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    Dark Places

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    Dark Places

    Post by tuck on 08/10/11, 03:40 pm

    Cold. Above all, it was the cold that bothered her. The darkness she could adjust to, and the quiet was almost peaceful in a way, but the cold seeped into her skin and made her muscles cramp and her teeth chatter. Her hot demon blood rejected the frigid stone around her like a disease, causing her muscles to tense and her body to shiver almost constantly.

    Huddled alone and naked in the corner of the dark, empty cell, Kallista was too scared and cold even to cry. She simply hugged her knees to her chest and waited, knowing that they couldn’t keep her here forever. She was too important. Her father was too important.

    After an eternity that might have been hours or days or years, she heard the muffled shuffling of boots on the stone hallway, followed by the rusty scratching of a brass key in the door’s iron lock.

    A moment later, the door swung open with a loud creak and the bright light of a torch streamed into the cell, nearly blinding Kallista after so many long hours in the pitch blackness. She whimpered and shielded her eyes from the light, huddling further against the cold stone.

    A tall figure stepped into the cell, placing the torch in a mounting on the wall with a sigh. Kallista squinted at the figure for a moment and slowly her eyes began to adjust. Soon she could make out the hazy outline of her father. Behind him, two armed tiefling guards stood in the doorway, blocking it.

    “Kallista…” he said, his deep voice reverberating off the stone, “Once again, you disappoint me. The only surprise this time is the sheer extent of your idiocy.”

    Kallista swallowed, her throat dry from lack of water. She cleared her throat and turned to look at her father.

    “DO NOT SPEAK!” he shouted at her, his voice sharp with rage. The enclosed space amplified his already powerful voice to deafening levels. Kallista gasped and shrunk back, tears swelling in her eyes.
    “You no longer have that privilege. Your actions have shamed your entire clan.”

    He stepped forward and gazed down at her with a potent mixture of hatred and pity.

    “I have spoken to the all-seer several times since you were brought here. The human filth that you allowed to escape have been caught. They were going to be sold as slaves once we were done with them, but because of your actions they are currently in the process of being flayed alive. Slowly.”

    Kallista knew that her father was telling the truth. It was exactly the sort of thing they would do, just to hurt her. To make her suffer for her transgression. She began sobbing uncontrollably. A wave of dizziness and nausea washed over her.

    “Which only leaves the question of your punishment”, her father continued, “The all-seer has decided to spare your life, for now...”

    Kallista’s heart was thudding thunderously in her chest now, waiting for the inevitable hammer to come crashing down.

    “…but he has left the matter of your punishment up to me.”

    Kallista’s stomach lurched. That made it worse. So much worse. The all-seer was cruel, but he was distant… detached. Her father’s revenge, whatever it was to be, would be far more monstrous, far more personal.

    He squatted down beside her and took her chin in his hand, tugging her face towards him to look into her eyes. His fingers dug into her skin painfully.

    “You are a hardly a child still, Kallista; already eighteen years. But still you defy me. Still you bristle at every aspect of your culture, your lineage. And now this. Perhaps you merely need to be taught your place here.”

    He released his iron grip and stood up.

    “If you are going to act like an adult, then we’ll treat you like one.” He said, turning to leave. The guards stood aside to allow him to exit and he turned back to address them.

    “Make sure she pays attention to the lesson. I would hate for you to have to repeat it.”

    The guards grinned at each other and closed the door behind him, locking themselves in with her. As they came into the torchlight she could see clearly that they were both tall and muscular beneath their cult robes. One looked to be about her age, and the other perhaps twenty five.

    The younger guard stepped towards her, drawing a long, wooden rod from his belt.

    Kallista felt her skin crawl as the tears rolled down her face. Shaking, she pulled herself to her feet, bracing her shoulder against the stone. She was weak and hungry and freezing, but she managed at least to stand.

    “Please…” she said hoarsely, “…please don’t do this.”

    The older guard laughed and nodded to his companion.

    Without a word, the younger guard’s baton flew, connecting with Kallista’s shin. She screamed and dropped to her knees, pain shooting through her body like an electric current. Before she could even grab her injured leg, she was hoisted bodily off the ground and shoved face-first into the cold stone wall. She cried out as her forehead cracked against the pitiless rock, a trickle of blood spilling down her face.

    “P… please…” she whimpered, her vision swimming.

    The guards merely laughed, their hollow voices echoing down the cold dungeon corridors.

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