DAY 8: The Elori – Part VIII

Me?” Kilgalan stammered in disbelief. “They killed my parents on my account? Why? What’s so special about me? Why couldn’t they have done this to someone else?”

“Because, in our observations, you demonstrated a keen mental ability that is seldom paralleled in King Varthos’ kingdom. When we discovered you, we deemed you to be the first natural choice and set out to claim you. When we arrived, asking that you be subjected to the infusion for the sake of your kingdom, your parents would not have it. They didn’t trust us – me, or the Elori. It was I who was sent initially, and I graciously deferred to their choice. But when I returned to King Ghardinian – the king of the Elori, aforementioned – he demanded that I return to try and prevail upon them to hand you over. Still, they refused, and I departed again to bear the news to him. But Ghardinian still would not have it. He ordered me to go, dispatch your parents, and take you to his keeping for the infusion. I refused. I would not do it. It went against my very nature, and I would not spite morality by committing such a heinous crime.

“So Ghardinian sent another one of his minions, a woman, called Narthie. She was and is more merciless than I, and said that the matter would be closed in a few days. Indeed, about four days later, I rode out from the Elori valley to meet with Narthie, who now had you in her possession with a group of armored cavalry. The remainder of the tale, you already know.”

A deep, brooding silence was cast over the two companions, punctured only by the roaring tempest beyond their little recess, which seemed strangely distant and muffled. Kilgalan blinked a few times and then lowered his eyes, saying, “So you are one of these dreadful Elori, Marthadok? One of these people who murdered my parents?”

“I am. But you cannot attribute the act of one man to others under his command. Bear in mind that I refused him, though I have sworn loyalty to him; he could have easily decapitated me if he was in the proper mind.”

“And this Narthie woman; is she?”

“As well, yes.”

Another silence. Then Kilgalan resumed: “Then I shall make it my goal to kill her, and all of the Elori, barring you, Marthadok. How pleasing it will be to use their own weapon against themselves.”

Marthadok twisted his face in an expression of shock and conciliation. He said tenderly, hoping to placate the troubled Kilgalan, “Don’t be rash, boy. These words are not the product of your true feelings, but of your anger – your hatred. You will regret saying them later, I guarantee it. Take deep breaths, Kilgalan, and clear your mind of all emotion. Folly is conceived in anger.”

“I have the power to destroy these monsters; isn’t it my duty to use it?” Kilgalan inquired.

“Who on this earth has the right to decide who deserves life and death? Shall you be the arbitrator, Kilgalan? Shall you determine that Ghardinian is not fit to live, and ought to be extinguished immediately?”

“I have the power, and I am going to use it.”

“You don’t have it yet. Until your dreams reveal the location of the weapon, you are at my mercy.”

Kilgalan fell back and closed his eyes. Darkness came on him again. Then, as always, a light appeared, and he felt himself strapped into the center chair, with two gloved hands pressed upon his skull. He was struggling against the bonds with every ounce of his strength, but could not break free; they had been too tightly bound about his wrist, and it was simply not possible for him alone.

Then, he felt a terrible pain, heard himself scream in anguish. The sensation was exactly as Ghardinian had described it; the notion that someone had punctured your head with a thousand knives all at once. He felt himself writhing in the chair, tears streaming down his cheeks as he protested to the torture he endured. Every part of his body burned, every limb was subjected to wild convulsions, every feature on his face was situated in contortions of pure suffering. Every moment was like a lifetime. The pain was so great that Kilgalan felt himself retch before passing out.

Then, he awoke.

He perceived that everything was the same, that nothing had ever happened; but he had one new addition to his brain, and that was the location of the weapon.

The location. The location. Kilgalan searched for it with all his might, and found it. Buried in the deepest recesses of his brain, but it was there. He claimed it, took it for his own, hid it away where no one could steal it. It was his now. He would go and retrieve this weapon to deal out justice against the Elori.

Then, darkness resumed, and light followed.

He awoke to see Marthadok looking over him, concerned. “You were screaming and writhing,” he said, his eyes tender and gentle. “Are you alright?”

Kilgalan nodded pitifully and tried to sit up. Marthadok grabbed his hand and said, “Let me help you, boy. You’ve been through a lot today; more than most boys ever have in a lifetime…”

Kilgalan had secretively retrieved a hand-sized stone from among the rubble of the outcropping recess, and now bludgeoned it over Marthadok’s head. The man, his eyes rolling back into his head and something vague escaping his lips, fell forward onto his face. Kilgalan turned him over, said, “Farewell, Marthadok. Thank  you for your companionship,” took up his haversack, and mounted his horse. He rode on to the west, heedless of the tempest that raged around him, focused on one thing and one thing alone: Revenge.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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