Life had taken some serious swings at Elowyn as of late, and the supply of wine she preferred to have on hand at all times had dwindled. Finishing an early shift spent in the Archives, the Harper had opted to swing by the Dining Hall in search of supplies. Sure the Weyr of all places would have wine for sale somewhere, especially if the posters she had seen plastered on the walls were not, in fact, an elaborate prank.
She stepped into the cavern, sweeping the room with only a perfunctory glance. Catching the first passing person wearing Apprentice knots, Elowyn put on her friendliest mask. "Can you point me to the stores? Or perhaps you know where to get the wine now?"
The boy looked her up and down, noticing first the cast on her right arm before the knots on her shoulder. Elowyn smothered her annoyance and allowed him to answer, gesturing toward a hallway just beyond. She thanked him with a tip of her head, turning away and dropping the smile like a hot plate before striding off in the suggested direction.
Z'go was on the hunt for wine and he had no intention of paying for it. Faranth would grow testicles before he put even an eigth of a mark towards paying the Weyr for alcohol! Especially not this southern crap that the tithed in. Z'go didn't even like it; he was a northern boy and he would go up north and purchase his own supply. He probably even had some bottles of the stuff Arolos gave out stashed away... it was the fact that he was being denied that bothered Z'go! The arrogance!
He'd been wandering the Lower Caverns, looking through the different supply rooms where excess barrels and bottles might be kept; the stuff that would be harder to notice if a little bit went missing (he was defiant, not stupid... though one could argue the results of that statement). Z'go had narrowed it down to a few of the larger cellars below and was just about to start heading that way.
He mumbled and cursed as he walked, and wasn't paying to much attention as he opened the door to the room he'd just been in and walked right into Elowyn. "Oh! Feck! Watch where you're... Elowyn?" Then he saw the cast and pointed right at it, "What the feck happened?"
Elowyn grunted with the force of their impact, staggering backwards in surprise with a reflexive, "Ow! Feckin'.. Move out of the--" The words died on her tongue as soon as her eyes met his familiar face in the doorway. "Z'go!" She clapped her free hand over her mouth as if belatedly trying to catch his name before it could leave her lips.
That's it, Arolos was too fecking small, Elowyn decided in that moment. Of all the people she wanted to see, the brownrider ranked on the bottom of her list after their falling out. She stared up at him from beneath gently knit brows that wrinkled further to hear him ask about her cast.
"What happened?" She repeated, voice growing cold. "Since when do you give a flying dragonshit about me?"
The brownrider's eyes narrowed as he glared down at the harper woman. "Well feck me, too bad there's no threadsucking records about it to go sharding read or I'd be flipping pages and sticking my nose were I don't belong." He held up his left hand palm open and upturned, as if holding a book, and started slapping the palm, as if to imply he was turning the pages as he gave her his foul mouthed response. "By Faranth, I least I asked unlike some."
Elowyn felt like she'd been hit in the gut when he spoke, a guilt she'd never associated with her work manifesting in the pit of her stomach like a stone. She regretted saying those things to him, about him, the moment they left her mouth - she knew it had been wrong even then, but anger had shown her hand. Sucking in a breath through her teeth, Elowyn's dark eyes abandoned him in favor of the doorframe to his side.
"I didn't mean to-- I shouldn't have-- it wasn't fair of me," she started over several times, finding each insufficient along the way. "Saying what I did. It wasn't.. I was hurting. I lashed out. Doesn't make it right." Elowyn spoke hurriedly as if admitting wrongdoing made her uncomfortable. She tucked her cast against her stomach, self-soothing more than defensive.
Z'go had been ready to go toe to toe with Elowyn, and had expected that she would yell something else at him--probably something about him sleeping with other women. Her admitting that she had been in the wrong just seemed... anti natural to Z'go. She was supposed to insult and yell at him, not look like she was going to cry or something. Or. Maybe this was a trap to lure him in so she could kick his balls up into his stomach.
"Of course it wasn't fecking right," he repeated, taking a step back into the room he had just come out of--just in case. What was he supposed to do? He'd been sure that they would never see each other again. There was an awkward pause and just then, as he was about to speak again, the ground below them started to move. "What are you... What the feck?"
