Chapter 11 | Found Filth

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GRETA

I should not feel hurt or offended by some strange man. I just thought Enoch would have warned me if there was a risk he may be away longer than planned. There's so much more I need to discover for myself. I will not sit and wait around for him any longer. I get up from hiding position, peering around my bush seeing the area around the fountain empty.

Eventually, I make my way out of the large courtyard and into the expanse of vacant area. I can see the temple from here. Its walls are lit up with the natural light of flame. I watch the grey and white dancing flames while biting my lip. The statues below them look like real people from this distance. Someone will be able to help me find a place I can work to earn my god's favor here.

Perhaps this is a test. A trial where my god is testing my loyalty to the light. I will not be kept in the dark. If Enoch is his messenger, then this clearly is a time where I must prove my goodness.

I sneak up to the temple hearing someone murmuring near the ground. They stand up quickly hearing my feet padding across the floor in their direction. I pause near them, thinking them an older person as they are hunched over using one of the tall cylinder blocks for support.

"Do you know where I can find the god of the sun?"

They give me a quick nod, but make no reply and simply bend down on their knees returning to prayer.

"Who are you praying to?"

"Him," the elder replies.

Before I can ask another question, arms grab me and I thrash violently.

"Hush! It's me," Enoch whispers near my neck.

When my arms are freed, I stagger away from him. I have not been able to prove myself to my god yet and he has already returned. I have failed. I knew I should have left the courtyard earlier.

Enoch scratches his neck and moves close to me again, but I step back further. "I am not ready."

"Ready for what?"

"I need to earn his forgiveness," I whisper harshly.

He should know all of this. He needs to stop playing dumb. I know he is a messenger.

"Please tell me you are not going on about your sun god again."

I grab my head and look skyward seeing the stone roof. The dull gray glowing orbs I saw out in the desert I may never see again. Feeling dismayed, I fall to my knees. Since I've arrived here, I know my vision has worsened. Even as he stands a foot away, his shape is more of a smeared silver than when I first met him.

Tears trickle down the corners of my eyes. Enoch grips my arm tightly hauling me up to my feet.

"What's wrong with you?" he questions while tugging me away from the temple.

I pull against him. "I... I want to see. I want my god's forgiveness."

''Forgiveness for what? I told you we don't get to pick where we are born. You are from the desert and went blind there. You've just been plagued with bad luck, but you're here now. I'm here," Enoch rubs my arm gently, but it makes me stiffen even more.

I wipe my face with the back of my healing wrist.

Somehow, he's managed to walk me back all the way into the courtyard again.

"Please stop pretending you do not know."

"For the last time, I am not some godly spirit! I know nothing of this god you talk about. Your god is dead. You would have died in the desert if one of my horses hadn't taken you here."

"Lies!" I yank my arm free of his hold and run back to the temple thinking the old man praying there may be the one I need to speak with.

"Greta!"

I ignore his yell and find my way through the maze of statues and columns. The old man is gone though, and in his place, the false god. "You!" his snarky voice screeches as he draws out his whip.

Dodging Urdmin's attack, I dive into the doorway to my left and into the torch-lit room. From the corner of my eye, I see a smear of silver in the direction of the big marble seat.

I pump my arms faster. My feet feel like they're on fire as I exit the room out through the other open arched doorway. I hop down from the temple, landing onto the looser stone ground below. Bits of small rock crunch beneath my feet.

"Stop! Stop her!" I hear the old man scream after me.

I turn sharply heading toward the marble staircase running right into Enoch. His head bangs into mine because he's squatting like he thinks I'll jump into his arms. However, what ends up happening is I crash into him because I have no time to slow down.

"Y-yes, grab her prince! Hold her down."

Prince? Enoch cannot be a prince. I know he is a messenger. Then again, Enoch did say he knew the false god, Urdmin.

"Shut up, Urdmin. If you take one step closer, I will put a sword through your throat!"

I smile seeing Urdmin's form hunched over. I can hear his heavy breathing. He's still trying to catch his breath. A bunch of more big silver figures emerge from the staircase surrounding us with black pointy objects held at the ready and my smile falls as I detach myself from Enoch's embrace.

I glare at the men, daring them to question me. "I have come for the god of the sun."

"Quiet!" Enoch whispers fiercely into my ear.

Why does he ask me to be silent? I can't lie if I want my god's favor.

"Wretched filth, you'll be lucky to see the light of day ever again. She's a spy!" Urdmin huffs.

My fists tighten as my voice shakes, "I am no spy!" I say loudly so they can all hear the truth.

Enoch steps in front of me and my face contorts into confusion. This is clearly a test and he is ruining my moment to share my faith. "Move," I retort in frustration while shoving Enoch aside.

Someone behind me whips my back and I crumple to the ground. Chaos breaks out and I stare through the gaps in their legs as they yell, fighting with one another. My hair is tugged and I scream in pain while kicking my feet out in a desperate attempt to be released.

"Let her go!" Enoch yells somewhere beside me.

"Oh I will, she will be sleeping with the wolves tonight. Nevertheless, I will take her to your mother for a fair listening. I am a man of the law, after all," Urdmin snickers to Enoch. His voice lowers into a whisper. I smell his disgusting breath and wrinkle my nose feeling him grip my waist. "We need to get a better look at her. Although, judging by her stamina, she will most likely be added to my ranks. Yes. You have a lot of explaining to do, street whore."

"She will not be your slave!" Enoch yells.

I spit in the false god's direction. Judging by his enraged growl, I'm fairly certain I hit my target. I smile smugly while being pushed violently down the steps ahead with Enoch holding onto my left arm.

"You will not be punished. No more talking until we reach the palace, okay?" Enoch tells me.

"I cannot be silent while this false god mocks me!"

I thrash in Urdmin's hold and when he still doesn't let go, I bite his arm and he howls. He lets go of me and I run for my life down the steps.

"Greta, please! Come back, wait..." Enoch yells.

Urdmin chases me leading the other guards with a shrill scream, "Stop her!" I hear several footsteps clattering behind me and more shouts of rage. Enoch's voice gets drowned out by the other annoying men chasing after me with lanterns guiding their way.

As long as I find a dark safe place to hide, they will not be able to take me away. 

☁️

A/N: Thank you for reading:)

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