PRELUDE ONE: DEATH AS A BOY
The cold heavy darkness lifted slowly. Pale white light began to filter through and penetrate the emptiness that held him tight. An image began to take form. He was looking up at something rough and gray. A blink of the eyes helped bring things into sharper focus. He was staring at was the ceiling of building…a very old stone building. Flickering light danced upon it like a mad horde doing a frenzied tarantella. He tried to move but pain shot through his body; it felt as if a blade were slicing him down the middle. He heard himself groan as he fell back onto the hard surface on which he lay.
“You shouldn’t try to move just yet, boy,” said a deep resonate voice off to his right.
He tried to turn his head but a dull stiffness in his neck stopped him. A quick look out of the corner of his right eye showed nothing but a wall made of the same masonry as the ceiling. The light was coming from a large wooden torch. “Where am I?” he asked. His voice was weak. It hurt to talk.
“How do you feel?”
His body was cold, rigid, and hurt all over. The searing pain had stopped and now his form pulsed with a dull ache. “I feel like awful, mister.”
“That’s to be expected. It’ll pass soon.”
Slight anger burned within his chest and he tried to speak more forcibly but it came out as a raspy bark. “I asked you where I was. Tell me.”