The Broken Sword part 4
The girl waved her hand and pulls out a flower out of thin air. "For you" she said with a smile.
Haleema took the flower and gave it a sniff. The sweet scent coming out from its petals calmed her questioning mind, relaxing her. He gave the flower back to the girl and pat her head. "Thank you, it smells wonderful" she said.
The girl giggled and ran up the stairs with the flower high above her head. She waved them around as she calls out her friends who were busy with their work.
Haleema watched on, the smile she gave the girl still stuck to her face. Somehow, she now felt rejuvenated. She made her way towards the grand entrance and disappeared into the world outside.
The huge white door grumbles and screech like an angry monster as the chains pulls it open. Haleema, with the gatekeeper by her side, watched with cringing face until the moving door halted and the screeching stopped. She turned her head to the gatekeeper whose face she doubt had ever changed. "You should do something about the screeching" she pulled her hood over her headscarf and puts on her facemask.
Blizzards of golden white sands blasts it way into the opened door. Out in the open behind the veils of the sands, the sound of sandwharls whispered in the air.
"The sandwharls are already out, you sure you can make it out of the desert?" said the gatekeeper. His face emotionless and his head stuck looking straight to the golden sea of sands outside the door.
Haleema smiled behind her facemask. "I've done it more than you can count with your fingers" she said and walked out of the door. The sand storm blasted her face, pushing her hood back revealing her headscarf. She placed her hand in front of her forehead like an awning , pulled her hood back to cover her headscarf and walks off into the storm.
The gatekeeper watched the door closed in front of him and turned his body around only to come face to face with the Queen. He quickly bowed to her and dared not to raise his head.
The Queen looked behind the gatekeeper, at the closed gate. "Has Haleema departed?" said the Queen.
"Yes, your Majesty" said the gatekeeper.
The Queen smiled. "Good. Now tell all the gatekeepers to lock the gates. We're departing this desert" she said and turned away.
The gatekeeper raised his head, stunned at what he had heard. "But your Majesty, what about General Haleema? Should we not tell her?" he said.
The Queen stopped. "No, she won't come back" and continued her way back towards her palace.
The Queen's words froze the gatekeeper. He grits his teeth and clenched his fists. He turned to his men guarding the door and above the towers. "Lock the doors! We're departing!" he said to them.
The man stood erected in confirmation of the order they have just received.
Gears turn and the walls shifts as the guards secured the lock on the gate. The gatekeeper, still standing on his post oversees the snail paced movement of the walls as it began to close in on the gate. Only once the walls completely covered the gates and the city compressed to two third of its current size can the city be move to a new location.
"I never thought I'd see the city move in my lifetime" said the gatekeeper under his breath. He looked to the yellow sky above. "I'm sorry Haleema"
Haleema sat under the shadow of an old cave with an uncapped bottle in her hand. She watched the sandwharls threw sand into the air as it breached the surface of the desert. Sensitive to the light, it quickly dived back into the sands again, back into the darkness where it made its home. She took a gulp from the bottle and capped it before clipping it back to her hip. She watched from the distance at the sandstorm, far in the horizon. It has been a week since she left Althera yet the sandstorm had not subside.
"I hope everyone's all right".
Haleema exits the cave and looked directly above her. "I hate climbing cliffs." She pulls out a small rope wrapped around her waist and a small metal anchor with five sharp points that opens up like a claw. She tied one end of the rope to a hole on the anchor held it in her mouth. She cracked her fingers and looked up again, giving a long sigh before she begin her climb.
Haleema punched the metal anchor into the crevices on the cliff face and let go. She let go of her numbing hand from the cracks above her head and leaned back, letting the anchor hold her weight. She took several deep breathes and gave the desert behind her one last look. "It'll will be a while until I see this landscape again" she said. Once she regained her strength, she dug her hands back into the cracks above her head, pulled the metal anchor out from the crevice and continue with her climb up.
By the time Haleema reached the top of the cliff, the sun had already descended half way across the sky. She gave the rope a tug and quickly wrapped it around her waist. She undid the knot on the metal anchor and replaced it back into her back pouch.
Haleema glanced at the forest in front of her before taking another look at the distance sight of the sandstorm raging around Althera. She took a deep breath and turned back to face the forest. "Be safe, my friends" she said and disappeared amongst the bushes.