His arms flying up in exasperation, Fedrel says, “He attacked you? What a reprobate!”
Fyre considers him, her smile fleeting, her brows knit. “He didn’t attack me.” She smiles again. “He caught the blade and showed off his shiny dagger.”
“Oh,” he says, relaxing back into his chair, looking abashed for interrupting. “I apologize, please continue.”
“It’s quite alright,” she says, turning back to the fire. She waves her hands, making the motions of a simple spell, and the fire dances across the embers, forming into three figures sitting in a circle. Fedrel leans in and observes a younger Fyre in tatters sitting across from two other figures on an uneven stone floor. One of the figures tosses a little orange dagger into the air; it flickers and comes back down. The figure hands it to the little effigy of Fyre, and then the real Fyre continues her story:
Sornin treated me well after that, but he was not a good person. He treated others poorly and bullied many of them. If any of them tried to retaliate, Marthus was an imposing presence. None of the other children matched Marthus’s size, and many feared him.
I really liked Marthus. He was very nice to me, and made sure that I received the best treatment. Sometimes I wish I knew what happened to him.
Our little trio survived the captivity in this cave, despite the poor conditions. Sornin’s older brother provided us with food and protection when he could. This lasted for almost a year.
It all ended one day when Sornin’s brother (Vuzyrd) chose the wrong time to provide us with his contraband. The heavy, wooden door swung open that day and Vuzyrd slipped in quickly and quietly to meet Sornin at the appointed corner, not too far from the door. Marthus and I watched from a distance, but couldn’t hear him over the din of the other children in the cell. The two drow exchanged a parcel and then they parted. Sornin made his way toward us, and Vuzyrd made for the exit.
When the older drow opened the door, a boot shot out and kicked Vuzyrd backward onto the ground, sending begging children scrambling out of the way. Three other drow raced in, holding swords at the ready. Vuzyrd scrambled to his feet and drew his own sword, too late. Before Sornin’s brother could bring his sword to the ready, the drow that had kicked him impaled Vuzyrd with his blade.
When I gasped, Sornin turned around, and a low cry of anguish escaped my friend’s throat as we watched Vuzyrd slowly sink to the ground. Sornin charged the three adult drow, screaming at the top of his lungs. His dagger out, he flailed madly at the aggressors. Poor Sornin had no chance. The grown drow easily dodged his angry swings, then trapped his wrist in a death grip.
Something inside me snapped, and I ran forward, grabbed Sornin’s dagger, and stabbed the drow holding Sornin right in the buttocks. He arched his back and skittered away. Unfortunately, the best my strike did was surprise him, as his armor kept the point from breaking his skin. Although the other two drow laughed at their companion, the one I had stabbed turned toward me, anger distorting his face in a deadly sneer.
~ Michael C. Sahd, author of The Unfettered Child and Assassin Marked