Kaelyn had been deep into Montari caves, fighting off masliths and black Montari crazed with hunger. She had spent time in humid glades where the damp seemed to get into – and rot – everything and it sometimes felt difficult to breathe. She had climbed into a sea-cave, scrambling over slippery rocks and hoping that they could find what they were after before the tide came in.
Kaelyn was sure that prison was the most miserable place she had ever been.
Not only for the obvious reasons – the infuriating cause behind their arrest and the humiliating way they had been treated and the worrying feeling about how they would get out of this and continue their quest.
The place was just plain wretched. There was a window – far too tiny for even a child to squeeze through, and barred beside, blocking half the moonlight that streamed in. The air was chilled and damp, as if it held the breath of every prisoner before them. The stone walls and floor were even colder, sucking the heat from their bodies. There was absolutely nothing interesting to look at, as the walls were uncracked and clean white, probably whitewashed recently.
They had given the less-uncomfortable bench to Aren, for all the good it would do him; he lay tapping his fingers on his hands, which were folded across his stomach. Kaelyn was laying on the other bench, not moving now that she had found a position that didn't cut off blood flow to anything. William was the only one with a cloak. He had it folded underneath him where he sat with his knees pulled up to his chest, leaning back against the wall, and was staring out of their cell. The sullenness had faded over the hours into blank exhaustion.
Aren sighed, the sound too loud, and turned on his side to face them. Kaelyn could just make out his eyes between the places his hair fell over his face.
They didn't talk. There wasn't anything to say. They'd already whispered through the possibilities for escape and dismissed them all in the end – this was no badly-made bandit camp cell. They would have to take their chances later, or hope that someone would listen before it was too late.
Aren shifted again, his clothes rustling as he sat up and leaned his head back against the wall. Kaelyn wondered if he was freezing, in his short pants and bare feet (the guards had barely given them time to dress, and they'd been especially leery about the mage). She pushed herself up, too, and slung her feet off the bench to make the few steps over to his. As she sat, she touched his arm. It was too cold, covered in goosebumps.
More cloth shifting. Kaelyn looked up just as William sat on the other side of Aren and reached over to wrap the cloak around the three of them. Kaelyn shot him a smile, which felt thin, and he gave her a wan smile back.
Aren was leaning against her shoulder. She pulled her feet up, tucked the cloak in a little more securely, and settled her head on his. His hair was soft against her cheek. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep.