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Tuesday, June 05, 2007 Friends In Despair Part Two

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I’m Zachary McConnaugh, call me Zach. I was born in Wardstone and a citizen of Lore. I’m here because I was found guilty of espionage. Now it’s your turn. Who are you and what are you here for?’
‘I am Robert Chandler, also from Lore. I’m here because the Church of Vadis in Valanis accused me for murdering the Pope.’
Zachary’s eyes widen with awe.
‘So... you are Robert whom I heard about: The Pope’s murderer, the most wanted man in Aurelia.’
‘You know it too?’
‘Oh yes. Words spread like wildfire and reach even the subterranean regions like this dungeon here. The inmates talked as though you are a celebrity among criminals. No one has ever done a crime at this magnitude before. Congratulations, you’re an idol now: The Lord of the Rogues. Har, har, har.’
Robert snorts. Zachary’s words mean insult to him instead of compliment.
Seeing Robert’s reaction, Zachary talks on, ‘In spite of all that, answer me one thing. Did you really kill the Pope?’
Robert looks straight into Zachary’s eyes and says calmly and promptly, ‘No, I didn’t kill the Pope.’
Zachary stares back at Robert, taking a longer and closer look at him, frowns, and then smiles.
‘A prompt, straight answer and the eyes full of determination, showing a man of unshakable principles,’ he concludes. ‘I believe you, Robert. I can see it through your eyes, deep within your heart and now I can breathe easy.’
‘But words also spread that I most probably am Vordac’s heir. How about that?’
‘If you ever took a deep study on the history and legends of Aurelia in the time of Fireheart, you would understand Vordac’s character. He’s elusive, deceitful, the self-acclaimed Lord of Liars. All extreme evils, you name it, dwell in him alone. Even in his fleshy human disguise, no matter how he acted magnificently to hide his lies, his heart can’t. One drop of cold sweat foiled all his schemes. So, if you’re to be Vordac’s heir, your character must be at least similar or compatible to him. I see you’re completely different from him. You’ll resist Vordac’s soul from entering your body, not embracing him, and Vordac won’t be able to grow as strong as before again under such resistance. In short, you are not the heir.’
‘Well, thank you, Sir Zachary. Your words lifted the burden in my heart.’
‘Don’t call me Sir Zachary. Just Zach, ok!?’
‘You got it, Zach.’
Then suddenly Robert feels the excruciating pain from his wounds and frowns. Zach notices this and says, ‘Got it from your captors, eh?’
‘No, I kind of hurt myself, forcing a powerful move when my body was too weak to bear it.’
‘You should’ve known better, resorted to ordinary moves and be patient, so you’d be able to shake them off. But do tell me, who captured you?’
‘Sheena Mekh’ta and her gang.’
‘Now that’s one tough captor. No wonder you were so desperate and forced that move. You cannot shake them off because they surrounded and ambushed you. “To err is human”. No matter how good you are, you cannot overcome a bandit’s cunning, so you ended up here, right? But that doesn’t mean you’re out of hope. Now lie down and I’ll see what I can do. I know a healing spell or two, you know.’
Robert lies down on the floor. Zachary examines his body for wounds and then casts, ‘Vitali!’
He has to repeat the spell several times on several wounds, because the Vitali Healing Spell can only heal one point of the body in one time. The Great Heal (Viavitali) Spell can heal the whole body in one cast and in a quicker healing speed than Vitali, but it seems Zach doesn’t master it.
Nevertheless, Robert is thankful because Vadis has placed him with a healer, proving that Vadis still blesses and watches over him. So, when Zach finishes mending his wounds, Robert thanks him too.
‘Oh, no need to thank me, Rob. Just say that I’m doing myself a favor. I haven’t had a good chat like this during my three years in this mudhole, and this is also a good chance to hone my healing skill before I lose it. So I thank you for giving me a chance to practice and keeping me sane with a good conversation. Hahaha!’
Zach laughs his heart out, but Robert doesn’t do the same.
‘What’s wrong, my young friend?’ Zach asks. ‘Aren’t you happy to talk with me? Or was my healing skill too weak for your wounds?’
‘Oh, it’s not that. I just rarely smile since I was ten years old. I’m happy, really, but I’m having trouble expressing it.’
‘Really? You must’ve experienced something bad for something like that to develop. May I know what it was?’
‘Err... It’s kind of personal. I never told any of my friends about it. Why should I tell you?’
‘Because I just care, ok?’
‘But it was kind of bizarre, you won’t believe it.’
‘Try me.’
After a long silence, Robert finally tells Zachary about his childhood tragedy. Robert doesn’t tell him about Walthorn, but Zachary’s expression changes when he heard the name ‘Arkvale’ mentioned. As Robert finishes, Zach comments.
‘So, you’re the sole survivor from the Arkvale Massacre, or so I heard. Whew, I never expected that the boy who slew a full-grown orc grew up to become Vadis’ champion, and I meet him here in person! Now I know what Vadis placed me here for. Maybe he wants me to help you!’
‘Maybe so, old Zach. Maybe so. But we better keep our heads low for now until we know what Vadis have in store for us next.’
‘You’re right, young man. Now I will tell you a bit about myself...’
Robert and Zachary are now engaged in a long conversation as if they are long-lost brothers. They talk on all night and the day after, and after, as if tomorrow never comes.

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