The sun beat down on the weary leïfae as the creaky wagons bumped down the lonely dirt road. There were others left for dead along the road as life in the wagons became more and more difficult. It was impossible for them to stretch their stiff limbs. Food only came by if their captors saw fit to feed them. They were usually given stale bread and snowmelt from the mountains they traveled through, but it did not matter. They would eat anything to sojourn their pained starvation.
Months had passed since they were taken from their home. How many months, they couldn’t remember, losing count after two months passed. All they saw on their journey were trees and mountains. Nothing else, until the traveling convoy came upon a large town. The men set up camp in the field beyond the wooden walls keeping them outside. The townspeople watched the army with great hesitation, wondering what they could be doing here.
The wagons rolled through the middle of the camp. A stench of body odor and bad cooking hovered over the camp like a bad fog. They then came to a stop in front of a wooden cage sitting next to the largest and most colorful tent in the camp. They had never seen this tent before, being kept near the camp’s edge. This tent must have belonged to the leader of this army. A leader who had yet to show his face.
The doors to the wagons squealed loudly as they swung open. Four men stood on both sides of each door, their weapons ready. Everyone in the wagons froze, fearful of what was to happen next.
A hefty brooding man walked in between the two wagons. None of the leïfae had seen this man before. He must have been the leader of all of this. “Get out!” he barked.
They reluctantly did as they were told and slowly made their way out of the wagons. It had been so long since they were able to walk freely. Well, somewhat freely. Their muscles ached wildly as fire through dry grass. They were then led to their new lodging. The wooden cage did not look much bigger than their previous accommodations, but it was big enough to fit everyone inside. Suspended high above them was a roof woven with sharpened wooden spikes hanging from a rope.
“Just in case any of you tries to escape,” the leader said, motioning to the ceiling. “If you try to even open the door” he made a cutting motion “my men will cut the rope and… Well, you can gather the rest, I am certain.”
A short thin man hurried to the leader. He did not look to be over eighteen years old. “Sir, we have just received word that we will be expecting a guest to come observe your work.”
The leader smirked. “When our guest arrives,” he started, looking at all of his prisoners with pride as if he had just won an important battle, “we shall have quite the show to present. I look forward to presenting my work. Then perhaps I can finally move on to the next step.”
“What do you mean?” Kay dared to ask. “What are you talking about?”
He seemed not to have heard the question, or he felt it more amusing to simply ignore the question altogether.
A cold shiver passed through Serena’s spine. “Will we ever be able to return home?” she asked, her voice trembling. Jïera stood next to her, holding her sons close. “Will we ever survive this nightmare?”
Kay wrapped an arm around his sister. “As long as we are still alive, there may be a chance we could escape. Our parents never saw this as our future. They would have wanted us to live on ‘till the world’s end. I promise, if there is a way for us to get out of this, I will find it.”