Somebody brought me my lunch. I ate. Time passed. I felt lost in a maze where taking a wrong turn could mean my death, or the death of someone I cared about. Or maybe all the twisted little alleys really were alike, none of them going anywhere, and all I'd be doing would be wandering in circles forever.
I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Something was out there in the corridor outside my cell. The next moment Beron's brother was there, facing me through the bars.
"Go near the door and I'll kill you", I said.
He didn't respond.
I got up, never taking my eyes off him. My mind was racing, trying to come up with things in my cell that I could use to defend myself. All I could think of was that I might throw the blanket that was on my bunk over him to try and slow him down if he attacked me. Not great.
"Can you hear me?"
"I'm sorry about your brother", I said.
Still no response.
I sat down again, still keeping my eyes on him. We were quiet. Time passed. I noticed he was sweating, big beads of moisture making their way down his face into the open collar of his tunic.
"Listen, you must have come here for a reason. You don't seem to want to kill me this time, but I don't know what it is that you want. If there's anything I can help you with you'll need to talk to me."
He looked at me.
"Will you come with me?" he asked me.
"Come with you? Where?"
"To the end. Where he is." He looked me in the eyes. "You know who I mean."
I did. And I was becoming very, very scared. "Why would I want to do that?"
"He has your son."
I had to make a conscious effort to breathe. "I don't believe you."
"Then don't." He shrugged. "It doesn't matter. He'll find you in the end, even if he has to tear the world apart to do so."
I heard a door open and close in the distance. "What does he want from me?" I asked him.
"I don't know."
The sounds of footsteps approached. I got up and started to pace, pretending to be thinking out loud. "So, you're telling me there's this mysterious stranger who has my son, and either he'll be tearing the world apart to find me or you'll save him the trouble by taking me to him." The footsteps had stopped.
He didn't take his eyes off me. "Ah, the warrior and the witch", he said. "Do show yourselves."
Jarvik and Moire stepped forward.
He began to laugh. "Correction, the fledgling witch. Too bad we didn't get you all in the war."
Moire started to say something, and Jarvik pushed her back and stepped out in front of her.
"Let the witch speak. Go on", he told Moire, "see if I'm telling the truth." He closed his eyes and turned towards her. "I'm opening up, letting down all my defences. Isn't that how you like it, witch?" He stood there and waited.
She concentrated, and we were all quiet. "He does believe what he's saying", she said. "But darkness has him now, and we all know the dark is treacherous." She looked at him. "He's as dead as his brother."
He smiled. "Nicely put, witch." He looked at me. "Well, what will it be? He knows you're here, you know. If we don't get going soon he'll grow impatient, and he'll come looking for you."
"Alright", I said. "I'll come with you."
Jarvik took a step forward. "You can't go with him."
"Don't stop us", I said. "With me gone there's a chance he'll leave you alone, at least for the time being."
I looked at him. "He says he has my son," I said. "I need to go with him, even if I don't believe him."
Beron's brother took out his keys and unlocked the door to my cell. He took out his knife, and motioned for me to move. I raised my hands and slowly walked through the door into the corridor.
I continued to walk, halting when I passed Jarvik and Moire. "Remember my face", I told Jarvik. "Tell your men about me. Put a price on my head and make it worth their while. If you ever see me again the dark may have taken me as well."
The point of his knife touched my back. "Keep walking."
The last thing I heard as we walked through the corridor was Moire's whisper. "Please be careful."
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