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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Chapter 60 - Flight

Morning had come. Storm clouds were gathered over head, just as they had been in Jude’s dream. He jolted, then moved his hand up to rub his face. Light was streaming down upon the Free Council through the one hole remaining the clouds. Even the area above the tower was concealed by darkness.

Tyra, too, was waking up. She looked at him, her face an expression of concern.
“Jude,” she said, “I had the strangest dream. You and I were in a glass field, and were visited by Survivor, Lukäski, and The Messenger. I - ”

Jude put his finger up to her lips. “I had the same dream,” he said. “It was no dream, but the subconscious bond between ourselves and those three. The time has come Tyra, the storm shall soon break. And when it does, chaos will try to overtake us.”

Kysandra was awake, and was listening to their conversation. She crawled over to where the two of them were talking.

“This is very bad news indeed. Lukäski must be on our tail. We must reach the tower before the storm breaks – literally. The darkness and chaos of the storm would be the end of the Free Council.”

Jude, Tyra, and Kysandra went around, waking the people up one by one. They stirred slowly, but when Jude went to the center of the area and called a meeting, they all forgot their weariness and joined around him.

“This is the gravest of news that I can present to you. An ill omen has befallen us. The storm that gathers above us is ready to unleash chaos upon this land. Lukäski is hot on our tails. We must make for the tower.

“It appears that the storm will break at some time during the night, leaving us today to travel to the tower. Everyone must run. The distance is too great to walk it in a day. If you cannot keep up, keep running. Your very lives may depend upon it.

“That said, Uk’yan and myself will gladly help any that are in need.” (He and Uk’Yan had spoken briefly about this manner just after Jude woke him up.) “The road is dangerous, and we must be swift, but we can do it. The fate of the Free Council depends upon it. We leave in fifteen minutes, no less. Eat lightly, and pack up your things.”

He lowered his hand, signifying the end of the meeting. People stirred about, gathering their things. Many broke open a can of food, and split among up to six or seven people. In fifteen minutes, they were gathered around Jude.

“My people, may we reach the tower together.” They began running.

They started slowly, so that they would not grow tired by the end. Most of the people were in good physical condition, due to the hardships faced by the people who lived after the invasion, but a run of this distance was still a long distance.

They had not been running for half an hour when the first person began to show signs of weakness. Jude slowed down to catch up with Uk’Yan.

“Are you able to support him, or shall I?” he asked, wondering about how to help the man.

“I can bear the burden fine, Jude,” replied Uk’Yan. “We must keep moving.”

Uk’Yan slowed down so that he was at an even pace with the man. He focused his mind, keeping with his running, and slowly split the burden between the man and himself. The man was back up to the average running speed in no time.

In the next few hours, others began deteriorating. Jude and Uk’Yan were nearly exhausted from their efforts to keep the group moving, but they carried on. Every step was a burden, every step could be their last, if they slowed.

The tower loomed closer and closer. It was just as Jude had envisioned. A massive metal cylinder rose into the air, three hyperbolic supports reaching down from the middle section to the ground. A top room was clearly visible at the top of the tower, high in the clouds.

The run continued. They did not stop, for if they did, they would not be able to start again. Slowly, Jude and Uk’Yan became the most troubled people, for they bore the burden of many.

Night was beginning to fall, and still the Free Council ran. No one had fallen yet, but many were on the verge of collapse.

Jude called out in a pained, exhausted voice. “We are nearly there!” Indeed he was right, as the tower was nearly beside them.

They began to run uphill, as the land turned. They ran for at least fifteen minutes up, their legs slowly turning to useless pieces of muscle and bone. They crested the hill.

Below them was the tower. A set of double doors sat at the base, waiting for someone to enter. They had reached it at last.


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