Triplepeak – part 7

(Find part 6 here.)

The grand hall filled Chase with dread as he crossed it with the kid in tow. He didn‘t look at the floor, the artfully decorated two-square-feet tiles, or the paintings that hung in viewing height and created a border from door to stairway on both sides of the room.

His large frame was squared and tense, shoulders set back and chin up. He was going to face some serious music this time.

He glanced at the kid as he reached the wide staircase straight across the room from the door. He only hesitated a second, only looked at her long enough to frown, but her image was burnt into his mind. He knew what the council would decide on, and that it was his fault. With a few muttered curses under his breath he started climbing the spiral stairs, one hand locked around a thin wrist.

He let go of her when they were half way up and slowed down a little. Not much, just so she‘d have any breath left when they reached the top floor. He saw her rub her wrist but she didn‘t complain. Maybe she felt the weight in the atmosphere. The finality.

The walls started creeping in as they neared the top, ending close enough to the stairs to easily cause claustrophobia. When the couple finished the hike, Chase‘s shoulders were touching the walls on both sides. This was for security reasons, of course. An entrance like this was easily guarded and there was no other way in or out.

Follow me, Chase said quietly and meant for it to sound commanding but it came out like a plea. Damn nerves, he thought and mentally kicked himself. He couldn‘t afford any mistakes now. He had to stay cool and composed.

He stopped a couple of steps from the tall archway into the front room where they‘d wait for an audience with the council. He should tell her what to expect.

“I, uh…” He started and cleared his throat when his voice sounded cracked and insecure. Well, to be fair it probably sounded just as grumpy as always to others, but he cleared his throat anyway.

“There are laws”, he started again, not sure how much to explain. “No one from the outside is supposed to know how to get to the city, or to see it.”

He looked her directly in the eyes now, hesitating a moment when her grin faded. He focused on her hands until she tucked them in her pockets and then looked her in the eye again, the whole thing taking only seconds.

“What they do”, he said and then corrected himself, “what we do, is execute the outsider”. She didn‘t break eye contact when he growled the last words, but she flinched. Of course she did, who wouldn‘t? Someone from outside these walls wouldn‘t understand the meaning of their secrecy. The way of life depending on it.

“There hasn‘t been an outsider for over twenty years, though. So we‘ll see what they…” He stopped without finishing and frowned. She probably didn‘t believe they‘d kill her, so why give her reason to wonder? Might as well let her discover the severity of the situation herself.

He ran his hand through his hair, leaving it even more tousled, and turned to enter the front hall. He heard her follow… Not going to admit to feeling her follow, that was for sure… And headed for a plush-clad bench near the double doors to the council chambers. They had barely sat down when one  of the guards standing on each side of the door leaned his head a little down and to the side, held a hand to his ear and then looked at them.

“They are ready to see you now.”

His partner immediately stepped forth, pushed the door open and waited for them to enter.

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Triplepeak – part 6

(Find Part 5 here.)

Dani admired the view, the surroundings, while they rode towards the city. Once they were threading the streets the sparkling white buildings revealed details of fine cracks and chipped surface, as well as painted murals depicting what Dani assumed to be the city´s history.

The images were like beacons, each one a guiding point towards the council, she realized as they drew nearer. Chase had pointed out a specific tower before they passed through the city gates. Continue reading

Triplepeak- part 4

(Find part 3 here.)

The men glanced between Chase and the girl, almost making him regret  bringing her to safety. They hesitated to say what they were thinking but he knew what it was. He was supposed to know better than to bring a stranger to the tunnel. The entrance was supposed to be hidden from outsiders, kept secret to make sure their home was safe from the dangers lurking in the woods.
He shrugged, grunted and squinted his eyes at the girl, then glanced briefly at the other men before answering her question.

