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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/campfires/item_id/337887-The-Cone
Rated: 18+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Family · #337887
Last addition in progress...
[Introduction] The Cone is a huge bustling city, home to over 5 million civillians. Only a few of them possess the power. The power allows those who have it to see things others can't see, in visions and dreams. The cold, dark, dungeons of Nemeb Harabt where hundreds of prisoners are starving and freezing. They can also see the bright palace where the rich and powerful King Yipan rules, has any woman he wants and has had ten of his wives put in the dungeons to date. The only way to enter the dungeons is to get on the wrong side of the City Guard or of Yipan, and once you're in, there's no way out......

Name: Carletta
Age: 17
Former Occupation: Dancer at a night club.
Appearance: Exotic foreigner with dark skin, large brown eyes, pouting lips and jet black hair. Thin and average height.
Personality: Shy and quiet, generally withdrawn. Kind, and adores Naive.
Extras: A baby daughter called Naive, 8 months old.

The gold of the sun glinted off the cobble stones of one of the Cone's biggest areas, Shaban. Crouching in a doorway, a young woman balanced her child in one arm as she chewed solemnly on a piece of stale bread. Her expression was glazed and frightened. While people crowded the streets in the first lights of the morning, she was seeing something else. She saw prisoners being forced into sickly tortures, corpses tossed onto large hay wagons and taken away to be dumped elsewhere. Suddenly, she broke from the vision and burst into tears, still feeling the cold and darkness around her. The door opened behind her and she got up and stumbled away, her child tucked firmly beneath her arm.

She ran along an alleyway. She bumped into someone. She looked up.
Carletta looked up. The man who stood there looked intimidating. Behind him several other large men loomed.
"Hey, whats this." The man turned to Carli.
"None of you're business." she snarled. He laughed, as she walked away and he grabbed the back of her coat.
"Not so fast missy."
"Leave me alone." Carletta was near to tears and tried to pull away. All three of them laughed. Then they noticed the bundle in her arms.
"Hey, you got a baby?" one asked.
Carli clutched Naive protectively and backed out of the alley slowly. One of the men grabbed out and pulled Naive away. He yelled in pain, his hands burning as they touched the baby's skin. Carletta grabbed her child back and ran from the alley. She bumped into a girl chewing bread.
Name: Jarin

Age: 12

Former Occupation: Apprentice to The Archery Master at the palace (ran away)

Appearance: Very short and thin, with mud brown eyes and dusty brown hair, which layed at irregular angles. He has a scar from a knife cut, running from the top of his right eye, down to his chin.

Origin:

Personality: Untrusting, scared, and alone. He has a habit of blending into objects so no one will notice him, but he is very alert at all times, listening to everything going on around him.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jarin ran as fast as he could away from the Castle. He started out on the main trail, but veered off. He ran through the trees as fast as he could, pushing back branches and jumping over stumps. A tree branch slapped his back and he fell onto the leaf covered ground in pain. He could feel the whip wound on his back opening up again and he grimaced as he got back up. I've GOT to get out of here, he thought as he ran through the woods, his shirt sticking to his back from the blood. His eyes searched for the end of the trees, and found them....There. He ran to it, and just when he got to the edge, he was thrown into blackness.

~the pain, the suffering. Jarin looked at the people around him, being whipped, dying of starvation, illness, some older than him, but most a lot younger. And he knew why.~

Jarin pulled himself away from the dream, the vision, as he had taught himself to do.

This girl Jacinta seemed nice- but Carletta was worried. Long ago, the visions had been less frequent and she could control them, now they were painful and clearer. She knew about the dungeons and she knew she had to end the misery, but she couldn't take Naive. She was considering asking this nice Jacinta girl to care for her daughter till she returned- if she returned. She was sitting in the inn room at the moment, Jacinta was nearby brushing her hair. Carletta's heart was still thudding. Two visions today. That was more than usual. She paused, unsure of whether to confide in this girl. Then she made a decision.
"Jacinta?"
"Yes?"
"How long will you be staying here for?"
"It's my home. I don't really know."
"Oh. You see I need somewhere to leave Naive for a while, I have to do something."
"I know just the person to leave her with!" Jacinta exclaimed. "Why, what do you want to do? I could help you."
"I- I want to open the dungeons of Nemeb Harabt."
Jacinta gasped. "You what? That's crazy!"
"I- I know. I need to, you have to understand."
Jacinta sighed. "I do. I get the visions too. Though not as badly as you it seems. I really don't think it's a good idea."
"Who is this person who will care for Naive for me?" Carletta begged.
"I'll take you to her." Jacinta answered.
Jarin shook his head to clear away the screams from his ears, and then as they continued, he opened his eyes and looked around. He gasped and backed away from the clearing. The screams weren't from his vision. He was overlooking the Nemeb Harabt. The horror of what he saw stunned him, and turning away, started running as fast as he could away from the horror, the horror of what they were doing to the people. He ran swiftly and silently even in his horror, for fear of the king's trackers. The screams of the people below him had followed his ears, and as he ran away from that pit of terror, the last thing he heard was a young girl, probably younger than himself scream into the night, "Somebody! help me! Oh Gods! Help ME!"

Jarin sat on the roadside, out of sight as he watched the sunrise, but his eyes were unseeing. He thought about what he had seen. He knew the King was corrupt, but to do that to all those people, most of them children, no older than he was. It was horrible. His brown eyes quivered as the tears ran down his face. He wiped his eyes angrily and started out once more.

He reached the city an hour later, and he leaned against a wall inconspicuously, and he listened, having no idea what to do. He watched a group of children playing a game of Turoo, the simple game of slapping hands and feet together in a dance, but also to practice self defense. His eyes glazed over as he saw a vision of the past....

"Faster!" The quartermaster called, watching over the group of children in his care, carefully practicing the Turoo. Jarin's young brow began to sweat as he moved faster, trying hard not to be hit. "Faster!" The girls who were Jarin's partner moved quicker, and Jarin began to have trouble keeping up. "Faster!" Jarin and the girls were moving so fast it was hard to see their hands and feet. Suddenly, one of the girls, the older of the two, tripped over her own hands and feet, and Jarin and the younger girl were moving so fast they continued with their dance, and they struck down their partner. They both stopped and stared in shock. "good," The quartermaster muttered as he picked up the battered and unconcious girl. He looked back at the two startled novices, and growled, "Back to work, or you'll go to the Nemeb Harabt with this one!" Jarin gulped and looked at his partner, and they slowly began to dance the Turoo once more....

Jarin shook his head angrily and listened to the people once more, refusing to cry as he thought of then. No! he thought, I won't even think of then.
"Come on, we've got to hurry if we're going to free the people in Nemeb Harabt," A woman passing by whispered to the woman next to her. Jarin's ears perked up, Free? Nemeb Harabt?
"I know, I just don't want to leave Naive, are you sure she'll be okay?" The woman asked plaintively as they continued on.
The other woman might have answered, but Jarin didn't hear her, they had already moved on. Jarin bit his lip and nodded to himself. He knew what he had to do. Silently and stealthily, using everything he had learned about tracking and hunting at the palace, he began to follow the two young women who claimed to want to free the poor prisoners of Nemeb Harabt.
Ravyn
Age: 15
Former Occupation: foster child, member of child-gang
Appearance: long, dark hair, deep blue eyes, slim, girlish figure
Personality: very untrusting, detached from the human race
Extras: cat-like movements, very intelligent despite total lack of formal education
Brief history: found abandoned in an alleyway by the 12 yr old leader of a smaller child-gang; even though the baby was young, the girl had sympathy for her and raised her. Ravyn lived with the gang until she was almost 12, when she was caught stealing fruit, and later sent into numerous foster homes by social services. She finally got fed up when she was 15, and ran away from her foster family.

Ravyn leaned against the hard stone wall of the alleyway to catch her breath. She put her finger into her mouth, the metallic taste of blood lingering on her tongue. She spat, and put the finger in her mouth again. She knew she was lucky-a cut on her finger was close to nothing compared to some of the things that happened in this godforsaken place. Cursing, she spat again, and wrapped her finger in a tissue that had been in her pocket for a few days. It would have to suffice. To her left she saw a young woman scrunched in fetal position and crying out loudly. The woman next to her held a child and looked quite unalarmed. Ravyn bit her lip and slipped out of sight into the darkness and safety of the alley. Sliding down the wall and pulling her legs against her chest, tears making clean streaks down her dirty face as she listened to the tormented cries of the young girl.
Soon the bustling around her grew silent, the city disappeared. She was in some sort of dungeon and she was surrounded by children. Dirty street kids, some she recognized, some she knew, some she loved, some she hated. They looked at her with pain filled eyes. One girl came towards her, the leader of her old gang, the only person she knew as a mother. The girl turned her back to reveal savage whip-wounds so deep ribs were showing white against all the blood.
Ravyn hit her head against the wall, as she had learned would make the visions go away, if painfully. The children disappeared, and she was back in the alleyway. She glanced down at her finger, the blood beginning to clot, and she let the tissue fall to the ground. She had to get out of this place. Fast.
"Right." sighed Carli. She had now accepted that Naive would be safe. Naive, although only a baby, had certain talents. For example, she could burn anybody who held her with bad intentions, like the man in the alley. No, Naive would be fine. Carli sighed. The only problem so far was that she knew quite well that she needed several people for this. She needed three people at least, two outside the dungeon, and one inside. She was feeling a bad headache being so close to the dungeons currently.
"Look" said Jacinta. "I have a really really bad feeling about this Carletta. And I'm not going in, no way."
"I know." Carletta sighed again. "We need another person."
Suddenly, there was a noise behind her and Jacinta gave a small scream. Carli yelled out. She turned to see a young boy.
"HEY!! You over there." A beefy man called out, coming closer to them. He was standing outside the door which led to the dungeons. This part of the city was The Hafoo, and the only things in the Hafoo were the dungeons and the palace. Anyone found walking there was treated as suspicious.
"Yes, sir?" Carletta asked. The man paused.
"Haven't I seen you before?" The man looked confused. Suddenly Carli remembered. But she didn't want Jacinta to know.
"Er... I don't think so sir. No?" She didn't want to get into trouble yet, not till she'd made the plans.
"Fine. What are you doing here."
Carletta's mind raced.
"I...." she paused, terrified.
The boy behind her raised his eyebrows. Jacinta looked nervous.
"I have come as a possibility for Yipan (O may he live forever in grace*) the king. I may become his wife."
"What!!?" said the guard.
"What?" said Jacinta.
"You're crazy!!" yelled the boy.
The guard said she was lying, a girl dressed in rags is no princess.
"All the former queens came from the streets. There are no princesses in the Cone." answered Carli a little too defiantly.
"But... wait a second. I know where I met you. You were that dancer in that club."
Carli blushed beetroot.
"Will you let us pass? The king (O may he live forever in grace)will be dissapointed."
The guard grunted and Jacinta, Carli and the boy ran on.
"You're an idiot!" exclaimed Jacinta when they were out of hearing. "And who are you?" She turned to the boy.
"I'm Jarin, as I would have told you if you'd given me the chance. And no way am I going back to the palace. You are really mad if you think you'll get in there." He shook his head.
"So you've been there before?" Carletta asked.
Jarin told them all about his former occupation.
"It's dangerous for me every second I stay in the Hafoo." he finished.
Jacinta nodded. "I don't much like it here either."
"I don't care. I'm going to the palace and I am going to face Yipan."
"But then you'll get sent to the dungeons... oh. Thats where you want to go." answered Jacinta.
"Look there's no point arguing. If you guys are going to help me, we'll need a plan."
Jarin scowled as he followed the two definitely insane women in front of him through the palace. How did I get back here? He wondered incredulously as he kept an eye open for any of his acquantances. He almost laughed bitterly, but stopped himself in time. Jacinta turned around and looked at him curiously, he glared back at her and muttered, "The King sees it fit to imprison any of the apprentices who aren't perfect, and for once it's working in my favor."

Jacinta's eyes went wide, "But that's horrible!"

Carli glanced at her pityingly, "That's life, now come on, you two are falling behind."

