Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wilting Away (Part 6)

On most occasions, the pair of them would have agreed that guard duty wasn't a particularly interesting prospect. Sure, at first it was something different, something horrifying. Staring into the proverbial abyss, what with all the screaming and pain. But eventually, much like most things, one became numb to it.

Such was the case for them. Staring straight ahead at the thick wooden door they were meant to guard, the pair were as stoic as was expected of them. The only times they moved was when they were relieved, or when they were set to escort a prisoner from one place to the other. For years the latter had been a rare occurrence. On account of how few prisoners ever got to leave any of the cells of Suramar City.

In more recent weeks, things had changed. People were brought and people left. New people, old people. People who were of species they could never begin to classify. Elves like themselves, of varying heights and skin pigments, were sometimes captured and brought here, as was the case with their current prisoner assignment. Others were things they couldn't begin to describe. Small green things, large blue ones. Wolf men and beings that looked like a cross between goats and something dredged up out of the ocean's depths.

Granted, most of that was heresay. Outside of the variation of elf, the pair had not been witness to any so exotic as that. Few people had, apparently. Mostly because few of them seemed to ever get captured. In fact, far as they had ever heard via a few grapevines, their current guest had practically turned herself in.

Which was only the start of the strangeness of their elven prisoner. Her aloof ways were obvious whenever they tried tossing in a meager meal, which they had given up on doing. By the third day they had discovered that all that they had given her had been piled up in the corner, and was already molding. The mold itself had seemed odd, given that while the dungeon was poorly lit and rather damp, it had only been a day or two.

Other oddities included the smell. Most of the time, the cell housing the elf was completely neutral in its odor. At other points, it reeked of rot as though a pile of corpses sat inside. On several separate occasions though, it had smelled specifically of some sort of flower. Likely a variation that they hadn't been exposed to for thousands of years.

Their current speculation was that it was linked to the woman's muttering. Muttering that never seemed to cease. At all hours of the day she would mutter to herself, incomprehensible phrases in several languages, none of which made sense, even when they could understand the words being said. There would be moments where she was almost reasonable. But as soon as it would leave, madness would creep back into her cell, and they might as well have bid farewell to their more sane guest.

For the first few days the pair of guards had suspected that she was trying to toy with them. Her short mutterings had loud outbursts which would prompt them to charge in to calm her down, yet by the time they arrived she had already switched so far down in tone that such outbursts seemed almost impossible to have ever occurred. On a few evening watches, they had caught her staring at them through the small barred window at the top of the door, blue eyes the only thing visible on her face due to the void of blackness that was her hood. Occasionally they heard whispering that when traced, seemed to originate from the cell, but never seemed verifiable in its source. The words would echo about the hall as though they could have come from any particular direction, but there was no other source for them.

Worst of all still was the effect the woman had on their superiors. The two ladies who continued to attend to the prisoner for regular bouts of interrogation and the rare bit of torture were certainly hitting their own set of walls and mysteries. They did their best to keep their conversations on the topic light when entering and departing the cell, and the guards knew full well that any particular investigation into this matter was the women's alone, yet that didn't stop them from catching snippets.

Details they could produce included things like how the woman seemed to be immune to most forms of pain. How any slices they made at her failed to really phase her. How the scars from such wounds would have disappeared by the time they returned the next day, seemingly healed. Yet the woman was obviously no priest. She was no wielder of any sort of the Light. So they could only assume that she had access to a more sinister power, and had yet to place just what the source was. Today's session had ended in much a similar way. With nothing more produced than frustration and anger.

It was this that the two discussed idly as they were relieved by their colleagues. As the other pair settled in their old spots, the two mused on the possibilities of what was bound to happen to the elf, whose mutterings they could still hear halfway down the hall. Given enough push, their two superiors were just as likely to simply kill the poor woman. But if she could barely be kept injured, what's to say she would die so easily?

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