by Brianna G. Harte
PREVIOUSLY, ON “THE KNIGHT OF XEO”
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.
In an instant, Ermaj’s chest rose prominently and his face straightened. An attempted elegant composure was quickly exchanged for an austere one. Only his eyes did not change. I could still sense the still quite present apprehension. All of his nerves were on edge. However, he let none of this show externally.
Eyes as kind as a vulture’s shot at Ermaj. “Nothing at all?” Such a testing, creepy voice rattled him so much that he almost showed it.
With a chin set high, Ermaj grunted, “No, Ad’juk.”
Ad’juk huffed, but let him be and came stalking over toward me. Before berating me with questions, he made notes on the stone, which seemed no different from any other time I’ve looked at it. Whatever he saw made him grin, something that made me suspicious.
“How have you been since your trip down the hallway?”
“Fine.” Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Ermaj looking at me with utter surprise at my bold-faced lie against a detestable dwarf.
“No sudden pains? No troubling feelings?”
Question after question, I would not give him truth. I could not give him the satisfaction of knowing he had been making my chest feel like it was on fire, that he had sent my mind into turmoil, that I had been going to another world or reality or whatever it was. Ermaj’s evident unease of him and brief story of woe made the dwarf even less likable. I kept up the act for a while too. That was, until Ad’juk asked a question that caught me off-guard.
“Who is the disembodied man?”
I didn’t have an answer ready. Repeatedly, I opened my mouth to speak, but thought better of it.
When I gave no response, he seethed. “Who is the disembodied man?” This time, anger resonated in his voice and each word was said so clearly, so forcefully, I thought that the room would shake.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” My voice wavered, and I couldn’t help it.
“Oh, but I think you do. And I’ll find out.”
Copyright © 2017 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.