Jarin sighed and fell back as the two women hurried forward. He had been so quiet anyway, they didn't notice he had left. He turned into a servants passage and prepared to leave, when suddenly.....

The girl scowled angrily at the two men shoving her into the dungeon, "Leave me alone!"
The guards just laughed and threw her far into the dungeon. "OW!" She screamed as she landed hard on her hand and her finger sliced open and started to bleed. Then he saw someone much more recognizable, someone much more ominous than a plain guard, it was the Life Mage. To be more precise, it was the Life-Stealer Mage. He reached for the girls head and grasped it in his long spindly finger, the girl fought, but was no match for the evil Mage. The Mage drained her slightly, and left her on the ground, her sliced finger bleeding slightly, leaving the girl with no memory of what had happened.

Jarin shook himself out of it. That's it, he thought, I'm not going to wait for them, I'm going to check out the perimeter of the dungeon, maybe I can talk with someone on the inside. and if I can't, I can at least try to warm someone about the Life Mage. And with that resolution, he left to scout the area around the dungeon.
When she looked to her left again, the two women were gone. Ravyn breathed and stepped carefully from the alley, finding them just disappearing into the crowd. Curious, she followed, finding it hard to keep her weary eyes focused on the two she was pursuing.
“This is so stupid,” she muttered to herself, picking her way through the crowd.
It wasn’t long until they turned off the main road and headed towards a residential area, the road crowded with high rise apartments. In between two water stained apartment buildings was a small house that you could almost call a “cottage”. An old woman answered the door, and the younger, dark-skinned girl handed her baby over to the woman. They spoke in hushed tones that Ravyn could not hear.
Feeling daring, she crept closer, wanting to learn more about these women that her body was following, even when her mind did not know why.
“I just don’t want to leave Naïve, are you sure she’ll be okay?” asked the younger woman.
Just as Ravyn made to follow them, a boy pulled out in front of her. She wondered why he was following them too. She even found herself feeling possesive, as if it were her own ‘chase’, but she laughed it off as another of her little control freak issues.
She took her place at the end of the line. They walked in silence, the two women and their followers, Ravyn not having much on her mind other than wanting to get this over with as soon as possible-she wanted to get to the soup kitchen first that night.
When she saw where they were going, she almost gasped aloud in horror. It was the place the Quenyan children of her gang called Grimbeorn, in their language meaning “death awaits”. The palace, and the dungeons of Grimbeorn rested beyond the guarded boundaries the women were about to pass. The place had many names, the one everyone was sure of was Nemeb Harabt. Ravyn shuddered as the vision of the girl’s back came into view again. Yarden! Her heart cried out to the child that was her mother, but the only answer was the begruding grunt of the guard letting the women, now joined by the young boy, pass.
Ravyn realized her hesitation had caused her to miss out on entry. She walked up to the guard, and before he could speak, she thrust her bony knee into his large belly, swinging a muscular leg to kick him in the head and knock him out. He fell long enough for her to run and catch up with the small company. She decided to announce her presence.
"Oh no you don't!" Carli grabbed Jarin. "You aren't going in there- not alone anyway."
"How come you get to?" Jarin asked. He was also wondering how Carli knew he planned to enter Nemeb Harabt.
"It's not exactly a good thing!" Carletta exclaimed. Jacinta quickly made the peace, and persuaded Jarin to stay with them, for now at least. He was fidgety just being within the palace walls.
"We need to make a plan" Carletta said, and she looked around for somewhere to hide. She saw a door that looked like it might lead to a closet, and opened it, beckoning Jacinta and Jarin over.
It actually led to a large room full of racks and racks of clothes. It was empty though, so they all went in, though before they closed the door, another girl pushed through.
"Who are you?" asked Jacinta, sharply.
"I'm Ravyn. Close the door."
Carli closed it.
"I know what you want to do, and I want to help you." Ravyn said.
"Right." said Carletta. "What exactly are we going to do?"
Eventually they changed Carli's mind on the whole marrying Yipan thing, but instead agreed that she would get into trouble with the nearest guard, and go into Nemeb Harabt. From the outside, the others were asked to wait for two days, gathering as many civillians as possible to help, and then they had to cause a big distraction at midnight in front of the entrance of Nemeb Harabt. Carletta would then try to break out of the dungeons with as many people there as she could. She didn't know how yet.
"Right, let's go then." decided Ravyn, and they went to the door and opened it. They moved out into the palace corridor slowly, because they could here voices, and all of them had a bad feeling about it. Suddenly, all of them had an explosion of pain in their heads, which faded as quickly as it had come, and they could hear two voices from around the corner more clearly now.
"But sire." came a whiny pleading voice.
"Sire what?" came a sharp voice that sounded as if it came from a much stronger owner.
"O may you live forever in grace*, Sire. But you see, I'm really not sure about this."
"Of course you're sure. That's why you're my advisor, it's your job to agree with everything I say Yamatash. Now shut up."
The company looked at each other in horror.
"No!" whispered Carli in horror.
"Yes." moaned Jarin.
Around the corner came a troop of slaves, then a man who must be Yipan carried on a sudan chair by six more slaves, then came his advisor on foot, then more slaves.
"What now?" whispered Carli. Then she turned around to find that Jacinta and Ravyn had already dissapeared back inside the room. Perfect! She'd get herself sent to the dungeons now! Jarin still stood beside her looking determined.
"I'm coming too." he muttered angrily.
Carletta wasn't listening, she was getting a good look at Yipan. He wasn't really your typical tyrant. He was in his mid thirties, he had his hair spiked up in a cone shape, the traditional fashion of all rulers of the cone, he had a little goatee beard and a gold earring in one ear. His light complexion, and saggy skin did not suit the image he tried to keep up. Nor did the sparkling green eyes and the fact he had a squint. In fact, his appearance was hilarious, which gave Carli a good idea. motioning for Jarin to follow, she stood in the centre of the corridor, and just laughed. Jarin looked puzzled. The slaves came to a halt as they reached Carli.
"What's the hold up." growled Yipan.
His advisor a small wizened monkey man came up to Carli and said "Sire may you live forever in grace, it appears to be a laughing girl."
"Well move her." Yipan promptly answered.
The little man gave a sudden shocking little shriek "GUARD GUARD GUARDS" and two guards came running up.
"Remove these people." Yamatash whined. One guard picked up Carletta, the other picked up Jarin, who put up a viscious struggle.
"Take them to Nemeb Harabt." Yelled the King. "Now, move on slaves."
Carli gasped, as she realised that she was really going, off to the dread dungeons. She still made no struggle, but fell limp as a sudden terrifying vision came to her, the same she had had before. By the time she came back to her senses, she was facing the dungeons. She remembered all the things she had seen before, the smoke filled tunnels, the dark empty rooms where they locked people up till they rotted away, the rooms where they practiced black magic, writhing peoples souls, the caverns they chased you into and then blocked up so that you slowly ran out of air, and the thick choking smoke everywhere. There were more horrors, she was sure, and her and Jarin were just about to face them.



*Saying as I forgot to mention this before I'll just explain. Every civillian of The Cone must, by law of the king, say "O may he live forever in grace" after mentioning the king. The penalty was getting thrown in Nemeb Harabt.
Jarin wasn't going to fight the guards, but he wasn't going to make it easy for them either. He hung himself as dead weight and made them carry him. He didn't dare glance at Carletta, for fear he might give them away. He heard Carletta cry out, and he glanced over at her. They had shoved her into the dungeon. But they hadn't shoved him. "HEy, Jarin, It's nice to see you again," The guard murmured into his ear.Jarin froze, he recognized the voice, "Quartermaster...."
Ravyn crossed her arms as Jacinta looked
away from her.
"This is so disorganized," she complained.
“Why don’t we just kill the king? How many
people do you really expect to get out, with four
people, unarmed, save for my small knife?”
Jacinta shook her head.
“It isn’t that simple. This whole thing goes
beyond the king. What he started he couldn’t
control, when pure evil took over. He is a slave
to them, don’t you see?”
Ravyn bowed her head.
“If we killed the king, then the person really in
charge wouldn’t have anyone to hide behind.”
“Killing the king is going to take more than
cunning and a knife. We need an army, and
machine guns. He has thousands of guards
around him,”
“What if I could get past them? I mean, maybe
there’s secret entrance into the throne room.
I’ve been a street kid all my life, and had to
learn to develop stealth.”
Jacinta looked down at the younger girl.
“Ravyn. We aren’t taking about gang fights
here. This is a king, a man who requires a
person to say ‘oh may you live forever in grace’
after mentioning his name! There are dark
things down there, in Nemeb Harabt.”
“I have an army,” murmured Ravyn.
“Who?”
“My gang,”
The pain was so excruciating she could hardly breathe. Carli felt that she was struggling just to stay alive. She was going through a tunnel filled with a smoke that burned her lungs and made her eyes water. It was only tobbacco, most of the guards smoked it, but as Carli had exploding pain in her head, she couldn't really see this properly. She felt as if she was dying.
"Right, what'll we do with this one?" she heard the guard holding her say. Another guard, with a greedy smile, looked down at her.
"A little session with the Life Mage perhaps?" he said, grinning more broadly. "Let him do what he wants with her."
Carletta felt herself being guided through dark rooms full of screaming children and adults who looked like the living dead. It was still painful to even be in the dungeons, she had a feeling that this was because of her visions. She was guided into another room, and when the door closed behind her the noise of the screaming and crying lessened.
"Sir, here's another one." she heard the guard say.
"Oh," she heard a sneering voice, and looked up into another greedy face. A man took a firm grip on her arm, and to her immense surprise, the pain in her head faded, and she could see the room more clearly. She was at the moment in a small dungeon chamber, with chains and manacles on the wall, empty except her, this man (the Life Mage, she supposed) and the guard. She looked up at the life mage to see a puzzled expression.
"What's wrong sir?" asked the guard innocently. The Life Mage shook Carli's arm roughly. The pain faded completely and she felt rejuvinated.
"Stupid girl!" he yelled, flinging her onto the floor. She lay sprawled there, as puzzled as the mage was. The reason for his anger was actually that she was meant to be drained of power when he touched her, but it seemed to be doing the opposite.
"What would you like me to do with her, Sir?" asked the guard.
"Take her to the deeper dungeons. Make sure she's treated badly," the mage snarled, looking at Carli with something like fear. Feeling brave, she smiled at him in a politely puzzled way. A vein on his temple throbbed.
"Oh everyone's treated badly here sir. Very badly." answered the guard. The smile was whipped off Carli's face. She was glad that the pain was gone, but she had a feeling that the rest of her stay at the dungeons would have enough pain in it without her visions.
Jarin made his body dead weight as the man who had helped train him dragged him to a room. The man through him in a chair and gazed into his eyes, shaking his head slightly, "Jarin, Jarin, Jarin."

Jarin sat up tall and glared into the man's eyes, "Quartermaster."

The Quartermaster snapped and a girl a year younger than Jarin stepped out. "Yes, sir?" She asked waveringly, as she gazed at Jarin with tearful eyes.

"I think you and Jarin need to play the Turoo one more time."

Jarin and the girl both glanced at eachother and asked as one, "what?"

"You heard me," The quartermaster continued, "And if you don't win, Tasha, you both will be sent to the Life Mages."

Tasha paled and glanced at Jarin, mouthing sorry as she moved up to him, and took on a stance.

Jarin nodded and smiled weakly at her, as he stood up and took his position in front of her.

