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@PaulHaynek

Hey, when you get the chance can you clear some things up for us? Letter Bee's last post left a lot up in the air as to what could have happened wrt blasting a hole through the ceiling and stuff.
River just glared at the corpse and pulled her wings away from her. Sure enough, her noisy singing was going to bring the whole place down on their heads. Whatever plan the masked-man had, they would have to them out, but they would never get another chance if they didn’t make a break for it now. The others clearly had the same thought. They were joined by a trio of men who’d somehow fashioned their spoons into short-swords. The others in her line had clearly powerful magic, enough to break their chains and blast away the nearby guards. River couldn’t allow herself to be dead weight. She’d agreed to the prison break in the first place. The masked man had the right idea. River hoisted the stool over her shoulders as she jumped up onto the table, using her wings to maintain her balance as best as she could despite the restricted movement.

If the guards were just empty armour, would non-magical techniques even be effective? She couldn’t dwell on it. This was all she had right now. She smashed her stool over the head of the nearest guard. Glancing at the armour as it the collapsed to the ground, she grabbed another abandoned stool. Leave the guard’s sword; you don’t know how to use it. Remember what Uncle Flint told you: “A weapon in a fool’s hand will hurt the fool more than his enemies.” They needed to find a way out of this room before more guards arrived. The others’ magic couldn’t last forever, and they wouldn’t have any chance for rest until they were long away from their prison.
River really had come to look forward to meals. With the cells being so small, there was little she could do to stave off boredom or keep herself from going mad. The chill and lack of bedding were not so different from when she slept under the stars as she travelled. Even if her wings hadn’t been bound in such a way that she couldn’t reach the clasp no matter how she stretched, there wouldn’t be enough space in her cell to move them properly. Despite the cuffs on her wrists and ankles, the restricted movement felt less so; she could still walk, although probably not run, and she could move her arms surprisingly freely despite the chains. Being escorted to the cafeteria was the only chance she had to test these ranges, and even then, she had to be careful not to catch a guard’s eye.

Food was food, and while her body craved the fresh meat that she’d gotten it used to, anything to keep her going would have to do, even if that meant eating watery porridge for days on end. The most she would allow herself was to silently say that their captors could at least spare some vegetable scraps. Otherwise, she would just sit there eating what she could, while she could, until the guards decided that they’d had long enough and they were forced back into their cells.

Normally, River didn’t have much reason, or chance, to observe the other prisoners. The room was large enough to suit a large platoon, and their captors filled it with all types of people that she’d never seen or even heard of before. Her line looked mostly Human, with the exception of the Corpse. However, today, their guards seemed more inattentive than normal. When she was first brought here, the guards were almost constantly breathing down her neck as she ate her meals. Today, prisoners on one side of her were able to whisper to each other. Prisoners on her other side had started tapping out some sort of code. If they were planning something, she would have to act quickly. Mimicking the masked-man’s rhythm, she started tapping her foot on the leg of her stool. She took glances at the guards as she did so, willing them to maintain their lack of focus.
Hello, just putting River up again.


hello, I am here
River took a step back from Pox, still trying to keep the Little-One behind her. Pox moved quickly from subject to subject, it seemed, and he brought up some good points. The fact that they were able to communicate at all would be nothing short of a miracle if they’d merely been brought from different countries. If they were from different worlds, then it wouldn’t be so far-fetched to believe that there would be such a difference in the types of people. Although if he were right, River pressed a hand to her forehead, then what had become of Ferriveil? Worse, what if he was wrong about them being able to go back, and worse still, what would be waiting for them if they could go back?

“Er, yes?” River said in response to Nale’s question before standing tall and showing her wings off a little. “I was born with wings, as were Mum and Dad, and Uncle Flint. Everyone in my family is one of the Winged-People. We’re not demons, or servants of the Almighty, or magical beings, or anything like that.” She didn’t know of anyone who could change their whole shape in the way he described. This man had dozens of questions for all them about their homelands.

Speaking of magic was something that River had little knowledge. She’d mostly be paraphrasing half-remembered snippets she’d heard from Thomas or Viscaria, something about affinities? All she knew was that Viscaria manipulated lightning for her dances.

The Little-One, Ahnciel, spoke up again, and managed to get out a hasty message between his fragmented speech and scratching words out in the blood splatter, a message which Uriel hastened to scrub away after they’d read it. Ahnciel was still visibly shaking, trying to clean the blood from his fingertip. Although River was at least somewhat used to being elbow-deep in viscera from butchering her own meat, she wasn’t without sympathy for the squeamish. She moved over to him and wrapped a wing around his shoulders.

“We should yell at those two in the storeroom to find you something decent to write on. A slate and chalk would make your situation a lot easier.”
River had sat herself down on one of the beds. She’d said it for Pox’s sake, but she still couldn’t seem to shake the heaviness within her mind. Almost unconsciously, she unfolded a wing and started preening, smoothing the coverts and trying to get some of the dirt out of her feathers. Two of their group had gone to investigate the other room. Hopefully they would find some useful supplies for when they made it out of here. She was only half listening to Primalia and Pox’s conversation.

