|The Happenings I|
|Series||The Happenings by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Previous||Goodbye Albion, Hello Tattered Spire|
|Next||Journey to the Thief|
|← Goodbye Albion, Hello Tattered Spire||Chapter Chronology||Journey to the Thief →|
CHAPTER EIGHT: LIFE AT THE SPIRE AND THE RESCUEEdit
What felt like moments later, I became aware of my surrounds again, but I was no longer in the port of the Spire. Instead, I was lying on an extremely thin mattress with no blanket. As I groggily sat up, I noticed that I was in some sort of barracks, and that I was no longer in my original outfit. Instead, I was wearing the exact same outfit at all the other Spire Guards wore. I didn't want to know how I came to be in those clothes, nor did I want to know who dressed me. I also noticed that they had cut my hair very short, but what interested me the most was the strange collar around my neck. What the hell was that for? Were we to be treated like animals or something?
'Morning, Maggot.' came a voice from the doorway, interrupting me from my thoughts.
'Welcome to the Spire,' said the Spire Guard, walking straight over to me. 'I hope you like it cause you’re never leaving.'
That's what you think, I thought resentfully.
'Right now you are in the barracks, you will eat and sleep here, but the rest of the time you will work, where ever the Commandant assigns you.' continued the guard. 'Your job is to keep the scum building this place in line and otherwise doing whatever the Commandant tells you, without question. When you receive an order, you will obey it, immediately. That brings me to the new piece of jewellery you’ve got. The collar is part of Lord Lucien’s obedience program. The Commandant will… explain it to you. The main this is, do what you’re told. And don’t try taking the collar off, cause you can’t and the penalty for trying is death.' he added as though he had read my thoughts. 'And not the quick and painless kind either. Now, report to the Commandant.'
'Yes, sir.' I said, figuring that was the way I was meant to act before turning to leave the barracks.
I had no idea where the Commandant was, but somehow my feet did, as they led me through the dark, cold corridors of the Spire. It was my first day here and I already hated it. The place stank of fear, pain and sweat. Now, more than ever, did I want to see a familiar face, or something I recognised...as long as it wasn't Lucien.
As though my prays had been answered, as I walked into the detention centre, I came across a familiar face.
'Hey! It’s you!' Bob yelled out happily, as I approached. 'We arrived together, remember?'
'How could I forget, Bob?' I said, taking his hand warmly.
'Can you believe they put me on guard duty? On my first day too!' Bob told me happily, not that I would be happy about such a thing, as we walked down the hall. 'I must have impressed someone. Ooh, if Lil could see me now…she’s always loved a bloke in uniform. Though I don’t think she’d like the mask any more than I do. They look properly intimidating, but I can hardly breathe in that thing. Oh, and watch out for this fellow,' Bob add, as we came to a halt outside one of the cells. My heart gave a leap when I recognised who it was. 'His name is Garth. Lucien sent a hold squadron to get him. He’s meant to be a wizard or something. Only the commandant is allowed in his cell. Though he doesn’t give me any trouble, do you? Keeps nice in quiet. Anyway, I can’t wait to right to Lil, tell her all about it. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.' With that said, Bob walked off, and I turned my attention back to Garth, before flinching violently as I heard him speak to me through my mind.
'I don’t know how you got here…but I know what you are. It doesn’t matter, though. Your power will do you little good as long as you wear that collar. Be patient.'
'Easier said than done,' I muttered to him, before continuing on my way.
How did he know who I was? And how did he manage to speak to me in my mind. Not even Theresa could do that, or could she?
Eventually, I had to snap out of my thoughts when I arrived outside the Commandant's headquarters. The two guards outside, took one look at me and opened the door. I confidently stepped inside the chamber and looked around. It was a very ordinary chamber, with the only interesting things being that it had what looked like two inactive Cullis Gates and that it had a large window that had a good view of the port and inside of the Spire. The Commandant was standing in front of that window, and he only turned around when I came to a halt at the bottom of the stairs.
'I am the commandant.' he said, speaking to me as though I was five years old. I wondered if he did this to everyone or only me because I was a woman. 'You are Recruit 273. That number is not random. It was assigned to you for I have broken two hundred and seventy-two recruits before you. You are nothing more than the next link in the chain. You have been brought here to see the reconstruction of the Tattered Spire. And to serve Lucien as he seems fit.'
One thing I hated Hammer for, was the fact that she had corrupted my mind to think dirty thoughts, even though I knew Lucien would never do anything like that.
