Light Seekers #9 – Ìhè

 When we came out of the tunnel, we followed the road further. Eventually we came to a town, called Firerbend. The road led us here to a large wall made of stone. There’s probably a real entrance somewhere, but for now we follow the road through a hole in the side. It’s a much shorter tunnel, but still pretty long. We eventually arrive to a small cavern illuminated by some sort of green fires floating through the air. On either side of is a large concrete platform with people looking down.

“Someone help them before a train comes,” a man calls out.

“What’s a train,” Levi asks.

“I don’t know but they seem afraid of it. We should move,” I start to climb the platform with no help.

“Now what,” Levi asks as I pull him up.

“A lot of people are going up those stairs.”

“Let’s go.

At the top of the stairs we’re outside again. A warm green light covers everything with a sickly glow, but nobody seems to mind. People are sitting outside laughing, enjoying meals and going about their day. Huge four-legged animals with long necks pull carts full of people and goods. There’re a few cars parked and moving through the streets made of brick, but there are so many of these animals. It’s a strange place, I feel uneasy in; it’s the opposite of everything I’ve ever known. Buildings wall to wall, seemingly undamaged, covered with signs and banners of words I can barely read. The clothing people wear is all very strange. Women in large dresses that puff out and odd hats decorated with flowers. The men wear strange pants with jackets, and large coats on some. Both men and women wear some kind of strange hat. I can’t imagine how much we stand out here. Almost, because there’s a large number of people wearing masks, they must be magic users. Shops display different kinds of masks in the windows. Those wearing the masks seem to have a different style of clothes, darker colors, tighter fitting, but nobody seems to care.

Up above there’s a fiery green ball above the city that’s producing the light, it hurts my eyes to look at it too long. The thing throws sparks or cracks of light burst from it and nobody seems to care. As we get closer, it gives me the same sick feeling I get when trying to move while using magic, or using magic too long. I don’t think closing my eyes would help in this situation, but wearing a mask might help.

“We should find a place to rest for a while,” Levi says.

“But where?”

“That sign over there says vacant rooms,” he points out.

“You can read that?”

“You can’t? You mean there’s something you admit you can’t do?”

“Stop talking.”

If Levi hadn’t been bullied by so many of the children in other wealthy families, we would have never been friends. He spent the warm season with his father, learning to survive in the wilderness, preparing for a war nobody thought would come. I spent my warm season in the fields. In the cold season, I would spend time taking odd jobs around the town, trying to afford food and fuel. As a consequence, he’s probably more prepared for this journey than I am. I can barely read any of these signs, and he’s excited about every shop we pass. He found food for us when we were lost in the woods, and I just now figured out the metal snake was probably the train people were talking about.

As we get closer to the center point of town it still feels like this place is massive. There are large bridges that cross the top of the city for people, carts, and metal snakes full of people. At first, I thought the big fiery light was making me sick, but now I feel as if someone is following us. Every time I turn around I fail to spot anyone that looks more out of place than us. I don’t want to stay here any longer than I have to, everything about it makes me uncomfortable. Levi seems to be having the time of his life, this is the life he always wanted it seems.

“We’d like a room,” Levi asks as we enter a building.

“One room for the both of you,” the man at the counter laughs.

“Yes,” he answers enthusiastically.

“One bed or two,” he asks raising an eyebrow.


“Alright, I got a room for you.”

I follow Levi and the man to the room without saying much. Just taking in the strange patterns on the all and, furry, flooring. It doesn’t seem to bother Levi, but I can’t help but wonder how many animals were skinned to make this flooring. Inside the room is a couch, two beds and a large window as well as a smaller room with a rod running through it. I’ve never had a bed, a real bed, at least not that I can remember. I’m sure I had a bad when mom was living, but since I’ve been on my own, I’ve mostly slept on the floor or benches. Sitting on it is an incredible feeling. Levi says they aren’t as soft as the ones at his home, but they’re better than anything I’ve ever slept on.

“What kind of animals do you think the floor is covered with? I don’t know any animals with pink fur.”

“Fur,” Levi bursts into laughter.

“What is it?”

“Carpet, you idiot.”

“Is that some kind of animal?”

“No, it’s like, cloth for floors.”

“Never heard of it.”

“You are an idiot,” he keeps laughing.

“We can’t all be wealthy.”

We spend a lot of time trying to plan our next move. The mountain isn’t visible beyond the city, but there’s a thick fog and burning ball of green light blocking the view. Eventually the light fades, until it vanishes completely. I’m reminded of watching the light fade from our city for the last time. I watch as lights throughout the city turn on lighting paths through the dark. I wonder if their green light will come back tomorrow.