When Z'go reinforced her own self-deprecation rather than forgive as hoped, Elowyn's eyes shot back to his face with a defiant expression on her her countenance. It was that easy to bait her back into a proverbial defensive posture, and her lips thinned into a frustrated line. She opened her mouth to retort after that awkward silence, and the world around them began to shake.
"What is this?" Elowyn demanded of the brownrider, accusatory even as the rumbling grew. He should know, she reasoned, a longer resident. Though it mattered naught for he hadn't an opportunity to reply before cracks began to spiderweb on the ceiling above. At the sickening sound, Elowyn was preoccupied with remaining on her feet as tremor threatened otherwise. She braced a working hand against the door frame, then though better of it as pebbles began to rain down in a shower of dust over her head.
That wasn't a good sign. Elowyn lurched forward into the room just as the tunnel collapsed in on itself, sending a wave of obscuring debris into the air as the roof caved in.
Even if Elowyn hadn't lurched forward, she would've found herself in that room. He looked up when she did and as soon as he saw the spiderweb like cracks he grabbed her by her shirt and dragged her into the room with him but, because she lurched at the same time, she ended up crashing into the brownrider and knocking him back into the room just as a cloud of rock, dirt, dust and debris consumed the entrance the two would've been standing it.
The torches went out and inside the room glow worms began to make their presence known, revealing the two. Z'go had fallen back into a sack of vegetables, or so he believed, judging by the cracks he'd heard and the lumps he felt on his back. Elowyn would be sitting on top of him, straddling his waist. He was still holding onto her shirt, his fist balled, pulling the fabric into it looking straight into her eyes.
After what seemed an eternity but in reality had only been a few seconds he spoke, "Are you alright?"
Elowyn had moved on instinct alone, though when grabbed it could do little to prevent what happened next; their combined momentum meant the floor - or what had been piled upon it - was their only real destination. Dust provoked a coughing fit before she could get her bearings.
When she opened her eyes, the dust had only just begun to settle around them in the new, dim light. "I-I'm fine," Elowyn managed in a ragged voice, pausing to cough one last time. "I think." Realizing very quickly where she was in relation to Z'go, the Harper's body tensed in a guarding fashion, though she made no immediate attempt to jerk free off his grasp.
"...And you?" She asked after a moment, showing uncharacteristic hesitation.
Slowly, he loosened his grip, examining her. "I'll live," he replied after a moment. He moved a little bit, wriggling under her before realizing his situation. He was stuck because he'd sunk into the tubers, mushing some in the process (unless he was mistaking what that cool liquid slowly seeping into his pants was), exactly at the point where she was sitting, literally pining him down. "Are you comfortable?"
Elowyn was grateful for the relative dark because it mostly hid the embarrassed and annoyed tinge to her cheeks. He was fine, and she could resume irritation. She reached to take the hand that held her shirt in her own and peel his fingers free, provoked into making the attempt to escape at that moment.
"Not particularly," Elowyn answered simultaneously in a slightly terse tone, clearly on the defensive. With a shift of her weight, the Harper moved to climb free of him.
Z'go grunted when he felt her hand free his of her shirt which he had already started to let go of in the first place. "Then get off," he answered, even though she was already in the process, provoked as she had been. When Elowyn was clear of him he stood up and started to dust himself off. One hand went to his own backside and feeling it wet he cursed. Now these pants were going to smell like tubers smooshed by an ass juice.
There are more pressing concerns, he reminded himself. He moved toward the door, "Are we caved in?" he asked, starting to examine the situation as best as he could in the near darkness.
Elowyn made an effort to brush herself off once on her feet, though it was in vain, something she recognized as she combed delicate fingers through her short curls, to which they released a puff of dust. "Shards, I'm going to need a bath after this," she muttered to herself, mood souring as she watched Z'go puttering around by the door.
"It seems that way." The observation didn't take long to assess, no light leaking through and no perceptible draft of any kind to suggest an obvious hole. Elowyn fussed with the material of her cast near the leading edge with the fingers of her opposite hands. "Well, feck me and the dragon I rode in on," she let loose a flustered sigh. "We may be stuck here a while. I don't suggest we start digging out until we know it's stable.. and not going to cause the rest of the room to fall in around us." She twisted, tearing her eyes away from him at last. "We should take stock of what we have to work with in here."
Z'go was about to start digging when she mentioned that they should wait until they were sure it was stable. The idea of spending a few hours in a dim room with this woman would have, a couple weeks ago, seemed like the best thing that could happen to him. Now he just remembered... It was best that it was this dark, so she wouldn't be able to completely see his face.
