"Are you sure there's no other way? Still have the chance to get out of town and run as far as I can."
"Darling, we've talked about it many times and I've often had to convince you. There's no other way, we've considered every solution and the dangers were just too great, this is our only way to get a chance at all."
My husband grabs my hand and gently strokes my palms, as is so often the case when my hands shake, his hands are never out of reach.
"Sorry, darling. Every time I reconsider, my decision fluctuates. I know that we are seizing the best opportunity here, but even if we keep you away from our dangers, she will still have a dangerous life here.
Without parents in these times, it's not easy and we can't do anything without paying attention to her."
"Better to take a bad chance than surrendering her to certain death. You know where we're going, we can't take her with us. There are no guarantees behind the wall, even for us."
"I know, and that's exactly what worries me, what if we never see her again. To be out of range forever, never to see our child. She will grow up without us, without help and guidance."
His hands grab my head and focus on him, his brown eyes shine towards me. I see his determination, but even he can't hide the fear.
"I feel the same as you, but we can't change anything, we chose a path a long time ago and now we have to face the consequences.
We'll be there soon, so..."
The rest of the sentence falls silent but I know exactly what he wants to say. In the shade of the alleyway, I lift the small bundle on my side into my arms for the last time.
Despite the way and the problems of the journey, she never woke up. I look at the child, our child, maybe one last time before we part ways.
The sleeping face seems so blameless that a peace of mind spreads in my heart, perhaps this is the best of all possibilities. I look at her face and in my thoughts her life passes me by, I hear her laughter, see her first steps and see her grow up to her blossom in adulthood.
A hand lies on my shoulder and pulls me out of my trance. My husband is standing behind me and looks me nostalgically in the eyes.
"I'm sorry, I've lost myself in my thoughts."
Not much time has passed, but I know that he gave me every second he could, and for a long time we can't stay in this city without being discovered.
Breaking through the magic shield has already attracted more attention than we would like to, but this was the gate city behind the wall. If we had moved further inland, we would have taken even greater risks.
"We're almost there, the street looks empty and the alarm at the Great Gate attracts attention. Our comrades are trying hard to buy us some time, despite the dangers."
My husband looks again at the empty street, opposite our target, the orphanage of the gate city. Even in these times it is rare to run such a house or even build it in such a city.
In my country, orphanages are only used for cheap military recruitment, and children that nobody wants are not missed after the battlefield.
I was initially against this possibility, but due to the lack of and better alternatives, we finally had no choice. We couldnt trust anyone behind the wall, not even close family members.
But even after that, a remnant of bad feelings remained, leaving one's own child behind in a completely different city can't give a feeling of security to any mother.
"Let's do it now, before I talk myself into my conscience again and turn around and leave, WITH my daughter."
"I'll stay here and see if we can make our way back, hurry up or we'll have trouble with the guards after all."
My husband turns away from the street corner and disappears into the shadows with a short jump onto the next roof. Seeing his skills back in action is still amazing, despite the long time we spent together
I take a last look at the street in front of me and the small bundle in my arms, both of them are quiet in my gaze, but I just can't get rid of the dull feeling, the nocturnal city is quiet, too quiet after an alarm at the Great Gate.
The few lights on the streets are barely enough to illuminate them, it is as if the light is swallowed by the marble stones of the houses.
The road remains calm, so I cross it with quick and quiet steps and squat down next to the pillar of the main entrance of the orphanage.
I catch my breath quickly and continue to listen into the night, but everything stays calm, no guards, no alarm and the street remains extinct.
I don't have much time left and I try to remember my daughter's face in every second I have left, maybe the last time I see her.
Much more we can't do for them than any spell would have our characteristics and would characterize her for any second-rate mage on miles in.
Despite the impossibility of casting spells for her, I have an idea of how I can at least leave something for her.
With one movement of my hand I create two small silver-white crystals, they don't have any magical properties, but at least something of mine remains and maybe I will have at least one small, tangible memory, a counterpart of daughter and mother.
As I push my daughter's crystal into the bundle, she grabs the crystal and closes her little hand.
My heart aches more than before, a hand that closes more with every second and stalls my breath with a captivating cold.
The longer I hesitate, the coldness spreads in me and all the worries, hopes, fears and nightmares come out again, all I have tried to suppress on the way here.
A soft crying brings me back, my hands cramped into the fabric and scared my daughter. I breathe deeply and loosen my hands and put them in front of the door, little tears run over her cheek and her sad face burns into my memory. I didn't want to have such a picture of my daughter as the last moment in my memories, but I just can't forget her, at last she is not to blame.
All this is my fault, the escape, my homeland, and our fate for a child who is in danger because of her birth.
A whiny face as my admonition, "Maybe I deserved it after all this", my quiet farewell when I finally turned away.
I hurry back to the dark alley where my husband is already waiting for me,"We don't have much time, the alarm has stopped and we don't have much time before the gate closes, otherwise we are stuck here for a long time and all that," he points to the orphanage ", was
He's right, I took too much time. Our comrades have given us time, but you can't stop an entire guards and their allies forever.
We couldn't bring our partners with us, they would have attracted too much attention and all four kingdoms would have known who had opened the wall gate outside the four-year rhythm, in such a case we would have been able to tear down the wall completely and announce our arrival to everyone, as it would not have generated less attention.
Suddenly the alarm bell of the district rings, it seems that the guard suspects the intruders in this district, it is time to disappear.
I think I still hear a quiet crying but the alarm bells are ringing, I follow my husband into the shadows of the nightly city with a last look at the bundle in front of the orphanage.