Read Kathir's Redemption (Book 6) Online

Authors: Kristian Alva

Tags: #YA fantasy, #epic fantasy, #dark fantasy, #fantasy, #dragons

Kathir's Redemption (Book 6) (10 page)

BOOK: Kathir's Redemption (Book 6)
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What are you doing here, boy?

Skemtun demanded.

Didn

t you get the order? You should be moving outside with the others!


Hey!

cried the boy.

Put me down!

The young dwarf peered up at him with frightened eyes.

Bolrakei sent me back inside

to save Klorra-Kanna

s treasures.

Skemtun

s mouth dropped open with surprise.

You

ve been sent down here

to save Bolrakei

s stupid jewels?

The younger dwarf

s face reddened.

They

re not stupid. We must preserve our treasures.

Skemtun snorted with disgust.

I shouldn

t be surprised. After all, ye

re a member of Klorra-Kanna. Greedy bastards!  Risking yer life to save a few gemstones seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

The boy frowned and raised his chin.

I don

t have to listen to you! Bolrakei is my leader.


Be quiet, ye fool! Go sit over there and don

t say another word,

Skemtun ordered, slapping the side of the boy

s head with his palm. The young dwarf sulked over to the wall and plopped down on the floor.


We need to find a way to stop the greenskins from following us,

said Kathir,

and then we need to get out of here.

Skemtun walked over to a spot where the roof was supported by ancient wood props.

Look here. See these props? They hold up this part of the tunnel. If we can bring the roof down, it

ll block this entire passage. This is one of the tunnels that leads outside. We should seal it, and then we can escape.

Kathir looked up at the roof.

Isn

t there a risk that the entire tunnel will collapse? I don

t want to be buried under solid rock.

Skemtun smiled at him.

That

s very unlikely, if we do it right. I

m not an expert on many things, but minin

and tunnels are two things that I understand real well.

Kathir

s expression warmed a little.

I trust you, but I don

t want to find myself trapped between two mountains of rubble. It doesn

t sound like a good way to die.


It isn

t,

Skemtun said, with the certainty of someone who had seen mining collapses before.

But it won

t come to that.

He pointed up at a thick beam on the ceiling.

See this section here? It

s not braced on either side. If we destroy these four supports, the roof will come down, but only in this spot.

He turned to his men and raised his voice.

Lads! Everyone, get yer axes and come over here! I want you to chip away at these props. Quickly now!

The soldiers leapt into action, striking at the wooden beams in perfect rhythm. The wood was brittle, and large chunks flew off into the air.

The young dwarf from Klorra-Kanna stood up and tried to creep away, but Skemtun grabbed him.

Hey! Where do you think ye

re going?

The young dwarf pointed back toward the other end of the tunnel.

I

ve got to go back inside the caves. I

ve got to save my clan

s treasury.


Are you
stupid
, boy?

Skemtun demanded, jabbing at the boy

s temple.


Ow!

cried the young man, trying to swat away Skemtun

s hand.

That hurts!

Skemtun released him.

I

ve got dwarves cutting away the only thing that

s holding up the roof. That means this tunnel is coming down, and anyone on the wrong side of it won

t be getting through. Now, which side of it you want to be on when it caves in? The side with the
exit
, or the side with the
orcs?

The young dwarf

s face paled, but he still tried to move away.

Please! Lady Bolrakei sent me on this mission personally. She

ll be very displeased if I return without everything she asked for.


Forget yer stupid orders!

Skemtun snapped.

I

m tryin

to save yer life! Bolrakei

s  an idiot for sending you down here. Mark my words, boy

if you go down that passage, you won

t ever come back!

He shoved the young man back in the opposite direction.

Now get a move on! I won

t have your death on my conscience!

The youngster frowned but didn

t argue any further. Skemtun turned to Kathir and pointed his finger at the boy.

If you catch this fool trying to go back down this tunnel again, tie him up. I

ll carry him out on my shoulder if I have to.


Understood,

Kathir said, smiling.

