Collar of Slaves: 1 Raiders cont2 by Shandria Katz

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SUMMARY: Sorry for the long delay in writing. Next part of chapter.

Not one word was spoken while Vahlia suffered. Once there was nothing more in her stomach and the impulse relaxed, Vahlia shook in weakness. Her heart hammered from the exertion and her stomach once again tightened in pain. The smell was vile.

Siobhan touched her forehead and swore with words unfamiliar to Vahlia. Vahlia grew weaker still and began to waver, Siobhan caught and held her. She heard something moving and looked up.

Justin returned through the long grass with Hector at his side, both pale faced with eyes of sorrow and rage.

"What...what's the matter?"

Justin looked down and Hector looked away. "Well?" Siobhan insisted

"Its Theran...His body is on the other side." Hector managed. "His head is on the road marker up ahead where the riders came from...some sort of painted symbol. There is no sign of Alyssa."

"Deamon...Nordans sent hunters...carrions" Vahlia forced through her lips she pulled away from Siobhan leaning on the slick passage spitting out the foul taste of remaining bile.

" you know anything of the Northman' culture that could help us understand?"

Do you remember? Vahlia grew alarmed at the voice. The dream voice was only part of the could not be real.

"It's alright if you do not know, kittling," Siobhan tried to reassure her, clasping her shoulder gently. It could not exist...was she...was she going mad?

Siobhan examined her carefully while the panic clutched her. Sighing Siobhan turned to the others. "The tigress is getting worse. We need the help of an Ursul...and soon. How far from the aqueduct are we?"

"Not far but what of..." Hector turned to face Siobhan.

"Justin collect what you can from Theran. Make sure it does not look too disturbed. Otherwise our hunters will know they are on the right path. Hector watch over Vahlia, I want to see this symbol of theirs. Make sure she has some water."

Siobhan left her side and Hector climbed into the strange stone like passage. Vahlia slumped weakly against the cool stone as her vision became dizzying. Her throat felt raw from the retching. So much...too much, she curled in upon herself while knowledge drifted through the mind and horrors screamed in the background.

All she had wanted was a kind master; a good life...Is that why you tell of stories to the young one? Why you always look to the rising sun asking who you are? Somehow knowing there is more than this life of servitude?

She shook her head violently clutching the fragments of sanity that was hers. ‘Go away! You are not real! You are mad sickness! Go away!'

The silence did not help the pain blooming in her head from the disorientation, the illness, and the horrible experiences. Hector drew near concerned for her.

‘Why me? Why?' Noises were drowned out, light swallowed by dark, falling...

"Vahlia!" A cool cloth was placed upon her once more and cool liquid was slipped through her lips. The taste of leathered water revolted her but the tainted taste made her thirst for more.

"Just hang in there...we will find help soon...Vahlia...Tigress!"

The cart rocked and bounced as the horses hurried along the worn path.

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