BNN: From Rags to Riches
January 9, 2009
Ricardo had gotten thinner.
Imprisonment in some forsaken, glorified mine shaft could do that to a man, Avery reflected. Where were they? More importantly, why hadn’t he ever heard of a prison like this? “Well Captain,” Ricardo was interrupted by another spasm of coughs, “Looks… looks like I’ve lost a little weight since ye last saw me? Eh?”
“Gods man, what’ve they done to you?”
The infamous thief’s bony frame shook with mirth – at first Avery feared for the shackled man’s mind, but then the laughter bubbling out became genuine and full of amusement.
A string of hacks and wheezes insinuated themselves throughout the laughs as Ricardo calmed down, gazing at the bruised and beaten man of arms on the floor.
“You’re not looking to good yourself, you know?”
Avery grimaced. “They wanted information.” He spit to the side, pulling himself up. “I didn’t have any to give them.”
Ricardo laughed again, triumph in his eyes: “Then we share a common problem, friend!”
“I’ve been here for, well… mon-, no wait, a yea-, hmm, a long time,” his thoughts trailed off, his eyes lifting gradually to the ceiling, losing focus.
“And?” Avery rejoined.
“Ah, right. A long time, and, obviously, nothin’ to share,” another laugh, “no, ‘intelligence’ I’m supposing.”
“Then why are you still here? What do they want from you… us?”
Ricardo’s chains swung forward as far as they could go, he leaned in, staring right through Avery. “Examples?”
Avery wasn’t a dumb man, but his lips faltered a bit and the thief coughed again, discretely this time. “That is to say, a pair of executions, I’d imagine.”
“I’ve done nothing wrong!”
“Uh huh. Let me guess, did you cross the wrong man, by chance?”
“No! One minute I was in the service of mi’lord, the next he, and,” Avery paused here, realizing Ricardo knew nothing of the recent events plaguing Britannia, “and he, and everyone else on the Council, they were dead!”
“Dead?” Ricardo was more quizzical than concerned.
“All murdered in Castle British itself!”
Avery stopped again, considering. “Well, no, Lord Casca was kidnapped by the assailants. We tracked them, rescued…”
Ricardo interrupted, “Lord? I’m sorry, did you say ‘Lord’ Casca?”
“Yes, Royal Ambassador, found him taken prisoner, ended up fighting with some sort of witch – I …” Avery was looking down at his hands, disbelief at the events still evident across his face.
Britannia’s thief thrust a hand forward, motioning him to stop. “A lord. My, my, and Royal Ambassador?” Avery managed half a nod and Ricardo continued, “Why, he’ll be King at this rate!”
Avery looked up, the pieces all finally falling into place for the loyal soldier.
Without warning a third voice broke through the gloom – a high pitched voice, and somehow tiny.
“Excuse me,” Sherry the mouse squeaked, “Need a paw?”