Character Story

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    Urwen Starial

    @dakota @emberynus-the-dragonslayer @mayacat @esmeralda-gramilton @kayla-skywriter @naiya-dyani

    “I want to tell you Rhioe but. . . it hurts so much. .  you know?” Logan said.

    “I know.” Rhioe said quietly. “It’s just. . . You’ve been so kind to me, and I can’t stand to see you look so hurt.” There was a silence, and Rhioe wondered if she’d something wrong.

    “I’m sorry.” She apologized. “I shouldn’t be asking you about this.”

    “Tears sparkle like fallen stars, the world at our fingertips, We didn’t know, It wasn't happiness.


    @urwen-starial @mayacat @esmeralda-gramilton @kayla-skywriter

    ( It’s okay! Hey, would you mind if we started writing together, like in Google docs? That might doing the next parts with Kiet a little easier.)

    Megyn nodded. Yes, I’m ready. Let’s go. she signed. She turned and walked through the gate.

    As the Tower came into view, she set her chin. Her eyes dimmed with memory as they drifted over the dungeon’s walls. Under the gloom of the clouded skies, the those rough-hewn gray walls crusted with snow seemed darker than they had been the night before. To her, those stones were more transparent than a glass window, for she knew what degree of the horror and doom and heartache they hid behind them.

    She shivered. But she didn’t huddle into her coat or draw it closer around her. It  wasn’t from the cold.

    I hope Kiet came through the night okay. She pressed her lips together. For Kedori’s sake, he’ll be alright.

    She lifted her head against the wind as a light of determination burned bright in her eyes. He has too. 

    Psalm 119:11
    Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You.

    Naiya Dyani

    @dakota Sure! If you want to get a doc started, my email is naiyadyani@gmail.com.

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


    @naiya-dyani Okay, here the link. https://docs.google.com/document/d/15xwVzu4L-47QU-2jqlXD8UhXaHEfdABwDjaOE_rcVkY/edit

    I share it with you as well.

    Tomorrow I’ll be on from about 11 AM to 2:30 PM, if that works for you.

    Psalm 119:11
    Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You.

    Emberynus The Dragonslayer

    @urwen-starial @mayacat @esmeralda-gramilton @kayla-skywriter @naiya-dyani @dakota


    “I’m sorry.” Rhioe apologized. “I shouldn’t be asking you about this.”

    “No! It’s fine Rhioe. Thank you so much for caring . . . for asking,” Logan was silent for a moment as he carried her, “You remember when we first met and- and- I locked up?”

    Sold souls and dead promises

    Emberynus The Dragonslayer

    @urwen-starial @mayacat @esmeralda-gramilton @kayla-skywriter @naiya-dyani @dakota

    Here’s the newest part for Chance:

    Chance picked his violin up from where he had laid it on the floor. As he looked at it his lips quivered and a tear dropped onto it’s shining wood. He knelt down beside the violin case and laid the violin careful inside. Another tear fell. He tried to blink them back, but he couldn’t stop them now. Shutting the instrument case, he swung it onto his back. He looked a moment at the small candle in the window. It had gone out and the cold wind had quickly carried away any heat that remained in it’s blackened wick.

    Going to the corner where his violin had been, Chance picked up a small gray satchel with the mockingbird insignia on it. Leila’s grandmother had embroidered it for him when he had first joined the police force. He shrugged it over his shoulder. Another tear dripped from his chin and fell to the dusty floor. So many memories haunted his mind as he crossed the room and opened the door. Some were good memories, but others. . . Chance  bit his lip hard. Stepping out of the building, he shut the door behind him.

    The snow was barely falling now, but the wind had picked up and the temperature was dropping. Chance looked around him with a strange expression on his face. The dim moonlight cast eerie shadows all around him. He tried to breathe, but the air seemed to choke him as if caught in his throat.

    “Come on Chance.” He whispered to himself. “You’ve gotta be brave. Leila needs you to be brave. You’re stronger than this. That’s all in the past. You’ve got to let it go.”

    The shadows seemed to push him. He stepped backward, pressing his back against the door. His head spun with awful memories. His chin quivered. His fists clenched.  A tear rolled from his eye and froze on his cheek. His lips parted and he gave a small gasp, as if he were in pain.  Shutting his eyes, he darted forward, running blindly down the long street.

