Tuesday, May 9

Chapter V

A knock at the door woke Adam from a restless slumber. "Just five more minutes." He scoffed faced down in his pillow. Honestly, it was the only position he felt the least uncomfortable. Although at this point almost everything felt like it irritates the burns on his back. The third knock came and it sounded awfully louder and faster this time around. "Fine!" He groaned with an infuriated sigh. Some days, he feels like he's dying to live or living to die. Only time will tell which will outweigh the other. 

The voices shuffling in were Damus and Garret. All it did was urge him to slip beneath the bed to avoid being seen. He cradled his legs close to his chest, hoping not to be found - at least not like this. 

Damus briefly glimpsed in, "He must have slipped out quietly this morning." 


"Well... tell him I'll stop by again later." Garret insisted after Damus closed the door. 



The last thing Adam heard was Damus saying, "Will do, I'm glad you two are getting along so well now."


Patiently he waited until there was nothing but silence. He wasn't sure how long ago Damus had left before he realized it. When he finally felt ready, he crawled out and prepared for the day. All of his clothing looked like an older brother's hand me downs, due to an odd assortment of different sizes. It didn't matter much since everything is usually a couple of sizes too big on him anyway. 


Despite having days off to do whatever he wants. He still wanted to personally talk to Acran about the incident with the ogres. And for all he knew, Damus probably thought that's the exact amount of time he needed to recover from his injuries. Approaching the window, he opened the shutters, allowing a beam of light to illuminate the dust that swirled in the air. When he was about to climb out the window a voice startled him. Looking down he saw Garret peevishly standing there. 


"What do you want!? You shouldn't come here unannounced like that!"


"I came for my retribution." Garret innocently smiled. 


"Is that all? You could have just waited until noon."


"It'll be too late by then." He thought out loud. 


"Too late for what?" 


"Look do you have it or not?!" He yelled. 



Adam couldn't help but roll his eyes. To him, Garret was a pest - a fly - the kind you can't ever seem to swat no matter how hard you try. Without saying anything further, he grabbed the shudders and heist himself onto the base of the window. Him and the sky met briefly up till he departed. The fall wasn't too bad, considering he's only on the second floor. Once he's on his two feet again, he shoved the coin pouch into Garret's hands. 


"Here!"


His expression became perplexed by not only the jump but the amount he's been given. "That's way more than what I asked." 



"Yeah well, maybe there's somebody who needs it more than I do." 


Rolling thunder sounded across the streets, in the form of horses galloping. On a large white stallion rode Marcus Luthur. Anyone who dared cross his path would be conquered by a sword. Garret and Adam watched the raggedy shambles of peasants hurried out of the way. 


"What's going on?"


"The king has passed an order to brand any magic users." Garret explained, "Instead of "T" for theft on the top of their forehead -"


"It's "W" for witches and warlocks. This isn't right...."


"Whether you think it's right or wrong doesn't matter. An order is an order. Better get used to it sooner than later." He shrugged.


"Like hell I am!"


"W-w-wait! Where are you going!?" He chased after him. 


The decision became quite clear when Adam barged straight through Acran's door. He received plenty of mixed reactions from Ser Reynard and Viscount Bishop. However, Marcus Luthur was completely a different story.  He looked as if it took every fiber in him not to throw a fit of rage. Adam attempted to be pleasant, but there's no guarantee he would idly stand by if violence were to break out.


"What do you want with Arcan?" 


"That's no concern of yours boy." Luthur grimaced, although subconsciously his hand swarmed the hilt of his sword.


Reynard continued preparing the fire for the iron brand he carried. 


Acran legs barely managed to steady themselves even with support from the store's counter. Squeezing his eyes closed, he pushed back the pain and stood tall before all of them. "Since when was it against the law to run a business without being an official resident of Rivale?" 


"As of today." Bishop declared while unraveling a freshly signed parchment. 


"Let me see that!" 


Adam took the scroll for a closer look himself. 


"I, King Roderick hereby decreed those associated with magic regardless of status or wealth is to be known publicly by branding - But why now? What about the Royals that possessed magic traits? Are they receiving the same treatment as well?"


Bishop snatched the paper out of Adam's hands then said, "We don't get to ask questions and neither do you." 


"Isn't that what's wrong with the world? Does nobody dare to question anything? Just doing whatever they're told." 


"It's what keeps us above the rapid animals." Luthur stated.


"If we don't use the voice we've been given... there's not much of a difference if you ask - "  


Luthur threw his body weight behind a fist that edged closer and closer to Adam's face. He felt the punch sink in - followed by a snap which sounded awfully similar to a wishbone being divided. 


Blood pooled into Adam's mouth when he dropped beneath the impact of Luthur's gauntlet. His tongue became aware of the copper taste, but within an instant, he felt something was missing in particular - so he spat. There sitting in crimson and saliva is a tooth. Never once did he thought this would be the day he would experience the displeasure of spitting out his very own teeth. The lateral incisor was gone, however, his central incisor had thankfully only been chipped. He would have swung back if the sharp pain between his eyes hadn't blurred his vision. The whole world spun on an axle until settling in the view of Bishop's laughing face. Deliberately his throat vibrated to allow mucus to mix with plasma right before ejecting the combination into Bishop's eyes. 



"If - if you think a punch will change my mind then you are surely mistaken!" 


Adam didn't like the way Bishop looked at him. Instead of being repulsed by the incident he seemed rejoiced. Those crazed eyes weren't just another hole in the wall. They were hungry - seeking the pleasures of the misfortunate. Similar to an addict and Adam would be the fix. 


"Prepare the iron." Luthur casually commanded. 


"WHAT!? You can't - isn't this against procedure!?" His arms were raised in an x formation then held firmly in place by Bishop, "Fraud - corruption even!"


"Pathetic ramblings of a desperate boy." Bishop mentioned. 


Reynard approached after the branding iron had begun to glow an incandescent red. Adam could feel the heat radiating from the metal and had a moment of sheer panic. All the hairs on his body curled up as if they were trying to escape the impending doom. But unfortunately, his head was held in place. Suddenly, it's as though his blood has become acid, the intent of destroying himself from the inside out. All he could do is writhe against his involuntarily screams. A sizzling smoke that smelled awfully close to leather burning emits from his forehead. He could hear skin hissing back at his oppressors. And worst of all the tissue began to erupt like an over-boiled soup. 

When the branding was finally done. Garret walked in and saw Adam released to the floor. He fell huddle - trying to live heartbeat to heartbeat. For his world has been stolen and replaced by an empty shell.


"Sir!" Garret chivalrously bent over into a bow, but his body felt so stiff - almost as if he had aged into an old man in just the past thirty seconds. The greeting is finished off with an arm across his chest to allow his fist to lay right above his heart. 


"Peyton." Luthur acknowledged him, "Speak." 


"Sir - Sergarus requested aid in the town square. There's a mob of rioters -"


"Riot!?" Bishop yelled extremely loud or the walls of this shop were so thin that they would be hearing his voice for months. 


Although Luthur features harden he still sounded quite relaxed, "How fickle."





























© Tiffany Ann Adkins 2015 - 2019