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  • Writer's pictureFiona Hamilton

Chapter 10: Camp V4

 

This is rather unexpected. Rienna thought to herself blandly. She was still somewhat in shock. This was the third rude encounter since she had left the safety of the Suppression. First the weird witch lady, then the King of Rufdand, and now she had been kidnapped by her own people. That Hurrandas guy just kind of dumped us here too.

“Velkommen. Wurst ir jobben min for uryndin på kindrod.” A around sixteen-year-old girl said, bored, coming up to Rienna and Jen. “Kommer yi ne.”

“I don’t speak your language,” Rienna said before Jen could stop her.

The girl suddenly didn’t seem bored anymore. She looked rather surprised and slightly scared, “Yintrov kintrov crǽstil!”

Jen cut in quickly and explained things to the older girl in their language. They chatted quietly for a while, and then Jen turned to Rienna, “You can not scare people like that. Let me explain first.” she said sternly. “This is Quelti. She is going to show us around ‘our new prison’ as she says.”

“Prison?” Rienna asked. “I mean, I get that we are prisoners, but what is it that we do here?” She elaborated.

“She was not entirely clear, she said we will learn more soon, but it sounds like this is where all of the kids go. I think that we are going to have to farm though.” Jen told her quickly in answer. She then turned to Quelti and told her something again.

Quelti nodded and started leading the two newcomers around the camp, telling Jen the details of the place which Jen then relayed to Rienna. First, she quickly showed them their cabins, each having around twenty cots. Then she led them to fields and talked to them about how shifts worked and that they would both start with weeding. She led them to the mess hall, then to the set of outhouses, and then finally to the break area. There were maybe a total of sixty kids ages nine to sixteen. Quelti definitely seemed like one of the oldest there. Then, leading Jen and Rienna to a picnic table, Quelti bid them good luck and left.

“It doesn’t seem like anything is keeping these people from leaving. Do you think there are guards hidden around the perimeter?” Rienna asked.

“I do not know,” Jen said sullenly. She didn’t say anything else and Rienna felt awkward about continuing the conversation, so they sat in silence.

They were on a large wooden deck with one edge turned into a gazebo. On the other edges of the rectangular deck, grass was growing up and onto the wood, causing it to slowly come apart. Rienna and Jen were seated on a bench in front of the gazebo. Most of the other kids were walking around on paths or sitting on other benches, but what Rienna found interesting to see was the group of about ten kids dancing around the center of the break area. They were laughing and dancing all on different beats of nonexistent music. It was strange. Camp V4 didn’t seem like a place of joy from the faces of most of the campers, but the small group seemed to be so happy and full of joy.

Suddenly a loud Rong sound came from the mess hall. Another Rong rang out and Rienna turned to look at the building and noticed something she hadn’t seen before, a large bell situated on top of the mess hall. Rong...Rong...Rong. As the bell slowly rang again and again the children stopped playing and started heading towards storerooms that were on the far side of the mess hall. Quelti had told Rienna and Jen what to do, but they were both still confused. The only thing they really knew to do was to go to the storerooms.

When the bell rang four more times, every kid had gathered outside the storage rooms. There were three fairyeld guards from Vieyren and Sovereign Jenni. When the last Rong stopped ringing through the air one of the soldiers spoke up in a loud voice.

Rienna turned to Jen and whispered to her ear, “What are they saying?” Jen put up her hand to tell her to wait. Her gaze stayed focused on the speaker and concentrated on what he was saying. When he finished the other kids started crowding around the different storehouses.

“He is hard to understand. His Queltan is not good. Cabins C8 to C10, you’re cabin ten if you do not remember, you are under ‘weeding duty’, C11 to C14 are on crop tending, and C15 and C16, me, are supposed to harvest, plant, and mix soil. It seems like there are three crop fields and you will be going to the closest one. I am not sure I am going to like this…” Jen said quickly to Rienna, “Follow the people your age, they will be going to the same place as you. Pretend you are deaf.” She waved her off to her group and then caught up with hers.

“… Okay then…” Rienna muttered. She followed the youngest group of kids to one of the storerooms. Everyone there was grabbing gloves and sickles. Rienna was one of the last kids to get what was apparently what she needed, but she wasn’t too far behind and was able to follow her group to the fields.

