They walked for more than an hour and Enzir felt disoriented after being pushed towards unknown directions and tumbling several times to the ground. There were times when he was pushed forward to climb upward slopes or made to wade through shallow water. When he slowed his steps to avoid slipping, he was given a shove on the back by one of the outlaws. They made too many numerous turns and it did not take long before Enzir lost his own bearings. He knew that he would not be able to find his way back should he ever get the chance to escape. Even Lankko could not have remembered their way after the many turns that they were forced to make. Enzir guessed that the outlaws intentionally sent them through a circuitous route and probably even doubled back a few times until it was impossible to remember the way. The outlaws remained silent all through out and there was no way of recognizing who they were with. The outlaw chief may have even left them at the hands of his men as he went directly
As with the cavern they had just come from, there were lamps placed on small recesses on the walls that dimly lit the space that they were in. The cavern had been dug out recently with the pick marks still visible on the ceiling and walls as well as on the floor. Enzir reasoned that the floor at least could have been made smoother by people stepping on it had the cavern been in use for a longer time.On the walls hung a few iron tools and implements that could be found at the Alnoc dungeons along with iron chains and a cage that Enzir did not recall being used, at least during his short time as governor. There were additional recesses that were turned into shelves that also contained different tools and implements.At the center of the cavern, dimly lit by the lamps from the far walls was an apparatus that was only too familiar to Enzir and Lankko. Its form was made a bit more rudimentary and the shape of the wood simpler, but Enzir could recognize the Karbo, the new a
Mira gently unsheathed her knife and held its blade between her fingers. She felt the smoothness of the cold metal as she raised it a few inches above her shoulder while her eyes remained focused on a small spot several steps away. She drew in her breath and saw the brown and gray bark of the ancient tree. Its surface had spots of lichen and moss and the earth-colored patterns all seemed natural, but right in the middle of it, Mira could see the faint outline of a lizard. It blinked its eyes and a thin pink tongue slipped out of its mouth, but its body remained still in perfect camouflage with the back of the tree.As Mira prepared to throw the knife, she sensed something else in her peripheral vision. A slight movement, something that was not really part of the environment but trying to blend in. It was more conspicuous than the lizard that she had detected on the tree trunk, but Mira knew that it would remain hidden to the untrained eye. Mira’s eyes rolled to the left and she tried t
Mira was pushed forward and the men surrounding Eldion and Casser gave way for her. She was forced to sit between her companions with her hands tied behind her.“Didn’t you hear me shout a warning?” asked Mira as she folded her legs beneath her. “I shouted at the first sign that I saw.”“I did!” said Eldion. “I was there by the fire when I heard you, but there were already three men who blocked my escape. I remembered how you fought the troupe and tackled one of them to the ground. He fell instantly, incapacitated.” Eldion said proudly. He narrated what happened with his excitement still discernible.“How did you get captured then?” asked Casser as he looked across Mira at Eldion.Eldion turned to Casser and replied. “I was already at the bushes there when somehow my legs got tangled in ropes.”“Is it a cord with two balls at the end acting as weights? It’s a
Eldion and Mira squinted at the man who just spoke to them. The man was standing in front of the light and they found it hard to discern his features. Eldion thought that it was weird being welcomed into a secret camp that might as well be prison camp, after feeling the ropes around her wrist cutting deeper into his skin.Casser moved his head to one side to be able to look at the man properly. He thought he recognized the voice but wanted to see the man’s face to be sure.“Remuel?” Casser asked, trying to see the man’s face in the dim light. The man moved closer and Casser asked again, “Remuel, is that you?”“Casser! I didn’t realize that it was you.” Remuel then signaled to his men. “Cut off their bonds.” The outlaws immediately cut off the ropes that bound the prisoners’ hands. Eldion was instantly relieved and massaged his wrists to get his blood to circulate.“I recognized
“You should stop him, Mira!” It was Wen’s voice that Mira heard, but she knew that it was too late. Mira did warn Eldion about the strange effects that the green ant tea would have on some people, but he seemed intent on trying the unusual drink. She hoped that Eldion would be immune to the bad effects of the tea and would not experience any of its symptoms. Personally, Mira would not mind drinking the tea herself, having had it on many occasions when she entertained guests at the Entertainment Palace. Wen, however, would always try and persuade her from drinking it, citing all the possible harm they could get from it and the difficulty of finding the herbs that could counteract the effects.Eldion did not quite know what to expect as he held the cup to his lips. The cup felt warm to his fingers and there was something that felt quite invigorating when he smelled the steamy vapors that rose from the surface of the hot tea.
The image of Mira-Wen faded from Eldion’s eyes and he saw himself speeding through what seemed an infinity of space and time. There were small points of light that appeared everywhere and started to rotate around him in ever quickening spirals. He had to close his eyes in the brightening light just as he thought he saw indiscernible shapes and shadows emerge through the thick white veil that suddenly covered everything. Then, he heard a constant hum as if made by bees that were placed close to his ears along with the strangely regular beeps of a small bird. He saw different shapes take the form of white hazy figures that kept moving around him and heard their whispers, but try as he might to listen, their words remained unintelligible.He realized that he was lying down and there were four bright points of light above him. He still could not see clearly but was able to discern a figure detach itself from the others. It hovered over him until it blocked the light. Everything was still t
Mira was taken aback as she realized the reason for Eldion wanting to drink the tea again. She wondered if it was possible that Eldion recovered some of his memories after drinking the tea. It’s more plausible though that the tea had elicited hallucinations in Eldion, she thought.“Eldion, are you sure about what you saw? Can you describe her to me?” asked Mira calmly.Eldion stopped looking for Remuel and turned to Mira.“It was all hazy at first, but just before I woke up, I had a clearer view of her face. She looked kind and thoughtful. Her hair was black and carefully braided. She had clear brown eyes that looked at me with deep concern. She had a small nose and a thin mouth that partly opened to say something to me, but it was just before I woke up and I was not able to hear her. I know I’ve seen her before, but not here. I think she was someone from my past, someone I knew before I lost all of my memories,” Eldion said.“What else can you recall?” asked Mira.“There were figures