'My job is to ensure the obedience of guards like you.' The commandant continued, in his slow drawling voice. 'You will do everything I tell you without question. Failure to obey will cause the device around your neck to activate. This is not a pleasant experience. You will lose your memories and your experience will be drained away. This will continue, until you submit. Perhaps you believe that you will resist?' he added. What was with the people around here? They all seemed to be able to read my mind! 'Some do at first. Many do at first for the sake of honour, but you have to decide. Is your honour really that important to you?'
He stared at me, and I stared back. My face free of all emotions.
'Now, come here!' he barked suddenly. 'Obey me.'
Grudgingly, I walked towards him, before stopping beside him.
'Be still.' he then ordered, and when I stood completely still, blue electricity began to surround me, to hold me in place. I did not move, which impressed the Commandant. 'Good. Now look over there.' he added, motioning to the window. Again, I obeyed. 'The spire has taken ten years so far and it will take many more until it is complete. This project is ambitious beyond your wildest imaginings. Yet progress isn’t a miracle. It is a product of obedience.'
'Let us see how well you have learned.' he said, with a nasty smile on his face. 'I am going to hit you, and you are going to thank me…because I tell you too.'
I just stared at him in disbelief. He wasn't seriously about to...OUCH. Okay, he wasn't joking. He seriously did just hit me...with his sword no less. The asshole had just hit me with his blade right in the arm. I gritted my teeth and glared up at him. All I wanted to do was swear my head off at him, or even better, take his sword and whack him with it. The latter of the two sounded more appealing, but the thought of Garth and my quest held me back, and I thanked him for hitting me, before he did it again, in the exact same spot. As I thanked him once more, I began to hope that they had health potions around seeing as my arm was practically killing me with pain.
'Excellent,' said I pleased Commandant. 'Now –beg. Beg me to show mercy.'
My eyes flashed. I had never begged to anyone in my entire life...except when I was trying to convince Theresa or my parents or Rose to let me stay up late, but that was beside the point.
My anger must have shown in my eyes for the Commandant grinned at me and said, ' You do understand the concept, don’t you?'
'Yes, sir.' I said through clenched teeth. 'Please sir, please show me mercy.'
It wasn't much of a beg, but it seemed to make the Commandant happy.
'Good you learn quickly. That will be all.' The Commandant said, before dismissing me, which I was only too happy to do. The sooner I left, much more likely that he will live.
* * *
Many weeks had gone by, and I was starting to regret coming here. Being the only girl here was horrible, especially when the other Spire guards got drunk. The one thing they all seemed to miss was women, which lead to me being sexually harassed. Fortunately, I always had Bob and Adrian by my side when things got out of control, but they soon learnt that I wasn't the type of girl to mess with. Especially, when they had two black eyes and a few broken bones.
Another thing that I hated about being the only girl was that I had no one to talk about girly things. I missed my conversations with Hammer and Theresa. True I could sometimes talk to the other guards, but it wasn't the same, especially when they were all praising Lucien. Those conversations made me sick.
Anyway, I had been in the Spire for thirty-eight weeks, and I began to notice some changes had started to occur, particularly with Bob.
'The Commandant made me torture a recruit this morning.' Bob told me as we were standing in one of the detention centres. 'He overheard the poor bastard saying he missed his family. I’m glad I don’t have a family.'
'Bob!' I exclaimed with shock. I could not believe he just said that.
'What?' he asked, startled by my sudden exclamation.
'What about your Lil?'
'My who?' Bob said frowning slightly. 'Huh, I just had a strange… maybe it’s the collar. Sometimes it's hard to think with these sounds. You know, I hardly notice them anymore. It’s as familiar as my own heart beat.'
I just stared at Bob in shock. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. How could he forget about his Lil. When we first arrived you could tell that he was madly in love with her, and she was all he ever talked about...even in his sleep! But now...now it was as though she didn't even exist.
Before I could say anything, one of the senior guards walked over to us.
'You have orders to report to the barracks!' The guard snapped at Bob.
'On my way, sir!' Bob said obediently, though I had a feeling that this was a rare time that he was being obedient.
Once Bob had left, the guard than turned to me.
'Recruit 273. Report to the detention centre.' he told me.
'Yes sir.' I said respectfully, before heading off, but I paused outside Garth's cell and pretended to be tying up my bootlace.
'Be patient,' Garth told me calmly. 'Time has no meaning here. This place is powerful – but it is only a shadow of what it is to become. Do you hear it? It is sucking our will. I do not know when we will be able to speak again. The commandant is planning on moving me to another part of the Spire.'
Great. Just great. I thought bitterly as I continued to the detention centre.
