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 Into the Devil's Eye

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Posts : 33
Join date : 2019-07-05
Location : Vienna

Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:37

Hello fellow Drukhari-fans,

I hope I can bring some joy to you with this story of mine, which has by now grown to book-length.

Here is the summary, so you know what you are dealing with:
A young woman gets abducted from our reality by Dark Eldar - how this is possible is a mystery. She struggles to stay alive, using her vast knowledge about the Dark Eldar society and her sharp mind as her greatest assets. Will she be interesting enough to be more than just a torture slave? It seems as if fate is smiling on her... or is someone smiling in particular...?

And, as it is wished (sorry, I overlooked it in the first rush of posting)  Embarassed

Objectionable Content Warnings:

I will post the 'safe' version without explicit sexual content and detailed torture scenes, which does not mean that violence will fall short  Wink . If you are interested in that, go to Archive of Our Own, there you have the version with explicit version, and, please, leave a Kudos if you are there!

Also, please acknowledge the following points:

a)  This is not a love story. It may contain some crazy and twisted relationships, but if you came looking for a true romance, you have to look elsewhere, sorry!
b)  The first three chapters are the weakest in terms of style. It gets better.  English is not my native language, and the first chapters were written a long time ago and I haven't gotten around to updating them entirely. I hope that you can overlook the weaker style there.
c)  I am a terribly slow writer. I tend to take 5 months and up for a single chapter, as I think my words over carefully and also take great care in keeping my work scientifically accurate and as close to canon as possible, which ends up in a lot of researching.
d)  I know that several people have criticised that my heroine stays somewhat too calm. Please note three things before finding it too unrealistic:

  1. She notices herself several times that she is by far not so afraid as she should be.
  2. There is a reason why she is so calm, the reason will only reveal itself very, very late in the story, a part still to be written.
  3. I am aware of this fact and I have my reasons to write her that calm

If you can overlook these facts better and they disrupt the story less for you and make you enjoy it more, I am happy about that and cordially invite you to enjoy my story!

e)  I suck at html-formatting, so please be patient with me until I have linked the chapters!

Here are the chapters so far:
Chapter 1 - Caught
Chapter 2 - Mind Games
Chapter 3 - Persevere
Chapter 4 - Asdrubael Vect
Chapter 5 - Circling
Chapter 6 - Art
Chapter 7 - Friendly Strife
Chapter 8 - Domination
Chapter 9 - Out for Blood
Chapter 10 - The usual Business
Chapter 11 - Prices to pay
Chapter 12 - Quid pro Quo
Chapter 13 - Trials and Travails
Chapter 14 - Vlokarion
Chapter 15 - A Dream Team tarnished
Chapter 16 - Preparations and one Favour
Chapter 17 - Progression and one Favour
Chapter 18 - A Favour and a Strife of Skill
Chapter 19 - A Favour and a Feast

Ok, now I have pestered you enough! Have fun reading and please leave a comment/feedback or write me am PM how you like it!


"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

Last edited by Akularz-Shâtî on Sat Jul 06 2019, 16:33; edited 6 times in total
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Posts : 33
Join date : 2019-07-05
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:39

Chapter 1


“I am all your nightmares. I am the legends your forebears whispered of in fearful tones. Every terror you have never imagined comes from me. Look upon my majesty and weep at the terror I have wrought upon you and your kin. I am an artist, and dread is the colour I splash across the canvas of your mind.”
— Archon Anas Vaenix of the Kabal of the Sundered Eye

