Half a dozen pair of eyes turned up to look at them. Waiye smiled and Layke shifted his weight awkwardly.
“Hello, my fellow revolutionists,” Waiye said, spreading out her arms. “Sorry for the smell.”
That brought a few laughs, making them feel more at ease. Layke nervously looked around the stable, and was relieved to find that everyone’s gaze was focused on Waiye.
“I have brought someone here to you today who shares our feelings about the inequality in this world,” Waiye said. All eyes swivelled to look at Layke. He smiled uneasily at them. “His name is Layke.”
“Hello,” Layke managed to squeak. So many women … so close together … all looking at him.
“That’s alright, Layke,” Waiye said, patting him on the shoulder. “You’ll get used to so many women soon.”
“I certainly hope so,” he muttered under his breath. Surprisingly, Waiye seemed to have heard him.
“You will,” she said firmly. Then she turned to the women. “We must move soon. You have been gathered here for too long, sitting down and doing nothing. Now is the time for action.”
There was a small cheer, and it would have been louder if it wasn’t for the danger of them being found. Layke was impressed; Waiye certainly knew how to talk. She was like some sort of forest-queen or something.
“Tomorrow, we will move on, travelling to places containing more supporters to join our cause. Our ultimate goal is to reach the capital city, Crown. There we will amass and rebel against the unjust system.” Waiye smiled. “Are you in?”
“Yes we are!”
“Wait,” Layke murmured quietly. Waiye looked at him. “What about peace? Shouldn’t we try to keep peace in the land first? Shouldn’t we send an ambassador or something?”
“An ambassador?” Waiye pondered the idea. “Do you really feel that we need an ambassador?”
“Yes,” Layke nodded firmly. “Peace should be our first priority before rushing off into war.”
Waiye slapped him on the back. “Congratulations, you are our first ambassador.”
There was another small cheer. Layke stared at Waiye, utterly suprised.
“I’m the new ambassador? What? I thought you were going to do it! You’re good at these things!”
Waiye shrugged. “It was your idea.”
Layke’s mouth opened and closed, but no sound came out of it.
“Good on you, Layke,” Waiye said, then slapped him on the back again. “Time for sleep, my man. Get ready for a big day tomorrow.”
Used to taking orders from women, Layke quickly found a corner and curled up on the hay, ignoring the sharp dried grass pricking into him. The other women soon followed suit, and finally Waiye did too, lying by the door and keeping an eye out for any intruders.
“Good night,” Layke whispered to no-one in particular. There was a rustling beside him as someone shifted in their sleep, and finally he, too, fell asleep.