Denmark was beginning to get frightened. He wasn’t used to being frightened. Fear was certainly a familiar sensation, he had lived through enough battles and had been caught in enough hairy situations to have a firm handle on fear. This was something deeper. He had no problem squaring up to a line of screaming warriors bent on spilling his blood. He could handle confrontations with wild animals, recent difficulties aside, and he had long since come to terms with the idea of death. His current predicament was another matter.

Now he felt like he had as a helpless child, thrown into a savage life of blood and violence by an unsympathetic father. Only this was worse. Back then he had at least had the small comfort of familiarity. The world around him was what it was, a hard life filled with death and disease. He had been fortunate enough to be high-born, so his early life was a little easier than most. He had been less likely to die in childhood and cleaner food and water meant that his ultimate life expectancy was well above the average for a Southlander. It was his world and he had grown used to it.

Nothing made sense here. Everything was alien. He was used to rooms with walls of stone, mud or animal hide. These walls pulsed and shifted with myriad lights and emitted strange bleeping sounds that reminded him of crickets chirping. There seemed to be an endless parade of officious people bustling him from one room to another. Their clothes were strange, their attitudes were strange and they were doing all manner of strange things to him. He had been poked and prodded in every orifice. They had stuck sharp, pointed tubes into him and injected strange liquids into him. He swore he had even seen one of the tubes fill up with his blood. What could they possibly want with his blood? He had gone berserk when he had seen what they were taking. Thrashing violently against his bonds he had managed to strike the beautiful nurse across the ridge of her nose. There had been a crunching sound and blood had begun spraying from her nostrils. She kept her composure and deferred to her colleague who took up the syringe of his blood while she left to seek medical attention for her nose.

He was immediately sorry for what he had done, hers was a beauty he was unused to seeing and a broken nose would ruin her chances of ever finding a suitable husband. It occurred to him then that everyone he had met here seemed to share an unusual attractiveness that was the rarest thing in the Southland. They all had fine white teeth, straighter than he thought possible. Smooth, unblemished skin that seemed to positively glow with vitality and absolutely no deformities what so ever. It was disconcerting and had served to increase his level of anxiety.

” Tell her I am sorry.” He said to the other nurse as he fell back against the mattress, defeated by his bonds.

“Don’t worry my dear. You will make it up to her.” She responded cryptically as another sharp tube was jabbed into his arm.

He jerked at the pain and made a grab for the nurses arm. A cold, dark mist descended on him as his fingers closed around her wrist.