Chapter 1

Well shit, that definitely looked like what the dwarf described.

Laina hunkered down behind some twisted scrap, ignoring the dead gan'arg not three feet away. She'd made it that way, no more threat there. Ahead, she could see her intended target – a black, spikey structure built around a glowing green floor, exposed on all sides. A wave of fel-green energy pulsed up and down in the centre.

Somewhere, off to her left, she could hear demonic voices shouting, and the hissing sound of a warlock's rain of fire. Apparently the 'lock she'd spotted earlier on her way into the scrap field had some designs on the camp himself, as well. Laina thought it fortunate – the psychotic idiot was distracting enough of the demons that she could get up to her target undetected. She didn't mind a fight, not by any means, but she was far more likely to get out of here alive when the thing went sky high if she hadn't already been injured.

Looking to see if the coast was clear, she checked her bag once more to make sure the demolition charge was near the top (these magic bags were mighty useful, but sometimes it was too easy to grab the wrong thing), then hustled off towards the structure, as quietly as someone in plate could. There were no shouts of alarm, no indications that anything had seen her. She ducked down in a spot somewhat sheltered from view – perhaps the grotesque architecture favoured by the demons had something going for it afterall.

She placed her sword down in the purple dust nearby, close enough to grab if trouble came. She'd need both hands and a lot of concentration for this work. Laina quickly extracted the bomb from her pack and placed it on the ground, examining it.

"What was it that dwarf said… connect the red wire first, or last? Fuck. Where's that instruction sheet…" Gods, she didn't have time for this. At least the pay was going to be worth it.

"Fuck!" she swore, a little louder than she intended. A quick check ensured nothing was near to hear her. The Light-fired instructions were in Goblin! Oh well, there were pictures…

It took a moment for Laina to decipher the drawings, but she did it. Then she looked back at the device. Alright, it was facing up at least, that's a start. She searched the bomb, looking for the first wire. There it was! A quick motion and it was in place. Good…

The second was no problem, but the third was a little confusing. Did that symbol indicate that the wire should NOT be connected there, or that it SHOULD be? Laina paused. This was not an error she could afford, not when she was playing with goblin explosives.

Suddenly, the ground rumbled, and there was a cracking sound. Choking smoke curled from the green floor, engulfing Laina's scant shelter. She began to cough, violent, racking coughs that prevented her from moving from the place.

Before she could recover, an enormous demonic hand wrapped around her neck, lifting her up. Still coughing, her hands went to the fingers that gripped her, and her eyes widened as she saw the massive winged demon at the other end of the hand that held her. She realized the structure she'd been about to blow was some kind of teleporter. That asshole dwarf hadn't even seen fit to tell her.

The demon's ugly face twisted in a smile full of sharp teeth and impressive fangs. The glowing green eyes gazed with malicious glee into her own. "A prize!" it hissed in her language, then it spoke fel words that made her head hurt. A blast of some foul green energy lashed out from its other hand, and Laina lost consciousness.

She awoke to complete darkness, so black she wondered if she'd gone blind. She sat up suddenly, then groaned. Her head felt like it was about to explode. What happened? She groped for her pack for a light of some sort, and touched only her own unarmored hip. Where was her stuff? Where was her plate? She suddenly remembered the demon, the crushing grip on her neck, only her gorget allowing her continued breath.

"Awake, are we?" a voice drawled, somewhere nearby and in front of her. It was a man's voice, with a strange lilting accent and a lighter tone than she was used to.

"Who are you? Where am I? Why can't I see anything?" Laina demanded, looking about. She saw nothing but dark – no wait, there, two faintly glowing green spots. Eyes? Yes, they blinked.

"Right, you humans can't see worth a damn in the dark. Give me a moment." The voice said. Then it spoke arcane words, and a light flared into being. Laina blinked, squinting. In a few moments, her eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness.

She was in some kind of cell, with rough black stone walls. There was no door that she could see, but there was a small window of sorts on the wall to her left, filled with jagged barbed bars. Someone had apparently tested them, she could see old, dry blood flaking on them. She could see nothing but blackness beyond the window. In the corner of the cell to her left was a hole in the floor, slightly larger than her clenched fist. The stench of humanoid waste issued from it.

She was sitting on a hard stone bench, and there was a similar bench less than half her body-length in front of her. The benches were slightly longer than her body. On the bench across from her she saw the source of the light – there was a blood elf holding up a small magical light ball. He was wearing only a loincloth, and was lean and spare, showing signs of not having eaten properly in a while. He was paler than usual for blood elves, smudged and dirty, and what must have once been beautiful hair hung lank and disheveled, the colour indeterminate. He was a mess. There was a male troll curled in a fetal pose beside him on the bench, bruised, filthy and likewise clothed only in a loincloth.

The troll shuddered convulsively and covered his eyes, shouting something in another language. The elf spared the creature a sad glance, and said a few quick words in the same language the troll had spoken in. Lowering his hand, the light went out, plunging the meager cell once more into blackness. Laina gasped at the sudden darkness.

"I'm sorry human, but he's suffered enough as it is. He's fevered, the light hurts his eyes." The elf said quietly. "I think he'll die soon."

"What happened to him?" she asked hoarsly.

"The tender ministrations of our captors, I'm afraid." The elf's voice was filled with a bitter sarcasm.

"Where am I? What's going on?" Laina asked again.

"Hell, as far as I know. We're in neither Azeroth nor the Outlands. I think it might just be whatever place the demons came from originally. As for what's going on, it seems you've gotten yourself caught by the demons. Since it appears you still have your clothes and you haven't been brutally raped and tortured yet, I can only surmise that they must have had something more fun they wanted to play with before they got to you. Were you traveling with a paladin, perhaps? Or a warlock? They love those in particular." The bitter tone never left his voice.

"I wasn't traveling with anyone. No, wait. There was a warlock, but he wasn't my companion. He attacked the demon camp in the scrap field, I used his ruckus to get in unseen. I was supposed to blow up this thing, you see, only it turned out to be a teleporter. Something came through it before I could finish."

"You're lucky then. They won't get to you until they've finished with the warlock, and that'll be a few days."

"Wait a sec, I thought demons served warlocks." she stated, half in question.

"It seems demons pretend to serve warlocks. Once the tables are turned, it's not a pretty sight. They're cruel to all of us, but they have particular horrors saved up for THEM. It makes me VERY glad I chose the arcane path over the fel path, let me tell you."

Laina was silent for a moment. Then she sighed, and said in a voice that trembled despite her attempts to keep it steady, "I am in deep shit."

The elf laughed harshly, a humorless sound. "You don't know the half of it." She heard him moving around a bit on the bench, then he spoke again. "I'm going to sleep. You might want to do the same. I've only got a little energy for bread and water in the morning, and it vanishes after a time if it's not consumed. If you want some, you'd better be awake." With that, the cell was silent except for the loud and ragged breathing of the troll. Soon after, the elf's regular breaths indicated he was also asleep.

After a time, she too slept.