The worst part of the trouble hadn't been being arrested by the Trisban guards. It hadn't been the trial and the accusation of being an assassin. He'd planted the rumor himself.
For Danus, the worst part was the realization he might be too late to save his friend.
The cells were far worse than he'd expected. Rats ran down the stairs; sleek fat things and fearing nothing. The place stank.
However, at least they put all the prisoners in one cell. The metal bars of the door clanked shut behind him with a sound like a death bell as Danus stared into the dark, listening to men cursing.
Taking a deep breath was out. He didn't want to breathe in the foulness.
"Sankin?" he asked moving away from the door. He'd heard the guards leave. No one would be listening. "Sankin, pray gods tell me you are still here."
"You are a fool Danus."
His eyes hadn't fully adjusted, but he could see someone moving towards him, pushing others out of the way. Sankin. Danus caught him by the arm. His friend had lost weight.
"Your sister is upset, Sankin. You do know you can't hide here from her for long, right?" he said.
Sankin laughed. "You, I trust, have come with a plan?"
"Have I ever let you down?"
Sankin grinned. He looked as though he hadn't smiled much of late. A half-healed cut showed beneath the beard on the right side of his face, probably infected given this place.
"San." Danus leaned against the wall, relieved.
"You can't do magic in here, you know," Sankin said. "I saw it kill a mage; he started a spell and it just struck him with lightning. I had rather hoped you could do something from the outside."
His friend sounded worried. Danus reached over and patted his arm. "Your sister and I did all the study of this place we could. I known about the spells on this place. I need something sharp, San."
"They don't give us no knives, boy," someone said, snorting as though he were a fool. The local accent was strong, but he understood very well the menace behind the words. They went for the weak here.
"I imagine not. I expect someone here has a piece of wall that's broken off and sharpened, right?"
Several men had gathered closer, all of them snarling. He didn't blame them, but the last thing he wanted was to have trouble with those whom he might help. Right now he didn't care if any of them were here for legitimate reasons.
"I am going to get the door open," he said. He made certain he sounded as though he expected this to work. "Once I do so, the rest of you can do as you please while I get San to safety."
The men glared.
"What have you got to lose?" Sankin asked, someone who had been here for several months. One of them.
A man handed over a piece of stone. "This do?"
"Yes, thank you."
Danus rolled up his tattered shirt and jabbed the rock into his arm half way between the elbow and the wrist.
"Danus! What the hell are you doing, you idiot?" Sankin demanded, sounding more like himself at least.
"Idiot? Going to give them a bad impression of me," he said. Blood welled from the wound. "Had to bring magic in the hard way -- already made."
The pain made his hand shake. Sankin took hold of the wounded arm and then took the stone as well --
But another man took it from San's hand. "Do this quick like. How much?" he said.
"Cut up until you see the tip -- tip of a long black stick."
He'd used magic to put the wand in place. He wished he dared use it to get the thing out again. Pulling the short wand out from under his skin almost made him faint. Sankin tore cloth from Danaus shirt -- the cleanest here -- and wrapped the wound. Someone else cleaned the wand.
"Spell to destroy the door," Danus said. "Just need to trigger it. Everyone stay back."
They all moved away except Sankin.
"Get back, you fool. I'm doing this for you."
Sankin remained. Danus sighed. He rubbed his finger over the wand; no words spoken and no magic from him. As soon as he felt a flicker of magic, he tossed the wand at the door.
The spell was enough to blow the door out -- away from them, he'd been careful about that magic when he made it -- but the lightning helped, too. It not only made a much wider opening, but finding no one to attack, swept down on the guards when they rushed in.
"Well," Danus said. "That went well."
The others rushed out, yelling as they fought their way up from the dank, deep area. Some had been wise enough to grab a weapon from the already dead guards. One even handed a sword to Sankin.
"Let's go," Sankin said.
And that was when part of the roof fell and hit him on the head.
He awoke on a ship.
"What the hell --"
"Ah, better I see," Sankin said. He sat on the deck beside where Danus laid on blankets. The fresh air felt wonderful. "Not the best accommodations, but we needed to leave Trisban immediately. Nasty thing, the revolution started by escaped prisoners."
"So, your job is done? You got the trouble going?" Danus asked, remembering why his friend had been in the country.
"Yes. Now we can go home and face my lovely sister the queen and not have her upset at either of us."
"Until she sends us out again."
"Maybe we should emigrate."
"Then she'd send people after us."
"We're stuck. Rest. At least we have a couple weeks before we get home. We're having a vacation."
"I always imagined a vacation on a tropical isle, not the deck of a fishing trawler. But I'll take it."
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