Carefully slithering along the mainroad she spied into the alleys, but as far as she could see there was no sign of life. Not even a dog or cat, or rat. The rodents had been active before, she had heard them in every corner of Fallhus. Following a broader Alley to the Inn she found the common room deserted, the smell from.he kitchen had changed from cooking smells to smoldering smells. By the intensity she could tell that the people had been gone for he better part of an hour. Slithering slowly onward to the tunnel that led to the sanctuary she found a barred an locked door. From above the city walls she had tried to see the sanctuary, but was not able to. Jeff did say it was overlooking the town, but not that it was an actual building. Might be it is a circle sanctuary hewn from the rock, with windows. Hesitantly she glanced over her shoulder. No one there to witness. Hissing and a crack followed her discharge at the doorlock. Screaming hinges made her shudder, again she looked around for anyone, but even the agonized shout of rusty metal had not brought forth any guards, or civilians. Next to the door was a small room in the rock, it had a straw bed in it, along with a table, two chairs and a privy. Softly the water below the privy murmured away. Gatehouse. Rising steeply the tunnel allowed for two people to walk it side by side, lit by only a few oillamps, on the opposite walls of the lamps depictions of men and a few women had been painted on the rock, but their features had washed away in the cold damp air of Fallhus. After a few minutes continuous thunder filled the tunnel, and Fathala realized why she hadn’t been able to see the sanctuary. Through a portal the tunnel led into a huge hall, several smaller tunnels led away from it into smaller halls, and more tunnels. On the east side of the great hall the wall was missing, replaced by a wall of thundering water. Se was now behind the great waterfall that gave Fallhus its name.No priest, no monk, no nun, or worshipers were about the hall and its adjacent rooms and tunnels. Carefully Fathala edged to waterfall and peeked down. A ledge was concealed just below the edge. Spray turned the dust and sand into a muddy mixture, recent footprints of two people who had been cowering there were well preserved although slowly fading. Leif and Whlana!Apart from the thundering the hall was silent, fragrances of frankincense and burning oil filled the cool air. Growing tenser by the minute she turned north, following one of the smaller tunnels to a series of small chambers in which small recesses were filled with urns. Running back a few generations families turned to these graves for closure. Further along a larger room with longer urn rows awaited her. She noticed that even here the water was omnipresent, small canals led out of the chambers after the water came from the walls. Once a generation is.no longer in the living memory of its defendants they probably dump the ash into the water. In the.other tunnels she found only more chambers with urns, and water, ever accompanied by the thundering from below. Lastly she went to the tunnel that was next to the entrance of the great hall. No chambers were lined up like beads on a cord, at the end.of the tunnel was one larger room with a large table and chairs, adjacent a small room with a bed. The priest or mage lived here, with a large room to entertain guests. From a cupboard in the large room came a rattling sound, as quick as lighting she had whirled around, fire in her hand. A frightened pale face tried to hide in the lower part of the furniture but bumped against the door. “Don’t be afraid.” she tried to sound calming. “I’m not. But you sound afraid.” the.boy replied, Fathala waved the hand with the fire in it around to realize he was blind. “Well, somehow there is no one here. That frightens me a bit.” she let the fire go out. “I’m Fathala Sash’nohan, but you can call me Fathala. Who are you?” The blind boy clumsily crawled out of his hiding spot. “Liam Sanderson. Are you a snake lady?” Fathala had to smile at hia childish openness. “I am, so count yourself lucky that you’re a boy still.”An indifferent expression came to his face. “I’m ten, and I can’t see, my prospects of finding a wife and making a living outside begging are rather slim, don’t you think? If I were a grown blind man standing before a Naga, at least I could hope to be bedded once in my lifetime.” again Fathala was amused by his open words. He’s very mature for his age. The boy listened around and gently sniffed the air. “You want to know what happened, don’t you?” Nodding Fathala realized what an idiot she was. “Yes, please.””I was supping with my mother and her cousin, the priest. Although I’m blind he suggested that there might be a place for me within the circle. My mother always told me that if something odd happens I should hide. There was something odd.” Fathala slithered next to Liam as he walked into the common hall. “Suddenly, mid sentence both of them stopped talking, just for a moment, then they said something in a queer tongue, got up and marched off.” “You didn’t follow?” his hand was in her’s but he didn’t need guidance. Sure footed he was always one pace ahead of the Naga. “No. I wanted to at first, but since she always said that I ought to hide in case of weird things happening, I hid.” she could see shame in his eyes, but did not address it. He wanted to follow, but he was afraid.”Then I showed up after some time.” “Yes.” he confirmed, he had still been afraid when she came, but she was more silent in slithering than any man in walking, to better hear who he was dealing with, he came out of his spot. Still he sniffed the air when they reached the common hall. “I had told my mother that the halk smelled odd to me. She paid no mind. Now it smells normal again,” he turned to her. “Except for you that is.” he faintly smiled. They were hiding here, of course it smelled odd to him. “Listen, Liam, the entire town is empty, I will bring you down, to the sea, my sisters will take care of you bring you to Naga’na.” there was reluctance in his expression, but he knew that sooner or later he’d die all alone in Fallhus. “Can we go to my home and get some of my clothes? I doubt your kin will have boys clothing at hand.” the sadness in his voice was enough to.bring tears to Fathala’s eyes. He knew his mother, his uncle, his entire family was most like to be dead. Again she agreed verbally only after nodding, hoping her pity and tears were not showing in her voice. If they did, he chose not to react to it.

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