The Door in The Pit

-Dalen Capital, Slave Pens, Night, 2 DSTR-

“Is that your belt?” Kalena asked, frowning.

"It's strong enough, just grab on," Lafayette urged.

“Yes, well, not like I have much choice.”

When the end of it reached her, Kalena made a lightning quick grab and just managed to take hold of it, and then she was suddenly hanging perilously by one arm, feet flailing in the open air. From above she could hear Lafayette grunting in exertion as he began heaving her upward with all his might. He must not be terribly strong, she thought derisively, she didn't weigh that much! Then she remembered his injured shoulder and how it must be killing him. At that point she tried to make it easier, but there was nothing to really leverage against to help propel herself along.

Finally Lafayette hauled her to the top and with the last of his flagging strength pulled her the rest of the way out of the trapdoor, whereupon he collapsed to the floor and lay on his back, knackered and out of breath. Kalena let the belt go, a little sore from holding on to it for dear life. Pushing herself up off the floor, she realized that she had lost her sabre down the shaft when the trapdoor sprang open. Damn, it was one of her best, and she did not fancy meeting the Emerald Scarves again without a sword in hand.

"That was too close," Lafayette said, huffing out the words.

“A bit,” Kalena said in understatement. “The whole building must be booby-trapped, and a mere trapdoor might be a trifle compared to what else we may face. Recovering Van's soul, the Queen's hounds, reuniting with Kline and Gularzob, and bringing these wretched Emerald Scarves to justice is going to be quite the tall order it would seem.”

"This is not going to be easy," Lafayette agreed, standing and taking a touch off the wall. He cast his eyes down the shaft. "Kalena, there is a door in the pit." His usual tone of speaking was replaced with one of equal parts curiosity and worry for getting out of here by whatever means necessary.

She followed his gaze. Past the array of wooden spikes sticking out of the bottom of the pit and along one side was indeed a door. “Well, it only stands to reason. They would need access to remove the dead, or loot them. Under the circumstances I doubt they would bother to lock that door either. But how do we make it down there without getting the sharp end of the stick, as it were? We'll need something more than your belt.” She unfastened her long black cloak and examined its length and sturdiness. “Hmm — perhaps we could tie some of our things together?”

The idea of doing the unexpected appealed to Kalena. The Emerald Scarves had thus far proven to be uncannily prescient if they set all this in motion in order to expressly capture Thalia's hounds. That would have taken great planning and incredible foresight. She had thought the idea to utilize the hounds a rather spontaneous and inspired one at the time. And it was not like the Queen made a habit of generously lending out valuable assets to her subjects. Of course she was not just anyone, and she and Thalia enjoyed a relationship that bordered on friendship. Bordered being the operative word. She doubted the cold-blooded monarch—to whom most people were dispensable objects—was really capable of having friends, and knew the woman would completely flip her lid upon learning the hounds were missing.

Kalena dearly wished Chiren was here to share some of the blame if the dogs were unable to be recovered. The Count was also a mage, and she was a great believer in fighting fire with fire. But she could hardly complain, nor ask for more splendid companions than Kline, Gularzob and Lafayette. The three were an impressive lot, that was for sure.

She patted Lafayette on the arm. “I'm obliged to you, sir. You saved my life. That's not something I'm too likely to forget if we survive this night. Now, let's see about that door before anyone realizes what we're up to....”

<Tag Lafayette>

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