Into the Wild – Chapter 25
Devon found consciousness and quickly considered losing it again. His head and body felt like he’d gone three rounds in a cage match. Moaning, he realized he had no idea where he was. Then memory, the wicked bitch, slapped him hard, and he shot into a sitting position and quickly vomited.
“Good morning, sunshine,” said Mat.
Devon looked over to find his friend with his head in his hands and his back against the wall. “What happened?”
“I think I should’ve killed the mages.”
“Oh well, live and learn. At this point, I’m inclined to say there’s still time.”
“Oh, absolutely. Once my head clears, and I find a way out of this cell, I plan on talking with that druid fucker.”
“So, we’re in a cell?”
“Yup, you’ve been out for at least half a day.”
“How would you know that?” asked Devon.
“We’re still outside in what appears to be a standalone cell. From what I could see, there are several of them. As for the time, that tiny window in the back had the sun when I awoke, and now it’s through the bars of the door, so I’m guessing about half a day.”
“So how long were you out?”
“I don’t know I slept through it.”
“Mind if I make an observation?” asked Devon.
“Is this a situational observation or a Devon one?”
“More the latter.”
‘Wouldn’t be you if you didn’t, how might I help you today?”
“Maybe we should be a little more friendly when meeting new people. Just a thought.”
“Funny, I had roughly the same observation only with a few changes,” commented Mat.
“We kidnap the leader and take him somewhere to chat and kill anyone who gets in the way.”
“That sounds very Matsugoish of you, good to see you’re feeling better than I am.”
“Oh, I’m not. I’m keeping my head stationary; otherwise, I start acting like a vegan at a chili cookoff.”
“Gawd don’t say chili,” begged Devon as he fell over and dry heaved. “Those were not very friendly spells.”
“You think? Luckily, I remember who was back there, and I’ve every intention of thanking them for this alcoholic free hangover,” growled Mat along with Devon’s stomach.
“Have they brought food?” Devon asked his friend.
“Not yet,” Mat answered as he pushed himself to his feet and wobbled towards the door. Devon had seen Mat hungover more times than he could count and smirked as he watched him trace the parameter of the cell, keeping a hand on the wall to steady himself. When he reached the barred door, he yelled, “HEY.” Recoiling like he’d been shot, Mat groaned and gripped his aching head. In a softer voice, he tried again, “Hey, we get any food or water?”
Devon watched and waited. At first, there was nothing, and then Devon noticed shadows growing closer. “You two are awake,” said Lok. “Maybe next time you’ll remember your place when you present yourself to your betters.”
Devon just shook his head; he knew what was about to happen when he saw Mat’s back straighten.
“No, next time, the daggers will not land at your feet. I was trying to be diplomatic, never again cow boy,” growled Mat with a venom that even surprised his friend.
Looking past Mat, Lok addressed Devon, “You might want to muzzle your demon here, he is on the verge of making your situation worse.”
“What’s the situation exactly? Asked Devon, not bothering to stand up.
“You will be tried and found guilty,” answered Lok.
“Tried and found guilty? Then why the trial, it sounds like we already have a verdict,” added Devon.
“There was a room full of witnesses, so yes, you were, but we have customs to adhere to.”
“Why do I get the feeling these are more your customs than your peoples. You are a control cow, aren’t you?” snarked Mat as he felt around on his body.
“Your daggers…all of them…have been placed in safekeeping.”
“I know you have them all because if I had any, they’d be sticking out of you right now. All things in time,” growled Mat.
“Do we get food before you do you little mock trial thing?” asked Devon, taking a deep breath.
“They’re preparing it now,” answered Lok.
“It better be steak. I want a big, rare, juicy piece of whatever fucking race you,” added Mat.
Devon let Mat blow off steam. As he watched, he noticed his friend’s head turn slightly. Mat wasn’t focused on the leader any longer.
“Fine…Fine…I’m pissed, and my head hurts like hell. How about some food, and let’s see if we can start this over on a better note,” said Mat in a very conciliatory tone?
Lok and the two guards, Devon hadn’t seen till now, walked off without another word. When Mat turned back, he had the briefest hint of a smirk.
“What?” asked Devon with a cautious glare.
“Nothing,” answered his friend as he resumed his spot on the ground.
