Chapter 10 = Jail Break
Disclaimer: Although all characters here are of my own invention, the original Yoshi is copyright of Nintendo, and I make no money from writing this.
Nothing but total, complete darkness.
Am I dead? Marcus thought to himself.
Black. Nothing but emptiness. Marcus couldn’t believe that he’d died already, when there was so much more to be done, so much left to finish… even though he was dead, he was still without Alziana, and now without Manny. He was on his own, with nobody to…
“Wh… what… who is it…?”
Someone was calling out to him, but not from the real world…
“Who… who is there…?”
I’m dreaming again, Marcus thought, I can never escape from this torture I have to suffer every day…
“Is that… Al… Alziana…?”
Yes, it’s her… oh, how I miss her… why must she haunt me when I try to escape…
Why did she have to leave me… what irony, that now I want her to leave me once more…
“Please… leave me alone, Alziana…”
Marcus nearly snapped awake from the sudden shock. Up until now, he had only heard Alziana call his name in his frequent nightmares, but she had just acknowledged him…
“Marcus… Listen to me…”
“I’m listening, Alziana.”
“Listen… listen to me… please listen…”
“I… I said I’m listening.”
“Just listen… you must listen…”
Marcus couldn’t understand what was going on. He found himself illuminated in a column of light, revealing that he was on a cold, stone floor, and he shivered as a freezing wind blew over him… desperately, he tried to force himself to wake from this terrible nightmare…
But, before he could, suddenly a figure lunged at him from the darkness. Marcus was petrified with terror as he identified the figure and what has happened to it; Alziana’s eyes had no pupils, the blood was still running across her chest, the gash on her nose still oozing blood, and the black bruises on her chest still clear. She grabbed his shoulders, and Marcus’s blood froze as she did so for the smallest of moments before he forced himself out of the horrifying nightmare.
“C’mon, Marcus, wake up.”
Manny was gently shaking Marcus, trying to rouse him from where he lay on the smooth granite. He was muttering something, but it was inaudible to Manny, and he continued to shake Marcus until the brown Yoshi’s eyes fluttered open as he cried out. He then quickly reached down and touched Marcus’s forehead, which was covered in sweat and extremely hot. “Marcus, are you okay?” he asked as he pulled his friend up into a sitting position.
Marcus suddenly burst into tears and buried his head in his hands. Manny rolled his eyes to himself for a moment before bending over and putting a hand on Marcus’s shoulder. “Hey, hey, it’s okay, it was just a bad dream…”
“She’s haunting me!” Marcus cried. “I can’t escape from her… she’s stalking me in my dreams…”
“Who, Marcus?” Manny asked.
“Alziana!” Marcus sniffled. “She… she just… she was dead, but…” Marcus shuddered as he recalled what he had just seen, and Manny sat down next to Marcus and put an arm around him.
“It’s okay, you’re awake, albeit in a prison somewhere.”
Marcus stopped crying and looked up. It was true; there was cold, damp, partially moss-covered wall on three sides of the chamber, and iron bars blocking their way out of the fourth. The floor was equally cold, made from slabs of granite, and water was running across it here and there, while the ceiling was hidden by the shadows produced from the single torch just outside their cell. There were two small straw mattresses on the floor, one of which Manny had been resting on, and aside from that the cell was bare.
Marcus gave a despairing moan as he realised that the two of them had been stripped of their belongings; their weapons, saddles, saddlebags, and even Marcus’s ring had been taken from them. He looked down at his shoeless feet and gazed absently at his talons; all Yoshies had talons, which probably gave them traction before they started wearing shoes, but they had a tendency to snag on fabrics and such, so Yoshies tended to wear shoes. That, and the fact that walking bare-footed over long distances tended to make the soles of their feet sore.
“What are we going to do, Manny?” Marcus asked, though he anticipated the answer before it came to him.
“I don’t know, Marcus… I really don’t know…”
Manny went and sat down on one of the mattresses, while Marcus got up and looked outside the cell through the bars. They were right at a junction; to the left there was a dimly lit passage, and straight forward lead right to a guardroom. Less than a few feet away was a burly guardsman sitting at a table, on which Marcus and Manny’s things were piled. Marcus seethed quietly to himself as the guard searched his saddlebags and gave a cry of delight as he pulled out the pearl necklace, which he pocketed.
Looting our things, how low can you get? Marcus thought to himself.
The guard also took all the money there was in the saddlebags, before putting them back on the table and reaching for Marcus’s saddle. He looked at it for a moment before flipping it over, and removing the orihalca with a sly smile. Marcus narrowed his eyes and cried, “Hey! That’s mine; put it back!”
The guard looked around for a minute, before spotting the poorly lit brown Yoshi standing right up against the bars. He cackled as he pocketed the orihalca, before picking Manny’s sword off the table and walking towards him with it. Marcus nervously began to step back, but it was too late.