    Suddenly a hand grabbed him, jerking him to a halt. All the air left his lungs, replaced with a choking terror. The next second a familiar voice pierced the air.

    “Chance Future!!” It was the harsh voice of his commanding officer, in an irate tone.

    Chance took a deep breath, trying to shake himself from his flashback. “Captain Stanley.”

    “Yeah it’s me alright. What are you doing out here?” The man snarled his hand tightening in a vice-like grip on Chance’s arm. “What- come on Chance. You were crying?! Seriously? Aren’t you a little old for that?”

    Chance’s pale cheeks flushed for an instant and his eyes flashed, but he didn’t speak.

    “Answer me!! What were you doing out here?!! Why weren’t you helping with the knot house raid?”

    Chance spoke quietly, but evenly, “I didn’t know there was a raid, Sir.”

    The man laughed scornfully. “Of course you didn’t. You’ve been running away from the barracks to cry somewhere. If you’d been at the barracks you would have known and I wouldn’t be out here looking for you.”

    “I didn’t run off to cry. Officer Daniels sent me to patrol this sector. I was-”

    “Don’t mouth off to me kid.” The captain was yelling now. “You should have been at the barracks where I told you to be!!” His eyes fell on the black case on Chance’s back. His eyes filled with hatred and disgust. “Oh, so that’s what you’ve been doing; playing your stupid music.” The Captain’s hand shot out and snatched the violin case from Chance’s back.

    Chance’s eyes filled with fire. “Captain Stanley-”

    “What Chance?” The man taunted, swinging the case back and forth experimentally. “Don’t want anyone touching your precious instrument?”

    “Sir, theft is still frowned upon in this city. You should know that. You can’t just take my personal property because you’re my commanding officer.”

    Stanley’s eyes narrowed and he pushed Chance roughly against the wall of one of the buildings. “You’re questioning my authority? You know very well that I know the laws of our government, but I also know something else, Chance.” He stepped closer to Chance, taking his baton from his belt and holding it in front of Chance’s face. “This city is a place of war. Only the tough ones will survive here. We have a job to do.” His voice rose again to a yell, “And there is no place in this Police Force for a musician and his pathetic music!” Swinging back his arm, he hurled the violin case against the concrete.

    Chance gasped. “What are you doing? You’re going to break it!” He started to bend over to pick up the case, but a blow to his head from the baton stopped him. He grunted and stumbled trying to catch himself on the wall as bright flashes of light dotting his vision.

    “That was the idea.” Captain Stanley laughed again.

    Chance slumped to the ground, pressing his hands over his pounding head. “Captain. . . You can’t just do this. . .” His voice seemed to fade in and out, echoing inside his head as he spoke.

    “Who’s going to stop me?” The man jeered.

    Sold souls and dead promises


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

    Okay, peeps, @naiya-dyani  and I have been working on what happens next with Megyn, Kiet and Kedori . . . and here is part one. Hope this is good. 🙂 (dashes indicate POV switch


    As the young woman walked past the gates, Kedori sucked in a breath through the pounding of his heart. It’s going to be alright. You have permission to be here.

    For now.

    His eyes darted about as they approached the Tower. In the few seconds he had, he couldn’t spot any obvious structural weaknesses. There probably weren’t any; the place had had construction on it recently.

    No matter–there were other ways to break someone out.

    Right now, though, Kiet was injured and had spent the night alone. Any planning would have to take second place to healing him.

    As they approached the gate to the Tower, Megyn shivered again. Just a look at those wrought iron gates sent chills down her spine. Its threatening atmosphere repulsed her gentle spirit. Yet somehow it drew her with a haunting fascination.

    She turned her eyes away only to glance back at Kedori, who followed close behind her. The blue in his eyes seemed to plead with her. Though silent, that gaze screamed louder than the blare of a bullhorn. He’s trusting you. Depending on you to help his friend. You can’t let him down.

    Her chin set with determination as she turned back to the gate. And, Lord helping me, I won’t.

    Now they stood directly before the gate. A stern-faced guard appeared on the other side of the bars. He peered at her through them with a distrusting stare. “What is your business here?” he questioned, his voice echoing around in the icy air of the prison yard.

