Sarski stretched, then wriggled from side to side. "My back hurts," she complained. "How am I meant to dance like this?"
"I'm sure you'll be jumping around happily in no time." Danny gently shook Eloro's shoulder until she opened her eyes. "Morning... are you alright?"
She yawned and nodded. "It was just - just a bad dream. Sorry I woke you."
"What's this?" asked Sarski brightly. "Eloro had a bad dream? Oh well, it was just a dream after all. It's alright now."
Eloro ducked her head so that her hair swung forward. "Yes."
"Let's go, we have to get to Thorton to have breakfast," the dancing girl said, twirling happily on one foot.
Thorton turned out to not be a village at all; instead it was a rather large town, with tall buildings and flags on everything, for no apparent reason.
"It's not that big," Eloro said, noticing Danny's wide eyes as he looked around. "The city where my uncle lives is bigger."
"Let's find an inn, we can stay here for a couple of days," said Sarski, also peering around. "Hah... there's no-one performing here... well, there's a crusty old guy playing a flute, but..."
"We need to tell someone about what happened to the walled town," said Danny firmly.
Sarski huffed. "I'll leave that to you then," she said impatiently.
"I'm just going to get some money to replace what we'll pay for the inn and the food."
"Much as I don't like to rain on your parade, you need me. A dancer looks silly without music."
"I could ask the crusty flute man..."
"Are you going to?"
"Exactly." He smiled. "Don't worry. I'll try not to take too long."
With a sigh, Sarski held out her hand. "Give me the bag then. I'll get us a room at the inn and meet you somewhere." She glanced at Eloro. "And I'll look for some new clothes for her."
The little girl frowned slightly and looked down at herself, then smoothed her grubby dress sheepishly. Danny patted her shoulder.
"Is it alright if you come with me? I might need you to tell them what happened."
The rooms were hellishly expensive. Even the smallest room, rented for two nights, had taken half of their funds, and the money pouch felt sadly empty as it bumped against Sarski's thigh. Now, since Danny was still in the Enforcers' Tower, she was wandering around the town trying to find a shop or a stall which would sell her a dress and some shoes for Eloro which didn't cost more than her entire wardrobe had.
After a while she realised that, not only was she luckless, she was also lost. This was not good. Looking around she saw a silent alleyway with greyish brick walls, no windows looking in on it. A chill ran down her spine; she remembered another such alley. Shuddering, she sped up.
As she turned out of it, she saw something dark moving nearby. When she whirled to face it, there was nothing there.
She ran before anything else happened.
When she stopped running she was even more lost. Here the town seemed to have turned into a warren of tiny alleys and cramped streets. No-one seemed to be around; everything was silent.
Sarski stopped walking and leaned against the wall, trying to catch her breath. The last time something like this had happened she'd been alone. Danny would find her. Danny would help her. No-one was following her.
The last time - seven years ago - she'd attracted unwanted attention while dancing. The attention she wanted was the sort that watched, applauded, threw money and left; not the type that stared intently then followed her through the streets.
There was a crash from nearby, and almost before she'd realised what she was doing she was off again, running from the noise and whatever might have made it.
She'd gone only a few steps before she bounced off something - someone. Heart pounding, she stumbled back. The person was clad all in black, his face hidden by a length of black cloth; all that showed were two bright green eyes. Though he looked slender, Sarski had noted upon bumping into him that he seemed to be a solid wall of muscle. That was not promising.
"Who are you?" she managed, hearing her voice oddly high.
The green eyes twinkled in a way that suggested he was smiling. "I suppose you could call me Guardian Angel. It's nice to talk to you at last, Sarski."
She recoiled a little further. "How do you know my name? Show your face!"
Guardian Angel shrugged, and pulled the cloth around his face away to reveal a young man with tousled pale blonde hair. He smiled at her. "I've been watching you for a while now."
He waved a hand dismissively. "Watching over, then."
"How long? Why?"
Turning away, he shrugged. "It's not really important right now. But you're lost, aren't you?"
"Not at all," she said stiffly. "I know exactly where I'm going."
"Oh?" The smile was on his face again. She was beginning to find it faintly annoying. "Well, I'm going to be leaving now, for the main part of the town... out of all of these frightening little alleyways. They are terribly unpleasant, after all - you can't see the sky." He tilted his head slightly. "If someone were to follow me they'd probably end up by the Enforcers' Tower. Or... they could stay here. It's completely up to them." He strolled off.
For a moment Sarski stood, undecided. Either she could stay here, with its bad smell and bad memories and possibly bad people... or she could follow this strange man to wherever he was headed. Who knew if he was even going where he said he was? He could be going anywhere, after all.
But there was something about those eyes. Those eyes didn't look like they were lying. She wanted to believe him. She wanted to find her way out of this place, and she didn't want to be alone. And so, slowly at first, Sarski followed the strange man wherever he was going.