“I have half the mind and wholly this fist, to pound your damnable head into the ground if you don’t start making sense!” Triton grabbed me by my bloodied scalp crossly, that pathetic wily look in his eye, “Now, where is the Caput Draconis Stone?”
He then socked me in the teeth, his punch tired, and weak. As usual. Leave it to Triton to show fight when his target was immobile and of no threat, and still get worn out. Even through my swollen and pus eyes I could tell he was flubbed and past his prime. The poor fool. I could’ve almost felt compassion for the man, but, enemies and all that.
There also remained the issue of being shackled, without escape.
“Talk Rov!” he bellowed and slugged me once again. This time my head actually spun a little, my torso dropping and the chains cranking taught; I felt the blood ooze from my mouth. The stank of the dungeon had gone, filling with that long renowned metallic taste. At this point my nose had surely cracked, and I sputtered thick red droplets onto the grimy stone floor, my arms holding me up limply, like a puppet.
“Aahh -” I groaned, my head lolling backwards, but quickly righting it as I felt the blood rush to my throat.
“Cooperate or die, Turncoat.” Triton seethed. At this point I had little reason to believe he was bluffing; Triton was old but he still had my exposed throat, ten fingers (well, nine to be exact, as the tenth had gone down my gullet two years prior) and a whole lot of grip and gripe left in ’em. I spit a stream of fluids from my teeth, full of every sickly color, and my squint eyes moved to Triton’s face painly, and with my lips I attempted to crack a smile.
“An’, how’re yoo so shure I ‘ave the Caput Draconis,” I choked, my intended snark managing to spit out. “could’ve sold it. ‘Pits, maybe I n-never ev’n took it.” I took a breather, “Ya fat ballsack –”
An unnecessary insult might not have been the best choice, as Triton whaled a haymaker into my face, possibly the finest box to my eye-socket since the heyday of his youth.
I didn’t think the man had it in him.
“YOU’RE GETTING YOURS, TRAITOR! MARK MY WORDS!”
“Magistrate.” I heard the high screech of the metal door opening and a hush-hush voice. The air of Triton’s swishing cape brushed my hanging face as I heard his footsteps go over, the ringing in my ears filtering everything to muck as I mouthed an ouch to no one in particular, my eyes feeling as if they’d been sucked into my head. Just quit and lock me up, already, I thought. This beating had gotten pretty bad. The conversation was swift, as Triton was soon kneeling before me, his weathered, grim face right next to mine as he growled darn convincingly, the liquids dribbling off my battered body.
“Seems we’ve had a lucky draw of hand. You’re smarmy friend was just found down at the Tar Fields — he’s not looking too good. Quite dead, actually. I suggest you do some soul searching up in lockup, cause you aren’t gonna be there long. Cause you’re being transferred to the Hole, Turncoat. The Physician’s coming for you, and you’re just her taste.”
I felt a chill, my body turning cold. I pulled myself up best I could, so to look Triton in the eye, as I could sense the pride fuming off of his shit grinning mouth. The look he held was pure victory, a mania of unbelieving glee. He wasn’t bluffing. The bastard had actually done it.
In a sudden change, I saw his face slightly fall, and he licked his lips and quickly stood. I could feel him leaning over me, his gaze tunneling holes into my now hung head. After several minutes of silence, he spoke, his words private and quiet, and not for any listening ears.
“You’re a poor devil, Rov. You’re a scourge over this badland, but little worst than most of us. You got dealt a sour hand, and you ran with it, but your wild card that’s kept you alive has just turned on you. She knows, you poor devil. And she’s going to peel you like a grape, a prod your squishy insides for fun.”
In his voice crept a sadness, and his sympathy made my skin crawl under the wetness of the beating, the sweat and blood chilling me.
The Hole. I was going to the Hole.
And she knew my secret. She knew.