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  • Writer's pictureInwood Park Productions

Ashsorrow | Chapter 1~ Micah

By Daniel Blattman

Drip... Drop… Drip… The sound echoed through the prison cell. Light, rhythmic and incessant. And to Micah, the sound echoed through the recesses of his mind. With each drop, a flash of a memory.

Drip. The smell of her hair, sweet with a hint of honey. Pale yellow like the water lilies that would grow in the pond by Micha’s window when he was a boy. Drop. Now sour and acrid in his sinuses. Wispy, black, and crumbling in his hands. Drip. Her smiling face, under the old ironwood tree where they first met. Drop. That once beautiful face, now stretched. Contorted. Blistered and scorned. Drip. Her song-bird like voice that filled the air with lovely notes and verses. Drop. Now, only her cacophonous screams echo in Micah’s mind.

Micah looked up through the curtain of hair hanging over his eyes to see a pair of black leather boots adorned with silver buckles. The pillar of moonlight that shone through the window of Micah’s cell reflected off the puddles of water in his cell and painted the boots of his father Sorath in small dapples of pale light.

“Look at me son.” Sorath grumbled.

Micah sat on the cold stoney floor with a blank expression. Emotionless. Cold. Empty. Continuing to stare at the pale blue lights on his father’s boots. Drip. the buckles on Sorath’s boots glittering in almost the same way as her eyes did when Micah gave her the ring. Drop. Now empty black sockets. All the dreams, hopes, and desires that those beautiful eyes once held. Now gone.

Micah’s jaw clenched so tightly that his teeth felt like they would shatter. He shot up from his seated position and lunged for Sorath. Micah wanted to squeeze the life out of his father. Throttle him till his windpipe snapped. Watch the life drain from his face and feel his muscles go limp. Micah’s charge was suddenly halted by the chains on his wrists. He could feel the cold bite of the steel in his wrists and the warm streaks of blood running down his forearms. The bloody stripes on his back screamed in pain with the movement. Micah’s jaw clenched harder. His hands, bloodied claws stretching for his father’s throat.


Suddenly, a swift kick to his already bruised, now broken, ribs by a plated steel boot drove all the wind from Micah’s lungs. Micah crumpled into a ball. Unable to cry out.

“Mind your tone, bastard.” The plated booted man barked and Micah felt a gob of phlegm strike his cheek.

“Are you quite finished?” Sorath huffed.

Micah, still doubled over, facedown on the stonework, could see the expression on his father’s face in his mind. Disdainful and full of malice. Micah tried to recover but could only gasp for air. With each breath a new wave of pain surged through his body. He spat the blood from his mouth and could only manage a glare at his father with hatred and contempt.

“Did you really think that I would let you, the first son of Sorath Danbridge, to marry some common whore while you were in your cups? You’ve brought shame to this household. I can only hope the light of Xotrix will allow you to see reason. Did you honestly think I didn’t know you had been shirking your studies? Did you really think that I wouldn’t catch wind of your little whore? And to think, you even sowed your oats. The child would have been a bastard. You just had to continue your legacy eh?” Each of Saroth’s sentences seemed to be punctuated by the drops of water falling to the stonework.

With each new drip, a new memory would creep into Micah’s mind. His mind continued to shuffle through the pleasant past and the horrid present. His father’s rantings seemed a far way off till the plate boot struck his cheek again. A sharp throbbing pain surged through his skull and Micah could now feel something foreign in his mouth. He spat, and 3 teeth clattered on the stonework.

“Now that I have your attention again, I have a task for you. The only way that you will be redeemed by our lady Xotrix is to go to Mythgrave. There are foul perversions being committed and only the light of our lady will be able to cleanse it.” Saroth sneered.

After a moment, Micah spat the blood from his mouth again. He could only manage a whisper with his corse, raw throat, “What makes you think I owe you anything. There are plenty of paladins in the city. Wouldn’t I only bring you more shame?”

“The paladins have enough on their plate as it is. Ones far more dedicated to the cause than you.” Saroth retorted while cleaning his fingernails with a dirk. “Besides, you’re expendable.”

“After everything you put me through…” Micah began.

“Ah ah ah, I feel that you misunderstood, this is not a favor. This is a command. The hangman’s noose awaits you in the courtyard. Or, you can continue your pitiful existence for a few more moments. The choice is yours.” Saroth punctuated his words by sheathing the dirk.

Saroth signaled to one of the guards outside the cell. “Get him cleaned up. I want him on the road by dawn.”