The Quartermaster grinned evily and called, "Begin!"
"So much for being first in line..." muttered Ravyn, lying idly on her back.
"Huh?"
"The soup kitchen. If you don't get there fast, all the bigger guys come and you don't even get a nibble."
Jacinta rolled her eyes.
"We are standing in probably one of the most dangerous places in the world, and you are worried about food?"
"I don't see you coming up with any other ideas,"
Kids, thought Jacinta. Why did I get left with this one?
Ravyn chewed her lip.
"I don't see why my gang couldn't handle this,"
"Because," Jacinta said, probably for the 5th or 6th time, "They are children. How on earth do you think we are going to beat 300 pound guards with a handful of underfed street kids?"
"Obviously we don't have the manpower. So we have to use our intellect,"
Carletta didn't quite like the idea of the deeper dungeons. Well, she didn't like any idea's in this place, but that one sounded particularly bad.
So, when the guard had tried to push her through another door she had pretended to faint. Then, when he lifted her up, she had struggled and kick with all her might till he let her go. She ran off.
She ran along a corridor and through an open arch into the biggest dungeon room she had ever seen. It was huge. And it was packed with people, so many that it was difficult to breathe or to see. Most people were sitting or lying on the ground, except over in one corner where there was some sort of commotion taking place. Everyone was jumping and shouting. She went to sit beside a little boy kneeling next to the wall.
"Hullo." she said. "What's going on over there?"
"Only another two people been let out of the death tunnel."
"What's that?"
"Oh, just a tunnel where they put loads of people in and block off the airways. Only way to survive is to kill the others. You get let out in three days, if you're still alive."
Carletta choked. That was just horrible!
Then a girl came over and sat on the other side of the little boy.
"You Ok Ricky?" she asked.
"Yup." he nodded.
Then Carli noticed something. His legs. He wasn't kneeling at all. He didn't have any legs from the knee down.
(I know this is kind of against the rules... but I want to tell a bit about Tasha)
Name: Natasha Rille (Tasha)
Age: 11
Former Occupation: Apprentice like Jarin
Appearance: Long Bleach Blonde hair, held back by a braid. Forest Green eyes that glaze over a lot. Slightly tanned.
Origin:Born in the Dungeon, was taken to the palace to train after the Archery Master saw her in the dungeons. He liked the way she looked.
Personality: Doesn't have visions, but she was trained with Jarin. Very courageous, but cautious. Hates being called a chicken. Very talkative and loves being around people.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jarin slammed his forearm against Tasha's and whispered in her ear, "Why are we doing this?"

Tasha pulled back and kicked up, and when she crashed it down and Jarin caught it, she leaned forward and hissed out with her breath, "No other choice, I'm sorry!"

Jarin pushed her leg off and thrust his fist forward, as she dodged to the side and muttered back softly, "But there is!"

She pulled a round kick towards him and he ducked as she whispered back, "What do you mean?"

"FASTER!" The quartermaster called.

Jarin blocked off her forearm as he answered back, "We don't have to follow his orders, you know." He reared up his knee towards her stomach.

She backed up just in time as she muttered back, "You're right, but I'm scared."

Tasha threw a punch towards him and Jarin caught and grinned at her evilly, "Chicken?"

Tasha's eyes flamed with anger as she pulled her fist back, "Let's do it." The two children turned on their former master and advanced threateningly.

The quartermaster turned back slightly, "wh-What are you doing? Go back to the Turoo!"

Jarin lifted up his fists and replied calmly, "No."

"NOW!" The quartermaster cried desperately as he backed up against the wall.

Tasha lifted up her leg and delivered a swift kick to his neck, "NEVER!"

The quartermaster's eyes rolled back and he fell backwards.

Tasha stayed in the set position until Jarin gently laid his hand on her shoulder and gestured for her to follow him out. HE smiled at her, "C'man Tash. Let's get out of here." She nodded and they darted silently out of the room
"I'm soooo booooooorrrreeeeddddd...."
"Shut up,"
"I'm hungry too,"
"This is a little more important,"
Ravyn did a cartwheel.
"You better come up with an idea soon, Jaci. I'm too young to die,"
"Oh, I have a nickname now?"
Ravyn didn't answer. Her eyes were fixed on the door.
Carli choked. That poor boy. The girl noticed where Carli's eyes were positioned.
"It was a land mine that did it. Part of the dungeons has landmines in it. Most people struck by them lose their limbs and die. Ricky's lucky." she said.
Ricky smiled. "The nurse helped me." The girl put her finger to his mouth.
"What nurse?" asked Carli.
"Shhhhhh." whispered the girl. "The nurse is just a person with medical experience who has been sent to the dungeons. She helps people, heals them. If the guards find out she is dead."
Carli felt happiness for the first time since she'd entered this hellhole. Someone was trying to help these poor people. Then she looked around slowly, her mind moving to other subjects. Where was Jarin? He was meant to be helping her the fool. She sighed warily and ran her fingers through her hair. Then she looked up to see someone looking at her. Someone she knew very well.
"Carletta? Is it... I mean... Carletta!" said the young man, his eyes wide his face filled with wonder. He was one of the two men who had just come out of the death tunnel. Carletta tried her best to regard him with disgust.
"Oh, hello Kaern, how are you? Hows your wife." she spat sarcasm into every word.
"Oh, come on Carl, don't be like that."
"Right. What am I meant to be like? You left me alone, pregnant and on the streets Kaern. I'm glad you're in Nemeb Harabt. I hope you die."
The man, Kaern looked very shocked. This was his little Carli, the adoring little girl who had once looked upon him with admiration.
"I never knew you were pregnant. Was it mine? I have a baby?" he asked, his voice shuddering. Carli glared at him, but her heart was melting.
"Yes. She's called Naive, and before you ask, thats because of you. I was so naive to think you'd ever love me. I hope Naive doesn't do anything like that."
And Carletta stood up and tried to walk away from the man she had once loved.
"Not so fast. You think it was easy for me? Giving you up? Leaving you heart broken? I loved you Carletta. My wife is just a powerful woman. Was just a powerful woman. She's dead."
Carletta tried to avoid eye contact with him. The news of his wifes death excited her, but she didn't show it.
"Get lost. I have friends now. Jacinta, Jarin and Ravyn are all helping me do something at the moment and I don't need your help or your company." Her voice came out a whisper.
Before Kaern could make a reply, another man standing nearby grabbed Carli's arm roughly, his eyes greedy.
"Did you say Jacinta?" he begged. "You know Jacinta?" He was dressed in soldiers uniform and would have been handsome if he wasn't unshaven and dirty because of time in Nemeb Harabt.
"Yes I said Jacinta." Carletta answered sharply. "What's it to you? Who are you?"
"I used to be married to Jacinta." answered the man. "I need to meet her again. Do you really know her?"
Carletta stood between Kaern and the soldier, trying to cope with an information overload. Then a small skinny girl pulled at her skirt and said "'Scuse me miss, I've heard you're openin' Grimbeorn. Can you take me with you. Please." The little girl had tears running down her cheeks. Carli wondered how the girl had found out about her plan, then tried to cope as she looked around her at all the faces in pain. She collapsed to the ground in tears.
Ravyn was very confused. Not only had she
just climbed through a tunnel and ended up in
someone's back yard, but the people knew
Jacinta. They seemed so happy to see each
other that they forgot she was even there.
"Ahem!" They all looked at her as if she were
a small rodent-cute, but not meant to draw
attention.
"We are kind of in a situation here. We have
two people in the dungeons, and we haven't
really done much to help them. Is there
something here to help, or should me move
on?"
They looked amused at her insolent attitude.
"Well," Jacinta began.
"Hey? Hey girl, get up." said somebody, their voice sharp. Carletta looked up, to see a ferocious looking girl pulling her to her feet.
"We need to talk." whispered the girl. Carletta looked around her. There was Kaern, the little girl who'd asked her something about Grimbeorn, Jacinta's husband and this new ferocious young woman, who hauled Carli out of the crowded dungeon hall and into a smaler dungeon, with stone floors and a table covered in torturing instruments. The room was currently empty.
"We don't have much time." said the young woman. "I'm Yarden."
Yarden turned to see Kaern, Jacinta's husband, and the other little girl all tumble into the room as well. Yarden moved over and shut the door.
"Right. I guess I'm telling you too?" she dirested to the others.
"What is it?" asked Carli, at Yarden's impatient tone.
"I was listening to you're conversation. I heard two things that were to my interest." Yarden replied.
"First, Ravyn. You know her? She was my daughter. No time to explain about that, I'm just glad she's Ok. Second, you said something about opening Grimbeorn-"
"I never said that! How did people find out?" Carli wailed. "If the guards find out-"
"Shut up." hissed Yarden. "This is important. I can jhelp you escape this place, but we need a lot of people, and help from the outside. Now, you others, who are you?"
"I'm Carletta." said Carletta, glancing at Yarden with respect.
"I'm Kaern. Carletta was my wife, some time ago." Kaern muttered.
"I'm Mattieu. I'm Carletta's friend's former husband. I think." Jacinta's husband said.
"I'm Jayd. You know me Yarden. I was in your gang."
Yarden nodded. Her soft hair swung across her shoulders. Carletta wondered how somebody could stay so strong and controlled in a place like Nemeb Harabt.
"I've got outside help. But the only people who know about this in here are you guys. Oh, and I'm meant to be meeting another guy here too." Carli said quietly, after a short silence.
Kaern's eyebrow rose. "What d'you mean another guy? Who?" he asked, sharply, grabbing Carletta's wrist.
Carletta pulled away from him.
"A little boy called Jarin, Kaern. A twelve year old boy. This thing is more important than your stupid jealousy." Carletta sighed, pulling away from him. "So who's with me?"
"Me." said Kaern. "I'm sorry Carl."
"I am, obviously." smiled Yarden. "I have a lot of friends here too. Is Ravyn here? In Nemeb Harabt?"
"No, she's part of the outside help." Carletta said.
"I'm in. I'll help you." said Jayd.
"I don't know." said Mattieu. Carli noticed specks of grey in his blonde hair. "The guards will find out. I done a good job so far of staying alive in here. If Nemeb Harabt opens, I'd like to be alive to see it."
"Jacinta's part of the outside help too." coaxed Carli. "Wouldn't you like to see her again?"
Mattieu sighed. "I'm in."
Everybody stood for a millisecond in silence. Then three guards burst in.
"What are you doing in here?" said the first guard.
"It's not illegal to be in here." retorted Yarden, leaping onto the table. She grabbed a whip there and cracked it loudly.
"Put that down." said the second guard, while the third grabbed Carletta's shoulder and began to steer her out of the room.
"Hey!" said Kaern, punching him in the face. He let go. Carli leapt up onto the table beside Yarden.
"What now." she muttered.
"Follow me." hissed Yarden.
Mattieu threw a punch at another guard, and Jayd agily slipped through their fingers. They all ran out into the corridor, Yarden still holding the whip.
"Ok. What now?" asked Mattieu, breathing quickly and looking worried.
"Um..." said Yarden.
Jarin ducked against the wall and held his breath as Tasha ducked beside him, both not breathing as the guard passed. After the guard passed, Jarin turned to Tasha, "Tasha, you know a way to get in and out of Nemeb Harabt, right?"

Tasha bit her lip and nodded as she whispered back, "But, it's dangerous. There's no guarantee we can make it back."