"Whatever," he replied taking seat on the rock pile by the entrance. He took a moment to check on Gamyth, then. "Gamyth says that there is chaos everywhere. Some of the herdbeast have escaped, too. Razelth is throwing a fit."
"This is a nightmare," Elowyn lamented without the decency to pretend otherwise. She knew what she should be doing, she had bloody well just told him. And yet, Elowyn didn't move from where she stood solitary, fixed to the spot. "I guess this was bigger than just us. I'm not even sure /what/ happened, but.. oh, Faranth, the eggs..." The dawning horror in her voice made seeing her face unnecessary. She fell silent for several moments, whether considering or frightened was debatable in the lack of light.
"You know, you really did have me going there," Elowyn began quietly, carefully neutral in tone. She knew this was liable to open a box of tunnelsnakes, the answer unlikely to be pleasant, but couldn't stop the words that came out next. "...Why her?"
He was in middle of asking Gamyth about the eggs when he heard her open that faranth forsaken box, "... shells, this is a nightmare," he muttered to himself. Why was she asking this? He let out a heavy sigh and leaned his arms on his knees.
"What does it matter?" he asked looking over to her. No mention about her first comment; she had him going, too, until she decided to play 'Judge Z'go.' This was the Weyr. He thought harpers were supposed to know things. Ambrelli was just... for fun. She was too dedicated to her craft and any day his number would come up and he'd get scored and die like every other dragonrider and they both got that. With Elowyn it was different, when he'd been with her thought about life outside that box. It was dangerous and he'd gotten away. He wouldn't be snared in again. He tried to change the subject, "Where is your fire lizard by the way?"
At his first response, she let out an annoyed noise. What did it matter? Clearly not much to him, if his behavior previously was anything to go by. How foolish of her for anticipating any sort of revealing honesty from the sharding rider. "I guess it doesn't," Elowyn tried to hide the bitter note in her words, but failed. "Why should it? I keep forgetting you see things differently at a Weyr. Why should you want something more solid when you can throw yourself at anyone you please?" His mention of Toki had not derailed the Harper.
Z'go rolled his eyes and snorted as she went on. She was relentless. He stood up, refusing to look up at her anymore. He pointed a finger at her, "What are you even sharding talking about? We're not weyrmates. You don't know a damn thing about me or what I want." He took a step closer. He wanted to see her eyes. Pointing at her face he said, "You thought you knew me by reading a sharding record about a fourteen turn old fecking kid."
Elowyn's spine straightened indignantly, anger he couldn't see washing over her features, coloring her voice. "It isn't as though you would have told me anything," she snapped in turn. "I don't-- I don't even care about what you did! Shells, you think you're the only one with a fecked childhood, Z'go? I've.. I've done things this Turn alone that would make your blood run cold. Your history is.. I already said my words were uncalled for! What more do you want? For me to throw myself at your feet?"
She tried to lay her head in her dominant hand, only to snarl as the movement flexed a muscle that sent pain down her arm. Elowyn cursed, turning away as if the dark wouldn't hide the hurt in her expression.
"You don't get it," Z'go said, anger seeping into his voice. "You judged me. And you were right. I am an asshole, a sharding asshole, and there is no going up," he laughed, "You found out the type of piece of shit I am in two weeks, usually it takes a bit longer so I applaud you on that. I'm not a good person, and I never will be. You should consider yourself lucky to have gotten out when you did. It would only get worse. So why don't you stick to counting tubers and onions and whatever else is over there and leave me the feck alone!"
Elowyn stared at him from the short distance separating them, bristling with anger to hear him chuckle. "Got out? Got OUT?" It was her turn to laugh, but the sound was cold and mirthless. "That's what /you/ call being trapped with a fatalist? Oh, yes! Woe is Z'go, Pern's most eligible and damaged bachelor. I am sure your life is just the worst, how could anyone empathize?" Her voice was nearly dripping with sarcasm by the time she finished, the floor crackling as she shifted her weight from foot to foot in irritation. "Do you think of no one but yourself at all times?"