Devon closed his eyes and rubbed his brow, trying to get the pain to subside. With care, he reached inside for his magic and found it. He’d read too much fantasy; he’d assumed they would’ve dampened it. Was that even possible? Raising a little more until he was sure he had enough, he thought the activation words and instantly felt a wave of relief wash over his body. He moaned as his muscles loosened, and his head stopped hurting.
Again, he drew in more energy. When he was ready to cast, he reached out and pushed it towards his friend. Instantly he let out a cry of pain.
Mat shot away from the wall and into a crouch. “What? What’s happening?”
“Nothing, I tried to heal you. It worked fine on me, but when I tried it on you, I got a zapped.”
“Who’s there?” they heard from somewhere.
“Us?” answered Mat.
“Wait,” the voice said. “Good, there are no guards around. I’m Talver, who are you?”
“I’m not…” started Mat.
“I’m Devon, and my friend here is Mat,” interrupted Devon, talking over his friend. “Is it safe to guess you pissed the druids off as well?”
“It would seem. They leave all this cool stuff just sitting around and then get pissed when someone sees something they like.”
“You’re a rouge.” Mat laughed but didn’t get an answer. “I am as well; you’re imprisoned with friends. How long have you been visiting?”
“You’re a brother of the darkness, huh? They’ve had me locked in here for about a week, by my estimations.”
“Do they feed you?” asked Devon in a loud voice.
“Who is he?” asked Talvar, “is he safe?”
“We’re together. Devon’s a druid?”
“A druid, you were here to check-in?”
“Didn’t go well, did it?”
“Brother, have you visited the Oslcar yet?” asked the rouge.
“Is that a place or a person?” asked Mat.
“Person, head of the Rouge’s guild, and you answered my question.”
“No, I haven’t, we just arrived a day ago and learned of this fucking stupid custom thereafter. We choose the druids first since they seemed like they’d be easier,” explained Mat.
“We were wrong,” added Devon.
“The Druids here have always thought mightily of themselves. They oppose the expansion of the city. They constantly harass the farmers for bad farming practices and keeping and slaughtering livestock for food.”
“Oh Gawd, vegans?” groaned Mat. “I hate vegans.”
Finally, attempting to stand, Devon walked to the bars to see if he could look out. They appeared to be in a secluded area. He could tell they were in the compound since he recognized a few of the buildings he’d seen when they’d entered. “Do you have a plan for escaping?” he yelled over to the other cell.
“If I did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
“When will they hold the trial?” asked Mat.
“From what little I’ve been able to glean, all trials and disciplinary matters are dealt with on the full moon, which is four days away.”
“That means I have four days to figure out how to slaughter a village,” growled Mat as he went back and sat down.
“He’s a grumpy one,” said Talvar.
“He isn’t too grumpy yet, but then he’s just woke up. Do they feed us?”
“It should be anytime; the sun is going down.”
That’s right; it’ll be night soon, Mat thought as a plan hatched in his devious little mind. His first real test.
Just as the last rays vanished behind the horizon, several residents appeared from around the nearest building carrying heaping plates of food, two came towards Devon and Mat, and one went to the cell beside them. Mat watched, so they were the only three prisoners.
They watched in silence as the gnomish creature raised a small section of the gate and pushed the plates through one at a time, followed by two drinking skins. “Is there a bathroom?” asked Devon, trying to get one to talk.
Neither spoke, but the one inclined her head towards a small area in the back of the cell. Devon saw the opening as the creature waved a hand and an orb in the top of the cell started to glow dimly. It wasn’t much light, just enough to see the inside of their prison. Once the two were gone, Devon picked up both plates and skins and brought them over and sat down beside Mat. “You’re taking this well.”
“I want to see how it plays out. I already have the tendrils of a couple of plans, but one is sort of the nuclear option. We’ve both agreed maybe discretion is the better part of valor moving forward, but don’t worry, I’ll have a fallback or two.”
Devon gave Mat a surprised look, “I’m proud of you. Do you want to tell me what these plans are?”
“Not yet, and as for me taking this well, don’t get me wrong in every contingency that leader is dead.”
“I know. I don’t like it, but I know. I’m hoping they will do something to change your mind because I know I can’t,” pausing Devon added, “nor am I sure I’ll want too. We’ll see.