Jarin nodded back grimly as he grabbed a sword off a suit of armor, "But we have to do it anyway. I have a date to keep with Carli."
"Do they have a weak spot?" Ravyn jumped in before Jacinta could speak.
"You would think so, wouldn't you. The only one I can think of is light. Life Mages hate light. But how you would get light inside, I don't know. If you are take there, you are stripped of everything and put in a prisoner's uniform."
The teenage girl was deep in thought.
"We'll have to get in some other way."
"There is a tunnel to the deeper dungeons, right next to the one you just came through. Here," said the woman, going into the house and emerging carrying 3 lightsticks.
"Good luck,"
*This bit isn't about Carli, but bear with me*
Yipan's slaves had aching shoulders from carrying him, on his sedan chair, around the Cone all day. They had been ordered to go to Shaban, one of the largest areas in the Cone and now they were wandering about, having discovered that Shaban was also dirty, hot and swarming with people and guards.
"I thought this was meant to be the city. It feels more like the dungeons, apart from the sun, which is just so hot it's annoying," moaned Yipan, who was used to sitting on his throne being fanned by a couple of slaves.
Yamatash just walked on, his tongue out, too hot to speak. Everywhere they went, the people who saw them threw themselves to the ground before the chair and waved their arms in a worshipping way. Even the guards did this. Yipan found it extremely irritating.
"I want to go back to the palace, I have a headache." Yipan groaned loudly.
"Of course sire," panted Yamatash. "We are heading back now."
"But what about the item I came for." sighed Yipan.
"When we return to the palace I will send a few guards to fetch it." answered Yamatash.
*
Back at the palace, when Yipan had returned to sit upon his throne with a cool drink, getting fanned by female slaves, Yamatash ordered two guards to come to Yipan's chambers. The guards arrived, looking extremely nervous.
"I have a mission for you." said Yipan. His voice was droning, showing that he found addressing the guards a very dull and trivial matter.
"I would like you to seek out an elderly woman for me. She is going blind, and often cares for young children. Her home is a tiny ramshackle cottage that will be difficult to find. Her name is Harriet Dirahan. She has, in her possession, a particularly peculiar child. I want you to bring this child to me. The woman can be sent to Nemeb Harabt."
The guards nodded feverently. They thought the instructions strange, but would never dare to question Yipan. They bowed, and backed from the room.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Carletta felt a pain in her head again. The same curious pain that had come to her when she had first entered the dungeons. This time, however, she felt it had a message.
"Naive," she whispered, her eyes growing wide, her face pale with worry. However, stuck in her current predicament, there was very little she could do. She tried to forget her daughter, for the moment at least.
Tasha scurried in front of the guard, and bowed demurely as he passed. "What do you want?" He asked gruffly.

Tasha pretended flinch (rather badly, but it seemed to do the job, "I-I-I-I'm sorry sir. I just needed to ask you a question."

The guard shifted his belt and questioned, "What?"

Tasha scuffled her feet on the floor, refusing to look up as she murmured, "Just was wondering if I could borrow...."

The guard groaned as he fell to the floor as Jarin, who had snuck up behind the guard finished Tasha's request, "Your keys." Jarin stepped over the guard and took the loop of keys off of his belt. Jarin grinned at Tasha and held out his arm to her, "Ready to go to your Palace of Nemeb Harabt, milady?"

Tasha smiled weakly and took his arm, "Away we go, sir knight." They laughed slightly before they turned serious and ran down the hallway. They were in such a good mood, they never noticed the other scurrying figures until they ran into them.
Ravyn led Jacinta down a dark alleyway, that would give anyone the creeps if they were not used to such places. It was dead silent; the wind did not even dare to blow. Ravyn stopped at a sad excuse for a door-better described as rotted pieces of wood that were glued together only by luck. Ravyn knocked at it, the door rattling in reply. A young boy came to the door, older than Ravyn but younger than Jacinta, with red hair and freckles that were almost covered by the dirt on his face.
"Cullen," Ravyn whispered, as if her words were and intrusion of the quiet. "We need some serious weaponry." Without speaking, the boy nodded and went back into house, reappearing with a heavy looking suitcase. Ravyn glanced inside and smiled.
"That oughta do it," she muttered.
"Thank you," she whispered, and leaned up to kiss the boy, Cullen, on the cheek.
"Wish us luck,"
There seemed to be no way out. The small group Carli had befriended now ran together through different corridors, chased by a large group of guards. Carli saw that Jayd was running out of breath, and that they seemed to be running in circles. They suddenly came to a long corridor, which jutted off to many smaller corridors. She ran along quickly, now at the head of the group, and ran along the first small corridor to her right. She thought that the others would follow. She flung herself into to a room with bars on it's heavy metal door, and was followed by Kaern. No others followed behind him. She heard Jayd scream from somewhere quite far away, and both Carletta and Kaern ran back towards the door. It was slammed in their face, and an ugly guard turned a key in the lock.
"Gotcha!" he said. Carletta backed from the door.
"You two can stay in there till we work out what to do with ya." said the guard, before walkng off. Carletta could hear more screaming in the distance, and then loud cracking noises. It wasn't anything as innocent as the cracking of a whip, it was the cracking of breaking bones. She did not know whose bones were being broken, all she could hear now was the blood curdling scream.
"Huh?"
"That woman, Maria, is his mother."
"Whoa, now I feel old..."
Ravyn took a seat on the pavement, opening the suitcase to show its contents to Jacinta. Inside were 5 guns that made your skin crawl-they were made to kill. 5 sharpened kinves lay in the velvet near the guns, along with 2 stun guns and a long knife. Ravyn removed two holster belts, handing one to Jacinta, who hooked it around her waist in accordance to Ravyn.
Lifting one of the guns, Ravyn spun it around her finger and pushed it into her holster.
"You know how to handle these babies?" she asked.
"Yeah, I think I can deal with it," Jacinta took two guns herself and put it into the two holsters on her belt. They each took a knife as well, along with plenty of extra bullets. Tossing the remaining contents of the suitcase into her backpack, Ravyn left it in the alleyway and motioned for Jacinta to follow her.
"There's no delaying it any longer," she breathed. "We're going to Nemeb Harabt,"
"Dammit." thought Carli.
"Well, we're certainly in a bad positon now." sighed Kaern.
"Oh, d'ya think?" snapped Carli. "Look, tonight at midnight I need to get everyone out of here. I have friends waiting outside." She paused thoughtfully. "At least I hope they're outside. If they tried to come in here, into Nemeb Harabt, then I'd have no outside help and we'd have no chance."
"Uh, in case you haven't noticed, you already have no chance. It's difficult enough to survive here, never mind get out. There are NO hidden exits. We've checked, and I've heard that no other entrances or exits were made apart from the main one. I have it on very good faith that this is true. So your friends won't be able to come in anyway. Also, we have another major problem. The fact that we're stuck in here."
Carletta looked at Kaern and wondered what had happened to the man- or boy- that she had once loved. She could remember everything in the past vividly, it was the present that seemed blurred.

*********************************************
Carli had been working at the club again. She hated that job, dancing around on a stage. and she was only fifteen. She'd been there for nearly two years when she met him. He was different from the others. Younger, fresher, only about eighteen. He had jet black hair, light freckles, strong build.
He'd told her to quit her job at the club. Told her she could be something better. She had believed him, and she had ended her work at the club. A lot later, shortly after her sixteenth birthday, they'd got married.
Then, a few days after the wedding, everything went wrong. Carli found out that Kaern was already married and Kaern's wife found out about Carletta. Kaern's wife; none other that Yipan's only sibling, the Lady Ilypa. A very powerful woman. That was the end of Carletta and Kaern- Carletta was lucky to have kept her life.
And then she had Naive, and the visions and headaches had begun.
*******************************************

"Naive." said Carletta slowly. Kaern had to think for a moment before he even knew who Carli was talking about.
"Oh, the baby." he said.
Carli glared at him. "I have a very bad feeling. What I need-" before she had a chance to say what it was that she needed, the door swung open. Yarden stood in the doorway, holding a small, twisted piece of metal.
"Skeleton key." she said, by way of explanation.
"But-" started Kaern. Yarden shook her head.
"I'm a thief. Never mind right now. Just come."
"I heard bones being broken." Carli whispered.
"Oh, yeah that." smiled Matthieu, bobbing up behind Yarden. "I kinda feel sorry for that poor guard now."
Carletta just stood with her mouth open.
"Hurry up!" squeaked Jayd, coming into view. "We need to get everyone out before midnight, remember."
Carletta and Kaern moved towards the door.
"Hey, if you could break the guards bones, and open doors with skeleton keys, why didn't you leave this damn place years ago?" said Kaern as he came out of the room.
"Oh, it's much more difficult than that." replied Yarden. "There's a lot more to these dungeons than just guards and life mages, and locked rooms. But I guess you'll see, soon enough."
Carletta heard more screams. She felt that her mission was entirely out of her hands now. Even if she died, there were other people who were equally eager to carry on.
"Yah, lets get going." she said with as much enthusiasm as she could muster. At the end of the corridor she bumped into Jarin and another little girl she didn't know.
"Where did you-?" she began to ask.
"Look, I've told you already, no time to talk. Just MOVE!" said Yarden.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Old Mother Hattie had been taking good care of Naive. The little baby girl was now asleep in her arms. Then Old Mother Hattie fell asleep too. When the guards eventually found her house and broke in, they were both grinning. Oh, this was all too easy. All they had to do was take the baby out of the old womans arms.
"Like taking candy from a baby." sniggered one guard. Old Mother Hattie woke up to the sound of his voice. The guards were still smiling, quite glad she was awake. This way would be much more fun........
"What are you doing here?" The two groups asked eachother as one.

"We're running away," Tasha informed her fellow apprentices.

"So are we!" The small group proclaimed.

Jarin thought hard and then came to a decision, "Will you help us free the people of Nemeb Harabt?"

Normand's mouth fell open, "How'd you know we were going to do that?"

Jarin and Tasha glanced at eachother in shock, then back at the group, "What?!"

Naomi, Normand's twin sister nodded, "We've been having visions of Nemeb Harabt, and after you ran away Jarin, we decided to follow your example."

Jarin broke out into a wild grin, "Then let's do it!"
Tattered fabric swayed in the wind, hanging from strings tied to dilapidated houses. If possible, it was more silent than the alley.
"Ni hrem tyav sha!" came the loud whisper from Ravyn. Suddenly, the area was no longer deserted. Children came out in tattered clothes, older ones and younger ones, eyes hardened with knowledge beyond their years. They were not painfully skinny as most would imagine, but muscular and almost healthy looking.
"Ravyn!" a cry came from the crowd and a tiny girl, no older than 4, ran into Ravyn's arms. Ravyn lifted the little girl into her arms and hugged her.
"Meri. I'm so glad you're okay,"
Carli looked down. It wasn't Jarin that she had bumped into after all.
"Hurry up." hissed Yarden.
They all piled into the great hall, a room stacked with people. All around the walls, guards stood, muching on thick sandwhiches while the starving prisoners of Nemeb Harabt looked on greedily. Many clustered around the guards gathering the crumbs from the ground.
"Right." said Carli. "We need to go somewhere that we can talk. I need some information."
"Not here." said Matthieu. "Um... I know, come this way."
He led them down some steps, deeper and deeper into the dungeons. Darkness began to swallow the group. Carletta's headache began again.
"There aren't any guards down here." said Matthieu. "Even they are scared of this place."
"Why?" asked Carli.
"'Cause of what's down here." answered Yarden, her face pale.
"It's only an Imuni." added Kaern.
"A what?" said Carli.
"Imuni." Yarden repeated. "It's a beast immune to any human attack. Prisoners who are difficult for the guards to destroy are thrown down here."
"I see. And we came down here because...?"
"The Imuni is dead." answered Kaern.
"What?" said Yarden, Carli and Jayd (who had been shivering and biting her lip) in unison.
"I though you said it was immune to human attack?" asked Carli.
"It wasn't a human that killed it. It was the rats." answered Matthieu. He led them deeper into the dark room, then pressed against one of the bricks in the wall. Instantly a wall torch lit up, giving light to the room. Carli could make out a huge carcass, swarming with millions of rats eating away at it's flesh. When the light was switched on, the rats ran from it's blaze.
"Rats get pretty hungry in this place- but they're afraid of light." said Matthieu, sitting down with his back against the wall.
"So tell me more about Nemeb Harabt." asked Carli, smiling.

Jarin and Normand led the group of their fellow apprentices down the hall, letting Tasha and Naomi tell them their secret way to Nemeb Harabt. Suddenly, Jarin had a flash:

Ravyn was talking to a group of children, in a place Jarin had seen before.... but that creature he had seen before wasn't there anymore.(THAT RHYMES!! WOOHOO!!!:) ) and then with another flash, he saw Jacinta talking to someone, a woman with a baby, and then he saw Carli, but only for a second. And then he saw something he had never seen before, he saw Yipan smiling cruelly as his guards cursed, his hands burning and blistering, as he held a baby before him.