“You‘re gonna find out in a little while anyway, so I might as well tell you. Yes, we are going to Triplepeak.” He walked a few steps, towered over her. “You better be telling the truth, kid,” he added in a warning tone. She straightened her back and he practically felt her annoyance. He also felt an urge to walk that last step between them and feel her against his body again. That one he shook off but he did lean a little closer in an almost mischievous effort to annoy her even more.
“Keep up. We need to hurry.” He turned away just as a grin started tugging on the corner of his mouth and signaled the men to move.

They walked for a few minutes before he decided they should get on the horses again.

“You take the kid, James,” he said as he heaved himself into the saddle and patted the horses neck fondly. He didn´t look to make sure his order was followed, and he didn´t look at the woman he knew very well was no kid. That much he´d found out when she was wrapped around him and then squashed beneath him on the way to the tunnel.

He heard James offer to help her into the saddle, heard her refuse, and in a minute all five horses were moving fast in a double row. He glanced at Julius, riding next to him with a grim expression and fierce body language that told him in no uncertain terms how the man felt about the addition to the party. She was a risk.

“Yeah, yeah,” he murmured under his breath and frowned, returning his gaze to the road. They´d see the exit soon. What the hell was he supposed to do, anyway? Leave the kid, knowing she´d get killed or worse?

He allowed himself a sneaky glance over the shoulder to look at her. She sat behind James on the horse, arms wrapped loosely around his waist. Chase´s eyes moved up to look at her face. He met hers and was captivated for a short gut-wrenching moment. When it was over, and his eyes were on the rapidly approaching exit door, he clenched his jaw and prepared to explain to everyone why he was bringing an outsider. Again. The people he´d have to explain it to were not as quiet about their opinion as the men he rode with now. They´d remind him what happened last time. They´d remind him of the law. They´d remind him of his own past errors of judgment. Fuck. Too late to throw her back out there?

(Find part 5 here.)

(a Poem a Day) -First to learn, Last to let go-

And since I forgot to put one up yesterday (oh my oh my) this one is A Poem Of Two Days ;)

She knows the way
she finds the right thing to say.
She sees the turnes
as soon as they appear but
moves and burnes
the path before they´re here.
Timeless love for those
who don´t deserve the devotion.
Much as how she chose
to leave the emotion coldly behind,
change her mind.
And even so,
she´s first to learn, and last to let go.

(a Poem a Day) -For a Friend-

In twentysix years I´ve
gotten to know
and forgotten
many people.
Called many people
friends
who may have deserved it
or not.
(It doesn´t really matter now.)
Some have stayed,
are still a part of my world.
Some more than others.
And just now,
I´m sitting beside one
who came along only last fall.
Funny how things like friendship
can build over years
and just as easily in a day.
So thanks.
For being there. And
for being you.

Triplepeak – part 3

(Find part 2 here.)

“Hurry up, kid,” the rider said with a quick glance over a broad shoulder without slowing down.

Kid, she thought and grinned. She was twenty seven, hardly a kid, but it wasn´t the first time she was mistaken for a much younger girl. Or boy, for that matter… She didn´t really mind. Much.

“What were you doing out there anyway?” He asked when she caught up. He sounded angry, more than curious, and she wondered if there were rules about going “outside”. Assuming where they were headed was “inside”.

“Walking,” she answered smiling and added, “where are we going?”

Her words, spoken easily and without any dubious intent, might as well have been a bomb threat. All five men stopped and turned to look at her with the same priceless expression of startled surprise. Then they glanced at the rider, hesitating to speak up but obviously wanting to. Finally he cleared his throat and crossed his arms, taking a deep breath so his wide chest got even bigger.

“Where were you going when I decided you shouldn´t become easy lunch?”

His voice was rough and deep, even if he´d made an effort to soften it. She should pale up at the thought of getting on the wrong side of him, but instead she flashed another easy smile and shrugged.

“I heard there was a good spot to camp in the area. And the myth of Triplepeak City. So I thought I´d make a day of it.” Or three. “Is that where we´re going? Triplepeak?”

(Find part 4 here.)