Only Renegades came out of the left-hand corner. It was evident that that door led to some other area of that "castle" or whatever it was.
Did it lead to the exit? Another room like that? An armory?
There were too many options.
Dag needed to rest, he still felt stunned by the poison that had made him faint.
Only two of the torches that lit up the room were still on.
He sank to the ground and in a few minutes fell asleep, exhausted.
Despite sleeping, thanks to his developed senses, he could hear what happened inside the structure. In a confused way, he could hear men chatting from the left aisle and a door opening and closing: judging by the noise, it looked like a heavy door.
He continued to sleep.
After a short time, he heard a very close noise. It looked like a key in a lock.
He woke up to see what was going on.
The torches were now off, but still, he could see in the dark, although in a very confused way.
A figure was there, in front of the cage. He was trying to free him!
Dag felt relieved and got up immediately.
"Who... who are you?" he said, still half asleep.
He noticed that the person who was trying to unlock the lock was a woman. She was that girl.
"You?" asked Dag, in disbelief.
The girl looked at him as she continued to turn the key.
"I don't know why I'm helping you, I'm risking my life for you!" she said.
"But how..." continued Dag, who could not understand how that girl got the key.
"While Myr was cutting your arm, I was able to pull off this bunch of keys that he had hung on his belt... I don't know if one of them opens the cage, but I felt I had to try!" the girl replied, trying to be brave beyond her expectations.
Dag was stunned.
"Thank you very much! Wait, let me help you," he said.
He approached her and helped her insert one by one, all the keys of the keyring.
Finally, one of them entered the lock perfectly and unlocked it.
The door with the iron bars opened squeaking. Both Dag and the girl were careful to make as little noise as possible, to avoid alerting the Renegades.
Dag looked at her and said: "Thank you very much, you saved me!"
The girl looked down, shyly.
"I am Dag".
"I am Claire" she replied
"Claire... Nice to meet you! What are you doing here? Did they enslave you?" asked Dag in a low voice.
The girl nodded. Without answering, she grabbed his hand and pulled him to the right door of the room.
"I'm not the only slave here. There are more than ten of us now... We are all women" the girl said, letting Dag know that the other prisoners were on that side, as he had already guessed.
"All this is horrible. Stay with me, I'll take you away from this place" Dag said, squeezing the girl's hand.
He felt that his powers had returned to his body: by studying well the situation, he might have managed to escape from the castle and bring the prisoners to safety.
"Are you from Earth too?" asked Claire, shyly.
A dim light from a torch from the wall of the right corridor illuminated her face. She seemed innocent and frightened.
Dag was softened by this vision. Besides being a beautiful girl, she was afraid. He wanted to help her.
"Yes, Claire. I come from Earth, like you" Dag replied, comforting the young woman.
"What have they done to you? Why are you here?" continued Claire.
"I killed two of them a few days ago because they tried to kill me. I think I just pissed them off... answered Dag, who kept spying over the door, to see if it was safe to cross the corridor.
"But... what do you have to do with the Xis? You don't look like one of them" she said.
"No, of course I'm not! I don't know, actually, either. All I know is that these fools worship them like Gods, rejecting Viking traditions. That's why they live isolated from the Clans and the cities" Dag said.
"But now there is no time for explanations. Soon the shaman will notice that you have stolen his keys and will come looking for us. We have to hurry!" he continued, crouching down the hallway and pulling the girl by the hand.
The two continued to walk for about ten meters.
The corridor curved to the left and was completely empty.
A small torch occasionally illuminated the path.
"This way" Claire said, pointing to a small wooden door.
For an instant, Dag paused. Because of his naivety he had run into trouble too many times, he had to be careful. Maybe, blindly trusting Claire just for her pretty face wasn't a great idea.
"Go ahead, show me the way" Dag whispered.
The girl proceeded to the door which, as it was not locked, opened with a slight push.
She came in first and then Dag did the same. After making sure no one was following them, he gently closed the door behind him, without making a sound.
It was a dark room, no windows.
He could hear whispering.
Claire lit a candle, to show Dag the room.
About 12 women were there on the ground, sleeping on straw beds only a few inches high, next to each other, in that very narrow and crowded room.
They were women of all ages: two of them very old, the others very young. There was even a little girl between a woman's arms, maybe she was her mother.
"Did you see? I'm not alone" Claire said, looking at Dag and hoping for his help.
The room was dilapidated and run-down, the women were dirty and undernourished. Covered only with a few rags, they were in obvious precarious conditions.
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