Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo WriMo Day 12: Findings

Chapter 12: Findings

Thump, thump, thump.  The steady pounding of drums beat like the wings of a bird announcing the arrival of something.  Enlil did not care to guess at the identity of those arriving in the castle as the thumping echoed about the inner confines of his holding room.  His white doublet had been recently washed and felt brisk against his skin.  Leather chaps clung tightly to his legs.  Sandals replaced boots lost to the sucking sand of his prior prison on the beach.  He paced from wall to wall, thinking.

The Thunderer wanted something from him, something that was not apparent until after the successful siege of the castle.  At first Enlil had not caught onto this fact.  He awoke every day, groggier than the last.  His mouth would be parched dry as if he had spoken for hours.  Yet, he bared no recollection of any talking outside of a few crude jokes thrown at his gaolers.  

It was on the third day, or what he ascertained as the third day, that he discovered the powdery substance on his food.  Tact was taken to carefully place the substance where it mixed best with the liquids of the meal, clearly added after the meal had been prepared.  

On that third day some of the powder had managed to stay suspended; afloat on a pool of rendered fat among some chopped and roasted root vegetables.  Enlil opted not to partake of the vegetables that day and instead dumped them in a hidden alcove behind the high-backed chair.  

His keepers seemed none the wiser and when the Thunderer arrived that evening for questioning, the change was immediate as Enlil sat quietly opposite the taller man.  “You are very quiet this evening Captain,” the conversation had started.  The talk died quickly before the Thunderer saw himself out, whispering in the ear of one of the jailers on his way down the hall.  The door had swung shut before Enlil could make anything of the whispers.

The next day, Enlil hid his entire meal along with the previously discarded vegetables in a bundle of clothing passed to the washer boys.  However, that night when the Thunderer visited Enlil spoke openly.  Unsure of where previous conversations had wandered while he had been under the influence of the powdery substance, Enlil tried to be truthful enough to be believable.  It seemed to have worked as the pair discussed details about the Alban procedures at the camp, but the Thunderer clearly guided the conversation. Enlil felt that he filled in enough new information to deflect his ruse.

However, abruptly during the conversation, the  Thunderer announced he had business elsewhere and that “I will miss our conversations Captain.”  The door clicking shut behind the the man as he left sounded like the final hammer blow on the nail’s head of the coffin that was Enlil’s confinement.  Better here than the beach Enlil thought to himself.

Enlil ate his entire plate of food at each meal the next day.  On the next day he awoke clear headed and energetic.  It was clear the Thunderer had seen through his guise, but why not send the executioner to finish this?  Why spare him now after the treatment in the camp and on the beach?

Had he awoken with the grogginess associated with the powdery substance the thumping of the drums would have driven him mad.  His pacing continued from wall to wall, before he changed to the door and table.  The rhythmic flip flip of the sandals about his feet combined with the steady beat of the drums set his mind at ease.  

On a pass nearer the door he overheard the guards speaking.  On his first pass of the conversation he made out the word “women”.  The second pass revealed “dresses”.  By the third pass “storms” and “cursed” filtered through the small inset opening in upper half of the door.  This meant only one thing: the Fravashi had returned.


Clydas dragged Jacco down the steps by his tightly knit horn of hair.  Ornamental beads pattered in cascading hops down the stairs as the ornamental ties broke in the knot of hair.  The staircase had been found at the backside of Orten Fareen’s quarters, hidden cleanly behind the linen closet.  The biting sound of axe on wood sounded in the background as the men accompanying Clydas proceeded to disembowel the room.  Clydas was not pleased Jacco had chosen to hide this from him.

“Tis is all.”  Jacco pleaded with Clydas.  “I swear.” The whole situation had turned on Jacco. Gurley had not cooperated as he intended.  The man’s busted legs slowed had slowed him down.  Far to slow.  The siege was practically on the castle as they had arrived.  Jacco should have just killed the sorry excuse of a man right there and fled.  Yet, Jacco knew that would have been disastrous.  No, not disastrous.  It would have meant his death.  Better to let the foolish midlander that was so fond of being called the Thunderer meet the fate that lay at the hands of Gurley’s killer.

Jacco wondered if the Krakens had finished with Gurley yet as he eased himself into the corner nearest him.  He was careful to avoid putting weight on his right arm as his own time with the Krakens had left nothing but a knob of a wrist covered in bandages.  They were, if anything, thorough in their craft. He should have accepted the tainted food.

Jacco sighed a sigh of relief as Clydas lost interest in his misery in favor of the oaken drink casks lining the walls.  Stacked in rows three high, two deep, the entire room was filled with orderly rows.  Actually, he couldn’t quite believe it had been this many.  This was a lot to have been carried through that secret door in Orten’s room.  What was this stuff anyways?  It clearly wasn’t wine or ale.  Clydas was happy at the find, but Jacco knew it wasn’t the happiness of a drunkard.

Word count: 12,088

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