The cold, damp quiet of the cell block got worse when the torches burned out one by one down the line leaving just a few small spots illuminated by the moon outside. The smell of earth and rot filled every breath, turning my stomach. I had never been in a dungeon before, let alone one so overwhelming.
This was Prince Gideon L’Grange’s dungeon. The one place where no one said to have entered had ever escaped or been released. I could feel the sense of dread wash over me as though the air had somehow become a physical manifestation of the darkness this place represented.
I wrapped my blanket around me in a lame attempt to hold in the heat that was already leaving my body as a low cry echoed off the stone making it to my cell distorted and twisted.
“Hello?” I asked into the darkness.
There was no reply.
I laid on the straw mattress in my cell, listening to the cries until just before dawn when the sweet oblivion of sleep refused to be ignored any longer. My dreams, however brief they were, were full of sadness and darkness. I could feel the heartbreak of it all until I saw a light coming toward me, with a man I had never seen before. His armor shone a beautiful silver as he extended a hand to pull me from the darkness-
“Get up!” a guardsman bellowed, waking me from the dream.
“I-I’m awake,” I stuttered as I rolled from the bed.
“You’re a pretty one, aren’t you?” he said as a wicked smile spread across his face revealing rotten teeth, “A fresh catch for the Prince’s play time, eh?”
I wrapped the blanket around me once more to cover it as best I could from the prying eyes of the guardsman.
“That blanket will be of little protection,” the guardsman winked as he fumbled for his keys, “perhaps a little taste of the wine before my Lord. Just to-”
“That’ll be enough,” a deep resonating voice said as it echoed from behind the man.
I watched the color drain from his face as his body stiffened to attention, “Yes, M’Lord!”
He sidestepped from the door allowing me to see down the corridor. At the end was the man from my dream, only this one wore black leather, shined to perfection. His eyes were red and filled with exhaustion that could only come from severe lack of sleep. He approached the door quickly as the guardsman vanished up the stairs.
“It’s you,” he said looking at me in disbelief, “the light-bringer, Safa.”
“Who are you?” I asked, “How do you know me?”
“I am Prince Gideon, and I have known about you for a long time. I have searched the kingdom for you,” he said producing a golden key from a pouch.