The young dwarf gnawed at his lower lip.

Bolrakei won

t be pleased when I tell her about this.

Skemtun fixed him with a withering stare.

Well, Bolrakei isn

t here. She ran off with the first rush of dwarves escaping the mountain. If she wants her precious gemstones that much, she should come get them herself!


Bolrakei sent this boy back into the mountain? That seems quite

unscrupulous of her,

Kathir said quietly.

Skemtun grunted, but otherwise said nothing. Bolrakei had acted selfishly, but she was the leader of the richest and most powerful dwarf clan. She didn

t get there by accident

she got there by being ruthless. He hated Bolrakei

s self-serving attitude, but he wasn

t about to make a fuss about it right now, not when their lives were at stake. He had to concentrate on the task in front of him.

He tried to push his anger out of his mind so that he could concentrate on saving his men. A loud crack sounded behind him, and a cloud of dust fell from the ceiling.

Stop! That

s enough, lads!

The soldiers stepped back. Skemtun took a length of rope from his rucksack, knotted it carefully around the largest beam, and then walked back to where Kathir and the others were standing.

They were just in time. Skemtun could see the flicker of grease torches in the distance. The orcs grunted and howled at each other to communicate, and there was no doubt that their voices were getting closer. Another group was coming, and it was larger than the last one

too many for them to fight.


Everyone grab the end of this rope and form a line,

Skemtun barked.

Hurry up! We haven

t got much time!

The others quickly grabbed the rope and formed a line behind their leader.

When I shout, everyone pull the rope as hard as you can! All at the same time. Got it?

They all nodded in agreement.


Now pull! Pull!

he yelled and strained his aching muscles against the weight of the beam.

Pull the rope! Pull harder!

Skemtun bellowed, throwing every scrap of strength he had against the rope. He could feel the others doing the same behind him. With a loud crash, the first prop finally gave way.

The other damaged props also splintered and fell, but the roof did not collapse. For a few tense seconds, the dwarves stood frozen in place. The orcs were screaming and charging down the tunnel now. The orcs were so large that they had to crouch in order to fit inside the passageway.

Just then, there was another loud cracking noise, and a shower of pebbles fell down. The orcs stopped and looked up. The cave-in seemed to happen in slow motion. The roof of the tunnel shook,  then the entire roof crashed down all at once, in one giant slab. The orcs screamed as they disappeared beneath the rubble. Thick dust clouded the air, blinding the dwarves for several minutes. But slowly, the dust began to settle, and soon the dwarves could see that the pile of rubble ended about ten paces in front of them.


Did it work?

asked Kathir, between coughs.

Skemtun nodded.

Yup. It worked. The tunnel

s blocked. There

s no way back now.

He was pleased that his plan had worked, but he also felt guilty

how many of his people were still trapped inside the city? Mount Velik was in absolute chaos, and he had just blocked one of the few exits they had left. If any of the survivors inside tried to escape using this passageway, they would be trapped and killed.

Kathir noted Skemtun

s unhappy expression.

Don

t beat yourself up over this,

he said quietly.

None of this is your fault. This needed to be done. We can

t leave any of these passages open for the orcs to use.


I know,

said Skemtun, as he swallowed the lump in his throat. He

d spent his whole life mining and building in these tunnels

building them to last for generations

and now he was forced to destroy them. It went against everything he had ever believed in. But he had to accept it

the city was a complete loss. Now his only concern was the safety of his men.


Come on,

Kathir said.

We should get moving.

Skemtun nodded.

Aye, let

s go. This tunnel snakes through the entire mountain, so it

s a long way to the outside. If we

re lucky, we

ll reach exit before sunrise.


And then what?

asked one of the soldiers.

Where do we go from here?

Skemtun sighed.

We must go west,

he said.

As much as I hate to admit it, we must seek refuge with the Vardmiters. The clans are homeless

and we

ve got nowhere else to go.

BOOK: Kathir's Redemption (Book 6)
7.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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