Markus came to with a throbbing headache and an instant sense that something was wrong.

The last he’d known, he’d been hiking along a quite ordinary forest path. Or so it had seemed. The fact that he was now struggling to regain consciousness that he couldn’t even remember being about to lose in the first place rather suggested that something out of the ordinary had happened.

He was lying on bare wood – smooth, seamless wood, not sawn planks; his questing fingers found no edges, no nails, though there wasn’t light enough to see by, just a tiny square of it off to one side that did more to emphasize the darkness than to alleviate it. He still had on his trousers and tunic, but his cloak, boots, pack, and his belt knife were all absent.

Some kind of prison, obviously. But whose? And what in the world had he done to land himself here?