The jailer says I am to be executed at month’s end if I do not confess to the full depravity and wickedness of my crimes.
I know what you seek to ask and deny it categorically, absolutely: I would not waste such dull language on such a colorful affair. I sent the man away without answer of course—in doing so ensuring his return with pen and parchment. I asked him what he wanted and so it must be mentioned, that from this moment to our conversation’s conclusion, he played a simpleton splendidly.
“Write,” he said, pointing to the dirtied sheets of paper he had placed before me. He wore a nobleman’s outfit but his accent held none of education’s expected elegance.
“What is it your master wants me to write?” I asked him.
He stared at me in agitation and his bushy brows, red spotted with grey like the markings of some ridiculous tiger, furrowed as he spoke. “Confession,” he said, pronouncing the word as if it was spelled with a ‘k’ (there is a difference). He pointed again to the paper.
“Of which act?”
“Confession,” he repeated, this time in anger. He stepped forward and I marked upon his breath an odd stench.
“As you wish, as you wish. There is no need for hostility, my good man.” I grabbed the pen in one hand, the paper in another, and held them in the space between us as a peace offering—a torero of inverse intention. “I shall begin right away, see? Come, tell me your name. I will need it for this confession.”
Much to my astonishment, he opened his mouth to respond—but at the last instant caught himself. “Thirty days,” he said and without another word strode out the cell.
“I need light! How does your master expect me to write!” I called after him to no avail. Upon the long tunnel’s walls, and to the echoes of long-lost footsteps, the embers of his torch faded, until at last their flickering yellows disappeared entirely and took with them all memories of his passage. All around me lay darkness, like a thousand mouths of night.
I have written thus in the hour since.
It took some time for my sight to adjust again to the prison’s gloom but I can see well enough now. I sit in a small room—square, windowless, constructed of old stone. Moonlight spills through a slit in the ceiling directly above me, running straight and true into my outstretched palm like a silver sword. I sense nothing elsewise of the outside world.
From the first of my captivity, I have found it strange that the peril of my circumstances has aroused within me only the vaguest sense of discomfort. A perilless problem? An impossible notion. Consider this newly given task. With it I despair not at failure’s chance but in expectation of that future day when another, the first to read this page, comes to assume its script reflects some perversion of its writer’s character. Royal penmanship I abandoned in another life; I fear drunken calligraphy haunts me now. An odd thing in one’s last days to fixate upon. What had I expected? Wrath at my tormentor? I know not his face. At the jailer? An even more useless proposition—he is only another in that eternal line of the Fool, who in stumbling towards the center of History’s great song, comes to consider his position hard-fought and his fortune well-earned. An easy mistake to commit when one possesses neither charm nor wit.
But perhaps I disregard the man too easily. He had spoken of confession, and its necessity; in this we share agreement.
Here then lies the unbroken account of Kadon Anotos, Sovereign of the Third Empire and First Prophet of his era. Hear my story. Raise it to the sky.