Yesterday, Saturday April 13, 2019, my son and I participated in our first tournament in the traditional Korean martial art called Kuk Sool Won.
My son has studied Kuk Sool Won for about 3.5 years, and is very close to starting the two year cycle that leads ultimately to a black belt. I started a little over a year ago and will be promoting to my blue belt in a couple of weeks.
Grant returned soon after with three other men. Together, they hoisted Godwin from his restraints and dragged him down several passages into a large atrium. At the center of the atrium was a large tower, with long arms and chains extending from the top. Gears and ropes connected the arms in a complicated tangle.
Dangling down on a thick chain from one of the arms was a circular metal cage, no more than four feet in diameter. A man stepped forward and opened a thick door into the cage and Godwin was tossed inside.
Godwin looked around the cramped space as they locked him inside. Steel loops were bolted inside. Godwin gripped one and righted himself, looking out between the bars.
“What are you—?”
The cage lurched. Godwin grabbed for another bar.
“I recommend you hold on,” smiled Grant. “Or not.” He shrugged and motioned at a pair of men standing within the base of the tower. “This will be interesting.”
When Aldred left, they took every source of light. The smells of the dungeon pressed in on Godwin, the occasional sniffle and distant cry the only reminders of life elsewhere. He shook, not certain if it was the cold, fear, or the pain in his head that was causing his muscles to spasm. What was Aldred doing?
Noise erupted in the distance. Feeble cries. Angry shouts. The crack of a whip.
Light flooded into the room as armored guards forced – even dragged – unwilling people to stand against the wall at Godwin’s side. Godwin squinted into the brightness. Grant appeared in front of him. Aldred was close behind. Smirking.
“This one’s already dead,” remarked a guard as he dragged forward the limp body of a man.
The smell of mold and stale urine stung Godwin’s nose as he slowly came around. Cool, moist air passed over his cheeks.
Godwin shifted, and realized he was strapped back into a chair. A moan came from nearby, and the quiet shuffling of feet. His eyes fluttered open. Flickering points of light surrounded him. Flames. He couldn’t quiet focus his eyes on them. Were they torches. Someone sniffed nearby. The shuffling came closer. Another moan.
“Ayy shut up,” snarled a male voice. There was a slapping sound and a tiny whimper. Godwin flinched.
“Oy,” the male voice said closer. “You awake for us boy?” The man gripped Godwin by the chin and shook his head. Godwin cried out.
The man let him go and stepped away, chuckling. “Oy!” he shouted to some other distant person. “Get Grant. This bloke’s awake!”
Godwin slumped uncomfortably in the chair. There was sniffling all around him, some cries. He looked around again and saw men in small cages, or chained to the walls.
Loud footfalls preceded a small entourage of men. Godwin squinted. The man Grant led them and behind him was…