Hello Friends, As some may remember, before the Stratics Forums went *poof* some months back, I had been abducted by an evil group working for the Shadowlords called the Triad of Evil. (I am still in their clutches...) With that a story was posted to the boards that I said I would continue to update. Here is that story from the beginning, up to where it is nowish.. I hope to post 4th part sometime this week.. ** WARNING: This story contains suggestive themes and disturbing imagery. There are even a few mild swear words where appropriate. Be forwarned. ** ---------------------------------------------------- Scribe Enshadowed ~ Part One: Consciousness ~ Chilled rough-hewn stone numbed her cheek as the stench of decayed flesh mixed with festering excrement assaulted her nose. Moaning softly she stirred, slowly at first. Finely manicured nails scraped along the side of her face sending a plume of dried blood flakes into her nostrils. A sharp, painful sneeze followed – abruptly bringing her around. Red-rimmed eyes took in her meager surroundings. A dark room consisting of three iron bars cells and stone walls. A typical prison, she mused dryly. Ignoring the pounding in her head and the overwhelming sense of dread, she crawled towards a stone wall and sat against it. She closed her eyes briefly and tried unsuccessfully to will herself into a drow healing trace. Strange, she thought, this has always come so easily. The one demand of my father I excelled at... Opening her eyes, she found the dank cell block had gone completely dark. A brazier two cells over had been doused. No, she realized, the flame is now a dusky crimson. Odd. A sudden stab of pain forced her eyes shut as she winced, resisting the urge to cry out. When she opened them again, she noticed a cloaked figure standing at the brazier. The figure gracefully wove a dark manus through the crimson flames, seemingly stirring the embers without the fear of burns. "Come here often?" spoke the figure, revealed to be a woman by her voice. "'Tis so dreary, and dank... with that ominous sense of death clinging to the walls. Delightful, isn't it?" Turning towards the captive, the figures eyes flashed red from the reflected light. "Who are you? Where am I?" she managed hoarsely, before being reduced to ragged coughing. The dark figure seemed to flow past the brazier, coming closer to the cell, eyes retaining the hellish light. "Worry not Reporter, for I am not the true threat here. I am but a visitor, yes, a visitor!" She said in a false cheerful tone, flowing closer. "I came to see how the puppets were treating their prey whilst their puppet master is...indisposed." The figure came to a halt outside the cell's steel door. "Prey? Me? I was attacked...by..by..." the elven prisoner trailed off. "Yes, child, prey. You have what they want. What we all want. The book..." Her eyes widened painfully at mention of ‘the book', sending a surge of defiance in its wake. "Go to the Abyss! The book was lost, along with much of my home. You and your fellow lackeys best learn to cope. The Council will find a way to destroy that Shadowlord *****!" A mirthless laugh escaped the dark woman's lips. "You underestimate me, Poppet. I am no servant of Nosfentor. She...she is a competitor, as it were...a tool, a blunt instrument to distract the virtuous." An almost thoughtful tone crept into the woman's contemptuous voice as she continued. "She has led the vaunted High Council on a merry chase, while my agenda proceeds unfettered. But be there no doubt, Poppet, I fear no shadow..." The woman lifted her arms and drew back the hood, revealing her bald ebony pate and harshly pointed ears. A cruel smile spread across her face like a cancerous lesion, "Remember me?" She gulped. "N..No.." she stuttered. "Can't say as we've met." She lied. Wagging a finger, the woman tsked. "Shame, shame Reporter. And here I thought you were the Voice of Truth on this benighted sphere!" she mocked. "What would your patrons think if they found out you knew me?" "Knew you? I saw you once at the Lycaeum! You could be anyone! What do you want of me anyway?" she half screamed. Another mirthless laugh spread the cancerous grin as the woman stepped through the bars into the cell. "As I said, my dear Reporter, I want the book! Whether I take it from you, or from the Mage... It will be mine." She came closer to the prisoner, her form flowing down to envelop the elf, bringing them eye to eye. The woman took the prisoner's face in her hand, fingernails biting into amethyst flesh. Eyes ablaze with an infernal light, the dark woman hissed, "But first, yes, I want to hear you scream. " ~~ Martyna awoke screaming, thrashing her lithe body wildly. Realizing her being was not in immediate danger, she looked around. The cell. The same damn cell she has just...dreamt...about? Was it a dream? It seemed so real...and accurate. This place looks exactly