Jarin pulled his head up suddenly and with a new resolve he ran faster towards nemeb Harabt. He had to reach Carli and tell her to get out and help Naive....something bad was going to happen.
A bonfire had been built in the center of the 'town', it's flames licking higher than the houses. The children, probably around 16 or 70 of them, watched Ravyn intently while she explained what they were going to do.
"For Yarden," she said softly, "We must get them all out." A young boy stood, no more than 12 years old. Ravyn thought briefly of Jarin-biting her lip as she hoped they were both still alive.
"How do you plan to infiltrate a huge military building with just the lot of us?" he asked, a heavy accent in his voice.
"There are 67 of us, and Jacinta has some friends. Cullen can get us the weapons we need."
"And the little ones? You're letting them fight?"
"We need everyone. If they cannot fight, they can certainly help people out of that godforsaken place."
"Most of these kids have parents in there," whispered Ravyn to Jacinta. "They're willing to do just about anything to overthrow that king."
An older girl, around 14 stood, looking to be the leader, came up to Ravyn.
"We will go. If you will lead us, we will go," With a slight nod, Ravyn turned back to the throng of children.
"Then we leave tonight. We will pick up the remainder of our people and from there we'll make up a plan. Everyone sleep-you'll need your rest,"
"We've survived here on scraps left by the guards, sometimes we kill rats and eat them raw." explained Matthieu. "It's not too bad in here if you are strong and you are used to it. The life mages are pretty bad though. And the guards are always trying to catch you out."
"What's the point though? I mean, why does Yipan bother with dungeons? Why not just kill everyone and get it over with?" asked Carli.
"Oh, he has big plans. The Cone is only 1 city, only 5 million people (on the surface at least- theres about another half million in the dungeons). Yipan wants more. He's greedy, he's smart and he's world famous cause of Nemeb Harabt. He's building an army in here. Anyone who survives here for a certain amount of time is worthy of being in his army." answered Yarden.
"What does he want an army for?" Carli asked.
"What all the leaders of the Cone want, and have always wanted, is perfection. A perfect city, not one full of thieves and peasants. His great great Grandfather created these dungeons in the hope of ridding the streets of those sort of people, but everyone in the Cone is like that. Nemeb Harabt did not help the city at all," began Kaern. "So he thinks that this 'army' he's making will solve the cities problems."
Carli shook her head. "He already has the guards. Aren't they the same thing?" she asked.
"Not really.They're just thickos with alotta muscle. Big fat oafs." answered Mattheu. Carli looked at his muscles. He was probably just the sort of person Yipan wanted to be in his army.
She looked at Kaern. The only reason he wasn't a guard was cause he was in Nemeb Harabt. He certainly matched the guard description. Big fat oaf. Who else would marry Yipans sister?
"Anyways, how are we going to escape?" asked Carli.
Yarden was thoughtful. "You said Ravyn was part of your outside help? She's good. She'll get you lots of help."
"And Jacinta? She was class at stuff like this. I wouldn't be worried if she's on your outside help." said Matthieu, smiling at the thought of seeing his wife.
"Ok. But how are we going to get everyone out?" asked Jayd. "I have a few mates, but if we try and tell everyone about the plan, the guards'll find out. You ok Carli?"
Carletta had gone rigid. She was staring at the Imuni corpse, though her eyes were glassy as if she was seeing something beyond it.
"Carletta?" said Kaern, shaking her slightly.
"Stop." hissed Yarden. "I have seen this before. Ravyn went like this sometimes. It is a vision. She used to say she saw the dungeons and heard people screaming."
"But Carli's in the dungeons?" said Matthieu.
"Then I do not know what she sees." Yarden replied
******************************************
Carletta was in Mother Hatties room, and she was screaming. A guard was attacking the old woman, tying her arms up with rope. Preparing to take her and drop her in the dungeons. Mother Hattie was unselfish, ignoring her predicament in an attempt to save Naive. Naive was in the hands of a guard, whose hands were burning so badly he was yelling in pain. Carletta needed her baby back. Naive was crying too, loudly. Then she went silent, her eyes wide, as she looked up at her mother. Carletta took a moment out of her horror to wonder how the baby could see her. After all, this was only a vision. She wasn't really here.
Naive started to giggle. The guard dropped her. Carli watched, terrified, as her baby fell towards the floor. Then Naive stopped, floating slightly above the ground. She was still giggling. The vision faded away, and Carli's head became full of Yipans face, laughing like a mad man, spinning around and around in her head.
Jarin followed Tasha down the rope into Nemeb Harabt, and then they followed their instincts, leading a troupe of well-trained apprentices behind them, they searched out their friends silently. Jarin turned into a cell, and there he saw a familiar face, "Carli!" He cried out, and then stopped, wondering if he had made a mistake.
(that's all for now, sorry, just kinda busy....)
An army of 250 people marched behind Ravyn and Jacinta, not a large number, but the looks on some of their faces were enough to kill. Everyone had lost someone. They stood at the gates of the palace, not even bothering with the guard. They were eached armed with some sort of gun and some sort of knife,except for the little children, who marched along as if adults, carrying only light sticks and containers of tear gas. They stooped still at the entry to the dungeons, everyone having second thoughts, but entering nonetheles.
Jacinta looked worried. Placing a gentle hand on her shoulder, Ravyn grinned slightl.
"We're going to do this,"
Carli woke up. She wasn't in the dungeons any more. She was in a hall, Kaern was sitting next to her, and a string of guards were lined up against the wall. Loads of people were sitting silently around the room, wide eyes fixed on Carli.
"What the..." Carli said softly.
"You been asleep for ages." hissed Jayd. "We done what you asked."
"What I asked?" Carli was dazed.
"Hey Carlz." said a familiar voice.
"Jarin? You made it!" Carli smiled.
"Yeah. We're ready. We got loadsa people, and Matthieu even managed to get a coupla guards on his side." he winked. The guards didn't look very happy.
"What?" Carli was confused. Jarin sat down beside her.
"Right. All these people are on our side. We got me, you, Tasha (he motioned to a little girl), Normand, Naiomi and his gang, Yarden, and her street kids like Jayd, Kaern and Matthieu. The guards know what we're doing, but they're too afraid to do anything. It' nearly midnight, Jacinta and Ravyn should be breaking in any moment, then we need to use all the people we have and search every corner of the dungeons for every poor prisoner. Kaern captured the life mage and tied him up with a whip from one of the dungeon torture cells. Most of the guards have run away to fetch help from the city guards, but we're strong. We'll break through."
Carli shook her head, though not because anything was wrong. She just found it hard to take it all in.
"You- we- all of Nemeb Harabt will be opened? But how? If it's so easy why has nobody done it before?" Carletta asked. She was expecting many more obstacles.
"It is not over." said Yarden, appearing suddenly and sitting down near them. "Yipan has so many more tricks up his sleeve, that the second he finds out about our plan we will probably all be dead."
"What can he do?" shrugged Jarin. yarden gave no answer.
"There have been rumours..." said Kaern eventually. "Rumours that he has gathered an object so powerful it will create a perfect city for him have been gathering in the dungeons."
Carletta sat back. She had woken to so much confusion she had almost forgotten the vision. She remembered now. Naive!
"I need to go. i have to get Naive back." she said suddenly.
"What?" asked Kaern.
"Naive! She's in danger, I can feel it."
"Oh, yeah, I forgot. I had a vision about her too Carli."
"Can you come with me Jarin? I need to go and find her!" Carli begged.
"We can't leave now. Our help is needed here."
"It's my daughter!" said Carli. "I need to take care of her."
"I'm her father. I'll go." said Kaern. "Where is she?"
"With Old Mother Hattie. Just ask around. People will know. How are you going to get out?" questioned Carli.
"I'll just punch past the guards guarding the exits. How hard can it be? I'll be in trouble when Yipan finds out, but so what?"
"Ok. Please hurry." Carli begged.
*************************************
Yipan wasn't startled.
"So? That had to happen sooner or later." he said. The guard he was speaking too was sweating uncomfortably.
"Um... but sir, they are going to break out. Of the dungeons. Nemeb Harabt, Grimbeorn, the Jungle of death..."
"I am aware, captain, of the many names for my dungeons."
"Aha. And you know that the prisoners have captured some guards and have outside help trying to break in?" the guard said, hoping for some reaction. The dungeons were centuries old, nobody had ever broken out before. Yipan seemed to think it was a light-hearted joke.
"It's all in the plan captain. All in the plan." Yipan said, grinning evilly. Yamatash, Yipans advisor, looked up at his master. He knew of the plan, and was not keen on it at all.
"Anyway. See to it that the people are not allowed to escape till I give the order. Then we can begin! I trust your men got the child?"
"Yes, sir." the guard said. Right on cue, two guards stumbled giddily in, screaming their faces off, passing Naive like a hot potato, from hand to hand.
"She burns." yelled one.
"Take her! Take her!" screeched the other. Their hands were red and covered in blisters. One of them dropped Naive. Yipan watched in interest as the baby stopped and hovered about a foot from the floor.
"I know a man who can hold her. He is in the dungeons. Have the life mage brought to me." commanded Yipan.
"But sire (may you live forever in peace0..." began the chief guard."Whatever you want to say, don't say it. I need him. Oh, and also bring to me Kaern." Yipan added.
"Kaern?" asked the chief guard.
"You remember him. Tall man, black hair? Ilypa's husband?" Yipan smiled. The guard suddenly nodded.
"Oh yes. The traitor. I see. Well I'll have them both brought to you sire, (may you live forever in peace."
Yipan nodded.
"You may leave."
The unfortunate palace guards soon recieved the news that he was to enter Nemeb Harabt and bring Kaern and the Life Mage.
*********************************
Carletta looked up as Kaern stumbled back into the hall. His shirt was torn and he was bleeding.
He was followed by an old woman with a massive array of bruises.
"Mother Hattie!" exclaimed Carli. "Wheres Naive?"
Mother Hattie shook her head. Carli screamed.
"What! Naive!" Then everone went into action. Jacinta and Ravyn had broken past the guards and it was time. They needed to get everone out.
Jarin was back to back with Tasha, as their duo training paid off, they were attacking with each other and defending eachother. They're fellow apprentices were beating the guards butts, (figuratively and literally). Then he heard the gun go off, and Carli fell down. He left Tasha's side, and ran to help his downed friend, just as Jacinta ran after her as well.

"Carli!" Jacinta sobbed, holding back her tears.

Carli's face was scrunched in pain, but she looked determined as she gazed into her two friends eyes, "I'm fine.....go get Naive! Please!"

Jarin grabbed her hand and let her squeeze it, to release some of her pain, as he nodded his head yes, "If I have to die doing it, I'll get Naive. I swear."

Jacinta was crying now, "Jaci, I'm so sorry, I.... I never meant to...."

Carli smiled through her pain reasuringly, "I know...just... get Naive."

"But what about you?" Jacinta asked.

"I'll take care of her," Tasha offered. Jarin glanced up at her, he hadn't even realized she'd approached them.

He nodded to Jacinta, "Tasha is well trained in meds. She'll take care of Carli."

Carli nodded, determined, "As soon as I'm fixed, I'm going to help you...but now...just get..Naive" The last word was a hiss of pain, Carli's eyes clenched in pain.
"Dear God..." whispered Ravyn. She had been running from cell to cell, opening gates and letting people out. She could hear the blood rushing in her ears as her heart pounded and she stared at the sight before her. Inside the room were mangled, rotting bodies, their horror reaking in the air. Choking back vomit, she turned and ran through the crowded halls.
"Get out! Everybody!" she shouted, pushing children along, hurrying everyone along. She heard gunshots and cries, knowing some guards must be shooting. She pushed through the crowd until she came to a clearing, where a young girl bent over Carletta.
"What happened?" breathed Ravyn, touching Tasha on the shoulder. Before she could answer, she heard another shout. Turning, she discovered Yarden running towards her, and she threw herself into the older gilr's arms.
"I missed you," Yarden said softly, releasing her tight embrace.
Ravyn nodded, and handed her a gun.
"Get them out," she ordered.
*This bit isn't about my character again, hope ya don't mind*
The guards forced their way through the dungeons, occassionally questioning comrades on the whereabouts of the life mage. They found him eventually, in a locked dungeon, tied up with a whip, writhing like a snake on the floor. His eyes glinted as the pulled the whip away from where it had been cutting into his flesh, and hen he was no longer bound, he slowly rose to his feet. Revenge swirled in his mind.
"Sir, Yipan (may he live forever in peace) wishes to see you." said one guard.
"I see." the Life Mage rubbed his bruised arms.
"And the man who did this to me?" he questioned. His dignity was not taken lightly. He felt that if he found Kaern he would kill him.
Just then, another two guards burst in, dragging Kaern who was struggling wildly, between them. The life mage's face turned into a fury of darkness and his hand reached for Kaerns neck. The other guards had to prise his fingers from their clutch. Kaern, shaking as though he had been electrocuted, hung limp. The Life mage had sucked his life from him, and he was unconcious.
Somehow the four palace guards managed to struggle past the battles around them dragging Kaern and forcing the Life Mage, who was still hell bent on Kaerns murder. They were forcing through crowds till they reached the palace, where their ears buzzed with the lack of noise. All the furious stampaging hordes of those breaking into the dungeons were too far away to be heard, and the palace was so silent you could have heard a pin drop. The guards made their way to the throne room, their prisoners in tow.