“Heh, stupid dinosaurs.” The guard said with a distinct dialect. “Yeh see, what I finds is mine to keeps, understand? Maybe if yeh hadn’t been breakin’ the law or whatever it was yeh was doin’, yeh wouldn’t be stuck here, would yeh?”
“We didn’t DO anything.” Marcus protested. “One of your damned patrols caught us and threw us in here. Haven’t you humans got anything better to do?”
“Heh, nice try, but yeh ain’t gettin’ me to open the door by makin’ me angry. I’ll just cut off yer rations, then we’ll see who gets the last laugh.”
Marcus stepped forward again. “If you’re so smart, how come Laen and Karin have already gotten out and are standing right behind you?”
The guard paused for a moment before what Marcus said clicked, and he spun around quickly and brandished Manny’s sword. It was a bluff, but before he could turn back again Marcus’s tongue was wrapped around his neck, choking him.
“The… tongues… I forgot… about… the tongues…!” he gasped, before Marcus pulled backwards sharply. The back of the guard’s head hit the iron bars with a reverberating clang, knocking him unconscious.
Manny gave a low whistle and nodded approvingly. “Nice trick, Redeye. Think he’s got the keys on him?”
Marcus was about to make a retort as he let go and retracted his tongue, but instead leant over and put his hands through the vertical bars, searching the human for a key ring. He found Alziana’s necklace and the orihalca, before locating the ring of keys on the other side of the guard’s belt. Marcus pulled his hand back through the bars and held the keys up to Manny, who got up abruptly and ran over.
“There’s, like, fifty keys there.” He said sceptically, but Marcus had already moved over to the door and was attempting to unlock it from the other side, putting his hand back through the bars again. The fifth key turned in the lock with a light click, and Marcus brought his hands back again as the door swung open.
Manny went to get their things while Marcus reclaimed all their valuables from the guard’s many pockets. He put Alziana’s necklace around his wrist and put the orihalca on the ground as he searched, and found their money, three small knives, a few items of jewellery he presumed to be Karin’s, and a pair of binoculars.
“Huh?” He said out loud as he looked at them. “Manny, I thought you said you didn’t have your binoculars with you.”
Manny came running over with his arms full of equipment. “I didn’t. I’m pretty sure I left them at home. Maybe Karin picked them up before she left?”
Marcus shrugged as he found his ring and put it back on. Even in the dim light, the four tiny rubies seemed to sparkle. He shivered as he remembered his recent nightmare, but quickly put it aside as he found extra money in one pocket and what turned out to be a city map in another. He added them to the pile of things, feeling no guilt in stealing from the guard, and then in the final pocket he found a silver-chained necklace, from which hung what looked to be a single rune, neither from the common language or old Yoshi, but Marcus nonchalantly added it to the things they’d taken.
The two Yoshies put their saddles and boots back on, picked up their weapons, and Marcus took the extra objects that were either Karin’s or Laen’s. Manny checked his throwing knives for the gemstones, and though one showed signs of being tampered with, they were all still there. After putting their saddlebags on and Marcus put the orihalca back under his saddle, Manny took the burning torch out of the bracket on the wall and walked away from the guardroom.
It was a fairly simple dungeon, and after two more turns they were called out to by a pair of voices from a cell to their right. Karin and Laen were inside; Karin was lying huddled up on a straw mattress while Laen was sitting with her legs crossed. The seventh key Marcus tried opened the door, and Manny quickly returned Karin’s belongings to her, while Laen took Marcus off to one side.
“Did you find a necklace?” she asked in a hushed voice.
“Other than mine? Uh, yeah, hang on a minute…” Marcus muttered as he reached behind him into his saddlebags. He withdrew it, and Laen took it from him and put it back around her neck.
“Thank you.” She replied. “It’s a symbol of life, and according to elvish lore it should protect me… but it’s just that is has sentimental value.”
“No problem.” Marcus said. He took the three small knives out of his saddlebags as well, and strode over to Karin, who was putting her boots back on.
“Hey,” he said, “Which one of these is yours?”
Karin looked at them and picked one out, and Manny did the same. They were writing knives; Yoshies used them to carve into fabrics or various other parchment substitutes. Laen took the torch from Manny’s hand and looked outside the cell, before motioning for them to follow, which Marcus did obligingly, holding his flail ready.
Karin hugged Manny tightly for a moment and uttered her thanks for her rescue, before running out of the cell. Manny also followed, closing the cell door on his way out and the four of them found themselves at the top of a set of stairs, outside a large iron door. Marcus pushed down on the handle and found it unlocked, before throwing it open as hard as he could, and the four of them found themselves outside, right next to the biggest building Marcus had ever set eyes on; a giant castle of white bricks…
To be continued…