Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wilting Away (Part 10)

At some point in the last decade, the sight of a dungeon had stopped bothering him. Of course among the living the sight was generally one of complete terror. Dungeons were practically built to evoke such emotions. All of the cells with their bars and low light created a sense of hopelessness, spaces that were inescapable without an outside force. That was further built upon by all of the stone, something that would take someone a good chunk of their life to burrow through, a task that was made next to impossible by how obvious any attempt at it would have been. With their long halls patrolled by guards who held the keys to everything. To freedom, to food, to safety.

All of it reminded him of Acherus. The floating fortress itself probably had some sort of dungeon, not that he had bothered to check, or bother remembering if he had done so in the past, but the existence of such a place within it wouldn't have surprised him. But beyond any sort of holding area, Acherus itself held most of the motifs of a dungeon. Its bowels were narrow hallways of confined spaces, all built off of filthy stone. The ghastly assortment of ghouls and ghosts that roamed the halls were likely any prisoners worse idea of a warden. Not to mention the fact that, if given a choice, he would probably most compare his office to a prison cell. One he rarely, if ever, liked to remain in, even if it was he who held the key to leaving.

So in that way, entering deeper and deeper into the dungeon didn't particularly bother him. The most foreign aspect of it were the designs and style of the stone that lined the wall, and the fact that the guards were alive. The largest issue he had at the moment was that they had no idea where they were going. Nor entirely where they had come from. So even if they wanted to retreat, at present they were almost guaranteed to get lost, unless Simmons or the elf had been paying attention to their path.

And Simmons had made it quite clear that he had been paying no mind to whatever corridors they had been winding down. Red could certainly sympathize with the man's rabid search. He wanted to find Wiltmend just as much as he did. Well. Perhaps to a slightly lesser degree. The pair of them had pretty much been attached since they had left their posts among the Blade, due in no small part to how much trouble she would have gotten in without supervision. But at present Simmons was just wasting all of their times. 

Namely because it certainly wasn't going to be hard to find Wiltmend. Every other cell they had passed had contained someone who was alive. Finding someone who wasn't couldn't be that hard, so long as their only method of searching remained wandering down hallways. Which thus far it appeared they were going to be keeping with. The only thing that deterred them from doing so was whenever a pair of guards stopped them on their little patrol and questioned where they were headed, to which a quick grunt of 'containment' was enough to set most of them at ease.

The next pair of guards passed them in much the same manner. The one in charged, some proud looking woman with a good amount of well-combed white hair, gave a gruff question of where they were going, and Xanthe responded in kind. For a moment, that seemed to be where their little meeting was going to end. Each group had even begun to go their separate ways, before the group of actual guards turned, calling out to stop the group of faux guards. 


Even though the real elf among them understood the word, it was enough to stop all three of them in their tracks. The pair of guards soon reappeared in front of them, the one in charge bringing a hand up to prod at the worgen's muzzle. It took every single inch of willpower he had to not snap at her, or spout some smart remark and drop his entire act. 

"This one shall come with us," the woman declared, though only Xanthe understood it. "We shall put him in his pen with his sister abomination of nature."

Simmons just nodded along, a gesture that worried Red with whatever he happened to be agreeing with. When Xanthe began nodding along too, he couldn't tell if he should feel better, or worse. When she began undoing the rope that attached her to the worgen, and offered it out to the other elf, the answer became clear. 

Under her breath she did a rough translation, which only prompted Simmons to nod harder and undo his length of rope as well. As soon as the worgen was properly handed over, Simmons gave him a hard look. An expression of trust. And a threat of murder should Red fail to live up to it. A short grunt escaped him as the pair of elves turned him away, and started marching off.

Once Red was far out of sight, Xanthe turned, heading off in another direction. Blinking, Simmons followed suit, trailing her down the hall. "Where the hell do you think you're going?" he hissed under his breath, lest the Common words he was speaking get overheard.

"Your quarry is in good hands, mister Simmons," she muttered back, focus obviously elsewhere, "But mine is not yet secure."