Welcome to the second part of The God Connection.
If you missed Monday, just know that Kale is trying to get his sister back from the Karr, who kidnapped her because she’s a God Connection with dreams. Kale and his companions have kidnapped Raylin, the Karr’s prized God Connection, in hope the Karr will trade her for Val, Kal’s sister. (If you’d like to read part one, you can find it under recent posts to the left.)
Now on to the story. Thanks for stopping by=)
The God Connection Part Two
Erik and Bane sat sulking but Kane kept them from taking out their head aches on the small priestess.
“Val will tan your hides if you harm her,” he said. They deflated at the words.
“What makes her a priestess?” Erik grumbled. “Val’s dreams are special. What’d different about this one?”
Raylin’s head swung in his direction with what Kale guessed was surprise but she didn’t answer.
“Doesn’t matter,” Kale said. “We only need her to trade.”
Raylin snorted. “Trade? How dumb are you?” her words were soft. Her contempt was not.
“Dumb, priestess?” Kale asked, holding his hackles in check.
“The Karr will not trade. Never have, never will. They want all connections to God within their grasp. They will not trade one for another because it gains them nothing.”
Raylin was the Karr poster child. They paraded her before everyone as their claim of favor before God. Surely they valued her more than a young girl with dreams.
“You’re their priestess. Their connection by birth,” he argued.
She laughed. “By birth? They’ve never had a connection born to them. Why do you think they steal others?”
Their confusion must have been clear because she looked at each of their faces and said, “Dear God, you don’t know.”
“Then tell us,” Kale ordered.
Her back went rod straight and she glared at him, her violet eyes glittering. Just as suddenly, she slumped.
“Fine,” she grumbled. “The Karr have never had a connection to God born to them. No dreamers, no prophets, no singers, nothing. When they sacked Mansillan, they discovered me and, instead of killing me with the others, they took me in, claiming I was born to one of their women. It started an idea. They took Balsha during the attack on Rived. Mora came next, then Sharon, then Clare. They scout out children, taking them when their families are killed in attacks they’ve instigated, usually between other tribes.”
“Then why Val? She’s thirteen and,” Kale indicated himself, “family still lives.”
Raylin frowned, a fine line forming between her brows. “I have never seen your Val but perhaps they think you insignificant, man of no tribe.”
Kale folded his arms, hiding his outcast tattoos.
“I’m confused, why kidnap me and not this Val?”
“She’s held in the under temple. We’ve not enough men to get to her without a fight.”
“Why are you not guarded?” Lenn blurted. They’d picked her for two reasons. One was her status. The second was because, of all the God connections of the Karr, she was the only one never guarded by her own men.
Her eyes dropped. “Who would rescue me? Family and city are all dead. Who would I escape to? My home’s been burned to ashes and washed away by rains these last 15 years.”
Kale dropped his head into his hands. All his planning, all the effort to capture this woman to trade, all for nothing.
I’m trying, Val.
His insides felt hollow.
“If your sister is indeed in the under temple, perhaps there is a way to get to her.”
Kale’s head came up. “What do you mean?”
“I serve in the under temple once a moon. It’s possible I could sneak one of you in.”
Kale stared at her but those strange eyes didn’t waver.
“Only one?” Erik asked, his tone heavy with suspicion. “I don’t like it, Kale.”
“Why would you agree to such a thing?” Kale asked Raylin, not addressing Erik’s statement.
“Because, for once, there’s a family to fight back. Someone who cares.”
I want to believe her. But even without believing her, he’d do it. Val needed him.
Whether Raylin was lying or not, there wasn’t another way Kale could figure. He’d tried to think of another way, something he’d have more control over than Raylin’s plan, but he hadn’t come up with anything.
He lay beneath the hut closest to the temple contemplating everything that could possibly go wrong. Raylin would come by on her way to serve at the height of the night. He was to crawl out and fall in behind the priests who followed her. She’d made one sick by putting something in his food. There should be an odd number, so when he joined, the group would be even and look right to the temple guard.
It was flimsy but they’d only had a few days to return Raylin and set things up before her time to serve in the temple rolled around.
Footsteps shuffled by on the side closest to the temple. Feet covered by the same brown robes he wore.
Time to move. Letting them pass, he crawled out and stepped in beside the last priest. Raylin said they were all mutes. They didn’t even look over when he fell into step.
They shuffled up the steps of the temple with heads bowed. Approaching the first guard, Kale clenched his hands to keep from wiping his sweaty palms on his robes.
“Greetings, I come to serve,” Raylin announced.
The guard closed around the group, patting each priest down for weapons. Kale raised his arms with the others, clutching his sleeves against his palms to keep the fabric from falling and revealing his tattoos.
The captain nodded to Raylin and she proceeded into the inner sanctuary.
Kale had never been beyond this area of a temple. The under temple was reserved for the devout, priests, priestesses and so on. Few saw below.
They descended a flight of stairs behind the alter into another guard room. Again they were inspected. It was a good thing the robes covered most of his skin, Kale realized, because the lights would have shone on his tanned skin. It would’ve been an instant giveaway he wasn’t a priest.
But they didn’t look closely beneath his hood. Just patted him down and sent them through. The group broke apart once they moved beyond the guard station.
Kale hesitated until he caught Raylin’s hands clasped behind her back. She pointed and then closed her fingers together.
Unless this was a set up, Kale decided, Val would like Raylin. The priestess was capable. Once she’d decided to help them instead of escape them, she’d put her all into it, even running on her own to get back before they found her missing.
Kale turned down the hall she’d indicated to find an open room with a vaulted ceiling.
In the center knelt a group of young girls…
To be Finished on Friday…
P.S. I love feedback, so if anyone has suggestions, questions, or comments on what they like or what doesn’t seem to work, please let me know. Just be gentle to my poor thin skinned feelings. Thanks.