Finishing the second sip of water, Ree mentally took stock of herself. The scent on her was faint, but palpable enough. Despite her limited experience, she was still a doctor. Some scents were unmistakeable. The desired to scrub herself from head to toe nearly overtook her, but she suppressed it… barely. She rubbed at her face with her hand, then forced herself to stop.
She noted she still wore her leggings. Certainly, if anything else had progressed, she would not have them. She sought to find the positive and the only thing she could think of was that the hit to her head meant she did not have to remember anything. Her shoes were off and the shirt was not hers. Considering the man wore a jacket, but no shirt, the source of the shirt was easy enough to guess.
“Thank you , again. I am guessing the shirt is yours?”
She looked to the black-haired man. He nodded. “Your shoes are by the end of the bed.” Ree moved to sit up without assistance.
“He must have given me a harder blow than I thought.” She had been surprised to run into the ex-guardsman there. Obviously, the whole thing was staged, but…
“What?” The black-hard man responded to her murmured question.
Ree shook her head. Placing a hand to her head, she winced. Shaking her head was not a good idea.
“I’m confused by what has happened. The first part,” Ree couldn’t hide the look of disgust from crossing her face and the dry heave the thought gave her. She quickly covered her mouth and turned away from the man. Ree’s other arm wrapped around her waist as if she were forcibly holding herself together. She took several deep breaths as she tried to control the anger and revulsion that welled up from her gut. The hand at her waist fisted into the fabric of the shirt.
“I don’t understand, but can fathom. I don’t understand why I, and you, are here.”
“Do you have any ideas where we are?”
Here was the whole reason he bothered staying and playing the charade. The room was a basement room in a house on the far edge of Shim. Re-enforced walls ensured that the goods that had once been stored there stayed fresh and cool. A thick door led to a single, narrow set of stairs, at the top of which also sat a thick door. The one that hired him would arrive in the next few hours to retrieve his package.
Ree looked around the sparse room. Only a candle lit the room. The air was not stale, but it wasn’t fresh either. The candle-flame flickered very slightly. So, some air must come in from some place.
“I have no idea.” Alfric considered the elf-doctor. She was surprisingly well-composed for an aristocrat who had been kidnapped. He had noticed the revulsion as it passed through her, watched as she fought to control herself and keep a level head. Add in that odd sense of trusting naivete and she was unusual. Truth be told, he was actually impressed. Maybe he would have to pay her a visit after all this was over, see if he could break that composure and crack that facade. He wondered how long it would take for her to figure out the room wasn't really set up for more than one person. Pity. He would like to see that realization creep into her eyes and face. He would like to watch her push it down and try to remain rational. Pity, indeed. Alfric glanced at the candle. Any moment now...
A sound near the door caused them both to tense up. The man slipped from the bed, hand held out to her as if to tell her ‘stay put.’ As he approached the door, it unlatched and swung open slightly. The man waited, but nothing happened. Moving cautiously, he readied himself and opened the door quickly. Nothing was there, but darkness and a plate with some fruit, bread, and cheese. The man’s body posture slumped slightly. He reached for the plate and brought it to the small table beside the bed, which was really nothing more than a thin mattress and blanket on some sort of low slab in the middle of the room. Nothing other than the bed, table, and candle occupied the room.
“I’m going to check behind the door."
Ree looked at the man wide-eyed and watched as he disappeared, closing the door behind him. She slightly heard a few footfalls, but then nothing. This place confused her. Maybe it was the blow to her head, but something seemed off.
Ree slid her legs out from under the thin blanket. The floor was cold to the touch. She inhaled a few deep breaths. Sitting up was not a problem, her head still throbbed, but that was to be expected. Her bag was nowhere to be seen. She must have dropped it. If she healed herself, she would have to pull from inner resources. That would mean she would be incapable of anything for at least a day. Did she have that much time? Why was she here??
Ree heaved a sigh. Without a time-piece or daylight, she had no idea where she was or how much time had passed. She eyed the candle. It didn’t look as if it had been lit for long. She looked at her hand, then put her finger and thumb around the candle. She had, what, an hour, maybe two based on the size of the candle? She could light the candle with magic, but it had been a very, very long time since she had to do so. Would she be able to do it when it her head hurt so badly? A head injury resulting in unconsciousness was not a trifling matter. Thankfully, it seemed she just couldn’t take a punch. Her ears weren’t ringing, her vision, at least in her good eye wasn’t blurred, and she wasn’t dizzy. No, magic would be a last resort. Her head hurt and her eye throbbed, but both would heal in time. Better to leave the candle lit and hope someone would come.
The man hadn’t returned yet. Maybe she could follow. Shoes first, then she would try the door. As she moved to the edge of the make-shift bed, she realized a shallow trough was cut into the stone floor. She felt it with her toes, moving carefully along the edge of it to the wall. There a small grate seemed deeply embedded into the stone wall and floor. Ree blinked.
Was this… was this a … morgue?