"So this is what my ex- brother in law has become." purred Yipan softly as Kaern was dumped in front of him. The guards let go of the Life Mage, who immediately flooded into a raged torrent.
"Excuse me sire, but why have I been treated like this? After years of faithful service I am forced to come here by your guards and I am not allowed to dispose of my own prisoner?"
Yipan sucked at the air, the sound of his indrawn breath showing his dissaproval. "He is not your prisoner. He is mine. All the people of the Cone are mine, and all serve me, whether they realise it or not. That includes you." Yipan put his point accross, and the Life Mage fell into silence. He could not bring himself to challenge the power that Yipan was carelessly flinging around. He would have to be obedient if he didn't want to die.
"Yamatash, instruct the Mage." Yipan said, lazily as if even bringing himself to talk to the Life Mage was degrading.
Yamatash gave a barely audible sigh.
"See that child." he croaked, pointing at Naive who was still floating a few feet from the ground.
"Of course I see her." The Mage replied, not worried about being cheeky to Yamatash.
"You must lift her." Yamatash ended. The Mage raised one eyebrow. Was this some sort of joke?
"Of course." he said, as obediently as he could. he moved over to where Naive was floating, scratching his head in mock puzzlement. "This'll be hard. She looks too heavy for me." he joked. Yipans dissaproving stare silenced him. He bent down and reached out to pick up the baby.
The scream echoed loudly throughout the empty palace halls.
The Mage sat on the floor, nursing his burnt hand, shaking his head slowly, eyes wide with pain.
Yipan smiled again.
"My dear man. You thought you could simply pick her up?" his grin was sinister.
"But, sire-" a guard began.
"Silence! This mockery will not continue! Let us finish the job now. I will explain. This wreck of a man at my feet fathered this child. He holds the power to hold him in his arms, as does anyone else who has the baby's mother's approval. The child repels anyone wishing her harm."
The room was silent again, everyone clinging to his every word.
"You must suck him dry, mage. Remove all of his life, hold all of his power, and the child might as well be your own."
The Mage shook his head. "I took life from him already."
One of the guards kicked Kaern. He groaned and woke up slowly.
"Not all his life. Now, do it now while he is still drowsy." Yipan snarled.
The Life mage moved towards Kaern, this time his eyes holding fear instead of vengence. He put his hand on the side of Kaern's neck, where Kaern's life flowed. Kaern cried out feebly, trying to push the mage off, looking around trying to grasp his surroundings. The last thing he saw before his death was a baby, floating inches from the floor.
"Carli," he whispered, the word softly escaping his mouth. Then his heart stopped beating, his brain stopped working and all the life flowed out of him. Yipan almost clapped with excitement.
"Oooh, good. He's dead!" he cried. The Mage pulled his hand from where it rested on the neck of Kaerns corpse, and looked at it carefully. It held power now, he could feel it. It was time.


*************************************
Carletta had been trying to rest, but her eyes were glazed and her head swam with images of her baby. Naive was her life, her world, her universe. She needed her. But for now she needed to forget her, lying here thinking about it all was driving her mad.
Suddenly she puashed past Tasha and stumbled to her feet, her eyes glazed, the pain of her leg non-existent comparedt to another pain in her mind, the worry for her child. Tasha tried to calm her, begging her to sit down, to rest. Naive Naive Naive Naive. The world floated in her head like a little fluffy cloud, drifting slowly into the darkness.
"We need to..." she trailed off. Her brain was realising things that had lain dark in her mind before, putting together the pieces of a puzzle that had long been known to her. Then she knew what Yipan was going to do, and she knew that she couldn't tell anyone. She would rather die. If she told anybody Naive would be destroyed. She made her way to the exit, dragging her painful leg. The pain would be gone soon. Mind you, so would pretty much everything else. Carli was prepared to die to save Naive, and would die if she had to live without her.

*************************************
The life Mage had Naive in his grasp as Jarin and Jacinta burst through the throne room door. He was smiling in a way that showed obvious madness.
Yipan was much more composed.
"Too late little children. Whatever you do now, nothing can stop it. It has been done." Yipan said, his face set in a serious mask.
"What dyou mean." spat Jacinta. Then they saw Kaern.
"Kaern? Oh my... But..." Jarin trailed off, his mouth open in horror.
"The first of many who will die in my wake." hissed the Life Mage. "Oh Yipan, may you LIVE FOREVER in eternal peace, oh greatest of lords, oh powerful wise ruler." He blurted out many more terms for Yipan. He was ecstatic, filled with new power that Yipan had introduced him to. He staggered about like a drunk. Jacinta and Jarin weren't sure what was going on, but they suddenly realised they needed to go find Carli. She needed to know.
Jarin let the words sink in, then nodded, "Right. You go tell the people from Nemeb Harabt what's happened, and I'm going to try and get Naive back."

Jacinta gave him an odd look, "If you go back, you'll probably die. You saw what they did to Kaern!"

Jarin nodded and smiled slightly, "Yeah, I know. But, Naive doesn't have a chance without me, and you have to let the others know." When she tried to argue, he silenced the woman with his childish hand, "No buts. I'm not that important." He turned to go, leaving Jacinta alone, but he turned around once more, "Could you just....tell Tasha I'm sorry?"

Jacinta nodded and Jarin turned to leave. Jacinta gained control of herself and turned away, calling over her shoulder, "Good luck, Apprentice."

Jarin grinned over his shoulder at her, "Thanks, but I won't need it." And then he darted down the hall, leaving Jacinta to find her way back alone.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jarin carefully tracked the Life Mage carrying Naive through the hallways. He bit his lip to keep himself from flinging himself at the evil mage. Patience, he reminded himself, patience. He followed the man carrying Naive, and when they entered an empty chamber, Jarin carefully let himself inside. The Life Mage tured around in surprise, saw Jarin and then smiled, "Oh, it's just you."

Jarin withdrew his sword and pointed it at the Life Mage, "Drop the kid."

The Life Mage raised an eyebrow, smirking, "What kid? Oh you mean this one?" He held up Naive. He grinned sadistically as he dropped her, "Okay."

"Naive!" Jarin called dropping his sword to try and catch her. But to his disbelief the baby floated in mid-air.

"You see," The Life Mage smirked triumphantly as he slithered slowly towards Jarin, "She has no need of your protection." He latched a hand onto Jarin's throat, "But you, my lad, DO need protection." He began to suck life out of Jarin. Jarin struggled as much as he could, but he could feel his energy's slowly leaving. The Life Mage began to glow, his eyes were shocked, "What kind of power is this?" His eyes narrowed as he studied Jarin, "You have the power of visions, don't you boy?" He tightened his hold on Jarin's throat, and Jarin gasped for breath, "I knew it! But now I have nothing to fear of your powers." He sped up draining Jarin's body, "And once I drain you, I need not fear any other visioner's powers."

Jarin gripped a dagger in his boot, and brought it up to his own heart. "Remember how your mentor died?" He gasped. But the Life Mage couldn't hear him, he was concentrating on taking every last bit of life from Jarin. "I do," He whispered as he slashed off the Life Mage's tattooed hand clutching his throat.
A little girl lay on the the floor, crunched in a little ball, crying. Ravyn looked upon her with a deep compassion and lifted the child into her arms, almost dropping her as the child writhed, on instinct.
"It's okay! It's okay," she murmured soothingly, until the child stilled. She picked her up once more and the child put her arms around Ravyn's neck, resting her head on Ravyn's shoulder, her crying slowing.
"It's okay, baby," she whispered, her voice panicky from fear. She felt a hand at the back of her head and her hair was yanked backwards. Swearing as the child flew from her arms, she turned to shake off her attacker. It was a muscular young man with an awful grin plastered onto his tan face.
"Why, little Ravyn. Who would have know you could reak so much havoc?" Grabbing her and twisting her arms behind her back, he dragged the screaming teenage girl away.
Yipan wasn't crazy. Yamatash was hobbling along a corridor with that thought swirling in his head. He was quite positive that his master wasn't mad. He had seen into Yipan's eyes, he had seen the vision that lay there, and he had realised that it was not the sort of plan that a mad person designed. That didn't mean Yamatash like it. The little old man muttered to himself as he hobbled along the corridor, and came to a strange sight. A man, lying in blood covered robes upon the floor, clutching the stump that was all that remained of his hand.
"Life Mage?" questioned Yamatash in his creaking echoing voice that made you think of dark doors opening in large empty houses, or of nails being run down a blackboard. It was the sort of voice that made you wince when you heard it, and pity it's owner. The Life Mage didn't reply to Yamatash, but simply lay on the floor clutching his hand and rocking backwards and forwards, crying in pain.
"Where is the child?" Yamatash felt obliged to ask this question. Personally, he would prefer it if the child were dead and buried wished never to hear of her name again, but the main bulk of Yipan's plan was centered around Naive, and Yamatash would be blamed if he allowed the child to escape.
The Life Mage raised his hand (the one Jarin hadn't cut off) in a point along the corridor. Yamatash thought for a moment about running along the corridor himself, but reconsidering, decided it would be better to call for the guards. However, his call of "Guards!" brought no aid. Yamatash returned to the throne room to inform the King of the dissappearance.
**********************************

Carli had not noticed Jacinta come to stand beside her, and could make no sense of what she was being told. She had met Jacinta halfway between the palace and the dungeons, and when Jacinta had mentioned Naive, Carli had sunk to her knees. She stood up slowly again, and listened properly to what Jacinta was telling her. It was difficult to concentrate though, with all her mind fixed on her baby. She had been away from Naive for so long...
************************************
Yipan was surprised at the news that Naive had got away, but demanded to see the Life Mage at once. Yamatash returned dragging the wreck of a Life Mage with him. The Life Mage cowered before Yipan, his stump of a hand still throbbing with a pain that was clouding his head and his thoughts.
"So, Mage, you have failed already. I thought you could be trusted with the power you have drawn, but perhaps not. Perhaps I should have aquired another servant who could use the power more wisely, and not be defeated by a mere child." he somehow succeeded to spit hate into every word, as well as conveying an overall tone that showed he would consider bneing merciful.
"Oh, but sire. There was a boy. He cut off my hand, Sire!" The Life Mage had not forgotten the power Yipan had enabled him with, and was ready to take the insults thrown at him in order to stay on the side of such a powerful ally.
"You realise how pathetic that sounds? A small boy took a baby from your arms? You give the term weakling a bad name. Now, Mage, if you can manage this simple task without a child distracting your aim..." and Yipan proceeded to explain what the Mage was to do next. When he had finished speaking, the Mage stood with his jaw hanging open.
"I can do that?" he had almost forgotten the pain in his arm.
"It is Kaerns power, by rights. But you have stolen his powers. You can do what you want with them. Or rather, you can do whatever I tell you to want."
It took a few moments for the whole speech to sink in. Then the Life mage turned slowly. He licked his lips in unmistakable greed. He had power and he could feel it surging through him.
"Shall I summon her then, sir?" he asked. Yipan nodded, his own eyes reflecting the Mages greed. He knew what he wanted and he knew how to get it.
The Mage lifted his remaining hand and shut his eyes tightly. His lips moved as he worked out the words he planned to use.

