The dark covered Murdul's face in shadow, and Lorda was unaware of the familiarity behind the face.
'Friend or foe?!' Lorda asked again, growing impatient.
Neither Jonrah nor Murdul had the nerve to point out that Lorda was holding a sword to the throat of his own father, and Lorda was growing frustrated. Looking to Jonrah, he ordered him to keep the stranger in the cell.
Walking into the dim light of the single torch on the wall of the dungeon, Lorda plucked it from its holder and approached the cell once more.
As he walked aggressively towards the metal bars, he said, 'I've already killed several guards tonight, paralysed one, and burnt the face of another. Don't think I won't hurt you if I-' He stopped as the torch got closer to the face behind the bars.
Shadows of the metal streaked the face, and yet it was familiar.
Murdul looked to the ground, just as Jonrah had when he had been speaking to him. Lorda's eyes widened, and Jonrah felt his stomach drop as he felt the tension between them mounting.
'...Father?' Lorda's normally strong voice had been weakened by the surprise of his father's appearance.
'Yes, son. Lorda... My boy.'
Jonrah could not tell which emotions were being portrayed by Murdul's voice; happiness, relief, despair, regret, guilt, anger... There was a range of thousands in only five words.
Lorda lowered his blade and dropped the flaming torch to the ground, ignorant of where it landed.
Sheathing his new sword, he opened the gate of the cell, letting his father pass. Murdul did so, and held his arms open to his son, awaiting an embrace. But none came. Instead, Lorda only said, ‘I take it you are with The Fall.’
Murdul nodded. The Fall, the group of rebelling Easterners, desperate to bring about the end of The Eden’s rule of terror.
Lorda held out his hand, a small smile appearing on his face.
Murdul mirrored his son’s smile, grasping his hand firmly, for the first time in many years. Too many to count.
The handshake suddenly turned into a fierce embrace, and as Jonrah watched the father and son being reunited by the very cause they had been separated for, he couldn’t help but hope that he and Jodar would be sharing a similar meeting some time soon.
Jonrah had retrieved the keys from the cell gate and had raided the chest that held the confiscated items. He was fully clad in his own familiar armour, and had his weapons displayed on his hip.
Murdul, however, did not have armour, and instead had a longsword sheathed by his side.
With the torch in his left hand, and the stolen blade in his right hand, Lorda led his father and friend to the gate he had passed only minutes ago. Retracing his steps, he felt a totally different emotion to the one he had felt when first exploring the tower. He had been worried for his dear friend, but now he had been reunited with both Jonrah and his father, happiness and relief surged through him like an electric current.
The doorway to the main hall lay ahead, and as Lorda finally ascended the staircase to the top, he saw it was just as it had been when he last saw it.
The gate was to his left, and seemed to be controlled by a large wheel-mechanism. It obviously needed manual turning, and would probably be impossible to do alone. Footsteps echoed behind, and as Lorda turned, he saw Murdul and Jonrah appear at the top of the stairway, both with a hopeful look on their faces.
'We need to turn the spokes to get the gate open,' Lorda quickly explained to the pair, and as he took hold of one of the spokes, Jonrah and Murdul joined him, and on Jonrah’s count, they pulled with all their strength.
With a mighty scream that echoed through the entire tower – which as far as Lorda knew, was now empty – the gate slowly swung outwards, creating a small gap in between the two sides of the massive door.
The morning light shot through the small gap in the door, and as Lorda led the other two through, the sunlight stung at their eyes, and Murdul especially was blinded by the light of freedom.
Gulping in mouthfuls of fresh air, Murdul silently thanked the Gods for their mercy toward him, then looked to his son through sunlight-blinded eyes, smiling at the reunion he thought may never have come.