I feel like it could have gone worse. Not by much. I mean the stairs was not a place to fight. I did need to get to the archers. I fought somewhat poorly, though given the situation… Pretty well. When that captain asked me who I was, and who I was working for. I don’t know why Marshal Vashka came to mind… How was that better? Well, now I’m sitting here… In a cell. The pain in my arm is overshadowed by my will to escape. They missed my knife… That will be their downfall. Well, I should probably hesitate when the door opens, what if it’s Ahriman? Who knows what that man is capable of. When the opportunity reveals itself, I will be ready.
I don’t know how long I had to wait. But eventually I heard footsteps, so I sprung up hitting my wound to give me a jolt. I grasped the knife, and stood ready. The door swung open. But no one entered. My heart skipped a beat. Ahriman… It has to be. A voice came out of the hallway. No… It was not Ahriman. It was Marshal Vashka. I was sure this was how I died. Failing them. But I held my knife, took a breath into the shit drenched air around me. If I go down, I’ll go down fighting. Except… He said he wanted to thank me. Thank me? What? As it turned out, due to my statement that I was with Marshal Vashka, some of the soldiers of the keep had taken the opportunity to desert. I was greeted as a hero, of sorts. I had been through this dance before, but this time I felt that my suspicions were well founded. I’m in enemy land, an enemy stronghold even. Boyar Belgaru or Marshal Vashka… Does not matter. He seemed honourable, but was still a Hyperborean slaver. I’ll play along, but sooner or later, I need to escape. He offered me food and drinks. I… I am ashamed to admit that my hunger lead me to indulge. It was not until me head started getting woozy that I realised my mistake. Poison… How did I not see this coming?! I stumbled back, and toppled over. Preslav rushed up to me. Get away! I tried to fight him, but strength was leaving my body. What did he say? I was wounded. Well, yeah! So what? My sight blackened before I could hear what he said.
I woke up in a place I did not know. I saw a person I did not know. I felt a pain I knew, however. My wound had been treated. It’s burning… Similar to our medicine, but this is Hyperborean witchcraft. I spoke to the woman, whom I learnt was a sort of Hyperborean Shaman. She said that I was not poisoned, but in fact my wound had been infected. Oh right… Open wound, in a shit and piss drenched cell, all night… Perhaps… Maybe she’s telling the truth. I felt a bit silly. I’ve always had an easy time hiding my pain, much the chagrin of my childhood tormentors. But perhaps… This is not a time, nor a place to hide such things. My people seeing me as a strong warrior is all I have. But pride alone will not be enough to survive out here. I can open that door… To Ahriman, Zeynep… Not Manduhai… Not yet. I liked this woman. At least after she said she wasn’t actually a witch, thinking that made my skin crawl. Before I could get better acquainted with my predicament Marshal Vashka arrived. Now that I was getting a better non-woozy look at him. He looks… Good. Strong. Determined. Honourable. Kind. Kind? What? I got up, and it wasn’t until he commented my body, that I realised that I was bare. Such things don’t bother me. I’ve feigned being bothered, as it puts people off not to be. But I… I didn’t mind him. We spoke of what was happening, and the current state of Hyperborean society, and his thoughts on it. I don’t know why… But I trusted him. He reminded me of my father… Baatar? Yes. Bishtak? Yes?… No. He reminded me of myself. I opened my mouth, and out came… All of it. I could’ve told him everything. Anything. But, I managed to filter it. I did not tell him who I truly was, until it seemed like he would aid us against the sorcerer… SORCERER! Grigori Yefimov… I learnt his name, and what he did to make sure that Jeshid would remain in Hyperborean lands… I must tell Ahriman. Ahriman… Where are you? No… I can’t count on Ahriman, I am far afield… I’m in a cottage who knows where… Vashka seems to allow me to leave and find my friends. For now, I will go with this man… For now.