Alright. This is the uncut version of A Long Road Through Hell. The original version had chapters that were too short, and a few mistakes here and there. The ending was also different - the sexual content changes the story. I have done some editing and combined some chapters. For those of you who have read the clean version, the content will be familiar; however in this version there are graphic lemons and rape scenes. No underaged readers, I mean it. Some of this content is really not nice and definitely not appropriate for kids.
(Struck by Editing, 2016)
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, spiky structure built around a glowing green floor, exposed on all sides. A wave of fel-green energy pulsed up and down in the centre.
Well shit, that definitely looked like what the dwarf described.
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 after all.
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 felsteel 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 meagre 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 hoarsely.
"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 neither in 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 might 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.
"Rise and shine." The elf's voice and his hand gently shaking her shoulder startled Laina awake. She opened her eyes, and saw that there was light… of a sort. It was dim, and greenish. Everything in the cell had a somewhat sickly hue. It was cold, and she tried to suppress a shiver.
Seeing that she was awake, the elf stepped backwards and plunked himself down on the bench. "I conjured breakfast," he said.
Laina sat up, feeling a little disoriented. The elf tossed something at her, and reflexively she moved to catch it. It was a cinnamon roll. Another object flew towards her, and she caught it with her other hand. It was a flask of water. "Thanks," she said to the elf, and bit into the roll.
"Good reflexes there," he commented. Laina didn't reply, she was too busy with the cinnamon roll. She felt ravenous – she didn't know how long she'd been imprisoned thus far, but she knew she hadn't eaten since several hours before she'd been captured. She ate every speck of the pastry, ignoring the blood elf, who was watching her with some degree of incredulity. "Do you want another?" he asked when she finished, sounding slightly impressed.
"If it's not a problem…" Her tentative inquiry was rewarded with another roll lobbed underhand, which she deftly caught.
"Enjoy it while you can," he said. When she looked up in alarm, he added quickly, "– I mean, you can get pretty sick of bread after a while that is." Laina glanced at the elf, who continued. Apparently he was feeling talkative. His voice was certainly a little more cheerful than the night before, even though there was a sarcastic edge to a lot of what he said.
"I know I can barely choke my share down anymore. You know, it seemed like a pretty good idea when I learned the spell – everyone I've ever traveled with always had an ample supply of food, but it was all preserved stuff. Jerky, bacon, cheese, stuff like that. I figured being able to conjure up the pride of any Silvermoon patisserie would be well received, and it was. But after … shit, months of the damn stuff, I don't ever want to see another bread product in my life. What the hell was I thinking…? I know spells for six different kinds of bread and four different pastries, and all I really want right now is a big fucking steak and maybe some vegetables. Yeah, I'd even eat those creepy little cabbage things right about now," he said.
"You mean bloodpetal sprouts?" Laina asked, finishing up her roll.
"Yeah, those things. I never understood the lengths some people will go to get the damn things. Off in the tar pits of Un-Goro, dodging shit that should have been extinct thousands of years ago… And then there's the devilsaurs. Don't get me started on those. How can a creature the size of Medivhs' tower be so damn sneaky?"
Laina stifled an amused snort at that. She'd wondered about the very same thing a time or two.
Two cinnamon rolls were not really enough. She found she was still hungry, and she looked hopefully at the elf. "I don't suppose I could have another?" she asked, hopefully.
Yet another roll was flung her way. She started on it, and the elf spoke. "How do you keep from being as big as an elekk?"
"It's not hard when you spend most of the waking day in forty pounds of plate. Try running in it sometime," she commented between bites. Finishing the roll, she uncorked the flask of water and took a drink, and was surprised to discover sparkling water. Not bad. She had a thought. "I don't suppose you learned how to conjure a good dwarven stout?" she asked, hopefully.
"Sorry, no. Just water. Many kinds of water. Apparently alcohol is difficult to conjure. You tend to end up with something fit only for cleaning the engines of gnomish devices. Water is safer," he said. "Besides, beer for breakfast? That just seems so…" his voice trailed off.
Laina shrugged. "It sounds like I'm not in for much fun. I figured if it got bad enough I could always drink myself into a stupor," she said.
"Somehow, I don't think they'd let you get away with that. They're very creative when it comes to making sure you suffer to the fullest extent possible." As he said this, his voice took on the bitterness from the night before. He stared straight ahead, not looking at her, or anything else. "Fear, pain, humiliation are an art form to them. I think they feed on it, actually. Gods only know there's nothing else to eat, except for us. They wait until we're dead to do that, at least. I don't think it's out of any kind of mercy that they wait until we're dead, I suspect it's merely to capitalize on the amount of torment they can milk from us before we finally give up the ghost."
"They eat people?" Laina felt a bit ill.
"Take a look out the window. Nothing much grows in this place, I suspect. They eat their slaves, they eat each other, and they eat us when they can catch us. After they've killed us with their 'fun'."
