Anaxippos removed his golden breastplate and greaves and started to unpack his kitbag. He opened the cap of the spiced oily lotion he had prepared and began kneading it into his tired limbs. Even from another building he could hear the raucous laughter of the men as they settled in for the night. Hesiod’s laugh echoed off the walls of the peaks as they relieved themselves and made crude comments about the womenfolk of the village. Soon they would be asleep, Hesiod with his leather cap reversed and pulled down over his eyes, Zakary curled up into a foetal position clutching his backpack. Del, fearful of the night, would be huddled close to his friend, Turtle, for warmth and comfort.
He arranged his pack as a pillow and stretched out on the cloth pallet which served as the smallest boundary between him and the smoothed rock floor. Countless generations had worn this floor smooth as they walked and sat and slept upon it and for a moment, Anaxippos felt he could hear the hustle and bustle of bygone generations before he slid into darkness.
He woke to hear the creak of the door. Silhouetted in the red light of the moon stood a young child clutching a crudely hewn wooden figurine. Anaxippos reached out to rise but felt his legs pinned. The child stepped forward and as fear gripped him, he summoned the spirit memory given to him by Sahlan back in Pavis. The tip of his spear began to glow with the light of Yelmalio and the child started.
The light of Yelmalio shone and dismissed the gruesome luminscence of the Lunar’s moon but Anaxippos saw the flesh of the child was squirming as if tentacles writhed beneath. The eyes, blackened sockets, struck him cold and then it spoke.
Anaxippos woke alone. There was no child, the door was closed. But the tip of his spear glowed bright. He shivered and knew the chill he felt would not leave him until morning.
Meanwhile, not far away in the darkness, a ochre-stained baboon looked balefully at the peak and muttered to himself in Firespeech, “Light me….brothers”