Jonah sat up groggily and tried to remember where he was. As his eyesight adjusted his mind also cleared. Suddenly, a rush of thoughts came flooding back. The city, his friends, the guards. That conceited king! He thought angrily. If it weren’t for him I’d still be in the city!
Jonah looked around and started to panic, realizing that he was in a closed cell. The lunazon king had said banishment, not imprisonment! The cell did not seem to have a door so Jonah could not even think about trying to escape through one. He shuffled backwards and leaned against a wall. As he leaned back, he looked up and laughed out loud. The fools! He thought happily, almost laughing. There is no roof. Who could forget that detail? Jonah spread his light blue wings and started to lift off. A stabbing pain in both wings brought him down again. Looking closely, he saw that there were holes in his beautiful wings. Jonah screamed.
Suddenly, the wall slid open and someone stepped in. He had bright purple wings and body. His hair was back as were his eyes. His voice was deep and gravelly as he spoke to Jonah.
“You will be tried in the morning. If,” the man said, “You are found guilty, you will be executed.”
“Guilty?” Jonah asked, more curios than scared.
“For what?” Inquired Jonah, felling more foolish by the moment. If he was guilty for something, he should know what it was.
“For running amok in the streets of the Northwester Regions, of course.”
Jonah was confused. “Running amok?” He asked, “I was playing a game! Didn’t you do that when you were a child?” He glared at the guard, daring him to argue. “Besides, I wasn’t running, I was flying! Someone must have known that, otherwise I’d still have my wings whole and healthy!”
The guard looked at him. His eyes betraying only one emotion, pity. “Look, he said. Don’t shoot the messenger. That’s all I am. I don’t know what this was about; I don’t know why you are in prison and awaiting trial because of running around in the streets. But there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve never even spoken to the king, and he’s the one who decides these things, you know. Here, I have food.” The guard placed a plate of food and turned to leave.
“The Real King be with you,” he muttered quietly.
“Wait,” whispered Jonah. “You believe too?”
“How can I not?” He asked, “I heard the testimonies, and all of them struck my heart, especially yours. Maybe that is why you are here. I cannot say.” He turned thoughtful for a minute. “But maybe there is a way to get you out…”
“How?” asked Jonah eagerly.
“Be ready, tomorrow, after the trial. I am sure you will be found guilty, but I understand it now. I will send someone to get you out of here, but you must be ready. It will be another Lunazon. You may be sentenced to death. If that is so, we might not be able to get you out in time, but we will try. I must go now. I have been here too long already.”
“One last thing,” said Jonah, tentatively.
“Yes?” Asked the guard, an unreadable expression on his face.
“What is your name?”
“My name?” Clearly, this was the last question the guard had expected. “I am Japheth. Now eat and rest. The trial awaits you and you must be able to defend yourself.”
“Thank you. May the Real King be with you.”
The guard left.
Escape, Jonah thought. There is hope.
“The Real King,” he muttered to himself. “I like it.” People had been calling the last King of the Northwestern Regions the Real King ever since he had died. At least, the believers had. Cletus was his real name. He had been Jonah’s adopted father, of course, until that night. Jonah shuddered, just thinking about it. It was still too soon to remember those details.
Remembering his food, Jonah ate. It wasn’t much, just a slice of almost stale bread and some warm water, but it tasted very good to him. Jonah sighed contentedly, lay back, and slept.
Sometime, maybe a few hours later, Jonah woke up. Pain burned inside him, it was as if he were on fire from the inside. But, unlike real fire, there was no burning, no actual fire. It felt like he was burning, but he was not. Through the pain, Jonah remembered something. This was called Purging Fire. It was used to test young men of their courage and bravery. It would have happened to Jonah last year, had his father not stepped in.
The pain intensified, and Jonah slipped in and out of consciousness, finally losing consciousness all together.