Fear shook my body as I took in my surroundings. I looked round in a panic, gasping for air as I gripped the bars with all my strength. I was sure if I let go I would collapse. Odors of sweat from unwashed bodies beside me, assaulted my nose. My eyes darted at every sound searching out the ones yelling words I only vaguely understood.
“12 Yars!” one shouted, “14 Yars!” shouted another.
Soon one of us would be pulled from the cage, and given to one of the men who stood in the crowd beyond.
The night was dark and the bonfire cast ghostly shadows that danced grotesquely over the landscape. The loud gruff voices added to the hellish atmosphere. Over the noise I heard a low growl to my left. Yellow eyes glowed in the dense brush. As I squinted to see what it was, one of the men reached through the bars and grabbed a handful of my long red hair.
“This one is Elven; the bidding will start much higher!”
He released my hair and walked toward the crowd. There was no chance of escape from the cage we were in. My best opportunity to flee would be when they opened the cage to pull me out. I tentatively planned several scenarios but dismissed them quickly. My time was short and the more I tried to force myself to come up with a solution; the more I felt like a trapped feral animal.
The men in the crowd started to yell again, and the women close to me started to cry. Fear had taken my tears, leaving only a base instinct to survive. I glanced at the women beside me; we appeared to be the same age; although I was much older. Our life expectancies were very different. Their young, innocent faces spoke to me of their naivety; our life experiences were most likely very different as well. My thoughts were to save all of us from these men, but the chances were slim.
A huge dark blur passed in front of the bars. The fire was almost instantly extinguished, hot glowing coals scattered in every direction. My vision was impaired by the darkness; I could only imagine what was happening. I heard men screaming in pain, and the growling of an animal, and then suddenly it was quiet. The sounds dwindled as the men ran away. Or were they injured, killed?
In the near silence that followed, I was unable to see anything besides some shadowy movements. The women had stopped crying and now stared into the darkness with fear. One skittered to the back of our enclosure, away from the door. It was rattling as if someone, something, was trying to open it. I spoke Elven knowing they wouldn't understand me,
Yet, an answer came, and to my amazement, in Elven! “I'm trying to get you out of there!”