I am the last. There used to be many of us in the cell, brought here by the dragon's lackeys. Nax'tanazur the great blue one, sent his hordes into the villages and captured as many as he could, though I couldn't really tell you why at the time. He just seemed to come one day from out of nowhere, and his hordes of hobs came with him. At the time I worked as an apprentice goldsmith. Though it seems like that was another time; no, another lifetime. The hobs weren't picky about who they snatched. If you resisted, you got butchered or knocked out to be dragged back here.
I don't know how long I've been here. I lost count after one-thousand eight-hundred and forty nine days. I watches the light dim and brighten through the little air hole so far above our heads. But after too long you stop bothering to count. Stop hoping that someone will come to save you. They brought everyone to these cells, and packed as many in as they could. At first I tried to learn the names of the people locked in here with me. But I learned very quickly that getting to know the people here will only make it more painful. After all, how many nights did I lose thinking about a pretty woman who got dragged out. And then never brought back.
They took out each of us, a few at a time, every three days. Every three days we got to experience hell, before they placed us back into that fucking hole. We never got to see the dragon after we came here actually. They didn't take us to see him. They took us to a room where we would be tied down, and then. Well. They took their time trying to. Change us. Most of the time it we being force fed something that tasted like blood, and smelled like a lightning storm. Other times they stuck things into our flesh, even going so far as to stitch things into some of us. The hobs watched what would happen afterward, and write down reports.
I couldn't turn my head while tied up like that. But I heard the others scream, could hear them convulse and shake across the ground. I screamed too. I shook, I felt my eyes bulge, and my muscles tear. But when it was all done, and either the mercy of unconsciousness, or the oblivion of exhaustion would finally take me, I would always wake up. I would always be brought back to this damn hole. And eventually, those that made it back to their cells, started going through strange changes.
I've looked into people's eyes, who's irises seemed to have torn down the middle, giving them a sort of torn, slitted pupil. Those ones almost always went blind. Others had their arms and legs start to lengthen, and twist into grotesque claws, skin bruising from how fast the body was changing, and nails sharpening and thickening into ragged claws. There where people who's teeth fell out, only to be replaced by a bloody mess of jagged and uneven fangs. Some cried with growing pains all day and all night.
Most didn't get brought back after the first time they were taken to the room. I was the only one they always brought back. And every third day they would take me out, tie me up, and make me drink that gods damned concoction. We would see those that survived starting to look less and less like men, and after a while, I think I figured out what they were trying to do to us.
I think they were trying to make us into something like the damn lizard. The fucking blue dragon was trying to find a way to turn people into something. Something more like him I think.
I couldn't tell you why it took longer for me. I felt the pain and sickness everyone else did, yet my body didn't change for the first few months. Those that died after their first or second visit were probably more lucky than I am though. The majority of us died early on, in the first few weeks. A good sum of us died too from just getting sick from being so close to other people in these cells. I got sick a few times, but always managed to break my fever.
But after about the third month of this hell I started to get bumps on my skin. Mainly my back, shoulders, and the outsides of my arms and legs. For a while I thought I had caught the pox, or maybe a rash from the others. It itched and itched. I didn't sleep for days at a time, and eventually I scratched my skin raw just trying to get rid of the damn itching. It was around that time I started cutting my fingertips on the rashes. Every now and then I would pull out something that looked like a sliver. Though over time the slivers began to come out bigger and wider.
It was another month into this that I ripped one out that was big enough to actually make out what it was in the dim light of the cell. A blue shard, wide and flat like an arrowhead. Bloody roots trailed from the bottom of where it was embedded in my shoulder.
A fucking scale.
I had been ripping out scales out of my fucking skin. I didn't sleep for days after that great discovery. Only getting rest after the pain of drinking that concoction would steal my mind away to the soft nothingness of unconsciousness. And every three days, there would be less and less of us. More and more ragged scales would poke their way through my skin, in little bloody holes. More often than not I'd accidentally rip one out from scratching too much. I even had a little pile going before the hobs took it away.
Yesterday I found the last other person in this place dead. She passed in the night. We didn't talk, I don't really think she was even here in the end, as she would just. Stare. She had little ragged wings poking through the skin on her back. Little shriveled and twisted mockeries of what sat on the back of the great blue bastard. And Yesterday when I awoke, her chest rose no more. The hobs came by and dragged her away today. And now it's just me.
I wonder how long I can hold. I wonder if it even matters. I wonder why I even try to hold on. Or maybe I am dead, and I somehow managed to piss off one of the gods to the point where I'm going to me in the personal little hell forever. I don't know anymore. I don't know. I am the last.
I awoke today to the ground itself shaking, roars that tore through the air and crashing. I thought the world was ending, I saw hobs running, either fleeing or racing towards the destruction. I couldn't tell. I begged the the ceiling cave in. I begged to release. I was done, and it seemed like I could rest easy of this whole place and I went out together. But after I don't know how long. all was still. And I wept in my cell. That is until I heard the clanking from down the hall.
I thought the hobs were coming back for me. But then, a torch lighting a human face that of a woman peered into my cell. Her face was covered in ash and dust, her hair much the same. And in a strong firm voice I heard her.
"We will free you."
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