Trying to stifle her growing sense of horror and despair, Laina got up and moved to the window. She gazed out between the jagged bars. A wasteland met her eyes, blackened ground cracked and parched, the charred remains of a few scrubby shrubs the only indication that anything had ever lived her. Above, the sky was a sickly mix of black and green bands traveling in nauseating patterns at high speed across the heavens. She saw no sun, only the all-pervasive green light from the tortured sky. Sickly lightning flashed across the sky, without any sign of rain, and off in the distance she could see a cloud of something she realized was a violent dust storm.
It was worse than any of the devastation in the Outlands. She realized that Shadowmoon Valley was becoming like this, and felt a stab of dread for the world she was clearly no longer in.
At that point the troll stirred, moaning feverishly and suddenly shouting something in another language. She turned from the window. The elf got up, holding a flask of water. He spoke to the troll in that other language, and held the water up to the troll's lips. The troll muttered a slurred refusal and batted the flask away, which flew out of the elf's hands and onto the floor, where it vanished. The elf pleaded with the troll, who merely curled into a tighter ball, covering his eyes with his arms. At this, the elf cursed, looking down bleakly. Laina saw grief and helpless frustration etched in his face. She realized that for all his sarcasm and bitterness, the elf still had a streak of compassion, of kindness.
Wordlessly, she returned to the spot on the bench that seemed have become hers. The elf was trembling, ignoring her completely, ignoring the troll, staring at the ground.
"Is he a friend of yours?" she asked suddenly. He looked up, a flicker of sorrow crossing his face, then he resumed his own spot on the bench across from hers.
"No. I don't even know his name. But I … have a hard time just sitting here watching the others die." His voice was soft, rent with an inner agony.
"How long have you been here?"
He was silent a moment, again staring off into space. Then he responded. "I think it's been about three months. It's hard to really know, I've kind of lost track of time." The sarcastic harshness was gone. Instead, the elf sounded bleak, empty.
"How come you're not dead yet?" she asked. He looked at her again, misery in his eyes.
"I keep the others alive. With the food and water, I mean. I can't heal… if I'd been a priest or a druid or something, I'm sure they would have killed me already. Like I said, there's no food here. And even if there was, I'm not sure we would either want or be able to eat what the demons eat. Once they found out I was keeping the others fed and watered, they stopped molesting me." He looked away again. "Well, not entirely, but they stopped short of causing lasting harm to me. I… supposed I'm not really doing you guys a huge favour in keeping you alive." He sighed. "It's just more time for them to torment you after all, but damnit, I can't stand to see people die like that. And really, with the exception of the night-elf, no one's ever turned down the water or the food unless they were about to die." He glanced sadly at the troll.
"The night-elf?" she asked, trying to prevent silence. She didn't think she could tolerate the silence right now.
The elf laughed that harsh laugh from the night before. "He looked at me once, long enough to discover what I am. He never looked at me again, he refused to acknowledge my presence, didn't take the water or the food. It took him three days to die, and that death was not good. Even until the last, he pretended I didn't exist."
She had no words for that. The silence engulfed them, horror and despair weighing on her like an oppressive, crushing miasma.
Impulsively, she stood up. The elf gave her a startled look. Ignoring him, she started to stretch, then started to complete some of the unarmed battle-forms she had learned, the ones that could be completed in a small space.
"What are you doing?" asked the elf.
"Exercising," she grunted out the word amid some of the more intensive movements.
"Why?" Amazing how the elf could pack such a wealth of sarcasm, bitterness, and futility into one word.
"Because if I have to move quickly, it'll help if I've done this. And I don't want to lose muscle mass," she stated between forms.
"So you'll be nice and flexible for when the demons bend you over and rape you? I'm sure they'll appreciate your efforts. And they'll probably appreciate your efforts at preserving your meat."
"It beats sitting here," was her reply.
"You might prefer to have sat there. It's cold now, but give it another hour and it'll be sweltering in here."
"I'll deal with that then," she grunted. After going through as many forms as she could think of, she finally stopped, and then lounged across the bench. The elf might just have been right, she was sweating and hot. "Got any more water?"
"Some." He passed her the flask, almost as if watching her exert herself had made him tired. She accepted it, uncorked it, and drained it in a few seconds.
They sat in silence for a bit longer. Then Laina turned her head towards him and spoke. "It occurs to me that I don't even know who you are. If it's not too much to ask, I'd like to know the name of the person I'm going to be spending my time cooped up with."
At this the elf smiled, looking back at her. "It's not too much. I'm Jerlis. Jerlis Flamewick. Once upon a time, from Silvermoon City."
"I'm Laina. I had a last name once, but I got disowned. Not that my family exists anymore, they were in Tirisfal Glades. I'm pretty sure the plague got them all."
"I'd say it's a pleasure to meet you, Laina, but given the circumstances…" Jerlis's mouth twisted in an ironic smile. Laina chuckled dryly.
"Sorry about your family, by the way. My people have also suffered from the Scourge," he said.
"Don't be too sorry for them, they were really not nice people," she said.
Jerlis was in the process of opening his mouth to say something in reply, when part of the wall between their benches vanished in an instant.