Abdi leatra da came for the tribe in the late hours of the night. Or it was the early dawn hours, Jueneva could not tell as it was nearly pitch dark. Outside rain pelted down in sheets of gray rain. While emerald green lightning flashed non-stop in the underbelly of the massive storm.
Abdi leatra da she concluded meant lightning storm or a type of hurricane to the Revie-ati.
The howling winds shook the compound foundations, and the thunder clashes made the walls quake and tremble horribly.
Her wooden cage swung precariously from the ceiling. She clutched at the boards, her over-extended fingers ached unnoticed. Her stomach grew queasy from fear and worry.
“Merrera def tollas!”
The hoarse shout came from below the wooden trapdoor of her cage. Then she felt a knock and the sound of sliding metal. The heavyset guard had returned and popped her head in to shout again, “Merrera def tollas!” Followed with a frantic wave of her hand. This time the short, javelin spear did not leave the scabbard upon her back.
There was no time to be concerned with a prisoner escape.
Through the opening of the trapdoor, she could see the chaos the storm was having upon the tribe members and the compound. Wide cracks along the floor and even up some of the walls had formed. Water flooded everywhere, flowing in from the three openings at least a foot deep.
The strong warrior women had formed a short line, tied to each other and standing nearly hip to hip. They passed food and gear along, trying to empty the compound and make thier escape. Abdi leatra da was taking their home away, if not destroying it completely.
Jueneva hurried to the opening and climbed quickly down.
Without a word, the guard pushed her at the shoulder into a small group of elderly huddled at one side of the floor trench. She felt as helpless as the tribe had deemed her to be. She was overwhelmed by the ferocity of the storm and had no experience with such weather or events.
Rain dripped from the ceiling in several waterfalls and the mud along the floor trench crumbled away several inches every minute. It was apparent their hope that the water runoff would simply go to the inner mountain river had been underestimated. The sides and the span of the trench had widened from five feet to over a dozen feet, which threatened the integrity of the stone bases along the walls.
The Revie-ati female, the hardened warrior who had captured her days before marched over to Jueneva. The woman stood tall and walked with a square-shouldered determination and purpose. She pointed a long finger into Jueneva’s chest then at another woman she happened to be standing close to. “Bfed bera don taskea, Shealda!”
Shealda nodded, did a small bow toward the woman, then she began to knot a thick loop of rope about Jueneva’s waist. She was her new apparent “caretaker”.
“!Beaaska Ket ma dos Cha!” the warrior woman screamed while pumping both fists into the air.
The others answered similarly. Then the line of tied women commenced its march out of one of the exits into the storm.
Jueneva scanned the large amount of possessions and items that were being left behind. They were giving up almost all they had for a desperate hope that they can find safer shelter while the incredible storm frenzied all about them. They even were leaving the memorial to their former leader. She marveled at their bravery. Or was simply their tenacity for survival in a deadly land?
For the Revie-ati this appeared to be their final ditch effort to outlast the Abdi leatra da.
As her group headed to the exit, a colossal clap of thunder hit so loud, all of them pressed their hands to their ears to protect against the heavy impact. A crack expanded more along the eastern side of the cave, boulders and parts of the ceiling cascaded down in a hellish torrent. Several of the tribe had been under that portion. Rumblings all about the chamber warned of more collapses. Water and rain had doused all remaining torches and fires.
Everyone now ran blind in a panicked rush for any exit.
In a daze, Jueneva watched the whole scene play out in her newfound darkvision of gray lights. The rope around her waist grew painfully taught, someone was urgently pulling her to get out of the cavern. She stood rooted. With hardly a conscious effort, she yanked the loop up and over her head freeing herself as well as the other person, who was most likely Shealda.
She delved deeper into the cave going against the tides of flooding water and mudslides toward the new mound of collapsed ceiling stones. A hand protruded from the mud, and it clawed for purchase, trying to pull its owner out of the thick earth.
Jueneva grasped the hand and pulled with all the strength she could muster, her feet sinking into the ground. More of the ceiling gave way behind her, splashing water and rocks into her back and legs.
Finally, a loud sucking sound followed by a loud pop! marked the escape of the poor Revie-ati woman.
It was as Jueneva guessed. It was Mealli who beamed in gratitude up at her as she laid exhausted at her feet.
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