“Yes my lord” The guard said loudly, slamming his fist to his breastplate

The guard from the hall approached him and signaled to the plate booted man. Suddenly the chains on Micah’s wrists became taut and he slid across the floor and slammed unceremoniously against the wall. New pain coursed through Micah’s body from the impact. Then a plated hand pressed against his chest and a warmth moved through his body. The throbbing pain in his back slowly crept away and the skin felt tighter. His broken ribs began to mend and set. At last, Micah was able to draw a full breath. And one by one his teeth slotted back into place. Micah ran his tongue along them to be sure and he flexed his jaw.

“Right, that should about do it.” and suddenly the sound of steel sliding from a sheathe, a whistling of air, a short gasp of terror and Micah felt the warm spatter of crimson blood spatter his face as the body of the guard crumpled to the floor.

Micah shot up again looking at the man in plate mail, shocked and bewildered. The man sheathed his sword again and removed his helm. His long black hair tumbled out of the helm and blanketed his shoulders. His angular face turned to Micah and his mouth curled into a half smile. Areilius. Micah’s oldest friend. “Hey Mic”.

Micha, still shocked and covered in gore, could only stare dumbfounded by Areilius’s appearance. “What are you doing here?” Micah managed to croak.

“Well… isn’t it obvious? We’ve got to get you out of here right?” Areilius smirked

Micah looked at his feet. Although his physical pain had ceased, Micah could only feel the pang of the emptiness of his heart. Through one of the cells windows, Micah could see the hangman’s noose illuminated by the moonlight. He paused…

Micah felt hands grasp his shoulders and shake him violently, “Oi! Dung-for-brains, I didn’t risk my arse to save ya for ya to stand there gockin’. We need to MOVE!” Areilius shoved Micah forward.

“Why? Why are you doing this?” Micah croaked again.

“I mean… Your da’ wasn’t gonna let ya just waltz out of here. Either you’d pick the noose and keep you in the dungeon and kick the shit out of ya or they’d wait till you got about a few miles out from Mythgrave and kill ya on the road. Can’t expect the Lord of Shroudsgar to execute his only son publicly. Nah” Areilius’s voice dropped an octave and in his best attempt of a posh accent “It would only paint my house in a darker light than that bastard already has”.

“If I’m going to die either way, what’s the point?” Micah whispered. Areilius lead Micah down the corridor to the last cell in the row.

“Ye father was right, you really haven’t been paying attention have you? There’s been strange dealings in the dark in Shroudsgar. Especially among the paladins guild. I don’t know who or what could be involved, but if you’re far from here, it’s for the better. We need to get you out of here. Keep a low profile and get to Mythgrave. Your father is right about one thing. Something is going on there and I need you to get to the bottom of it. Keep a low profile. Saroth’s men will be on patrol. Make your way to my room and get your things. I took the liberty of packing your bag.”

Keys jiggle from Areilius’s pocket. He inserted a key and the cell door swung open. Micah’s head began to swim. Areilius’s words began to swirl in his mind. Why him?

“Right, one last thing before you go. You’ve got to kick the shit out of me.” Areilius remarked

“What?” Micah questioned, taken aback.

“I have to keep my cover here, if you escape and I don’t at least look roughed up, it’ll be my neck on that noose in the yard” Areilius was rushing at this point. “Get on with it then!” and shoved a dirk into Micah’s hand.

Micah stood there for a moment staring at his childhood friend holding the dirk in his hand. He unsheathed it and stood again for a long moment.

“Gods be good man! DO IT!” Areilius hissed through gritted teeth.

Micah brought the dirk down into Areilies thigh. He bit on his lips hard to prevent a scream from escaping them and Micah balled a fist and struck Areilius in the face. Areilius stumbled, spat and regained his footing as best he could. “Good, that should be convincing enough.” Areilius muttered through gritted teeth, “Left hand corner of the cell, 5th brick from the bottom, When I give the signal, give it a swift kick. Once you’re through, get your things, and find Issabella. She’ll get you the rest of the way.”

Areilius turned and walked out of the cell, locked it and Micah could hear his labored limping steps down the hall. A loud scream echoed through the chamber. Micah found the brick kicked with all his might and a section of the wall swung outward. Areilius was putting on quite the performance. Wailing, screaming and swearing up a storm.

Micah slid his legs through the opening and slid his way out to the cold damp air. The wind breezed through Micah’s hair as he took a moment to breathe it all in. Through the opening, Micah could hear the stomping of boots, the clanging of plate and new voices to join Areilius’s shouting. Micah pushed the stone hatch back shut, took a moment to get his bearings, and ran off into the night.

To be continued . . .


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