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The sun beat down on the tiny ocean-side city. The yellow cobblestones of the road gleamed in the bright light. Tall, magnificent buildings lined the streets, and happy citizens gave the town the regular noises. The yelling of bargaining in the market, the scream of delighted children, and the scolding voices of the children’s mothers. But one man, named Yensen, heard nothing. His mind was filled with the fear of what he was about to do. He couldn’t concentrate on any one thing, save for the thought of what he was doing. Yensen was going to oppose the Elder.
Places can only be perfect, like The Village, by harsh government. One man who never aged, never showed mercy, ruled The Village. His name was not known, so he was merely called the Elder. Supposedly, no problems would ever come up in The Village, but when they did, the contentious people were sent to the Judge, and the Judge decided whether or not they should go see the Elder. Yet those who went to the Elder never came back.
It was this fear that Yensen had in his mind as he walked down the bright streets toward the huge Governor House. It stood five stories tall, topped with a gold-plated statue of the Elder. The building was made from ebony wood and stone. Rich jewels adorned the places one would normally put flowers. The windows were made from clear crystal. It was a magnificent building.
Yensen slowly approached the huge doors. He gripped the silver handle of one in his hand, and pulled. The door opened with no restraint, or sound. It glided silently.
Yensen stepped into the entry chamber. The room was dark, but not terribly so. The floor was made from brown marble, and thick white pillars stretched towards the ceiling. Open archways led off into other wings of the Governor House. But the centerpiece of the entire room was the grand staircase. It stretched on, wide as the streets outside, with thick red and purple carpets splashing down the stairs. The banisters were mother-of-pearl, studded with little rubies every few inches. And the wood was polished until it shone.
Yensen paid no attention to any of this, however. He stared at the two doors at the end of the chamber. The doors to the Elder’s room. Yensen walked slowly across the room, his footsteps echoing loudly. He reached the door, and put his hand on yet another silver handle. Yensen took a deep breath, and opened the door.
He stepped into a room lit only by candles, with plush cushions instead of chairs. And on one of these, sat the Elder. He was so old, and his face showed it. the lines were deep, and the eyes sagged. His hair was flaky, and his fingers shriveled. His skin hung off his frame like sheets on a clothesline.
“Yensen, what am I going to do about you?” asked the Elder. He spoke in a deep, smooth voice.
“Sir, I only wanted justice,” stuttered Yensen.
“For what!” yelled the Elder.
“My taxes were wrong, and I refused to pay them,” stated Yensen boldly. He was trying not to be intimidated. He was failing miserably.
“I do not make mistakes!” yelled the Elder.
“Well you did this time,” muttered Yensen.
“You heard me. You made a mistake.”
The Elder sat there, fuming. No one had ever been this bold before. There was only one thing to do with Yensen. Throw him with the rest of the people that made trouble.
“You are to go to the Pit,” said the Elder.
Yensen paled, but he knew he could not persuade the Elder to let him go. Two guards that had been hiding in the shadows came forward, pulled Yensen to his feet, and dragged him out of the room.
The Pit was a huge room completely devoid of light. There was no filth, only the sounds of the people in the streets outside. The darkness drove you mad, if the hunger didn’t kill you first. You got one meal a day; a crust of bread and three cups of water.
Yensen was taken across the entry chamber to one of the archways. He was lead down plain stone stairs that seemed to have no end. Finally, after a half hour of walking, Yensen arrived at a big door of cracking wood. It was opened, then he was shoved inside into total darkness. His punishment had begun.