We were now in the heart of the City, and the light of the Clock was burning brightly. Fleeing into every shadow, we found that there was a great stir, and we heard hushed voices were heard in the Square. There was much pattering of feet. Horse hooves clattered. The Marher were about. Our flight became quicker and footfalls lighter; yet we knew that we must path through the Square. It was the swiftest way. And time could not be spared, as the Marher were watching for us.
Four main streets sprouted out from the Square. Each was named according to the Great Clock: Twelfth Street, Third Street, Sixth Street and Ninth Street. We were about to come upon Sixth Street, where a finely shaped iron-rod gate was swung open, barring that Street. The other across from it, was bolted shut. I halted and drew my companion into a shadowing corner.
“We must scale walls or pass through the center of the Square,” I whispered to him. I was tensing. Crossing out into the open Square had not been among my plans.
“Climbing walls is too suspicious. There are men guarding the gate, they will see us,” he answered, watching me closely. There was an alleyway which we had just passed, and it led to the Square. Pointing to that alleyway, I said:
“We’ll pass through there, so we are not seen on the main roads.”
“And who are you to demand such a rank?” he called out in a scornful voice to me.
“I am Heyre, Keeper of Celgarian,” I answered him, and he laughed again.
“So what if you are?” he scorned. “There is no one to come to your aid, and you cannot long defend yourself.”
I knew what he spoke was true; I was alone. I knew no one, and no one knew of me. Suddenly a wind came, like the passing of many riders over the door above. There was a flicker on the walls. The flame inside the lantern leapt. It blinked, and went out. Darkness swallowed us instantly. There was another wind, and it was the passing of many riders. Hooves clamored above. Then came the sound of bells. It sounded as if hundreds were ringing. Swinging and swaying, clashing and clanging, they called out loud to the Darkness. The sound resounded in the room. Harsh they sounded.
“Alarm! Alarm!” the one guard shouted, but we could barely hear his cry above the bells. He dashed up the stairs. My captor paused as he followed the other.
“You will wait for us. We will return.” He voice was threatening. He leapt up after the guard. They were going to bolt the door, trap me in.
I was sweating. A fire was burning somewhere near. I lied on my side on a bed, in a room where the window let the night air in. My mind still echoed the Marher’s words, and I could still here the arrows whistling. Another sound I heard, rising loud and about me. Bells were still clanging outside. Many bells and none ringing in unison. They tolled. I heard two people rush to the window and pull aside the drapes.
“What is it?” a woman said. A familiar voice answered, I recognized it as Alstare’s:
“I cannot tell, but I think the disturbance is coming from the Eastern Gate.” There was a short pause.
“Look! Someone is climbing the walls of the Court!” she cried. “Why do they ring the bells so loudly?”
We slipped quickly out of the shadows, and dashed into them again. Though we were out of the way of Sixth Street, the Eastern Gate was still near us. Pausing, we stood but a breadth away from the light.
“What is your plan?” my companion whispered. I was uncertain as I answered, keeping watch on the guardhouse which was right outside of the alleyway:
“To climb the walls of the guardhouse, thus slipping over the gate. Just beyond there I am going to the climb the wall next to the Gate. There is a terrace there on the top, which crosses over the Gate, but I am not sure if it exceeds to the next building,” I fell silent.
“Am I to follow?” my companion asked. He was leaning forward, and I could see on his face that he already knew my answer.
“No, take a different route. They know the Bellbreaker has a companion; but I don’t want them to find him.”
I didn’t move. I could hear them tramp up the stairs. I heard them lift up the broken door. They barred it. I could not get out. Darkness had consumed the room, and I could see nothing. I dropped my blade again, clanging, clattering to the ground. Bending down I picked up my cloak and wrapped it around my shoulders. I was not afraid, instead I was relieved. The guards had left, and I now had time.
I ran and passed up the stairs, and saw that the fire had died. Shadows had ensnared everything, the dusty window let no light in. Tightly holding my cloak, my feet stumbled on something. My arms flew out and my hands grabbed the edge of the doorway. After steadying myself, I bent down to pick up the obstacle. Yet my hand quickly jerked back, and I almost tumbled down the steps.
My fingertips touched cloth, yet beneath it I could feel the warmth of skin. There lied someone alive.
“They are calling out the alarm!” Alstare cried out. “It is the Bellbreaker!” As he spoke, I could hear the guards calling out Alstare’s words. No horns blared, only more bells. They droned on and drifted me away into sleep.
Yet, I was not restful. I felt like I was burning, and the fire was blazing bright in the hearth. I did not know if the bells had silenced and were now merely echoing in my head. I tossed in my sleep and looked away from the fire. I felt for a breeze but there was none coming from the window.