| Galvez Prison |
The Feeding Pit
Sulking alongside the wardens, Artus didn’t speak a word, not wanting to provoke them into poking him again. It didn’t exactly bring about an enormous amount of pain, but it still hurt. “Alright everyone, there’s a few flight of stairs coming up.” A warden announced to the group. Artus walked more cautiously, trying not to trip over his own feet, but as he approached the steps, he stopped right in front, hesitating. “What’s the hold up? Just walk down the stairs!” A warden form the back of the group shouted at Artus, causing another warden to grab him by the arm and push him slightly. “Go!” Artus stumbled, but regained his posture as he dipped a foot forwards trying to find his footing. He felt the ground recede downwards, and took that as indication that the steps were right in front of him, and to his surprise, more than enough room for him and the other prisoners to walk on.
“O-Okay, okay, sorry…” Artus mumbled, as he slowly made his way down the set of stairs. He could hear wardens scoffing at him, but honestly, he couldn’t have cared any less that they thought of him as clumsy. He did what he was told and continued carefully stepping down each stair step until eventually he felt level ground once again. Artus stopped walking, as the sounds of chatter, grunting and wardens shouting slowly drowned out. Wherever him and the group of prisoners were now, it was certainly a bit more…isolated than the regular chambers of the prison. The sounds weren’t as echoed, and the only thing that was heard now was the sound of the prisoners walking and a little bit of whispering from the wardens.
“Stopped again, did we?” A warden leaned in and whispered in Artus’ ear which sent a chill down his spine. He was not expecting it, but the way the warden had said it, made it seem like there was a punishment coming his way. Luckily, that was not the case. “We are almost there. Just keep walking, and don’t stop unless we say so.” The warden whispered again, and pushed him slightly to gesture him to continue moving on. Once again, without talking back, Artus just gulped and walked on for several more minutes in a straight line, until he ran into something.
“Oof!” Artus grunted as his body hit a stone wall. He bounced back a bit, but managed to grab his footing. “A-A wall? T-There’s a wall, t-there’s nowhere to go!” Artus panicked, as he shouted to the prisoners and wardens.
“Calm down! Just stay still.” A warden said to him, and then shouted at the other prisoners. “Walk a few more steps and then stop! And stay there until we say so!” The wardens nudged some of the prisoners forward, and they stood there for a few moments, and could hear some of the other wardens talking amongst themselves, almost as if they were discussing something. However they’re voices were a bit farther away. They were still close by, just not directly beside the group anymore. Artus gulped loudly, and then sighed. …There has to be a reason we stopped. What are they even talking about?
"...Are you sure we should send all of them down there? We've never sent this many prisoners before..." He heard one of the wardens asking another.
"..Yeah I'm sure. It'll save us the extra trips of making them go down in smaller groups. We are short staffed anyways." The warden replied. Artus nodded his head in disbelief. Send them down where? What were they getting into? There were too many questions, and they certainly liked keeping them in the dark about things. Artus was lost in his thoughts, until a warden shouted at them, snapping him back to reality. “Okay, stay still! You’ll know when to move again!” His voice echoed a little farther away than before, and followed up with a loud ‘click’ noise. After a few seconds, the ground beneath Artus started to shift and creak, until it jerked and started to slowly but gently move downwards. What the - ? Is this an elevator? Artus started to tremble slightly at what fate awaited not only him, but his fellow prisoners as well. Knowing better not to ask what was going on, Artus kept his mouth shut and waited for a long 2 minutes until the elevator came to steady halt, as signalled by the jerking of the platform beneath them and the creaking of metal and wood.
“…W-What now? D-Do we move?” Artus took a gamble talking to the wardens, and prepared himself to get physically abused once again, however, he relaxed once he got no answer. Artus waited a few more seconds, however, still no reply. It was dead silent, with only the sounds of the prisoners shuffling about.
“Take off your blindfold!” A familiar voice broke the silence. Artus recognized it as the old man, but hesitated in taking off the piece of cloth.
“B-But they said not to take them off!” Artus shouted back, stuttering a little. Normally, he would have taken it off without question, but he really did not want to get another poke or something worse.
“Forget what they said, boy! They’re not here! Everyone take your blindfolds off!” The old man shouted with a hint of panic in his voice. Listening to the old man, Artus quickly raised his cuffed hands and took off the blindfold and dropped it on the ground. His eyes quickly got adjusted to his surroundings, but he wished he could have just kept them blindfolded. He took a look at his feet and saw that they were elevated a few feet above the ground on a platform made of wood. Metal chains were attached to the side that suspended themselves high into the darkness of a ceiling above, indicating that they were indeed on an elevator. Jumping off of the platform, Artus took a look at the world around him. Gone was the prison-like atmosphere of cells and stone walls, and in its place was a large, rocky cavern. It was just a large dome shape with three small, dark corridors nearby, and several ledges and large boulders scattered about. The only sunlight came from the large cluster of cracks and holes located near the upper part on the side of the cavern. Upon closer inspection, the sound of rushing water could be heard as well.
Artus kicked the dirt beneath him, and saw several bare bones scattered about as if they were picked clean off. “T-They dropped us in a cave?” He said, looking at the old man. He looked back at Artus with a look of sorrow and then slowly opened his mouth.
“No, not a cave…this is the feeding pit.”