I always hated going there. It was where the poor prisoners were kept. I had only been in there briefly once before, and during that brief visit, the prisoners had spent the entire time begging for food, and they were likely to be doing it again.
When I entered the detention centre, the first thing to meet my ears was the continuous begging for food. I hated to hear them begging, being treated as though they were animals. Worse than animals in fact, but there was nothing I could do about it at the present time. So instead, I pretended as though I couldn't hear them and walked over to the guard on guard duty.
'Ah, there you are.' he said, catching sight of me. 'Stand here and guard these maggots until I get back. They're not allowed any food, so don’t touch the controls.'
'Yes, sir.' I said. By the end of my time here, I was going to hate those words.
'I’m going to get a bite to eat. Mmm yum, food.' he added, teasing the poor souls.
The moment the guard had left, the prisoners turned their attention to me and began to beg continuously.
'Please feed us! You're killing us!'
'I don't want to die here!
'Why are you doing this?'
'We haven't eaten in weeks!'
I just stood there, leaning against a pillar, trying to ignore their pitiful pleas. Don't get me wrong, I really wanted to feed them, but I couldn't risk blowing my cover. Therefore, I stood there for three minutes, listening to constant begging. I have to say, it was the longest three minutes of my entire life and, for the first time ever, I could not have been happier to see the spire guard return.
''All right. I’ll take it from here. They won’t last another night. The commandant will be pleased.' The guard told me, with a nasty look in his eyes.
I didn't say anything as I left. Instead, I turned and looked sadly at the jailed men, as they began to unwillingly accept their fate.
* * *
Two years had passed and life in Spire, while it was still hard, was becoming a little more bearable. During these years, I had done many terrible things that would always haunt me in my dreams...in my nightmares. I had to torture disobedient recruits, and in some extreme cases, I had to execute them too. Little did I know, that I was about to experience something much worse.
I was standing in one of the detention centres when Adrian came over to me.
'Hi Adrian,' I said as he approached.
'I've got a message for you.' he said, coming to a halt in front of me. 'The Commandant wants to see you.'
'Thanks for telling me,' I said as I walked off, wondering why the Commandant was wanted to see me. Maybe I had to torture someone again. Argh, as if my day was bad enough.
I was that lost in my thoughts that I was barely aware of Garth telling me to stay strong and telling me not to let them break my will, and before I knew it, I was standing nervously in front of the Commandant, though I didn't let him know that I was nervous.
'You wished to see me, sir?' I said, when I stopped in front of him.
'Yes,' the Commandant said, looking down at me. 'You have done well, so far. I have selected you for a special duty…I believe you know this man.' he added, motioning over to the corner of the room.
I looked over to where he was pointing and my stomach dropped. Bob was lying on the ground muttering to himself about being obedient. I had a funny feeling that I now knew what the special duty was, and I knew that I wasn't going to enjoy it.
'Guard 268 I order you to be quiet. 268. Shut your mouth.' The Commandant snapped, but Bob ignored him and continued to mumble. This annoyed the Commandant. 'Those who don’t obey, can be made to. But those who cannot obey are useless. Take this sword.' he said, handing me his own sword. 'Now kill him.' he ordered.
I looked over at Bob, then at the Commandant, before looking back at Bob. Bob at been a good friend here in the Spire, and now his life laid in my hands.
'No. I’ll obey. I’ll work harder.' Bob pleaded, trying to sit up.
The Commandant, noticing my hesitancy, walked up very close to me, put his hand on my shoulder and whispered in my ear.
'Obey me or you will suffer.' he whispered coldly.
I had no choice. If I did have a choice, it would be to turn around and kill the Commandant instead. I knew that either way, Bob's fate was to die today, for if I didn't kill him, the Commandant would...slowly and painfully. I at least owed it to my friend to end his suffering painlessly.
Sighing, I walked forward and watched as Bob's eyes widened with terror as he realised that I was going to obey the Commandant.
'I'm so sorry, Bob.' I whispered to him, so the Commandant couldn't hear. 'I have no choice. I hope you will understand...one day.' I said, before stabbing him straight through the heart, killing him instantly.
'You will make an excellent soldier.' The Commandant said gleefully from behind. 'Dismissed.'
I numbly handed him back his sword and left his headquarters, dreading the months ahead.
