The Callindra Chronicles Book 3: A Fall of Stars – Chapter 13

“You thought you’d help him?”  She asked, quirking an eyebrow.  “Why would you do that?”

“Hey, just cause I ain’t growed yet don’t mean I don’t see what’s going on.  Somma them are doin a lot better than others.  There ain’t no reason to beat up an old man neither.”

“They’re right to be suspicious, but they have no right to attack and imprison someone without giving them the chance to prove their innocence.”  Callindra said.  “We will rest until the sun begins to set and arrive at the gates just before they close for the night.  They do close the gates at night, don’t they?”

Reed nodded, “Yeah, but they close ‘em about an hour before dark.  Really the main gate ain’t open at all during the day either, but there’s a smaller one to one side they leave open during the day.  Don’t get there too late, they burn anything what comes close after dark.”

“You’re going back now?”  Although she was asking the question she knew the answer.

“Yeah.  They won’t notice me gone for a couple hours but if I come with you they’ll know it was me told you.”  Despite the short time and their conversation the bread and water were gone.  “I’ll try and be around if you need me.”

Callindra carefully kept her face neutral.  She didn’t want to offend the boy and she was sure he was at least capable of handling himself to some degree or else he never would have survived.  “Travel carefully Reed.  Thanks for the help.”

He turned to go but paused and looked at her.  “Ain’t you gonna ask what Holt promised me in payment?”

“You are welcome to accompany us when we leave Reed.”  She said, “Although it will not be safe.  More often than not we go to bed nursing injuries and more often than that hungry.  We’re fighting the Abyss most days and they play for keeps.  I’ve seen more piles of bodies than I can count.”

Reed’s eyes widened when she guessed his payment, but they quickly narrowed when she was describing the dangers.  “I ain’t no cherry.  I seen more death before the world went mad than most seen after it.  Of course most are dead so that don’t mean nothing, but I ain’t no damn kid.  I take care of myself.”

“The second you don’t you’ll likely die.”  She said simply, “But we’ve managed to keep one another alive this far.  Mostly.  Maybe my brother dying for us all changed something.  Maybe his sacrifice gave us an edge or some kind of favor from the Gods.”

“The gods.”  Reed said, still scornful.  “If they exist why would they let THIS happen?  For that matter why would they have let all that happen to me and me mates before the Abyss came?”

“I’ve seen at least one of them Reed.”  Callindra ran her fingers through stray locks of hair, the absence of the Brightstar flowers still fresh in her mind.  “She died to save my family.  I owe her something for that and I intend to make good on my debt to Jorda.”

“That’s on you.”  Reed shook his head, “I ain’t taking on your fool’s errands.”

“If you travel with us Reed you will be expected to fight when we fight and run when we run.  You don’t have to believe in it but you must do it.”  She shook her head, remembering.  “I didn’t believe in them either at first.  After fighting beside them though, it became a little difficult to ignore.  Gods and demons I learned to sword fight from one of them.”

“You don’t move like no god touched.”  He said, giving her a dismissive look.  “I’ll fight if I gotta and I run like the wind.  How you think I survived to be thirteen?”

“It took me much longer to learn that lesson.”  Callindra said, “You’d better get moving Reed, look for us two candlemarks before sunset.”

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