Al stepped down the trail to the crevice in the mountain, as he had done many times before. The closer he got, the larger the stones were, and eventually it made him weave and bob through the underbrush following the deer trail through the briar to save his skin. The light in the late afternoon sky was warm, casting dappled shadows across the stones as he made his way through their lumbering presence. The mountain that loomed over him hardly seen through the crush of trees that surrounded this wild area, untouched yet by the woodcutters’ hands. The village was still wary of the forest, the magic here chaotic and unpredictable.
Slowing his pace, he steps to the barely man-sized crack in the rock face of the cliff. He presses his hand, roughened by years of work at the forges, against the warm stone and peeks into the inky blackness. He glances back the way he came a thought to tomorrow’s work before pushing it aside with a wicked grin and steps into the crack. He has to enter sideways so his wide shoulders don’t get stuck between the stones. He has done this often enough to know the way in the darkness that engulfs him as he moves deeper into the crevice. He knows to duck about ten feet in to avoid the low outcropping of stone that nearly brained him senseless the first time he made this reckless trip. He makes it about 30 feet into the mountain side before his eyes begin to adjust. The cave walls dry this time of year, a rough path can be made out. It takes some dexterity to get to the apex of the path, but once it begins its slow decent down it smoothes out and becomes a rather pleasant walk. Once he reaches the first twist in the path he notices the faint glow coming from deeper in the caverns. His heart begins to race, knowing she must be home, she is always home.
The demoness was bound by a blessed collar, or he would never have continued to make this decidedly dangerous trip into the heart of her prison. From what he had gleaned from the normally tight lipped demoness was that her master, the local baron, kept her in the mountainside, waiting for his commands.
The Baron doesn’t share knowledge about his succubus slave, the church would withdraw their support of him and who needed that hassle with the Baron’s upcoming nuptials? The church is quite happy with his success in the recent conquests of surrounding territories. Happy enough not to ask any questions as to how he won said battles with so few men at his disposal. Though to be fair, after the first few victories men had been flocking to join his army, awed by such strategic genius. Al himself didn’t mind, he was the blacksmith after all and there was always work to sharpen swords and repair the damaged armor that came from the brief skirmishes. He had enough work to keep him quite satisfied. His wife and son were well fed and his standing in the community was respected. He had no qualms about the Baron’s decisions, that is…he didn’t until he met the Baron’s pet in the bowels of the mountain.
Al had found this entrance to the caverns nearly two years ago and had been making trips down to visit with her while the Baron was away on court duties. The collar kept her bound to her master, who had told her that under no uncertain terms she was not to hurt any of his subjects. Boy, oh boy, was Al glad about that! Her long fingers were tipped with talons, and her fangs…he shivered at the thought, those fangs were wicked. When he first found this hideaway, looking for a vein of copper to add to his store, he hadn’t been so assured of his safety.
Still, he likes to think they had come to an understanding. He doesn’t hurt her like the Baron does, several times he even helped her heal after the Baron had tossed her aside. Al frowns, a deep furrow appearing on his brow above his dusty brown eyes as he remembers the various times he had come across her torn and bloody body. When the Baron was not using her to defeat rival armies, he was using her to entertain himself, to entertain his more trustworthy friends.
Not even death would release her from the curse of her collar. She was immortal, eternal, her pain unceasing.
Al had come to learn that the Baron was not a nice man.