Here’s part 17! Just a note…. Joseph’s story will be connecting with mine pretty soon, so you might want to check out his blog!
Whatever I Draw
by Eliza May
As Tullier staggered backwards, clutching at his windpipe, Jason kicked out his legs and threw him onto his back. Then the walls of the gorge were bristling with people, dressed in dark clothes, hoods, and holding various weapons.
With a roar of anger, Kirk charged at Jason, but he was stopped in his tracks by the barrel of a gun–a luger, to be precise–being pointed at his chest. With shock and betrayal in his eyes, Kirk regarded the man who he thought had been his friend. “Luger…. How? Why?”
Luger gave a cold, hard smile. “My name is Lago.” Stefania, horror and confusion written on her face, stared shocked at her brother. “What’s wrong?” he demanded.
“How could you do this?” she replied, on the brink of tears.
“These are our people, Stefania. You don’t remember, but I do. We belong with them.”
Stefania looked at the stern, dark figures lining the gorge and her eyes filled. “No, Luger,” she whispered in a choked voice. “This is wrong.”
Then they were surrounded by the ambushers, and Kirk and Tullier had their hands bound tightly behind their backs and blindfolds placed over their eyes. Then they turned to Stefania.
“Not her!” exclaimed Luger.
As one, the people in black turned to look at him. Jason spoke. His face was covered in shadow, and his eyes were lowered, staring hard at the ground. His brow furrowed. “It must be done, Lago.”
Lowering his eyes as well, Lago acquiesced, and Stefania, too, was bound, and the blindfold placed over her eyes soaked up her tears.
Unable to see, and with his bound arms stiffening by the minute, Tullier and his friends–at least he thought they were his friends, as he couldn’t tell anymore–stumbled along a rough trail, prodded by their captors. A furious, unquenchable rage built up in Tullier, as he mentally cursed Jason. Who was he, anyway?
They walked for what seemed like hours, with hardly any words spoken, either by the captured or the capturers. They struggled through the dry, rocky terrain, without even a brief moment of rest. Then, without warning, the little procession stopped. Tullier bumped into the person in front of him, who roughly shoved him back. A few hushed words were exchanged between Jason and some of his allies, and then, after a minute or two more, they starting walking again.
A voice beside Tullier, belonging to the teenager who had led him along the whole time, grunted, “Careful, steps.”
Tullier was grateful for the warning, for if he hadn’t received it, he would have fallen headlong down some thirty stairs. As they descended into wherever this place was, the hot, dry air that they had been accustomed to outdoors cooled considerably, until it was downright chilly. Then, the blindfolds were stripped off of Tullier, Kirk, and Stefania, and they stood blinking in a bright white light.
After a minute, Tullier’s eyes adjusted, and he looked around him with curiosity. The contrast between the place he was now standing in and the Dying City was almost shocking. Whereas the city had been empty and falling apart, the room he was now in was sleek, white, and modern. Blindingly bright, LED lights flooded a low rectangular room, with several doorways leading off of it, through which many of their captors were leaving. From the emptiness of the room, it appeared to be some sort of antechamber, a waiting place.
Soon, there was no one left in the room but Tullier, Kirk, Stefania, Luger, Jason, and a few guards–not much older-looking than Jason–with impassive faces. The prisoner’s hands were still bound.
“What do you want with us?” growled Tullier. “Why did you do this?”
Jason met Tullier’s eyes with a look of hate. “You’ll find out soon enough. Trust me.”
For the next five minutes, there was silence in the room, except for Stefania’s suppressed sobs, as her brother tried to speak to her. Then, someone walked into the room. Like the others associated with this place, his clothes were plain but practical. After a brief nod to Jason, he said, “You are summoned.”
Jason walked out the same door the messenger had come through, with Tullier and the others following. Through several long hallways they walked, and sometimes down stairs, but never up them, always travelling down, down, down. Evidently, the place was huge. Finally, they stopped at a large doorway.
“Wait here,” Jason said, and disappeared into it, closing the door behind him again. After a minute, he came back out. “Come in.”
Facing his fear with courage, Tullier stepped into the room. It was huge. The ceiling soared above them, and it was as wide and long as a football field. Seats–most of them filled–lined three of the walls, and a large seat, almost a throne, graced one end. In it sat an impressive man, hooded, tall and stern. “Bow before the Grandmaster and the council,” hissed Jason.
Tullier, though his pride ached, bowed, and Kirk and Stefania followed his example.
The man in the throne, apparently the Grandmaster, spoke, his voice echoing through the hall. “Step forward.”