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Snippet #862701

located in Reality, a part of Almost an Allegory, one of the many universes on RPG.


St. Glears, a town of the post-modern era, dilapidated by time, is barely large enough to justify its hospital, university, and skyscraper.


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Daylight’s fury warms the sweat streaks glistening along Prisoner’s shoulders to an uncomfortable sizzle as he slides his tunic off and tosses it atop the heap of oddities on the nearby wood cart. Discarding the rest of his belongings, he sets his arms idly akimbo and inclines his head to one side, allowing the shadow of his brow to obscure the full ferocity of the hour, and takes a moment before being bound to observe Cada and solidify in his mind the chord of familiarity that awoke on first seeing the youth.

A round, arrogant face gazes back at him from underneath the disarray of matted brown hair framing Cada’s ruddy features with a sort of scornful dishevelment. There is a glint in the boy’s eyes, and an unmistakable air of insolent confidence emanating from the impressions at the corners of his full, slightly curved lips; the type of aloof expression one can hardly distinguish from a mischievous grin or a haughty scowl. The impish purity, absent the undertones of malice, is what resonates in Prisoner’s mind as strangely intimate.

He knows this person, or a person like this; of that he is almost certain.

Unable to keep hold of the thing, Prisoner dismisses it as delusion—the purity merely an extension of symbols lurking within the bits of flax caught up in Cada’s hair and the grass shoot swaying loosely between his teeth. The only thing real is the type of commonplace boldness all young men flaunt as a guise to their underlying insecurities.

“Ready?” a voice interrupts.

Despite its simplicity, the question strikes Prisoner with equal absurdity as if one were to ask a babe straining against the throes of labor whether it is ready to emerge and live. It implies choice, or at least the option of delay. The audacity grips his mind with such vividness that he only escapes when a cold cinch of metal snaps around his upper arm and a chain pinches the tender flesh underneath his shoulder. It tightens in a swift, grating motion, until at the outside he can feel the blood of his partner surge and eventually fall in rhythm with his own pulse.

“Flesh to flesh,” Kylun solemnly mutters.

The comment is disturbing enough to Prisoner to elicit a wince of dismay, but Cada raises a contrary brow as if to question his impromptu revulsion.

Next, his wrist is bound to Cada’s, then his bare thigh and ankle. Finally, Kylun places a hand on each of their shoulders, looking intently and almost proudly upon them, and proclaims, “Now off with you two strangers and come back as brothers! You’ll need the trust you’ll gain today for what is to come tomorrow.”

A sudden jerk and near collapse follows, and proceeds for the following hour in which they gather tinder for that evening’s meal and erect pavilions for the barbaric nobility who fancy their service with the civility of full-throated screaming.

As with all indignities, the embarrassment fades in time, its wake evidencing a sort of casual jocularity involving splashes of water to the face, tests of strength and stubbornness, and on occasion the crude and unflattering observance put in such a way as to gauge the humor of one’s company and—if on target—inexplicably put them at ease.

Near the end of the day, with the heat thunder reverberating in the sky, Prisoner even catches himself laughing at one of Cada’s quips as they relax on the outskirts of the newly-built encampment. They talk until the horizon darkens and the black sky drowns out their need for words. There is no need to return to Kylun; where they are is sufficient to bed for the night. So, with the evening dew settling on his bare chest, Prisoner resigns himself to breathe deeply of the tepid night that will slow his mind until the haze of slumber overtakes him. He exhales his content exhaustion. How much time had passed since he last exerted himself so beyond the confines of his self-imposed solitude? It does not matter, and his eyes close with the thought so they can, instead, linger between the rough, ticklish animal pelt beneath him and the sweat-damp, smooth sheet above.

As his thoughts drift and decay, the rhythmic, confidential tempo of Cada’s panting does little to bother Prisoner, nor the movement of his hand led in involuntary cadence to the dull clank of irons and friction that is obviously his new friend’s primal nightly ritual.

“Just let yourself go,” Prisoner yawns, “it’s not like you’re fooling anyone with that racket.”

The rush of heat against his side and the sound of Cada nearly choking on his own tongue proves a good enough note to close himself off from one experience and awaken to another.