Chapter Fourty-Five: Infiltration

The thin fabric which lined Jonrah's body was not warm enough to stop his teeth from chattering. The sound seemed amplified by the rocks that surrounded him, and Jonrah was sure that he was giving the enemy a clear enough warning to his approach.

However, as the lights grew slightly brighter and the small buildings became closer, Jonrah realised that he was unlikely to be noticed. The population of the camp was curiously more than Jonrah had expected. Fifty would be a large amount, but he was way off. At least one hundred were hustling and bustling in the small settlement, all going about their business, all but a few wearing their designated armour. Roughly one in five was a woman; a much higher proportion than he had expected, and much higher then he had as of yet encountered.

Jonrah tried to drift through the camp unseen, but there was no doubt he would be acknowledged by many men and women, making his sudden presence fairly hard to explain, not to mention his equally sudden departure, if all went to plan. Hopefully few would pick up on this, and even fewer would find it suspicious enough to cause alarm.

Inhabitants were disorganised; going about their business, hardly paying attention to one another. Jonrah hoped that they were all a part of one group, and would be departing soon, leaving the camp almost uninhabited. Maybe Gurden was here now - the man he hunted, the man who had kidnapped Jodar. It would be unwise to make contact with him at this stage, with all the people around, but it would most likely be easier than a confrontation in the overpopulated city of Rensh.

Jonrah recognised a building which was most likely the local inn. The lodgings. It was fairly large, and at two floors, it stood higher than any of the other small and shabby structures. However, this building was of a higher quality; obviously newer, or maybe just more important to residents. Most likely the latter.

Jonrah made his way over, hoping that he could find information. He would have to be subtle - to go asking about a member of The Eden to other members of The Eden would likely cause concern, and would surely reveal Jonrah's lack of familiarity with the camp and the people within. But there must have been somebody who had seen him pass through. Maybe he was still here. Or maybe he had used Raggen Pass... Jonrah was concerned that his search may drag on longer than necessary, but he also knew that if he could not find his enemy here, they would surely meet in Rensh.

Jonrah didn't realise where he was until his trail of thought was interrupted by the woman behind the bar. He seemed to have entered the inn without thinking about it.

'Can I help you, brother?'

Jonrah had to think carefully before he answered. He needed to behave as if he knew exactly what he was doing - like he knew precisely who all these people were, and was familiar with all the customs and details of The Eden. As he mulled his response over on the tip of his tongue, the woman gave him an odd look, as if she already suspected him of impersonating a member of The Eden.

'Just a room, please sister.'

The answer Jonrah provided seemed to relax the muscles in her face, and as a result, Jonrah felt he himself was able to relax. He was slowly understanding his role, one step at a time.

A large iron key exchanged hands, and Jonrah smiled as he held it in his hands. A small numeral was carved into the head - XII. Twelve. Jonrah assumed it was on this floor, and so steered clear of the staircase that led to the second floor. Winding through the corridors, Jonrah found the building was a lot larger than the outside had appeared. He was worried that the entire building was being taken up by corridors, but as he came to his room, he saw there were several others surrounding it. He could see the numeral I on one nearby, indicating that there must be at least fifty rooms in the entire building.

Sliding the key into the lock, Jonrah heard the sound of metal scraping together, bringing back the memory of his first encounter with a tower of The Eden. His semi-conscious state ... the mysterious captors. He brushed his painful memories aside and let the door creak open. Made of the same rotting wood that most of The Eden's buildings were constructed from, Jonrah was not surprised that the room was so small, but was surprised by the sight which awaited inside.

On the right was an empty bed, the sheets slightly dirty, but otherwise up to his standards, or at least the standards of The Eden. No natural light streaked through a window, for there was no window, and yet the room seemed to darken when Jonrah looked into the eyes of a delightfully familiar face.

An evil smile produced itself on Jonrah's face as he recognised the young boy that looked anxiously at him. Obviously the rooms were designed to accommodate two. Jonrah and the cripple were going to get along very well.

The End

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