They took me into a ruin that had four walls and a pit and tossed me in. I tried to break my fall with my hands, but the wrist that’d been hit collapsed with a shot of pain and I landed on my face in the dirt. Gentle hands turned me over and I looked up into the twin faces of Dreanan and Rheanan.
“My lord,” Dreanan said, removing my gag. Her hands were bound also and a gag hung about her neck.
“Shut up,” I said and sat up.
She smirked and asked what happened. I related the story.
“Good, The Owl got away.”
“Mother of Summer,” Rheanan said. “You’re lucky to be alive.” She managed to stanch the blood flowing from my shoulder, where the bolt had grazed me. My wrist she could do nothing about, so she left it.
They helped me over to a side of the pit. We sat. We waited.
“You were captured?” I asked Rheanan.
“She was,” Dreanan answered. “I felt her pain, so I searched for her. The sentinel called Vytar had captured her.” While Dreanan spoke, I watched Rheanan, who shrugged in a way that indicated longstanding tolerance for her sister’s ways. They were not exact copies, but very close. Rheanan’s had her hair tied back in a slightly different manner than Dreanan. One I felt attracted to, the other repelled by.
“He met up with the other sentinel and that man forced me to reveal the Loyalists’ location.”
Dreanan looked at her twin. “How?”
“He had a device that shown with a pulsating light. Completely mesmerizing. It’s like he put my body to sleep but kept my mind awake. I couldn’t do anything but watch the light and answer his questions.”
“Did he abuse you?” I asked, remembering my own experience with her sister.
“What? No.” She paused, “At least I don’t think so.” I watched her begin to doubt and felt horrible for suggesting it.
“That’s horrible,” Dreanan said. I looked away.
“Can either of you climb out of here?”
They shook their heads in unison. Dreanan stood and touched the earthen wall.
“I can climb almost was well as The Owl, but something in these bonds weakens my hands.” Rhaenan nodded confirmation.
I tried to call the wind, but only a puff of air found me.
“I think they have some sort of shield that keeps our magic from us,” Rheanan said. Her sister flopped to the ground next to me with a sigh.
The sun set and men put lit torches on the walls around our prison. Sentinel Vytar did not come.
And neither did The Owl. Or Zat.
It was an uncomfortable night.
In the morning a ladder was lowered down and we were told to climb up. Dreanan made Rheanan go up first, then me, and she followed. I’m not sure if she thought she could catch me if I fell. I’d been feverish during the night, but felt clearheaded that morning. The wound on my shoulder had stopped bleeding, but my wrist looked like a purple log.
The camp had been taken down and the troops ready to leave.
An animal brayed and made a commotion, and Sentinel Vytar stepped through a group of men, being dragged by the yamamulecine. It saw me and rushed over, butting its head against my chest and almost knocking me to the ground.
I greeted it and scratched its ear awkwardly.
“This prisoner will ride with me. Put the women in the cart,” Vytar said.
“Are you sure, Vytar?” the other sentinel said.
“I have the emitter,” Vytar answered, waving the mace with the light. “He will behave. Won’t you, Nord?”
That seemed to satisfy him, and he took charge of the twins, leading them off to a coach with bars on the windows, drawn by two mules.
“Get the healer and remove these restraints.”
A soldier moved forward and freed my hands, which hurt a lot. The healer appeared and examined my wrist and shoulder. He tied a splint to my arm and refused to look at my face. He moved off quickly.
They’d put a saddle on the yamamulecine and Vytar helped me mount. He turned to get his mount.
“Hey, that’s my horse.” Rand the second snorted and tossed his head.
He shook his head slightly at me, and I closed my mouth.
The other sentinel rode a horcine.
We rode out. The wagon moved more slowly, being surrounded by armed men. I noticed that we too were surrounded, but not as closely.
“I still don’t see why you insist on riding that inferior creature, Vytar.”
“I like real horses,” he answered.
“Tell me, Nord, do you have a special way with all of the constructs?” The sentinel asked me.
“Constructs?” I answered after looking at Vytar, who twitched a lip.
“Yes. That thing you ride is not a yamamule – or not only a yamamule – surely you realize that?”
“Yes, I realize it.”
“Then why does it react to you so? Constructs do not normally display emotion. They are the perfect fit of machine and animal.”
“They are a prefect abomination,” I said with some heat.
Vytar cleared his throat.
“From all reports, the crockagatorcine also reacted to you. Grand Councilor Fadreel will definitely want to examine you.” He turned to Vytar, “Good call, Captain.”
The way he said ‘Captain’ made me wonder. All did not appear right in Vytar’s world.
Vytar grunted in reply and we rode out of the ruins in silence.