Time passed, though she knew not how much. She fell asleep once or twice, though their occurrences were so close together that it hardly meant a thing. Still, sleep brought little rest.
Without a doubt, Eve’s largest concern at the moment was her imprisonment, as well as the threat of being sold as a slave. Next, however, was the concern of hunger. Eve hadn’t eaten for quite some time, a fact constantly heralded by the growling of her stomach and the pains which now irritated her. Surely, they must be fed at some point, yes? Unfortunately, in this world of darkness, she had no idea of the time.
With nothing else she could do and no sign of the guards, Eve contemplated attempting to speak up again. She looked to the girl on her other side, this time, only to remember that she was gagged.
“Psst,” she heard the girl beside her hiss.
“My name is Raela,” the voice was elegant and strong, though weakening, “Raela Pencaster of Ravalon, who is beside me?”
Acting quickly, Eve muffled desperately through her gag. Even if she couldn’t talk back, at least someone was finally reaching out to her. Someone with a big name, no less.
“I see,” Raela sighed, disappointed, “I wanted to tell you, whoever you are, that I admire your courage. I have watched you fight, fighting for your freedom. I admire your ferocity, your will.”
Eve’s heart swelled with joy, it meant everything to hear such words.
“No,” she continued, correcting herself. “No, I envy that. I wish I had fought as you have. To be honest, I haven’t been as strong in my own life as I could be. Not recently, that is.”
“Remain strong, don’t let them break you. Do not give up!”
How Eve wished she could respond, she wanted to know more about her new friend. Unfortunately, a guard’s steps paced by them, attending to the sounds of talking. Both remained silent until the steps retreated.
The silence remained, Eve began to fear that she would hear no more. Then, finally, Raela spoke again.
“I know that things look bleak,” she continued, her voice wavering in despair, “yet I do believe that we will get out, somehow. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.”
“And then,” her voice changed in tone from sad to stern, “when that day comes, I will see to it that the Grey Eyes pay for what they have done to us, and to those before us.”
Eve admired her new friend for the spirit inside of her. Raela’s will was strong, like hers, with a fire that longed for righteousness. How she wished she could speak, too.
Desperate to communicate, Eve decided to hum a simple tune she knew from back home. Unable to speak the words, she hoped that the melody might prove familiar to Raela. Or, at least, maybe it might spark further conversation.
She started with a tune her mother used to hum to her when she was younger, to no avail. Then she tried another classic northern tune, still nothing. This woman might not know northern songs, yet maybe she would know a popular children’s tune!
Thinking quickly, she tried the unicorn song that Nicodemus sang with the children. It was a classic tune that got in everyone’s head.
Raela chuckled, “I haven’t heard that one in a long time, not since I was a little girl.”
Eve grinned as she continued to hum, Raela eventually joined in at a whisper.
Watch the unicorn go,
Running wild and free!
Curing the sick
And blessing babes,
Just as it ought to be.
Before they could sing more, the creaky latch moaned in the darkness again and the sound of footsteps walking down the stone stairs echoed through the chamber. A light appeared at the far end of the room, a passage Eve hadn’t noticed yet. There was a lantern, it's light shining on the face of the robed man, who held it up to illuminate the room.
“Chow time, my pretties,” his voice called in the darkness.
Eve noticed that, in his other hand, the man held a large kettle of something steaming. Could it be food? It had a strange, familiar blend of smells.
As the robed man held the kettle before him, the mist curled and twisted under his face in an eerie dance. He then made his rounds, the sound of pouring could be heard in the shadows.
Eve watched his shape as it reached Raela, then he came before her and one of the satyrs served the stew. She could see the mist swirling as the pot was held before her. A tinier bowl of the mist was handed to her. A part of her wanted to fling the hot substance at her captor, though she knew it would do her no good. Besides, she was ravenous.
The man noticed her gag and, remembering why it was there, stared her in the eye and spoke in a harsh whisper.
“If you wish to eat a bite, we’ll need to remove your gag. If you make so much as a peep, however, we’ll gag you again and you will get nothing. Understood?”
Reluctantly, Eve nodded.
“Good girl,” the man said as he carefully removed the gag.
Eve restrained herself from attacking him as he handed the gag to another satyr and proceeded down the line.
Taking a small sip of the strange gruel, Eve found there to be a familiarity to the flavor. There was potato, leeks, and another herb she recognized. It reminded her of home, though not from anything her mother ever cooked. She took another small sip, only to better place the missing flavor. She found glimpses of home coming to mind, of Hilderock, of Lakerun. Not of the town, though, her mind went to the forest. It was a berry she tasted, though none of her favorites. No, she had tasted this one long ago, though not often again after.
“What are you?” She asked beneath her breath, quieter than a whisper.
Unfortunately, or, rather, fortunately, her mind was clouding and slowing, which was the very thing she needed to help her remember.