They left the camp fence, and yes there were guards at every exit. Reinna’s group stopped at the first field, but Rienna watched as the other two groups continued on to the farther ones, each with a set of fairyeld guards. This is so unethical. She thought, I can’t believe that these are the magic crop fields that we get most of our food from. She could believe it though, of course. Perhaps before she had left the Suppression, she would have thought it a lie, but this was evidence that she was seeing with her own eyes. The guards were obviously fairyeld guards and they had obviously kidnapped all of these children. Wait. A question suddenly popped into her mind, How do these kids end up back in Rufdand mute? They obviously can all speak…

“Okay, everyone! Get to work!” One of the guards of Rienna’s group called out loudly.

“Yarill unkill du!” A kid around Rienna’s age yelled back.

“Uyrnfrod!” The guard yelled right back drawing his sword and pointing it at the kid, “You know what I was saying! Get to work!” The man looked rather angry, waving his sword around like a maniac. Great, of course, he’s crazy. Rienna thought sarcastically.

“Jeffory, calm down, they’re just stupid, little kids.” One of the other guards said to Jeffory.

“Fine.” Jeffory grumbled, sheathing his sword, “But they should learn I’m not one to mess with.”

“Mhmm.” The other guard said dismissively.

The group of children started spreading out within the field of what appeared to be corn. Then there weren't that many weeds, but it was a pretty big field. Rienna wandered through the corn wondering what to do. The other kids were weeding the rows of corn, but Rienna felt like nothing was forcing her to weed so she just continued walking around.

“Hey! New one! Qientrol rening oe yundrov riffi!” The crazy guard yelled at Rienna.

Rienna was about to say something but thought better of it. Remembering what Jen had advised her to do, Rienna just stared at the guard blankly.

“Hey, don’t you hear me?! Qientrol rening!” Jeffory yelled again, advancing towards Rienna.

Rienna tapped her ears and shrugged. I can’t hear you, I’m deaf. Come on, please buy the act.

“Seriously?! They brought in a deaf one?!” The guard gestured Rienna closer, “Follow me, we can’t have you if you can’t hear.” He led her over to the other guard. “This one’s deaf. She’s not doing any work.”

“Well that’s unfortunate, she’ll have to be let out. Tomorrow, of course.” the guard said, notably calmer than Jeffory, “Send her back to her cabin. It should be C10 by the look of her.”

“Why can’t you do it?!” Jeffory said bitterly.

“Since I am higher in rank and don’t want to.” The other guard said matter of factly, “Now go, it shouldn’t take you long.”

The crazy guard grumbled but grabbed Rienna’s wrist and led her to her cabin. He dropped her off and then, fuming, stomped out and slammed the cabin door behind him. Well isn’t he pleasant? Rienna looked around the cabin room. It seemed so empty, each of the cots had a little engraved number but nothing else. She wandered over to the back of the room and sat down on the little bed with the number 23 engraved on it.

She sat there waiting for at least an hour. How was she going to get out of there? Would she be able to save the other kids as well? She was unsure about what to do. What cabin was Jen in? The answer came to her quickly, Oh! C15. She’ll probably be going there after she comes back from, what was it? Planting. Rienna slowly peeked out the cabin door. There didn’t appear to be anyone around, so she ran to cabin C15 and shut the door behind her.

She waited there for another hour, but Jen did eventually come to the cabin. “Rienna! What are you doing here?”

“I pretended to be deaf and they sent me back to my cabin, but I figured I would meet you here. I’m glad I didn’t have to weed, but they said I would ‘have to be let out’, so I’m a little worried about what that means.” Rienna responded.

“Uh oh. That is not good. Being let out means going back to Rufdand. Not only are you probably not welcomed back, but all of the kids return mute.” Jen said worriedly. She sat down on a nearby cot. “Quelti was saying that they do something to you so you can’t give away their location. Once anyone is caught trying to leave or turns sixteen and a half, they get ‘let out’.”

“We have to get out of here!” Rienna exclaimed, “I don’t want to actually go mute!”

“Well, yes. It sounds like tonight is our best chance, they will not keep you long if you are not useful.” Jen said, “We will have to find your cats, their powers will help us get out. Once out we can lead Rufdand soldiers to this camp to save the rest of these kids.”

“Got it. Now we just need to find out where Xio and Xia are.” Rienna agreed, “Can you go ask around? I’ll follow you, but I’m technically mute so…”

“Of course.” Jen said, “Let’s go.”

Rienna followed Jen out of the cabin and around the camp as she asked the different campers about the so-called Houndmaster. It took them a while, but eventually, they gathered enough information to hopefully rescue the cats. I hope they’re all right. I wonder what they are doing right now… Rienna thought after hearing everything about the Houndmaster. That ‘Houndmaster’ doesn’t seem like a very great guy...


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