Life as a prisoner sucked. Arlandra could only keep his mind together by focusing all of his energy on the escape plan. If what Ariana had told him was true, then he didn’t have much time at all. But at least now he had a way of getting out.
He knew from the cold that the prison was located somewhere in the Northern Peaks. That meant that if he would simply get past the wall, then he’d be able to use the mountains to hide – but that worked both ways. Yes, he could use the mountains to hide, however it wasn’t exactly easy to survive alone out here.
It took a few long days for him to figure out how he was going to get out. With the constant work in the confinement of the mining are, it was difficult for him to make much progress at once, but a plan was coming together, and that was all he needed.
He realised soon enough that the only way to escape without being shot down was to create a distraction – a human distraction. And though it pained him to think about what he’d have to do, he had to assume that it was for the greater good.
It didn’t take long to learn the reputations of most of the other prisoners. Jack Sharp was a wild and unruly fellow who had murdered a guy for stealing cattle – at least he had a reason for being a murderer and could somewhat be trusted. Anon Fray was quite different, and Arlandra doubted if the man was even sane. Regardless, he wanted to get out, and Arlandra joined him to the cause. Hiriko Jarii was said to have come from the islands off the coast of Taelliwey, and he certainly had the look of a murderer, but he was smarter than everyone else and was keen to see Arlandra’s plan through to the end.
Just a little longer, he had to tell himself. Ever since his dream about Ariana he had felt a strange presence surging through his blood. He couldn’t tell if it was dark magic or not, or even if it was magic at all. Ariana seemed to have refrained from telling Arlandra just how to use his powers. He knew nothing.
He was in the yard smashing rocks when Jarii approached him. They planned on escaping at sundown on the next day. Hiriko seemed to have had some faith that Arlandra could get him out, even if he didn’t understand how.
“Is everything ready?” Arlandra asked as he smashed a piece of benezian ore open.
Hiriko flicked his long auburn hair away from his eyes. “All we need to do is get the rest of the prisoners on our side, but I assume you already have a plan for that.”
“When the fighting starts, the guards will have no choice but to see every single one of us as an enemy. If the other prisoners don’t fight, they’ll die.”
Hiriko showed a wide smile on his pale face. “You certainly are a cruel man, mister assassin.”
Arlandra’s green eyes flashed in a way when he wanted to intimidate someone. “Tell me Hiriko, how do I know that you won’t turn me in for your own benefit? I need to know I can trust you.”
“I’ll prove my faith when I slay the first guard. I may be a murderer, but I am not without loyalty. I lived by a moral code the same as everyone else – mine was just… different. Besides, I can either die out there or spend the rest of my life in this camp, and to be honest, being dead looks much more comfortable.”
Arlandra rested his pick-axe and looked at his hand. He found that he was able to understand the energy that existed around him because of that dream, and, if he chose to, he could concentrate it. That was his knowledge of the power he now possessed.
“Tell me, Hiriko, are you without fear?” Arlandra’s hand began to glow, a shady dark red, consuming and cold. “Would you be afraid of something that was beyond what your mind could understand?”
“I believe in freedom,” Hiriko Jarii answered firmly. “How I obtain that is irrelevant, so long as I do.”
Arlandra closed his fist and the light faded away. Hiriko saw what Arlandra had done but he made no mention of it, because soon they would be free.613Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡSKa5AekbQV
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The sun rose on the following day, setting the snow alight, and was followed by sweat, work, and a series of assuring glances. Then the sun began to fall, and it was time.
Arlandra needed to start a fight, so, he lowered his pick-axe and stared directly at the nearest guard – the one with the curly moustache. The guard noticed him immediately and stormed over. “Hey! No resting!”
When Arlandra smiled at him the guard shouted and raised his whip. Arlandra could feel his own power – it was… incredible.
The whip snaked up into the air and shot down again. Arlandra raised his hand and caught the lash in a blur of red light, severing the end from the whip.
The guard charged forward – he was obviously confused by what the assassin had done and yet he didn’t seem to care. “You bastard,” he shouted, but then Arlandra drove his fist into the man’s chest, and an overwhelming blast of light hurled him away. The guard stumbled and rolled across the ground – bleeding from his nose and mouth. There was no life left there.
Arlandra was breathing heavily. Oh god… did I… kill him? I was only supposed to knock him down. He had never felt so much energy before. Another guard was fast approaching. It’s too late to hold back now!
Arlandra dashed to the side, dodging the man’s sword, and then hitting him hard in the jaw. As the guard fell to the ground another lunged a sword at him. Arlandra caught the blade, dislodged it from the enemy’s grip, and then used it to slash the man across the stomach. When he jerked back, clutching his bleeding abdomen, Arlandra bashed him across the face with the hilt.
Hiriko, Jack, and Anon had taken out the rest of the guards in the area. The other prisoners were conflicted. Some ran out to join the violence, others stood in shock. One man paced back and forth gripping at his hair. But there were a few who faced Arlandra defiantly.
A stout man, but with big muscles and a thick jaw, marched over to Arlandra with clenched fists. “Now what’d you go and do that for?”
Arlandra stopped the man before anyone else dared to follow his lead. “We’re breaking out of here,” he said firmly. “I’d suggest you and your friends make for the armoury. If we break through the yard wall we’ll be able to get out through the North-East side and escape into the mountains.” It was a ridiculous plan. But only he needed to get out – the prisoners would do the rest.
The stout man puffed up his cheeks. “You fool! There’s a reason they put this prison in the mountains. If were go out there we’ll all die for sure.” The man looked around for the other guards. “I’ll turn you in. They’ll reward me greatly for that.”
