She needs me. That’s all I had on my mind as I left the dungeon. I’m not leaving Camira here alone. Alone with Zane. I can’t just let her live this horrid life alone. In my mind it’s just not right. Deep down I realize she’s no ordinary prisoner. Camira’s special, and she needs me. For once I have a reason to stay...to stay alive.
She needs me. I stop, that one thought running through my head, right at the base of the stone staircase. Camira needs me and the key to her cell was calling very loudly. Something I couldn't ignore, but I also couldn't ignore the right thing to do, go give my report to Baron.
If I turned my back on Camira, it would be like turning my back on my own mother. I couldn't do that. It just wasn't in my nature, even though I was taught the way a satyr should act. Strong physically and mentally, and fearless. Every satyr knows they're strong physically; otherwise you’re killed by your own father’s hand. The instant you’re suspected a weakling you’re killed. Even women.
Walking to the key that hung near the door, I snatched it from the air and jammed it into the keyhole. As a second thought, when I looked up at Camira's resting form, I gently turned the key. I watched her take even breaths, and slipped through the cell door. It creaked closed as I walked to the wall she was laying up against. Sitting down, I studied the way she laid.
Camira had her head on a thicker pad of hay than what her agile body lay on, and it hurt me to think she could get a bruise on her hip lying that way. I was seated at her feet and realized I wasn't close enough to the beauty of her face. I wanted her in my lap, I realized in the next instant. I pushed myself to my knees so I could cradle her in my arms and fell back into a sitting position fluidly.
Looking up, I caught the eye of another cellmate that likes to mumble nonsense all the time. I wasn't sure how to translate his odd look. Interest? Interested in what the hell I was really doing here? Knowledge? Knowing that I was doing the wrong thing by staying with Camira? I should have just run up those steps when I had the chance. Maybe even skipping steps going up to the next level to quicken my pace.
Looking back down at Camira in my arms, I shook my head, thinking otherwise. But the right thing still knawed at me. Maybe I still had time. I could lay her back down. I eyed that stack of hay and wanted to spit at the disgusting old pile. No, I wasn't leaving I confirmed. I looked up at the prisoner to give him a firm look. He looked away quickly, going back to mumbling at the wall.
Looking down again to watch Camira, she opened her eyes and I flinched a little like I got shocked. Her eyes. They were like a clear storm. She had light and dark grey wisps of color swirling slowly, and the white fog color that tangled with it made her eyes look dim, when the white should make them shine. Camira smiled weakly and grabbed onto my shirt again like she was a babe, anchored to its mother, and closed her eyes with a sigh.
I sat there for a long time just watching her relaxed expression. I began to feel a comfortable at ease feeling as her breath was pushed out of her lips by her lungs. My body began to shut down as well, getting tired, listening to the even rhythm of her breathing.
The last thing I remember was a hitch in her breath, as my head fell forward and I felt her hair tickle my forehead.
"Dagon," I heard and felt my name brush weakly against my cheek.
My eyes shot open when I heard the hitch in Camira's breath, sounding very familiar. As my senses came awake I felt that she was still in my lap, and I relaxed just a little. Then I noticed, while her neck was cradled by my forearm my forehead was inches from her own. I could feel the uncomfortable spike in my lower back from the long held position. I saw her worried and fear-laced eyes as she watched me wake up.
"Hey." I responded in a thick, sleepy tone as I teasingly rubbed my nose against hers. How long have we been out?
Fear immediately widened Camira's eyes, and I inched away worried whether I just freaked her out because of the Eskimo kiss. "What's wrong?"
Camira tried to rasp out her response but she lost her breath again and winced. Oh no.
"What's-" I was about to ask again for a totally different reason, when someone cleared his throat on the other side of the cell door.
I tensed and my eyes shot to the exterior area of the cell. My eyes found legs that were checkered by the shadows of the cell across from us fueled by the torchlight. Please don't be Zane; please don't be Zane, I repeatedly thought.
"Having a nice little snuggle?"
Yep, it was him.
I started to get up quickly as if that would save my future. Making sure to gently set Camira down.
Zane started walking away, and called over his shoulder, "don't bother. I've already told Baron. You've been in there long enough to get caught."
Then I heard the smirk in his voice as he said, "your friend even tried to hide your whereabouts too, so he'll be getting some punishment as well."
I was standing now and pushing the door open.
"Oh no. No, Ryes," I begged no one in particular.
I looked back one more time at Camira to apologize, and saw a different amount of fear glossing over her eyes. She almost looked panicked as confusion set in. Confusion of the unknown, probably.
As I left the hall of cells and followed Zane, my mind went to Ryes and what he’s going to be put through because of me. I blamed myself for staying too long. I blamed myself especially for falling asleep. I wanted to tell myself to be blamed because I was attracted to her, but I felt like it was too early to say such a thing.
“Sir,” I addressed, standing in the doorway.
Not looking up from the map spread out on his huge desk, Baron responded, “Come in.”
Clearing my throat I tried to explain myself. “Sir I -”
“You come to me with a report. Every time Dagon! That is what you are taught, that is what you do.” He pushed himself away from the oak table, and folded his arms behind his back, standing tall.
ìYou disobeyed my orders, you never took on the leader role I assigned you to, and - î Baron paused, and although he hid it well, he was afraid to say what came next. “And you comforted a prisoner that I ordered be kept alone.” We both knew what that meant.
“Sir -” I was cut off once again.
“Don’t you ‘Sir’ me! You are my son and are to obey the rules!” I could see his flinch when he flat out accused me. “I’m giving you the choice; twenty lashes or you leave by dawn tomorrow.”
I had no problem choosing, but the only reason I hesitated was because my father stood there expecting one thing but knowing he’d get the other. And indeed he would, “Twenty lashes,” I wasn’t leaving Camira.
A small amount of that tortured look crossed his eyes, then it was gone when he said, “Very well, tomorrow at dawn.” The strong satyr he was shining through.
I nodded and turned to leave, but decided to chance it. “Sir, I mean...Father, what will happen to Ryes.”
Making no eye contact my father responded, “He has chosen his leave.”
He never made eye contact because he knew it would hurt. And oh did it hurt. To know the only person brave enough to befriend the son of their leader left? It just hit me right in the chest.
My father looked back down at the map, paying me no mind, as I nodded, thanked him, and walked out.
Walking out, memories of the happy times played through my head like a deck of cards. A loose knot of emotion sat in the back of my throat, and when I tried to swallow it felt like rocks scraped down my esophagus.