I awoke to the stink of wet fur, waste, and strangely, the smell of spiced tea. For a moment I worried I had been blinded but I eventually realized there was simply no light. I was stripped of my clothes and in a cage not quite large enough to stand up fully in. At the sound of my movements I heard someone else calling out faintly. Seems I have found Dorehe, who is in a nearby cage – silver lining, she was taken weeks ago and is still alive – should mean I’m in no immediate threat right? As we were discussing our predicament I realized the room was not totally lightless – two glowing red eyes watched us from a good fifty feet away.
From that direction came an impossibly deep, grave voice “Tell me about the ivory carving”.
I had never seen the eyes of a worg glow in the dark but the voice sounded similar so I responded with an offer of bribery – I’ve had good luck with that tactic in dealing with these creatures before. The only response was a low chuckle.
“Your lies won’t work on me, you’re just meat, tell me about the carving. Now.”
I suddenly felt a vast pressure on my head and was overwhelmed with sadness. I knew it was being pressed on me from the outside but it was no less real feeling for all that. I felt less capable but I’ve lied my way out of situations feeling much worse. Dredging up everything I knew about the worshippers of the 13 Hells I spun a tale about a deadly secret cult. The only response was a snort.
“That’s not even the right religion. You had one chance and you just lost it.”
With that the eyes disappeared. Dorehe said that Auraluna would be down later for “tea” but didn’t have much else to say. I was left to wait for hours in the utter darkness, eventually becoming convinced that I could hear someone else breathing down there. I called out to no response.
Eventually I heard the whirring of the elevator ropes and light flared up around us. The large chamber was half actual basement and half crudely chiseled stone. The finished half held four cages, two empty, and the other part was covered with straw and broken bones – slumbering in the midst was a massive canine beast the size of a man whose front paws were more like hands, they were even furless – it was somehow the most disturbing thing about the creature.
In the middle, straddling the halves of the room was the Machine. It looked somewhat like a massive hookah, only I’ve never seen a hookah before that incorporated a woman strapped to a low, slanted table with a hose leading from her neck into the diffuser. I think the woman may be Vivian Jess, a local actress who everyone had thought left town several months ago. Beside the Machine was a pair of dainty chairs and a small darkwood table with a silver tea service.
The elevator door opened and out stepped Auraluna and her Halfling attendant – looking no worse the wear for his tumble down the shaft. He silently took up a position in the corner with hands behind his back as the demon-hound sprang to Auraluna like a puppy and she lavished it with the most incongruous baby-talk and petting. After, it stood at her side as she sat and made herself tea – summoning hot water out of thin air. After she took a cup and sighed contentedly she took a hose connected to the Machine with a spike in the end and jammed it into her arm – and arm which was riddled with hideous black track-marks. Her veins looked like tiny rivers of pitch.
The woman who I took to be Vivian moaned slightly as the machine started pumping quietly.
“This doesn’t seem like a very efficient operation. Keeping women in cages for weeks? Wouldn’t it make more sense to abduct them only when you needed a new one?”
“Of course dearie, but you have to take your opportunities when you can. Plus I like to make sure I have a few in stock in case times get lean.”
As she drank her tea and enjoyed her young blood I told her that people knew I was there and would be looking for me. She said if that was true I wouldn’t be telling her about it, I’d just wait for rescue. I told her that I could be useful in recruiting victims for her. She said that was probably true but how could she trust me? I flattered, I begged, I cajoled, I wheedled – she was impassive. In the end I told her that I couldn’t die before I had my revenge on Duke Eaglevane. I swore to her I would do anything to make that happen.
This finally seemed to intrigue her a little. As she set her cup down and removed her injection-hose she said that tomorrow she’d bring someone for me to talk to. And with that she and her lackey left and left us in the dark. I tried for hours to get the canine beast to talk with me but all he said eventually was that if I didn’t shut up he was going to rip my tongue out. After a long while Dorehe asked me why I was there.
“I’ve come to rescue you, isn’t that obvious?”
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum,
White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler , Alice
Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest
of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna
& Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy
dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the
Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel
Anti-Revenge List: Dorehe the maid
Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)
Behind the curtain : The beast is of course a barghest and used Crushing Despair on Ela. I’ve never looked too closely at it before, they only need to eat four people to become a Greater Barghest? Seems like a standard barghest would be pretty rare if that’s all it takes.