VI: Debellatio

 

darkelffemale

And as Trrask’s spirit sank  with the loss of his henchmen, so did his cunning. The exact method he used to make me–the winner–into a villain, I cannot say for sure. Perhaps he had connections to the queen? Perhaps he had powerful friends in the drow household? Any guess is as good as my own.

All I know is the humiliation of the next day, and the next week. Stripped of my weapon, stripped of armor, stripped of hope, I was shackled and was afforded the chance to feel the sting of our drow lash.

“Maybe House Sulatar will know how to use you best,” the head warden of milady’s house said. “Maybe they will use you for pleasure, or perhaps sacrifice you in their lava pits? In any case, the gold for your flesh will only fatten our pockets.”

“Perhaps she is silent because her master did not bid her to speak,” said another jailer in the shadows behind me.

“In that case, let him appear,” the warden said.

“Yes, let him tumble forth,” said a third.

By the light of their torches, I saw a familiar face roll to a stop against the tunnel wall. I looked, but I refused tears. It was the severed head of my master, Balok.

“Perhaps,” the jailer said, “she realizes the Spider Queen has no place for a blasphemer.  Perhaps, she is silent out of fear?”

“Well, pretty one, is that true?” bellowed the warden, twisting my shoulder so that I stumbled in my leggings, stumbling hopelessly to their knees.

“Humbled by by low caste men is what she’s thinking,” the jailer laughed. “O how hard the mighty fall when dark fate bucks them from their roost.”

The jailer stooped low to look into my hate-filled eyes, so I spat at him. He was still for a moment, like the moments of congenial silence that follow the accidental breaking of a favored vase. But then the jailer found his ire, he matched his hate to mine in this shape of his fist, and made me succumb to the bleak shadows of unconsciousness.

–*–

When next I woke, I woke to the smell of sulfur and molten rock. I was on the floor of a small cell, a cell whose only bed was a lump of matted hay. The door was locked by three iron locks, each beyond my petty picking skills.

The only window was above the reach of my eyes, and it was barred with iron. With a jump, I latched onto the bars, and since I am drow, and since I am nearly light as a feather, I was able to pull myself up for a brief glimpse of my surroundings.

I saw the burning lakes of fire promised by the jailer and the warden. I saw burning entities drift aimlessly across seas of flames, waiting for a foolish adventurer to bumble into their lair. I saw the surface world wrapped in the shadows of a pregnant moon, and heard the muttering of ships that sailed in the sky above in an ocean of clouds.

This was the surface world, worked and guarded by House Sulatar.

This would be the beginning of my  life as a slave.

Author’s Note

I wish to credit the art, but I could not find the name of the artist. 😦

 

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