To read from the beginning start here.
The mantle of despair settled uneasily over my being in a heavy breath of denial. Denial of a warrior’s death. Denial of battle’s honor. Denial of joining my crèche-mates at Rangor’s Knee. Denial of everything I’d cast my life searching for. Instead, I stood shackled. A mockery of what I’d once been. Waiting for the death of a weakling. It couldn’t come fast enough.
Despair. It hung all about me. Seeping into my bones. Every pull of my breath soured my lungs with life. I desired the clutch of death, but these creatures denied me that dignity. Caging me. Locking me in this foul metal which burned my skin. And now, with this mockery of a parade, leading me before their people into the dark.
The moment the gloom cast over me, I allowed my vision to shift red. These creatures bodies were difficult to discern from the surrounding rock in the dark, cold-blooded like their souls.
Except for one. One bright beacon radiated heat. A tiny creature. Not one of them. I scented, tugging in a deep lungful of the foul air I’d been forced to breathe. My captors’ foul smell had me gagging, and I stumbled, nearly falling to my knees. Only the solid grip of the one leading me, keeping a taut grip on my chains, held me upright.
He led me to a platform and handed me a key. A key any fool would know had no hope of unlocking the chains.
My eyes fixated on a kneeling female, one so unlike the others. She huddled in fear, and like me, she too was bound. In my far-sight, the black orbs of her eye-sockets cast about, almost as if she couldn’t follow my every move. What role she played I had no idea.
The one holding my chains maneuvered me into position on a swaying piece of wood and leapt off the platform. A glance down revealed a drop beneath me. I readied myself for death.
Then I heard the words the one standing over the female whispered into her ear…’You will nourish us well tonight.’
My chest swelled with need to protect one weaker than myself. I may have disgraced my crèche. I may not be worthy to kneel before Rangor after my death. But these cretins would not feast upon a female. Not while I still drew breath.
The chains holding the platform groaned and the wood beneath my feet shuttered and shifted. I crouched, preparing for an impact some unknown distance beneath me. And, I was pretty certain something or someone waited below.
To read part V click here.