Elma was sitting on a pile of rocks when suddenly they moved under her. A gaping hole opened up in the floor and the rocks fell through, tumbling past an upright ladder. Elma followed, grasping vainly at the air. One of her clutching hands happened to grab hold of a leg, and with a cry its owner was pulled from his perch on the ladder. They didn’t fall far before they hit a slope and rolled down it. Elma landed on another ladder stretched over a dark pit, but the creature she had taken with her wasn’t so lucky. He fell past the ladder and landed far below in a heap, the torch he had been carrying landing on top of him. Shocked by her fall, Elma grabbed the ladder and held on, trying to make sense of what had happened. From both directions more creatures came climbing across the ladder carrying torches, yelling in surprised and angry voices. A leering ugly face illuminated by the torchlight glared at her menacingly. She decided quickly that she didn’t like these creatures, and looked around for a way of escape. There was nowhere else to go, except for down into the pit, where the other creature lay a good distance below. Without taking time to think she dropped over the edge of the ladder, letting the crumpled body break her fall as she landed, winded and sore.

She heard yelling from up above her, and then a rope was lowered down to where she sat stunned by the fall. Quickly she looked around for someplace to get away or hide, but there was no way out of the narrow crevice. The other creatures were now climbing down the rope, chattering angrily to themselves. Elma caught the words they were saying. “It killed Mork!” one was saying in a harsh, gruff voice. “We killit! Killit dead!”

The others seemed to be in agreement. “Mork dead! It killer! We killit back!”

Elma cowered against the wall in fear, trying to think of some way out of the situation. The one who had fallen, whose name seemed to be Mork, groaned and twitched. She could tell he wasn’t dead. The others had almost reached her now, and she saw weapons glinting in the torchlight. Not sure what else to do, she cried out, “He’s not dead! He needs help! I can heal him!”

This made the lowest creature pause just as he reached the bottom. “Mork not dead? You heal Mork?”

Elma suddenly regretted her words, but she couldn’t take them back now. She tried frantically to remember everything Eveli had taught her about using medicine. “Yes, if you let me live I can heal him.”

The creature stood over her, menacing her with the point of a spear. “We let live, you heal Mork! If Mork die, we killyou! Killyou dead!”


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