A crack resounded in the air as the pain spread from his spine out, he could feel blood running down his back, and see it dripping to the gravel below him. He sprained against tight leather straps around his wrists but it just caused him to sway back and forth in the air. A chuckle over his shoulder, the Keeper stepped into his view.
“Vallen, are you now willing to agree that you are a slave?” Keeper’s fine fingers brushed against Vallen’s cheek.
Vallen jerked his head back. He felt a pressure build up in his stomach, and it lurched out his throat onto the ground. The acrid smell filled his nose.
Keeper took a prim step back. His eyes swept upward from the ground and into his captive’s face. “I take that as a no. I’ll return.” Keeper’s boots crunched and the sound eventually faded.
He was left hanging his back on fire. He had given up everything for Gulla. She had promised him the future. Vallen had covered her escape. He was here, and she was free. He thought she would have come for him.
Cries and yells echoed in his ears. He tipped his head and saw the Keeper. His arm was raised up and down against the exposed back of another person swinging in the air. Splashes of bright red were cast into the air. Vallen jerked his eyes away. He didn’t dare look at the others bound and swinging.
Alerted cries coming from somewhere far away. Guards dressed in heavy thick panels, carrying rifles in their arms ran past him. The ground shuddered as blocks pushed their way out. Guards ducked behind them, guns raised. “Fire at will.” A voice bellowed somewhere behind Vallen.
Dark figures swept over the walls. They moved with fluid grace of the modified. The sharp crackle of gunfire filled the air. Vallen closed his eyes, he didn’t want to see how many of them fell. A strong, bold voice hollered over the all the sounds of battle. “Careful with your aim, that is our people out there.”
Vallen’s lids snapped open his brown eyes wide. His gaze bounced back and forth at the figures coming over the wall. They rolled, and ducked with ease. Each group of five moved up with speed pausing only long enough to cover the closet unit. The guards screamed as the invaders methodically took them down. Outnumbered by five to one, the guards had no chance. He took no satisfaction in people dying around him. Too many had already died in this war. The pointless war against the Nobles.
Against his will his eyes closed. The pain was just too much. More than anything he wanted to lie down, even though it was filthy. Limbs wrapped around him as the pressure around his wrists loosened. Relief flooded his mind as his arms collapsed at his sides. He tried to move them, but they were too exhausted.
“Vallen,” That bold, familiar voice, murmured into his ear. He opened his eyes with aching slowness.
“Gulla,” A wetness filled his eyes and spilled down his cheeks. To see her face once more was worth everything. The tawny skin, large sorrowful eyes and the scar that ran down her cheek. She was not a great beauty. It was her inner radiance that made people follow her. To him, this moment, she seemed to glow. He slumped to the side.
He felt himself being jostled back and forth. “Hey, hey, stay with me.” Her voice was stern as if issuing an order.
He smiled. “Gulla, I thought you weren’t coming back for me. A whole week, I thought I would be here until I died.”
A shift as arms held him close, and he could hear the beat of her heart. Her lips pressed against his ear. “Oh, Vallen. I couldn’t just save you. I had to get them all.”
His voice felt unsteady to him. “Am I going to die, Gulla?”
He felt more than heard her gasp. “I don’t know, Vallen, I am not a doctor. I promise you this, you will die free.”
Pain flared everywhere as he was lifted. Underneath him he could hear the crunch of gravel. Everything went black.