Author's Note: This was originally something I was just writing now and then for myself, but I figured that maybe I'd give posting it a shot. It starts right in the middle of things, but an explanation will come. Yay in media res. (hopes she spelled it correctly). I had no title for it, so I'm making do…I suck at titles.
The guard opened the cell door hesitantly. Even though the prisoner within was chained, he was still nervous. He stepped in swallowing hard and nearly jumped back as the bowed head raised and red eyes glinted in the torchlight. The guard fingered the syringe as he approached the prisoner.
"Back again are we?" The voice was hoarse, but there was still a light conversational tone that, if anything scared the guard more. He gritted his teeth and roughly grabbed the prisoner's arm.
The prisoner glanced at his chained arms and down to his equally bound legs. "Is this really necessary?" He asked continuing to sound conversational.
The guard scowled at him. "His Magnificence deems it so." His scowl deepened as a low chuckle emerged from the prisoner's lips. "Shut your mouth." The prisoner ignored him, continuing to look amused.
"Magnificence? I knew he was humble, but really…" Sarcasm dripped from the man's voice still laced with that irritating amusement.
"Thank Yulia, you'll be executed soon."
"Am I really that much trouble? I'm flattered."
"Let's see how flattered you'll be when your ass is sinking to the bottom of the ocean." All nervousness had left the guard to be replaced with irritation at the prisoner's smug arrogance. Well, that would end soon. He plunged the syringe into the man's arm and stepped back to make sure the drug did its job. The man had been standing erect when the guard had entered, as erect as any man could be when chained to a wall, but now the strength seemed vanish. The prisoner sagged, only the chains holding him up.
The guard let loose a chuckle. What had he been worried about? "So, this is the famous Jade the Necromancer. Look at you now." The head raised and narrowed scarlet eyes gazed at him. There still seemed to be an intensity to that stare despite the haziness clouding it from the drug induced fever now coursing through the prisoner's body. He backed away and left the cell, slamming the heavy door behind him and feeling a little less smug and a little more disturbed.
The cell was cast into complete darkness much to Jade's relief. At least now he wouldn't be able to actually see the room spinning. His head was starting to throb while his stomach tried to make him believe he had food to get rid of. There had been the bread and water…when had that been? He tried to gather his thoughts. It seemed his execution was swiftly approaching and he still hadn't figured out how to get out of this. The door opened shedding light into the cell. A man swiftly approached and undid the chains binding his arms. Jade tried to do something but could only fall forward. The man clamped manacles around his wrists and bent to undo the ankle chains. Jade found himself blinking in the sunlight in front of the chopping block. The blade swung down and Jade's eyes snapped opened. He must have fallen asleep or passed out; he was in darkness once more and bound to the wall. He sighed. Now he was dreaming of dying before it even happened – hardly a good use of his time. He tried to fight through the fog in his head, figure a way out of the cell.
"O maddening gale of shpirits…" His voice slurred and he stopped to try again. "O maddening gale of the spirits of the earth…Stalagmite!" He could feel the fonons gather for a moment before they dissipated uselessly. He sagged against the chains, exhaustion clouding his consciousness. A sickening smell reached him and he slowly realised with a grimace that he been sick. He was slipping in and out of awareness. He wondered how much time had passed before he noticed that he had vomited. He sagged against the chains, the little strength that he had managed to gather melting away.
Jade slowly opened his eyes to the sound of his cell door being opened. Weak light crept in outlining two guards. Jade forced his head up feeling as though even that simple task was a massive undertaking. The guards marched forward and one started undoing the manacles. The other swiftly replaced them with another pair before Jade could quite get a grasp on what was happening.
"Hrmph. I expected this to be more difficult," the guard who had placed the new pair on Jade commented.
"The drugs have him pretty out of it," the other responded while bending down to unlock the ankle chains. He hesitated and looked at his partner. "Hey, get the gag on 'im, will you?"
"Uh, right." The guard forced a cloth into Jade's mouth and tied the ends at the back tightly. "Do you really think his artes are much of a threat right now?"
"Do you know want to risk it?" The chains came lose and for a moment Jade felt relief at the lifting of the pressure and accompanying pain, but the feeling was short lived as another pair was clamped on. "Right, let's get going."
"I don't understand why this had to wait so long."
