I need to get over to Matta, was Lixand’s first truly coherent thought. He drew a deep breath and scrambled down the back of the sculpture. No one was going to see him, or hear him for that matter. The Prophet’s Guard were milling around in the dark, calling for lighters, calling for order, people were screaming with fear and one or two were howling for forgiveness of the Ten.
Lixand actually slid under the Prophet’s pulpit, certain that there would be no one underneath. Paused to whisper ‘show me to Matta’ under his breath and then followed the tiny will o’whisp floating in front of him. It jinked down once and he flattened himself as someone ran, in the dark, kicked him hard in the side and fell, but didn’t stop only clambered up and ran on.
The whisp settled on Matta who still lay just to one side of the Tunnel entrance, mockingly left open and unbarred by the Kadussas. Lixand grabbed her and started to pull her toward the opening, hoping to get into the Tunnel before they got the lights lit again. He was’t sure if he was doing it, but he really, really didn’t want them to find their strikers or tapers, or if they did that they wouldn’t work.
As he lifted her one vise-like tiny hand closed on one of his wrists and he froze, strained back as far as he could with four points prickling on his neck, a hair away from tearing his throat out. “Ten-knife,” he managed to whisper in Kommanza. It made for a good recognition word, since no one else but the family knew the name of Shkai’ra’s one-time tomcat.
Matta didn’t relax. “You… you… knocked me out… you’re stopping me. I must go to him! I must believe him!” The steel claws disappeared but the grip on his wrist didn’t slacken. “You will come with me!” She was thankfully still whispering as she struggled to get up.
“Matta! Come with me!” He deliberately fell back, using his greater weight to drag her over and down onto the ground again.
“Excuse me,” a strange voice said and Matta’s voice grew muffled for a moment, then she went limp in Lixand’s arms. “We need to get you safe into the Tunnel, we’re Kadussas.”
“What did you do?” Lixand refused to let go of his mother but let them raise both of them up and hustle them into the Tunnel mouth. He stumbled, they walked as if they could see every cobble.
“We applied a nostrum we use on panicky Tunnel goers,” the voice said. “No harm done. I’m glad to have made contact with you. Here, there is a place to sit. Someone else is trying to enter the Tunnel, carrying someone. Is he with you?”
“I’m not sure. There was a third person in our party. A Taken-Up by the Temple,” Lixand said quietly.
“Ah. That is why he is giggling.” Then Lixand knew he and Matta were alone. He sat, and held onto his mother, hoping that whatever drug the Prophet had used on his mother would be gone by the time she woke.