Carpathia III: Episode 42 - Traps


The days of samey tedium were passing more and more slowly to Jaze. Every part of his day was the same. He was kept locked in his room for most of the time. He was only allowed out during meal times and then he was paraded down the halls, now with two guards in tow, rather than Pestilence. It was clear enough that he was meant to be a message for everyone else.

The only points of interest in his long days in isolation were the extra meals that kept getting slid into the hatch in his door. He could never predict when they were going to come and he never figured out who was doing it, but they were welcome all the same.

Recently, however, the extra meals stopped. After two long, tortuous days without having received anything at all, he was worried that something must have happened. He was also feeling fairly hungry, as his meager rations in the cafeteria were barely enough to keep him going day after day. Once again, Jaze was being marched back to his room by his silent, scowling guards, wondering if his mystery benefactor would show up again or if Pestilence intended for him to slowly, agonizingly waste away.

That was when he heard it. For the first time in longer than he could remember, someone shouted his name. Not his real name, naturally, but the one that Thirteen gave him.

Pestilence: Hey, Chaos!

Everyone within earshot froze simultaneously. It took a few moments for Jaze to register that someone was even speaking to him. Once he did, he stopped and turned slowly to see Pestilence with the smug smirk that usually indicated something bad.

Pestilence: I hope you've enjoyed your extra meals, because you aren't getting any more.

Pestilence paused for several agonizing moments.

Pestilence: I caught Jump sneaking food to you. I'm afraid I had to send him up to see Maelstrom for breaking the rules.

Though Jaze's mind was dull and slow from lack of meaningful communication, it didn't take him long for him to get what he was implying would happen to Jump once he got up there. He went through Mitani's execution in a dumbfounded stupor, but now he only felt one thing: rage. He lunged at Pestilence.

The guards seemed to be expecting this, however, as both of them snatched Jaze's arms before he could move even six inches towards Pestilence and the face he desperately wanted to peel from the skull.

Jaze flailed helplessly against his larger and presumably better fed subduers while Pestilence merely laughed at him.

Pestilence: You're going on guard duty tonight, so take him back to his room until then!

The guards dragged Jaze, literally kicking and screaming, back down the hall towards his room where they threw him inside and slammed the door. Jaze pounded on it with his fists for a short time and once he managed to bloody his hands on the door, took his shoes off and threw them at it. A mixture of rage and guilt consumed him until all he could do was lay on his slab of a bed and let his mind go blank.


This, Jaze thought, was so ridiculously stupid that only Pestilence could have masterminded it. He stood on the guard tower with no gun or weapon of any kind, whereas his two burly guards, who stood a short distance away from him, were heavily armed. Nothing screamed "Please try to escape so we can shoot you" as much as this did. He almost didn't care if they did, but the only thing that was keeping him going now was Maelstrom's musings of a rabbit somewhere on the planet. Jaze didn't hold much hope of escape, but if the opportunity arose, he was determined to take it, no matter how small.

Despite the fact that his guard duty was clearly a trap, there were moments where he peered over the edge, thinking of jumping. Every time he got close, the two guards, who kept a position distant enough to make him feel his isolation, but close enough to watch his every move, would twitch their trigger fingers.

Suddenly, he heard a faint whisper coming from the turret entrance behind him.

Keast: Hey.

Jaze was just starting to turn around to see where the quiet, mysterious voice was coming from.

Keast: Don't turn around. I can hear anything, so speak as quietly as possible. Just look straight ahead and pretend like you're talking to yourself. I can speak in such a way that only you can hear me.

Jaze did as he was told and responded in a in a voice barely above a whisper.

Jaze: That's easy. I've been talking to myself a lot lately. It's Keast, right?

Keast: That's right. I'm glad you remember.

Jaze: Well, you're kind of hard to forget. Why are you here?

Keast: I said it before. I like you. No, not like that. You're just more interesting than anyone else here. I think, because you were much older than most people are when they come here. I've been watching you as much as I can since the last time we talked.

Jaze: Well, if you could help me get out of here, that would be great.

Keast: I'd like to. The problem is that you're being guarded by more than these two. There are at least three others with their guns trained on your head that you don't even know about. Possibly more. I don't know.

Jaze: So, maybe Pestilence is slightly more clever than I give him credit for.

Keast: I can't help you tonight, but I'm here to give you two messages. First, I met a little white dragon friend of yours...

Jaze: Ryuu!

The two guards twitched again and for a short while, there was stony silence. Jaze did his best to act naturally and hope, perhaps, that the guards would figure he was going insane or something. Eventually, after many tense moments, it worked and things went back to normal.

Keast: Yes, Ryuu. He wanted to be here too, but, much like you it seems, he really isn't any good at staying quiet. Anyway, the point is, you are not alone. We don't have a plan yet, but we're working on it.

Jaze: That's very good to know.

Keast: Second, don't do anything crazy, but keep your eyes open. I might not be able to talk to you again before we try to get you out.

Jaze: Yeah, not unless you manage to crawl up to the little slit I have for a window.

Keast: I have to go, before anyone comes. Stay strong.

Jaze: I will. Thank you.

Jaze heard nothing else after that. Keast had clearly slinked away silently. Jaze stood where he was, feeling more hopeful now than he had been for as long as he could remember.

Commissioned art in this episode from:

All city pictures from SimCity 4

Support New Carpathia!

Support New Carpathia and future stories by becoming a Patreon!

If you'd like to make a one-time donation, here's PayPal.

comments powered by Disqus