Prologue: Prisoner

The ancient stone chamber was as silent as it was dark.  The still air smelled of mould and moisture, the small pool at the easternmost end descending into an underground stream.  Loose dirt and stones littered the floor, as did animal droppings.  Currently, a colony of bats roosted amongst the crags of the high cathedral like ceiling.  A number of sightless fish swam in the pool, as did a large reptile that had been charged with keeping unwanted intruders out.

Besides its ward, it had only seen one other individual in its long life.  The man had shown up once a century to make ensure that his prisoner was still shackled to the large rock, where he had placed her all those years ago.  The first time he had come, she had been awake, but had ignored him, even after he had offered her freedom for her forgiveness.

The years had passed and she had drifted into a deep sleep, a spell she had place on herself to relieve the boredom and help pass the time.  He had been in the room when she had cast the spell and had watched passively as she had drifted off.  That had been on his third visit.  In her eyes the blood was still fresh upon his hands.

He silently stood over her, the chains still in the same position they had been the last time he had been there.  She was covered in the dust that came in through the one small opening in the ceiling, the same opening the bats came in and out through.  He had dusted her off the first time ha came back after she had put herself to sleep, but his rage at her denial of him had stopped his hands since then.

Her once blonde hair was now caked in gray, as was her alabaster skin.  He could see little spots where something, possible a small mouse, had walked over her, a small line marking the passage of a tail.

He called out to the reptile he had left to guard the woman that had been his love.  The large lizard slid silently out of the water, the tail of a large fish hanging out of its mouth.

“Ah, good, you are still finding enough to eat.”  The man thought he had seen the six legged monster, whose jaws were large enough to swallow his entire torso, nod and smile, but the old man, his once black beard long since gone gray, put the notion out of his head.  He had let the situation with her age him.  He thought about how easy it would be to change his appearance, to make himself look younger, but he did not have the heart to.

He stood unmoving at the base of the altar-like stone for a fortnight, the bats coming and going with the cycle of the moon, the large lizard sleeping against his legs when it felt like it, but even it spent most of its time outside of the chamber.

His vigil stood, he kissed his fingers and pressed them to her lips, disturbing the dust that rested there, and in a blink of his eyes, he was gone.

The Goddess’ eyes snapped open, sending a small cloud of dust into the air.  She felt that her champions had arrived.  She felt that her imprisonment was nearing its end.

The End

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