The clattering of a sword made River look up from her work. Uriel had thrown his scavenged weapon on the table. Nothing he was saying was really wrong; it was abundantly clear by this point that they were from vastly different places. Shouting at each other would only make their situation worse, and Primalia had already told him off, but she still rose up from her seat, and put herself in between Uriel and the Little-One.

“Honestly,” she said, “He’s already explained that his speech has been hampered,” although he could be lying, but that was probably something that none of them wanted to even consider right now, “and I’m sure we all have the same questions.” These strange curses, the Corpse, River hadn’t even noticed until now that Primalia wasn’t a Human. “It’s frustrating being in the dark like this, but short of getting him some paper and ink, there’s only so much he can tell us right now.”
Before anyone else even had the chance to do anything, the fight was over. The Corpse just walked up to the monster and slammed it to the ground like it was nothing. Even after it had fallen, they just started looting the remains, not that there was much left. Right, most of these people looked like they could be soldiers, prisoners of war would at least be normal within an army, but that still didn’t account for all of them, like her, and Primalia looked to be a lady-in-waiting for some rich family.

River stared briefly at the stinking armour, wishing that she had some way to mask the smell. At the very least, they’d got moving quickly, following the Little-One’s directions. The serpentine spirits came close enough to bite, but they were stopped by way of being attached to the ceiling, and they were able the leave their block of the cells without them interfering. The Little-One followed at the rear, and River watched over her shoulder as he reanimated that mad-armour and kicked it off on its way. The blood drained from her face, and her wings and shoulders stiffened. Despite being their rescuer right now, she would have many questions for him once they were out of this prison. Although, without more words for him to mimic, it wasn’t like they’d be getting any useful answers out of him.

She followed close to the group, careful not to knock into any of them with her wings. At each cell they passed, she strained to see the captives inside; would she find the familiar sparkle of Viscaria’s eyes, or Poppy’s golden hair, or the bronzed barn-owl wings that Uncle Flint was simultaneously proud of and yet kept hidden. Yet even if any of them or anyone else she knew had been there, she wouldn’t have recognised them with the damnable shadows hiding them from her. Each figure was dull, lifeless, but she couldn’t help but keep looking.

“It’s impossible that they took just us, isn’t it?” She didn’t ask anyone in particular, still peering into cells, “How deep do these cells go? I couldn’t see much when I was captured, but if they took me then there might be other people from Ferriveil here too.” In fact, River looked over at the Little-One, why did he choose to rescue them out of everyone here?

Even still, as they arrived at some sort of barracks, there were people still catching up to them. Two more men, one in a bird’s mask, very different from the Little-One’s, who practically stumbled up to them. Thankfully, Primalia moved quick enough to catch him before he fell. River followed suit in approaching him, her questions about the amount of blood but lack of bodies within the barracks shoved aside.

“There are beds over here where you can rest a bit, until whatever spell they put on us wears off,” she said, “we can’t stay too long, but a moment to catch your breath should be okay, right?” she directed her question to the Little-One.
River wasn’t entirely convinced that the little-one would be all right, but she wasn’t going to press the issue, and she was more concerned about what he said after. Hearing the mishmash of voice, including her own, coming from behind his mask, as well the Human man’s conclusions made it easier to understand the plight of their rescuer, at least. She rose to her feet as he rattled off words that would hopefully be helpful to the little-one. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be able to just guess at everything needed, and it was doubtful he’s be able to answer most of their questions without the right words. It, and the frozen spirits, was the sort of magic that River had never heard of, or read about. Just where had they been taken?

As she was thinking, River listened to the other’s conversations. They, including another two men who must have just woken up, were at least coming around to her idea that a jail-break ought to happen quickly, but if there were more people locked up and drugged, or whatever had happened to them, it would be horrible if they were left behind. The Corpse was just making itself loud, messing around with the torches. Fire magic was normal; it, at least, made sense in River’s mind.

“Um, I’m not a demon,” River said, looking at Primelia. It just brought back into question about where they’d been taken and how far reaching that strange army’s conquests had been if there were no Winged-People in Primelia’s country. Would Eryllan be seeing more war after the creatures were through with Feriveil despite all that had already happened to the Animal-People’s kingdom?

“My name is River Fein,” she said, hoping that would be enough for now, “well, anything more formal can wait, I guess.” She cut herself off at the little-one’s mention of “guards”.

From down the hallway, blocking their escape came a bizarre amalgamation of armour, cobbled together from multiple suits. Thankfully, before it could reach them, it got caught-up in the little-one’s spell and remained half-frozen in midair. Unfortunately, it was only half frozen. The remaining half was able to move well enough that it could retrieve its weapons. A dead-end blocked their way from behind, and there was no way forward without risking the armour’s attack. How in all of Hell were they supposed to get past this? Their escape was ending before it had even begun. She glanced around for something, anything she could use as a weapon. Even if she could barely fight, it would be better than getting recaptured without any effort on her enemy’s part again. The only thing that she could see was the magical torches.

“better than nothing,” she mumbled, pulling one out if place. Like when the Corpse did so, hers immediately lit up with flame. She still wasn’t sure what she’d be able to do with it, but just holding it in her hands made her feel a little more ready.
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