Areana’s Escape

Love is most important.

              Areana drew her sword.

              A thousand fires outside her doorway lit the moonless night. The foreign army had breached the city. She had no choice but to fight. To fight for the Leli. To fight until she could fight no longer.

              Suddenly she felt a small arm on the back of her leg. Areana turned to see Leli clinging to her, her big eyes filled with wonder.

              “Mama, what’s going on?” She shivered at the sight of a burning log collapsing beneath a house.

              Areana sheathed her weapon, closed the door, and pulled Leli into her arms. “Oh, precious, what are you doing awake?” Areana snuggled closer to Leli, knowing perhaps it might be her last hug on this side of eternity. “I love you, darling.”

              “Love you, too, mommy.” Areana smiled at her reference. She wasn’t biologically her mother, but after Areana had taken her in, the two-year-old quickly used the name.

              Areana soon realized that she couldn’t let anyone get to her Leli. No doubt her enemies would make Leli a slave, something worse than death. Rumors had told of unknown horrors. Although Areana was an adequate warrior, she wouldn’t be able to fend the soldiers off forever. She had to think of a way to escape the city.

              Her house lay northeast of front gate only one house away from the city wall. Suddenly, an idea formed in her head.

              “Come, Leli. Let’s get some things.” Areana gently set her down. She then quickly rushed to her humble pantry, grasped her large quarter-filled potato basket, and shoved a couple of dried foods into it.

              Areana stepped into the other room and grabbed her quilt, which she aptly shoved into the basket. All she needed was a cord or rope, which she didn’t have. So, she sprang to her wardrobe, and began tying all sorts of garments together until a long rope was created. She yanked each part, checking for strength, and then placed it also into her basket.

              She glanced toward the window opposite to her door and saw a dozen enemy soldiers enter a house. She would have to hurry.

              Areana scooped up Leli into her arms and hefted the potato hamper over her shoulder. She escaped through the door, crossed the street to the house on the wall, and scampered into the house. As Areana searched for a window, she realized the building was empty. She ascended the stairs to the upper story, with Leli tightly in her hands. In back of the house, Areana found a medium-sized window. She hurried to it. Areana tied her handmade rope to her potato basket, and gently placed Leli into it.

              “Now, Leli, Mommy’s going to lower you down there, and then I’ll come get you, okay?” Areana stoked her head and gave her a quick kiss.

              Areana lowered the child to the ground through the window. “Leli, can you step out of the basket, now, and go stand over there?”
              Leli hesitated for a second, then practically tumbled out, and hurried to stand a few feet away.

              Areana began raising the rope toward her. As she was thinking of a way to lower herself, a sudden noise of snapping wood startled her, so that the rope slid from hands. With a cry, she reached for it, but it was too late. The rope fell to the ground in a pile by her potato sack.

              Another noise led her to realize that the soldiers had entered the house.  

              Areana glanced around. What could she do? Without thinking twice, she slid through the window, gripped the seal, and extended her body as tall as she was, and then let go. Areana fell to the ground and rolled.

              Areana was up before she could check if she had broken anything. She lifted Leli into her arms and picked up the basket.

Areana fled into the night.

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