Two weeks. At least I think it had been two weeks. There was no daylight in the cell, no way of counting the passing hours, so I was pretty much guessing. Could have been two days, could have been two years. It certainly felt like two years. The shorter elf scout, the one called Lyte, had come back for the girl, furious to find her still alive. She was weak, but managed to stagger out when he’d told her to go. I only hoped someone healed her wounds and kept them from infection. I hoped she’d gotten something to eat, some sort of relief from the nightmare her life had become. I worried that she might have been killed, but perhaps that would have been a relief to her.
Soon after the girl left, Lyte had scooped me back in my bucket and dumped me in another, more filthy cell. I wasn’t sure why. This time he’d taken the bucket with him, leaving me alone in the cell with whatever bugs and rodents could penetrate the magical barriers.
Since then, that fucking elven scout had been down ten times to check on me. He’d taunt me, dangle a finger temptingly close then stand back and frown, as if he wasn’t sure whether I was animal or vegetable.
I’d made progress. I could feel the bits of my spirit-self knitting together with a hideous network of scarring. That’s one of the reasons I felt I’d been down in this cell at least several weeks. Damage like I’d sustained didn’t repair quickly. In my semi-liquid state, I could shift myself across the floor. Mobile pond scum was a step in the right direction but I was more ecstatic that I could now change the composition of my body. I could manage a solid form— some kind of lizard with internal organs and legs. I wasn’t the fastest thing in Hel, but I could move, and I had little teeth. I formulated a plan to burst from pond scum into my little lizard being, escape from the dungeon and hopefully manage to get into the forest. I just needed to wait for the right moment.
I still couldn’t store raw energy, but here in Hel, that wasn’t really necessary. If that skill was lost forever, I’d never be able to return to the realm of the humans, though. There, I’d be defenseless, unable to fix any injury or change my shape or create even the most basic of elements. Without any storage mechanism, I was damned to Hel forever. Baby steps, though. Right now I just wanted to be mobile, and to get the fuck out of Wythyn before they figured out what, and who, I was.
I was trying to convert into something more ferocious, and possibly with a voice box, when I heard the clang of the dungeon door, and footsteps. Quickly I resumed my original state, oozing back to the spot where I’d originally been deposited.