I was unsure how to react to my new surroundings. I glanced warily around the cavern, which appeared to be about the size of my old high school's gymnasium. There were lots of mysterious masked demons standing around. Not enough to make up an army, but more than I'd expected—and definitely enough to give me the willies.
My presence in the midst of this sinister clandestine meeting had clearly not been planned. I was drawing looks ranging from raised eyebrows to the indignant how-dare-you-sneeze-during-church kinds of glares. My gaze, however, was focusing on two bound and gagged figures near the center of the cavern, at the feet of what looked to be the leader of this freakish assembly.
"Torvin! Tithenai!" I blurted excitedly. "Are you guys okay?" Neither one of them was able to speak, of course, but Tithenai gave me a weak nod. Torvin let out a whimper like he was intentionally contradicting her.
"Fikhos!" boomed the unidentified leader sternly. "Why have you brought him here?"
"He followed me, sir," Fikhos said, his voice strained and reedy. "I didn’t mean to."
"He has discovered you," the leader admonished. "You are of no use to our cause without your secrecy. He will no longer trust you."
"Wow," I muttered to myself. "Yeah, I get it, he was a spy the whole time and I shouldn't have trusted him. Thanks for twisting that knife."
"I can still be useful," Fikhos insisted. "I'll show you. I can prove myself in other ways."
"But none of them will undo your failure," the leader returned curtly. He turned his shrouded, masked face to a demon next to him and muttered something. The demon instantly appeared behind Fikhos and the bloody tip of an amputated Firstborn's blade erupted from Fikhos's chest.