And so they sat in the dark for a couple of hours talking while the sandstorm raged outside in the canyon. Aja told Morgan of how she was orphaned as an infant and was taken in by a kind couple in the town of Mandabrun. Morgan had never heard of such a town, though. But then the town was attacked by ruffians and wastelanders and her adoptive guardians were slaughtered. She had been enslaved to the raiders and sold in another town that she had forgotten the name of. Passed from one abuser to another thug over and over until she had lost track of them all. Eventually she escaped when one of the caged caravan wagons she was on was assaulted and overturned. She managed to slip out and hide in the rocks for days.
Those days in hiding in the desert took their toll on her and she finally collapsed from lack of water and food, famished and weak, she was sure she was as good as dead. But someone had found her and brought her to Dolmrung. She was nursed back to health by people in the Council House but she still had gaps in her memory.
Morgan told Aja about his childhood in the Skutter and how the children lived like vermin in filthy packs, scavenging whatever they could find to survive. It was a constant struggle of survival of the fittest and constant fighting and scraping to establish alliances and dominance over the various packs of marauding children. Finally, Morgan had positioned himself as a captain of a ruffian faction through his cunning, his age, and his fighting prowess. He had actually staged a bold raid into the higher city and this had caught the attention of The Council.
His faction was soundly put down by the more organized and better equipped soldiers of The Council, but his life was spared. They saw in him a purpose that made him stick out from the other children. He was brought to the Council House for re-education and given the offer to become an escort of the children.
“You really don’t care to know why The Council sends one child to Kishmurg every day?” Aja asked after Morgan had explained his daily duty to her.
“No. It’s not my business to care. Hell, I figure it can’t be any worse than the Skutter for them.”
“Yeah, but aren’t you just a little bit curious?” she pressed.
“This is all you want out of life? The same thing day in and day out, over and over until you die? Don’t you have any dreams? Don’t you want to do what you want to do?”
“The only dream I have is the same nightmare I have every night,” Morgan retorted.
“Wait a minute. Are you serious? You have the exact same dream every night?”
Morgan hadn’t expected her to seize on his confession with any seriousness, but now that she had, he was caught off guard. He tried to steer the conversation in another direction but she was relentless. Finally, Morgan broke down and told her all about the dreams and his experience of being captive as a Mr. Bishop.
“Have you ever tried to just go with it?” she said.
“Instead of resisting; why don’t you just accept your fate and go along with what they want you to do? You know, be Mr. Bishop.”
Morgan started to protest but stopped as he thought about it.
Aja continued saying, “After all, it is just a dream. What’s the harm of it?”
The storm no longer raged outside but their conversation was suddenly interrupted by the sound of grating metal.
“What the hell -” Aja started to say but Morgan cut her off.
“Hush,” Morgan barked. Then whispering he said, “Shut up and don’t move.”