Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Dungeon

Footsteps followed Lorda as he ran through the darkness of the hallway, winding anti-clockwise, down steep stairwells that were invisible in the poor light.

More than once, he found himself coming to the beginning of a staircase and experiencing the sickly feeling of loss of footing. But he ran on. He would not be found.

The echoes of followers were all that filled the surroundings now, and as Lorda ran, using the stairs as his guide, he occasionally was illuminated by the dull and blurred torches that seemed to be the only sources of light in the entire tower. He had passed no windows since entering, and assumed that the one he had used to access had been the sole method of allowing natural light into the structure.

After being shrouded in darkness for so long, Lorda's eyes stung as he ran through a doorway into the most well-lit of all the areas he had yet encountered. It looked almost regal; torches now lined the walls, and a single red rug led from the mighty gate on his right, up the hallway, ascending a small staircase and leading into a dark room.

This was obviously the key point of entrance, and now that he knew where it was, he could use it to escape when the time was right. Along with Jonrah.

Hardly slowing, he jogged through the hallway to a doorway opposite, similar to the one he had just entered from. He had obviously descended several floors, and if his theory was correct, as he continued anti-clockwise around the tower, he would eventually arrive at the basement, which he had overheard to be the dungeons. That would most certainly be where Jonrah was being held.

Continuing in the dark, it was not long before the stairs ended their seemingly infinite descent, and all that lay in Lorda's path was a wooden, rotting door.

*

Engulfed in fire ... the wooden house shakes ... debris falls from the roof ... a burning beam falls from overhead ... a woman screams ... a thump as the wood connects with the ground ... the crushing of bones ... thump ... thump ... thump ... the beam falls again and again.

Jonrah slowly opened his eyes, expecting to be home, in his bed, Karlin sleeping by his side, Jodar only downstairs, playing innocently.

This had been his only rest since his journey had began, and as fitful and horror-ridden as it had been, he felt refreshed. Jonrah sighed, however, as he took in his surroundings.

Thump ... thump ... thump.

The sound from his dream continued.

Murdul was pressed against the bars, but instead of simply looking from side to side, he was looking intently to the left - the source of the repetitive sound that had plagued Jonrah's sleep.

As a red-cladden guard walked by the cell, he stopped by Murdul and pulled back his fist threateningly. Murdul reclined, letting the guard pass the cell, and then he went back to his gawking position.

'What's that sound?' asked Jonrah, still covered by the soft blanket of slumber.

Looking quickly to Jonrah, Murdul replied, 'The door.' He looked back to the door and watched intently. Jonrah joined him.

Jonrah could smell Murdul's breath from next to him. Being locked up for several weeks, personal hygiene was obviously thrown to the wind.

Jonrah let his eyes adjust to the slight light that illuminated the hallway, taking in his surroundings for the first time since being here. The dark, poorly built walls surrounding him, obviously crafted swiftly. The bland hallway, with a simple stool at the far right, obviously for the guard on duty.

The guard approached the door as the loud thumps increased in volume and frequency. Drawing his sword, he was equally as puzzled as the prisoners who watched.

*

Although weak in appearance, the door that stood between Lorda and Jonrah was putting up a damn good fight.

No doubt the followers were closing the gap, and despite the low population of the tower, it was definite that there was a guard waiting to cut Lorda through once he got the door down.

He would have to be careful; not just barge in, especially since he was now weaponless.

Putting his all into it, Lorda kicked hard against the door, which was shaking violently, and occasionally creating a vertical crack in the centre, but it was still holding up.

As the sound of the footsteps increased, Lorda knew that time was running out. Kicking again and again, however, Lorda was unable to make a difference. It would take some force to get through here. Kick... Thump. Kick... Thump. He was making slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

As another crack appeared in the door, Lorda heard the footsteps halt.

Turning around, Lorda looked into the eyes of his follower. A young man, only around twenty, wielding a sword which looked to be of no use to him. His stance alone was enough to tell Lorda that this would be over before it began, even without a weapon to match his attacker's.

As the man in red charged towards him, screaming at the top of his lungs, Lorda steadied himself, ready to accept his challenge.

Lorda watched the blade rise above the man's head, bending in half, keeping his legs straight but his back horizontal, letting the attacker continue to run into him, still with the sword poised for the first cut.

The follower lost his footing as he hit Lorda's back, and it was a simple matter of correcting his posture for Lorda to send the man flying head over heels and straight into the door, which proceeded to bend and break, sending the upside-down attacker through, landing awkwardly on his neck. Alive, but not getting up in a hurry.

The dungeons awaited.

The End

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