LIBERATION - A TALE FROM THE LEGEND OF THE FIVE WARRIORS

The cell is dark and cold. The toilet doesn't flush and the stench is so strong it has mass. She hasn't been fed.  The guards fowled her water with their personal waste. 

The dark and cold were meant to destroy her will, make her beg. The lack of food and water were meant to kill her. Not the warlord's will.  His guards' retaliation for the death of one of their own. Rapist pig.  Or would be rapist. The memory makes her smile as she bites down. Rat blood is disgusting. It has enough liquid and protein to keep her alive. The dark is her friend. The stink hides her location.

It's been two days.  She can wait no longer or her strength will fail. Her weapon tight in her grip, she crouches by the entrance.  It is time for her so-called meal.

"Haven't heard a peep in hours," the baritone grunts, sliding the feeding slot open.  "Here girly, girly."

She doesn't move, keeping her breath a shallow whisper in the  cold and dark.

"Hear anything?" A gravelly voice demands.

"Nah, she's done.  Probably fainted from hunger 'n thirst," the baritone says.  "Easy pickins'"

"Gotta kill her," Gravelly's voice is harsh.  "If he finds out, we're as good as impaled."

"You got high?" Baritone asks.

"You're low," Gravelly agrees.

The door opens, the light is blinding.  Or would be. Eyes closed, she surges forward - high then low.   The small, overlooked blade slashes fast and deep.

The sound of falling bodies tells her she is free.  Dead, dying, or wounded, it makes no difference. Springing into the hall, she shields her eyes with the hand not holding the blade. Her feet follow the pattern she memorized when they dragged her here.  Her heart hammers and she drags in clean air.   

Weak, half blind, she bursts into Jonathan's hall. Her thorn flies before her, slashing half-seen shadows from her path.  Shouts echo in panic.

"Crap, it's Adelaide!  She's loose!"

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