This is part of a serial story that starts here
Zion woke to darkness and thought he’d gone blind or had been dragged back to the catacombs. As the world jolted beneath him, he realized light was seeping in through the darkness and that folds of fabric swathed his face. His hands were free and he tugged and shoved at whatever hooded him until it fell away. He was lying in a wagon among woven baskets and rough sacks. From the smell, they were filled with spices—saffron, cardamom, and other exotics. He rubbed his nose to stifle a sneeze, trying not to move. It was foolish of Solas to leave him unbound, he thought, turning his head slightly.
“You’re awake.” The assassin looked down at him, face partly shrouded by a dark gray hood. “Good. I worried that I misjudged the valerian.”
Zion sat up abruptly, then clutched his head, glaring at Solas as pain flared behind his eyes.
“Headache? Ah, yes, that would be the wine. You drank quite a bit, my boy.” Solas smiled ruefully.
“Don’t call me that. You tried to poison me,” Zion said when the throbbing in his skull dulled.
“Not poison. A simple sleeping draught—the same any apothecary would concoct,” Solas said.
Zion turned away, looking at the countryside around them. Nothing but desert. The dunes were ocher and gold where the sun glazed their peaks, swooping into purple in the shadows and Zion was glad for the rough canopy over the wagon bed. He knew why he was not tied or restrained; they were in the sand sea and he did not know the secret paths, or even in which direction the city lay.
“Where are you taking me?” he asked finally, settling back against one of the baskets.
“To the home of the Brotherhood. Your training will begin as soon as we arrive.” Solas stared out across the dunes. “If you are found worthy, you will continue, if you are not, you are free to go.”
“I don’t want to be found worthy,” Zion said. “You drugged me and captured me and took me away from—” he broke off.
“From what, boy? From home? That place wasn’t your home. You have no home. From your family? You told me yourself—your family is dead. From happiness? I know something of Rael, the so-called King of Thieves. Don’t lie to me, boy. It’s something they teach us and teach us well—how to see a lie, to hear it.” Solas’s voice lashed against him and Zion recoiled; it was the first time the assassin had raised his voice.
Zion knew Solas was right. He was leaving behind a place that neither welcomed him nor mourned his departure. Even if he did not pass the tests the assassin mentioned, perhaps there would be something for him, away from the city where he lost everything.
“How?” Zion asked after several minutes of sulky silence.
Solas raised his brows. “How can I recognize a lie?”
Zion nodded carefully; his head felt a size too large. He did not know it, but the lesson on lying—which began with how to tell one and evolved into how to see the lie in another’s face and voice—would be the first of many skills he would learn from the assassin on their journey. Or that it would mark the first step on becoming one of the Brotherhood.