Chapter 6 – The Trial

The amount of life that sprung up inside of Crater was surprising for most. The chasm itself is a wound in the center of the flatlands atop the highest reaches of the world. Mountains that rose up only to have near desert like tundra. Of course there is life on the plains but no where near the diversity teaming within Crater itself. Is there some sort of unusual property that draws organisms to it? Or is it simply the protection from the winds, a security inside the depths that appeals to living beings. – Tinkers Note # Cluck, cluck, cluck. The creatures made a very short clipped sound as they roamed the room and pecked at each other, the floor and sometimes, Zephyr. He sat with his back against the wall on a bed made up of dried grass and feathers. Never in his life had he seen such winged beasts. At first he was full of fright as they chipped at his feet. But it wasn’t long before he realised they were harmless. Pungent but harmless.

Light filled the room. It came from a sizable orb which hung from the ceiling. Instead of the usual blue, he was used to, this illuminated everything with a cream blaze. Shelves lined the walls and were covered in a thick bed of dried grass. Makeshift ladders allowed the critters to come and go as they pleased. Strange stones lay on the shelves in the comfort of a nest and were meticulously guarded. Zephyr had tried to take one, only to be assaulted by a group of the little furies. In a flock they were surprisingly fierce.  A feather floated down from above and he picked it from the air. He knew what they were and the fact that they came from birds but he couldn’t remember actually seeing one himself. A vivid remembrance of open wings flashed through his mind’s eye. As a child he must have seen them. How long ago did they take him from his village, from his mother? Raiders had struck one summer’s night. He remembered the grassy meadows blowing in the wind which was exchanged in a moment with the memory of the same fields, ablaze. Smoke rose and obscured his friends and family. Screams cried out from houses as they were besieged. His mother had awoken him just before the attack and they had taken to the forest in haste.

Clink. The sound of a lock as it turned roused him from his past. He drew a deep breath and prepared himself. The door swung open. One of the animals tried to flutter through the exit but was blocked by a firm foot and a swift kick. Machuum stood at the entrance with Lot who poked his head through an opening on one side of his brother. Zephyr had been in the den for a few hours which was more than long enough for him to grow concerned about his fate. What did they have planned for him? Were where his thoughts lay.

“Come.” Said Machuum in his usual curt manner. Zephyr got to his feet and looked at the man.  “What’s going to happen to me?” Said Zephyr. “Just come, we’re going to decide that now.” Replied Machuum and then turned from the boy. Zephyr followed behind him. He missed the space and the light of the room immediately but didn’t regret leaving the smell. Lot and another person, he’d not seen before, accompanied them. In case I try to escape. Thought Zephyr. 

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