I AWOKE IN the middle of the night. I was on a watchdog job for a house in the countryside on the weekend; a boring thing, but as a student, I took every job I could get.
As I awoke, I felt that something was amiss; I opened my eyes and realised that it was far too dark outside. The streetlights were out. Was this a blackout? I got up and went to the window of the bedroom, but it was impossible to determine what was going on. I wanted to take a look, just to be sure, after all, if something major was happening, I had to call the owners of the house. I dressed in a hurry, took the key and went to the ground level. Making my way in darkness, as the lights inside did also not work, which spoke for a blackout, was not easy.
Still, I shivered, my hackles rising. I had the distinct feeling that something was off. Severely so.
What was happening?
Because of this dreadful feeling in my stomach, I took the rear exit of the house, just to be sure that I could take a look at the street before I rushed into something I wanted to avoid. As I exited, I was able to take a look at the fields, which the house stood at, but nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be going on there. I really would have liked to take some kind of weapon with me, but since true pacifists lived here, not even the knives were good for anything.
I decided to take a look at the street, though I had the terrible feeling that it was not a good idea. However, I was too curious to let something that unusual in my life go to waste; I really cherished the action.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I took a careful look around one corner of the house and experienced my first shock.
Now it was clear to me why there was no light on the streets. Something that looked somewhat like a plane, whose design I had never seen before in the real world, sat in the middle of the street and had burrowed itself into the bitumen. Because of the blacked out streetlights, just the moonlight shone on the eerie scenery. After a second I realised that this was a spacecraft. Was I going crazy? I vaguely remembered the shape of the ship, but I did not remember from which sci-fi universe it originated. What was happening here?! Was this nothing but a dream? Why had I not heard what had been going on?
I ducked into the shadows and sneaked to the other edge of the house which was  even a bit darker, hoping that I would be able to risk a more detailed look onto the ship.
As I peeked around the corner, my eyes grew wide and I whispered, “Oh crap.” That was all I could think and say. Nevertheless, it was a mistake to even whisper it, because the creature that was now looking at me through a gleaming red visor, had heard me.
Dark Eldar.
Why in the nine hells, including all possible and impossible races, did it have to be Dark Eldar?
I turned around and ran, realising in the same second that it was superfluous, because he was easily ten times quicker than me. Since it was fight of flight for me, I decided to flee, for fighting was absolutely not an option here. I had never run faster in my life, but his paces closed in on me. Then a jarring noise hit my ears.
And then the pain cut in.
I fell with a scream of agony as something sharp pierced my left foot and I was sure that my Achilles' tendon was severed. I went sprawling on the ground and then just lay there, gasping and cursing, tears in my eyes. I tried to get up, but the searing sensation clearly showed me that I would go nowhere; I fell back onto the ground with a pain-wrecked grunt.
I was not even done thinking when I was turned around harshly and then took a hard hit to the face, forcing me to spit blood and to black out for a second because of the sheer force. I was very well aware that this was only a gentle caress compared to what Dark Eldar usually preferred for their prisoners. I took some time to recover from that, rolling onto my side, hands in front of my face and gasping in pain. Finally, I managed to say in a strained voice, “What was that for? Just because I wasn’t that easy to catch?” In the same second, I wondered whether I was out of my mind to be that cheeky to a Dark Eldar.
I did not get an answer, but he grabbed me by the throat and lifted me with only one arm onto his eye level, choking me, which made me realise how strong this race was. I looked into the red gleaming eyes of the visor, fear now slowly creeping up my body and I breathed heavily, fighting for what little air I was allowed to have. He pulled me closer to him, then he said, “You are different and I am sure that the captain will want to see you.” I felt that he looked appraisingly at me for some seconds – I thought to hear a regretful sound – then he added, “What a shame.”
My stomach grew cold because of these words, for I was all too well aware what this meant for me.
Without letting me say anything, he threw me over his shoulder, which I receipted with an agonised gasp; I was grateful that it was the left one that did not bear any spikes. Then he went back to his brethren.
I did not struggle; it would not have made any sense, plus it might have pissed my captor off and getting me hit a bit more, just to be scared into submission. My left cheek was already swollen, but this was no surprise when thinking that I had been hit with a metallic gauntlet in the first place. I was rather relieved that he had not dislocated my jaw or broken my cheekbone.