    She looked him in the eye as she answered in a clear, brave tone. “FRMS Agent Megyn Harris. I’m here to see the Tower Warden.”

    He stepped to the side. The steel of the gate groaned. Megyn stood back as the gate trembled, then slowly swung back to open into the yard.

    As she walked through, she looked back at Kedori again. His eyes watched her, wide and nervous. This place troubles him just as much as it troubles me, she thought.

    “I need to see your badges.” the guard informed them as he appeared beside her.

    She nodded. “Of course, Sir.” As she slipped the badge from her coat pocket and handed it to him, she glanced around with forced causality. The snow had covered the yard with the purest white, contrasting with the eerie shadows lingering around the almost black walls. It mounded against the fence, unbroken except for ragged furrows tread out by the feet of patrols.


    She jerked her head, then nodded as he handed the badge back. “Thank you.”

    He grunted as he reached for Kedori’s. As his eyes scanned it, they drifted to her, full of a piercing gaze. “What do you want to see the Warden for?”

    “I have business with him,” she replied in tones politely evasive as she met his gaze a moment.

    “Humph.” He handed Kedori his badge. “You’re clear.”

    “Good day, Sir.” she returned, then walked away to the entrance.

    Another shiver raced over her as the porter pushed open the double doors. Memories of the night before chased each other around her head as she and Kedori passed them into the dark front room of the Tower.

    The sharp crack of a whip snapped in the air. Megyn flinched as the sound resounded through the halls, echoing and reechoing until it rumbled like distant thunder. As it rent the air again, she turned to look at Kedori. Stay close to me, she signed.

    He nodded as he stepped to her side. She tried a reassuring smile.

    “Agent Harris? Back so soon?”

    Her smile smoothed out as she turned. The Warden stood before her with arms folded across his chest. His brow furrowed in surprise as he regarded her.

    “Yes, Warden.” She stepped forward to meet him. “I have here a permission slip from my Commander, Conayre Enlow, granting me permission to attend to the injuries of Kiet Hulsaba, prisoner of the civil government of Outopia­.” She slipped the paper from her coat. “I brought it to you to sign.” She held the paper out to him.

    He glanced down at it, then at her. “May I ask, why the special interest in Hulsaba?” he asked as he reached for the paper.

    “I am concerned about his injury.” She handed him a pen. “He suffered a lot of trauma. The wound could also easily get infected, with him being housed in these–” She licked her lips. “Unhealthy conditions.”

    “No need to put it politely.” He shook his head as he signed at the bottom of the page. “I understand, Miss Harris.” He handed the paper back to her. “I don’t mind. But the higher-ups may become suspicious.” Leaning down, he muttered, “Just keep it ‘professional’.”

    “I will, Sir.” She smiled gratefully as she slipped the paper back into her coat. “Which cell is he being kept in?”

    “Ah-,” He paused, then gave her a shamefaced smile. “I’ll need to check the records for that, Miss Harris. We have a lot of prisoners and I – lose track of who’s where.” He gestured with his hand. “This way, Miss.”

    With a nod of her head, she fell in step with him as he turned and walked into a room. “That’s alright, Warden.” She assured him as he pulled open a door.

    He gestured inside. “I keep the records in here.”

    Megyn glanced around as she walked in. A simple black desk, flanked by a drab steel chair, stood in the off-center right of the room. Rows and rows of small, gray steel cabinets lined all four walls, each with a key hanging from it’s handle. A single bare bulb hung from a chain fixed to the middle of the ceiling, casting many eerie shadows as it swung in the path of it’s pendulum.

    The Warden sat down at the chair. As Megyn walked up to stand before it, he bent down and pulled out a drawer packed with files.  “Lemme see, where’s . . .” His voice trailed off as he rummaged through the drawer.

    Megyn turned her head as Kedori stood next to her. He watched the Warden rummaging a moment, then lifted his eyes back to her.

    She smiled reassuringly, even as an oppression settled around her heart.

    “Here it is – ” The Warden straightened up, laying a file down on top of the desk, Flipping it open, he ran his finger down the first page. “Third Ward, second hall, cell number 870.” He folded up the file as he rose from his chair. Striding over to the wall, he unlocked one of the cabinets. As he pushed open it’s little door, Megyn bit her lip. It was emblazoned with the number 870.

