He found a staircase leading to the next level, and crept past an open doorway, revealing a mezzanine level. Unlike the ground floor, it remained unlit.
Looking up the staircase, he wondered how much higher it could go. That in itself didn’t concern him, only that small braziers lined the walls, making the thoroughfare well lit. As yet, he hadn’t encountered a guard, and feared his good fortune might no longer hold. Sucking in a breath, he made his way to the top, stopping in a small room with a door facing away from him. His senses bespoke of rats; many of them beyond the door.
He pushed open the door, noting the horde, covering the roof. No guards patrolled here or else they would have sent up the alarm.
Come said Tonunda.
Making his way back down, he exited the open doorway into the mezzanine level. In a crouch, he peered through a lattice filling the walk rail. A thick chain hanging from the ceiling constricted his view, forcing him to shift. Its trailing end supported curved iron arms, like an oversized candelabra with braziers burning on its protrusions. The design bathed the entire first floor in light. If anywhere, he would have to approach from above.
A contingent of guards formed three files, a dozen men long in the centre of the room. They faced a stage going from wall to wall. On the stage, a bearded man with olive skin smiled elaborately as he spoke. The middle aged foreigner ranted on about the wonders of marriage, particularly, one with him, confirming the boy’s assertion of a wedding. Surely the groom was in his mid 50s with a large rounded pot bellied paunch, yet he was about to wed someone in her mid teens? He assumed Dekra was the same age as the boy. Nusalle had no law against such a thing, but it seemed unusual to him.
Tonunda snorted at the ridiculous scenario. Armed guards; a man performing his own ceremony, made it appear more of a civil meeting than a wedding.
But what of Dekra?
He crept closer to the corner of the rail and peered down the mezzanine walkway. A guard trod the floor without noticing him in the shadows. Tonunda raised his head above the rail to scan the opposite rail, tracing the far wall. He saw no guard walking along its length.
Should they not have at least two guards?
Metal whispered on leather behind him. A masked guard brought his sword across in a two handed slash. Tonunda ducked his head, causing the guard to overbalance. Before he could regain his footing, Tonunda slapped his head into the stone upright at the corner of the rails. A soft sigh, escaped the guard’s lips as he fell face down.
Tonudna made his way to the far mezzanine walkway, keeping his head beneath the top of the rail as the rats followed. He stopped in the corner overlooking the stage. Rats gathered about him and even climbed the rail as he peered through the lattice.
“Come to me, my brides!” said the groom.