I promised to elaborate on some moments, so I shall. They may not be in chronological order, but rather the order in which I can stand to recount them. It seems most fitting that they follow a story format. At least that way they blend easily with what has already been written. It makes it easier for me to tell, as well.
Be patient with me, please.
My head pounded with relentless, sick pain. I put my head down and my hot cheek sought comfort against the cool surface of the small table that my undersized dwelling had been furnished with. The wooden chair accompanying was a pain to my back as I bent over to rest my head, but I hadn‘t the will to get up just yet to test out the meagre, plebeian bed in the corner.
Though my four walls were absent of windows, the sunlight nevertheless managed to peek through and give the room a bit of light. It was just enough to hurt my head, but not enough to see clearly so that my head hurt again under the strain of trying to see.
In the end, my only comfort was to close my eyes and lay as still as possible in the swarming quiet of the single room.
This was my second day here, but my first day alone. In silence, with every second of time passing by with agonising slowness, I felt this all unbearable. My head reeled with what had happened and plagued me with thoughts as to my fate. Both seemed equally torturous: to die or to live like a prisoner within these walls in maddening solitude. I couldn’t stand it, the boredom and fear brought out a side of me I had never experienced before but I felt too sick for anger.
It was only yesterday that I had awoken to the sensation of being rocked back in forth, unsettled in a crude wagon. I would have raised my hands to my eyes to protect them from the stabbing, intruding sunlight, but I found them quite weak and unable to rise without sending shocks up to my shoulders. They were bound, in fact, and sore around the wrist where ropes had cut as I moved about in feverish dream, unable to wake for the unconsciousness set upon me by an unsuspected blow. I’d never felt in my life such a sense of panic or fear. The stony men with long blond hair and white robes who sat about me appeared unforgiving and terrifying; they elicited no emotion as I stared about them with narrowed, accusing eyes.
They would give me no answers, I knew this. I didn’t try to speak to them.
The two other men in the carriage, neither of them the man who had spoken to me in the bar, stared at me but didn’t move to stop me as I shifted about, turning where I had been previously slumped back to look out through slats at the tall trees that we moved through along a harsh path full of rough bumps. My neck was stiff from where I had slept wrong, but I couldn’t massage the knotting away. All I could do was turn it from one side to the other to stretch the cramps out.
A traveller by nature, a wanderer, I had seen trees like these time and time again. I was well familiar with forests and back roads, with small towns and villages set far apart from teeming cities. Yet, trees were trees and I could gain no indication through them as to where I was. As far as my knowledge went, I could be a long way from home. In fact, I was all but sure of that, which sent me into an internal frenzy of sudden hot panic such that I wished again for unconsciousness. There was no way of knowing how long I’d been asleep. If the ache in and on my head was any indication, the blow had been terrible.
I cursed myself that I had put my guard down with that strange man. He seemed intriguing even when pricklings of warning went through me and I knew that I should call my slaves and make a hasty exit to my room for sleep. If only I had, I might be on a different road now under more pleasing conditions. Unfortunately, my inquiring nature wouldn’t allow me to simply leave off, which proved to be my undoing. I hadn’t known at all that he’d been accompanied by others who had sat behind me perhaps the whole time, ready to strike out at me when he motioned for them.
I didn’t even remember hitting the floor.
Oddly, what I lamented the most in that moment was that my book of writing, my histories and notes, was gone.
The last memory of my night in the bar was the feeling of a great blow, rushing pain through my every inch of me, and the sensation of falling backwards as I went deaf and blind. Before the darkness was a painless and pleasant swimming sensation much like being drunk. Then the world was black. Just darkness and quiet bliss.
To be continued…
Marius de Romanus
ante diem XIV Kalends Augustus MMDCCL