Flash Fiction Month 2014, Day 4
There was a rattle of chains as the rusty iron cage dropped from the ceiling. It was accompanied by the rattling laugh of the Dungeon Lord himself. The same mechanism that had dropped the cage over the great stone altar had also raised a false wall, revealing his terrible black throne.
“You may have found my gems of power, thief, but I don’t think they—or you—will be going far.”
“No,” the thief admitted. “This cage looks pretty secure. Very sturdy. Lots of spikes.”
“I claimed it from the Keep of Akragokh, where it once held prisoners of the Thousand Day Siege. Still, I don’t think it has witnessed such suffering as it shall see today.”
“Oh no,” said the thief. “What are you going to do to me?”
Standing, the Dungeon Lord approached an alcove near the throne and retrieved a small coil of barbed cord. “I thought, since you clearly had your sights set on my legendary possessions, you might like to sample the Lash of Khgharghag first hand.” He gave it an experimental flick. “Perhaps after a stretch on the Rack of Zhoug.”
“And… and then what?”
“Then…” The Dungeon Lord had not expected to have to come up with another torture so quickly. “Then I will have you hung by your feet in the viperbat caves.”
“That sounds really bad.”
Sarcasm? The Dungeon Lord wasn’t quite sure. “Your impudence will only extend your suffering!”
“Mmmmmm, yeah,” groaned the thief. “I’ve been really naughty.”
“Yes, you have!” The Dungeon Lord began to pace to and fro in front of the cage. “And I’ll personally see to it that you’re…you’re thrashed with brambles and doused with vinegar!”
“Yes!” shouted the thief, “Yes! Do all that stuff!”
The Dungeon Lord stopped. “Now look here! I can see what you’re trying to do, and I won’t fall for it. You can’t make me let you go just by acting all…unsavoury.”
“What?” The thief was appalled. “There’s nothing unsavoury going on! Just a plucky and impudent young thief who needs to be soundly thrashed by a big strapping Dungeon Lord in spiky leather armour.”
The thief was doing some kind of eyebrow gesture, and while the Dungeon Lord couldn’t entirely grasp its meaning, he sure didn’t like it. “You know what?” he said, “Okay, that is actually kind of off-putting. Maybe I’ll just get one of my minions to kick you down the stairs at the front gate and we’ll call it even.”
“No, wait!” The thief stretched an arm through the bars of the cage. “I don’t have to be a thief stealing your power gems! I could be, like, a noble paladin come to cleanse your evil from this place. Only I get caught, and…oh, come on! You’ve got a perfectly good suit of armour just over there!”
“Goblin-slave?” The Dungeon Lord clapped, his gauntlets clanking together clumsily. “Escort the intruder from the premises, make sure the gates are locked, and…maybe draw me a bath. I’m feeling really icky all of a sudden.”
The goblin slave bowed, his pointy nose almost scraping the dungeon floor. Then, once his master was gone, he made his way over to the cage and unlocked the door.
“I’ve seen people do all kinds of things to escape the Dungeon Lord,” remarked the goblin, “but that was quite the ploy.”
“Ploy?” asked the thief.