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Temple of the Sunken Heart

by BP | Score: 6000

I have been awake for one hundred days. Only in the Temple of the Sunken Heart is this possible. For the first dozen days, I searched for a passage out. In the next dozen, I searched for any way out. But the bracelet of the Guardian which dangles around my wrist renders me immune to physical harm.

I see now, the price of my transgression. Though I do not know when it will be paid in full.

Let me begin again...

I live and work in the city of Kensington. A lawyer by trade, I lost my right to practice a decade ago after an unfortunate misunderstanding. The means and ways by which I was dishonored are no longer important. Only that it left me penniless and quite in need of work.

Enter Leopold Barrington. A friend of my father's, he risked his good standing to gain me entry into the gas fitter's union. A small consolation to be sure, yet no small gesture.

And so over these past ten years I have toiled in the dungeons and sewers of Kensington, ensuring the heat of homes and cooking of meals goes unabated. No small task this. The slightest mismanagement of tools, a faint second of forgetfulness, and any given job could be your last. Boom, and the city proper is no more.

A peasant's pay though for such heavy work.  But what price does a disgraced barrister get to negotiate--did I say barrister? Lawyer, I meant, surely. Surely--when all his worldly possession could be crumpled into a bin and tossed into the river. His world erased and work taken up in minutes by the next desperate sow hoping to keep his feet from the gutter?

She arrived solemnly. I believe that was part of her plan from the start. She knew me, somehow, surely, and knew my disposition would be moved more easily by a cordial lady with sincerity in her eyes.

She spoke softly. Head down. Eyes glancing, partially veiled beneath the penumbra of her bonnet.

"Sir," she spoke, taking great pains to seem meek. "I have come to you, begging your help. Beseeching you."

Oh, the demons of Hell do not know the faintest thing of duplicity or saccharine lies as does that woman. For even as I stood there, enthralled by her tale of woe, did not even a single hair on her body betray her true purpose. No minute quiver of the cheek or the slightest upturn of her lips could warn me of her malice.

In that moment, as she told me how she had heard how I was wronged--wronged! She knew, knew!, how I had harbored those feelings of injustice, knew how I had spent night after night cursing the heavens for how cruel fate had cast the die in my favor and come up short--and how that made us one of a kind; two soulmates, wronged by the world, searching, desperately, for our proper place in the sun; the world did stop.

And in that moment, I saw not just hope, not just redemption, but love. Oh, what I fool I was!

Later, when she took her leave of me and I returned to my dingy quarters, I dreamed of what might come my way if I chose to follow her--that I would chose any other path was beyond consideration.

She spoke of a temple. Lost and long forgotten, in the heart of a dense jungle. Like me, her father had been wronged. His reputation sullied, his fortune ravaged. Left to die like the rabble he had so proven himself above.

"Only in you," she said, pressing her clasped hands against her chest and, my heart stutters even now at the thought, her body against mine, "my kindred spirit, can our names be cleared, and our good standing restored."

And as all the angels in heaven as my witness I did believer her. Fool that I am.

Selling off what little possession I had, I prepared for the long journey. We were met, much to my annoyance, by another. Samuel Hastings, a yank, presented himself first to my lady then, begrudgingly, to me. He was, by his own account, a seasoned explorer, adventurer, and guide. No doubt sensing my unease, my dear Lady Estelle pulled me aside and confessed to me that she too found this oaf and his colonial mannerisms distasteful, and only did what she believed was necessary to 

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Event Your character hasn't slept in days
Location A temple
Words Reach 50 words
Prop Include a bracelet
Letter Use the letter R
Words Reach 100 words
Character A spiteful gas fitter
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Event Everything stops
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words

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