The passage beyond led a short distance to a narrow set of steps rising upward. Light streaked in sparingly from some point higher up where the stairs took a sharp twist to the right. The air stank of molded cheese.
“It’s the attic,” Oetho said. “
“I don’t understand,” Amana whispered. The kid lifted its head over her shoulder, looking back. Oetho gave her a small nudge toward the steps.
“Trust me,” he said. “We need what’s up there.”
Reluctantly, she plodded forward, her chin held upward as she climbed. When she reached the cut of light, she stopped to look out through the loophole slit. Oetho could hear the distant bustle of the city beyond. The window looked out over the rooftops to the open bazaar, thick with people busy with life. Amana stared for a long moment.
“Why did you bring me here?” She said. Oetho was about to tell her when she added, “They don’t know do they?” Her face turned sallow. “Why is it always the innocent that must die?”
Oetho struggled for words. He found none. Instead, he touched her shoulder. She pulled away. Oetho hesitated. Amana climbed away from him.
“It’s kind of like the amulet,” he burst, his words chasing after her. “We found it years ago, in a cavern outside of Urokesh.” He panted as he climbed. “Just as the scrolls of Polarian foretold,” he said.
Amana barely paused at the top of the stair. Another wooden door gave way as she barged through.
“It can take us other places, other worlds.”
Amana screamed. It was a sharp cry of anguish.
Oetho stumbled, and then scrambled up the last of the steps.
The attic was awash with orange light, beaming in from open vents and a large arched window filled with colored glass. It was a cavernous space, crammed with large craggy tables; dust coated crates, and a madness of wooden gadgetry, glass baubles and other debris. Amana stood a few steps into the room. The kid had fallen from her arms and was scampering to find cover. Her hands clenched at the wisps of her white hair.
There was someone else in the room; some thing.