* * *
It had been eight years after Bob's death and many things had changed. Each day the great black walls grew taller, blocking the dawn in their shadow, and my deeds became darker every day. I had been promoted to an officer, and was one of the most respected and feared guards within the Spire. They all knew that I was a merciless killer, they had seen proof of that we I had killed Bob. As a result, Adrian and every other guard avoided me whenever they could, and the prisoners were just as scared of me. Every day, my tasked seemed to grow even more impossible, with Garth hidden away and Lucien hidden behind the great light. Even worse, more men like the Commandant started to appear and they were the same as the first, and sadly...I was their favourite soldier. I was the one that they would always call upon to do all the important tasks, seeing as I was the only one they trusted the most, which was quiet ironic really. And as those years rolled by, I began to lose faith in ever escaping from this hell hole, but it was not to be. Little did I know that I would so be free from the Spire and a step closer to revenging my beloved sister.
Most days I stood leaning against a pillar, watching the construction of the Spire, seeing as I was no longer required for simple and pitiful tasks, such as guarding prisoners...and today was no different, until one of my fellow guards approached me warily.
'Officer 273,' he said, coming to a halt a good distance away from me. 'You are to report to the Commandant.'
I nodded once to him, before I turned and headed for the Commandant, wondering what dark deed I would have to do today. One thing I did know was that nothing would be able to make up for all the terrible things I did, even if they were for a good cause. Forever I would have to live with the guilt knowing that I had murdered many innocent prisoners and guards alike, along with my friend. Forever I would be haunted by the look in their eyes as my sword fell.
As I arrived outside the Commandant's door, the guards guarding it quickly opened it and saluted to me nervously, as though I was going to strike them down at any moment.
When I entered the room, the Commandant was standing in front of the window with his back turned to me, and when I stopped at the foot of the steps, he began to speak without turning around.
'Construction of the upper tier begins tomorrow.' The Commandant told me, though I really couldn't care less. 'The man guarding the site is overdue for reporting in. I need someone dependable to check the site. If you find the man in eradication of duty…escort him to the torture chamber and await further orders.'
'Yes sir.' I replied, before heading to the construction site.
Why couldn't these people just follow orders? I thought bitterly as I stormed down the corridor, making the guards and labours scatter quickly out of my way. It wasn't as though following orders was that difficult. I mean, you don't even have to think! And if they obeyed, they wouldn't have to be scared of the Commandant, the Torture Chamber, pain and torture, or me! And if they all obeyed, there would be no need for the torture chamber or anything. It was common sense!
When I arrived at the construction site, there was no one in sight. This made me even more annoyed. If I had to go on a wild goose chase for this guard he would feel my...
I stopped abruptly. Down in the dark shadows of the construction site was a dark lump. Cautiously, not knowing what it was, I approached with my katana at the ready, before I lowered it, when I saw it was the dead guard I was looking for. After checking for a pulse, I suddenly began suspicious. Why was the guard dead?
I didn't have to wait long for an answer.
'We meet again, Hero.' Garth said, stepping out of the shadows, before shooting bits of electricity at my collar. 'You came to rescue me, but you're no good to either of us with that collar on. There,' he said when the collars power was destroyed. 'I’ve removed it. It took me years to remove our collars and that guard. I have nothing left. If anything happens, it’s up to you. The only way out of here is through the Commandant’s chamber.'
'I was afraid you were going to say that.' I muttered. 'How did you use Will to break your collar?' I then asked curiously, as we began to leave the construction site. 'The Commandant told us that they had something built into them so we couldn't use Will.'
'Somehow, those little devices don't work with me.' Garth replied with a shrug.
'Oh yeah, I forgot. You're the Hero of Will, the Mage. How on earth did I forget that?' I said as two guards came running in.
'What in...' One of them said, taking in my destroyed collar and Garth. 'That’s the Will user. And his not wearing a collar!' he exclaimed suddenly, during his sword along with his companion.
'You really don't want to do that,' I told them quietly.
They faltered for a split second before charging at us.
'Your funeral,' I shrugged, shooting them both casually.
The Spire had definitely hardened my heart, which when I needed to be colder than ice...not that I like it.
'We have to think of a better plan. I don't want to go through the Spire fighting guards at every turn.' I told Garth firmly.
'Oh and how do you suppose we do that?'
'By you pretending to have your hands tied behind your back, while I escort you to the Commandant.' I said, moving up behind him, and grabbing his hands behind his back. 'None of the guards will realise, and they would dare argue with me.'
It turned out that I was right. They all look on curiously, as I lead Garth to the Commandant's quarters, but none of them were game enough to say anything.
When we were safely in the Commandant's quarters, with the Commandant nowhere to be seen, Garth and I dropped the act.
'That was a very good idea,' Garth said approvingly, 'but we’re not leaving until the commandant is dead.'
'Please tell me you're joking.' I said, though I could see that he was quite serious. Why did he have to have revenge now?
