Esyrias could sense where he was even before he opened his eyes. A trickle of water ran down the wall behind him, and someone, probably a guard, sat across from him. Esyrias felt the man start as his eyelids fluttered. They opened to see the man’s face broken into a somewhat mocking smile.
“Hello, my little friend,” the guard said, “and how do you meet the world this morning?”
Esyrias contained himself. If he killed the fool now, he might interfere with any negotiations between the bandits and his family.
The guard edged away slightly. The boy beside him had fiery red-orange hair, cut fairly short in a style currently in fashion with the Haram nobility. However, he was emanating an aura of hatred mixed with barely-controlled rage. It made the guard feel somewhat queasy.
The boy sat in silence, and the guard, over the course of several minutes, backed up against the far wall of the room. He thought of the ransom they could get for him, but it seemed less and less appealing as he looked once again into the boy’s angry features. Once more he reassured himself. True, the noble families often trained their children in magic, but if this kid had learned, he would have tried something by now. Loyalty to his family might have checked him, but that had its limits. Two hours passed before anything further happened.
A commotion outside awoke the pair from their own thoughts, the guard’s of ransom and of fear, Esyrias’ only of fiery revenge. A moment later another bandit burst into the room.
“House il’Cor refuses to pay ransom!” he shouted angrily. Esyrias’ ears perked up. The bandit continued. “They say as far as they’re concerned he can get his own damn way out. Dammit, I was sure this would work! Without the money I’m never gonna be able to get any land of my own.”
Esyrias felt no sympathy for the man. He was happy that his family had left this to him. It was such a thoughtful gesture. He broke his chains like most children break toys as he rose to his feet. The bandits stared at him for a moment, too stunned to act, and he blasted both of them with enough heat to kill a man. It did. Ashes floated to the floor as he smashed the door and stepped out of it.
He glanced around as bandits rushed towards him from all directions. The rage that had been building up for hours inside Esyrias peaked and, as the first of the men barely grazed him with a sword, exploded.
After a while, when most of the smoke had cleared, a servant of House il’Cor peered over the edge of the crater. He found Esyrias lying unconscious in the middle. With an expression of distaste, the servant lifted up the boy, taking care not to accidentally bring along any stray bits of bandit. He picked his way through the smoldering wood and bones. It would be a long walk back to the manor.