Kaleigha looked at the cold faces of the council and was happy that she was already dead.
“These are our elders and they can’t hurt you,” Kahrim said, seeming to reading her mind. “They have sworn to use their vast wisdom to protect the village. We are going to listen to you and we will decide from there what to do.”
“Kahrim,” Halimon said through tight lips. “We have indulged your crass behavior because you kept your brother safe. But in light of his current condition, your presence is no longer welcomed. You are forthwith banished from the village.”
Kahrim let out a howl of laughter.
This offended the elders who got to their feet and moved toward the siblings.
“Don’t be foolish,” Kahrim cut his laughter and became threatening. “She is exactly what we have feared all these years and I cannot control her.”
“Just like you couldn’t stop her from killing Kasim!” Hailmon sneered.
Kahrim took a deep breath and Kaleigha could feel the blood rage rise up in him. It made her heart flutter with excitement.
“Kaleigha,” he rasped. “Share with the elders the words of the old ghost.”
The elders looked shaken as they took their seats. Kaleigha stood by Kahrim as she recounted the tale. When she was done, the women were openly weeping. Kaleigha looked at Kahrim for help.
“What do you know of this?” he asked. He was clearly unnerved by the elders’ reaction.
“Come,” Hailmon said and led them out of the room. They went up to the attic where, under the watch of three burly guards, he revealed a hidden room behind a blank wall.
The walls of the room were covered in markings and overhead glittered with crystals suspended by strings. In the center was a bed surrounded by slats. It looked more like a crib than a cage. Hailmon ushered them over to the crib.
“What is this?” Kaleiha looked into the bed even though she immediately recognized the contents.
“The Sleeper,” Hailmon answered. “She is the linchpin of our fragile world.”