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Idle Hands from Vyrael's blog

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"Do you hear me? Do you understand?"


The weight on his wrists sank deeper, digging into the skin like dull teeth set to sever both hands. Clinking chains accompanied another tug around his ankles and waist, pressing him flush against a table that chilled his bare skin. Someone tightened the strap across his forehead. Tiny fingers skittered along its length, flitting shadows against the blinding light overhead. Even his heart felt bound as it frantically pounded in his chest, blood howling in his ears. Rothnak licked his lips with the only muscle still free.


A click on one side called his attention to the corner of his sight. A second click followed, then a third, each growing faintly closer until their source abruptly stopped. Beyond the ring of light a shadow crumpled, fell. Ringing silence swallowed the ear closest as something hovered near enough to touch. A breath caressed his cheek.


"Come, don't hide. I want to speak."


Rothnak sucked in a breath. A sharp twist managed to tear some slack from the chains that pinned him down, and with that small measure of freedom he squirmed closer to the face beside his own. His teeth clacked on empty air, tusks shining with a sharp brilliance. The act was enough to chase a shadow back into the darkness, and within it he saw two lights, gentle as the Blue Child, glowing.


A command, low and soft, brought his restraints crashing back down tighter than before. They pulled until something popped, a sound nearly smothered by his defiant grunts.


"You are very alive," his tormentor gurgled. The words slipped into his ears malformed and weak; orcish from an alien tongue.


"You'll get nothing from me," he spat back. "Spirits turn from your grave."


They would need more than a dark room and a fiend's creativity for him to break. Rothnak flexed his fingers as numbness took them, no haft of wood and iron to anchor his hands. Ancestors preserve his soul; he would not die gloriously, but with honor nonetheless.


"What you have is taken."


From the opposing side came a silhouette that briefly eclipsed the light dazzling his eyes. Its figure was slight, hair long, and ears blunt; human. A length of fabric concealed its jaw, wrapped around its head and neck like a scarf. Large, round eyes crinkled with unmistakable mirth as the human pulled away. He blinked, teeth grinding as light blinded him once again.


Words flew over him, from one side to the other and back again, while he tested the strength of the metal pinning down his ankles. More words he didn't understand, shadows twisting, and metal ringing. Something wet pressed against his forehead, hopping across his scalp with tiny licks. A bitter scent crept into his nose before turning sour.


"This is Ellesine. She does good work with knife and medicine. She will keep you alive until we are done."


A sharp pain pricked his head followed by a freezing wave that crept towards his neck. The strap around his skull seemed to fade away though it hadn't moved at all. He heard a click, then a hiss, like a sword being pulled from its scabbard. Through the haze crowding his mind, Rothnak felt a shock roll through his chest. A second answered it from just behind his ear, a thunderbolt that rocked his sight and left him reeling. His vision teetered, whirled, struggling to find stability. Another lance of pain scattered the images trying to reform before they could settle.


He bit down on a scream, heard it spill between his teeth anyway.


Nearly blind, he could still see a color bloom beside the light, close enough he could reach out and touch it were his hands free. Whatever was being done to him stopped long enough for the splash of blue to solidify. An open sky, pale blue, condensed into a single drop. It sharpened further into sweeping horns and a narrow face, two eyes gentle as the Blue Child set in ragged sockets.


"Don't sleep," the face said. "We just started with a long way to go."


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By Vyrael
Added Jun 17 '18

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