It was a usual morning. The light from the barred window hitting me directly in the eye. A perfectly horrible clock. Whoever designed this cell, probably created that luxury feature. The hard bed was also a sample of their work. Rolling over, I noticed my prayers hadn’t worked.
The blindfold was still lying next to the bed on my little table. No divine destruction. If today was routine, I had a bit of time before needing it. Breakfast usually arrived a couple of minutes after sunrise, not that I was particularly excited. The diet was monotonous at best and one can only eat so many cold boiled eggs before wishing chickens would cease to exist.
My bookshelves remained bare and broken. The books they once held, lay piled on the floor haphazardly in an attempt to trip up Teacher when he visited. Those shelves were my favourite pieces of furniture. I had once tried to stab someone with a piece that was splintered from them, almost making it to the hallway that time. The guards caught me before the stairs. The knock sounded on the door.
I remember trying to outwait the servant once, but I didn't last more than two days, caving to hunger. This time, I was hungry so I forewent my stubbornness. On goes the rag and open comes the door. How they could tell that the blindfold was on, remained a mystery. I hummed a little while the boiled eggs were placed on the little table.
Black isn’t such a bad colour, maybe a little dark for my taste, but I never had much of a choice in the matter. The blindfold provided a different kind of black. A suffocating void of blindness.
The servant finished filling the water flagon and began to speak, which could only mean one thing. I tuned out the speech, ignoring the whole, “thank you for your great service to your country” talk. I had heard it thousands of times. My face struggled to remain calm, but a smile was shattering that mask.
Outside. It had been a while since I’d even seen grass, maybe I’d get to see Wrath or Envy, but it really didn’t matter. Outside, with or without them, was the outside. An open space without a roof to smother the sky. Anything but the cell with the windows high out of reach and the cold walls. The servant did the customary shuffle step out of the room. He, out of all of the servants, was the least afraid of me, the rest seemed to run out of the room as fast as they could. I couldn't blame them, I probably wouldn’t kill them all but hey, who knows?
After the disappointing eggs, Teacher came in. He sat beside me and told me more things that meant nothing. Something about a “War with Desvonish nobles” or “Crucial battle”. He recognized that I didn’t care and gave up. He sighed almost every time, in a great burst of air. Deflated I guess.
“Well, have you at least read the book I gave you?”
Teacher was always trying to educate me, but it appeared my attention had wandered elsewhere. Somewhere with the trees and soft flowers.
“Come on. It’s a good one, I promise. It has a history of the golden sea tribes.”
The darkness was more interesting than listening about places I’d never get to see, so instead my mind investigated how the cloth binding my eyes, was in fact, my reality. All I’d ever get to see, a strip of cloth as my future. Bright thoughts.
He sighed again. He was the Teacher and had been teaching for as long as memory held. Not that there was much to remember. Most of it was darkness in one room or another. My musing kept being disrupted by his attempts at teaching. You’d think he’d learn after such a long time.
“They’re holding the North with legions of crossbowmen, probably in an attempt to kill one of you two. Wrath will interfere with them.”
So Wrath was going to be there. Fun, I guess. Not that there would be much conversation. Two out of seven remaining is a formidable force. Few soldiers would make it out alive.
I asked the perpetual question.“Cuffs?” He knew I hated them almost as much as the rag.
The answer was the same as ever...“King’s orders my child.”
He stood and left the room with the tap stomp tap stomp of his plodding gait. I always wanted to know what his wooden leg looked like, but the rag prevented that. A peek at his face would be nice too. The few people I got to see were usually corpses. Dead men’s faces weren’t so pleasant to look at. They rarely died with a smile. Teacher had told me that my smile was alright since I’d never seen it. I wonder what the servant's face looked like...
The rumbling of armour in the hallway breaks my musing to signal that my relaxation time is over. On went the cuffs and out the door we went. Soon my feet alighted on familiar wood. A carriage although I was going to no ball.
I was not on good terms with the guards. An accident at the window left three dead and they never forgave me. A reminder of that came in the form of the cuffs being cinched tightly against my skin.
The carriage surged forward and the wheels turned.
Did carriage come from the word carry?
Words always have meaning but who gives it to them. I tried thinking about it, but Wrath woke up and piped up with her oh-so-pleasant noise. She didn’t appreciate being restrained and was currently unleashing a furious curse on the mothers of all present. You could hear her straining against the leather straps. Amusing was her creativity when it came to curses. Hours of insults made the guards unpleasant, resulting in a less gentle treatment than I would have liked. Camp was dug and I was left alone with Wrath. With any other sin, they’d probably leave a guard, but Wrath was far too unpredictable to help an escape and I was shackled.
Once they had fed us, Wrath and I fell asleep. I tore off the rag. Only my arms were chained, so I walked around the small cage to warm up my legs. It was so cold in the north and metal was not a friend in the freezing weather.
I looked over at Wrath. Scarred all over, gangly limbs that would do no damage against skin let alone armour, nevertheless she appeared calm. Ironic that this was the only time she was so relaxed with her frail and thin body. Leather straps swelled with the changes in size, I was always impressed by the difference.
I looked outside and the moon looked back. Funny how the moon always looks the same from cages; long shadows and glowing metal.
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