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#124812
Naiya Dyani
@naiya-dyani

@urwen-starial @mayacat @esmeralda-gramilton @kayla-skywriter @emberynus-the-dragonslayer

The next part @dakota and I wrote!

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Cell 860, 861, 862 . . .

Megyn winced as they passed cell after cell. The prisoners here seemed so. . . empty. Like souls living in death, and yet alive. Most didn’t even glance at them as they passed. The few that did stared at them with complete disinterest, as though they didn’t even see them.

Cell 868, 869, 870. This is–it.

She stepped to the cell door and called, “Hello.”

Kiet flinched and looked up at the voice at his cell door. “I’m sorry. I–please. . .” His voice caught in his throat, sounding more small and scared than it had in three years.

It took a moment for the frightened haze to fade and let him notice the young woman on the other side of the bars. And–

“Kedori?”

The boy’s blue eyes swam as they met his. His fingers twitched as though he wanted to say something, but he formed no signs.

Kiet blinked back tears and glanced back at the woman. With a soft gasp of recognition, he let out a cracked whisper.

“It’s you.”

 

Megyn’s heart swelled up in her throat for a moment as she regarded him with sad eyes. He sat there against the back wall of his cell, staring at her and Kedori with eyes glistening with tears. A chain attached to the wall linked his wrists together. His leg lay in a pool of some dark liquid.

Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of that. But her voice was calm as she replied, “Yes, it’s me.” She stepped to the cell bars as she reached into her pocket for the key. “I’ve brought someone you might want to see.”

As soon as the two stepped into the cell, Kedori rushed forward and dropped in front of Kiet. Are you okay? I’m so sorry this happened. Please tell me they haven’t been hurting you.

Kiet sucked in a shaky breath, then twisted his fingers awkwardly in an attempt to fingerspell a response. Not really. Why are you here?

Kedori’s eyes flickered as if hiding something, but he simply signed, We’re taking care of your leg. It’ll get infected if we don’t treat it. You know that as well as anyone.

Kiet tore his gaze away as faint memories raced through his mind. Working with an apothecary. . . no, a doctor. . . no, she was called a healer and was both. She was like a mother to him, along with Kedori and. . . someone else. Someone too close to him to forget like this.

His head pounded. Shaking the thoughts away, he looked back at the woman as she knelt nearby. She had a Mockingbird badge on her coat. Come to think of it–

Kiet darted a glance at Kedori. His jacket was emblazoned with the symbol as well. The blood drained from his face. They’re both on the government’s side. Is there another reason they’re helping me? Are they trying to get information? And Kedori. . . we were friends. Brothers. Is he going to side with them too? Blast it, I don’t want him to be against me. . .

No. He just made it clear he wished this didn’t happen.

But still–he’s hiding something. What’s going on here?

Swallowing hard, he avoided both their gazes. God–I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do anything wrong. Help me. Please.

Something is troubling him. The way he looked at us after the his initial reaction –

Megyn pressed her lips together as she lowered her backpack from her shoulder to the floor. Lord, I didn’t want to trouble him, only to help.   

She laid a hand on Kiet’s shoulder, her eyes shadowing with concern as she asked, “Are you alright?”

Kiet gave a start. “Uh–yes,” he stammered.

Megyn didn’t look convinced as she glanced at Kedori. She’d done the same thing enough times to know the signs.

But right now, his leg needs attention.

“Alright.” She ducked her head in a quick nod. Scooting down to his leg, she dragged her backpack to her. After she unzipped it, she glanced back up at him. “May I?”

Kiet nodded, clenching his teeth as she loosened the bandages.

She bit her lip. The dark liquid on the floor had stained the bandages a murky green. As she removed them, a nasty stench filled her nose.

Gross. And to have the wound soaking in that– The end of her nose wrinkled the slightest bit as she dropped them aside. Quickly wiping her hands clean on a large remnant she kept for such purposes, she encircled the leg with her arms, lifting it carefully into her lap.

She dug her teeth deeper into her lip. Despite the darkness of the cell, she could see that the wound had indeed soaked in that nasty fluid. Also, a dark red smear of half-dried blood ran down his leg. It somehow broke open during the night.

She released her lip in a quiet sigh as she examined the wound with her fingers for a moment. Wiping one of them clean again, she slid a narrow, corked flask from the side pouch of her backpack.

“Kiet.” She lifted her head to talk to him as she uncorked the flask. “I am going to wash this wound out.” Her face softened as she warned him. “I’m afraid this will hurt.”

Kiet squeezed his eyes shut, clenching his jaw. Why did this have to happen? Couldn’t they have captured me without shooting me? He struggled to suck in deep breaths through the hammering of his heart. I wish Bena were here.

For an instant, surprise replaced sickly anxiety. Bena–that was the Aboreil word for mother. Aboreil was his native language. . . how could he have forgotten it until now?

Sharp, stinging pain shattered all thoughts of lost native languages. Kiet bit back a cry as the cleaning began.

Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.

Story Embers

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