--- UNEDITED ---
There was a pause.
“I’m sorry?” Camiel replied, confused.
“The Edohlmir, what do you know about it?” the man with the black hair said again, slowly as if talking to one incapable of understanding human speech.
“I have never heard of this… Edohlmir,” Camiel replied again, his heartbeat soaring. He really did have no idea what the Edohlmir was… or at least, what it did. He was also certain that this was the wrong answer. The man’s nostrils flared as he got more agitated.
“We need you to tell the truth, Camiel,” he said stonily, glaring at him. Camiel suddenly felt very small, although his height was more than equal to that of the interrogator.
“I am telling the truth. I have no idea what the Edohlmir is. I have never heard of it.” The other soldiers had been standing silently throughout the conversation, but now they walked over to him, each carrying a short silver knife. Camiel’s heartbeat soared again. Surely they weren’t going to – to hurt him? One by one, in quick succession, each soldier slashed out with his knife, creating about seven cuts on his body. Camiel cried out in pain as the seemingly red hot metal sliced through his flesh.
It was over in a matter of seconds.
“Let us try another question, shall we?” said the man with black hair, grinning horribly. Camiel just watched him, silently crying out from the pain of the flesh wounds he had acquired. “If you fail to answer me three times, well… You have seen what will happen.” He gestured to the soldiers with the knives. “So, let’s try this one… Where is the Edohlmir?”
“I don’t know where your stupid jewel is!” Camiel yelled angrily, then clamped his mouth shut, realising what he had just said. The man raised his eyebrows.
“So you do know what the Edohlmir is?” he inquired.
“No – I mean, yes – well, sort of!” Camiel replied angrily.
“There is a legend in our village, of a jewel that can grant wishes. The legend does not state the jewel’s name though,” Camiel replied, looking down. His cheeks burned with the humiliation of being caught out.
“Then how did you know that the Edohlmir was a jewel? How did you connect the legend to the questions?” the man asked urgently. Camiel peeked up through his lashes. The man had knelt down in front of him, and was looking at him imploringly. “Surely it wasn’t just a lucky guess?”
“It was!” Camiel replied defiantly. “I knew that ‘mir’ was elvish for ‘gem’. I just guessed that it was the jewel from the legend.” Camiel didn’t know why he was telling the man about his elvish knowledge. It was stupid, he knew… but he didn’t care by that point – he just wanted the endless questions to be done.
“How is it that a poor village boy, who can most probably not read or write, knows the elvish language?” the man murmured. It was a rhetorical question, but Camiel answered anyway.
“My mother taught me.”
“And your mother’s name is –“
“Was.” Camiel said quietly.
“Was,” repeated Camiel. “My mother’s name was Sidheme.”
“And her fathername?” the man persisted, as if this information was of great importance. Camiel hesitated. He could lie, and say he didn’t know, or make up a fake surname. Or he could tell the truth. He chose the first option.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I was never told.”
“You are sure?”
“Yes.” The man paused. Camiel watched him for any sign of an order. His previous cuts were still stinging. “Very well then. We will see what you have to say in the morrow.” Camiel relaxed as his bonds were untied, and rubbed the life back into his wrists. One of the soldiers grabbed his arm and pulled him upright. He stumbled and fell on his knees, his ankles unable to support his weight.
“Get up,” said the soldier impatiently, dragging him upright. Camiel gasped in pain as the soldier’s dirty fingers touched his wound. He paid no heed however, and dragged Camiel through a network of hallways and out into the open air. He was then lead to a step of stone steps, down them, through an iron door guarded by two men with swords, through another door and into a long hallway. The soldier kept up the relentless pace, and Camiel stumbled along behind, struggling to keep up. Abruptly, the soldier stopped in front of one of the many doors that lined the wall. Camiel caught a glimpse of a rusty metal key as the door was unlocked. The soldier threw him inside. He landed awkwardly on the raised sleeping pallet, then fell off, hit his head on a fallen brick and knew no more.
Camiel blinked in the bright light that streamed in from a small barred window. He groaned –a throbbing pain was emitting from the side of his head. Gingerly, he reached up to feel it. His hand came back covered in little bits of dried blood. Grimacing, he stood up. His legs still felt week, yet he could not remember why. He looked down at his right hand, and saw a golden ring sat on it, glistening. How did that get there, he wondered.
