The Iron Cell
He awoke, feeling as though his head had been bashed against a rock. Reaching towards his face, it felt soft, and there was some blood. The bones in his cheeks were broken, but they would heal. He lifted himself up from the cold stone, where some of his blood had dripped down from his face.
Miltos found himself within a cell,his wrists chained to the wall by iron clasps. Metal bars that formed a door separated him from whatever was beyond them. He could have broken them down, he supposed, but he was too tired. Though his body felt weaker, it was his arms that felt the weakest. He lurched to the nearby wall, slamming his back against it as his legs slowly gave way. He laughed. Having walked this far, only now did he feel tired.
He sat there, thinking what it was that attacked him. The sensation was no longer there, but it wanted him dead. Slowly rubbing his thumb against his index and middle finger, he noticed that a small portion of dirt began to form between them. Stopping, he closed his eyes to extend his senses to his surroundings. However two pairs of feet were walking towards his location. His ears informed him of their presence without the aid of using Karas.
“–and he was just dead in the street, so I brought–” the man paused, after opening the doorway as he stared into the cell holding Miltos. He wore a long scholarly garment that had seen better days. His bald head, including his eyebrows, accentuated his light blue eyes, though a vertical slit ran across a portion of his forehead.
“Interesting, Sohnelun.” said the other who accompanied him. His body was covered in a suit of heavy fabric that bore a hood to cover the beak-shaped mask. Miltos could not see his eyes through the lenses of the mask. Although his face was directed at Miltos, inquiring him with curiosity. His hand laid within his pocket, grasping onto something.
“Well, well, well. This is interesting, isn’t Adelard? And here I was thinking we could—No matter.” Sohnelun peered into the cell, examining Miltos’ red skin,darting his eyes up and down his body until the rested upon the mark on his eye. “He’s one of them.” He said disgustingly.
“So it would seem.” Adelard said, disinterested. “What of it?”
“What of it! It’s obvious he’s dangerous, being marked by an Abyss Walker. He’ll probably try to dest—”
“Could you let me out?” Miltos creeped towards the bars.
Sohnelun glared at him with a gravity of life and death. “No, I don’t think we will.” He led Adelard back out through the door, locking it.
“Why is a Hollowed here?” Sohnelun asked, pacing around as Adelard watched him. He was not sure if Sohnelun posed the question to him, or if he was musing out loud as he occasionally did, asking questions then answering them himself at times.
Adelard sat himself at a window arch,peering down into the city. Night arrived. The citadel, which they had made their home since years ago, rose above a majority of the kingdom and away from the various creatures that roamed it.
He recalled his youth, when the kingdom was prosperous at a time, and men and women traveled down the roads, selling meats and vegetables, powders and vials, clothing and armor; when he began his studies with Sohnelun, taking after their masters before them; but, not being above brash young boys and men,explored forgotten portions of the kingdom. He grasped tightly onto the item inside his pocket.
Now it was nothing but the remnant of these memories; a living, gray ashen nightmare of wild creatures roaming the streets. It did not seem too long ago when he was made adviser of the court, thanks impart to his alchemical understanding,which he never claimed as his own…
“We’ve got to get rid of him.” Sohnelun’s eyes pleaded to Adelard.
“I know I’ve heard the stories,” Adelard averted his gaze from Sohnelun, “but why do we have to do so? He’s a Hollowed, marked by an Abyss Walker. Surely the old gods could care less about…”
“No, no no! Don’t you see? He’s hereto stop our work. Our work! Why else would he be here?” He began pacing once more, mumbling to himself questions and answers. “No..no…those damnable old gods…this is all their fault…their fault!…we’ve got to get rid of him…we have to kill him…stupid gods…meddling in our affairs…always hiding…hidden…”
Adelard sighed. There was no use in trying to talk with Sohnelun once he began. He would wait until he stopped his rambling before saying anything. For some time, he thought his friend was insane.
“I’m tired,” Sohnelun said,breaking out of his mood. “He’s chained by iron, so he won’t be leaving any time soon. I will deal with him in the morning.” He skulked down the corridor, passing Adelard. “Goodnight, my friend.”
Adelard stayed beneath the arch,watching as the sun slowly set to the west. The sky turned a dark yellow, then a burning orange and red, and finally becoming a peaceful purple and soothing blackness.
He removed his hand from his pocket,pulling out a copper encased pocket watch. He flipped it open,watching as the dials turned, behind them the mechanical gears slowly whirled in precision. Each part turning in tune with its fellow brother gears.
Though they worked effortlessly, at times he wondered if the time piece of it was broken, or if it served no purpose. Sometimes the hands would align themselves with the correct hour of the day; in other instances it would speed up or slowdown. However that did not matter, for he had found a different use for it. Pocketing it, he made his way to Miltos’ cell.