A weak groan escaped Tayne’s lips as the pain that throbbed in his temples permeated his slumber with a dull pulse, akin to that of a hangover induced by consuming well over a hundred bottles of hooch coupled with a punch to the face.
Oh. Realisation hit. Shit. The feast… The punch. Dammit. Thought Tay as he pushed himself up into a sitting position, his hand tenderly rubbed the sore side of his head. With a grimace, the man opened his eyes. Nothing. panic set in. Was he blind? Had that thug of a guard literally hit him that hard, that his sight had failed him?
“Help…” he whispered softly. into the darkness. Nothing.
“Help!” This time he roared the word, the sound of his voice echoed hollowly back at him as if his own words had decided to taunt him and his lack of sight by using that which he couldn’t see to return the sound to his own ears.
“E’s wake.” The words formed from the darkness in an almost animal like grunt.
“F’kin prick, les’av a word then.” Another voice, followed by heavy footsteps that again echoed tauntingly. The panic Tayne already felt, amplified tenfold as a second realisation set in. These men… They were coming for him.
The footsteps were suddenly accompanied by a loud repetitive clanging noise, as if one of the men held something solid against a metallic object as they walked. Something like… Prison bars. As Tay came to this third realisation, an orange glow illuminated a section of damp grey bricks off in the distance. The absolute darkness of what was evidently the dungeon interior caused the now visible bricks to appear to be floating on a background of inky black.
“We’s comin yours Ighness…” The words an obvious mockery. Clang, clang, clang. His panic grew every time the object collided with another bar.
“Oneeeee, twooooo, threeeeee…. You’s belong to me.” The metallic banging changed its tempo to match the eery song with a slow repetative beat.
“Fourrrrrrrrr, fiveeeeeeee, sixxxxxx… Gunna snap’ya bones like sticks…” A whimper was the imprisoned peasant’s only reply as once more his trouser leg grew warm with his own urine. A golden pool began to spread beneath him on the cold stone floor.
“Sevennnnnnnnnn…” The song paused, as did the beat.
“Eight.” Came a whisper from beyond the growing glow, an obvious reminder for the singer who apparently struggled to count past seven.
“Eeeeeiiight, Niiiiiiine…” The floating orb of flickering fire halted in front of Tayne, the brilliant orange light obscured anything past the torch. “It’s screamin time.” These final words froze Tay’s body completely. The panic had spread like a virus to every nerve-ending within his body and taken a firm hold.
Tayne could now just about make out two figures beyond the painfully bright glow, one stood hunched forward, both hands wrapped around the bars of Tayne’s cage, his eyes wide with a masochistic delight as they stared hungrily at the drunks petrified face. The other… the other was a monster. Seven foot tall at least, arms as wide as Tayne’s waist, his face a thing of nightmares. The creature held the lit torch before him with a horrific grin that split his twisted lips evilly, as if the gesture was deliberate, the position of the flame just so, to show his visage of terror.
The upper half was moderately normal, dark brown eyes housed within sunken sockets shadowed beneath a prominent eyebrow that ridged his forehead. His nose, although rather bent was also relatively normal. Then there was his mouth. His lips began as normal on the left, but as they rode across his jaw, further and further the split towards the right, until both the lower and upper jawbone and teeth were exposed on the right side of the face, yellowed teeth shone with a matte reflection even with his mouth closed as if some horrible creature had torn the right side of his cheek clean off.
“Pretty ain’t I.” The creature growled through his ever-open mouth as his companion chuckled. “Saids Pretty… Aint I.” The final part of his sentence screamed as the man’s eyes widened with insanity. Still, Tayne couldn’t move. Couldn’t speak. Couldn’t so much as swallow. The monster’s companion chuckled again.
“Brave ent he. Mug like yur’s s’nuff to scare a statue.”
“Brave or not, les see if we cun make ‘im squeal.” The ever-grin morphed as the left side of his face began to spread in a wider smile, the right side stretching and pulling in the most grotesque manner the drunk had ever seen. The beast turned slowly, his gaze lingering on their captive for a moment, before moving over to the torch bracket on the wall to deposit his burden.
