5 The Mountain

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He zigged and zagged and fell and got up again. He ran and followed Jora to what he saw as certain death. But the arrows had stopped. The cliff seemed impenetrable and it was at least 100 feet high. Jora was looking at it, searching, waiting, nervous.

“What do we do now?” he asked in despair.

He watched the Marks at the edge of the forest, looking and laughing. One of them aimed his bow at them and let loose an arrow. It fell just a few feets in front of them. He realized they were trapped. The Marks had great marksmanship, he actually laughed at that as he looked his death in the face.

“This is it” he said with a quiet voice.

He looked with a desperate and scared face to Jora.

“This is it”

She turned around and smiled.

“You give up too easily”

She grabbed him instantly by the collar and pulled him towards the rocky wall. The world turned darker all of the sudden. They were in the wall. Before he could say anything, Jora pulled him up as a cry came from the edge of the forests. The Marks missed their mark.

“Quickly, quickly” called Jora.

The flat rock fall had a small cavity that led to a steep path. It was almost like a tunnel, just without a roof. The rocks were jagged and steep, but they could climb and they did, holding on to whatever they could, cutting themselves at every turn as the rock wall was filled with sharp corners.

After a few dozen feet they reached a small opening, like a cave, Jora stepped aside to let Enzo pass.

“C’mon, we have to close the gap, before they catch up”

The rock wall was crumbly, there were a lot of little rocks around, but nothing big enough to cover the path. Enzo looked desperately around, but before he could say anything, Jora threw one of the small rocks up high.

“What..” he tried to say, but his voice was cut off by an avalanche of small rocks coming from up high. They threw themselves to the ground in the small cave, more of an opening that anything else. The rocks fell hard covering the path they walked on. If the Marks managed to find it and climb after them they couldn’t have survived. Enzo had a sense of relief and fright seeing them, fright over the joy he had on the death of another. He cleared his head quickly, as the rockly avalanche came to a halt,  morals had no business in this world.

“Let’s move, we have more ground to cover”

“Wait, wait, how did you know about this path?”

“Does it matter anymore?”

Jora was bleeding badly, her palms and arms were cut deeply.

‘Wait!”  Enzo cried he started to climb again.

He ripped a part of his shirt and bandaged the palms of her hands. He didn’t say anything and neither did she. When he finished he just looked at her thankfully.

“Let’s go, we still have a while to climb, and the entire mountain if jagged and rough. We need to get on the other side before dark, before they notice the missing Marks”.

They were climbing constantly crumbling rocks, every footing could give in in a seconds notice. Jora walked ahead looking for safe footings while Enzo watched her every move, every step. The rocks were like knives cutting them constantly, even their shoes were badly ripped apart after the a few hours. At lunch they stopped for a breather, Jora had some bread and water, they drank some water but kept the bread for later. The second part of the day was worse, the climb seemed endless and the terrain became even more difficult. Twice they were almost killed by small avalanches that started on the rocks above. Just a few rocks fell from there but as they reached them, they turned into a wave of small but knife shaped weapons.

Before sunset they managed to reach the plateau. A few hundred feet of clear terrain. It was rocky but it felt as a blessing compared to the road there. At the end of the plateau they could see the Border stations. 4-5 towers were visible before a river. The road down was much smoother, but they were so tired they could barely stand.

“Let’s get some sleep” Enzo said to Jora.

She was too tired to fight back, but he could see she wanted to carry on. He grabbed her hand and pulled her over to a gash in a large boulder nearby. Her hand was bleeding, but was his.

“Let’s sleep for a couple of hours”

She didn’t say anything, only looked at him with a tired look as she laid down. She closed her eyes almost instantly. He laid down next to her and whispered to her:

“Thank you”.

She didn’t reply, only grabbed his hand gently.

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