by Brianna G. Harte
PREVIOUSLY, ON “THE KNIGHT OF XEO”
Part of me gazed solemnly at the rough gray flooring met the walls. A few insects tumbled about. Instinctively, I knew that these bugs did not belong in the other world I had been visiting against my will. Again, I had no explanation for myself as to why. I just knew.
Ermaj waited patiently in his chair in the meantime, not speaking a word.
“Where did you learn to be so polite?”
“I’m not around royalty much, but I know what to do in their presence,” he said, shrugging. “But I learned by watching, never doing.”
“I can’t believe that you’d act as though I was royalty. It’s not like anyone is watching you on your manners aside from me,” I noted. “Though if you did want to for some reason act like I was royalty, you’d let me off of this table and let me walk on my own. Honestly, good manners means nothing if you still treat someone like a prisoner. I don’t really care if you think I’m safer on here if I feel like I’m some sort of experiment.”
His body nearly lurched forward, but he caught himself at the last second. Those beady eyes of his darted back and forth before settling upon the door. I watched him carefully. It seemed as though he fully expected a ferocious beast to burst through.
“You’re not . . . afraid of that doctor guy you call Ad’juk, are you?” The thought was almost laughable. With all his brute strength and imposing facade against someone who as far as I knew hadn’t lifted a finger to do more than write down something or mix medicines together, the outcome was clear in my mind.
Ermaj met my gaze. “Wouldn’t you be?” I could feel his anxiety radiating out of every inch of his muscular physique.
His response took me aback. “I mean, sure. He’s only ever treated me like vermin and, well. . .”
A sigh reverberated through the room. “You’re not the only one, young lady. No dwarf I know personally has good things to tell of the heads of our people ever since the battle with the . . . enemy . . . went sour.” Toward the end, he narrowed his already small eyes, watching me closely. It was as though I should know what he was talking about. “They only treat us with slightly more dignity and respect than all of the prisoners taken over the years.”
Many questions flew through my mind. How many prisoners do they have? Are they all here, in this building? When was I taken captive? And were all of the prisoners at a loss of memories as I was, or was I alone in that respect?
The door creaked open and Ermaj’s face went white as far as I could tell in the light of the stone. “I expect that you made sure that everything is going smoothly.”
I withdrew my breath in anticipation of what was to come.
Copyright © 2017 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.