"I don't need to justify myself to you, Elowyn!" he shouted. He getting very angry and there was too little space in this faranth forsaken storage room. He started pacing from side to side, like some wild animal, barely contained in its cage. "You don't sharding know me! You think what you know is scandalous!? It's not! It's flit shit next to rest. You don't know me or what I've done! I don't want your empathy, your... your... your damned pity. I don't want it. Don't need it."
Elowyn flinched when he raised his voice, though less in fear of his wrath and more in reaction to such a loud sound in these tight quarters. "I don't pity you, you fecking idiot!" She hissed from the safety of her side of the room while he paced, eyes ever on his silhouette in the dark. Faranth, why were men such sharding fools?! Elowyn's hands dropped to her sides where the fingers curled into fists. "That's-- th-that's exactly the point: I /don't/ know you!" New embarrassment twisted in her gut, but it was better he knew the truth. "--But I wanted to! Shards, it's not like you give me much to work with! All I was trying to do was know you better!"
"You could've asked me instead of throwing it in my sharding face," he replied, forcing down the sympathy for the woman. He had wanted to know her better, too, but he wouldn't have gone behind her back to do so. "Shards and crackdust, I need to get the feck out of here."
He turned to the collapse tunnel and started to pull rocks away from the entrance.
Elowyn snorted, rolling her eyes though he would never see it in the dim light. "Asked you? I recall doing so, and you lied to my face about it!" She clicked her tongue against her teeth in annoyance, exhaling forcefully through them. "Ugh, it doesn't matter - I already told you I know it was wrong. Regardless of what I find, it's-- I know I shouldn't have 'thrown it in your face'. Faranth, a woman doesn't get a bloody break around here!" The harper made an aggravated noise, though it didn't stop her from hearing the clatter of rocks.
"What? What are you doing? Do you want to bring the whole fecking tunnel down on us?"
"Right, tell me, how many of your fecking secrets and personal life did you sharding tell me, Elowyn?" Z'go asked, annoyance in his voice. He didn't care if the whole tunnel collapsed on them--at least then he wouldn't have to deal with this.
He tried to push a rather large boulder out of the way. It started to give away but just as it did the rocks it was holding back flowed through the entrance, filling the storage room with more dust and rocks, leaving them both coughing and noticing the lack of air that would soon start to be a problem, "Threadsucking tunnel! Fecking quake!"
"I..." Elowyn opened her mouth to retort, but for once, didn't have the words. Had she given him anything? Aside from her time, she supposed, not much. "Feck." He was right, and did she ever hate that. She kicked ineffectually at the pebbles beneath her boots. "Z'go, I'm--"
Whatever it had been died on her tongue as soon as he kicked up the minor dust storm. Elowyn raised her cast ineffectively against her mouth like a shield, but it did nothing to prevent her coughing fit. "Shard it, Z'go!" She snarled, hoarse. "What did I just say! Why are you so determined to kill us both?!"
Z'go was coughing just as hard. A part of him wanted to answer but he felt another flash of anger and he went back to the entrance. He'd dislodged the largest rock, but more moderate sized rocks had taken its place. Most importantly, though, he could feel a light breeze filtering in from between two of them. He looked back at Elowyn. If he was mistaken he'd spend the rest of his life in this hole with her until they ran out of oxygen or out of food, though the former seemed more likely.
"We're going to die in here anyways if we don't do something," he growled at her. "I can feel some air coming through... here... and here! Come on, help me move this shit."
Elowyn contemplated ignoring him entirely, and did for a brief few moments, nothing if not spiteful. She deeply resented the way he had - and was - treating her, but hated herself more for letting him take root in her thoughts, to effect her at all. Glaring at him in silence until she decided to do otherwise, when Elowyn did ultimately comply, it was with great reluctance. The last thing she wanted was to be closer.
"Fine," the Harper agreed curtly and finally came to his aid. "What do you want me to do with one arm, exactly?"
Honestly, he'd forgotten about her arm in the argument and tunnel collapse. Now that she reminded him, he felt curiosity rise within him once more but felt that, after berating her, he had no right to ask... which only added to his already sour mood. "Never mind then," he said and started trying to pry a rock loose.
It came away but it caused another avalanche of rocks to pour into the storage room, one of which ricocheted off another stone and went flying to his shin. He let out a yelp of surprise and pain and staggered back once more, falling onto the sack of tubers he'd landed on before, cursing his luck. He just sat there, staring angrily at the door in the dimly lit room. They were screwed unless someone found them--the collapse seemed worse than he had originally theorized. At least some air was filtering in, so they wouldn't suffocate to death.