    The Warden shut the door with a bang, then walked over to her. “Here you go,” he handed her a skeleton key. “If you need a guard to guide you–”

    She shook her head. “There’s no need, Warden. Have a good day. And–thank you.”

    He nodded. “Good day, Miss.” Turning away, he walked out of the office.

    Her lips pinched together as she watched him. Slowly, she strode out of the room to the entrance to the Third Ward and nodded to the porter. As he swung the door open, she and Kedori walked through into the darkness beyond.

    Psalm 119:11
    Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You.

    Kayla Skywriter

    @dakota and @naiya-dyani I liked the new part. Would it work with what you have planed if Pasha was left outside? I didn’t see you mention him, inside so I just assumed he was outside. I’m starting work on his next part tonight, but I can change it if I need to.

    Where is Era? If you don’t mind I was going to have Pasha meet up with her again, so you could either write a short part explaining where she is or I could if you don’t have time. Whatever you decide, Era or no Era, you write a part or only I write, just let me know.

    How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight for

    Urwen Starial


    Era hasn’t really gone anywhere, as far as I know, I believe she’s still somewhere outside the prison. I think it would be nice to have another part from Pasha’s POV when he meets up with Era. They’re very adorable in a room together and you do a very good job writing them. 🙂

    “Tears sparkle like fallen stars, the world at our fingertips, We didn’t know, It wasn't happiness.

    Naiya Dyani

    @kayla-skywriter Oh fox noodles! I forgot completely about Pasha somehow!!! What have you got planned for him? I can do my best to incorporate that. XD Sorry!

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


    @kayla-skywriter Yeah, I’m sorry. I guess I kinda assume Pasha would be with Era a while. 🙁 I echo naiya’s resolution.

    Psalm 119:11
    Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You.

    Naiya Dyani

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

    The next part @dakota and I wrote!


    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–


    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.

    Naiya Dyani

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

    Not sure why the original tags didn’t work. The next Megyn/Kiet/Kedori part’s up there!

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


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

    And Part Three!

    As she tipped back the flask and set it aside, her eye caught a glimpse of Kiet’s face, pinched with pain. She winced as she selected a small cloth from her now-open kit. No matter how necessary this was to heal his wound, she knew how painful this was. And it hurts to cause pain while trying to heal.

    Setting her chin against the swirling emotions, she used the cloth to dab out the liquids, beginning at the center of the wounded area and working her way outward. As she worked, her soft eyes focused on her hands, her thoughts tried to drag her back in time. To a place, to a time, to a person who had been there when she had known pain like this.

    You do this to yourself every time! the practical side of her mind scolded as she lay aside the soiled cloth. You can’t live in and pine for those days anymore. 

    It’s like ripping myself asunder not to! the other side returned as she dripped more liquid from the flask onto a clean cloth and began the cleaning over again. No matter how painful those memories are now, I can’t let go of them. I miss them. I miss home.

    A tear dropped from the side of her nose into the wound. She jerked, then quickly laid aside that cloth, dabbing at her face with the back of the other hand as she did.

    Not now. Not here.

    Cleaning her hands again, she inspected the wound once more. It looked fairly clean now, but. . . she shook her head slightly as she reached into her kit for bandages. She glanced up at Kiet as she wrapped the first length around his leg. Her lips pressed together in an expression of pity as she watched his pale face a moment.

    And here is Kiet, with his own past. His own memories. His own pain. She dropped her eyes to watch her fingers. And with a title of Criminal over his head. Is cleaning and bandaging the physical all you can do?

    She wrapped the last length around. As she secured it in place, she smoothed her hand soothingly over it, lifting her eyes to look at him again. She opened her lips as her voice came out in an almost tearful whisper. “I’m sorry.”

    Kiet blinked at the words. “What?” he managed, voice cracking.

    “I’m . . . I’m sorry I had to cause you pain.” She swallowed as she steadied her voice. “I’ve done my best. We’ll have to leave the rest in Hands far more capable than mine.” She smoothed over the bandaged leg again, then gently laid it down on the floor.

    “Hands far more capable than mine. . .”

    Kiet swallowed hard. It was a risk, but. . .

    “Do you mean–do you–trust in the God of heaven?”

