The three figures made their way to the entrance of the mountain the huge stone doors inlaid with enchanted iron preventiong any one from escaping. Liam scrutinized the door with a raised eyebrow. "Well, Father what do you think?" The old man beside him huffed,
"I think this is a waste of time." He muttered "And don't call me Father, you know very well I'm anything but." Liam laughed and leant down to the old man "Just playing the part Corven." The old man grumbled something that sounded like "Son of a bootless, clay-brained ruffian," before he began to hobble forwards his walking stick hidden beneath his cloak.
"I told you we shouldn't have brought him with us." The skinny youth, Mathew whispered scratching the back of his neck.
"Of course we had to bring him dear brother, he is our father after all." Liam said loudly with an over enthusiastic voice, causing a few heads to turn.
"I do wish you would just stop pretending that we're a family, we don't even look alike and stop shouting, you'll draw to much attention." Mathew whispered looking around nervously.
"How many times dear brother, your mother was a peasant wench that's why we look so different." Liam joked.
Mathew groaned, "Seriously stop, I don't think I would be able to live if you were my brother." The taller of the two grabbed the other's shoulder and pulled him close "Remember," Liam whispered "You're my brother a fellow Maven, the spells should suffice for now, you're looking for demons, not slaves. When the distraction is in place your job..."
"I know what I'm supposed to do." Mathew said through gritted teeth, "You focus on your job."
The old man waved his stick around "Will you two Muttonheads shut up, your father's not gonna live forever, ya know!" The two laughed and followed the old man. "That gargoyles got it in for himself." Mathew muttered. Liam slapped him on the back good-naturedly and they walked through the huge doors into the slave trade.
Four armed guards surrounded a girl with matted red hair, her head was bowed and the shackles on her wrists and ankles clattered across the floor. Each guard held an iron pole attached to a bulky iron collar around the girl's neck. It rubbed at her shoulders and caught at dry blood. The girl made no sound due to an enchanted muzzle clamped securely below her nose, covering her chin. Behind the muzzle however, her lips were grinning and her eyes roved left and right full with madness. She knew where she was going and what they would do.
As they walked closer up the gradually inclining slope the air became fresher, as did the fear. She could smell it, almost taste it. Like a thick syrupy liquid its sweetness was like a craving, gnawing at her stomach. The aroma was insatiable, a constant taunt to her hunger. The guards marched her out of the darkness of the tunnel into the cavernous space lit by hundreds of torches. The first thing she saw was the grand stone arena in the centre of the hollowed out mountain. That was where they were headed. That was where the blood would be shed. That was where the fear lay like a pulsing heart filled with terror.
As she was guided unwillingly through the mountain Demons cringed as she approached. She inwardly laughed, even her own kind shrunk away from her. Most of the Demons is this place had glazed dead eyes, not her. Her eyes held darkness, alight with anticipation.
As an invaluable source of entertainment it was of no surprise that she was able to sense the scent of the ungifted-the repulsive beings-and that other less distasteful awareness of the Maven. A Demon and a Maven can sense each other's wavelength, when one finds someone they are compatible with they were considered partners. She would never find a like-minded Maven in this crowd. She never had anyone, she was after all a sinful creature capable of turning from the innocent shape of a simple girl into her true form, a creature of the other kind.
As they neared the towering arena, cut from the mountains stone, she sensed something. Something faint on the edge of her mind, an obscure beacon...then it was gone as her attention turned to the sharp crack of the whip. The demon trade was a place of misery. She hadn't left the facility in years. She had seen children no older than twelve thrown into the arena. Watched as they died, their eyes becoming glassy. Soon it would all be over and she would never have to watch them fall at her feet again.
As the demon was marched through the throngs of people she stared at them with her crazed eyes and they muttered to their fellows about how disrespectful she was. Ha! Why should she respect them. They had made her this way. Her ragged feet walked over the uneven stone, the smell of blood, sweat and fear heightening her senses. The auctioneer's bellowing voice rang around them, the numbers mingling with the shouts of the bidders. Closer and closer to the arena they walked the lower part of carved stone set with iron portcullises. Straight ahead of her was the designated holding cell.
The wrought iron portcullis reserved for her clanked up menacingly, like the widening mouth of a fanged monster. The guards forced her forwards, towards the belly of the beast. They had already taken so much from her, her freedom, her pride, her dignity, her ability to love. She had complied with them long enough...it was essentially her funeral after all...