Linvin sat on the other side of the wall trying to think of something to say. His usual greetings seemed wrong at that moment. At last he managed, “Are you hurt?” The sobbing continued. “Miss,” he called out louder, “Are you injured?”
The crying reduced and was interrupted occasionally by a sniffle. “It’s nothing that won’t heal,” she said meekly. “But it doesn’t matter. I will never leave these walls alive.”
Linvin moved closer to the bars by the wall. “My name is Linvin. What is yours?”
There was silence for a few moments and then one soft, beautiful word was spoken in return. “Mirianna,” she replied.
“You seem a little out of place here,” Linvin said.
“Everyone in this tower is out of place,” she answered indignantly. “I suspect that was their purpose in building it. You don’t sound like the usual criminals they bring in here. There must be a different reason you have checked in to this establishment.”
“I have no idea why we are here.” Linvin answered.
“Sure you do,” Mirianna said. “Everyone knows why they’re here. Some people just don’t want to admit the answer.”
Linvin was caught off guard by her banter. He tried to refocus on her. “Well then, why are you here?” he asked.
Her tone immediately changed. “So that’s your game, is it? They bring me down here and think I will tell you everything just by asking? Nice try Spy. I am wise to you. You can tell that red-eyed sorcerer you work for I have no knowledge of my country’s defenses. You can also tell him if I did know anything, I would never tell him or any of his agents.”
Linvin was stunned by the accusation. “Mirianna, you are mistaken. I am no spy. My kin and I are prisoners just like you.”
Mirianna snapped back. “That is just what a spy would say.”
Linvin sighed. “If I were a spy then why would they put three other people in here with me? Would it not be wiser to have a single person here to whom you could confess?”
Mirianna was silent for a moment and then began to cry once again. “I don’t know what to believe anymore. They have tried so many tricks to make me betray my country. I am just so tired.”
Linvin sighed and thumped the back of his head against the wall. “How about this,” he proposed. “I am not a spy and have no use for any information about whatever country you are from. Since, however, I cannot say what can be heard by others in this place, perhaps we could talk without either of us revealing anything our jailors do not already know.”
After more time Mirianna agreed. “You start,” she told Linvin in a quiet voice from just the other side of the wall.
“Well,” said Linvin as he thought. “My uncle, cousins and I were traveling through the Unclaimed Territory and were caught trying to cross the Mystic River into the Mandrean Empire.”
“Why would you want to come here?” Mirianna asked. “Do you work for them?”
Linvin grew angry. “If I worked for them I would not be in this jail, would I? I thought you were not going to ask me such questions.”
“Do they have any idea why you are here?” Mirianna asked in a softer tone.
Linvin ran his hand through his hair in frustration. “I have no idea what they know or do not know. They have asked us no questions.”
Mirianna was surprised. “Do you mean they have not interrogated you at all?”
“That is correct,” Linvin stated. “We are clueless about their intentions. Why are you here?”
Mirianna put her head on her knees and let her hair cover her face. “I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was ignorant and now what days I have left are at the mercy of these beasts and their masters.”
“Do you have food?” Linvin asked.
“They give me Goblin Biscuits from time to time.”
Linvin took a loaf of bread and stretched it through the closest gap in the bars. “Here,” he said, “Take this. We have plenty of food.”
She paused at the sight of the loaf. “Is this some sort of trick?”
“Yes,” Linvin said sarcastically but with a smile. “I am tricking you into eating bread. Call the guard!”
He changed his voice back to a more pleasing tone. “Look, my arm is growing tired. Either take the bread or leave it on the ground. I was only trying to help. Remember I do not want to know any secrets from you. That is unless you would like to tell us a secret way out of here.”
Mirianna laughed as she wiped her tears. Linvin grinned and added, “What, no snappy retort? How disappointing.”