"Security must be getting sloppy..."
"An hour ago..."
"He's talking to them right now."
As she served the food Layla heard the gossip about the two strangers who had arrived not long ago. She had heard Jasper had discovered them, but hadn't seen him to confirm. As it was the dining cave was filled with rumours and whispers. She wondered if it had been like this when she had arrived.
"Layla." She glanced up and saw Zane was in front of her. "Napping were you?" He grinned.
"No, just listening to everyone. Two people escaped did they say?"
"Yes. First time we've ever had two people come together. Normally it's just individuals. They must have been through so much..." He glanced up at Layla thoughtfully. "Maybe you should talk to them. They'd probably be happy to see someone else who escaped."
"Yeah, when Ceri's stopped torturing them." She said with a ghost of a smile.
"Ah! I see I'm rubbing off on you." He grinned.
"Maybe I'm just finding myself." She muttered, half considering the words that leapt from her mouth.
Dinner had been served and Layla had started clearing the pots away when the few remaining people in the hall fell silent. She glanced up and saw the two people entering the hall. They were obviously the newcomers. Jasper and Ceri stood next to them.
"Is there any food left?" Ceri asked, collecting bowls and passing them out.
"Enough." Layla muttered, eyeing the newcomers out of the corner of her eye. They did not seem as though they had lived much of a hard life, so they must be escaping from the rule instead of slavery. She ladelled out the food in to four bowls and added some bread to the side. As she passed the food out she caught Jasper's eye. He stared at her for a brief second, then thanked her and followed Ceri to the table. The male stranger did the same, and the girl followed. She too looked briefly at Layla, who thought she looked nervous under her calmed features. She felt automatically sympathetic to her.
"Don't worry. Ceri isn't as scary as he makes out." She whispered encouragingly. The girl blinked, smiled and nodded, before joining her companion at the table.
Layla began once more to clear the pots, casting glances over to the group as they ate. As soon as they had finished she went to collect their pots.
"Layla, we wondered if you'd mind sharing a room with Tanya. You could help her get used to this life."
Layla glanced over at Tanya to see if this was what she wanted. She made no movement.
"I can do that."
"Good. The others can take over here. You gather your things and find one of the double rooms to move in to. Jasper, please show Durn to one of the shared caves."
Jasper nodded, glanced at Layla once more then gestured towards the sleeping quarters. Layla smiled at Tanya and gestured after them.
"I suppose you're tired?" She asked, as way of coversation, keeping her eyes on Jasper and Durn ahead of them.
The girl nodded and kept her eyes ahead too.