Phineas walked down the dank corridor of the garrison with a ball of light in one hand. Sure, there were torches along the wall, but it was still really gloomy in the dungeon regardless. A little extra light never hurt anyone.
As he rounded the bend of the curved hallway, he came upon a door guarded by a single doll with half its face missing. It wore a loose gown that gave it a feminine appearance. And if the clothing hadn't been thoroughly roughed up in the recent battle, it would have been completely out of place. In Phineas's opinion, their Dollamancer wasn't very good at considering such things. But then again she was anything but a master class caster.
He was about to order the caster-made unit to step aside when the door to the dungeon opened. Phineas's mind immediately jumped to the thought of escape, but it wasn't their prisoner. It was one of their own warlords, but not one that Phineas knew personally. She had braided pigtails, a hairy upper lip, and a wide stance. She also had a hammer slung across her back, a horned helmet under one arm, and something he didn't recognize in her free hand.
"The prisoner is in there, right?" Phineas asked.
"Yeah," She replied. "Fastened him in extra tight." There was satisfaction in her voice and Phineas could tell she was pleased with her success.
She looked like she was about to walk away, but then turned back and held up the mystery item in her hands. "Hey, caster, you know about magic and junk right? They dropped this item when we smashed their forces. Got any idea what it is?"
Phineas just raised his eyebrow then examined the magic item. It was a pair of shoes that looked like blue frog feet. "I'm not sure. It's nothing I'm familiar with. But if this turning thing works, I'll as our new warlord. In the meantime, I would suggest not trying them on."
The warlord gave him a questioning look but didn't say anything, then turned and walked away. "Good luck!" he heard her yell after she was already out of sight.
"Thanks," Phineas mumbled quietly. Then he pushed open the door and stepped into the dungeon.
Besides a single candle, Phineas's ball of light was the only light source. It cast an eerie green glow over the entire room. He set his scroll down on the big wooden table the candle was resting on.
"You finally made it," a gruff, raspy voice said. Phineas jumped. For some reason he didn't expect the prisoner to be conscious.
But he was. The captured warlord was tied to something that looked like a metal door frame in the middle of the room. About ten ropes bound each of his arms and each of his legs to the corners of the frame. That lady warlord was right, he was in there extra tight and definitely wasn't escaping any time soon.
The man himself wore black pants, but was otherwise unclothed. He had long white hair, a long white goatee, and a long white mustache. And when the prisoner inhaled, a third source of light in the room became visible. A cigarette was hanging from the corner of his mouth.
"Well? You going to work your craft on me or not? A Turnamancer like yourself should have no problem with the likes of me. We'll be walking out of here holding hands in about five minutes, right?" Phineas did not appreciate the way this warlord was mocking him. "Oh, but wait. You aren't a Turnamancer, are you? No, no, no! Why would you have a scroll if you were? You're out of your element today, aren't you?"
"Wow. How observant," Phineas said through gritted teeth.
The warlord scoffed and snorted smoke out of his nose. "If your side had been half as observant, neither of us would be in this stink hole of a dungeon in the first place."
"Yeah, right. Because it's our fault that you attacked our city and were dumb enough to get yourself captured."
"You worthless spell stick! We didn't attack!"
"How do you expect me to believe-"
"Would you shut your ration waster and just listen?" Phineas wasn't intimidated, but he was curious as to what the man's explanation was, so he remained silent. "Yes, we sailed into your battlespace. Yes, we sailed into your city. No, we did not attack. We entered your city with the intent to parley, NOT with the intent to capture your city. However, some moron decided to leave the city without any commanders and we were attacked on sight. We had no choice but to defend ourselves as all of your troops threw themselves at our forces. You see. When none of your forces were left in the city, we captured your city by default."
Phineas leaned on his fists over the tabletop. He examined the wood grain as he contemplated what the warlord said. Truthfully, Phineas didn't know enough about war to know how much of the man's story he should trust. It sounded plausible anyway. Except... "Okay, so you captured our city. So why didn't you just talk to our warlords when they came to retake the city next turn?"
The warlord's raspy laughs were far from the reaction Phineas expected. "Because your warlords are tactless piles of pig crap, that's why. We tried to parley, but they came in, full force, swords swinging and cannons shooting. I'm surprised your king hasn't found a way to croak his own side yet if this is the way he runs things."
"If you are so much better than us, then why don't you make this easy on the both of us and turn right now? Then you can show us how it's done." Phineas still hadn't forgotten the real reason he was down here. "After all, you- Wait. How do you know we have a king?" It wasn't really beyond reason that he could have heard from someone during or after the capturing or recapturing of the city that Traz had a king and not a queen, but Phineas's gut was warning him that something wasn't right.
"Oh ho ho! So not everyone here is a springless catapult. Did they capture you too? Surely a side such as this couldn't have poped anything more intelligent than a flea. They should-"
*CRACK* The warlord's cigarette was flying across the room before Phineas even realized he had pulled out his own whip. "Do NOT insult my side as you do, or the next strike will take out your eye. I am proud to call Traz my side of origin and, if given the choice, would have no other. Now," Phineas set one hand on the Turnamancy scroll. "What do you say we get this procedure under way?"
The warlord looked like he was at a loss for words, which actually surprised and pleased Phineas. "That's what I thought." The caster blew out a short burst of air, and the candle's flame croaked.