Tink! Tink! Tink! The metallic sound of a coin being flipped into the air. Caught. Then flipped again by the thumb was one of the only sounds in this dreary prison. Hard, cold walls of stone slick with moss or rain runoff were all around. This small room had a wooden bucket, a rough leather cot and a thick iron door. Locked from the outside. The copper coin being flipped up and down belonged to a woman. Mid-twenties with short, brown hair, and an amber-skin tone and completion common to those from the southern deserts. Foreigners are by no means illegal in this city, but that wasn’t what ended this woman in the dungeon. Her light hazel eyes followed the coin up and down as he flipped it again and again. Just to alleviate her boredom. But the sound of a new prisoner being brought in by the guards was far more interesting.
She moved to the iron door, trying to peak through the peep-window. The sound of boots. The guards. And…it sounded like hooves. She could only spy the massive, heavily muscled frame being forced into the cell on her right by three guards. Who struggled and shouted and threatened, to the new prisoner’s strong growling of defiance! Finally, they shoved the huge guest into a cell and slammed the iron door shut. The Prisoner slammed against the door with a strong force, but not strong enough to break it down.
“The fuck is that thing?!” One guardsman said in voice that betrayed he had a smoking habit.
“Minotaur. Real nasty one too.” Responded the second. He was older but had a smoother voice.
“By the Sun... only heard stories of them. He’s not as big as I thought, but still bloody big. Why did we have to force him down here? He beat Ralph within an inch of his life, he did!”
“You know the laws. He didn’t pay up, and he surrendered when we surrounded him. So he stays down here until the magistrates can think of what to do with ‘im. Besides, Ralph is still kickin’! Clerics’ll ‘ave him back to work in a few days.”
The conversation became impossible for the woman to hear as the two guards left. Going up a set of stairs and shutting another heavy door behind them. The woman went to the wall on the right side of her cell and listened. She heard her new guest shuffle a bit, then sit on the ground.
“Welcome to paradise, new guy.” The woman finally spoke. Her voice was perfect Common. A bit coy and playful. The kind of voice one might give a cat, or a con-woman. And she spoke with no accent. “Did I hear right? You’re a minotaur? And one with the guts to rough up a guard in this city. I salute you Sir Loin! You’re the tops.”
The resident of the other cell responded by slamming his heavy body against their shared stone wall. It shook for a moment on impact. The woman gave a mocking whistle. “Take it easy, pal. If you make too much noise the guards will come back down. And they don’t like having to come down here when they don’t have too.”
“My advice?” The woman continued, as if the other cell mate was listening. “Well, just keep quiet and do what they tell you. And pick a favorite wall to stare at. Security got tighter after my last break out. They even slide the food under the doors now. Trust me, no getting out from the inside. Unless you can cast magic. Can you?”
The minotaur in the next cell grunted in response.
“Right. Thanks.” More sarcasm. “I’m Kara, by the way. Kara Marsh. Pleasure to meet you mister minotaur.”
The door upstairs opened again.
“Another guest? Well, today won’t be boring at least.” Kara sat up again. This third guest in the prisons was not as large as her bovine buddy, but still large. Having a more athletic build. Skin with a light grey hue, pointed ears, and lower canines that jutted out of his lower jaw like tusks. An Orc? No, the forehead was too smooth, and the posture wasn’t stooped enough. A half-orc!
“Come on now! I was going to return it, I promise!”
“Quit your blabberin’ and get in the cell!” He was thrown in with the minotaur. Once more the iron doors slammed shut, and the guard left. The half-orc spoke in a smooth baritone. “Wait, when’s lunch?! Ooh…oh! Um. Hello there, cell mate. I’m Grukk. What’s your name?”
“He’s not the talkative type.” Kara said from the other cell. “Welcome to paradise, new-new guy. I’m Kara Marsh. The big bad bull hasn’t shared his name yet. So, what-?”
Ms. Marsh was cut off by the sound of Grukk screaming. “What the devil?!” And the minotaur standing up quickly. Suddenly. A new voice entered in. A woman’s voice.
“BORISSS!” The unknown woman screamed. It was followed by feminine laughter, and the minotaur grunting in response.
