Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If Star thought the smells were bad on entering Underdark, she was horribly surprised as she walked the short distance from the main room to the cell where Tori was being kept. She watched as Ardara stopped the acid with a wave of her hands and turned to leave.

“Remember my words Ghaunt. I will return shortly. See that your whore knows her duties here.”

Ghaunt looked to the floor, glad Star could not understand Ardaras words. When he looked up he could see the pained expression on Stars face. Her eyes filled with tears as she looked at Tori. She was huddled in the middle of the cell, trying to stay as far away from the acid as possible, her wrists and ankles were chained and bloody, the skin raw and discolored. The clothes she was wearing when they took her were now little more than rags, her jeans and t-shirt shredded, barely covering her body. She was filthy and her face was pale as death, an eye blackened and Star watched to see her take a breath.

A small servant girl arrives with a bowl of something that resembles porridge and hands it to Star. “For her...” She tilts her head in the direction of the cell and scampers away.

Star is dumbstruck at the attitudes she has seen in the short time she has been in Underdark. No one seems to think anything of chaining a person up and leaving them in this foul place. She shudders as she remembers the body parts on display near the town entrance and again near the temple. Heads and other parts on spikes, meant as warning to others. Ghaunt had tried to explain but Star had put her hands over her ears and shook her head, not wanting to know anything else about this race of strange ruthless people.

Tori moves a bit snapping Star from her thoughts. She enters the cell with the bowl and kneels near Tori. Another bowl is near by, untouched and this infuriates Star. She picks up the old bowl and tosses it down one of cracks near the walls that catch the Bal-Char and hisses at Ghaunt, “She needs help to eat...”

Star takes Toris head with one hand and lifts the bowl to her lips with the other. Tori sips at the gruel, then her eyes focus and she looks at Star. “My eyes are playing tricks on me now...” and tears gather.

Star cradles her head against her, helping her finish what passed for a meal. She places a kiss on top of Toris head and starts to hum the song Tannr has been singing to her. Tori goes still as death and tips her head, “Star?”

“Shhh....Coppertop sends his love. Stay strong...” Star barely whispers, scared to death that someone will overhear. It would mean the end of them all.

Star sets the bowl down and tries to look at an injured wrist. Toris eyes watch her every move now, drinking in a familiar face. Suddenly a man dressed in a robe of variegated gray enters the cell. His voice is sharp and makes Star jump even though she doesnt understand the words.

“Did Ardara order any treatment for this prisoner?”

Ghaunt lowers his head and Star follows his lead.

“Answer me, wretch, or your hide will decorate the lamps during the sacrifice.”

Stuttering Ghaunt explains, “This is my mate, she is new to the temple. Ardara wants her to care for the prisoner, feed her and such... She turned the Bal-Char off so I could show her...”

The man grins evilly, “I think you can go now. I doubt if Ardara wishes you to waste anything on her sacrifice. Besides, I have something that will take of her...” and the man rubs his crotch suggestively.

Tori sees this and her eyes narrow. Before Star can stop her she spits at the priest and swears at him in Gaelic. Star watches as her hands start to vaguely resemble claws and she grabs the chains, wrapping one around her hand to use as a weapon if the priest comes any closer.

Glancing from Ghaunt to the priest and back again Stars mind starts to work furiously. Ardara would return if she could just stall long enough.

Star watches the priests expression as Ghaunt speaks. It changes from lustful to angry in seconds with Ghaunts words. "I don't mean to tell you your job, but I'm sure you know how the Priestess will feel if the sacrifice is besmirched... and that's a pale imitation of how the Goddess will react. But if you think you can get away with it, go right ahead...."

The priest hesitates, then backs out of the cell. Star heaves a sigh of relief at his leaving, but she is still angry and worried. What would stop anyone from hurting Tori further when they werent here?

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