Free for a limited time! Read the struggles of young Merlin, how he championed encampment, and his journey out of slavery. Read a small snippet of Merlin’s three-part backstory below.
The other Orks wait at the large, Oak Table in the First Floor of the mineshafts. They speak in hushed tones, knowing the sound carries far. “He’s cheating so he is.” Says Cuter, bitterly. “Accidents happen all the time on the road to Privene. He takes a sabbatical soon, I say we ensure such an accident.”
Perronius crawls back through the tight mine shaft on his hands and knees, scraping himself against a jagged rock in the process, opening up a recent laceration across his chest. He winces slightly but continues to unravel the dynamite cord back to the main detonator.
On it are switches and the cord has several multi-colored wires that must correspond exactly with their respective slots. Otherwise, all hell will break lose. A misstep could cause the whole thing to explode prematurely.
Though Perronius is blind, he has memorized the order of the wires perfectly. He committed it to memory on the very first day he learned this task. His hands are callused and knotty from the painstaking process of pulling the cords out of their dynamite rods, his fingers blistered and scabbed. The bandages he wrapped himself in a couple of days ago are already tattered and ineffectual.
As he peels back the wires from their rubber casing, his fingers slip and the end of the wire bites painfully underneath his nails. The pain is sharp and searing and he emits the quietest of protests but shakes it off.
Deep inside the mines, the heat is nearly intolerable at over 140 degrees. Few slaves can survive it for long. None but him. Even at the higher levels, the heat is beyond oppressive in the mines, constricting the air to barely sustainable levels.
The air is so stifling and suffocating, even moderate activity causes constant wheezing and lung irritation. Each breath feels as if you are sucking in tiny shards of glass.
The noxious chemicals used in the extraction process only exacerbate the problem. It is no wonder that most who are enslaved here do not live longer than 2 or 3 years. It is a death sentence for all. All except for Perronius.
Perronius seems to thrive in this hellish prison just like the Orks who enslave him. He is able to perform tasks that would have killed an ordinary boy, or even a full grown man. As soon as he is done re-wiring the dynamite charges, he looks up at one of the Ork guards, Cuter, and motions to him.
Cuter looks at him. His deadpan grimace is hard to interpret. He could be pleased, nonchalant, or angry. Cuter seems satisfied. He motions to Perronius. The undulating waves of his gesture with his hand are immediately transmitted to Perronius.
Perronius was dismissed by many as just a worthless, helpless blind boy; but nothing could be further from the truth. Despite being blind in the traditional sense, he actually has 6 senses.
He goes to a control panel with numerous buttons, switches and crank levers. It would be difficult to know what to push for anyone, even with their sight; but Perronius has a photographic memory. He pushes one of the buttons and then pulls a lever. The boom inside the mines is deafening. A thick, noxious cloud erupts throughout the mine. He hears several of the children cough.
This is page one of fourteen.
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