I’m gonna stop you right there. There’s no word for “prison” in the Sarikote language. There’s words for things like trap, lock, and cage, but what you’re talking about is impossible for me to translate. Are you surprised? I’m not. If you held a knife to my throat and told me to find a word for it, right now, you and I both know what word I would choose.

Sond does not mean “prison,” but I can see how they became the same in your mind. I know that what I say won’t mean anything to you, not until you figure it out for yourself, but… Our language is who we are. It wasn’t made to trap people, and we won’t trap you here, either. I mean it. Sond might be an underground labyrinth first and a city second, but it’s a little vain to believe that you’re the one it’s trying to keep in, don’t you think?v

Don’t get the wrong idea. We’re not cutting you loose, just yet. There’s a few things you need to understand first.

You’ve heard it said that we have the world’s most compassionate and effective criminal justice system here at Sond, yeah? Or maybe that this is a lackwater city full of exiles, thieves, and murderers. Well, they’re both right. The people running the tribunals and the people on trial are the same people. Look in the gallery and there’s Iliruuk, the master thief. Now look who’s being called to the summit– Darrow, former Captain of the Condign Cartel. Who knows how to steal the truth from a thief better than another thief? I hope you’re starting to see the utility in how we do things around here.

Hah. No, I can see it in your eyes. You’re thinking, “You let a coyote guard the quail hutch? This is too easy.” Will you be thinking that when you can’t find your ‘keys’ tonight, I wonder? Don’t look at me like that, kid. I wasn’t born yesterday. You had the perfect hiding place figured out for your knife! …You and everyone else.

You don’t get it yet, but you will, one day. There are things that language doesn’t have words for–things that only people like you and me can understand. Better men might pity us, but we have something that nobody else has. Don’t forget that.