There was more cruelty in Azog's actions than just simply hurting and fighting. Being caged in itself was cruel. It was natural for both skin-changers to want to run free in the sunlight, away from this darkened place. But they couldn't. Instead they sat looking towards the cage bars with unwavering looks.

Yvla tilted her head to the side and let out a low sigh. She was restless. Being caged in the dark really was a fate worse than anything she could ponder over. She wouldn't say worse than death. Because many a time she had wished to die in this place. Only then she guessed she'd get peace. But then her resolve would harden. She wanted to live. Honestly she did. She wanted nothing more than freedom.

Beorn looked down at her as she frowned and rubbed at her nose. “That...” Ylva said lowly while opening her eyes and looking to the doors. Her eyes widened as she looked suddenly up at him. “He's returned.” She pushed herself to kneel and looked with wide eyes to the exit out of the cage. She was waiting for the echoing footsteps which signalled that Azog was coming this way. She could smell his scent, pungent and disgusting. It caused her to twitch her nose several times to dislodge it.

Shaking her head slowly she fisted her hands against the cold flooring. “I am not sure if I will ever see you again.” She said lowly while stiffly turning her head to the side to look at him. “Just so you know, despite of everything, it was nice meeting you, Beorn.”

Sitting up and away from the wall, he shook his head firmly. “I will not let him take you.”

Ylva looked at him sadly. “You can't stop him.” Though she believed that he would try everything in his power to not allow anyone entrance to his cage. “Listen,” she looked at the ground thinking over her words before nodding slowly. She had decided what words to use and looked up at him. “If he discovers there is anything which resembles tolerance, fondness even friendship he will destroy it.” Ylva said seriously, which was true. Sticking together had proved fruitless in the past. Beorn frowned over her words and was going to contradict when she just held a hand gently up to stop him. “Listen,” she said again but more calmer. “If we are to survive, we most remain as stoic towards each other as possible. If we stick together, he will seek to eradicate us quicker, do you understand? Pay me no mind, I shall pay you none as well.” Ylva paused and placed her hands on his arm, he went to pull away only to suffer narrowed eyes being shot at him. “Make it seem you have given up fighting against him. You do not, in any way, need to actually stop. Just make him believe it.” Ylva said sternly, he glanced up at her when she spoke. “With fear gone, slight leniency may appear. And with that, we shall seize the moment and make to escape.” Ylva smiled, Beorn looked at her confused. She was a very quick thinker it seemed.

“He cannot be here when we do.” Beorn commented at last. Ylva nodded agreeing completely with him. If Azog was present when they dared to escape, there'd be hell to pay, they both knew it. “If it were him here, and him alone, I would not hesitate to crush him.”

Ylva smiled faintly. She had no doubt that Beorn would be more than enough for Azog to deal with. “But with all of them here...we would not stand a chance. We must wait.” Ylva nodded slowly and thoughtfully.

“If we are to be apart, how can we make a plan?” Beorn asked. It was a rather obvious question. And it was also one which seemed to have her stumped. She sat blinking quickly with a thoughtful expression on her face.

“I do not know.” Ylva admitted truthfully. For she didn't. She hadn't got any ideas on this. Shaking her head quickly she removed her hands from his arm and placed one against his cheek. Turning his face so he was looking at her, she gave him a rare smile. “Live. It is my one wish for you.”

Despite smiling, her tone was one of pleading. Her expression was heavy with worry. She was trying to cover this up by fake smiling. Ylva just waited for him to answer her. He just looked at her with a guarded expression. For months death seemed like the one way out of this. He often found himself wishing for death to come quickly just so this could all end. Ylva's appearance had tarnished that. He was not alone. He had listened to her words, enjoyed the silent coexistence, and even watched as she just sat in thought.

Whether she knew it or not, she had renewed his strength and given him something to live for. These were feelings he had not felt for a long time, not since the death of his family. “You have my word.” He paused. “If you do the same.”

She smiled again and gave a nod. “And you have my word.” Pausing she looked over her shoulder when she could hear heavy booted feet. “We shall live for each other. Farewell,” she turned and looked at him quickly before moving away and sitting by the door back in her wolf form.

She did cast a look over her shoulder to see that he had settled facing the back wall. He was seemingly ignoring her presence. As the door creaked open and padded feet walked along the ground, Beorn's ears did prick up at the sound. Azog looked from the wolf to the bear, he had wished so desperately that he had been looking. It'd give Azog a reason to chain him up and inflict pain on him.

With a barked order and a finger being pointed down the corridor, Azog led Ylva away back to her cage. She suffered a beating no sooner had she walked through the door. And just as she was recovering she could distantly pick up the sounds of an animal in pain.

Despite of everything, Azog had returned and decided to harm Beorn anyway. The familiar cracking of a whip split through the air. The sound of impact and bottled in sounds of pain could distantly be heard too. It didn't last though, there was only so much pain one person could take before calling out.

Ylva had shakily reached up at this point and put her hands over her ears. She didn't want to hear the painful noises which were coming from Beorn. She noted though that he did not make a move and shift skins. If he did things would be much worse. She was somewhat pleased, if that word could be used, that he had listened to her.

She jolted when something was shoved through her cage bars. Food, or what could be described as slop sat in front of her in a crude bowl. She didn't want to eat. Not when there was sounds of torture happening so close by. She didn't have an appetite. Least of all for the scraps of worthless food which they were providing.

So little were the portions. There was enough to basically keep her alive, nothing more nothing less. Many people had refused to eat, opting to starve and go out that way other than by the jaws of their relatives, or the bears or the Wargs. Ylva had quickly noted that none of the Wargs actually did the finishing blow. That came from the Orcs or Azog directly.

Silence suddenly filled the space. Picking up the bowl she shuffled over to a corner and picked at what was inside. The only reason they gave food out was for impending fights. Not because they had routine meal times. But because they hoped by feeding them they'd get strength and energy from the pathetic morsels which they were unfortunately expected to eat.

From The InsideRead this story for FREE!