A mysterious place . . .
Gonzalo awoke, slowly rising into consciousness from a deep slumber. He had been dreaming, but whatever it was about was now slipping away. It was probably just as well, since the last fleeting shreds of it seemed unpleasant, perhaps more of a nightmare than a dream. He was so exhausted he didn’t even try to move, and his awakening thoughts were disoriented and dazed. He became aware of soft moans around him, punctuated by occasional cries of pain—this troubled him greatly. He began to stir, but his body responded with deep, throbbing pain that caused him to moan himself—he had been injured. The details were still scarce, but he recalled now that the wounds were severe. When he eventually found the strength to open his eyes it was to the flicker of firelight playing across a rough rock wall vaulting up into darkness. He focused on the plaintive chorus of suffering souls echoing through the chamber, and it filled him with dread.