now|
|7.||Chapter Seven||See below|
|Ora sighed worriedly and slowly paced over to the entrance gates of Latbeane. The same guards she met two nights ago were standing their at full attention by the gates. Maybe they knew which path was the safe one? The thought brightened her, like a comforting beam of light through a stone cellar that was pitch black and cold. Both of the guards heard her footsteps and calmly turned round to confront her, spears glinting in the dim morning light.|
" I hope you haven't caused any trouble. There was a fire caused by that Dragon Knight there yesterday." The one on the right said lowly.
" I was there to see it." Ora replied, and carried on walking.
" Oh and before I leave," Ora started, spinning round. " Which path in the Kambre cavern is the safe one?" She asked. The guards chuckled.
" Well if you're from Kaysmith as I remember you say, you should know. Unless you're from the village of thieves, which I hope not." The beam of light in the cellar whipped away in Ora's mind. Nothing could get any worse.
" I passed the village of thieves when I was younger. They said if I ever made acquaintance with anyone in Latbeane I should tell them that the thief village only steal for survival in the mountains. I wasn't listening, and it was many years ago." Ora lied. She wished the villagers would say sorry, but they're too stuck up in their whole business of 'survival' to even think of it.
" I think I can buy that apology, but thievery's the last thing I'd do if I needed to survive." The guard on the left said thoughtfully. Ora felt pleased on what she had said, but it was all a big fat lie. But she had to find out which path was the safe one in the Kambre cavern. Ora quickly left the guards to their duties and headed through the mountain path. It widened eventually. Tracks from where sale wagons had been were printed in the light dust and dirt on the ground. Ora had left the town out of the south gate, so the mountain path she was following must be the right way the Kambre cavern. Ora pulled out the map from the belt bag strap and unraveled it to see if the road was marked out. It wasn't a map of world. It was just half of the country. Ora couldn't read, but she guessed the greyish quarter-moon shape in the bottom left corner was the Kambre mountains. It had black ink blobs in some areas with writing next to them, which Ora guessed were the places in the mountains. There was a thick blue line coming from the centre of the mountains, directly next to a giant black blob. She guessed the blob was Latbeane, but the blue line? It twisted like a hook through the mountains. If anyone found the location of the thief village and put it on there, it would be to the south of Latbeane somewhere. There was a thin black line curving all sorts of directions to the right of Latbeane, which must be the route that Ora was on, but all that was on the end of it was a couple of words that Ora couldn't read. There was no mark to say that something was there.
It didn't feel so exciting to go visit the Kambre cavern for the first time now. Not now Ora knew one wrong step inside it and she would probably be dead. Ora rolled up the map and fitted back in the strap on the belt bag.
Ora knew that the highest mountain signaled the entrance to the cavern. But it was difficult, when you're down at the foot of all the mountains to tell which one was the tallest. She already knew it was in this area, but where about?
While she went along, she dug into her belt bag and retrieved her magnifier necklace and her broach, and put them on. Ora always felt a little guilty for stealing them in the first place. But she did find them quite useful.
Ora gazed up at the unusual blue air above. It never moved, but now and then, puffy white things would float across it. She looked at the tips of the mountains. They seemed the same height to her. Ora began to think that she was on the wrong route, but kept going. It was a lot nearer to Uresphere than Latbeane.
The path winded around the mountains endlessly. Ora heard a shrill cry of an animal way over to the south of the mountains. She thought about the village of thieves. She thought about Marcia, who would probably be in tears that Ora left for her real family, or hasn't she been told about Ora's parents?
Would Lenus and his father have told everyone about her parents?
Lenus promised that he wouldn't tell, but maybe because she ran away, he might.
But Ora didn't really care, anyway. She didn't want to spend her life as a thief. Ora had a family in a better place. It may be on the other side of the planet, but what would you rather have? A rough, lonely life in the mountains thieving for survival, and in hatred of anyone you live near? Or a loving family in a capital city where you can have a better lifestyle? Ora liked looking at it that way. But she knew she would miss the mountains. And her friends.
Ora swallowed. What was she putting herself through?