A sudden wave of tiredness rushed over him, and he sat down heavily on the raised sleeping pallet, still staring at the ring. He tried to remember what had happened, but all he could recall were loud noises and smoky rooms. Defeated, he wondered over to the window and looked out.
It was a barren wasteland he saw before him, surrounded by a high iron fence with vicious spikes on top. Just as he turned away, he thought he saw a small grubby face filled with large brown eyes peering out from behind a building – but when he looked back, it was gone. He sat back down on the pallet, thinking.
He remembered a girl, with laughing blue green eyes and curled auburn hair… He remembered working hard, so hard, in the sweltering sun… He remembered a forest with a pool… He remembered the girl with laughing eyes giving him the ring… He looked down at it. Rachael! How could he have forgotten? The rest of the events of the night before rushed back, hitting him faster than a speeding train, sending adrenalin rushing through his veins. But he sat back down again. He couldn’t do anything. So instead he waited for the man with the dark eyes to reappear.
After a few hours of boredom, a soldier opened the door and thrust a plate of food in. Camiel scrabbled over eagerly. Although the meal consisted of nothing more than bread and some kind of thin soup, Camiel ate ravenously, using the bread to mop up the dregs in the bowl. He set aside the empty tray regretfully, wishing for something more filling after his fast the night before. It occurred to him suddenly to look from the window again, and see if the mysterious face was there again, but it wasn’t. Camiel resigned himself to a boring, uneventful day.
After his second meal had been delivered and eaten, the sun had started to sink again. Camiel was just settling down to sleep when a small group of soldiers burst in, grabbed his arms and dragged him, protesting, out, and over to the same smoke filled room as the day before. He was again tied to the chair with tight bonds.
“So then, Camiel. We didn’t get very far last night, did we now?” Camiel shuddered at the man with dark eye’s grinding voice. He shook his head. “Let us proceed then, to my second question – where is the Edohlmir?”
“I don’t know, sir,” replied Camiel, trying to be as respectful as possible to avoid the hurts of the night before.
“Where does the legend say it resides?” Camiel struggled to remember. It had been years since he had last heard that particular tale.
“I think the legend said that it lay ‘at the bottom of the ocean, hidden from all knowledge.’” He recited.
“I believe you. But my original question was this – where is the Edohlmir now?”
“I don’t know, sir. I only know of the legend.” Camiel replied, his heartbeat starting to speed up.
“Then we will return to the topic of your mother. Certain sources have informed me of the fact that she was called Sidheme Whiting. Her mother’s name was Alulia Arrowsflight. A very unusual fathersname, that,” he said softly. Camiel looked him in the eye.
“I swear that I had no knowledge of this,” he said evenly.
“We shall see,” replied the man. He clicked his fingers, and another soldier took him back to his cell. Camiel was only grateful that the questioning did not continue for longer. He lay back on the pallet in his room, and went to sleep.
The next day was much the same – food, gap, food, gap and more interrogation. The questions stayed on the subject of the jewel. Camiel learned that it was blue in colour, and was believed to be a sapphire, made by the great sea God, Ramar, whom the famous Ramar river was named after. Camiel himself revealed all he knew of his family, although he was unsure of why the information was relevant to the jewel he was being asked about. He also confirmed that his age was twenty summers.
On the third night of questioning, Camiel finally plucked up the courage to ask why his family was important to the jewel. The man (who Camiel had discovered was called Sergeant Gregory) had seemed unsure of whether or not answer. Finally he replied.
“Alulia Arrowsflight was believed by the Irilu to have possession of the gem before she died,” he surrendered, looking uncomfortable.
“That is why you arrested me?” Camiel asked incredulously. The man didn’t answer. He didn’t have to. Camiel could tell exactly what he had been about to say. “It’s true, isn’t it?” he demanded, struggling against the bonds. He tried not to cry out as the soldiers cut him for a second time since his arrival at the prison camp. Thick red blood dripped from the wounds, soaking his already dirty and bloodstained clothing. Then he was lead again to his cell.
He never saw the man with the black hair again.