A main, chained to a rock, his armed pulled taut by his bonds.
I've seen this before, I thought. Rodan. This is you, isn't it? I breathed out, allowing my consciousness to drift further into the other world.
I could see his face now, his eyes closed against the merciless light of the sun, sweat dripping from his brow, his breathing shallow and belaboured.
"Can you help him?" Startled, I looked up, finding Jared facing Paulos, and realising that the question hadn't been part of my vision.
There was silence as the two stood there, facing each other, tension building between them. Again, I wondered what was going on between these two men.
Paulos. I remembered, now. I remembered sitting in the growing dark as the candles burned down, listening to Jadri telling us about his last days in the palace, the weight Moire's head against my shoulder and the scent of her hair on my breath. According to the boy Paulos had been a high-placed Law-man and advisor to the King. The story was coming back to me, and I wondered how much of it had been true.
Paulos and Jared. Paulos and Rodan. I stood there, watching them - beginning to wonder whether that was my lot, always to be on the outside looking in. We need to talk, Paulos had told me. Right. A bitter taste filled my mouth as I wondered what he wanted from me, how I might serve his needs.
It was as if I was standing on a threshold - Rodan's room and the other men were still there, but at the same time I could see the chained man, his sweat-drenched skin gleaming in the sun, his eyes closed in pain.
"Tell me how," I said. "Tell me what to do."
"I don't know," Paulos said.
"Impotent old fool." Jared's words resounded in my head, as if they had escaped before he could stop them.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a moment, willing myself to be back in Rodan's room. "Let's all take it nice and easy here," I said.
I looked around the room, not knowing what to say next. Rodan was in bed, his eyes closed, and only then I noticed how ill he looked. His cheeks were hollow and his eyes seemed to have sunken back into his skull, with large black circles beneath them. I thought. Don't you see this man needs help?
The next moment I found myself at his bedside, feeling cold as I looked down on the gaunt, hardly-breathing form on the bed. This is impossible, I told myself. He was fine - when was it? Last night? The night before? I shook my head, realising I was losing track of time.
Suddenly I felt as if the air was closing in on me, forcing a smell of death and decay into my nose, mouth and lungs. A foul-tasting liquid welled up from my throat and I swallowed hard, closing my eyes for a moment as I tried to compose myself. This can't be real, I insisted. He was fine when I saw him. I swallowed again, wondering how much longer I would be able to keep from vomiting.
"How long?" My voice came out a mere croak.
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