Liquid splashed down the wall. I’d tasted it and it was not quite water but bearable, better than what I was used to in fact. The cavern was uneven and I escaped from the water at the icy hill at the back. Its smoothness told that the cavern had flooded in the past and the rock was not exempt from the waters’ attention. I lay curled up and waited. My new task must be soon approaching. I was never allowed more than a days rest.
“And here you are sleeping,” said the Elf disdainfully, she stood at the entrance and casually avoided the water which had settled in pools all around the cell. I stood and bowed deeply. I was careful not to splash her when my feet sunk under the surface or when my forehead dipped so far that my hair trailed down into the water and fell back in place against my shoulders soaked and hanging in red-brown ropy strings when I finally looked back up. I did not speak. I would not be rude.
The Elf waved a hand at me. I bowed my head and I could feel her jeweled glare. “I just spent the last day with the snail. His new keeper is doing a much better job. Not that you care but the snail is almost recovered.”
I bowed my head further and stopped my self with great relief from restraining my hair. My hands must always remain clasped in front of me.
“Well, I suppose we shall give you your new task.” The Elf sighed and turned away. She stared at the bars and then disappeared in a cloud of green.
I shivered and grabbed my hair then climbed back up to huddle on the rock. My dress was stained almost black from the water. My hair weighted my head and refused to wring out.
I stared at the bars to the entrance of the cave. Soon, they were gone and a goblin in a tailcoat of red with gold frogging stood by the entrance and beckoned.
“Come,” he said in his scratched violin and gravel voice as I took too long to unknot my body from on top of the cold rock. He beckoned more insistently.
I stepped off the rock and fell. My face sunk into the water and I shoved with my arms forcing myself back up. The goblin watched, vibrating with impatience as I staggered through the water and stood before him with head bowed and hair gathered around both arms.
He glared and then turned and walked away. I followed, dripping. My dress dragged with a slither. The trip was punctuated by the slap of damp slippers and rough smacks as I stumbled against the walls and the sound of cracking nuts as my knees hit stone.