Run, Run, Run, As Fast As You Can

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The six companions fled the dungeon, Tārc on their heels. At the top of the stairs they ran into Urisu, Tārc's twin sister. The two embraced, shed a few tears, and pulled away.

"Thank you," Urisu said, her voice still thick with tears. "But you must flee quickly now, Father has ordered the guards to block the roads and kill you on sight. You will not escape the city that way."

"Take the roofs and footpaths," Tārc suggested. "The way is more narrow, but the guards will have a difficult time following."

"That all depends, of course, on whether or not we can make it out of the castle alive," Nisvārtha said gravely.

"I can get you out of the castle," Urisu said confidently. "But after that I am afraid you are on your own."

Śarat grinned. "Leave that to me."

"Take this," Kendra handed Tārc the key. "You need it more than I do."

He nodded with a grin, "Take care Dāvāgni, I hope to see you again."

Kendra rolled her eyes, "In better circumstances than now, or else, for your sake, I hope not."

Urisu led them through many halls, down stairs and through corridors, occasionally doubling back because guards were near. Finally, Urisu stopped at a side door, hidden beneath a tapestry.

She pulled back the cloth and opened the door. "This will put you at the North East end of the city," she said quickly. "I would suggest staying on the North Bank and taking flight out of the canyon at the last possible moment, they will be expecting you to try and reach the South Bank and the Gates."

Śarat grinned. "No problem."

"Thank you for helping us," Kendra said.

Urisu shook her head. "No, Kendra McLane, thank you." Everyone's head snapped toward the sound of bare feet growing closer.

Without another word, the six friends fled the palace. Śarat took point, Tale hādu open between everyone as they sprinted through darkening alleys and climbed down stairs and ladders leading into the city.

As they ran, Suruli explained what happened in the throne room as best she could. Nisvārtha wasn't speaking, and Kendra wasn't much help either since she knew the least of what was going on with her.

Her only explanation was simple; "He was going to kill Sanna and Śarat, then sell Havala. It really pissed me off."

Conversation stuck to the plan and strategy for the rest of the run to freedom. With every step, Kendra was beginning to weaken, her head was pounding again and her limbs were getting heavy.

After her fifth stumble, Suruli gave her a worried glance. Kendra?

I'll be fine, she said, her breathing ragged and her face flushed.

You will not and you know it, Nisvārtha snapped, speaking for the first time since they left the palace. Śarat, carry her.

Without a word Śarat scooped Kendra up and placed her on her back. The poor fledgling was too drained to protest.

The advantage to going through the city, was that it greatly shortened the journey. It took more work, and their speed was reduced from the tight spaces, but even so, the road would have taken longer even at a full out sprint the whole way down. Halfway through the city they stopped to rest, sunset was a few hours away, and though they had been lucky to avoid the guards, the threat was still real.

"We are moving too slow." Nisvārtha growled.

Śarat threw him a glare, "This is the fastest way out of the city."

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