I am sat amongst my new friends. Finally I realize the need to fight. We don't have to be treated unfairly. These people are going to become important to me as everything they will teach me will be so important. It feels good to be with them. Knowing they are on my side, and Natalie's, and my mother's. They would risk it all to fight for these people. I respect them for that. Before I sat and watched with everybody else, putting up with everything going on around me. For the first time since I lost my mother, I feel safe. I know I can trust these people.
I was closest to Zayna. Maybe it was because we had the most in common. She was one of the few girls and nearest my age. She'd lost her father because he worked as a professor in the university and was reported by one his own students. He'd been teaching them 'treason' or independent thought. He encouraged them to have their own ideas, to make their own judgments. This is not in line with the government's philosophy so he was arrested, in the middle of a lecture in front of his students. Since his students respected him so much and more importantly believed him, some of them also joined RESTORATION. One of them is quite keen on Zayna but we have no time for romance. We must keep our mind on serious matters. Focus on the cause.
Mr. Edington reminds us of this constantly. He is our leader and he takes the mission seriously. You should have heard the way he shouted at Zac when he tried to kiss Zayna. And when I say kiss, I only mean a peck on the cheek. It wasn't anything serious. Mr. Edington, however, did not see it that way. He spoke to Zac as if he'd betrayed him personally.
He's the only member of restoration I don't know well on a personal level. It's not that he doesn't like me, it's only that no one really knows him because he never joins our conversations but rather he stays separate from everybody else. Most people pity him; I get angry. If he wants to lead us he must give us the comfort and support we all need. We may be fighters but we're people and from time to time we need a bit of consolation. We need praise when we do well and advice when we do things wrong. How can he help us reach our potential if he doesn't even know us? I also blame him for the fact we haven't done anything in four months. I think it's because he can't think up any decent plans. We're going to get caught before we even do anything. What's the point in that? It will all be for nothing. We must make our stand. I'm ready to fight for my mother and he holds me back. He's afraid. It's fear in his eyes not pain.
It's not just me with problems I need to resolve. Every day new and shocking accounts of cruelty reach us. Most people here have friends and relatives they had to leave. When news comes from outside we all worry for those we can no longer protect. So many people have heard reports of people dear to them being taken. They are made even more frightened by inside reports that of the torture prisoners face. Binnin has begun ordering friends and families to watch when their loved ones are punished; he's even started forcing audiences to executions apparently.
Although I don't know for sure, we aren't told a lot, I think we must have supporters spying from within the government. Perhaps they are the ones that are leading the attack. They could start the government crumbling from the inside before we charge in, so we can catch them out when they are distracted with a more unexpected crisis.
It also seems as if we have powerful allies, it has been hinted there is foreign support for the protests. Leaders who, though not directly involved, would see our country restored. Good men.
I have heard rumors though. Nothing specific can be verified, only that the time is soon. I hope it is true. I am bored of always waiting. Patience can only last so long. If Mr. Edington doesn't come up with a plan soon I am tempted to go and tear the city prison apart with my bare hands. I won't wait for everybody else but I'll go and lead my own way. I want this to be over. I can't cope in this standstill. I want all the danger and adrenaline thrown at me in one blast and to finish it off. I want freedom. Most of all I want my mother. I want someone to hug me tight and make all the bad things to go away. I need someone who really loves me. I hate being alone. When I was a child I couldn't go to sleep if either my mother or my brother were out. I have always been afraid of being left alone. It seemed silly then but it came true in the end. My brother never woke up. My mother never came home.
Better than the rumors, I have heard stories. One story in particular is told over and over again. It is beautiful; it's full of despair lightened with hope and weakness countered with courage. There is a man who must, at all costs do the right thing. The sort of good man I admire.
This man was King of a land called Mylian. When he saw what was happening to us he felt neither distant nor removed. He pitied us. Though we were far away he cared about us. Our problems were near to him even if our land was not. The King was a special man, one of few governed primarily by conscience, impossible to corrupt. Hearing reports from ambassadors and the loyal reporters Binnin could not sway, he had to do something. Our suffering mattered to him.
Outright war would cause our people even more hardship. The government would not suffer, only the common people who would be sent into the battlefields.
At last some good news reached him. Hope was found, but a hope that required enormous sacrifice. Yet this man was prepared to give up everything to save a strange and foreign people. Every time this story is told I admire this great King over and over again. Not perfect, for no man can be, yet a strong, selfless, compassionate man.