the same. Gazing towards the brazier, she breathed a sigh of relief at the bright orange glow. One difference she suddenly noticed was a blank-faced man standing in the cell next to hers, completely immobile. Figuring he would be of no help, she lifted her bruised body off the stone floor and tested the door. Locked. Sighing, she returned to the back wall and sat. Hours drifted slowly by before the sound of a wooden door scraping open broke her from her stupor. An unattractive man in red and black strode over to her cell. "Stay Walker, good boy." he growled at the insensate prisoner in the next cell, turning to her he grunted in amusement. "That's how a good pet behaves. Perhaps when you're broken we will teach you the pleasures of servitude as well..." he said lasciviously. Martyna's skin crawled at the man's implication. "I would sooner die, than learn your pleasures!" "That can be arranged," came another voice. "But not just yet, Martyna." Stepping around the other man, Harry Plotter glared at her. "YOU!" she shouted, lunging for the bars, vainly trying to cause him harm. "I'll see you pay for this!" His callous laugh matched the grin that went with it. "You, and what army? Little girl!" Both men laughed harshly now, watching Martyna's futile attempts to grasp and claw them. "B.A.F. will find me! They will raze this place to the ground and send you all to the Abyss!" she shouted indignantly. Another round of laugher overtook her captors, minutes drug by before they were composed enough to respond. "They couldn't fight off a swarm of mongbats, let alone defeat the Triad! Infighting alone keeps their ranks in chaos, they are no threat." Sighing quietly, Martyna stepped back from the bars. Deciding to get to the point, she calmly said, "Keeping me here is pointless, Plotter. You destroyed the book when you blew up my library. It is no threat to your witch." "That is Lord Plotter to you, wench." he said with a sudden sneer. "We know you wished us to think the book destroyed. And it may have worked, but your lovely High Council is so bad at...well...everything, but especially security. We know you had Minister DaKaren enchant the bookcase in your office, and that its destruction simply sent the contents elsewhere. You will tell us how to retrieve the book... Or my friend here might start his...lessons...early." The other man leered at her hungrily. Repressing a shudder, Martyna uncharacteristically spat in Plotter's face. "Go. To. The. Abyss." she stated in a defiant tone. Crossing her arms she stared darkly at them, using an expression she had once seen Dot Warner give to an uppity religious figure on Earth. Plotter wiped the spittle off his face on the sleeve of the other man. "That is going to cost you, elf!" Fumbling for a key in his pocket, he let loose with a string of amateurish expletives that nearly caused Martyna to laugh. However, his companion had less self control and again started laughing. "I will kill you both!" shouted Plotter, his face reddened with anger. "I will flay you alive and watch the ants feast on your entrails!" "ENOUGH!" commanded a stern new voice, another man stepped into the prison. Martyna recognized the dark robed man as Absu Maal, Nosfentor's High Priest. "Plotter, return to searching for the escapee!" he said in a severe tone. Plotter nodded once and exited swiftly. Turning to the other man, "You... Resume your...business." The other man nodded and unlocked the door to Walker's cell. Grabbing him by the ear, he led the catatonic man towards a wooden door next to Martyna's cell. As they passed, Martyna thought she saw a tear roll down the prisoner's cheek. The door closed behind them, and heavy footfalls could be heard going up a flight of stairs. "You'll have to excuse my men, Martyna. They have been under...stress." he blithely stated. A wan smile briefly pursed his lips before a cold mask of control returned. "You know what we want. You will give it to us. We can be very...persuasive." he timed the last word to coincide with a disconcerting groaning from the floor above. A wicked smirk was the last she saw of him as he turned and left the room, closing the door behind him. Martyna leaned heavily against the back cell wall and slid down it to the floor, deflated. What am I to do? she wondered. I must protect the book, and hope that it gets to the right people soon. "What am I to do?" she mumbled aloud, before quietly weeping into her sleeve. "Hope," came a weary voice, unused to speaking. "You must always have hope." Quickly blinking back the tears, Martyna looked to her right, into the shadowed cell past the brazier. A man's face swam into focus, matted snowy hair with an equally white scraggly beard. At first she didn't recognize him, for captivity had not done him any kindness. "No..." she breathed. "It can't be..." "Ah, I'm afraid it is, lass. Rumors of my death and all..." To Be Continued.