"Akusta, Naive! Tavita, Naive! Enfanta, Naive! Komm Naive Enfanta Kir!"
*In the old traditional language of the cone. Litetrally, in English "A summons to Naive! A calling for Naive! The baby Naive! Come to me the baby Naive!" Which sounds pretty stupid, but to the Mage it perobably made sense*
The Mages voice rang out in the room. His eyes were tightly shut, his face screwed up in concentration. To Yipan, the room seemed to be warping slowly, twisting out of place. The Mage collapsed suddenly to the floor, having been drained of power. Yipan cursed.
**********************************************

Far away, Jarin, running with Naive held in his arms, felt something tugging at the child. he clung to her more desperately, and cursed, wishing he had killed the Life Mage back at the palace. Apparantly removing his hand had not been enough.
Jarin took a deep breath and held Naive closer to himself, "A-Archery Master."

The Archery Master smiled and withdrew one of his arrows, setting it on his bow, "That's right, now give me the baby...."

"NO!" Jarin yelled and ran through a side corridor. I've got to get you to Carli, Naive. Even if I die doing it!
Ravyn tried her hardest to scream, but it was muffled by the arm across her mouth. She was roughly thrown into a dark room and the door was slammed. There was somebody in the room with her.
"Who are you?" she asked, her tone low and foreboding.
"Little girl, don't try and sound so tough. You know who I am. Ripley, remember? The guy that always let you cut in front of him at the soup kitchen?"
"Rip? What is your problem?"
In the darkness, she couldn't see him move, but he was over to her in a second, her arm suddenly twisted painfully behind her as he threw her against the wall.
"You are the problem! You come parading in here, thinking you can bring this place down? We have so much power, Ravn, you can't imagine it."
Ravyn swung out with a leg, but only kicked air. A low chuckled came from the opposite corner.
"You aren't going to get out of here anytime soon. I was sent to make sure you don't cause anymore trouble,"
Yipan paced the room, as the Life Mage lay crumpled in a heap, sobbing furiously that he had been unable to bring the child. Eventually Yipan spoke.
"We need two things, Yamatash. The girl is one, the last of those able to summon the baby."
Yamatash frowned. "Who? There is another?"
"Yes, of course. Her death would result in the babies death. They have a link. She must become ours," Yipan strongly demanded. Yamatash was still frowning.
"And, Sire, who would this girl be?"
"The babies mother you fool. She has twice the power of the Mage. She will be essential to our operation."
"I shall fetch her." groaned the Mage, suddenly stumbling to his feet.
"No," laughed Yipan. "I think we'll send someone more... capable." he glanced at the mages stump hand.
"Now, Yamatash, the second thing I ask for are my army. Send out the signal."
"Your army? Who would that be." The Mage was still grimacing with the pain of his failure, but he had curiosity.
"I have many followers in this city. The few who broke into the dungeons are by far in the minority," Yipan sneered.
"You mean your guards?" the Mage almost laughed. He had been aquainted with several guards, and knew them as blundering fools.
"No," laughed Yipan. "No. Others. I said before that I was building an army in Nemeb Harabt? Well, I already have a powerful army. A gathering of followers who love and adore me. Oh, Yamatash, tell Ripley to dispose of his prisoner." Yipan passed another quick command to his advisor.
"Yes sire, ( O may you live forever in grace). I'll call for your army now, and send someone to get the girl," sighed Yamatash, bowing low and backing out of the room.
Yamatash made his way up a series of stairs, to the tallest tower of the twisted palace. There he found a guard, asleep, and shook him roughly awake.
"Wh..what?" The guard jerked awake.
"It is time. Give me the horn."
"The horn?"
"Yes, the thousand year old valuable, royal heirloom that you're meant to be guarding. I trust you have it?"
The guard shook himself awake, and reached beneath the table, to produce a small, pure gold, French horn, with a small red flag hanging from it. Yamatash nodded.
"Now, blow it."
"Blow it? Sir?" The guard was quite shocked.
"Yes," snapped Yamatash.
The guard hesitantly lifted the horn to is lips and blew. He was surprised at the huge noise that came from such a small horn. The noise echoed accross the city.
"Well done," said Yamatash, taking the horn from the guards hand. Then he promptly pushed the guard out of the tower window, and was running down the stairs before the guards body whacked against the ground.
**********************************

"Carli," begged Yvette. Carli had fallen asleep to be surrounded by fitful dreams of Kaern and Naive.
Yvette was struggling to wake Carli after Jacinta began to have a vision and couldn't be woken up. Carli woke slowly. She looked around her, and found that everything was clear.
"Yes?" she asked Yvette.
"She- she went- look at her," Yvette pointed, worried at Jaci, who was squirming on the ground.
"Oh, she'll be Ok." promised Carli. "Just a vision."
Yvette mouthed aimlessly.
"Tell you what. You stay here, look after her. I need to go." Carli stood up. Yvette knelt and tried again to wake Jaci, while also trying to attend to her baby. She looked pleadingly at Carletta, hoping she would not leave.
"Bye," Carli ran out of the dungeons, which were delightfully empty. She was glad that, at least, she had so far managed to achieve her goal. She only hoped to find Ravyn, Jarin, Kaern, everyone in their group that had gone missing. Where was Matthieu? Yarden?
She pushed thoughts of Naive from her head, with great difficulty. Jarin probably had her. Yeah, Jarin had her, she assured herself. Running through the worryingly empty streets, Carletta began to feel lonely. She wondered if she should maybe go back and find out what Jaci had een in her vision.
As she was standing on a street corner trying to make a decision, a hand crept slowly round the wall and put itself over her mouth. She was pulled against the wall, trying to scream, but only making mumbled muffles.
"Shhhh. It's only me," said someone. Carletta turned around to see who it was.


*This'll probably be my last addition for a while. I'm off on holiday soon for 2 weeks :), then I got exams :(. I'll send you an e-mail if I'm in any of your campfires.*
Jarin snarled at the life mage, "You idiot! I went easy on you before!"

"Move out of the way, Apprentice, the child's mine!", He snarled as he was about to pick up the baby.

"No! She's Jacinta's!" Jarin lunged at him, barely ducking the spell the Mage threw at him. Jarin panted for breath as he raised his sword again, "You won't touch her!"

The Life Mage laughed and waved his hand. Jarin's blade shattered into millions of silvery shards. Jarin stared at the handle he held, dumbfounded and then to the Life Mage. The life mage laughed and held up his bloody stump, sneering, "I'm going to replace this with both you're hands!" He raised his hands once more to attack Jarin.

Jarin thought fast and dove out of the way of the spell just in time as he dove towards the Archery Master's dead body. He grabbed his sword and swung it in a large arc, hitting the Life Mage's other hand just before he lowered it. The sword was sharp and strong, it cut cleanly through the hand, leaving only a faint red tint on the silvery sword. Jarin glared at the Life Mage in hatred, "Now let's see you pick up Naive." JArin didn't wait for an answer, he picked up Naive and ran towards the end of the hall. But before her left, he turned once more to the Life Mage, "And if you ever try to take her from me again. Next time...I won't hesitate to kill you." And he ran from the room, looking for Jacinta, to finally deliver the child to it's rightful home.
Her eyes began to adjust to the dark. She could see Ripley's intimidating form a few feet away from her, his broad shoulders drawn up as if to evoke fear.
"Carletta!" Ravyn cried pitifully. "Jacinta! Jarin!" Nobody was around. This whole wing had been evacuated.
"Ripley!" she shrieked, as if trying to wake him up from an eternal slumber. "Rip!"
He just chuckled, advancing upon her.
"You're lucky you aren't dead, dear girl. I wouldn't try anything...funny," He twisted one of his gloved fingers into her hair and yanked, smirking as she cried out softly in pain. For the first time since her babyhood, tears welled in Ravyn's eyes as she felt the overwhelming sense of being completely and utterly alone.
*Hey, Star. I kno i sed u cld skip ma turn but I'm havin second thots. Wot if u guys completely ruin this campfire? Ok, ok that was a joke, but ykno, I gotz planz 4 dis thing, so if ya dont skip me, datd b gr8. Can u still sign in as me now and den, and check ma e-mailz plz? Ta*

Carli turned to see Yarden, who removed her hand from Carli's mouth.
"What are you doing," Carli exclaimed.
"I'm saving your ass. Look around you. You're being watched everywhere. There's about ten people in this street who'll get a reward from Yipan for taking you to him. Watch out." Yarden whispered.
"Right." replied Carli in a hushed voice. "What do we do now?"
"You run. I'm going back to the dungeons to find Ravyn. She's missing."
Carli nodded. She sped off along the street, noticing many glittering eyes peering at her from alleyways. She turned to see she was being followed by about ten people, and quickened her pace.

***************************************
"So." said Yipan. Assembled before him was a vast crowd of people; his followers and worshippers. He had already sent many out to find Carli, and was now giving orders to the rest.
"Sire, O may you live forever in grace," called a supporter, a tall lanky woman with an assembly of scars on her face. "What will you do with the baby?"
Yipan smiled. "Willamina." he bagan. He prided himself on knowing every supporters name off by heart. "I cannot tell of my plan to you people. Spys and traitors may be among you."
Yipan continued to make speeches among his congregation, and to speak of Naive, Carletta, his new plans for The Cone. Yamatash now stood faithfully by his side. Yipan, it seemed, was winning. He had powerful allies, and more were coming. Yamatash smirked. Now was not a good time to be that girl, Carletta. He assumed her fate would be somewhat like Kaerns.
*******************************

Carli ran into Jarin, carrying Naive. In a split second, her face was full of joy and excitement.
"Jarin? Naive!" she squealed. Jarin, however, seemed more occupied with what was going on behind Carli.
"You do know there are like, ten tough looking people running towards us?" he said, handing Naive to Carli.
Carli nodded. "We need to hide somewhere."
Jarin looked thoughtful. "Follow me."
Jarin groaned and ran a hand through his hair, "Will this NEVER end?"

Tasha shot him a look of disgust, "Will I ever stop playing nurse?"

Jarin smiled, "Well, guess this will never end then.
(sorry....kind of preoccupied...Traveling Lady opens in 2 weeks! That's the play I'm in, btw)
*Sorry I didn't make this real clear, but Yarden
just found Ravyn in the street someday. She
isn't her real mom. :) Okay, moving right along.

"Oh God, you idiot, let me out!!" Ravyn
screamed, not knowing she was leading
rescuers to her.
Ripley didn't hear. He was sitting somewhere
on the other side of the dark room, a sadistic
grin on his face.
"Yarden? Anyone?" She heard yells in the
distance.
"I'm here!" she cried, standing.
Ripley stood as well.
"What the hell?"
He drew a dagger out of his pocket, but Ravyn
jumped on him and flung it away, finding
herself flung onto the floor behind it. The door
burst open. Leading the group was Jacinta
and Yarden, looking very, very angry.
Carletta hid in an alley, cuddling Naive, who sat placidly in her mothers arms, finally content. A breeze brushed through Carli's hair. A breeze? Down an alley? It was no breeze, but the panting sting of breath that tainted her neck. Carletta turned slowly. "Helloooo," came the purr. "You must be the girl, yeeeeessss?"
Carli's face was such an image of frozen terror that the speaker laughed. His laugh was strange, sharp, abrupt.
"I have heard much about yooou. My award will be grrrrreat."
"So you're one of Yipan's men then?" Carli's face broke it's frozen image, though her eyes still sparkled with hidden fear, darting around, searching escape. Her voice trembled.
"Softly, slowly," he said. He was not a man, not as such. His face and flickering tongue resembled that of a lizard and his eyes were the slitted amber orbs of a cat. His body was average height and average build, and his hair thick and blonde.
"Move slow, I will make a number of considerations. Any sudden movement, I will betray yooooou," he continued.
"Considerations?" Carli asked slowly.
"I will consider letting you gooooo. Why you cannot knoooow."
"Who are you?" asked Carli.
The creature stilled. Every breath from him and Carli was heard. His eyes flickered to Naive.
"I am not in league with the one you call Yipan. Yet I am in relation with him. He is my father."
A silence ensued.
Jarin and Tasha leaned against the wall overlooking the alley . They were both in shock. Tasha reached over and grabbed Jarin's hand, "Jarin....what's happened?"
Jarin shook his head slowly, "What we've wished for."
Tasha shook her head in disgust, letting go of his hand, "I never wished for this." She turned away from him and began to walk into the alley.
Jarin shook his head and grabbed her shoulder as he heard soldiers footsteps. He grabbed a bow and arrow and tossed it to her, as he picked up his heavy sword. He pushed her into the alley, "Carli! We've got to go!" He stopped short as he saw a hunched over figure next to the mother and child,"Get away from them!"
"Jarin! Stop!" Tasha and Carli cried out as one.
"Why?" He asked in confusion. He had gone through a lot just to save this kid.

