Title: Reunion - part 3
Character/s: Merlin, o.c.s
Summary: Merlin meets his fellow prisoners.
Warnings: canon-typical threats of violence
Word Count: 512
Prompt: Bingo: scars
Author's Notes: One more mention of the pasty, because it's clearly the most important character.
The two guards' footsteps can be heard disappearing down the hall, and two of Merlin's new cellmates move toward him.
One of them is taller than Merlin, and the other one is just a hair shorter, but they're both bulky, muscular men with mean expressions and an abundance of scars on their bare arms and faces. Paid fighters, most likely.
Merlin backs away, but the hard metal bars at his back stop him from retreating to any safe distance. Of course he would be placed in a cell with men who look like they want to break his legs off. Fate, or perhaps the Triple Goddess herself, is always testing his negotiation skills.
Merlin decides to set the tone. Maybe he can kill whatever oncoming display of dominance they're planning with some kind of kindness. It's worth a shot to avoid getting his nose broken again, at any rate.
"Gentlemen. Is there something you'd like to discuss, or can we all sit down and await our judgments in peace?"
They stop walking, but they look no less intent on venting their frustrations by causing bodily harm.
"We're only looking to share with you some ground rules," the taller one replies. "You seem like a smart enough lad to learn them without us having to beat 'em into you."
"I do prefer that path," Merlin says.
"Right, then," the shorter one begins, "here's how it works. You'll be given food by the guards. That food belongs to us."
Merlin's heart sinks.
"You'll also be given drinking water. That water belongs to us."
Merlin sees the third man in the cell, who thus far has closely resembled an unmoving lump of cloth piled in a corner, shift a bit under his cloak.
"You're expected to sit down and be invisible during your time here with us. Any talking without being addressed by either us or the guards will get you a beating. Any trying to steal food from us will get your fingers broken."
"All of your fingers," adds the taller man.
"Understood?" asks the shorter one.
Merlin doesn't like it, but he nods his understanding anyway.
"Good," spits the taller one.
They glare at him for a few moments more, then move away to talk to each other in low tones.
Merlin looks around at the ground. There's a patch of hay that looks clean enough, so he sits on it and leans his head back against the stone wall.
He runs through what he knows about glamours and confounding spells. Maybe he can make it look to the fighters like there's less food coming in, and then make himself look like he isn't eating when he is. He'll have to take care to make no sounds, but it might work. If he times everything right. If he keeps up enough strength to support using his magic.
He hopes he is released or moved soon, because it looks like he won't be eating much for a while in this cell. Good thing he was able to swallow half that pasty in the marketplace.