~*In the Dark*~

Hera

The twine falls from my hand as we take turn after turn heading in no particular direction, I don’t know what we’re looking for and I guess Alvii probably doesn’t know either. The sound of machinery droning on and on is all around us, I attempt to guide us toward it but it always seems to be coming from all around us. I sigh and look up, the stone walls are rough and damp, this whole system smells like damp soil and mold but it can’t be more then a few days old… unless its been working and only really kicked up its pace when the fire ball crashed. Alvii is silent, I guess listening to the machinery, maybe he’ll have a better idea on reaching it. “Hera,” We stop and I turn to him.

“Yeah?” Silence, like it forgot it spoke to me, I stare for a little while but Alvii keeps his eyes above my head, focusing on something in the darkness behind me. “Alvii?” Somewhere in the tunnels rocks collapse, the noise echoes and dirt shakes free from ceiling, Alvii reacts quickly, pushing me against the wall and covering me with its body. “What’s going on?”

“Hush,” It whispers, more rocks fall somewhere, only this time closer. There is a violent shake that nearly drives us to the ground and then rocks fall, slamming the front of the tunnel shut and battering Alvii who takes it in stride. When the dust has settled Alvii shifts, bracing up ungodly weight for me to escape the rock slide unharmed.

“Can you get out?” I ask, it shifts and rocks slide off.

“I believe so, but you should move, in case the tunnel comes down.” I nod and flee back to the tunnel entrance, using the twine as a guide as the torch had gone out in the rock slide. I can hear rocks shift and fall, dirt falls from the ceiling as they clatter to the ground, Alvii appears a short time later, plating dented and scraped but other then that it is unharmed. Its eyes light up the tunnel.

“Are you hurt?”

“I am battered, but uninjured. Are you ok?”

“The torch is out, the tunnels gone. What are you going to do?” I sigh, Alvii cocks his head and offers me his hand, I look up at it and roll my eyes before taking it and allowing him to lead while the twine falls. As I suspected he has a better idea of where this machinery is located as we seemingly walk right toward the sound, taking turns I had disregarded on my quest for the noise.

Alvii

Hera is safe, the rock slide did not damage me and now we seem to going in the correct direction to reach whatever is making that noise. Hera holds my hand, unwillingly of course; her torch was put out by the falling rocks and dust, a small price to pay in the long run. I can feel the effects of low oil on my old joints but I do not tell her that, she would make us go back to camp and scavenge for more. There is no time to waste, this deed is close to done. “Avii. Alvii!” I look back when Hera jerks on my arm. “The twine is gone.” I stop and stare at the empty spindle. “What do we do now?”

“Back track, we will try another tunnel.” she nods and we begin to back track and rewind the twine. It is a twisting journey we have lead and the twine is caught in a few places but we finally had a full spindle and have reached the entrance to the tunnel we had started with. With four other options we just pick the next one, tie off the twine and begin again, this time with me leading. The noise seems to come from all sides for a while till I pick up on a direction it is coming from instead of the endless echoing.

I lead us there in the most direct way possible, taking as few turns as possible to avoid running out of twine. There is light up ahead and the twine is nearly gone, Hera yawns and I ache for rest. “Alvii, lets just tie off and go back. I’m exhausted.”

“Yeah, let us go.” We tie off what little twine we have and follow it out, our camp is undisturbed, though the fire has gone out. We restart the flames though neither of us remain awaken to tend them, Hera slowly crawls into her hut and I power down, aching and stiff I rest.

My batteries charge and I awaken, Hera is still within the hut and I do not want to worry her, so force myself to move as my joints protest the action unaided by the oil I had spilled the other day. I rise up and look over the gap, Hera joins me shortly, looking well rested. “We should be ready to fight if we need to.”

“I believe we will need to.” I agree, she leaves most of her stuff here, only taking a small knife, her bow and her quiver of arrows. I do not have a weapon, I am the weapon. We go to our tunnel, she takes my hand and we dive into the darkness once again, following the twine back to the spot we were last night, we untie it and go further in only to tie it off a few yards away.

“What now?” She asks softly. I offer no answer, just mark the wall with an arrow pointing to where we left the twine. We continue like this till we reach a massive open area, carved rock that seems most unsteady with a machine working away at thinning the walls and columns. It stops when it senses us.

“Hera,” I push her behind me as its bright eyes find us. “Stay hidden, and use your bow. You are not like me, this thing will be able to kill you easily.” She thankfully does not protest as I turn my gaze back to the massive machine. Our eyes lock and I become painfully aware of how old I really am as it moves near soundlessly toward me. I will not falter now, for my life forms, I must win.

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