Chapter 3 : The Cathedral

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Glaring up at the steeples reminds Kalera of her mother, who would visit Saint Louis Cathedral to clear her mind when she was clean. Fredreeca would light candles to her ancestors and pray. What she asked of God, Kalera will never know, but her mother believed, and many of her beliefs are hoarded within Kalera herself.

She strolls to the front of the church in deep thought. Looking up at the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul holding a book and a key gives Kalera faith.

Scratching a match to a crimson candle, she kneels down to pray, asking God to keep the souls of her mother, her brother Xavier, and all the men and women lost in the great battle of Zaylen in his hands. Then she asks him to grant her the fortitude of Harriet Tubman, who had only allies and steadfastness when she freed the slaves of old.

But Harriet didn't have magical powers, nor a dragon.

Xavgon interrupts her thoughts. "Who is Harriet, Mother?"

"She was a great woman who lived long ago here on earth. She freed slaves, among other things."

Musfall and Zoran slowly walk up behind Kalera.

"This way," Musfall whispers.

Zoran and Kalera follow him down a long corridor into a small room, where Musfall's friend is waiting.

"Father Jeffery," he whispers.

"Musfall, my friend. It has been too long."

"Yes, it has. These are my friends, Kalera and Zoran."

"Pleasure," Father Jeffery says. "Well, Musfall called to give me a heads up so I know why you are here."

He opens his hand exposing a silver key.

"I hope this will not get you into any trouble," Musfall said.

"No more than the trouble I got into for my adventures, but I owe you. I hope you find what you are looking for."

"Thank you," Kalera whispers, while taking the key.

They walk to an old wooden door as dust ushers them into the ancient cellar. The room is grand and musty. Timeworn books line aged desks, decrepit shelves, and the tattered wooden floor. Walking to the center of the room, Kalera rubs her hand across Xavgon.

"Where should we begin?" she asks Musfall.

"I think we should work separately. We will cover more ground this way. Kalera, you take the floor. Zoran, top shelves to bottom. I will take all of the back wall and desks."

"How long are we prepared to be here?" Zoran asks.

"As long as it takes," Kalera responds.

"What are we looking for again, exactly?"

"Any books that mention or describe caves—specifically ice caves," she replies.

"So why couldn't Father Jeffery point us in the right direction, since he is the cave-diving expert?" Zoran asks, sarcasm in his tone.

"For one thing, he has never ventured into any ice caves," Musfall replies. "Maybe that's because he hasn't found any books on them yet. I don't know. I just figure this is the best place to start."

"Let's just do what we came here for," Kalera says.

Seconds turn into minutes, and minutes into hours. The sounds of turning pages ripple around the room as Zoran coughs frequently from the particles beginning to fill the air. He grabs his chest as he covers his mouth. A wheezing, rattling sound follows. It's as if his airways are becoming obstructed. Kalera rushes over to him.

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