The stench was overwhelming. The small bubble of light cast by the torch could not illuminate the far reaches of the cell’s corners — perhaps thankfully so. Dadju wretched onto the floor near the entrance to once of the countless voids, each a rent in the world through which any form of torment could be be birthed. This far into the prison, the rough-hewn floors had not been exposed to the polishing tread of countless feet. This place was rarely visited. Most journeys here were single-ended. This was the Oubliette.
Dadju’s back ached from the journey spent hunched forward. A dull ache between his shoulder blades had begun to creep into the muscles of his neck. The ceiling of the corridors at this depth of the dungeon were noticeably lower than in the airy upper levels. It was as though the men who had carved them were so bent with their toil that they could not straighten to manage a height greater than four feet.
How long had he stared at the bent back of this silent jailer? With no view of the sun, and scarcely enough light to keep his footing, Dadju had no manner of tracking the hours. The darkness was nothing new, and he had practiced techniques for concentration the allowed his mind to wander meditatively as his body toiled in the dark. His footsteps became mechanical, his feet plodding thoughtlessly behind the hunched form of the jail keeper.
A change brought Dadju out of his reverie. The air had become different, cleaner almost. Although still stale, there was now a strong scent of powdered limestone blending with the ranker vapors permeating the dark. It was quieter here as well. No longer were the sounds of the human occupants of the dungeon audible.