He was thinking he didn’t need his wrists anyway.
He could always adapt and learn to use his feet to do his trade. Pick locks, set traps, cut purses, tinker with finer machinery. He had seen the ape mongrels of Olon Toon, and they did wonders with their feet. Hmmmm…a point to study further.
The fire was increasing. He had never felt the sting of this fire, not under these conditions. Starved, thirsty, beaten, and bound in theses cursed manacles for three days. Technically he should be dead. He had been locked in manacles before, but escape was just a few twists and a hidden lock pick. This time, he had no such resources. He had nothing. And he was naked at that. Locked away in a cell in the 9th pit of Hell, or something similar. Cutting his hands off seemed like mercy at the moment, not for the need of escape, but to remove himself from the fiery sting of the Blood Manacles that held him in place.
Rindo raised his head to take stock of his current situation. It had not changed in the past three days. Locked in a small cell, about 4 feet by 4 feet, and about 6 feet high. Intended for taller creatures, to force them not to be able to fully stand erect, or fully stretch out in a reprieve of comfort, those inhumane conditions posed no threat to one the size of a dwarf. Rindo could stand with inches to spare, and could lie down as well. In fact he was lying down. If he could take refuge in sleep, or even better, death, that would satisfy him. But the burning from the manacles kept him awake. No chains to hold him in place, just rusty manacles throbbing with a fire that surely was intended to purge the unrepentant.
What went wrong? Where did things run afoul? Was he betrayed? Set up? He always thought he could trust Jarag, who always gave him the most promising of contracts. The fence always delivered with fair compensation, not slicing too much off the top for himself. Could Jarag have been swindled as well?
All for naught, at the moment. Rindo decided that as soon as he could squeeze a moments worth of focus, he would try to evaluate his next course of action. There was a small door, with an opening, used to offer scraps of food or a cup of water to the wretches within. Only once in his incarceration had it been used, to deliver moldy bread and a small cup of water, hardly enough sustenance for half a day. Rindo assumed that was about two days ago, but he had no real means of keeping track of time. He occasionally heard footsteps in the hallway, doors creaking open, keys rattling, screams from his incarcerated neighbors. But he could discern no patterns.
He couldn’t remember much after being knocked out cold in the confrontation at the cache, and his placement in his current abode. He was fighting hobgoblins, he knew that. Very organized hobgoblins. Orderly and disciplined. Not even very brutish. Odd. There were five of them, and he killed at least two before the telling blow to his cranium. They made no effort to dispatch of him quickly, they kept him alive. That was strange in itself. He obviously had some value to them while he still breathed. Hmmmm…maybe I should play this one out. Granted, he did not currently have the accommodations of a prince, but they are trying to keep him alive for some reason. If he could just clear his head….damned fire!
Through the fog in his skull he began to recall his assignment. He was to retrieve a silver urn and its “contents” from a cache of supplies and treasures owned by a grizzly fellow called The Mastiff, named for the entourage of various hounds and mutts he had circling him at all times. A minor gang leader, he was a trainer of hounds for the local hunting games, and for the use of The Warden of the forest, who himself was also an unsavory character. It was well known that The Warden would release various prisoners from the nearby river town of Charaby Harbour into the local woods, and let his beasts have their way. The Mastiff was always all to generous in his supply of mutts, and always had an offering of a rabid or diseased hound or two.
The patron of Rindo’s current contract, an anonymous nobleman from Portillia, claimed the Urn was a family heirloom, and it’s contents, although unknown as to their specific consumption, was used in macabre rituals involving corpses. Rindo hesitated in accepting this particular assignment, given its grizzly disposition, but he was behind in his payments to Norlock, and he had a persistent growl in his belly telling him his meals had been few and far between.
It was not revealed to him why or how The Mastiff had acquired the urn. And usually such details were not pertinent to Rindo’s acceptance of a contract. The question in Rindo’s mind was who were these hobgoblins, and why did they happen upon Rindo at the Cache? He had his doubts that they were related to The Mastiff – he had his own henchmen who were much more crude and ineffective than these hobgoblins. In fact, he had his doubts that their appearance and the urn had nothing to do with each other.
Right now, all he could do was wait it out. He would feign submission until the right moment. Surely he would be interrogated soon, and he might have the opportunity to have these cursed manacles removed. During the interrogation he could feel out for information as well, and also look for his way of escape. Patience was key, and composure for the ruse.
In what seemed to be an eternity, he began to hear the tell-tale signs of activity on the other side of the door. Creaking doors and clanging keys, and the grunts of the disgruntled. Hopefully, just a matter of time…