Hubby ordered some Hound Dog's pizza for dinner. Sammy didn't bark much tonight. For the first time I can remember, he laid in the entryway so he could be between my husband and I. Usually he's pushed up against the chaise lounge so he can be closer to me.
Margeaux tried her best to find a comfortable position lying down. The lower half of her legs were bent at an angle. Her feet were braced against the bars of the cage. Testing the strength of the bars it appeared they were buried into the dirt floor for some depth. It would be impossible for her to just stand up and poke herself through the roof of the cage or lift it from the floor with her back. She settled her pack underneath her head like a pillow. Her body was in a "s" shaped position. The scarf that was once wound around her neck covered her hand. With it, she was able to saw away at the twine or rope that lashed the wooden poles together to make up the bars of the cage, without the goblin guard observing her actions. Margeaux wondered if the goblin guard was going to go hungry, if it were going to eat later, or if someone was going to bring it some food too. It did not seem fair or just that she would be fed and it would not. She continued to saw away. If this kept up, she'd need to find someone to re-sharpen her blade when she reached Lerod. Margeaux hoped the cost wouldn't be much. She yawned and pretended to fall asleep.
The goblin guard looked back at her after a while. It said something low in its raspy voice, picked up the plate and walked away. Maybe it was cursing her for not falling asleep sooner. Furiously she sawed away at as much of the twine as she could. Her head poked up once in a while to make sure no one was coming. It seemed clear. She sat up straight. With all of her strength, she pulled at two of the bars. They came away clean from the twine and broke off in her hands. Satisfied this would work, she pulled at two more of the bars. They broke off in her hands too. She repeated this several times until she had an opening large enough to fit more than a leg through. Margeaux's plan was to squeeze as much of her body as she could through two bars at a time. Several things could go wrong. The goblin guard could return. The shaman goblin could come back. Another goblin could walk by and see her. She could get stuck between the bars. Margeaux said a quick prayer to the gods. She was chosen for this journey and she was determined to finish it. Margeaux did not want Rykel's trust to be in vain. She wanted to make her teacher proud of her. Allowing herself the luxury to think about the journey, she did not want to succeed so she was famous or respected. She wanted to succeed so she could make a contribution to the village.
Her heart began to beat faster as adrenaline began to pump through her body. She put away her knife and placed the pack directly next to the bars she was planning on moving. Slowly she placed one foot through the bars. Pulling the bars away from each other, she placed her other foot through. The wooden bars splintered at the bottom where she'd been sawing them. It was enough. She didn't ask for more. Margeaux pulled her pack through. She slung it over her back. Her knife was in her right hand, ready to slash or stab at any goblin who wanted to get in the way of her departure. Furtively she glanced around in all directions. She crouched and went to the opening that would lead to the doorway. Behind her, she heard a raspy goblin voice shout something. Legs pumping, she ran as fast and as hard as she could for the entryway that she hoped would also be an exit. She heard a loud bugle behind her. One of the goblins had sounded the alarm! All she could focus on ahead of her was the door. The passageway narrowed; it was not built with Barbarians in mind as regular visitors. She knelt before the door and pushed at it with her shoulder. It took several tries before it began to splinter. Margeaux forgot it was locked from the outside. With goblins behind her she had no time to backtrack and find her way to the exit. She'd burn the door down if she had to.
Finally it gave way. Several goblins were nearly upon her. She stumbled through the door, straightened up and ran. Her long legs would be no match for the goblins. She heard a whizzing sound and then a thunk. They were throwing spears at her. Margeaux did not waste time looking back. She ran as fast and as hard as she could, making a zigzag motion so she would not be a stationary target.
Stars twinkled above her. The sun had fallen and it was night time. The air was crisp compared to the heat of the goblin lair. When she felt her legs wouldn't move anymore, she slowed down and came to a halt. Margeaux leaned against the trunk of a tree to rest. The leaves were a young, fresh green. In a few months she imagined the leaves would be a canopy and she could not see the stars through them like she could on this evening. The scent of jasmine filled the air. Margeaux took a deep breath. She closed her eyes. Slowly her heart began to calm down. Her legs still ached. Margeaux listened for goblins behind her. As her ears strained for the sounds of pursuers, all she could hear was the night music of insects. She didn't think her legs would take her any further. Margeaux slid down the trunk of the tree until she was sitting down. She turned her coat around to cover her like a blanket. Snuggled into the warmth of the coat she fell asleep.
Chapter Five: The Road to Lerod
Margeaux woke up to a crick in her neck. Leaning up against the tree trunk was not as good an idea as she had thought the night before. Twenty-seven more sunrises to go.