Tethce scampered down the hall, away from his whip-wielding friend. Friend he thought to himself, laughing at the mere thought. He sharply turned the corner tripping and yelping in pain as the whip cracked against his right foot.

"Gamen shineh!" The pursuing guard roared as he rounded the corner and pulled two more whippers into the chase. Screaming and flailing their whips wildly about, the air full of sounds of the whips? cracking and Tethce?s head ringing with the noise while he writhed in pain, the demons chased him. Tethce franticly sprinted down the hallway toward a large stone arc ahead, but he tripped over a loose stone and slid headlong into a doorway, disappearing from his pursuers? sight momentarily.

When the demonic enslavers ran through the doorway, Tethce was nowhere to be seen.

The guards, stupefied, began to scan the short hallway into which the doorway had led, but the hallway only led to a closed stone door. The ceiling was the first part of the hallway to be sniffed and whipped in case Tethce was hiding there. The smell of the puny imp was everywhere; yet, he was nowhere to be seen. Furious, the demons started to bicker with each other, and eventually began fighting amongst themselves.

Tethce hid in terror the whole time, pressed up against the farthest wall of the crack in which he was hiding, more quiet than any mouse, a demon?s foot well within arm?s reach if he?d dared to touch it. His breathing began to quicken with each passing moment, and as he hid there, his slave driven life passed through his misbegotten mind, a life of toiling and tragedy--one forged by fear, brutal deaths, and the buisnes end of a whip--where the greatest blessing is death.

"Balroth atugth!"

Tethce jumped franticly, clawing at the mud interior of the walls, praying for someone, something, anything, to let him live to see another day. Tethce could feel the fiery fingers of the guard creeping into the tiny hole in the wall. Suddenly the wall gave way, and the imp fell through, surely to his doom, or so he thought.

Tethce awoke sprawled on his back, his head pounding and crusted over with blood, in a room that could easily fit a demon guard in full armor, if not two of them. The room was dimly lit by a single ray of light, but strangely not by the usual demonic flames, or even a dimly-lighting torch. This light had a pure white tint to it, one that Tethce had not seen before in his many years of life.

He tried to move, but his body would not respond; the tears in his wings had ripped open even more and were sore with pain, dirt, and fresh blood. After many futile attempts, Tethce decided that the best thing to do was rest.

?What?s the worst thing that could happen?? he said solemnly to himself in his Imply language.

Lying on the cold, stone ground, he realized that this was the first time he hadn?t been watched by someone. Ever. A warm smile drizzled onto his beaten and scarred face, and then the lovely aftershock of sleep shrouded his mind.

Tethce awoke with a start as something heartily thumped onto his chest.

He sprang to his feet and reached for his pickaxe next to where he lay. "Yazum Ah_Zus!" He screamed at the top of his lungs, or ?I am ready? in the common tongue.

After three swings of his pickaxe, he had completely regained his bearings and was amazed to see that his body was ready to cooperate with him.

Tethce started to put his pickaxe down when he realized that what he was holding wasn?t really his pickaxe. Or a stale piece of bread he thought, reminded of his hunger by the aching pain in his stomach. Instead, in his hands he now saw an amulet on a golden chain. He stood in complete awe of its beauty. The amethyst stone dangling from the chain was shaped as a four-fingered hand, and the pure white light that he had remembered from before his sleep was also radiating out of an eye that was etched int