The former Guardian could not count the times she had done this in her life time. Too many of her friends had been imprisoned here and died here. Too many failed attempts at freeing the innocent had taken place here.
But that was a long time ago.
And now, these children were lax.
The second Yan Lin passed through the portal it slammed shut right behind her. She flew as fast as she could and hid behind a pillar some 200 yards away. There she crouched and waited. No one came.
Yan didn’t know whether to feel extremely lucky or insulted.
Better to do this without being noticed, since I have no back up.
Pain shot through her at the thought, but she shoved it away. Being young again obviously made her weak to old emotional wounds. She realized that she wasn’t in the dungeon just yet. Instead she’d landed near the guards’ barracks outside the castle itself. There ways to go, and little time to act.
She gripped the Heart.
Where? She inquired of glowing gem.
Down came the reply.
She started to move out of her hiding spot when a gruff laugh froze her.
“Don’t think I’ve ever seen Vathek so happy about letting a rebel starve to death,” one guard’s deep bass rumbled. “I mean, he normally enjoys doing something more… Painful. I mean, just letting him die in the southern oubliette? That’s not….”
As they’re voices faded away Yan thanked the Creator for stupid gossips. Now she knew where he was. She only needed to figure out where the southern oubliette was.
It was almost like a game of tag, except everyone else didn’t know they were playing. She jumped from hiding spot to hiding spot searching for a hole in the dark. Several times she was sure she had been spotted by the guards but the rebels had not broken into the palace itself for over half a century. The guards knew that problems would only come from the prisoners, and they were treated so badly that within the first two days all resistance was crushed.
Yan learned everything she needed to from the gossiping guards who kept trying to one-up each other. His name was Kaleb, and descended from rebels. His father had been one of the two leaders who had rebuilt the rebellion after Nerissa’s betrayal. He wasn’t a leader, but had some information of value. Turned out he was tough. No matter what they did to him, even when they killed a child right in front of him, he never gave in. He spat, kick like a mule, a cursed them through it all. Nothing subdued him.
Yan grinned as she flew through the labyrinth. It was an honor to meet someone that tough. Cassidy had been that tough. Yan hoped Will was that tough. She suspected the redhead was.
Time is short, the heart informed her. Go, and I will tell you if it is wrong.
She thanked the Heart, and started to move.
Yan jumped. She’d let her guard down as she reminisced.
“Intruder!” The Guldon sounded the alarm.
Time to reveal thyself. Attack and keep moving.
Yan didn’t hesitate to summon a blast of hurricane wind that tossed the guards around like paper. She opted for speed over stealth and moved a tornado through the barracks and down to the prison below. Now it was a guessing game. Being underground bottled up the win which was her guide, so her sense of direction was gone. She had to pick a direction and let the Heart correct her.
I doubt you will give me a hint?
So very helpful.
Despite her flying in basically circles for a bit she moved quickly, flying at close to top speed, down stairs and in and out of corridors filled with screaming and crying and dead prisoners. Yan did her best to ignore those she couldn’t save, focusing instead on finding the one boy who would perhaps ends this suffering. She also ignored the guards, who couldn’t keep up with her. By the time she was down to the third level they were everywhere.
Yan had started training at 10 years old to be the new generation of Guardians, as each had before her, until her generation was broken with betrayal. Her winds shielded her from arrows, reflecting them back onto the archers, buffeting those with nets and weighted chains into each other’s aim, knocking those with spears into walls and their companions. She quickly blew through them onto the fourth level.
The prisoners soon caught onto what was happening, and began to help her. They tripped up and strangled what guards they could reach, shouting jeers and cheers at the guards and her in turn. The din made it harder for them to find her, and they were distracted beating back the prisoners rather than focusing on her. She made her way deeper and deeper until the Heart called to her again.
She began flying. It told her when she missed the turns, when to turn right or left. Certain she was going in circles she flew on until…
You passed it, go back.
When she reached the previous corridor lined with cells, the Heart informed her it was here. She landed and walked into the dark until the Heart called a halt.
You stand above him now.
Wishing that Halinor was there to light the chamber, she fell to her knees, and began feeling the floor for the edge of the lid to the hole they’d stuck Kaleb in. The thunder of feet and roar of the guards grew closer.
I need light.
The Heart lit up brilliant, and saw she the trapdoor immediately. As the pink stone’s light faded, she called to her power and used it to carry her voice down into the stinking pit below.
“KALEB! MOVE AWAY FROM THE CENTER! I’M GETTING YOU OUT!”
She waited as long as she dared. Praying that he was not curled up beneath her, she summoned air, compressing it into a small ball, flew up to the ceiling, and then threw it. It crumbled and fell into the darkness. Still praying he still lived, she fell down into the darkness below.