He had discovered the both the identity and the whereabouts of Binnin's only child, fortunately a daughter. The heir to Binnin's power and best token of alliance. Binnin was a ruthless man and the King was sure he'd be willing to give his daughter to make his rule more secure, to gain an ally.
Planning to marry Binnin's daughter and use her to rule the country, the King set off to negotiate with Lord Binnin himself. Lord Binnin, for the Kings support gave his consent but informed him that his daughter was still very young and could not be brought to court until she was a little older. He promised to invite the King back and to give him his daughter when she came of age.
This was a lie. The girl and her mother had left Lord Binnin years ago when his wife first saw his insanity. She would have stayed; she still loved her husband, and helped him to return to his old self, if not for her beloved daughter. She could not put the girl in danger so she took her away. Some people say she had a son who died but this isn't told with any certainty. It seems Binnin's son, the first heir, has been forgotten.
The King knew this. Expecting the daughter to be like her father, he was rather shocked to find her gracious and kind. Miss. Binnin is said to be utterly lovely. Apparently this king found a real lady, dark and beautiful, caring and strong.
Quite unexpectedly, the King found himself falling more and more in love with the girl and she was falling in love with him. But he could no longer use her as he had intended. There was no way he would take advantage of her youth and inexperience. So he left her, telling her he had a greater duty to fulfill. He went off and did many great deeds with RESTORATION but he still waits for his love to return to him. He hopes she will choose him and find him and love him as before.
I hope he finds her again. She must be about my age now, old enough to make her own decisions. I know they must be together.
Sometimes living in this cave I miss my home. I remember a comfortable bed, warmth and love. Here it is always cold. We are underground so as not to be seen. I have been deprived even of sunlight. I miss the soft grass and refreshing breeze. The air is still here. Trapped in a cave that shouldn't be. A home carved in desperation. Everything is always a secret. We are secrets. No one can know us or we will be found out. We can't exist up there in reality. I miss sitting by the fire. Perhaps this is why I value the kindness of those around me. I only wish Mr. Edington would be a real leader and care for us. We need help to get through each day. When this is all over I will search for Mum and wherever she is, however far, I will find her. I don't have anything else left. I don't know what I will do when I find whoever was responsible for my mother’s capture. It won't be pleasant. It may leave me feeling guilty for the rest of my life but my mind has forgotten peace. I am disturbed now.
My new way of life has plenty of hardships to contend with. Little practical issues we have to work out. Sanitation is bad. Illnesses can't be treated, cut's always get infected. We don't have many painkillers left and we're saving the last few for emergencies. It is nearly impossible to sleep with all the damp and the uneven floor beneath you so our health is also affected by tiredness. We get more and more irritable every day. The lack of fresh air is also bad physically and mentally. Every day is very much the same and my mind is rotting from the boredom of daily life.
Nothing exciting happens down here. We are isolated nearly completely from the outside would. We only get news when we go up to the surface. Since it is so dangerous to leave the cave, we only go up when it is absolutely necessary. That’s our brief chance to gather supplies and wash. We also dispose of our waste. I have been known to go nearly two months without leaving the cave. Eventually the stink was too much and despite the risk I had to find a way. I wish I could have bought some new clothes that actually fitted me and felt a bit nicer to wear. We are only allowed essential things and Mr. Edington would not risk us going off on shopping trips. The old material of my baggy clothes makes me feel bad. I feel a mess and unprepared. It's like living in my pajamas. I want tight jeans and soft, silky tops. Trousers firm against my legs. I want to be able to wear tops without rolling the sleeves right up. Most of all I want to look like a girl again. My loose trackies and jumpers make me feel like a man. I hate being a sloppy man, it's not proper. I also need a little make-up. It's good to make you feel awake and ready for the day. One of my favorite things before I left home was putting my make-up on in the morning. It gave me a fresh, clean feeling. It brightened me up when I was half asleep. Now I don't need to wake up. I have nothing to do but sit around here anyway. Our cave is a dark, miserable place. I spend most my time sitting thinking as there is so little else to do. I fear I might drive myself insane.
Without Zayna to keep me company I think I would be already. Somehow she can handle this easily, her resilience is incredible. Never have I heard her complain, rather she helps to build up those around her. She is always there when I need encouragement. Whatever her own problems, she is always ready to help us with ours, always optimistic. Often I find myself wishing I could be more like her.