Pro Bono

The caked grime and blood weighed me down. It stunted my abilities, cracked my skin, and worked like sludge that contaminated my limbs.
Oras was captured to his knees, arms strung up in chains. The bonds around his wrists had been placed so tight that skin was starting to form around the edges of the leather cuffs. Another set wrapped his legs and kept him anchored, a blindfold keeping his world dark–
The chains broke, struck to pieces by a quick swipe of a heavy blade. The links clapped to the ground like loose change as Oras fell limp to the moist ground. He groaned loudly when his completely relaxed carry made him bonk his head first.
It was as if instincts took over. He fought through all the discomfort and pain, ripped the blindfold away, waiting for his eyes to adjust.
“You alright?” a woman’s voice rang.
Oras grunted in confirmation and rubbed his eyes. Still no vision. But he was alive overall. When he stood, his body audibly cracked a hundred times. He was covered in welts and bruises, cuts and gashes sealed shut by his own congealed blood.
He stumbled to a nearby table and leaned against it to catch his bearings, his breath, and to wait for his vision to return.
“What’s your story?” Oras said. He heard her gathering any sections of chains that might be usable.
“The same as yours. Someone freed me,” she said. “I’m simply returning the karmic justice.”
Oras continued, “Going after the king on your own?”
Colors and light dotted his blurry vision, eventually formed together to bring his sight back to full draw.
He regained his eyes just in time to catch an axe from the burly woman. She tossed it with relative ease, and Oras was surprised when his took both of his hands to carry the heavy instrument. For the first time in a long time–four years he estimated–one eyebrow raised above the other in curiosity.
“Who are you, by the way?” Oras asked.
The woman smiled, almost sneered, like her teeth were made of barbs, and said, “The hero, of course.”
Oras shrugged. He’d followed worse in his unforgiving universe. Another paladin, another fighter, another war, and Oras was ready to fight another revolution. Maybe one that led to salvation.

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