“Now, husband” the woman re-entered the room. She looked at Pickanickl. “You need not answer any questions, child. Unless you want to, that is. This is my husband, Betro Glenfeather. He’s the Tollman. I’m Helfen.”
“The Tollman?” Pickanickl relaxed. “I thought you were Skaglad’s accomplice.”
The couple chuckled.
“I was Ynayna’s pet.” Pickanickl explained, feeling she could trust this couple even though she didn’t know them. She always trusted her intuition.
“The High Judge?” Betro asked.
“Yes. She captured me a couple of years ago, on the eve of my wedding.” Pickanickl clenched her hands together, holding back tears. “She kept me in her sanctuary, and would only feed me if I performed whatever task she directed. She’d make me dance in the flames, tread hot cinders, pour hot wax on my body. All the time I was chained, and most times my mouth was clamped so I couldn’t speak. I had no means of escape – although I managed to slip my chains more than once.”
“Until?” Helfen asked. “You must have escaped, child, as you’re here now.”
“She tired of me.” Pickanickl continued. “She cast me into the P’tor Caves, then to be at the mercy of Skaglad and his men. A fight broke out amongst the other prisoners, and I saw my chance to escape, which I took, only swiftly to be followed by Skaglad himself. Once I’m free of the Darklands, I can try to find my beloved.”
“Then you are free, child. You’re now in Theglen.”