What Ora really wanted to know was how she got separated from her parents in the first place.
Ora was told that she was found near a forest town named Morgganne at the age of three, and no one wanted her so she was sent of to Latbeane, but no one wanted her their either, so she was passed around the mountains. Ora always felt that she must have been sent round like a little package. But it hurt her that no one wanted her. Why didn't anyone want her? She was just a quiet little infant in a bundle of blankets, it couldn't be that hard to look after, could it? And eventually Ora was sent back to Latbeane, and Marcia's father stole off with her. And how did they know that Ora was called Ora?
Ora's head began to hurt. If you ever gave her enough thinking time, she would wander off inside her head and think until her ears bled.
She could have just slapped herself and moved on. But no. She had to be born with a curious brain.
But Ora's parents were in Uresphere, and Ora was in the Kambre mountains.
Maybe Ora's parents didn't want her either.
Could that be true? If Ora finally got to Uresphere and found out it was, when where would she go? She couldn't go back to the thief village. No one would want to talk to her. They might just throw her out as well for ruining the ceremony, or they might believe that she was only back so she could secretly help Latbeane run them out.
Maybe Ora could tell Latbeane where the thief village was? It sounded like a sensible idea, but Ora couldn't go against her hometown. All her friends would probably be killed. Well, Ora's idea of friends was Marcia and Lenus. She was sort of friends with the rest of the village boys, since they all had to do the rough work, and Ora never minded giving them a hand. But she wasn't really friends with some of the girls. They all thought she was too boyish, and the ones that didn't mind Ora's personality, were usually a lot older than her and never had time to see her.
Ora realised she was using the word 'maybe' a lot. She didn't like making decisions. If someone asked her something, she would think she knew the right answer and then later, she'd realise that the answer she gave was completely up the wall and would spend the rest of the day making her ears bleed with thinking why she had been so stupid.
Ora didn't like headaches, but for some reason she gave herself a lot of them.
Just think blank. Blank blank blank. But what's blank? If something is blank, then you tend to think of white. Then why say blank when you could say white?
Ora was so close to hitting her head on a rock.
Just think of nothing. Don't even think of nothing, just......just think of a darkened room. You can't see anything. There is nothing to look at. No one is in the room. But how could you tell that no one was in the room without walking in there to see? And if you did that, then wouldn't you be in the room?
Ora didn't want think about that. Ora didn't want to think. But how could you not think?
Ora shook her head and blinked several times, but it made her feel a little dizzy.
She decided to listen to the light crunch of her feet as she treaded across the dusty ground.
No, she could feel something crunching. She could hear her feet as it touched the ground.
Ora tried to think of something that she didn't like to think about. She didn't like to think about thinking.Think Think Think Think.
The word repeated in Ora's head until it all fizzed up and it sounded more like thithithithithithithi.........
Ora gazed up at the mountains tops again. She was expecting to see them all towering over her.
Instead, she was gazing at the mouth of the Kambre cavern.
Dark grey rocks piled on top of each other, some jutting out. The mouth, as Ora saw it, was lined with black spikes of rock, like the jaws of a black bear. Behind the jaws, was the inky darkness of the cave, daring Ora to enter. The mountain was definitely taller than all the others. Ora couldn't see the head for a mass of white mist at the top. Maybe it never ended? Ora walked forward and touched the tip of one of the rock teeth. Black powder stuck to her finger, and she brushed it off.
Cautiously, she stepped into the shadows of the black cave.
Her stomach rumbled.
Ora sighed. She knelt down, untied the string on her belt bag, stuck her hand inside, and retrieved a delicious green apple. She gnawed a small chunk of, and biting it again and holding it her mouth, Ora also unhooked the black lantern from the strap and dug out two wooden roof shingles.
She placed the black lantern on the ground.
With one whip of the two shingles, a little bright flame rose from them end of them. Ora rolled one on the dusty ground to put it out, and slipped it back into her belt bag.
