It was a sight to see. A city of lights and movement and incredible life. Sometimes I forget just how amazing it can be, but I am always impressed at the overwhelming life that exists in one place.
That's why I became a knight, you see. I love the idea of a city. People flourish. People unite to a purpose, and that is, well, to make money and live a little. Which is why, irritated as I am, to find that "living a little" involves a small urchin running past me and stealing what little gold I had in my...
Look, I'm a kind guy, but I swear on everything that is unholy, I will eviscerate that kid.
Only one thing stopped me.
"Oho," said a man, "another one, eh? No worries, no worries, Uncle will take care of you."
"Really?" I replied. "That was a lot of money. You know what? Never mind that. Just let me get back to my queen."
"Ah, I feel that you are forgetting something. There is a reason Uncle found you there, buried in the sand. You think the queen still wants you there?"
Suddenly he sounded different.
"Listen, boy, you're in trouble and you'd better stick with me until we get this figured out. Your princess? Heh...there's something you may need to know about her...."
"Now, what did you say your name was again?"
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
“I got stuck here on a bet.” The man, Atticus raises his eye brows but says nothing.
“It was a silly bet with the princess and another knight. That if I could get out here in full armor she would let me take her out.” I blush, digging at the sand more as I remember how they played me.
“Well then, you best get out here and collect that reward.” I blink at him, his deep voice seeming to resonate through the emptiness around us. He kneels down, starting to dig me out as he speaks again.
“Well, who you be kid? Tell Uncle Atticus.” I think for a second. I've already mentioned I'm a knight who knows the princess. I figure it can't hurt to tell him my name.
“Erith, would-be-knight if I survive this.” He chuckles again, digging my arms free and letting me pull myself up. It's hard to do, my armor weighing me down in the cool air. Taking a deep breath is slightly painful but nothing worse than training.
“Well would-be-knight, you be free now. You should collect your reward. Perhaps let me come along to witness your return of the bet?” He holds out water, which I take and swallow slowly. The cool water is almost too much for my dry throat.
“Sure, I don't see why not. You just saved me after all.”
“Good. Good! I have camels, I was on my way to the capitol to sell Uncle Atticus famous goods!” That's where I know this guy, his deep voice and dark eyes are hard to place. He's a peddler, one of the larger ones from the capitol.
Without speaking another word, or trying to take his waterskin back, he leads me to a spare camel and we begin the ride back to the capitol. The bet's won and I'm on my way to get my winnings and let them know I know they played me. Nothing more's spoken between us until we reach the spanning city with its high walls and tall buildings.
It's really not easy to move with that much sand piled on top of you. I can barely shift a finger before the surrounding sand compresses to the point I can't push any farther. My only refrain is trying to dig away at the sand surrounding my neck with my chin. You might be able to guess, but that's not exactly a fulfilling task.
I sound a small curse as another cascade of sand spills down the slope I'm making with my chin. Then I give another one as the sand dusts into my foolishly open mouth. I'm famished, but sand's not really my meal of choice. It's rather tasteless and hard to swallow. Granted, it's hard to swallow anything when you've spent dawn to dusk under a hot sun with nothing to drink. I can't even sweat anymore.
I wonder if I'm meant to die here, a withered corpse buried up to his neck in sand, dead for nothing but a dare that turned out to be a trap. I've never really been one to fight destiny, or one to go on relentlessly regardless of the odds but, sand take him, I want to kick Kerrel's ass for this. So I'll be damned if I'm dying here.
My eyes watch the setting sun as I dig my raw chin into the sand once more. As a blessedly cool breeze drifts over me, dusting me with more sand, it occurs to me. How am I going to keep digging when I've dug so deep that I can't reach with my chin anymore?
That's the thought that breaks me. My body gives a small shake as it finally hits me, it finally sinks in and pounds against my chest that I'm going to die here, that no matter what I do I'm not making it out of this damn hole. My breathing turns ragged. I close my eyes as the final ray of sun closes out on the horizon. A single tear runs from the corner of my eye as I contemplate the coming hours, doomed to die slowly of dehydration.
His deep voice startles me.
“Well, boy, this is quite the predicament you're in.” His words are tinged with amusement.
My eyes fly open and I almost crack my neck turning to look at him. He's just out of view, but I catch a flash of brown and tan robes, and the gleam of a naked sword hanging at his side.
“Calm yourself, son.” He growls. “And tell uncle Atticus what brought you here.”
It took me awhile to realize it.I thought it was all so simple. I suppose that, in retrospect, it's really not.