|Favorite Wonder:||Form of the Titan|
"Come now, people, come behold, the midget as he digs for gold!"
The shout made Beeri stir from his uncomfortable sleep on the cage floor. He grudgingly started to get to his feet. The first few days of his imprisonment he had attempted to resist when the show was announced; stubbornly maintaining his lying position, but he had quickly found out that it only made things worse.
He blinked against the brilliant light of the many torches lining the throneroom of Perpentach, that thrice-damned carnival clown who'd taken him captive just a few weeks ago. A raiding party of merrymen had assaulted the outlying border town he had been visiting, confounding everyone with their strange dance-like fighting, and subsequently hauling Beeri off like a sack of potatoes, singing and laughing as they went.
Laughter had become his worst adversary these past few days. He sometimes wished that Perpentach had just ordered him killed, or even hauled him down to some dark dungeon for torture. The harlequin seemed determined to break his spirit, and had skillfully assessed the most effective way of doing this. Or perhaps he was merely bored, Beeri could not really understand Perpentach. But his reasons were not important, as Beeri was completely certain of the one thing that mattered – he wanted to kill the man, to wipe that grotesque smile off his face once and for all.
The show was about to begin. "Kilmorph, give me strength" he muttered under his breath, as Perpentach went on with his announcement:
Perpentach had risen from his throne and adressed the many noblemen assembled before him, all garbed in clothes of the most bizarre shapes and colours, and most wearing masques to hide their faces. Beeri suspected that their real faces underneath might not wear quite as happy expressions as the masques like him, they were just playing along to avoid their ruler's wrath.
At the far end of Beeri's cage there was a circular hole in the floor, filled up with mud. Perpentach's preferred way of torturing him involved his diving head-first into the hole to recover a small gold-piece that had been placed there, usually near the bottom.
Beeri quickly walked towards the puddle, he wanted to get this over with as fast as possible. He kneeled down and plunged his arms and head into the mud, trying to shut the laughter and applause of the gathered noblemen out of his mind. Luckily he quickly got a hold of the familiar round shape of the coin. As his hand closed around it he suddenly hesitated. Something was moving in the mud…slithering shapes. A hiss penetrated his left ear, and with a roar he threw himself backwards – still clutching the coin- seconds before the viper would have let its fangs sink into his neck. The snake hissed and slithered back into the hole.
"Danger in the mines it seems, a terror from the darkest dreams"
Beeri's heart was pounding. Perpentach had been creative with him before, but usually not in such a potentially fatal fashion. Perhaps it meant that he was getting bored of his new toy, and seeked to dispose of him. He shrugged as he realised that the thought seemed welcome. The only thing that kept him from throwing himself back into the hole with the snake was the thought of the laughing bastard just outside the bars, and of all the creative things he could do to him given the chance.
The show was not over yet, however:
"The midget keeps his gold you see, if this foul beast will let him be..." Beeri whirled around as a section of wall in his cave slided away, opening a passageway he hadn't known existed. His eyes widened as he beheld the enormous hill giant that stood there, grunting furiously, and holding a club thrice the height and twice the width of Beeri's own body. He was most certainly meant to die now.
Still, something deep within Beeri was not prepared to merely give in and die. He did not think of his friends and family back in the mountains, nor of his people who would most certainly be lost without him as he drew strength. All he could think of was that Perpentach meant for him to die, would draw pleasure from his death – and so it should not happen.
He ignored the lumbering giant and instead dug a strong hand into the hole, grasping the writhing body of the viper. He then proceeded to fling the snake towards the giant with all his might. It landed by his left leg, and sensing a threat it immediately dug its teeth into the giant's feet. It roared with pain and fury and cracked the viper's skull with its club, but within moments it started to go into convulsions, and soon it fell flat on its back, greenish foam dripping from its mouth. Perpentach had obviously chosen a viper with a very potent venom. Ironic that it should be his saviour.
The crowd in the throne room applauded again, but Beeri was merely waiting for Perpentach to initiate the next death-trap. What followed surprised him, however:
"The midget won the greatest prize, he proved to be both brave and wise. The game is won, the midgets foes, shall all applaud him as he goes" Perpentach gracefully walked to the door of his cage, unlocked it and opened it wide, a mysterious smile on his lips. Beeri couldn't believe his eyes. Was this another trap? He heard some of the noblemen muttering angrily, he thought he heard the phrases "…wasting a valuable hostage" and "One of his usual fancies..."
Slowly Beeri started to walk. For a moment he considered assaulting Perpentach as he went out the door, grabbing his throat in an attempt to strangle him before his guards could rush to his aid. As the adrenaline rush of the battle faded, however, he started to think more clearly and realized that it would be suicide. If Perpentach was really serious about letting him go he could return in force later, and the thought of a mighty clockwork golem mashing the harlequin underfoot was enough to speed him on his way.
He started to run across the floor of the throneroom, looking backwards on occasion, but no one made any attempt at stopping him, and Perpentach just stood by the open prison door and smiled.
Well out of Perpentach's palace, Beeri shook his head at the insanity of the place, and started to make his way home