Carefully opening the small glass door of the lantern, Ora lit the candle in the lantern and shut the glass door, rolling the burning shingle on the ground as well. Half of it had already burned, so Ora discarded it on the ground and stood. She tied up the belt bag and took the apple out of her mouth. She took another juicy bite out of it, and picked up the black lantern by it's large, round handle.
She swallowed the bite.
The Kambre cavern seemed so uninviting and haunting. Some part of Ora urged her to enter- another part was tempted to nail her boots to the ground.
Ora realised that she had been standing there for ages. If anyone was standing behind her, they'd think she was a bit stupid. To be honest, Ora was beginning to feel that she was stupid. Everyone in Latbeane seemed to be very intelligent compared to her. She'd sometimes call someone an idiot at the thief village if they did something a bit daft. She only called them it as a joke, but now realising it's meaning, Ora did feel a little guilty.
Ora finished off the apple and threw it aside, wiping her mouth on the back of her sleeve.
Ora took a deep breath.
She could just turn back now, couldn't she? She could ask to help out at the Goblet inn, and maybe the innkeeper will let her stay. She could start a new life, and forget about her parents in Uresphere.
But one of the thieves may find her. It was a bad idea, but Ora was feeling nervous.
What if she did take the wrong path in the cave? Ora didn't want to die, no matter how many negative things that were in her life.
But she was wasting time. Her lantern won't last forever.
Ora glanced behind her. It would be awkward if someone was standing behind her. She had been standing there for quite a bit, staring at the open mouth of the Kambre cavern. Ora turned back again.
Before, she thought entering the Kambre cavern and passing to the other side would be simple. No worries.
But realising she may just die, and the un welcoming atmosphere of the deep cave - it frightened her.
Ora breathed in, then out. She put her right foot forward. Then her left. An icy chill ran down her spine. Ora didn't want to be afraid. She never had been afraid in her life.
If there was a freaky insect on the wall in her bedroom, all the other girls would scream and run out the room. Ora would catch the insect in her hand and throw it out the window.
If there was a rat crawling across the street, every female would scurry away and jump into each other's arms. Ora would kick the rat away and pull a disappointed face at all of the girls. Ora was never scared. Not until now.
Just walk in. You've got a lantern, just walk in.
Ora stepped into the cave, holding the lantern out in front of her. Her body began to tremble.
She began to walk, slowly. The light of the lantern was quite poor; Ora could only just see at least five metres in front of her.
Don't look back. Don't look back.
One curved corner and the light of the world behind Ora had disappeared. The roof of the cave was low, making Ora feel as though it was sitting on her shoulders, weighing her down. It was tall enough to let a sale wagon pass through - well, a small sale wagon. Ora hadn't seen a big one in a while, but she imagined it would probably scrape the roof of the cave.
Rock shards shaped like icicles poked down from the roof, some almost reaching the ground, which was pierced with crater-like holes. There was an irritating scratching noise coming from the unknown darkness ahead, but as Ora carefully traveled through the cave, a tiny rat appeared in the poor light, and scampered away. There were no pathways leading off. Maybe there wasn't any dangerous paths in the cave. But Giron and the guards both appeared to know the two paths well enough to guarantee there was a danger path and a safe path.
Of course, they were right.
Ora halted before two paths, a thin wall of rock between them. They spindled away into more isolated darkness that the poor lantern light hadn't discovered. Both path looked equally the same and safe to travel through. Ora had met her life decision.
Either die or live, without knowing it.
Ora stared at the two paths. She tried to listen for any noises coming from either.
There was an eerie silence.
Heart pounding, Ora chose the left path. She slowly walked through, scanning the walls with a clammy hand for any markings that might suggest she wasn't on the right path. It was the same as the main tunnel before they split up, which must mean she had picked the right tunnel.
Ora couldn't be sure, but she carried on through the twining path, swapping the lantern into each hand when one got tired of hanging in the thin air continuously. The flat pathway began to slope upwards. Ora lifted the lantern higher, feeling her pulse in her wrist.
Through the light of the lantern, there wasn't an ending in sight, but Ora kept the lantern high and began to climb up, her legs beginning to ache.
