It was about midnight, some scoundrels still up at this time of night, washing their troubles away by drinking more than their bellies could take, before it all spewed out in front of them from their stinking mouths and laughing about it. I was not one of these men. My father had offered me drink more times than I could count, yet I never touched a drop. The taste was fowl, the effects were worse. Past the tavern, I saw Kati and the other side of the well, waiting for me as she leaned on the stone rim. She saw me, lifting her head in greeting.
“Ah good, you’re here at last.” She whispered. “We have to get something first before we leave.”
“The cube?” I asked quietly.
“Correct. Now, Markida has it with her inside her house. Plan is to snatch it, and head down to the beach where I have two horses prepped to ride out. All sound good to you?”
I nodded in reply. “Good.”
She creaked open the door with me behind her, letting the moon light pan across the black room. Coast clear, we sneaked up the stairs, turning to see an open door that revealed a sleeping body wrapped in duvet. Her chest rose and fell deeply, with the glow of the cube illuminating the room with a damp shine as she hugged it tightly to her chest. Kati tip-toed closer to the bed, pointing to the door to me and mouthing ‘Watch the door.’ I obeyed, clutching close to the door. Markida had a husband, Rodrig, a rather unpleasant man who hated children, yet was a wise brain. If he walked in on us snooping around his own house, he’d be furious. I turned back to Kati, who was trying to grab the cube slowly out of Markida’s paws with delicate fingers. As soon as she started to take it away, Markida fidgeted in deep sleep and Kati retracted her hands swiftly away. She grinded her teeth, and I winced in worry. However, I could hear a chuckling man, heading from the tavern and walking down the path to the house. I snapped around to Kati, turning my hand round and round like a wheel to usher her to hurry with a sense of urgency. She darted her eyes around the room, looking for something. The front door opened from downstairs. She grabbed a finely decorated vase off of the shelf, and crept closer back to Markida. Rodrig was pacing up the stairs. I spun my hand more quickly and more frantically to Kati as she replaced the cube with the vase out of Markida’s hands, with Rodrig making his way to the door. It opened, the man yawning and sniffling. He took off his clothes one by one, and sat on the bed, swishing his legs under the blankets and softly smashed his head onto the pillow with low grunt. Soon, he was snoring like a bear. With the man laying still, Kati and I stepped out of a wardrobe filled with the bloke’s stinking old clothes. Still on tip-toes, we marched out of the doorway, down the stairs and through the main door to safety. A close call.
We made our way down the cliffs in the crisp night sea air to the beach, where two horses stood tethered to wooden stakes in the crusty sand. Kati looked very pleased with herself, smiling at the glowing object in her hands.
“So,” I mentioned to try and break the quiet, “where are we to head first?”
We reached the bottom of the cliff, trotting to the horses.
“We are to head to the Caves of Bathaal.” We hopped on our horses, slinging the legs over the saddle. “It’s a four days ride. I hope you know how to ride a horse properly.” She said with a smile.
“Please,” I started, “I grew up with them. I bet I could a ride a horse faster than you could dream.” I chuckled.
“I’d like to see you try.” she giggled, spurring on the horse into a full on gallop along the shore. I rode after her down the sands with a large smile, leant over the front of the saddle, slowly catching up with her.
Hours later, early in the morning, the sun started to light up the house, the rays of light blinding the bedroom. Markida awoke slowly, her eyes fluttering open and her hands twitching. She gripped something, something unfamiliar. Her hands darted around, feeling the oddly shaped cube. Markida suddenly jolted.
“The cube!” she bellowed, “The girl has the cube!!” The rage in her throat boiled, flashing out of bed, letting the priceless vase crash onto the floor into pieces; and she bolted down the stairs. Bursting out of the house, Caelin ran to her with a look of panic in his eyes.
“Markida, Markida! Two horses are missing from the stables, and Telion is not in his room!” he yelled at her. Markida clenched her fist, it quaking with tense muscles.
“Find them! Get back the cube! Hurry! Find them!!” she shouted, waving her hands around Caelin following them with haste and dashing from left to right, right to left. “The cube must not fall into the wrong hands!”