The Ancient City of Me (Chapter Five)

When Naliria came out from the old forest, her eyes were firmly fixed on the travellers in front of her that for a moment, she did not know where she was. One more look and she gasped in surprise, "The ancient city! How is that even possible?” She never thought there was another route to the great city. She knew just one route and that would have taken two days. But surprisingly, before her stood the great mountains that formed the city's walls. The mountains served as a wall of protection for the city beyond, it also made the place full of tourist as people from far and near wanted to catch a glimpse of the much talked about city.

From the bottom to the top of the mountain walls, guards were stationed, and gates were constructed at the openings between the mountains. Guards were stationed at those gates too, there were no loose ends.

The city was full of commercial activities and knowing how rich the city was, the people wanted the place guarded heavily. Naliria noticed that no one was allowed to pass any of the gates without being searched and there was a long que of people, mostly traders and tourists, waiting to get into the city. She wondered at this because the few times she had come, no one was searched. However, she joined the que and was four persons away from the duo she had been following. While the search was going on, Naliria suddenly decided to reveal herself to John and Sarah. She wanted John to know that she was near and she had his back. As long as she was concerned, there was no use hiding anymore. As she thought about it, she was distracted. The black riders she saw in the old forest had emerged and were now coming to que up behind her. Although they were still some distance away, she felt really frightened. The riders looked more like slave traders and she wondered what slave traders were coming to do in the ancient city. What will she do? She quickly rode her horse towards the duo in front with the aim of revealing herself and joining them. Only then will she feel safe.

"John will definitely not turn me away." She thought. "As for Sarah, I don't care about her."

As she got close to them, the man turned back to look at something the woman was pointing out to him. Naliria stopped dead on her tracks.

“What?” She said, almost breathless. Although she had been following both of them, it was only at that moment she was seeing their faces. She had been following Harrison and his concubine. "How did this even happen?" She thought. "Where is John and that crazy witch, Sarah?” Being confused was the last thing she wanted. What was she going to do? Harrison had not noticed her so, she quickly went back to her spot.

"Think! Think!!” she thought, while mentally knocking her head. “What must I do now?” If only she had listened to her mother and stayed back, all this wouldn’t have happened.

“Oh! What a shame.” she thought. Well, at least she told her mother she was coming to the ancient city and here she was. Her mum will definitely tell her dad and he would come looking for her. She was so grateful to be at the city. “Well” she thought, since I am here, I’d better get to Freda’s. Thank the gods for the forest path that led me here,” she said to herself. When she turned back again, she noticed that the riders were stopped by another set of guards. She gave thanks silently while waiting on the que. At least, the riders won't be close to her.

The wait on the que was long, but, when it got to Naliria's turn to be searched, it was brisk, as her only property were her clothes and horse. There were two guards. One stood aside taking note of the faces of people coming in while the other did the searching.

“You are from where?" The guard who had searched her, asked.

“Orugwe." She replied.

“What business brings you here?”

“I’m paying a visit to my friend, Freda; she sent for me.” On hearing the name Freda, a suspicious look suddenly appeared on the guard’s face. He turned to the other guard and even callled some others who were a distance away. As soon as they got to him, he spoke to them in low tones. The moment they spent talking, seemed like an eternity to Naliria. She wondered what the big deal was. After speaking with the others, the guard turned back to her.

“Are you alone miss?” he asked.

“Yes” she replied. “My friend is waiting for me, I have to get going please.”

"I’m sorry miss. You can't go anywhere you want until you’re cleared,” said the guard.

“Cleared for what?” She demanded.

“We have to be sure you are clean. For now, you will be escorted to our prison.”

“What!?” she exclaimed. "But why? At least tell me what you want to be sure of.”

The second guard walked up to her and grabbed the reins of her horse. She tried to resist him but to no avail because she was still on the horse. “Do you even know who my father is? You won’t go unpunished.” She yelled at him.

The guard got hold of the reins and started to lead her and the horse away, “You will have to come with me miss." He said with a stern voice.

When she couldn’t struggle anymore, the guard led her through the gate while the others went back to work. she tried to protest but, it was useless. No one was listening to her. Naliria was seriously scared but, she tried not to show it.

"What had she gotten herself into and how was she going to clear herself?” she thought. “If only she could locate Freda, then everything will be just fine.” She decided to plead with the guard. “Sir,” she said, “Please can you at least let me see Freda? So that she knows where I am and she can also stand for me.”

"Don’t worry." He replied “You’ll see her and you pray to your gods, that she’s not the Freda you’re looking for.”

“Why should you say such a thing?” she asked, confused. But the guard said no more.

Naliria had no idea what was going on or what she was up against. She only tried to convince herself that all would be well as soon as she was allowed to see Freda or, when her father came for her. They went through the narrow roads of the busy city. Their means of transportation in the city were horses, donkeys, bicycles and foot. 

Night was just around the corner. The sun had finished setting and the people were already putting on their lanterns. After a long ride, the guard finally brought Naliria to a building full of guards. Behind it were four towers, surrounded by very high walls. As soon as they got there, Naliria was made to dismount the horse, then, she was taken to a prison inside one of the towers. As soon as her cell was unlocked, she was thrown behind bars. She yelled, trying to tell the guards she was innocent, but they only locked her cell back and walked away with the key.

"I’ll make you all pay for this!” she called after them. She continued to whine and throw insults at them but, after a while, she became quiet. She was already feeling very exhausted. A whole day wasted following Harrison and his slut, only to end up in a cell. A cell in a land that was strange to her. She wanted to start ranting again but just then, her stomach began to turn and sing loudly.

“Oh dear me,” she cried, “I’m so hungry.” She squeezed at her tummy and sank onto a bench. She couldn’t help shedding tears, but, she had to stay strong. “I won’t give them the satisfaction they want,” she thought again, “I will just hang on.” she only hopped that the stupid guards would think about getting food for a hungry girl and that her father would come looking for her soon. That aside, where was John? She didn't know the answer to her own question and she doubted that she would ever know.