He carried me back to the ship and sat me down there in an entirely rough manner, which made me gasp in pain. I was now in the company of other prisoners (he did not bind me; it was not necessary, since I could not run anywhere) and he spoke to one of his colleagues. There were not many prisoners around; I figured that I was one of the first to be caught, especially considering that their ship was basically parked beside the house I had been in. More out of necessity than desire, I took a look at my left foot. I fought down nausea and bile that filled my mouth as I looked at the wound, because I found that he had shot a tridentate dagger into my foot, which had eaten itself into my flesh and bone. I bled strongly and felt light-headed. Nevertheless, I was sure that I would not die of exsanguination, because Dark Eldar knew too much about torture, to let their victims die of something as banal as blood loss.
Also, I now was sure that they had killed the lights on purpose, since they could see in the dark (with or without helmets) and humans could not. It made it easier for them to work and it scared their prey, which they enjoyed.
I was not left with my fellows in misery for very long (I was not able to talk to them, since all of them were blindfolded, gagged and bound), because my already well-known friend and his colleague came to me, pulled me between them, laid my arms around their shoulders and lifted me. They let my feet go loose, which was not very pleasant, but I gritted my teeth and made no sound, since this way of travelling was absolutely better than walking. They carried me through the ship, I was not able to identify anything, since the ship was darker than the night; finally, we came to our destination, a dimly-lit room. There they laid me down on a daybed, which let me sit up, and bound me to it. I was already delirious because of the blood loss and commented, “As if I could run…”
They did not comment my statement and left me without a word.
I was not alone for a very long time, because shortly after they left, another Dark Eldar entered the room. I was able to see his face and I was all too well aware with whom I was dealing.
His head was shorn, his eyes were black and so were his lips. His ears were pointed, fitting his clear-cut and somewhat shrunken features, along with his skinny and lithe build. To his gown and flesh, a lot of equipment was attached, including a number of snake-like mechadendrites, which floated in this manner behind him. His feet also did not touch the ground, because he slithered into the room upon an elongated spine. Altogether, he was indeed a creepy appearance.
I knew that what I called “mechadendrites” here had a different name, since that term actually referred to the devices which the members of the Adeptus Mechanicus used. However, since I lacked a better term, I decided to go with that.
I shook my head in disbelief and stated, still delirious, “Why do I immediately deserve the honour to be torn apart by a Haemonculus?” It was only possible for me to explain my gallows humour because I was so dizzy and all at sea.
I was surprised as he laughed. It was the cruellest and coldest laugh I had ever heard and his multiple vocal chords added to the disturbing sound of that laughter. Also, his voice needed some getting used to as he answered, “You know a lot about my kind, human child, if you know what I am. But I can assure you, I am not here to torture you… at least not right now. The captain wants to speak with you and I will see to it that you survive until then.” Somehow, though right now this was good news, the words bode ill for me.
I rested my head on the daybed and closed my eyes. Cold sweat was on my forehead, but I was surprised that it was no fear-sweat; rather the pain made me perspire all over. I was afraid; however, by far not as much as I should have been, but I did not know why. I truly should have been scared witless by now, being in the same room with a Haemonculus, which usually meant that one was about to experience the worst things. Maybe I was still in shock or it was because I still had some wild hope that I was interesting enough for the Dark Eldar to not be reduced to a mere torture slave. All things considered, this was very unlikely.
I opened my eyes and was surprised again as I felt a slight stinging sensation, in my left arm crook. I saw that he injected a clear substance into me. I wanted to ask him what this was, but I felt its impact immediately because the pain was dulled. Additionally, I felt as if I had chugged a bottle of vodka at once. I giggled in a drunken stupor as he took the needle out of my arm. With a dim sight, I looked into his black eyes and he asked me, “What’s so amusing, child?”
I shook my head, still amused, and answered, “I’m still wondering what this is all about. Getting pain relief as a prisoner of your kind? Seriously? I’m not that stupid and naïve to think that this is all there ever will be for me. And, woo, this stuff is really nice!”
It seemed my words had amused him, because he chuckled softly. “This is just a precaution. You could otherwise faint when I tend to your wounds, because removing those daggers from flesh is indeed complicated and truly agonising. Believe me, even with this analgesic, you will still feel enough!” he said.
Then he took hold of my head and shone a flashlight in my eyes, which was quite painful, and this treatment left my eyes watery. He said, “Interesting. You seem to react exceedingly strongly to this medicine, stronger than I’ve ever seen in a human. How do you feel?”
My grin was pinched, I wanted to wipe away my tears, remembered that I was bound and commented, “Ah, I almost forgot!” He laughed, I continued, “But back to your question: I feel as if I chugged the biggest bottle of alcohol I was able to find.”
I saw him nodding and he commented, “Hmm, this explains the utterly slow adaptation of your pupils.”