Ravyn felt herself collapse into her first vision in weeks, her head lolling to one side. Normally, she would have hit her head against something to get rid of it, but this time, she saw Yipan's cruel hardened face, his eyes looking straight into hers. She screamed in her head, as she saw blood drip from the corner of his mouth and a snake tale protrude from the oppisite corner. She had seen something like this before...she didn't know where. She screamed at him. Killer! Liar! I hateyouIhateyouIhateyouIhateyou... It was then that she realized she was speaking aloud, and she forced herself out of the trance.
"We have to go," she sobbed. "NOW!"
"What did you say?" Carli's mouth gaped.
"I'm Yipan's son," repeated the thing.
"But..." Carli clutched Naive to her more closely.
"Oh, I do not care for my father. I hate him. My mother gave birth to me in Nemeb Harabt, and died shortly after. I was brought up in that place under torturous conditions. I was mutated by the guards," he flicked his lizard tongue. "My own father sent my mother to her death."
Carli thought quickly. She had heard that Yipan had many wives, but she had never heard of a son.
"Who was your mother?" she asked, having forgotton her situation and her fear in her curiosity.
"Amia Ssssantel. Yipans sssecond wife. He remarried the sssecond she dieeeed," the creature hissed.
"Will you help Naive and I?" Carli asked.
"I cannoooottt help you, unllleeesss you meet with my conditionsssss," he said quickly, his voice becoming more stuttered.
"What conditions?" asked Carli.
"I want to care for my sister," his eyes gleamed.
"You have a sister? Good for you, but I don't know how I can help you," Carli said, sounding as sympathetic as possible.
"Do nooot take me for a foooolllll," he continued.
"What?" Carli felt a quick spurt of fear.
"My sister lies in yooour armsssss," his eyes bulged as he looked at Naive with hunger.
"What? You think...? But I'm not...? Look, I think you've got this wrong. I'm not with Yipan, in any way. He only seems to want my daughter because... I don't know actually. But, he's not Naive's father. No way. Her father is Kaern..." Carli spoke quickly.
"Kaern? The, the, the... Yipan's brother in law? My uncle?" the creature spurted.
Carli thought about this for a moment.
"I suppose so, yes. He was married to Yipan's sister..."
"Then the child is my niece," the creature desperately grabbed for the Naive.
"No way!"
"You would be wise..."
"I'd rather die than give Naive to you."
"I cannot let her fall into Yipan's hands. You have already let thissssss happen. Yooou are a ussssless mother," he croaked.
"No, I'm I'm... that was different. Now back off," Carli wondered when she was going to get out of this stuffy alley, or indeed, if she would get out at all.
"You do love the child then?" asked the creature uncertainly.
"Of course I do!" screamed Carli.
"Fine. I will show you a way out." He led her to the end of the alley, and piointed to a tunnel there.
"The sewers. Your only chance."
Carli looked down at the dark hole, weighed up the pros and cons, and decided to go for it.
"Ok, thanks," she said, and she dissappeared down the tunnel.
The creature sat alone in the alley for some time. Eventually he spoke, though to himself.
"S'a pity," he began. "S'a great pity, that she doesn't know that Kaern is dead. S'a pity."
Carli crawled along in the sewers, wondering how much longer this charade would go on for.
The party ran after Jacinta when she finally stopped at a clearing. Ravyn began to laugh ironically.
"What?" asked Yarden.
"Today's my sixteenth birthday. Wouldn't it be cool if I died the day I was born?"
Jacinta rolled her eyes.
"Don't even talk about death. The last thing we need is low morale." Ravyn just smiled and followed until the came to a door.
"Open it," said Ravyn.
"You open it!" cried Jacinta.
"Me? I'm the birthday girl!"
Yarden rolled her eyes and opened the door herself, finding them in the middle of the conference room.
"Coast is clear, but I doubt it will be for long. Move!"
They climbed out of the dungeons, squinting at the brightness of the room.
(Hey, don't worry. This campfire isn't doing much at the moment, just write anything. I'd like to get it back on it's feet.)



Carli pulled herself out of the sewers, and found herself back where she had started- the dungeons. Empty now, and quiet, exept for the quiet sobbing of a little girl.
"Hello? said Carli, clutching little Naive tightly, aprehensive about the gentlest of people. The girl looked up, and continued to sob.
"I'm Carletta. What's your name?" Carli tried a smile.
"Ammy."
"That's a nice name. Would you like to come outside with me?" Carletta could do with a companion, even a stranger.
"Can't."
"And why not? I believe than Nemeb Hatrabt has been opened? All can leave!"
She glanced around the room, looking at the skeletons of those who had not survived to see the day the dungeons opened.
"Can't" the little girl repeated.
"She's right you know," Carli spun round.
A man stood their, holding a rope in his hands. Carli thought she remembered his face, although she was unsure who he was.
"I think I've met your friends," he grinned. His eyes were on the baby. "My master wants-"
"If your master is Yipan, what he wants is not the issue. I will not comply to what he wants. I would die rather than have my baby lie in his arms."
"Then you must die," said the man, swinging the rope.
"I'm not scared of death," Carli answered.
"That is only because you are foolish. You don't understand. This child, she is important. She will mean the Cone will rise above other nations, she will help us thrive. You are selfish not to even listen to Yipan's request."
Carli's brain was swarming, and somewhere from the spinning words in her head, one jutted out.
"Ripley?"
The man nodded. "I knew you would return to the dungeons. So I lay in wait. You cannot escape. The exits are blocked."
The young girl suddenly picked herself up, and Ripley turned his attention to her.
"Why are you here?" he snarled.
"For the crime I am about to commit," she answered.
Ripley looked confused for a second, as the young girl wiped tears from her face. Then he turned his attention back to Carli.
"I can let you out of the dungeons- but guards will escort you from here to Yipan's hideaway, and there you must co-operate with him."
Just then, Ammy launched herself at Ripley.
 Sorry guys-I know I've been terrible about
adding...I have viscious finals this week-I'll be
back Saturday!
Carletta watched, unsure whether to be horrified or delighted. The little one was fighting the man with a strangely powerful courage. Carletta knew what was about to happen. She watched the child raise a knife, and slice it across Ripley's neck. Then she stood up. Carli ran over to her, but Ammy had collapsed before Carletta could reach her.
"Ammy!" she exclaimed. But the girl seemed all right.
Then Carli turned her attention to Ripley, who was so obviously dying. She did not want to save him- she knew that his mind had been blackened by Yipan so much that it would never be clear again- but she felt dreadfully guilty. She knelt beside him, and took his cold hand.
"Drrrrgggg," he groaned. She rocked back and forward, shutting her eyes tightly.
"Eeeeerrrrrrr," his meaningless words seeped out like his blood. Carletta opened her eyes again, when his hand felt rigid in hers. He was looking up at her, eyes as clear and alive as before, but somehow less evil.
"Whyyyy?" he hissed. Carletta shook her head. He looked straight ahead for a second, then his whole body fell loose, and his eyes glazed. Carletta pulled her hand from his grip, and went over to Ammy, with Naive still tucked in her arm.
The little girl was waking up.
Carletta stooped over her, and as the girl opened her eyes, she helped her to her feet.
Ammy looked over at Ripley's body. Her face was pale.
"Did I, did I kill him?" she asked quietly. Carletta said nothing, but took Ammy's hand. Ammy turned her large eyes to Carli's face.
"It's ok," Carli promised. "You've done a lot of good. You've saved our lives."
Ammy bit her lip, but nodded.
"Now, we need to try and get out. There has to be another secret passage here somewhere."
Ravyn slid down the wall and gathered her knees to her chest, looking very vulnerable.
"So what happens now? Is Nemeb Harabt history? Or have we missed something? Is Yipan setting a trap for us? Something isn't right, Jacinta. Something is very, very wrong,"
Carli followed Ammy into the pitch black streets outside. Naive had fallen asleep in her arms.
"What do we do now?" asked Ammy.
"I have some friends I'd like to find," Carli replied.
"And when we find them?" Ammy continued.
"Then we need to do something about Yipan," Carli couldn't bring herself to say the word 'kill', but it revolved in her head. She was sure that was what they had to do.
tooo tired....
"Dear God, I wish I wasn't right all the time," groaned Ravyn as she was pushed along by a guard, following Jacinta. "Anyone have any more brilliant ideas?'
(I wanna finish this soon, there really isn't much more we can do...)

Yamatash sat in a room, holding in his hands a small grey stone. The Stone of Projection, the only tool that he felt could lure the girl to the palace. He needed to lure her to the palace. The master said that if she was not in the palace by the time she returned, Yamatash might find his internal organs in a jar.
In the meantime, Yipan had gone to take care of Carletta's friends. He hoped to murder all but three: the boy, Jarin and the girls Jacinta and Ravyn. He had foreseen them as close to Carli, and he wanted to keep them prisoners as a possible Plan B, if the Stone of Projection failed. Yipan always had another plan up his sleeve.
you know what itches...poison ivy (hint hint nudge nudge) so, I'm going to go take a vinegar bath and take a nap! (it itches!)
Raven felt close to vomiting. Her arms were
bound high above her head, causing her
shoulders to become painfully sore and her
back to be bent in a way it wasn't meant to
bend. She bit her lip and prepared for
whatever was going to happen. She almost
wished they would kill her, and get it over with.
They had been wandering around in the black of the streets for hours, and had so far found nothing. They hadn't even been attacked by a swarm of vicious killers. When this doesn't happen at midnight in the Cone, something is wrong.
Ammy was now carrying Naive while Carletta tried to force herself to have another vision. She needed to know what was going on. What was happening. What had happened. Her brain was clouded by confusion, she did not know where her friends were, or even if she had any friends any more, and she was drawing a blank at what to do.
She sat down with her back against the wall of a building, not really caring is she was mugged, or attacked or killed. Ammy followed suit.
"What do we do?" Ammy asked quietly. Carli looked at the patient, bright little girl.
"I'll take you to where you will be safe." Carletta said softly. "And then I take Naive to the palace."
"To the palace?" asked Ammy, confused.
"To the palace." Repeated Carli. "To end it all. In Yipan's hand, Naive could cause much hurt. Against Yipan, she can defeat him. I don't know how. But she can."
Carli squeezed her eyes shut. Something hovered before them. A stone. She opened them quickly and lifted Naive from Ammy's arms.
"Come. We have a few hours to the dawn. I must get you to safety, so that I may reach the palace before it's inhabitants are awake."
"I want to come with you," Ammy whispered. "Maybe I can help."
Carletta smiled at the little one's courage.
"Well... I am going to bring you. But only because, now that I think, there is nowhere left that is safe in the city, and I don't know where to leave you."
So they made their way towards the palace.

"Have we them all?" Yipan's voice was cold, and seemed to match his eyes, which glittered menacingly.
"All." Replied the guard shortly.
"Then the girl will come. Have you emptied the streets of riffraff?"
"She will come to no harm on the way to the palace." Promised the guard.
"Good."
Yipan walked away from the man guarding the cell where Carli's friends were being held captive. He walked towards the hall where Yamatash held the Stone of Projection, where the girl would come.
He'd have her. He'd have the baby. He'd have power.

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