The lantern made his eyes water.
He'd long given up on counting the days. Morning was when the warden turned up with a bowl of slop, night was the same. In the dark, it was the same if he closed his eyes or left them open.
They wouldn't unlock his chains, not even for him to eat. The warden held the chipped bowl up to his lips every time he brought food.
Sometimes, when the smell was too overpowering, they poured a bucket of water over his head and leave him dripping on the cobbled floor.
This time was different - they'd brought in a holy man. The warden murmured a word before leaving, letting the door slide shut.
The ascetic had his feet bare under his lilac robes. The color they called sacred, only for those of church or crown.
He tried to spit. Saliva dribbled down his chin and into his beard. He closed his eyes.
Tumblers turned, followed by the soft padding of feet.
He was alone.