“We’re going to play a game.” A hard voice, emotionless, came from the stone. Nithel’s chest tensed as he listened. He looked to a wall, where it sounded like it emanated from.
“It’s a rather interesting dilemma, each of you vote one person among you to die, if you fail to decide on a member, you all die.
Rule 1: You can’t pick yourself. It’s sweet but cliché, if you vote for yourself to die everyone dies.”
Nithel clears his throat silently, still processing, but filing it. Then, we should vote for the one most likely to die to die now.
“Rule 2: The majority wins, whoever is voted to die by the majority will die and the rest will live.
Rule 3: You have ten minutes to decide. If you fail to pick someone within that time period, everyone dies.”
Ooooof. Nithel licks his lips and glances to Alessio. He wouldn’t vote for me. The likeliness of the dragon being voted out was high. Also the wolf, an outsider. His thoughts ran, questioning the other’s likeliness of voting himself, or Alessio. They had called them friends… but, from his experience with man, they had different meanings of the word friendship. Some true, some…
Questioning hurt. So, he stopped. Not wanting to doubt them. Time would tell.
“Rule 4: I don’t know, but that was fun. Lord Castle will add rules as needed.” It sounded like it was smiling. “Rule 5: Oh, and like everybody gets one irrevocable vote, which counts as a vote if said out loud.”
Nithel’s jaw clenched, and he had no intention of speaking. No accidentally saying that you vote for yourself.
There was a pause. A deafening pause.
Then the wall the voice came from splintered like wood. The giant lizard falling through. Nithel stumbled back into the bed, somehow not bumping Alessio, though he hadn’t planned it. Dust flew, and the dragon paused, looking over everyone. Then it seemed to change robes, it’s scales seeming to… Nithel’s nose flared, and he just stared. Not worrying his mind to think about it. It was trying to look non-threatening.
It bowed. “I figured it was time we rejoined.” He glanced behind him, through the hole in the wall. “There is a mankind here by the name of Gavin Thunderfoot.” It looked back, and Nithel slowly pushed back to his feet, glancing from Alessio to the dragon. It continued to speak, “Who is this she-wolf, and was it she who issued the command?”
Nithel looked at the wolf. “I’m human. Allow me to shift back…” The fur retracted and her body shrunk back to it’s natural shape, still fully clothed.
Nithel’s eyes widened, and a strange sound might have left his mouth. He almost got back on the bed, but managed to remain standing, though his face likely showed his complete shock and possible horror.
The womannnnnn messed with her hair and looked over everyone, then to the dragon. “I issued you no command. In fact, where I come from, I’m at the bottom of the chain of command.” She glanced around again. “Now, what of this game?”
“No one can vote for themselves,” Alessio murmured “and no one would dare vote someone else out loud in case the rest of the group turned against them. Therefore…”
Nithel licked his lips, managing to grab himself, his mind, a bit. But he still stared at the wolf/woman warily. And the dragon, reminding himself to think in his brethren’s language.
“You should each vote for me.” Alessio stood, face half-hidden under his hood. Nithel’s chest tightened and he started to shake his head a bit, but stilled himself. Alessio had a right to argue. “It’s not murder it’s self-defense. If it’s not wrong to sacrifice yourself why would be wrong for you to help me do it?” He paused, then rushed on, as if reassuring himself. “I don’t have anything to live for anyway.”
Nithel’s heart ached then, forehead crinkling. My friend, nothing?
“Each of you have families, friends, something to fight for.”
At that Nithel almost smiled, shaking his head the smallest bit, still looking at his friend’s face. I do not. No family. No friends, I believe I will see again before death, except you. Then Alessio looked at him, there was some warmth in Nithel’s gaze. But the youth was begging Nithel to vote for him.
(And ooppsssss, yes, he forgot to change his thought language.)
“I don’t have any reason to go on living, not like you.”
Nithel cocked his head the smallest bit, sorrow, but also love in his eyes.
“It would be an act of mercy to end this here. Please. Just one of us has to die.”
Nithel abruptly pivoted away from Alessio. “We should vote on the weakest one among us. The one most likely to die in the time ahead. Those who could be most useful to the survival of most of us should not be voted for.” His light brown eyes ran over the people, and… lizard, woman/wolf.
Wanaeam , yumkin ‘an yakun ‘ana. Lan ‘akun dha fayidat kabirat fi alqital , ‘iilaa min baeid. He almost re-thought it, so the dragon could understand, then thought better of it. Slowly waiting. Another plan hatching in his mind.
Passion = A Willingness To Suffer