I winced as he took hold of my injured leg. Even the slightest touch was excruciating and I appreciated I had been given an analgesic. I did not know what he did, because my sight was blurred and I felt terribly dizzy; I gritted my teeth in wise precaution. It had been a good idea, because seconds after I did it, he began to remove the dagger from my flesh. It hurt like hell. I tried to be as quiet and hold as still as possible; it was not always achievable for me, for I flinched, squirmed and gasped in pain. The Haemonculus was not impressed by my tiny attempts of defiance; he held me quite sternly and I was not able to mess with his work by squirming.
I did not know afterwards how long he took, but it was far too long for my taste. He had sewn my wound, applied a bandage to it and had fixated my foot, so I could not move it and rip the wound open. My head had cleared until then. He turned to me, after cleaning his instruments from my blood, and said, “Impressive. The last humans I treated in this manner screamed during the process. You are tough.”
I laughed without joy, trying to seal the pain away, but I failed miserably and replied with a pinched tone, “I bet that you’d like to find out how tough I really am.”
He grinned (god, those pointed teeth did not make this grin pleasant) and responded, “Possibly. But I don’t think you would last longer than some hours before you would beg me to kill you. Nevertheless,” He fixated my head with a leather clasp against the daybed for treating the swollen parts of my face. “I am surprised that you are not afraid of me, despite your knowledge about my profession.”
“To be honest, I am curious about it myself and can’t explain it. I know I should be terrified by now, I just… am not. Then again, I have always been a master when it came down to handle things with a little gallows humour,” I replied truthfully.
He chuckled. “An enlightened perspective.”
“Well, at least I die enlightened.”
I had the feeling that it was wise to impress the Haemonculus, since they were powerful and feared figures in the society of the Dark Eldar. Maybe his word in the ear of the captain could change or even improve my fate.
I gritted my teeth as he palpated the swelling in my face. He nodded and picked up a syringe, filling it with a red solution and he said, as he flicked some air bubbles out of the syringe, “This will hurt, child, and I am looking forward to your suffering. Nevertheless, try to hold still!” He additionally fixated me with his other hand so I could not move at all. I closed my eyes as he drew closer with the needle to my face.
I could not suppress an agonised gasp as he inserted the needle into the swelling. The pain was not relieved as he injected the solution; on the contrary, it burned like fire. Tears were rolling down my face; the ache did not stop as he pulled the needle out. This treatment was much more arduous for me than the previous one.
The Haemonculus did not waste his attention on me as I lay there, wheezing and panting in agony, he just cleaned his instruments. Meanwhile, he said, his voice sounded absent, “Humans experience pain so individually, it is really intriguing. I can’t help but notice that you can handle sharp sensations much better than dull pain.”
I said, between clenched teeth, “This may be because I know the former from being tattooed.”
Now his attention turned back to me, “Tattoos? Where?”
“Right arm.” He seemed to be very interested in this, because he came back to me, picked a dagger and cut my right sleeve off. He freed my wrist from the binding, but wrapped his hand around it and held me, observing my tattoos.
His fingers stroked my skin gently, which gave me goose-bumps and made me shiver, because his touch was so delicate and his bony fingers only amplified the feeling, and he said, slowly, “Interesting and dangerous motives, especially for a human. Why do you know them?” My tattoos showed the sign of the Imperium, Slaanesh, Tzeentch and the Kabal of the Black Heart.
“In my time, all this only exists as a story, which provides the base for a role-playing game, whichever character you’d like, from whatever side you like. Materium and Immaterium. That is also why I know a lot about your kind. But I’d really like to know why you are here?”
He smiled, shackled my wrist again and said, “Alright, since you entertained me so well, I’ll tell you why. We travelled back in time, using the strange fluctuations of the Warp, to observe humankind in its childhood, to understand it better, in many ways. This gives us priceless strategic advantages against your kind and a unique opportunity to find out more about the deepest fears of humankind, a thing we can use very well indeed for our purposes. Take the oldest specimen of a race, expose it to different stimuli and you will know their greatest horrors in no time.” It was easily audible that he enjoyed these words and what he said made sense.
“Why not come back with a bigger force and end this once and for all?” I asked, truly wondering about that.
The Haemonculus grinned maliciously. “I like how you think, but the thing is that this was a one-shot mission. Travelling through time is a dangerous endeavour and it was complicated enough with only one ship. We doubt that we can do it again and we also are not quite sure where we landed. Hence, we take what we can get, then get back to our time. Besides, why should we wipe out our easiest and most abundant prey?” He had a point there.
The Dark Eldar looked at the tattoos again and said, “But still, we can't leave them like this, it has to be clear to whom you belong and signs of Chaos are no good to wear in Commorragh. I will remove them.”
With more fear in my voice than I wanted to show, I asked, “And how will you do that?”
Of course, he sensed my anxiety, grinned at me viciously with his pointed teeth and replied, “Are you afraid that it will hurt?”
I nodded.
