The Narrowing Cage

The Narrowing Cage is part of an ongoing story. If you are new you can follow the links below (in story order) to catch up to where we are now.

The Black Medallion (title and first section links)
Section 2
Through the Night Fog
The Narrowing Cage
Blame it on the Train
Just Dessert
A New Home
Section 3
Shaper Magic

The Narrowing Cage

The amulet’s glow shone bright into the next room. Layers of persistent dust buried the stack upon stack of boxes. So many boxes filled the room that the exit remained lost in the maze.

With a small effort he willed the amulet to grow dark again, then slipped it back into his sash. For a moment his mind lingered on the power he had within the amulet. A power he shut down, but at the same time he felt more, something ready to surge out of him.

The boxes had been stacked in neat rows, easier to navigate than he had expected, even in the dark. The one path through the room did not lead directly to the exit door. His steps twisted and wound across the floor.

narrowing cage

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Images of Jak flooded his mind as he shambled through the room. Broken, beaten, his life gone and there had been nothing he could have done about it. The exit door ahead of him pushed the thoughts from his mind. He took a deep breath and held it, then pushed the door open. A quick blast of cold night air washed across his face.

Fog surrounded him, a mist like before he arrived at Jak’s. The disorientation he had felt before had slipped away, but this did not reassure him. Already he could hear the distant howls and knew they would come for him. With a steady breath he centered himself and then ran, ran deeper into the mist.

With each footfall he heard the scratch of talons against a pavement he could not quite feel under his feet. The beasts were close, so very close. They had anticipated his return and waited for him. He had no time to think, little room to breathe. He pushed himself away from the beasts that chased him in the fog, the gentle drum beat amulet power in his hand driving his pace.

He never saw them, though he felt their presence. The creatures of the mist drove him as they growled and yipped in the obscuring mist. They limited the directions he could run, though they never quite came into view around him. After what felt like an age of running through the shrouded night he realized that it was more than just the creatures of the mist that had guided him, images had flashed in his mind, thoughts of safety, thoughts of home.

With the realization, the mist had cleared around him as well. Still he ran, and tumbled to a halt when he twisted mid stride to run toward his apartment building.

The apartment was just as he had left it, ransacked and gutted. No one had claimed his space or removed anything he had left. He wasn’t sure how he would secure the door again, though locks seemed to pose no challenge for what was looking for him.

A flash came into his mind, indistinct, shimmery. A glimmer of an idea. He gave a sidelong glance to the amulet. Its glow provided no answers. He wasn’t sure what it meant but he felt an urge to place a hand on the door handle.

He grasped the cold metal and the glow of the amulet dimmed. A wave of energy traveled from the amulet up his arm, through his chest, and then down the other arm to the door handle. There was no light, no swirling colors, just a wave of energy. It lasted for a brief moment and then was gone. The door was shut tight. So tight he could not open it when he leaned away pulling the handle. Locked in his room, he cleared debris away from his bed of straw. He was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

Dreams of wolves haunted him. Creatures that hunted with claws to rip and tear. Their howls reverberated through his mind. All through his dreams, his fears, a soft blue glow caressed him and the world around him. He woke with a start when a giant wolf beast had reached for him, and caught its talons into the flesh of his arm.

His room had been suffused with a blue glow and his left forearm ached like it had been through a shredder. There were tears in the flesh, crusted over and scarred, damage that hadn’t been there the night before. He held the medallion, and for a moment felt that it had fused to the flesh of his hand.

Tisdan wiggled his fingers to assure himself he could release it. They had cramped during the night, clasped tight against the medallion. It was an effort of will to straighten his fingers again.

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