"I'm sure His Majesty," Jade clenched his jaw, "has his reasons," the guard said idly. "Not for us to question. Anyway, I'm more curious as to why he hasn't killed Peony. Emperor and all, you'd think His Majesty'd be more worried about him causing trouble."
"Games," the other guard grunted. "He likes to play with him."
His partner shuddered as he opened a thick door. "He creeps me out," he muttered. Jade squinted against the sun's painfully bright light as they passed through the door and onto the palace grounds.
"Well, at least the Necromancer won't be our problem for much longer."
Jade stared into the grey depths of the ocean from the cliff edge and tried to swallow – his mouth had gone dry and the gag was not helping matters. He twisted his hands in the tight manacles and was rewarded with a sharp prod from the guard. "None of that now," he hissed.
There were footsteps behind them and a soft, imperious voice spoke. "Turn him." The guards obliged and Jade found himself staring down at a shorter fat man dressed in rich robes of red trimmed with gold – the self claimed new Emperor of Malkuth, the cause of everything that had gone wrong, Voris.
Jade took no enjoyment from killing. If the need for it arose, he would do it for duty or self-preservation. He was a soldier, but he never took any pleasure in killing. However, he longed to thrust his spear into Voris' flabby body and watch the man's greedy little eyes fill with fear and pain.
Voris seemed the very picture of joy as he turned away from Jade with a smile to face the crowds. Jade followed his gaze and his anger grew hotter. He could see Emperor Peony seated on the makeshift throne that was used for outdoor occasions; he was bound to it. The mockery was clear.
"We are here to witness the execution of Jade Curtiss," Voris said. "The vile criminal who dared to betray the throne, the very Necromancer of Malkuth. I have no doubt that many of you will feel safer with this monster's death."
Peony met Jade's stare, his eyes wide and his face sickened. Jade was just relieved that his close friend was at least alive. He turned his attention back to Voris' speech, feeling the hot anger well up again.
"Let this be a lesson to any who would attempt to bring an end to the new glory of Malkuth, who would try to conceive an end to the bringing of new prosperity."
Voris turned back to the guards. "Attach the chain." He lifted one ring-adorned hand and placed his thick fingers around Jade's chin, forcing his face down to look at him. Jade stared down at him with every ounce of disgust he could muster. "There are many who have a nasty habit of floating." He gestured down and Jade saw that a metal ball was being attached to his ankle chains. "We don't want that. You are to be nothing but food for the fish."
The guards now with some effort, forced Jade right to the edge of the cliff. "Do you have any last words?" Voris asked. Silence reigned and was broken by Voris chortling. "I suppose not," he said quietly, smiling at the gag. "But I think we can pass on that little formality." He raised his voice. "End this," he said, his voice now laced with boredom. "I think we have let these proceedings go on quite long enough."
Jade realised that his breath had quickened and he tried to steady himself. He needed to be calm, take a deep breath before he hit the water. Every second was a chance for survival, though he was at a loss as to how he was going to save himself from this disaster. The guards pushed at him and he made a vain attempt at resistance and then…the ground was gone. Air rushed past him and the ocean was rushing up to meet him. The cold, dark ocean…get a hold of yourself, Jade chided himself. Deep breath, deep breath. He managed to take a quick breath through his nose before hitting the ocean's surface. The water quickly closed over his head, but he had his one breath. It was not as large as he hoped, but it was something.
He was sinking fast, the weight of the ball dragging him down. He tried wriggling his wrists, but the manacles were too tight. He tried to kick his legs but the chain ball and the water's resistance swiftly put an end to that effort. His mouth was wet. Water was coming in through the gag. His body was demanding breath and Jade started to feel the unfamiliar feeling of panic. No, no! Panic would not help. Shaking, wild thoughts…shortness of breath…the signs of panic quickly passed through Jade's mind as his lungs finally gained control. He choked and water flooded into his mouth. He instinctively tried to spit the salty water out only to let more water in. Stupid, stupid. He felt sand and rock under him; he'd hit the bottom. His mind had gone blank, yet another unfamiliar feeling, blank except for the vague thought that drowning really was a horrible way to go. A searing pain was in his chest and his head was pounding. Despite his best efforts, his body had taken control and was trying to gain the one thing that would save him, air. I'm sorry Peony…everyone…Jade thought as blackness took him.