For a moment Cael thought he’d finally gone blind from the frustration. However, a gasp from across the table confirmed the lights hadn’t just gone out for him. He listened to the agitated series of creaks that had erupted from the unhappy woman’s seat. It was only another moment before emergency light burst from under the door beside them. Alberich’s hulking silhouette was a black wall, but Cael could just barely make out the woman’s stiff figure leaning forward to press at the kampdator in vain. She let out a long sigh.
“You will excuse me for one moment?”
“Oh, of course,” he watched as she hauled herself to her feet and reach for the door.
Cael was blinded again as the tiny room was flooded with light, and he could hear a chaos of voices and running boots. He absentmindedly pulled at his restraints as he peaked around Alberich to watch the doorway.
The woman toddled away. “You there! What is the meaning….”
“Someone get that….”
“… power is out on all floors….”
“What do you MEAN the doors….”
“… get on the GODDAMN gami-blaro….”
Ilya froze as a handful of uniformed men clomped past the door way. Their heads and shoulders were spotlighted but the rest were left in deep shadow. She waited as their footsteps faded, expecting someone to return. Surely someone would check on the holding cells.
Unsure of what to do, she watched over the unconscious Mari and strained to listen to the confusion of voices. She could tell they weren’t in the squishy language of the women. The consonants rolled more clearly and felt more defined. It didn’t mean she could understand anyone any more than before, but it gave the voices more authority to Ilya’s ear.
“Iu ningen fardetiun….”
“… magt estude pacuijetager….”
“Kion vadmen DUIRME pordorne….”
“… Fakripa let FORBANDE gami-blaro….”
She jumped at her name.
“Ilya! Over here!”
It wasn’t Cael, but whoever it was, he was speaking her language!
She hesitated. “Hello?”
“I’m just across the hall!”
“Who… who are you?”
“I’m a friend of Mari’s! Come over so we don’t have to yell.”
He was speaking her language perfectly.
“Mari, she fainted. I can’t leave her.”
“She’ll be fine! Come on over.”
Ilya eased Mari’s head to the floor and peered through the doorway. The useless light above her made it impossible to see, so she crept forward and looked both ways down the hall. A short distance away she saw another emergency light illuminating an intersection of two hallways, and in the other direction, a flickering bulb struggling to come to life.
“Ilya! Are you coming?”
“I can’t see anything, where are you?”
“Walk straight across and follow the wall to your right.”
A flickering to the left caught her eye as several people darted through the hallway intersection. They were not the officials that had thundered through before. Were they escaped prisoners? If Mari was right, Cael could be running through these halls as well.
“I’m coming.” She hissed.
She took a deep breath and swallowed hard before pushing away from the doorframe.