'I know what you are thinking, but it’s not revenge I’m after. Revenge is just a fortunate by product.' Garth said, glancing at me, before looking out the window. 'A new load of recruits are being brought in. Now we need to find the commandant...'
Garth was suddenly cut off as a shock of electricity surrounded his body, bringing down to his knees.
'I think we've found him,' I muttered, before turning around to face the livid Commandant.
'After all the promise you showed, you betray me.' The Commandant hissed out furiously. 'Lord Lucien will kill me for failing to keep order, but I am obedient and before he does, I will eliminate you.'
'Beware, Commandant.' I laughed coldly. 'You will find that I'm not as tame as I first appeared. You will find that if you follow this path, you fate will be death by my hand.'
The Commandant began to laugh.
'You think you can defeat me?' he demanded, amusement clear of his face. 'Do you think a weak little girl like yourself would ever be able to defeat me? If you are so confident, come here then. Obey me.'
'I obey no one.' I told him, standing my ground.
'When the Commandant has fallen, I shall regain my strength.' I heard Garth gasp next to me.
Sighing, I went down to meet my enemy in combat, and when I was close to defeating him, spire guards began to appear and attack me too.
'What's the matter, Commandant? You afraid to be beaten by a little girl?' I asked him mockingly as I dodge a nasty blow from one of the guards. 'Do you suspect that you might not win?'
Without waiting for an answer, I sent bolts of electricity throughout the room, hitting every single one of my enemies, and with a great satisfaction, I watched as they fell, but my satisfaction quickly disappeared when I saw the Commandant still standing, though considerably weakened. Without thinking, I ran him through with my sword before taking it out and looking down at the Commandant while Garth was regaining his strength. How was he able to survive that little lightning storm?
'At last,' Garth said, walking towards me, and interrupting my thoughts. 'I think it’s safe to say that you don’t have to protect me anymore.' he said, before activating one of the Cullis Gates that lead down to the port and entrance to the Spire.
Even though the Commandant was dead, it didn't mean that we had an easy time leaving the Spire. Our path from the Cullis Gate to the ship was blocked by around fifty guards, all of which did not seem to happy to see us, and were probably going to come back and haunt us and we killed anyone who got in our way. Then, after what seemed like eternality, we were leaving the Spire. Something that I never thought would happen.
I was free again. Free to explore every corner of Albion. And to once more, do my bit to make Albion a better place once more.
A day later, Garth and I arrived at Oakfield and watched as those that had escaped the Spire with us, sailed out of sight on their own way home.
'I thought that I would never see land again. I thank you for your help.' Garth said to me, before he noticed that I wasn't listening. Instead I was looking back along the deck and up the hill at the two approaching figures, both whom I recognised and was overjoyed to see. 'Another friend of yours?' Garth asked me, but I was already running towards one of the figures, and as that figure saw me, he ran towards me too.
We meet at the edge of the dock, and I was on the ground being smothered with doggy kisses from Storm.
'I missed you to, Storm!' I said, almost crying with joy to see him again.
'Your furry friend has been coming here every day for a week. He knew that you would return victorious, even before I did.' Theresa said as I got up and embraced her. 'Ten years…welcome back my friend. You have done the impossible.'
'Thank you, Theresa,' I said, as we pulled apart. I hadn't realised how much I had missed Theresa. With her wisdom and guidance. She was like a mother to me.
'And Garth, I welcome you too.' Theresa said pleasantly, as I bent back down to pat Storm.
'Welcome me?' Garth repeated. 'You are in my way. So please step aside.'
'You know a lot about the old kingdom. Enough to know that you cannot destroy it alone. We share a common aim. All I ask is that you listen to what I have to say.' Theresa said, getting straight to the point.
'All right,' Garth sighed eventually, while I gave him a hard look. 'I'll listen, but I promise nothing.' he added ignoring the look I was now giving him. He better join us. If he decided not to, I would personally make sure he was sent back to the Spire.
Theresa nodded, before turning back to me with a smile.
'I will go with Garth. Hammer is at the inn in Rockridge. You should see her before we talk again. She’ll be over joyed to know that you are back. Oh, and here. You’ll be wanting this.' she added, handing me my belongings that I had left with Hammer. 'Take my hand Garth. We have much to discuss.' Theresa said, holding out her hand.
'Do I have any choice?' Garth asked warily, but excepting her hand none the left, as she teleported them back to the Guild, leaving me alone on the Oakfield docks with Storm.
next chapter link: http://fablefanon.wikia.com/wiki/Journey_to_the_Thief
Written: 25 August 2011