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Endless Darkness

By Imagination_that

Adventure / Drama

Promotions

Rusl's POV until otherwise noted
The promotion was a good thing at least that's what he kept telling himself. He had better pay, decent hours, and he and his young wife could now live in the city in a real house; not some driftwood shack. His name was Rusl, a guard for the kingdom of Hyrule and he had recently received a promotion from patrolling the Spirit Cave and area around Lake Hylia to being a prison guard within the castle. When the offer had come he and his wife Uli had packed up their meager possessions and set out for Castletown. They had been able to find a small home to rent in the city not far from the castle but still well within their limited budget. They were a young couple just starting out and funds were short. He of course had a decent job that paid a fair wage as a guard, it would have been better if he was a Knight but you had to prove your worth or do some heroic deed to gain that status. They supplemented they're income in small ways using trades they'd learned as children. Uli could weave beautiful cradles and baskets so well they were actually waterproof. Rusl was a blacksmith and could make horseshoes for horses and shoe them as well. He could also make swords and shields not to mention repair them; as well as countless other tasks involving metal. While they're skills at the lake hadn't been in high demand due to the lack of people they hoped the move would improve this to some degree. They were saving to buy or build a home of their own where they could raise a family.

However, Rusl was beginning to wonder if all that was worth taking this dreary and depressing position. It was his first day and another guard was giving him a tour of the dungeons as well as explaining his duties. The dungeons were on the far side of the castle kept well away from where the nobles, Knights, and all others who resided in the castle lived. There were three levels to the dungeons. The first level was above ground with barred windows in the cells. Level two had small holes as openings for fresh air and some sunlight but you'd be fortunate to stick an arm through any of them. Level three was too far underground and the only light it, and those it housed, saw were from the torches. The air down there was putrid and stagnant not really fit for any to be breathing.

The instructions for his new job were simple enough: make sure no one escapes, stop/prevent fights in cells with multiple prisoners, protect the food carriers that delivered the daily meal, escort prisoners for interrogation or punishment to the Inquisitorial Chamber and back, watch for sick prisoners in case they need to quarantine, and remove any prisoners who die. The heartlessness of it all disturbed Rusl but he tried to appease himself with the constant refrain that these were criminals and they had done wrong so they likely deserved their punishment. Rusl and the guard had just passed through the first two levels of the dungeons and were heading down to the last.

The first level contained people who were only in for disorderly conduct or some kind of public indecency or display and would be released in a few days' time; the second level held those that had committed crimes that earned them several months or years imprisonment but would be released in due time. The last level where they were heading housed the prisoners who had committed the most abhorrent acts and had been sentenced to spend the rest of their days behind bars instead of being executed. The cells here were damp and there was the constant sound of dripping water and scurrying rats that mingled with smell of mold, decay, and human excrement to create the most repulsive atmosphere Rusl had ever felt. Rusl had to admit the aura down here was both sickening and frightening but that may have just been due to the smell and because of the types of people he knew inhabited this grim domain.

As they walked through the area Rusl made note of the different crimes committed by the incarcerated men. Since there were fewer people who had been sentenced to a lifetime in the darkness down here, these cells were lesser in number and contained only two to three prisoners at max. As they reached the last of the cells his fellow guard's words brought him out of his internal contemplations.

"An' this one 'ere has the 'onor of bein' the youngest prisoner 'ere an' the only one lucky nuff to get a cell all to 'imself."

Rusl had to do a double take as he looked in the cell; he had expected a man in his early twenties or at youngest late teens, but not this. This prisoner was a Hylian child six maybe seven years of age but it was hard to tell since he was hidden in the shadows and seemed very small. Rusl's body moved of its own accord as he felt himself step forward and kneel down in front of the cell to get a better look at the child. What could've this small little boy have ever done to warrant being locked up in this abysmal place and for the rest of his days no less? Rusl asked the guard this very question as he watched the little boy scurry as far away from the cell door, and him, as the walls would allow him; curling up around his knees in the corner on a pile of dirty looking straw.

The answer he received was far from satisfactory. "Well actually, der ain't no one who knows why 'e's 'ere, as far as I's knows. I can tell ya it musta been somethin' awful though since 'e goes to the Inquisitorial Chamber once a week. 'E certainly makes it 'ard on us since we've gotta get sum special shackles for 'im when 'e's being taken to there. An' don go gettin' soft jus' cause 'e's a kid. Remember everyone down 'ere is 'ere for a good reason even if we ain't privileged nuff to know why."

The guard led Rusl away then and somehow Rusl managed not to look back at the poor little boy, doomed to spend the rest of his life in the endless pit of darkness this dreary prison, but the boy never once left his thoughts for the rest of the day or any day after that.

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