Chapter Eleven - The Burning Cage

Story so far:

In this strange world of fire and cruelty Hannah and Kaspian are on a deadly mission to rescue the Tikas from slavery. They have come through fire and terror to get this far and now it is time for the final assault. Will they survive or will the Mezards prove too much for them…?

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Hannah crouched down, edging closer and closer along the ledge to the opening. The fire in the air was so intense it singed the hairs in her nose as she fought to keep her breathing steady. One step at a time, inch by inch, closer, closer. Stones shifted suddenly beneath her feet and she gasped as the ground slipped beneath her. Clinging to the rock behind her she saw pebbles tumble into nothingness and felt her heart thumping, urging blood to her feet to keep them solid. It all came down to the this moment. This one chance to win. She could not fail.

“she saw the pebbles tumble into nothingness”
- Own photo - 

She slid her foot slightly to the left and with relief felt the firmness of the earth beneath her. She was nearly there. She could just begin to make out the corner of the metal cage in front of her. Tikas were pressed into its bars, packed so tightly that the searing hot metal cut into their skin. She could hear the Mezards rasping insults at them as they cried. One more step, she thought, and I’m ready. 

A Mezard leered in front of the passage opening and she froze, pressing herself back into the rock praying that she would remain unseen. She heard the Mezard banging the cage and shrieking something but whether it had seen her or not she would never know. At that precise moment she heard a soft whistle and thud that could mean only one thing. It had begun. 

Whipping her head around she saw the tika’s shocked faces as they stared at the Mezard lying beneath them. Its mouth was still coiled in a snarl but it was still, immobile, an arrow standing proudly in its chest. It was time. Leaping into action Hannah ran, not stopping to look around her she jumped the last few steps of the ledge and sprung high up onto the cage. “Damn” she cried out. She had totally forgotten to wrap the linen around her hands which were burning even as she looked at them. Seizing some linen from her waist, she flung it over them and checked around her to get her barings. Kaspian was high up on a ledge above her firing arrows at an unstoppable rate into the frenzy of Mezards beneath him. Seeing her struggle he shook his head and raised his eyebrows at her as one of his arrows shot right through one Mezard and into another. “Oh please, take your time, I have all day” he called out. “Shut up!” she called back irritated. This was a mistake. Several of the Mezards heard her and ducking Kaspian's arrows came running around the cage to get her, shrieking all the while at the others to join them. 

Lost in panic Hannah tried to climb but the linen wasn’t thick enough to protect her and the cage was so steep she could barely keep her feet. Two Mezards were climbing too and more following and as fast as Kaspian could release the arrows it would never be enough. Suddenly, with a roar that shook the entire cave, Kaspian jumped. Catching the Mezards mid climb he knocked them back to the floor in a heap. Hannah looked down in terror but he was there, standing sword in hand knocking back the Mezards who towered over him. “Climb!” he yelled up at her and she shook herself back into life. Ignoring the burning pains in her hands and feet she scrambled up as quickly as she could for what was now their only hope. She felt the dagger at her thigh pressing into her she reached for bar after bar, the shrieking of the Mezards resounding in her ears. 

After what felt like an age she was was there, balanced right on the top of the cage staring down at the most complicated lock she had ever seen. She did not hesitate however, Kaspian had told her what to do and given her the sharpest blade he possessed to do it with. She raised the knife high and struck. It was hard work, slice after slice she hacked the pieces of metal away, sweat pouring from her arms and face. A silence was filling the cave, the tikas frozen in hope, the Mezards in fury and Kaspian? With one piece left to remove she looked up. The silence was ominous. Where had the shrieks of battle gone. It couldn’t be over. Dreading what she would see, she looked beneath her and the breath caught in her throat. Kaspian was cornered, his sword torn to shreds and Mezards closing in from every side, edging him closer to the lava flow. He was trapped. There was no way out and worst of all there was nothing she could do to help.

For Chapter Twelve - The Final Surge - click here

© Isla Robertson 2017