I wake with a start as I feel something cold against my neck. I make an attempt to sit up, but it only results in pain. I see a hooded figure leaning over me and holding a knife to my neck. Now I feel a bit of blood oozing from an incision. Apparently the cold thing is a pretty sharp knife.
I blink back tears of frustration. Yes, I’m terrified for my life and wellbeing, but this rotten luck is getting fairly ridiculous. First, I nearly drown, then I begin hearing voices in my head. Well, a single voice, but that still means that I’ve probably forgone my sanity. Not to mention an Elf-priest wants to exorcise, or in other words, torture me. And now this!
Plus, the stupid voice didn’t even alert me of danger this time. I was starting to depend on that. Maybe it’s gone? Don’t blame it on me. You sleep like the dead. It is not in my power to wake you. Nor is there a reason to warn you now, since you are already as good as deceased. Nope, still there. I sigh.
“Could you remove the knife please? I mean no harm.” I use a soothing voice, hoping it would have a placating effect.
“Give me a reason why I should let you live.” The voice is slightly accented and sounds like it belongs to a young man.
“Because I don’t want to die yet?” I ask hopefully.
“Not good enough.” The knife presses harder on my neck and I feel more blood flowing down the side of my neck. Well, it was worth a try, though I kind of guessed that he wouldn’t care much about my opinion on the matter.
I raise my gaze and look under the hood, trying to make eye contact, but it’s too dark. There’s a bit of light coming through the slits in the curtains, but it’s not enough. I know nothing about this man before me, but I really hope that he is the lesser of two evils.
“Please make it quick, then.” I whisper, a lump forming in my throat and tears brimming my eyes. “I ended up here because I didn’t want to be tortured.”
“Tortured by whom?” It seems I’ve somehow managed to cath his interest. The pressure on my neck lessens.
“There was an old man. A priest. I heard him tell my father I need to be exorcized and that he would deal with me himself. And…” I can’t help it and begin to sob. “And I’ve read about how they… do it. I beg you, don’t make me suffer like he would have.”
“That priest, what did he look like?” He removes the knife and sheaths it. I might have a chance of survival after all.
Should I tell him about the Elfin features I saw or just about how I originally percieved him? If I told him the truth would he think I’m crazy and kill me anyway?
“Well, he was very old and he had white hair.” As I debate with myself on what else to tell the man in front of me, he removes his hood. The room is very dimly lighted, but I can see he has somewhat handsome features, dark hair, light eyes and… pointy ears! Now that’s just great. Have I angered the Gods somehow?
I rub my forehead and say, “And his ears were just like yours.”
“Did he have a scar on his left cheek?” he asks. I squint my eyes, trying to remember, but I can’t give him a definite answer.
“He was wrinkled and it was dark when I saw him up close. To be honest, something told me to get away from him as fast and as far as possible. I didn’t stick around long enough to memorize all his features.”
“Your instincts were probably correct. I believe I am familiar with that priest of yours, though.” He looks at me as if he were assessing me. I guess he is satisfied with what he saw, since his next words were “You can stay here for a while. It is the safest place for you at the moment. Naturally, you’d have to earn your keep.” He mowes toward the door and opens it. Before leaving, he looks back at me.
“If you do decide to stay then first thing you need to do is take a bath. You smell funny. It almost reminds me of… Never mind.” He shakes his head lightly and I think I catch a glimpse of a small smile before he leaves and closes the door behind him.