Guarded
long time, Berhanu said nothing, which was a mercy. Volos was grateful he couldn’t see the prince’s face. But he could still feel , and when Berhanu reached over and placed his hand on Volos’s bicep, Volos very nearly wept.
    “Thank you, Volos.”
    The mattress shook as Berhanu turned to face the other direction.
    ****

Chapter Seven
    It was a familiar dream.
    Volos was deep within the prison run by Juganin. He was naked, beaten, and cold, and he was so starved that he couldn’t remember not being hungry. And he was running, his bare feet slipping on wet stone. He was lost, and he wasn’t sure whether he was running from something or running to it, but either way it didn’t matter because he was terrified. Each breath tore from his lungs painfully and his heart felt ready to burst.
    He turned a corner and found a squalid room piled high with corpses. He recognized some of them— his parents, his sisters, the little boy who lived nearby and who’d been murdered in his stead. Although they were dead, they looked at him, held their hands out toward him. “Why did you let this happen?” wailed his sisters. “Why didn’t you join us?” his mother said. His father just looked at him and shook his head.
    He backed away and ran, but his path dead-ended in another room, this one more enormous than the castle training hall. But it too was filled with corpses. Every Kozari soldier he’d slain, every Wedey soldier who’d died at his side was there. They screamed and moaned and blamed him for their deaths.
    He wanted to apologize or explain, but his tongue filled his mouth and he couldn’t find words in either language. With that strange knowing that comes to one in dreams, he recognized that the ability to speak had been taken from him as punishment and he’d never be able to communicate with anyone again. Nobody would ever want him, neither Wedey nor Kozari.
    The third room held Juganin. They drank from ale bottles but weren’t sleepy. They waved their curved swords at him. “You’re next,” sang one of them with a ghoulish grin. “See what we’ve planned for you!” The Juganin moved to the sides of the room so Volos could see what lay in the center. A naked body, hacked to pieces yet still bleeding. The severed head blinked up at him. “Did you get your reward?” it asked, and of course the body was Berhanu’s. “Did you get your glory?”
    Volos began to scream.
    “Volos! Volos! Wake up! Wake up, dammit!”
    Someone was shaking him, and after a few moments Volos realized he was no longer in his dream. The room was still dark, but Berhanu was next to him, jerking Volos’s shoulders.
    Volos took a steadying breath and willed his heart to slow to a normal tempo. “I’m… I’m sorry.”
    Berhanu stopped shaking him but didn’t move away. His body remained pressed tight against Volos’s, his long hair hanging down to tickle Volos’s face. “You sounded like you were dying.”
    “I’m sorry,” Volos repeated.
    The prince fell to the side, making the mattress shake. “What the fuck , Volos?”
    Last time he’d had a nightmare like this, someone had poured cold water on his head to wake him up. But he wasn’t the only guard to suffer from bad dreams, so nobody complained. “I… It’s all right. You can go back to sleep now. I never have them twice in one night.”
    “But you have them often.”
    “Not too often. Usually.”
    “What haunts you so badly? What do you dream of?”
    “The prison,” Volos whispered. He’d never spoken to anyone about this.
    “How long were you there?”
    Volos didn’t really want to answer, but he said, “Nearly a year.”
    “A year. And those bastards— did they treat you like they did me?”
    Worse, sometimes. But Volos didn’t say so. “Yes.” Nobody had ever asked him what happened during those long months, and he’d never before mentioned it.
    “Fuck.” A long silence followed, then a tentative question. “How did you survive that,

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