30 May 2014

The Evil Prison

For my own part, I hate the "Everything Evil Has To Be Dressed In Black, Sporting Spikes, Dripping Ichor and have Grimdark Names" cliche.  I've liked to have Evil High Priests be genial old duffers, who beyond the necessity of sacrificing your souls to their dark gods see no reason to be cruel, discourteous, or stingy with their tea and cucumber sandwiches.  After we're done torturing you to death, sir, are there next of kin to whom you'd like your remains sent?

Your Evil Prison, therefore, shouldn't be a Gothic hellhole situated on a windswept crag in the ocean.

I'd name it something like Hollybrook.  The grounds are verdant and lovely, filled with stately trees and floral arbors.  The walls are of a pleasant cream-yellow stone quarried nearby, and the attendants – tall and handsome to a one, with open, broad smiles – are clad in robes of matching hue.  It is true that smoke billows from the chimneys no matter the season, but it is always the pleasing scent of wood smoke ... however much no lumber deliveries ever seem to be made.

Indeed, no deliveries of any kind – of provisions, of supplies – are made to Hollybrook. Only the prisoners ever come – in the bright cream-and-crimson lacquered carriages that are the familiar symbol of the prison throughout the Kingdom.  Sometimes they're even seen again, their gaze hollowed out with enduring horror, as they haltingly stumble through the riven shards of their lives.  But of what goes on behind the sun-washed walls of Hollybrook, no one has ever said.

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