The jailer pushed the iron door of the cell open with an effort. The door grated on its hinges and revealed a big cell, poorly illuminated. The place stunk. There were several men, sitting or lying on the floor in different degrees of neglect and filth.
“There you have them,” said the jailer. “Knock yourself out.”
The lady didn´t answer him. She advanced hesitantly into the cell, followed by her escort: two heavily built men, probably her bodyguards. Her exquisite dress betrayed her noble status and it was completely out of place in this grubby dungeon. The stench made her immediately put a gloved hand over her nose. She looked over the place and spotted a white haired man huddled against one of the walls. She approached him slowly and could see that his wrists were shackled and fixed to the wall with a length of chain. His long white hair covered his face.
“Hello,” she said softly. He didn´t react.
She squatted in front of him, soiling her dress. With her trembling gloved hand, she took him by the chin and lifted his face towards her. Two impassive yellow eyes looked at her. She could see that he was in pain. There were cuts and bruises in his face and arms, and probably in other parts of his body as well. She sighed, almost smiling. She had found him. But she had to make sure it was the one she was looking for.
“What is your name?” she asked him.
He lowered his eyes and remained silent. The jailer came closer and kicked him brutally on the side. He responded with a barely audible groan and grabbed the wall with his bound hands.
“Stop it!” yelled the lady to the jailer.
“I was just trying to help with your interrogation,” shrugged his shoulders the jailer. “He is a mutant, he doesn´t respond to kindness, you see? If you want an answer from this piece of scum, you have to beat him half dead to get it, that´s how he likes it.”
“You have helped enough. Get out,” she said furiously.
“I don´t understand what you want with this deviant son of a whore,” went on the jailer, unconcerned with her anger. “If you ask me, I would have hanged him or burnt him on the stake long ago, but whoever put him here thought it would be better for him to just rot away alive.”
“I said, get out!” she growled. “I no longer require your services”.
The jailer shrugged and left, wishing secretly that the prisoner would bite her neck to death there and then. That woman had no idea what type of degenerate he was.
She turned her attention back to the prisoner:
“I can take you out of here,” she whispered to him. “You just need to tell me your name.”
The man lifted his head, swallowed and answered reluctantly:
“Geralt. Geralt of Rivia.”
She nodded and stood up.
“It´s him,” she said to her escort. “Take him to the carriage and prepare him for transport.”
The two men busied themselves with taking the chain off the wall. They didn’t unshackle his hands, though. They helped him to stand up. He was so weak that he couldn´t even walk and had to be dragged out of the cell by the two bodyguards. Nobody tried to stop them or question them. Geralt wondered who this woman was, that could so easily free him without opposition from the castellan. That is, if she was freeing him.
When they reached the street, which was unbearably bright for Geralt after months of being buried in that dungeon, the two men helped him inside a rich carriage, still bound, and put a cloth bag on his head. He didn´t protest. He was more curious than worried.
He heard the horses being prompted to advance and the carriage started moving along the street. They hadn´t travelled long, when Geralt felt his skin prickle unpleasantly. He then felt hollow for a moment and a bit nauseated. Thankfully, the sensation passed quickly. The hood he had on his head could not hide from him the clear fact that they had just gone through a magical portal. The woman had to be a sorceress. That explained a lot, but not everything.
The carriage stopped suddenly and Geralt could hear that the driver was having a hard time trying to calm down the horses. Someone opened the carriage door and the two men helped Geralt out. The sorceress took the hood out of his head. He looked around and saw an astonishing garden surrounded by the galleries of a huge and rich palace.
“I know you have a lot of questions,” said the woman to Geralt. “They will all be answered,” she promised.
He remained silent, his yellow uncanny eyes studying her closely. She lowered her eyes and caught sight of the lacerations in his wrists showing under the shackles.
“Clean him up,” she ordered to her guards. “I will send a healer to his room to tend to his wounds. And for Melitele´s sake, take those hideous shackles off him.”
The guards bowed and took Geralt away. The lady turned with a sigh and called one of his servants:
“Paul, get him some clean clothes, black, he´ll like black. When he is ready, bring him to dinner.”
“Yes, my lady,” bowed Paul.
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