Guilty! The nerve of the court! Tok was fuming. How dare they subvert the will of Khaali! They call that a jury of his peers? There were women on that jury. Women! Like they have any authority to judge a man. And statutory rape? The unmitigated gall! Those girls were his wives by divine right! He only demanded of them their duties as outlined in the K’haal.
Tok was taken to what could only be described as a gilded cage. Ornate, but functional bars slammed shut behind him. What was this? Surely this wasn’t the death row he was promised. Was this Khaali’s reward for his faithfulness, did the king secretly protect the old ways, or was it a trap? He did not know. The cell was a large room, a spacious communal area for the prisoners. Ornate furnishings were everywhere. Silks, fine pillows, decorative rugs, plush mattresses, and other wonders too numerous to mention. Surely, not all of the king’s prisoners received such treatment. There was an oversized hookah in the middle area of the room. Tok took one of the reeds in hand, eyeing it suspiciously. Across from him was a short, fat little man who was furiously puffing away in a futile attempt to calm his nerves. As the timid creature suffered no ill effects aside from his nerves, Tok indulged him self in vapor and smoke. The stranger before him was garishly dressed in enough linen to make a tent. His large, white beard hid his chin and neck. A ridiculous, handlebar moustache concealed his mouth. His hair, like his beard, was as white as limestone.
Various prisoners luxuriated about the cell, including a woman bathing in a pool. The square pool was set into the floor, with four sets of stairs going off the cardinal direction points. This made the overall shape of the floor indentation a cross. The woman was too close to Tok’s own age to be of any interest to him. Her dark hair framed an intense expression, amplified by thick eyebrows. She was possibly calculating her options at any given moment.
At one side of the room stood a faded blue door. Many tried the knob, to find it locked. The weathered appearance of the door was deceptive, none could break it.
The food was absolutely indulgent. Fowl, fruits, beef, vegetables, and other items were prepared as though for the king. Seconds were readily available. Various beverages were available to slake one’s thirst.
Tok spent a few days in such luxury. Then the blue door opened. Two guards entered, followed by a short man in gray. There were no frills of any kind on his garments, save for a large key shape rendered in black down the front of his closed jacket. The short man summoned Tok. Cautiously Tok arose and followed him through the blue door. What was going on now?
The corridors were bare walls and dirt floors twisting on and on. Soon, they entered a small chamber with three doors. The guards each stood before a door, while the small man unlocked the remaining door. “This way.”, stated the man in the key jacket. The guards followed, closing the door behind them. A small area was cut into the wall of the passage. It contained a bench, carved from the same wall. “Disrobe.” Tok looked at the fit, little man who only came to his chin. Then he looked at the two large and burly armed men behind the little one. Tok was fuming, but he saw that he had no choice in the matter. He certainly wasn’t going to give those goons the pleasure of manhandling him. He stripped down until there was nothing left. Suddenly, his hands were roughly bound behind him and a black sack slipped over his head.
The short man’s voice said, “The guards will guide you from here.”
Tok was pushed forward roughly. He stumbled blindly through winding halls and stairs. Every time he slowed, he was thrust ahead or dragged upward. He began to feel warm. The air felt different. The loud noises of the market place wafted up to his ear from below. A sharp shove knocked Tok forward. Click!
He found himself trapped in a kneeling position with some kind of hard bond on his neck. Confused and angry thoughts raced through his head. How dare he be humiliated like this! Surely Khaali would grant him power to destroy these vermin! Why he would-