Chapter 12

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The combination of fear and darkness pushed Uriel up the staircase at a reckless pace. He slipped and went down, but only lost a couple stairs while gaining another bruise. Climbing the staircase was physically much more straining than his descent and he could feel his will begin to waver. But he picked himself up and continued on, despite loud protests from his already exhausted body.

Time seemed to speed past and Uriel felt he surely must be near the top. Thinking he saw some light and heard some noises, he made a final, frantic push. He tried the stairs two at a time but missed. Uriel fell forward, then crashed into the wall. He screamed as he lost his balance and fell backwards down the stairs, his body coming to a stop a flight down.

Uriel did not know if he lost consciousness or not. All that he could sense was the urgency of the situation and the severe pounding in his head which prevented him from proceeding. His first movement caused him to expel the contents of his stomach. Slowly, he tried to get on all fours, every move causing some adverse reaction. He looked for his staff and thought he saw it a couple of stairs behind him. He backed down the stairs slowly and retrieved it, happy to have it back but at the same time thinking it was small consolation.

Unable to regain his feet, Uriel climbed the stairs on his hands and knees the remainder of the way. He was unable to skirt the area of his previous accident and it sickened him again. He was fortunate to keep his balance though his hands and knees were heavily soiled. Farther up the stairs, Uriel tried to clean himself off, to no avail. The cold stone of the stairs cut his hands and knees making every step he reached not only painful but treacherous with the slickness of his own blood.

It was a long time before Uriel gained the Towers proper. He collapsed, allowing himself a moment of rest. Looking around he saw no one and heard nothing. He began moving again, crawling down to the end of the hallway where he used a table and his staff to stand up. Uriel stumbled off in the direction of Khyrhyelle's room. Along the way he encountered a few unfamiliar faces reflecting unabashed sorrow.

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