When the walls came tumbling down - A kitin tale told by Bia Fei-Lun, an old Zoraï lady

I am from Zoran, the ancient capital of our people. I well recall our beautiful magnificent city that spread over miles of jungle, and my house in the old medina where the first Zoraï temple stood to the glory of the first Kami enlightenment. Morning and evening we would be called to worship by the chimes of the great syre wood bells whose sound was deep and tender and touched the heartstrings. One autumn, we were giving thanks for the exceptional harvest when the great bells tolled unexpectedly, for the last time...

My father's first fear was that the barbarians in the north had somehow escaped our guards attention, found a blind spot in the great wall securing our territory and had launched an attack. He swept me off my feet while my mother took my baby brother and we sped home as the city doors where being banged shut. When he left us to stand ready with his guild I had a pang in the heart and wouldn't let go of his leg. He nearly became cross and my mother had to pull me away. I watched him from the window run down the road toward the main entrance, skinning knife in hand. I had a sinking feeling I would never see him again.

Outside there was a tremendous crash followed by a sudden movement of the crowd and people started shouting and screaming that monsters were upon us. There was another sickening bang and a rolling of dust as the towers and the north city wall collapsed.

We watched the scene from our upper terrace and through the dust we saw the first giant kitins clambering into the city. Mother grabbed me, we ran downstairs, "pour the trapper liquid over yourself, quick, it'll cover your scent!" she cried as she dowsed my brother and herself. We poured a whole container over the floor then lifted the cellar trapdoor and descended to where my father did his skinning, and it was none too late neither.

A thousand feet drummed past the upper cellar window that looked onto the street at ground level. An obnoxious smell then filled the air as on the floor above our heads we heard some dreadful scratching about. My mother held my hand over my mouth for the first five minutes in anticipation of my screams, I was petrified. And then the rummaging above our heads got louder...

My mother made signs for me not to make a sound, and I did my best to swallow my sobs for my father who must have been killed. Then there was fierce banging on the door and this time I couldn't help let out a frightened yelp. My mother put her hand over my mouth again as upstairs all movement ceased, there was a kind of electric sound and I knew the monster was searching the air for sound vibrations. I swear my heart beat so fast and so loud that I was sure the monster could hear it!

But then the sound of rummaging moved away, the creepy-crawly steps were leaving our house, and I collapsed in my mother's arms. I don't know how long we slept, maybe four hours, all I remember is that outside it was getting dark when I awoke and my little brother giggling at a moth. My mother sat bolt upright from her slumber and hushed him for fear of kitins nearby. But though we couldn't see out of the window for the dust and dimness, we felt that all was quiet about. We cautiously took our first steps on the creaky cellar steps leading to the trapdoor in the floor. As my mother turned the handle there was a sudden awful clamor outside the door and this time I couldn't keep in my cries. My mother barely had time to sweep both me and my brother up in her arms?

The door was thrust open and there stood a tall silhouette that I knew, peering down at us : my father! He pulled all of us out in one lump and squeezed us in his great arms. It was then on looking round that I realized that our house and our neighbors' houses, the whole city was in ruins like after a wild flow of water. My father had made it to the house of a fellow guildsman when the kitins broke through the wall, he pushed the whole family down into the cellar where they were waiting for us now. He told us how he had done as he'd often told my mother to do in case we were besieged by beasts when we lived in the open jungle. My father told us later that it was the only way to escape as many had died fleeing at the other end of town where the doors were not wide enough, many were trampled under foot before the kitins even got to them. It is for this that our villages today have no walls.