”You go with me,” Rey ordered Eaanir. He pushed him forward, and the mage could do nothing but obey. His hands were chained and Rey had thrown away his staff. Without the staff he was not strong enough.
They walked through a dim, narrow corridor with paintings on the red and golden walls, paintings of dead kings and queens, and between the pictures were golden candlesticks with lit candles in them, casting deep shadows in the corners.
They reached a big oak door at the end of the corridor, the door leading down to the cellar. It was locked and chained with a big iron lock, and Rey reached for the key in his pocked. He picked it up, and smiled at Eaanir as he stuck it in the lock. He turned it around with a deep, clicking noise, and the heavy lock fell to the floor with a loud thud.
Eaanir closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them again and sighed.
“You do know this is a mistake, right?” he asked quietly.
“Don’t try and stop me,” Rey said. He pushed hard at the door, but it was so heavy he had to lean his whole weigh on it. The old rusty hinges squeaked as it swung open and they stared into the darkness. Rey could discern a narrow, steep stair in the darkness.
“Go first,” he said.
Eaanir looked at him.
“I don’t want to, he said. He was paler than usual, and Rey could see the fear in his bright eyes.
“Are you afraid?” he whispered. Then he pushed the mage down the stair.
Eaanir managed to grab the rusty rail before he fell, and began to carefully walk down. Rey followed after him.
Eaanir glanced over his shoulder, and Rey expected to for the first time see hate in his eyes. He wished he would. How could he possibly not hate someone who treated him like this, someone who was so evil? But all Rey saw was sadness, which made him feel a sudden hate against the mage, a hate he’d never felt before. It blazed up like a hot fire, but was gone just as fast. He couldn’t. It didn’t matter how much he wanted to, but it was not possible for him to hate the mage.
“Hurry, I said.”
Eaanir walked faster, and after a little while the steps ended, and they found themselves standing in a round room completely made out of uneven, cold stone. The only thing that brightened up the stone room was a single torch on the wall.
At the end of the room were three thick wooden doors, each with a big lock looking exactly the same as the first lock, so Rey assumed it was the same key, too.
“Which door?” he asked. Eaanir didn’t answer. “Come on, you have to know which door it is. The king must have told you, his faithful friend and advisor.”
“The one in the middle.”
Rey laughed, a short, sharp laugh, echoing in the room. The air got cooler as he got closer the door, and when he touched the wood it was ice cold.
“Hmm…” he said and frowned. “It must be the Shadow, the Dark Spirit’s powers. Am I right?”
Once again Eaanir did not say a word; he just stood as far away from the door as possible. “I assume that is a yes.” Rey said with a smile.
He stuck the key into the lock and slowly, very slowly, turned it around. He could feel the heart beat hard in his chest for the fist time as he prepared himself. So I have a heart, after all, he thought, but it must be as cold this old stone. He pushed the door open, and felt an ice cold breeze blow hard against his face. He could hear Eaanir gasp behind him. A noise of heavy chains scratching against stone reached them, but that was all.
“Do you feel it, Rey,” Eaanir whispered his voice shivering. “This is what your father made… this is…”
Rey looked over his shoulder at Eaanir. The mage sat on the floor leaned against the stone wall, with his face hidden in his shivering hands, and his chin leaned against his knees. He was sobbing.
“Are you seriously crying?” Rey asked, doubting. Eaanir just kept sobbing. “Unbelievable.”
Rey turned around and stepped into the darkness, unable to feel any dark powers at all, only the ice cold air. But he did not get far before something heavy threw itself at him and he fell to the floor.