He remained silent, tired of the arguing.
Elowyn scrambled a few steps backward and clear of the hazard as the new shower of debris came tumbling down, arms raised defensively again. Coughing consumed her the same way it had before, leaving her lungs feeling sore for the effort when it finally abated. If she was never again under ground, it would be too bloody soon.
Dusting herself off in vain with her good hand, she tried to take stock of their surroundings again. New self-loathing had a stranglehold in her chest, but it didn't stop her concerns from going first to that undeserving rider. "...Z'go?" She could make out his dark shape among the other dark shapes, but little detail was available in the soft glow. He wasn't the only one exhausted by their back and forth, evidenced by her hesitant use of his name.
"What?" he asked sharply; as tired as he was he was more used to fighting than keeping the peace. He was a bitran threadsucker, born and bred. Glaring at the shadow that he assumed was Elowyn, the brownrider fully expected her to go on the attack again.
"Are you hurt?" Elowyn asked in reply, less kindly than she perhaps could have. Why did she care? If he was, all the better after what he'd done to deserve it, she reasoned! The idea troubled her all the same.
"I'm fine," Z'go replied, even though his leg was hurting. He wasn't bleeding, he wasn't broken, he would survive, even if it did make a bad situation all the more annoying.
A long pause followed. Z'go finally sighed, "I wanted to know you better, too," he admitted.
Elowyn wasn't sure whether to believe his answer, the rider's early penchant for trying to keep the truth from her reach aggravating at best. In the quiet that absorbed them following his short reply, Elowyn made herself look elsewhere in the shadows - anywhere other than where she knew him to be. When he began to speak, however, traitorous eyes snapped back to him like a rubberband.
His next words stung more than they were likely intended to, a fresh wound reopened before it could begin to heal. The fluttering sensation that his words managed to provoke made her realize she desperately wanted that news, but the lurch in her stomach acknowledged the mistakes already done. "I'm.. I'm not good at this," Elowyn caught her bottom lip between her teeth. "Any of it." As if that weren't already quite obvious. "But for what it's worth, Z'go, I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you."
"Hurt me, right..." he scoffed at the words and rolled his eyes. He didn't say the first thing that came to his mind, thinking his answer through. He spoke slowly, methodically; "It's in the past now. Whatever it is. Or was. Like the rest of it. And that's where it should stay."
Elowyn began a huff at his first remark, unsurprised by the dismissal and thoroughly expecting more vitriol from the caustic brownrider. When he didn't raise his voice, speaking with care instead of his usual rash replies, Elowyn's lips adopted a new frown that he wouldn't see. "Fine," she gave her favorite curt retort, but the venom was gone. There was more she wanted to say, to do, but this was far from the right moment.
Instead, finally tearing her attention away from him, the Harper turned to more thoroughly search the larder. With her boot, she shoved aside small crates on the floor and followed the wall with her good hand as far as the shelves would allow. "Sharding Weyr," Elowyn muttered with growing bitterness beneath the echoing clatter she created. Everything had gone wrong since coming here. "Sharding weather, sharding heat, sharding continent, sharding men... There has to be a broom here or something we can use! Faranth, why have you forsaken me?"
Z'go listened behind half lidded eyes, maintaining silence. It was hard to not hear her given the closed space they were in. He gave he a serious look, and was about to say something, but found himself unable to speak. Words refused to leave his lips. Finally, he was able to say, "Do you plan to sweep it all away?" he asked, but didn't specify what he was referring to.
Elowyn could hear him despite the racket she made, though a short while passed before she said anything at all. All the while, she shuffled about in the dark. Though part of her did wonder at the subtext of his question, the harper chose the safest route of answering as though he had meant it literally.
"Of course not," she sighed in a way that suggested her patience was nearly exhausted in more ways than one. "You're going to use it for leverage wherever the air is escaping through, and use all that manly beast-shit to-- Aha!"
Her fingers curled around the wooden rod of a broom, and she hurried back to the entryway - tripping only twice in her haste, as evidenced by the cursing that accompanied each scuffle. "To get us out of here," Elowyn finished finally, breathlessly, tapping the broomstick on the stone floor.