Arlandra figured this would happen, so he used his intimidating eyes. “Are you so sure of that?” he said to the man. “To them you’re just another prisoner.” Arlandra turned away, pointing his arm towards the mountains and speaking to everyone now. “You can either chance the mountains out there and hope to survive or you can face the firing squad in here in which case you will most definitely be killed. The choice you yours.”
Their eyes showed that he had made no new friends however they all submitted to his plans.
“Excellent,” he said, relieved that his plan had worked. “Hiriko, see that they don’t run into trouble. I’ll deal with the gate.”
Hiriko waited a moment. “Yesterday you asked me if I was afraid. I now understand what you had meant by that. I am frightened by your power, Arlandra, which is why I will follow you so long as you need me.”
With that, Hiriko ran off with the others to take over the weapons hold, and Arlandra walked alone to the gate.
“Don’t move!” There was a burning sensation as a man on top of the inner wall aimed a rife at his body. A shot was fired, kicking up dust and snow from the ground by his feet, but Arlandra didn’t flinch.
“Please,” he said calmly, “I want no more bloodshed. As we speak the other prisoners are raiding the armoury. Lower your weapons and let us go freely, and I promise no one else will have to die.”
The voice on the wall was loud and booming. “Go to hell!” it cried.
Arlandra wasn’t sure how he did it, but he was able to summon the energy again, just like Ariana said he would. “Don’t you see,” he whispered coldly, glancing at the light of his hands, “it would appear that I’m on my way there.”
He threw his fist across the air. He didn’t know what was going to happen, but he could feel the energy moving around him. There was that red light, flashing like blood in the sky, and then an explosion. The area on the top of the wall was engulfed and Arlandra heard the men scream. The sound wretched at his heart – No! They weren’t supposed to die! Dammit!
Again, there was nothing that he could do, so he found a way to climb the wall and he opened the gate.
He met with Hiriko and the others soon after. Hiriko had a bloody gash across his face, and his hands were coated with dirt and blood and snow. “We should have enough dynamite to blast that wall to pieces.” He smiled in a devious way. “Let’s go!”
Arlandra ran along with Hiriko and they showed Jack Sharp and Anon Fray where to place the explosives. There was a larger grate somewhere along the East wall that would put them directly into the mountains.
With the little resistance that was left in this area, Arlandra – without using his power – was able to knock out a few guards. When he looked back he doubted if any of the other prisoners even wanted to get out. They were all so busy ravaging through the prison that he assumed they had forgotten they still needed to escape.
The rioting had spread now to other areas in the prison. People were yelling everywhere, flames were going up, and things were being destroyed. The cover they provided was perfect.
When the bomb was set, Hiriko lit the fuse and Arlandra waited. Then he heard the cry of more guards trying to bring down the prisoners. “They’re escaping through the East wall! Stop them!”
One of them raised their sword at Arlandra and brought it down. Arlandra instinctively raised his arms and, for the briefest moment, a sword appeared in his hands, glowing white and dark at the same time. Swords clashed, with the frightened eyes of the enemy staring into Arlandra’s, and then the light shattered and Arlandra fell back.
He was saved by Hiriko, who thrust a sword through the man’s back before he could finish Arlandra off.
“I get the feeling you don’t know how to use your powers,” he said as he extended his hand to Arlandra.
“I don’t,” Arlandra replied as he was pulled to his feet.
“It’s a funny thing. The man who is meant to be our saviour is as clueless as we are.”
“I’m no saviour,” Arlandra said, remembering the conversation he dreamt with Ariana.
He would have said more but the dynamite exploded. The blast was undoubtedly the loudest this he had ever heard. It was like someone had blown up hell, shaking the world, and sending fragments of the earth flying down from above.
The smoke cleared, dragged away by the increasing wind, and on the other side of that wall was Arlandra’s freedom. Prisoners began to pour through the gap like ants in a chaos that was beyond anything that could now be stopped. Arlandra knew that Juliet was waiting for him somewhere out there. He only hoped the other prisoners wouldn’t hurt her, but she was strong enough to hold her own.
It was surprisingly colder on the other side of the wall. The snow from the mountains above them was thick and unsettled. Arlandra waded through it with Jarii and a dozen others by his side. There were shots being fired behind them, a final attempt to kill any prisoners that they could, but it was hopeless by now.
When they passed a ridge coated in snow Arlandra and Hiriko broke away from the others and stopped to rest in a clearing that they had found. He was surprised by Jarii – for a man of his stature he was incredibly honest, and all the more loyal. He was certainly not considered a bad man.
The blood from the gash across Hiriko’s face had frozen in the cold, and Arlandra realised that it would leave a nasty scar, and a memory of what he had done.
“Where will you go now?” Arlandra asked.
“Who knows,” Jarii responded, trying to wipe the blood from his face, “for a man who does not belong in the world, it doesn’t really matter where he goes. Perhaps I will return to my brothers in Eden. They will be surprised to see me.”
Arlandra pondered those words. For a man who does not belong in the world, it doesn’t really matter where he goes. No, because a man who does not belong to anything is a man who shouldn’t exist.
Hiriko continued. “I doubt we will ever see each other again, but if we do, it will be a blessing.”
Hiriko Jarii left after that, and Arlandra was found by Juliet, with two horses and the supplies that they needed to reach Mt. Khallem, especially now that Taelliwey would be trying to hold them back. I am going to stop you, Garn Pallerii. I promise you that.ns 184.108.40.206da2