His smile deepened. “Normally I would choose a method that would hurt. However, since you are already quite severely injured and the captain wants to speak with you, there is no point in weakening you even further. I will do it with a special kind of radiation, which will not harm or hurt you. In the same manner, I will give you a new tattoo, which will show clearly whom you belong to.” He fetched a strange looking device; it was best comparable to a hand scanner. I was surprised to find that the whole process just took some minutes. In the end, I had a new tattoo, showing an extremely complicated sign with lots of helices, ornaments, and vertiginous patterns; I did not recognise the symbol, which surprised me, because I knew a lot of signs from the Dark Eldar society.
The pain started to wane and so did the swelling; I was happy that I was able to see better now and that my head also started to clear, but I still felt terribly light-headed. I was given banked human blood, because I had lost quite some. He stayed with me and we talked about the human society of the 21st century. I knew better than to withhold any answers from him.
We did not talk for very long, as another Dark Eldar came into the room. I somehow knew that he was the captain, for his black-dark-green and iridescent armour was much more ornated than those of the rest and his helmet was crowned with a blood-red tuft of hair, in which white gold threads were inwrought.
I finally got it. It just kept getting better and better!
This ship obviously was a ship of the Kabal of the Black Heart; I realised that because his armour was distinctive. It was now clear to me who had ordered this gambit and whom I would meet in the end.
I swallowed.
That was just great.
It solely could have been the one and only Asdrubael Vect, who was able come up with such an idea, and it was no coincidence that he was believed to be one of the most cunning and intelligent beings that had ever walked the Materium and Immaterium.
This also meant that I would survive until I met him, if I was found important enough to meet him.
The captain spoke with the Haemonculus briefly; I did not understand a single word since they used their language. I was quite sure that the translator did not do its job now since I was certain that one was around; the Haemonculus would not have tainted his tongue with a human language, Dark Eldar did not do that and Haemonculi even less so. The captain seemed to be displeased, but the Haemonculus was not moved by his temper. After this short conversation the captain left, his heavy steps emphasising the notion that he was pissed.
As he was gone, I asked, “Displeased superiors?”
The Haemonculus shook his head and answered, “It doesn’t concern the two of us, though it would be a bad idea of him to challenge me. He was not happy with the way his men treated most of the prisoners since dead-alive prisoners are bad torture slaves. It seems as if I have quite the day before me.”
I again looked at my tattoo in confusion. The Haemonculus noticed it of course and asked, “Are you wondering what kind of symbol it is?” I nodded. “It is the personal seal of the Supreme Overlord, marking you without question as his property, reminding everybody else that you are his and his alone.” This confirmed my suspicions that I would meet the Supreme Overlord, apparently no matter what. But why? What could he possibly want from a girl like me?
My heart sank again. How was I to survive this?
I was utterly confused by now and decided to take the things as they came, for I had no choice anyways.
Shortly after the Haemonculus had finished his sentence, two warriors stepped into the room. The Haemonculus hissed something into their direction, which I could not understand, they answered rather hesitantly. With a smile he turned to me and loosened my bindings, saying, “You will spend the rest of the journey with the captain. Believe me, this is the safest place for you to be. The word of your aplomb considering your handling of the situation has spread and many would like to have you as their torture slave.”
“Will we see each other again?” I asked, strangely hopeful. Was I already going insane that I wanted to meet one of the torture masters of the Dark Eldar again?
He grinned, revealing his pointy teeth. Mockingly, he said, “Sooner than you think, my child, sooner than you think. Somebody has to tend to your wounds, agreed?”
The two warriors carried me just like the other two before them used to and took me away. The Haemonculus shouted after me, obviously amused, “I’m looking forward to it!” I was sure that I had entertained him quite well.
The warriors carried me for a while through the ship; I was not able to see where they were going, since it was utterly dark around here. At some point, I heard that we went into a room, from the feel of it quite big, but I could not see a thing. I felt immediately that it was quite cold in the room – unpleasantly cold – and I had to learn an important lesson: there was always a way for things to get direr. They shackled me in leather manacles, which hung from the top of the ceiling, leaving me hanging in mid-air. To humiliate me even further, they cut all clothing except my underpants from my body. I did not struggle, though I would have loved to, for it was pointless. Then they left.
So I hang there, almost naked, freezing, exhausted and feeble. I closed my eyes, because I did not see a thing and tried to calm my mind; it was almost impossible, because, from the looks of it, the captain had some abhorrent things for me in store. My strength was already fading and I desperately needed to rest, but I was too stubborn to give up that easily. So I took a deep breath and tried to relax and fight my fear and desperation down. It did not work too well, but the fatigue flooding over my body dulled my aches a bit and I did not notice that my head sunk onto my chest as I fell asleep…