“Knife…” Began the other man, as he pulled a foot long serrated blade from the sheath that hung at his hip, “Or hammer?” with his other hand, he swung a heavy workers mallet from side to side. The beast clapped in excitement, his brown eyes shifted excitedly from one instrument of pain to the other.
“Les let ‘is ‘Ighness decide eh?” the smaller man’s gaze intensified on Tayne’s own. “Pick.” Tayne wanted to scream, he wanted to run, to hide, to cry, but his body was locked. Try as he might, the fear overrode his minds commands, his limbs turned to stone.
The beast grunted.
“Swoss wrong wit em?” He growled, the joviality of the impending torture seemingly somewhat diminished by Tayne’s lack of reaction.
“Dunno, S’offputtin though. Ent right a man to stare death in the face like ‘at.”
“Ey, yur Ighness. Was’your problem eh?”
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. do something! But he didn’t… He couldn’t.
“Get in there, start cuttin. Soon start screamin, right?” The beast posed this as a question to his friend, his bravado gone, suddenly unsure of himself.
“You does it.” The smaller man frowned as he shoved the blade into Beast’s giant grasp. “Ent wanna take your fun see?” The monster’s brow lowered as he attempted to work out whether or not his associates words were truth, then shrugged as the question deemed too difficult.
“Right y’are.” He grunted. With his free hand, the Beast slid a key that seemed to materialise from nowhere, into the black gate of Taynes cell. Please, Please, Tarran if you can hear me, please get me the fuck out of here. Still his body refused to move. The hulking shape moved steadily towards him, the dull blade that hung from his left hand reflected the orange glow of the torchlight eerily into ghostly flickers on the wet stone wall.
Bang bang bang. Beast froze as three loud knocks echoed across the dungeon cell from off in the darkness.
“Open up!” A voice called, its tone filled with urgency. Beast turned his huge lump of a head to glance towards the other, who in turn shrugged and half jogged off back towards the sound. Beast frowned as he slowly backed away from Tayne, his eyes locked to the drunk’s still form as he quickly closed the door behind him with a click. Voices hung in the air in wispy murmurs as a hushed conversation was had off in the distance, the words losing substance as they travelled the distance to Tay’s ears. Then footsteps. Footsteps accompanied by an odd sound, like a boot being dragged across stone. Beast frowned, his head turned towards the noise.
“Release this man!” Kirzan called as he strode into Tayne’s line of site, accompanied by a number of armoured guards wielding torches, pausing only to nod in greeting to Tayne himself.
“Eh?” Beast mumbled.
“Dear boy, are you stupid? I said release, as in let go; This, as in this” He pointed to Tayne. “Man, a creature somewhat like you, although much less… ape like.” Beast’s frown deepened.
“Let ‘im go?” He mumbled, obviously still unsure of what was going on.
“Oh my, it can make words? Magical. Get him out.” The old man’s expression turned suddenly serious as he pointed once more to Tay. “Now.”
“Ye’sir.” The lumbering man-beast lurched into action, the cage key reappeared before sliding immediately into the keyhole, a click and the door swung open. Beast made to move into the confines of the cell, but was barged out of the way by Kirzan himself as he strode forcefully past.
“My boy, are you well enough to walk?” the characteristic roguish humour gone from his tone, the mischievous spark in his eye replaced by one of concern. Tayne nodded, still not trusting himself to speak. “Very good, then let us remove ourselves of this foul place.” Kirzan finished his words with an outstretched palm, evidently offered to assist Tay to his feet.
As Tayne’s hand closed around that of the old man’s, he felt himself slowly being dragged to his feet; the old bastard was surprisingly strong. His legs shook dangerously, the poison ingested at dinner obviously still wreaking havoc on his muscles. Kirzan turned to the armoured men that accompanied him and nodded, immediately two broke away from the group and gently slipped Tayne’s arms over their necks to support him.
after some time, the group stopped outside of the door to the room that had been provided to Tayne by Thorne and his brother upon arriving at the Von’Faygan estate, his head swimming from the effort of the walk combined with the toxins within his body. Darkness was closing in, his consciousness was fading.
“Balls.” he muttered, much to the old man and his entourage’s surprise. The last thing Tayne remembered before the void consumed him was Kirzan’s hysterical laughter.