The jailor opened a thick, wooden door and yanked the chain attached to Ned’s neck. The door slammed shut. The corridor was lit by burning torches on the wall but they were far apart so parts of the passageway descended into darkness. The jailor pulled the chain and forced Ned to stumble.
“Come on you louse, time to meet hell,” he spat.
At the end of the long corridor was a large door. The jailor fumbled with a set of keys and inserted one into the lock. A loud clunking noise and the door creaked open to a circular stone staircase. He shoved Ned inside, locked the door behind and lit a hand-held torch. The jailor pushed Ned ever downwards into the bowels of the fortress. The walls dripped with water and the air was dank. At the foot of the staircase, another door was pushed open and they entered the dungeon.
At the near end was a table and chairs, with a flame torch on the wall. Another jailor was sat by the damp wall. He had pockmarked skin and crooked teeth. The man ignored Ned as he was forced inside. A narrow corridor with a stone floor disappeared into the darkness. To each side, areas had been carved out of the stone and enclosed with iron-barred doors locked shut. No windows. As Ned was shoved down the corridor, he saw inmates inside the cells. Some were chained to the wall, others lay on the floor. The unlucky ones were suspended by chains from the ceiling with their feet only just on the floor.
An empty cell was unlocked with a big clunk. The jailor hit the back of Ned’s legs with a wooden club. The boy buckled and fell on the damp floor as the jailor secured the other end of the chain to a wall bracket. Ned saw the thin-lipped man looking down at him. A blackened smile revealed rotten teeth. As the jailor walked away, the boy noticed his hind leg dragged behind.