Chapter Twenty-Three: Eden's Prisoners

Legs numb to all else ... Muffled screams from the dark ... The next of many prisoners.

'Take him through here.'

A metal gate squeaks ... More inaudible orders ... Alone in the belly of the beast.

'Haha, put him in here... With him.'

Thrown to the ground ... The soft jangle of keys ... The cell is locked from outside.

Jonrah slowly opened his eyes.

His surroundings were almost invisible in the poor light coming only from a small flaming torch outside the cell. The metal bars between Jonrah and the rest of the tower seemed fairly sturdy, and would likely not crumple in the same way that the armour of The Eden had.

Stripped of his armour and weapons, Jonrah let his head drop, feeling the cold, damp concrete below him. He was most likely on the lower level, probably built underground. The dungeon.

Something stirred in the darkness. Jonrah was slowly able to feel the rest of his body - his feet, his legs, his torso, arms, hands, head.

He tried to speak, but all that came out was a raspy wheeze. The stranger stirred once more.

Jonrah closed his eyes, trying to wake up from this nightmare. He had not left Litana. Jodar had not been kidnapped. Karlin was still alive. There was no such thing as The Eden.

Jonrah spluttered as a liquid forced its way into his mouth, dripping down his cheeks. He coughed, leaning up out of reflex, trying to clear his throat of the substance lodged in his neck.

'Don't worry,' said a voice. 'Hey, stop struggling. It's just water.'

Jonrah however, didn't trust this voice, which had a huskiness to it. Male, no doubt, but kind. Jonrah stopped, sat upright and let the water flow down his throat. It didn't taste like water. It tasted ... dirty. Gritty almost, like it was muddy.

Jonrah stopped drinking, pulling himself away from the hands that were holding the water to his mouth, as if he were a baby, unable to think for itself, unable to do anything for itself.

Jonrah tried once more to speak. 'Hhcch...' He coughed, clearing his throat. 'Who are you?'

'I am a prisoner, just like you.'

Finally, another ally. Any enemy of The Eden was an friend of Jonrah and Lorda.

'What is your name?' Jonrah asked.



Lorda's hands were raw. The tight handhold he had on the edge of the tower had dug into his hands, reddening them and making them sore.

Sixty feet from the base of the tower lay the first and only visible window to the tower - Lorda's one method of entry. And against all odds, despite the cold of the night setting in, numbing his fingers, forming a thin layer of ice on the tower, Lorda had scaled the tower quickly and silently.

Heaving himself through the window, grappling for anything to use as leverage, Lorda's hands eventually came across a small table, which seemed sturdy enough.

Wrapping his arms around it, he pulled himself through the window, falling through headfirst and landing painfully on his side.

Silently, he clutched his hip and writhed in pain, but tried to stay silent in case anybody was nearby.

As the pain dulled, Lorda remained still, silent, waiting for any attacks that might suddenly befall him. None came.

Picking himself up, he let his eyes adjust the darkness that engulfed the tower, most likely throughout the night and the day. This window was - from the outside - one of very few, and was the lowest down. The Eden obviously didn't appreciate natural light.

Looking around the room, Lorda could make out only the table which he had used to pull himself in. It seemed to be simply a black pillar protruding from the floor, with a similarly coloured platform on top. About two metres squared. Obviously where a lot of work was done.

Lorda was drawn to a thin strip of light shining through from a door - the only door in the room - and as he approached, Lorda was able to hear footsteps. Sliding behind the hinges of the door in case anybody came in, Lorda listened and waited for the footsteps to pass. However, voices also were audible, and Lorda had to strain to hear them.

'...prisoner will rot down...well-guarded...fellow able to free...totally inaccessible.'

As the voices travelled closer, Lorda pressed himself against the door once more, still trying to listen.

'We'll check with the other towers tomorrow.'

'Alright, well, goodnight.'

The latch on the other side of the door was lifted, and the wood panel swung open slowly with a creak. The wood was rotting, and looked old, despite the new structure that it was a part of.

A man walked in, not wearing any armour, holding a number of papers and maps. He set them down on the table, still oblivious to Lorda's presence, and lit a torch on the opposite wall.

As light filled the small room, the stranger still had his back to Lorda, and he took this opportunity to draw his sword silently as he could, and sneak up from behind. Lorda spotted a small dagger on the man's belt, but apart from that, he was unarmed.

As the man turned back to the table, he caught sight of Lorda, just as he lept forward to cut him through.

The End

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