    Megyn nodded. “Yes, I do.” She zipped up the main compartment of her backpack, then laid the bag next to her. She cocked her head a little as she scooted up next to him. A tremor ran through her heart into her frame. I thought I was the only one who knew about you, Lord. What are you doing here? Why did you bring me here?

    “Oh,” Kiet said quietly. His forehead creased. “I do too. Well. . . sort of, I guess.” His stomach twisted. “I don’t know that I could really call it that right now. He must hate me now.”

    Before he could stop the words, a broken whisper slipped out. “I didn’t mean to do anything wrong.” His heart pounded. You’ll just hurt your case saying things like that–she’s a Mockingbird too!

    That wasn’t what I expected. Something like relief rippled through Megyn as she watched his face. But it quickly shifted to pity as she watched the distress etching lines in his face.

    “What do you mean?” she asked, her tones gentle as she laid a hand on his shoulder.

    “I. . .” Kiet met the woman’s eyes searchingly. She seemed. . . honest. Genuine. Was there a chance she wasn’t trying to get information?

    No–you can’t trust her! part of his mind shouted.

    She helped you. She’s not like the others, the other part whispered.

    He gritted his teeth, head whirling. “I-I made a mistake. But I don’t know what’s wrong and what’s right. . . or who’s wrong and who’s right. . .” His eyes stung. “I never meant to do anything wrong. I’m sorry.”

    Sympathy filled Megyn’s heart. This sounds like he’d been talked into this, without really knowing he was really getting himself into. He’s all alone.

    You know what that feels like, that still, small voice whispered. This is why you are here.

    “It’s alright,” she assured him as she watched the tears filling his eyes. “There is a warrant out for any and all suspected of being affiliated with the Sparrows. If you haven’t done anything worthy of punishment, you might be released.”

    Kiet’s shoulders hunched. “But I don’t know what’s worthy of punishment. I don’t know what’s wrong to begin with. The government isn’t doing much to help people–and they’re so harsh–but is it really right to rebel against them? Especially with all the fires. . . but he said something about the rumors being false. . .” His stream of words stopped as the blood drained from his face. I just gave him away. Please God, don’t let her notice!

    Megyn winced. “I–I know.” She let her eyes sink to the cold floor. The shadows shrouding it seemed to darken her heart with sorrow as she bit her lip. She closed her eyes, lifting up a silent prayer.

    “I don’t know if anything we do does any good.” Her feelings formed words on her lips as her voice grew quieter. “And–I don’t really know much about the Sparrows and if their cause is right. Or even if our cause is right.” She lifted her head. Her eyes locked into his, full of her raw feelings mingled with a compassion that burned and a strength she did not feel. “But I’m sorry you have to be a victim of all this confusion and chaos.”

    She shifted her position to face him as she laid her other hand on his other shoulder. “I promise I will do everything I can to help your wound heal. And, if there’s anything else I can do, I will. Even if all I can do is show you love–and pray.”

    Tears spilled onto Kiet’s cheeks. Despite his best efforts to suppress them, sobs wracked his chest.

    When was the last time someone had shown kindness like this to him? Sometime in that other world; it had to be. Aside from the gruff affection of the apothecary, he’d had to fend for himself, subject to the attacks of whatever thieves he couldn’t fight off. A set of new scars now accompanied the two on his face.

    And now, in the pit of his worst moments in this world yet, gentle hands and a kind heart reached into his cell.

    It was as if God had sent them himself–except. . .

    “I think God hates me.”

    Megyn wrapped both arms around his shaking form. She clasped one hand around the back of his head as she laid it on her shoulder. “He doesn’t hate you,” she murmured as she rested her chin against his head. “He may be displeased with us at times, but He can’t hate those who are His own.”

    His instinct fought against her words. “Do I even count? I’m not strong enough for him. I’m–” The scars on his face burned as the message meant by them rang in his ears. “I’m a coward. He wouldn’t want me.”

    “We don’t have to be strong enough.” Megyn murmured, squeezing him tighter as emotion choked her words. “I–I know.” With a mighty effort, she swallowed most of it down. “All we need to do is trust that He is strong enough and obey what He says.” She smoothed the ruffled hair on the back of his head. “And He can turn a coward who’s willing to trust Him into a hero who honors Him.”

