Tahlos Aras Prison was a disgusting place to be.
Through a pact between the nations of Tahlia and Vermia, Tahlia’s security forces roamed the streets of Vermia keeping the peace. In exchange, Tahlia got to keep the criminals they caught as slaves for the mines in their homeland.
Aras was built to keep these lowlifes out of sight. Hence, comfort was a commodity the Tahlians withheld to extreme degrees.
The floor was a cesspool of faeces and other excrements. In each cell, two dozen people were squeezed into spaces meant for four. In such an enclosed environment disease spread like wildfire and decay was rife. It was not uncommon to have someone drop dead and have others discover that maggots have been feasting on their flesh for some time already.
The image was enough to reduce prisoners, hardened criminals in their own right, into helpless men pleading for guards to remove the bodies but all they got were smirks and laughter.
And so weak bodies succumbed to the flesh flies, while strong wills were shattered. They became as hapless as their victims.
Krasus was an exception. He was composed and spent most of his time observing his surroundings. On the other hand, having been the first prisoner allocated to this cell was an advantage. At this time he was constantly chewing, a habit he picked up since they got back from his first trip into the mines.
For one thing, he realised the diversity of prisoners. The pact his nation and Tahlia made was exclusive to their city. Yet he saw prisoners of other Dae Darian nations: the seafaring Ter Hakka, tribal Izash… Even a Ledire scholar and a Kuminai necromancer!
Then there was Kaname. A Celeste who lived by the sword, who was not from Dae Daria at all. He arrived after Krasus, and upon questioning, found that he was abducted right from his homeland in the Celeste archipelago west of Tahlia.
Krasus knew the Tahlians to be low, but to abduct innocents to become slaves was lower than even his people.
Krasus was not doing anything illegal at the time of his capture, so he assumed that it was for a previous heist. The people of Vermia were associated with crime the most, everyone has stolen one thing or another at least. The reason a pact existed was because real power lay with the bandit lords more than the Leadership. Now Krasus realised the Tahlians were just picking anybody they can find off the street if they can get away with it.
If Krasus was right in his theory, the Leadership was just a puppet now. They had been betrayed.
That annoyed Krasus a little, and it was times like this he wanted his own dagger the most.
The sounds of cell doors opening pulled Krasus from his thoughts as the guards struggled to bring a prisoner into the cell. The prisoner had a sack over their head, and they looked as if they would overpower all four guards assigned to them. A guard came forward with a spear, but it snapped in half when the prisoner flung a fist in his general direction.
After what must have been a half hour of struggling, the newcomer relented and was led into the prison. The sack was pulled off and Krasus noticed that they had just thrown a woman into the cell.
With pale complexion and silver hair, Krasus immediately recognized these features, but deemed it unnecessary to warn his idiot of a cell mate.
Kaname approached the woman in a manner that probably would have made Tahlian women swoon. Born into nobility, Kaname was spoilt and a flirt. Before he could say anything though, the newcomer went for his throat. The Celeste were tall, but this woman rivaled Kaname’s height and lifted him off the floor.
With a little amusement Krasus watched the Akkaros throw Kaname across the room. The Celeste landed right next to him.
Even then he could not keep his mouth shut.
“W-woah, I can see why you were sent here instead of some old lord’s residence! Bedding you could be fatal!”
Fortunately for Kaname the Akkaros woman recognized him for what he was. Maybe idiots were universally recognized?
Instead she turned to Krasus.
“Vermili, you shall answer me. What right do these Tahlian dogs have to capture an Akkaros Knight such as myself?”
Krasus composed himself, and talked as if his mouth was full.
“I have a theory… But I believe it’s common courtesy to introduce yourself before we get down to business. I am Krasus, he is Kaname.”
The Akkaros Knight watched Krasus carefully.
“I am Brynhild.”
Satisfied, Krasus beckoned for her to come closer. He had not only his theory to share, but also his escape plan. It will begin the moment they were to be sent into the mines an hour from now. Brynhild’s strength would prove useful for the task ahead.
As they gathered in a circle, Krasus spat a small, almost blade-like stone he had found on his first trip to the mines out of his mouth.
The prisoners were subjected to stringent checks as they went to and fro into the mines. Krasus was just putting the finishing touches to his smuggled stone with his teeth. Now it had a sharp enough point to cut flesh.
“So, let’s begin shall we?” Krasus whispered. The point of his weapon had been poking his cheek in his mouth for a while already and the taste of blood made Krasus smile a bit.