Footsteps pound behind them.
“Here, take this and go!”, Sarah whispers urgently as she thrusts a small bundle into her companion’s trembling and exhausted hands, “I’ll distract them, Aliya, promise me you’ll get her to safety. Promise me, please.”
“I promise.”,Aliya replies, knowing that deep down she would do anything to fulfill her sacred promise for her best friends sake.
“I promise.” She repeats, resolve and determination shining in her eye’s.
Satisfied, a slight tilt of Sarah’s head is the only warning Aliya gets before she takes off, slapping her feet loudly enough to draw off pursuers. Without wasting a second, Aliya hurries forward into the dimly lit corridor of the manor, hobbling, as she cradles the precious bundle against her chest.
A high keening note of anguish echoes from far off propelling Aliya into a sprint. She feels those tears coming and lets them fall, splattering her dusty shawl. Her lips tremble but she refuses to give in to their demand. Steeling herself upright, she wipes away the sorrow. Right before she slams into a solid body.
Looking up she finds herself entrapped in the luminous green eyes of a masked stranger. Male. Definitely male, she thinks.
“You! Give ……..” he begins, but Aliya already has her dagger against his neck.
“One word,” she warns, “ If you utter one word, i’ll slash your throat right here and now without a single remorse filled thought.”
She starts, surprised at her vehemence. The uncertain fate of her friend and burden of her vow to Sarah had her slight paces away from breaking down. She couldn’t allow that. No. She had to be ready at whatever god throws at her to test her loyalty and love for her friend, family and country. She allows her eyes to narrow, giving the stranger a clear message that she would do exactly as she threatens. He nods slowly to let her know he's got the message.
Still, she whacks him over the head with the hilt of her dagger.
“Just to be on the safe side.” She mutters.
Little did she know that a another pair of eyes had witnessed the scene. One who wouldn’t forget.
Not anytime early.