“Took you long enough.” The bull-headed brute finally spoke. His voice was a low and grumbling bass, with a voice of someone who lived well beyond city walls. It wasn’t all that scratchy, but it was dry and too the point in tone.
“Yeaah. I’m sorry but…but this city is so big! I had to ask where the prisons were three times. They said I wasn’t allowed to see you. But I saw the rats could get in and out no problem. So, I turned into a rat and bam! Now I’m here to rescue you!”
“Wait a damn minute!” Shouted Kara from her cell. Quickly catching herself, getting a bit quieter. “Listen, you got a prison break going? You need to be quiet, or the guards will hear you! Listen to me. The guards keep the keys to these doors on a keyring in the room just upstairs. If you can use your…rat! Thing…to get them, we can get out of here.”
“Oh! Thanks, miss prisoner, but I already got my new rat friends to do it!”
“You what?” Kara said, stunned. Suddenly, she heard the skittering of rats, the metal chime of keys, and the sound of an iron cell door being opened. And the three of them getting out.
“Hey! Hey wait! Aren’t you gonna free me too?” The pickpocket pleaded.
“Hmmm…I dunno…” Kara could see the new woman. An elf with deep grey skin, silvery white hair, and shimmering eyes. A dark elf. A drow! On the surface and in a city! “I mean, I don’t know who you are miss prisoner.”
“Kara! Kara. My name is Kara. Please you have to let me out. I-I can help you guys. I mean, come on. A minotaur, a half-orc and a drow? In this city? You three will stick out like scorpion’s tail! But I know this city like the back of my hand. And I know a place, where we can lay low and get the guards off our scent.”
“I don’t smell that bad…” The drow woman muttered.
“She does have a point.” Spoke the half-orc on Kara’s behalf. “Besides. It’s not like ‘not’ breaking her out will get us back in good standing with the law.”
“Hmmm….alright! But you have to promise on the stars that you’ll help.” The drow woman unlocked Kara’s cell door.
“Yes, yes I promise!” The pickpocket stepped out quickly but quietly. “Ah, finally out of that damn room! Alright drow lady-“
“Alydrezea.” The dark elf corrected. “Not, drow lady.”
Kara stopped, confused as to why that concerned her new partner now of all times. “Alright. Whatever. Juts turn us into rats so we can escape!”
“I can’t do that. I can only turn me into a rat.”
“Wha…you…gaah! Okay. Well, there are at least five guards up there and we have no weapons. How do we get past them without getting a summary execution?”
Grukk raised his hand. “I’ve got an idea.”
Upstairs in the guard’s quarters, the five of them were playing cards. When they heard screaming from down in the cells. It was Kara’s voice.
“Help! Guard help! The minotaur! He’s eating the other prisoner! I can hear the bones go crunch, crunch! Help! Help!”
Two guards got up, each grabbing a spear and running down the stairs. They saw only open cell doors in the dimly lit dungeons.
“What the-gaah!” Boris slammed one in the back with his head! Making sure the tips of his horns did not gore the guard. Only sending him tumbling into the cell and off his feet. The half-orc did the same to the second guard. The ladies in position to slam and lock the cell doors. Now the helpless guards were banging on the iron doors.
“You bastards open these doors right now!”
“Two down, three to go. Stick to the plan.” Stated grey-skinned half-orc. The party made their way upstairs. The two large demi-human men now armed with spears. The remaining guards were taken by surprise and quickly overwhelmed.
“Thanks for not killing them.” Alydrezea said, patting Boris in the arm.
“Last thing we need is murder charges. Especially city guards.” Kara rummaged through a chest that held the personal items of the prisoners. “Aha! Take what you can and let’s get moving!”
Having retrieved their lost gear, the four of them burst out the front door and ran in all different directions. Standing guardsmen yelled and gave chase to who they could see. But in the crowded and maze-like city streets, one by one the party lost their pursuers.
Later that night, around 8pm, they all met up one by one in a back-alley area near a whorehouse called Candied Apples. Kara was there first. Followed by Boris and Alydrezea. And finally, Grukk. “Alright then.” Kara Marsh said with a half-smile. Please to finally be free again. “I think it’s time for proper introductions.”