    She lifted his head to look him in the eye. “I don’t think you’re a coward.”

    His chest twisted. “You–you don’t know. . .” Know the fear he’d lived in when he was younger. Know the hands that slashed his face. Know those words that whispered in his ear even now. Coward. Pathetic. Worthless.

    She didn’t know the panic that still seized his heart in a grip of ice when the slightest thing reminded him of those days. She didn’t know how weak he was. How scared he was. How worthless he was.

    “I am,” he said, voice slipping out as a whimper. “I’ve only been this scared once before in my life. I was pathetic then and I’m pathetic now.” The words came in a rush as a new round of tears built in his throat. “I don’t know why you’re even helping me. I’m not worth the effort.”

    She clasped both her hands around his face as her heart twisted. “Because you’re a person, made in His own image!” she exclaimed softly. “Someone He loves so much He died for and that He calls me to love in the same way! And it’s my duty, as an FRMS agent, to help all citizens of Outopia, no matter how great or how small they may seem.”

    A tear rolled down her cheek. “We all can be scared. I am scared sometimes, so much so that my heart freezes the inside of my chest. But He has not given though who are His own a spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind. He is with us; we don’t have to face fear alone. All we have to do is lean on Him.”

    Kiet’s eyes squeezed shut as his tears ran onto the woman’s hands. “I’m tired of being scared,” he whispered. “I just want to go home. I’m not even from here. But I’ve forgotten so much, and I don’t know how to get back, or how I got here in the first place.” He let out a shaky breath. “Enna Sora would know what to do. She would be strong–and help me be strong. She would help me. But I don’t know what happened. The only way I know it’s not my imagination is because of him.” He looked up at Kedori, who stood to the side, watching silently with swimming eyes.

    “He’s from my village–or country, or world, or whatever it is. Enna Sora adopted him, too. I wish I knew what happened–why we’re here. I don’t know who else from my world is here too.”

    Megyn’s heart groaned within her as another round of tears threatened to spill from her eyes. He’s a stranger too, lonely, lost and longing for home. She bit her lip to hold them back. She managed, although her eyes dimmed more as memories flooded her mind. Faces she’d loved. Places she’d wandered. Spaces she’d dreamed in.

    The tears finally trickled down her cheeks in silver trails as she whispered, “I don’t belong here either. We’ve both been torn from what we knew to be thrown into the unknown. ” She set her chin, determined to steady her voice. Swallowing down her overflowing emotions, she brushed the tears from his face.”Maybe that’s why we’re both here. To–to help each other be strong.”

    She glanced at Kedori. “To help us all be strong. And trust Him for strength.”

    Kiet let out a shaky breath. They weren’t the only ones. Something was going on here. Something strange. But. . .

    “Do you think–there’s any way to get back? There are so many people I left behind.”

    She bit her lip as she mournfully shook her head. “I’ve tried. But I could never find a way out. I’m–I’m sorry.” She wrapped her arms around him again, hugging him close to her as she wrestled herself.

    I left so many behind too.

    A stubborn thread of hope tugged at him. There has to be some way. If there’s a way out, there’s a way in. Maybe she just hasn’t found it. Just hold on until you do. You have to get back. You have to.

    He sucked in a breath, cheeks growing warm as he drove the pain of loss back into the recesses of his mind. “I’m–sorry for acting like this. I don’t know what came over me. I just haven’t had anyone to talk to, that’s all. I shouldn’t have spilled it all on you.”

    “It’s okay. Really,” she whispered. “Sometimes you just–have to.” As she loosened her hug, she rested a hand on his shoulder. “I’m glad to be here for you.”

    “Thank you,” he murmured, blushing. His forehead twisted as he glanced at his leg. “About the wound, though. . . it’s going to take a while to heal, isn’t it? We don’t have those–guns, in my world, but we do have arrows, which I guess would give similar enough injuries. Those take some time.” He looked up. “I guess I should have mentioned–my mother is a healer, and I was training under her before I ended up here.”

    Megyn nodded as she managed a smile. But it vanished in a sigh as she replied,”Similar, yes, though gunshot wounds cause significantly greater trauma and more shrapnel.” Her gaze glimmered with sadness as she looked him in the eye. “I’m afraid that it will take a while. And–there’s a high risk of infection. I know that keeping it clean in these conditions isn’t easy, but we must try.”