Finally, the slope evened out. Ora's legs didn't relieve from the aching pain, but the icy cold air took her mind of them. Ora felt the air pinch her cheeks. She was used to the feeling, but now it seemed to annoy her.
As she trampled on, she realised that the width of the cave was gradually getting thinner.
Ora continued, feeling quite relaxed. She knew she was on the right path. Nothing had happened to her, and it didn't seem like nothing was about to.
Ora got to one point where the walls were just about half a metre beside her. The air was tighter and thicker, forcing Ora to breath more deeply.
Then Ora had to stop and kneel down. There was a small gap left at the bottom, big enough for someone twice the size as Ora to fit through.
How were sale wagons supposed to fit through a tiny gap such as this?
Ora groaned in depression.
" I'm on the wrong path!" She cried out, and stood up to head back through the passage. Ora gasped and dropped the lantern in shock.
There was no passage.
A flat wall of rock stood before her. The lantern landed with a crash on the ground, cracked. The tiny candle inside still burned dimly, the melted wax staining the glass as it dripped. Ora knelt down again and gingerly picked up the lantern, hand shaking.
" There's no way back......" Ora stuttered to herself. She thought she was on the right path. But that was Ora with decisions. Whatever she chose, it was most likely to be wrong.
But how did the rock just magically appear? It was the dangerous path, maybe it's cursed?
Ora rubbed her hand across the rock. It was icy cold, no dust.
She knelt down, trying to find a crack or opening. There was nothing.
Ora should have looked for track marks before she choose which path. But it was too late now. She would have to continue through the rest of the dreaded path.
Sadly and slowly, Ora and began to crawl through the small gap, one hand holding the lantern in the shallow air. She wished she hadn't entered the mountains. She wished she hadn't left the village of thieves. She wished Mr Cartis hadn't told her about her parents.
The small path eventually widened and heightened, until Ora could walk through, but only by bending from the waist uncomfortably.
After a while, Ora found that the path didn't seem that dangerous. All it seemed to be was a difficult tunnel to travel through, and that anyone could get trapped from going back. Unless the rock was supposed to squish travellers.
There couldn't be much more to go. Ora had been walking for ages.
Maybe it was the dangerous path becuase it never ended? But it would have to end somwhere. Unless it went round in circles. Though if it did end, where was the ending?
Ora wondered if it was possible to ignore your own thoughts. If she had a weapon, she would have killed herself by now. Someone must know where the ending was, or would Ora be the first one? But if everyone said the path was dangerous, then obviously someone must have passed through and lived to tell the tale.
The passage soon returned to normal height, but the lantern was getting dimmer, the candle becoming a little stubby mess behind the glass. Ora was a afraid that she might be stuck in there forever. She could be heading for a dead end, or something could be waiting for her in the shadows. She couldn't hear anything; no sounds of rats scampering. Even her feet were silent amongst the dust. But she kept alert. The passage was straight, and Ora knew that the edge of the Kambre mountains couldn't be far. They were large mountains, but Latbeane was in the centre, and Ora remembered walking down to the south of the Kambre mountains to go see Marcia's relatives. And that only took about 2 hours.
The path curved slightly and began to slope downwards. She must be near to the end now. Ora went into a slow jog. The candle was soon going to run out, and when it did, Ora would have to continue in darkness, which she wasn't keen on. Her legs ached. She could feel blood pumping through them at every step.
Grainy dust kicked off her heels as she began to race down. The lantern flickered uncontrollably at the remains of the candle was nearly out. Finally, Ora let out a triumphant sigh of relief.
There was a circular light at the other end of the path, which showed trees and small shrubs and green grass.
The way out!
Ora gained the last of her energy and speeded towards the welcoming light. A gust of gentle wind washed through the tunnel. She was almost at the end, almost out the mountains forever.
Ora ran faster, the lantern now blown out.
But not now.
Before Ora knew it, the mouth of the exit collapsed on her heavily, along with a shining, violet crystal.
I'm sure I've mispelt quite alot of words in this area. It was the only chapter I rushed when I was re-editing. I apologise if there is a couple of words that look like greek transfers.
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