I don’t know how long I slept for or what woke me up.  I woke up sitting straight up in bed.  I was disorientated for a moment until I remembered where I was.  My heart pounded, and I took deep breaths to calm it.  I looked over and saw Veren sleeping soundly next to me.  The candles had long since guttered out leaving the room very dark but the moons lit the room enough for me to see.  I was looking for a candle when I heard the troll growling and chuffing.  It sounded really close, like it was right below us.  I’d seen the stairs for the basement and decided to snoop around.  I went downstairs.  I could still hear the troll much much louder now, sounding like it was coming from one of the cabinets I walked over to the first one, opened the door and blinked.  There was no back.  A set of stairs leading into a gaping maw of darkness that smelled of dead and rotting things.  The troll roared again and I knew I’d found it.  I considered briefly tossing my atronach, one of the very few destruction spells I know, into the room.  I decided against it because she’d go after the troll. The candle I carried did nothing to dispel the inky blackness that oozed from the room as if it had a life of it’s own.  I shuddered, summoning my light spell and the ball of light hovered over me doing little more damage then the candle did.  Don’t go down there.  You do not want to know what makes that smell.  I squelched the voice in my head, “Shut up.” and shook my head knowing Veren would probably be angry with me.  I didn’t even want to think about what Xan might do to me.  I took a deep breath and descended those stairs before I lost my nerve. 

I was in no way at all prepared for what greeted me.  In the middle of the room stood a table, an altar of some sort and the source of at least some of the smell.  On the table was what appeared to be human remains.  What in oblivion was Veren’s brother into?  Did Veren know?  Of course he knew.  That’s why there was the look between him and Aodhann when I mentioned the troll. Was Veren into it too?   I shuddered again, remembering the cut Veren gave me and his willingness.  My hand moved to the small “v” between my breasts.  I wasn’t turned off by it, in fact, it had excited me even more. I don’t know what came over me with Veren.  I was drawn to him I still am.  Something about him calls to me, has since I met him.  But this adds a new level of … I don’t even know.  The troll roared again, reminding me why I’d come down.  

I turned my attention to the cage as I lit candles in the room.  I’d been fascinated and terrified by trolls ever since I’d stumbled on and killed one.  This was me facing those fears. They are by no means cute or cuddly.  The are wild and angry and violent.  I walked over to the cage and peered in.  The troll was in there with several bodies, a rack and some hay.  He was stomping around and making enough racket to wake the bodies in the cage with him.  When he noticed me he huffed and growled and made his way over to the cage bars.  It’s a troll.  I started talking to it.. I have no clue why, but when I did he seemed to settle down.  Who fed and watered it? Who cleaned it’s cage?  I sat on the floor and pondered the questions aloud.  Anything to keep him from getting agitated again.  I know there was no understanding of what I said.  Just like he had no clue why he was locked in a cage.  And when did I change from it to he?  Ahh, Ci, you lump of mush.  You’re feeling sorry for the beast.  I nodded to the voice in my head, “Of course I am, and when I meet Xan he’s getting a piece of my mind on that.”  I did wonder about the bodies in the cage. Were they dinner or had they broken in and did Veren know they were here?  

I half expected the body on the table to rise.  This basement was incredibly interesting with it’s shrines and other…oddities.  It reeked of Necromancy or at least human sacrifice.  I wondered if the body on the altar was what kept setting off the troll or if it was just the filth he was living in.  I continued to talk to him hoping that the others could sleep longer.