Chapter 12
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Annia kept herself busy all the time doing daily chores as much as she could just to keep herself from thinking about Adam or the Papertower, in the nights she was so exhausted that she would crash on the bed close her eyes and sleep deeply and repeat the same thing the next day.

However, Annia had something that was valuable to Noah and the southern people of Ironfort, she knew how to read and write and how to teach it properly. Older people could do it but they'd rather clean guns, mop the floors or stay on watchtowers than teaching children while Annia showed patience and devotion to even simplest jobs and that was what attracted Noah to her besides her fully inked body of course which was rather unusual in the southern culture.

Annia made it clear that she was after revenge from Gorgans and would fight side by side of the southern people when they attack. That was enough reason to trust her so Noah sent for her to show Annia Iron fort's biggest secret, after all, how could she teach the children when they were all out of her reach.

Noah walked Annia to the lower floors of Ironfort where food water and guns were stacked with guards watching over every corner.

"where are you taking me? If it's ok to ask"

Noah tried to show her rather than say anything so he answered simply "to answer your biggest question about Ironfort"

Annia looked around as they walked, nothing was out of the ordinary until Noah stopped and signed his men to lift the platform up.

From were looked like a sand-covered floor, an ancient-looking platform raised up and as Annia saw more, she found out it was an elevator with very old mechanics.

Noah stepped on it and offered his hand to show there was nothing to worry about, Annia accepted it and got on the ancient elevator. Sand was still pouring down from its surface slowly seemed like it was hidden for a while.

"what you are about to see is the reason for our strength and unity

and why I am called Mad Noah"

Annia was already amazed by how the platform was still working but when her eyes saw the lost valley of Besara she stopped blinking, what she saw was more close to a dream than reality.

A whole new ecosystem and a place as big as the capital of the eastern empire, a river that passed through the valley, and a massive forest with trees that she never saw before. The most surprising thing was the huge ship that was being built with the help of people at the center of the forest.

Noah smiled when he saw how Annia looked "I had the same look as you do when I first got to Besara, so did every single southern who followed me and since that day we've been doing nothing but to try to have a simple peaceful life far from any bodies sight"

Suddenly Annia turned sour and her smile vanished from her face "you could've shown this place sooner and Adam would've never left me. You saw how desperate and feared he was and still let him go, you knew he was harmless but you let him go" Annia she was whole another person as her sad thoughts finally got the best of her.

"order them to lift us back up, now" before Noah can say anything to explain Annia continued with a furious wounded voice "I should've left this place with him, you know he was my friend an honest friend but you used my hatred and your stupid reasons to stop me"

Noah didn't stop the elevator and with a clear strong voice answered her "you friend, Adam would leave either way Annia and you know"

"you are lying" Annia shouted as her eyes turned red from crying

"he was a lost man Annia and he needed some time to heal himself"

"from what? this horrible life or the fact that he and I had to see our people getting prepared to get killed by those fucking Gorgans"

"yes Annia" Noah responded louder this time

"Adam was a man that was running from his past and his fears. Believe me, because I was the same as him my entire life. This place or you or nothing else could've changed that"

Elevator hit the ground they were in Besara.

"just give me a chance to show you that you can still have a good life and this time you won't lose it I promise you. Besara is where you can have hope without fear of losing it" Noah stepped on the ground and wished that Annia would accept to at least give this valley a try.

"you, me and all of these people we all lost something or someone but here we all help each other because Besara tells us to, this land shows us a bright future and make us know that past is past and together we can create a new life" Noah said hopefully.  

They had a moment of silence then Annia spoke "I need to wash my face first I don't want people to see me like this" and she continued "they already look at me like freaks because of these tattoos, so…" her words broke the tension between them and they kept moving to Besara.

"so how is it that you are showing me this place and trusting me with it" Annia said still looking a bit sad.

"I understood that you can read and write perfectly" Noah responded

"don't we all?"

"yes but not our children"

"then you brought me here to teach your children so it's not a matter of trust it's a matter of need" Annia didn't make any eye contact with him as she talked.

"It's a matter of future Annia, as I said and my people rather fight and die than spend their time teaching their children"

"well then you have to say goodbye to your bright future"

"that is exactly what I mean Annia" Noah stopped Annia

"my people will fight the fights and keep Besara safe but they cannot make a better tomorrow for their children but someone like you can change that forever"

"I was a thief Noah" Annia showed her inner side of her lip inked by the word 'Thief'

"of all my wrongs, I'm ashamed of that the most, so much that I begged Roach to hide it there" Annia continued

"so someone like me is a…"

"a teacher" Noah said before Annia can finish her words Annia looked thankful but doubted his words and mostly doubted herself.

"You are a teacher who will teach these children how to make a better tomorrow" Noah open his right arm wide and made Annia see the sight before them again

"Besara will be home to generations after us and they will live peacefully with nobody being hungry or thirsty and you'll be the reason for it" Noah's words promised a better future which for Annia looked like a childish dream but in these dark times dreams were perhaps precious as the breath for the southern people, especially with Gorgans getting close to them.

Annia forced herself to smile however bitter it looked it was a smile nonetheless "For an old man such as yourself you sure dream like a child but I would like to see Besara like that one day" Annia said positively and looked at Noah, how his white long hair and beards matched his teeth which appeared as he smiled contrasting his darkish skin and wondered how similar he was to Roosh. Kind, care-giving, and foolish.