    Kiet swallowed and nodded. “I’ll do my best. Do you think you’ll be able to come back sometime soon? I know you must be so busy, but–” He shifted his wrists in the chains against the wall. “–I can’t really do much with it myself.”

    “I’ll be back tomorrow,” she assured him as she swung her backpack onto her back. “All you need to do is try to keep it out of the–“stuff” on the floor.”

    She managed an encouraging smile as she laid a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry. Lord willing, I will be back. I’ll be praying for you.”

    “Thank you,” Kiet said quietly, a smile touching his face. He glanced at Kedori. “And–would you be able to tell him I said thank you for coming? Seeing a good friend from my world means more than I can say.”

    She nodded. “Of course.” Turning to Kedori, she signed the sentiment to him.


    Kedori bit his lip. The same goes for me, he signed to his friend. I’d thought I was the only one.

    He smiled. I’ll do my best to visit tomorrow.

    And maybe, he thought, I’ll be able to figure out some way to get you out of here.

    As they turned to leave, a hint of peace eased the tension in Kiet’s chest. Maybe–just maybe–things would turn out alright.

    Psalm 119:11
    Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You.

    Naiya Dyani

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

    Time to set up for some pain, darlings *rubs hands*

    The footsteps receded down the staircase. Gerik gritted his teeth, head whirling. Kiet had sounded so–honest. For those few minutes, he had sounded just like a frightened boy in over his head.

    He sounded like what he seemed to be.

    Stop it, Gerik. You know better than anyone it’s not true. His eyes burned as tears formed. You know what his people did to your village–to your family. If you really care about the Sparrows, you’ll get a grip before you let him shatter them!


    The key squeaked as Megyn turned it in the lock. Don’t do this! her heart screamed as she slipped it back into her pocket. Don’t leave him here in this abode of death!

    “I have to,” she whispered in a voice torn. “But I will not abandon him. I will return.”

    She turned to Kedori, nodded, and walked down the halls back to the entrance.

    Her eyes sought the floor as they walked. A thought troubled her with each step, reverberating in her soul louder that the crashing of closing cell doors as guards took out and put away prisoners.

    If Kiet’s wound does become infected and he becomes ill, I’ll need to take him to the hospital. What if they don’t let me? I can’t stay here to nurse him and tend to my duties at the hospital and walk my route with FRMS. Lord, please grant this case a measure of grace in the eyes of the Tower Warden.

    As they reached the entrance, she raised her eyes to the ceiling for a moment in silent prayer. Father, keep him. Assure and remind him of Your love. He needs you.

    The doors into the courtyard yawned, allowing the icy breath of the wind rush in as they walked out of the Tower. The guard at the gate nodded to them as he swung it open.

    After the gate crashed closed behind them, Megyn turned to Kedori and lifted her hands.

    Are you alright?

    Kedori rubbed his arm. Yes. It’s hard seeing him like that, though.

    If I have anything to do with it, he thought, he won’t stay that way.

    If there’s any way to break him out at all.

    She bit her lip as she nodded. I know. I’ll do my best for him. She paused as her eyes focused on the distant hills. And that same troubling thought returned to nag her.

    Do you want to come back with me tomorrow? She asked.

    Kedori nodded rapidly. He needs as much friendly company as he can get.

    Alright. Then we’ll meet at the same place, same time, she signed back. As she turned her wrist, her eyes locked on the time. 3:00.

    I’m sorry, I must go now. I need to report at the FRMS headquarters, she signed. For a moment, she stood still, hands poised to sign. Slowly lowered her hands as she held out in her arms in a silent question.

    Kedori managed a smile. Without another word, he succumbed to the embrace.

    It wasn’t cold anymore. His head was burning. Yet he shivered.

    This isn’t normal, the healer side of Kiet’s brain said. Something’s wrong.

    Yet the rest of his brain fought the thought, longing for rest. Kiet moaned, unable to find a comfortable position with his wrists locked against the wall. A sharp pain shot through his leg. He gritted his teeth, arms trembling.

    God–please, don’t let me be sick. I can’t do that in here. Of all places. . .

    A chill raced down his back. Please. . . I need rest.

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

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