Z'go sighed as he stood up and went over. He did his best to hide the lack of motivation he was feeling, snatching the broomstick from her hand. "Right. Best get out of the way, just in case it collapses again. No need for both of us to get crushed to death."
Just as she'd suggested, Z'go crammed the handle where he'd felt the air coming through and used it as leverage. Rocks started sliding away and he paused, waiting for another avalanche of stone but it never came. He pushed again, and this time managed to shift one of the bigger rocks, causing a cascade effect that re-shifted the rest of the rocks blocking the tunnel.
One by one they came away. Every once in a while Z'go would pause to move a rock out of the way but with many grunts and curses, persistence won the day and what had been a minute breeze moments ago was a full blown draft of air, tinged with that salty sea taste that was so commonplace in Arolos.
"Looks like we're not dying today," he said.
Elowyn stepped clear as Z'go got to work, watching the shadows of rubble like a hawk in case it decided to do as he had predicted. As the last of the stone finally gave way to fresh air, she took a deep, reassuring breath and threw her arms up in a cheer.
"Yes, you did it! I could kiss you!" For a moment, the gravity of their awkward relationship lifted and Elowyn was simply glad for a sign they'd survive.
Only after the words had left her mouth did she think better of it. " ...But, I won't. Obviously." Elowyn cleared her throat. "Well done."
He snorted, "Nice save. Probably would've been better if you had," Z'go tried to sound light but the weight of their previous argument was still upon them. Instead of dwelling on it he continued to work through the rock, push and digging and stabbing until finally a small opening had been made. "Think you can fit through there?"
Elowyn flushed at his teasing, abashed and irritated in immediate reaction; that she stayed silent was irrefutable proof. Not so far in the past, they'd had difficulty keeping their hands off one another - now even jokes about it left a sour taste in her mouth.
Drawn from her reverie by his prompting, she focused on the progress Z'go had made for the first time in a few minutes. "Can't know until we try," she replied in forced cheer with all the optimism she didn't feel. She came to stand at the rider's side and bent to inspect the space he'd created. It would be a tight squeeze, but when she spoke next, it was with renewed confidence. "Let's get the feck out of here."
Elowyn pressed her cast against her stomach protectively and, using only one hand for balance, she climbed onto the rock pile. Peeking first through the opening, she made a pleased noise and hunkered low to scramble through. Head, shoulders, even torso passed through without trouble, narrowly avoiding scrapes against sharp rock edges. Womanly gifts were double-edged swords more often than not, and while Elowyn was grateful for once for her lack of cleavage, she soon found new reason for resentment. With her rear in the air and only half-way through the hole, she strained with a few ineffective kicks as an attempt to dislodge herself before the string of curses she let loose put sailors to shame.
After a moment to compose herself, Elowyn's frustratedly cool voice sounded muffled in the compartment, "Do a gal a favor and give me a shove?"
Sure, they'd argued, but that didn't stop him from being a man.
As soon as she bent over, even in the dimly lit room, Z'go's eyes follow and as such realized much sooner that she probably could that in a few seconds she was about to have a problem. He grinned maliciously to himself, the kind of grin you got when something was about to your way and no one was looking. The anticipation was almost as good as the moment itself and he made a half hearted attempt to stifle a laugh when he saw her kicking to get through and the string of curses that followed.
"Watch where you kick!" he said to her and knelt down next to her. Z'go blatantly grabbed Elowyn's backside with both hands, 'squeezed slightly to make sure his grip was firm,' and pushed her forword through the makeshift tunnel until she was able to finish passing her legs through herself.
"Hey!" Elowyn hissed when she felt that squeeze, an already short fuse instantly alight. Without his assistance, though, there was no way she'd have escaped that predicament; with great indignation, Elowyn decided not to kill him later.
Pulling herself free once she had secured an arm on the outside, the Harper climbed down the short, stony embankment. Only once her boots were on the floor did she finally feel better about the situation.
"I made it!" Elowyn turned to call back the hole, though this was obvious as well. "Think you can make it through? If not, I'll run for help."
"Doubt it,"Z'go called back, feeling rather pleased with himself. "I could fit maybe one leg through there."
Elowyn muted a quiet chuckle behing her cast; this was a bad situation for laughter. "That answers that. Sit tight," she advised, voice growing distant as she straightened away from the opening. "I'll be back with the cavalry."
Without waiting for his reply, she cautiously crept down the hallway in search of help.