A great commotion from outside interrupted their argument. Karhim and the elders rushed into the foyer. Kaleigha scooped up Karen’s shard and hid it in her cloak before joining the others.
“No!” Kahrim cocked his head to the side. “He wouldn’t dare invade.”
“What is it?” Kaleigha asked. The elders looked bewildered. “What’s wrong?”
“It is him,” Alya spoke up for the first time since the argument started. “I would know the stench of his blood anywhere.”
“Hailmon?” Kahrim looked to the elder, his face torn between rage and fear. “What is your command?”
“Avenge your mother,” Alya said before Hailmon could speak. “ End him so that we may live as before.”
“Gran,” Kahrim whispered.
“She died for you,” Alya sneered, “Don’t waste her sacrifice.”
Kahrim nodded and turned to Kaleigha.
“Go back to the crucible,” he grabbed shoulders and spun her toward the stairs. “The guards will protect you.”
“No, wait!” she grabbed for him, but he was already gone.
“Come, girl,” Hailmon called. The elders were already at the top of the stairs. “We will…”
“No, he is your father, too.” Karen spat. Alya raised a finger to Karen and disputed her words.
“My father!” Kaleigha exclaimed. Pure terror filled her being and she turned from the stairs to the door. Karen and Alya’s bickering faded as Kaleigha struggled with the locks on the door.
The invasion was the stuff of nightmares. Legions of her father’s shadowy ghosts filled the village. Thier rasping howls filled the air as they lunged and clawed at the living villagers. The four Labor Leaders strode through the dark army trying, with little success,to keep order. Kahrim stood on the porch shouting commands and rallying the dead to his side.
“Halt!” Kahrim shouted. His voice was tight with fear. “Do not come any closer.”
“Son,” their father emerged from the writhing mass and came to the bottom of the stairs.
“I said stop,” Kahrim and the dead closed ranks in front of Kaleigha.
“This can be very simple,” the man cracked a warm smile.
“You are not permitted to be here,” Kaharim said.
“Give us what we came for and we will leave,” Felder’s voice took a threatening tone.
“Nothing here belongs to you,” Kahrim said, giving Kaleigha a worried look.
“True, son, but I plan to take it,” Felder sighed. “I am here for the Sleeper.”