5. RATS IN THE CELLARS

February 23, 2019


The cellars were wet and cold. So was the rest of the world Fylkir knew, but in the cellars it was even worse than anywhere else. The moisture stuck to his face and drops of freezing water dripped either down his neck or onto his face. It smelled of rust and earth. He wiped a drop off his cheek and walked down the last set of stairs.

The stairs were uneven and some rocks were loose, but he had hurried down these steps so many times in the dark, and tripped so many times that he knew exactly where to place his feet.

The west cellars consisted of a corridor with walls lit by torches, four storage rooms, and two empty dungeons with eight cells in each. Only two of the corridor's torches were lit, leaving the rest of the corridor in black darkness.

Fylkir heard distant footsteps from the left and followed the sound in the pitch black corridor. He found the knob and saw light escaping from the spring under the door. Fylkir didn’t knock. He carefully pulled the door open with a creak.

The General stood in the dungeon, the left side of his face lit with warm flickering light. Fylkir closed the door.

General Haften stepped back, revealing a line of people standing in front of him. Their hands were tied and faces bruised and beat. One girl pressed a ripped piece of clothing to her chest with trembling hands. Her shoulder was ashen and covered in clotted blood. Her face was lowered and breaths ragged, but her defiant dark eyes bored into him.

The rest of the people wore more clothes than she did, although many shirts were in tatters and spotted with drops of blood.

“Don’t waste time,” general Haften said with a grunt and rolled his neck. “You’re in a hurry to get on the way to Dinwatn, aren’t you?”

Fylkir swallowed and stepped forward reluctantly, suppressing a shiver. He paced in front of the line of people, stopped occasionally to shut his eyes tightly and focus on the blood rushing in his veins, the whispers coursing through him, the ancient chants of the gods that had gifted him.

General Haften sighed beneath him and leaned against the wall. Fylkir stepped to the left, trying to listen to someone else, trying to focus. He sweated with effort and frustration pulled at his skin, making his hands tremble. He closed his eyes and cleared his throat.

The blood rushed louder in his head, painfully so. He shot his eyes open, staring at his hands. Trembling. The cellars were silent. Only the occasional sound of water dripping into a puddle somewhere. Nobody else could hear it, but Fylkir was so uncomfortable with the sound of the man’s Itkah-filled blood that he had to fight the urge to run.

He spoke through gritted teeth, his head aching suddenly. “Him,” he told the General, then gestured to the man whose blood was screeching the loudest to him.

A cold burning filled his gut and he bent over. 

The man wasn’t the only Aruel in the cellars. Most of them had some amount of the Aruel blood that called out to Fylkir’s. He glanced warily at the bleeding, shivering girl. She stared straight at him with wide, scared eyes and he quickly looked away.

The General took a few steps forward, then slammed his fist into the middle aged man’s face and Fylkir’s pain relented for a moment.

“You can go,” the General said to Fylkir and planted a kick in the Aruel man’s abdomen.

Fylkir scurried out, his blood screaming at him. His stomach churned. He didn’t stop until cold winter air rushed against his face. He crouched down on the ground, keeping his eyes shut and breathing shallowly.

Fylkir didn’t notice that he was holding his sword up against his face until he had to push it back into the sheath when he stood up again. The coolness of the blade calmed him, brought him back from his nightmares. If Dinwatn didn’t work out, he’d have nowhere else to go.






We will be the last of our kind.
A Raveling Night by E.M Redshaw.


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2 comments

  1. Great atmosphere.

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  2. I could really feel like I was inside of the cellars, as if the dampness was on my actual skin. Your style is so lovely ��-e

    ReplyDelete

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