Aisha had sat frozen in her room after the gentleman had left. Panic made her mind buzz. She was sure she was going to die–he would sell her out to save himself. He would tell everyone exactly what she was, and no amount of blue in her eyes was going to help her. What would Mother Micaiah do when she found out? Would there be lenience for her time in the Temple or for people she had helped along the way? She supposed it didn’t matter, given that she had no control over whether or not he decided to tell them. Yet, he was asking for her help? Asking for help with another magic user, what could that possibly mean?
Every instinct told her to run. Run where? Hide where? Her blue eyes would mark her anywhere she went, and there was little chance she would be able to get out of the city. Not that there was anywhere to go. Sand. And death–she was surrounded by impending death.
She nearly tipped out of her chair at a cry from down the hall—men’s voices. Then there were rushing footsteps. City guards if she had to guess. Did that mean that the gentleman had decided to rat her out after all? There’s no point in trying to run anywhere, even if her body surged with the need to get somewhere else; to get out. There were a few ways in and out of the Temple, but there was very little chance that she would be able to outrun these men. Aisha squired in her chair and waited. And the feet ran right past her door. At least part of her could relax a bit.
The Temple shook, and Aisha fell to her knees. Pain shot through her bones as she hit the stone; she couldn’t suppress the cry that escaped her lips. The walls of a room cracked, and a shower of dust rains down on her. More cries came from the other prophets outside of her doors, and she could hear stone hitting stone as other walls crumbled and cracked in the Temple. Gods below, what was that?
Not allowing herself to tense up again, Aisha got to her feet and went to the door. She needed to get away from the dust that was clouding the air in the room. But out in the hall was more chaos. Sounds ricocheted off of the stone hallways as people ran about, trying to figure out what was happening and where was the safest place to be.
Prophets rushed around the halls, dodging stone as it fell from ceiling and walls. And city guards. Gods, there were guards here. It was apparent they were searching for someone. She heard snippets of their conversations as they passed–something about a magic-user. Her heart trotted in her chest. All she could do was wait in the doorway of her room. Wait for them to spot her.
She made eye contact with one of them.
“You should get to the main entrance. They’re getting everyone out of the building in case it collapses,” he said. Then he walked past her down the hall.
For a moment, Aisha forgot how to breathe correctly. She watched as another guard rushed past, utterly uninterested in her presence. Aisha pushed down on the hope that was starting to rise in her. Because they weren’t arresting her on the spot didn’t mean she was safe. After all, they had a collapsing building and escaping prisoners to worry about right now. But they would be able to think back to the woman standing in her doorway and think about who she might be. Best to get out of the way for a while.
Aisha ducked back into her room to grab a covering for her head, pulling it low over her face and started towards the main entrance–matching the hurried pace of the other servants filing for an exit. If she could blend in long enough to get away, maybe she would have a chance.
Her heart thrilled at the sight of the open entrance and the wave of bodies filing out. None of the guards nearby seem interested in her. But her heart stuttered when she looked past the guards—huddled together was a young boy and a woman. The boy’s eyes, wide with fear, darted around the foyer. The woman, her eyes were red and puffy with tears, had her mouth pressed in a tight line, her chin raised as she met the eyes of those around her. Defiant but also smart enough to know there was no way out. Unless–
Aisha cut off the thought. Because it was insane and reckless and–she had to try at least. She owed the gentleman nothing–owed this boy nothing–and yet something tugged at her as she looked at them.
Aisha let the rush of bodies batter her, and she was pushed to the edge of the crowd closest to the boy and woman. She turned into a man twice her size who was making for the door and fell. Aisha didn’t land as softly as she had planned, but at least she had been able to angle the fall away from the careless feet of the crowd. The last thing she needed was to be trampled. She could feel the eyes of the guards flick in her direction, but she forced herself to focus on the darkness at her core.
Most of the time, Aisha elected to ignore the gluttonous emptiness deep within her. It had started to rage and thrash the moment the gentleman had rushed into her room, taking all her concentration to restrain it. Every time she gave it some space, it clawed at her, trying to force its way out to devour the world. She reaches down into the cage she had built and wrenched it open.