Today, we will read the next part of Deeplight. This will be the last part of the text that we read so I hope you enjoy.
- Meagre – low in amount, strength or value
- Aghast – filled with alarm or horror. Shocked.
- Frescoes – a style of painting onto wet walls.
- Cavernous – looks like it contains cave-like structures.
- Russet – a reddish-brown colour.
- Lacklustre – very dull. Lacks life.
The great hall was designed to make people feel like ants. You knew it as soon as you walked in. It was too open, too vast, its vaulted ceiling too high, the windows too narrow and lofty, the shafts of light from them too meagre. Even the two dozen rows of benches put out for auction buyers filled only half the hall. Human crowds were lost in it. Voices rebounded oddly, the echoes sounding higher and more startled than the original voice. Hark imagined them floating, aghast, up into shadows.
The governor had done what he could. The walls of the hall were now covered in white plaster, but here and there the damp had caused some to fall away, showing glimpses of the old red-and-black frescoes underneath. A dozen looming iron candelabras now cast light at the human level, but could do little about the cavernous murk above.
The room bore too many scars of its past. In the middle of the floor, there had once been a large, oval hole full of seawater, in which priests and sacrifices had been ritually cleansed. The governor had arranged for it to be filled with cement, but you still knew it was there, the new russet tiles obvious against the surrounding grey stone flags. Just as obvious was the series of slight, worn depressions that led up to it from the door, and then passed on beyond it to a distant arch. Centuries of sacrifices had been made to follow in the exact footsteps of their predecessors, until the pressure of all those bare feet had worn away stone.
Hark felt as doomed as any sacrifice, but of course he was not led along those fateful indentations. Instead he and the rest of the chain gang were taken round the side of the hall, so as not to interrupt the auction of some boat called the Kindwind. They were made to stand in a gaggle, not far from the auctioneer’s pulpit and the great abacus used to show the current bid.
As the auctioneer droned on, Hark tried to get a feel for the audience. His spirits sank even further.
It was a sluggish, early morning crowd. Most people there were napping, chatting or reading. The first few rows of benches were crammed, but he guessed that many sitting on them had probably just come early so that they’d have a good seat for the Abysmal Child sales later in the day. They wanted a piece of the Hidden Lady, or at least a glimpse of her.
He caught himself looking for familiar or friendly faces among them, even though he knew that there probably wouldn’t be any. There was no sign of Jelt, of course. He was probably lying low somewhere with Rigg’s gang. Hark didn’t blame his friend, although Jelt’s absence did make him feel lonelier.
As Hark watched, bidding for the Kindwind came to an end. One last reluctant raise of the hand from the audience. One last bead rattled along the abacus to show the new bid. The auctioneer made a lacklustre appeal for more interest, then declared the boat sold.
‘Next, an auction of indentured criminals,’ called the auctioneer from his perch in the old pulpit. It was carved so as to look eerily molten, stone dribbles seeming to creep upward, as if obeying an inverted gravity.
The chained gaggle was brought forward. For a mad moment, Hark wondered what would happen if all the criminals bolted for the door as one. He felt sure he knew the answer, though. Up in the lofty gallery he could see some of the governor’s men, the round copper bottles of compressed air gleaming on their windguns. They were lounging and yawning, but they would probably become a lot more alert if the goods on sale decided to make a break for it.
He scanned the audience with desperate eyes. Most of them didn’t even look up. Some glanced at him, but then their gaze slid towards the older, stronger-looking criminals instead. To their eyes, Hark probably looked like a scrawny scrap that could be of no use to them – nothing but a waste of food and lodgings, and perhaps an untrustworthy one at that.
Most people in the front row were watching the criminals and the auctioneer with careful attention, but that was to be expected. By unspoken consent, the front bench was left for the sea-kissed so that they could lip-read more easily and see the under-clerk responsible for announcing lots in sign language. Continenters who obliviously flouted this hidden rule could never work out why everyone then made a point of treading heavily on their feet as they passed, or leaning forward to breathe cheroot smoke into their faces. At the moment, no foot-stamping seemed to be happening, so presumably everyone at the front was sea-kissed.
After a moment, Hark noticed that one of them was staring straight at him.
You didn’t think I would leave you with answers did you? You know I love a cliff hanger!!
Two questions for you to answer today:
- Have you enjoyed reading Deeplight? Why?
- Would you like to read the rest? Why?
If you would like to read the rest, it can be found at different books stores including Amazon. You can also borrow it from most libraries or the online APP Borrow Box.
Let’s warm up with some speedy maths.
Now, check your answers.
This week, we will mainly focus on some maths puzzles that you will hopefully find fun and they will help you to revise your maths knowledge.
Today, I would like you to have a go at solving this maths mystery which will focus on your knowledge of place value.
Use the lesson below to learn all about structure, texture and melody in music.
Other tasks that you could do today:
– Complete your transition booklet
– Complete your ‘Memories of Lings’ booklet
– Start thinking about what you will need for school in September.