I awoke abruptly as I heard the hissing noise of the door and cold, dim light flooded the room. I blinked to clear my view and saw the captain, who stood kind of thunderstruck in the door. I also recognised that I was undoubtedly in his torture chamber, because the intended use of the instruments I could see on the walls was all too clear. Yet again, I was not given time to process what I was seeing – which, undoubtedly, was for the better – because only a second later he began to swear in a foreign language (I guessed that from his inflexion), went to the table in this room and took off his helmet. My breath stopped as he turned to me; I had my first look at him and with that my first look at a ‘normal’ Dark Eldar.
He was incredibly handsome. His hair was shaved into a long scalp lock, which he wore in a tight plait. His eyes were pitch-black (no pupil or iris was to be seen, they were just two black pits), his skin pale, as it was with every member of the Dark Eldar race. His facial features were gallant and utterly flawless, his build was wiry and lithe; his armour only underlined his features.
For a moment he looked at me, but it was not possible for me to determine whether he liked what he saw. Then he came to me, quickly, took me around my waist and untied my shackles. I fell; he caught me and carried me through the second door, which lead out of the room, to another one. I noticed that I was shaking, partly out of fear, mostly because I was terribly freezing. The cold metal of his armour did not help at all.
In the second room, it was a bit warmer, still cold for me, but not as cold as in the torture chamber. I was glad that I could see something, since a very dim light lit the room. These had to be his quarters. He dropped me on a big bed, which had bedding made of black silk. Also, a table was in this room, which was laid with food and drink and some cupboards were here too, but everything was made out of black metal or stone and spikes and vertiginous patterns covered everything. He put one of the blankets around my shoulders, which I drew closer, shaking. Now I really felt how extremely cold I was and I had a hard time to keep my teeth from chattering, cold sweat on my forehead and I felt not too well. Although, was that really surprising? I had no idea how long I had been in this freezing room.
He came to me again, his gloves removed, and he had a cup in his hand, which contained a steaming liquid. He put it into my still shaking hands and said, “Drink this! It will calm your spirit and warm your body.”
I was surprised as I smelt ginger, cinnamon, and honey. Obviously, the tastes of Dark Eldar and humans were not so different, though their hobbies differed greatly. I thanked him, he smiled viciously at me for that and I took a small sip from the tea. Of course, I burned my tongue with it, but I was surprised that it tasted great and I was happy that this sip already warmed me pleasantly. The more I drank the tea, the calmer I got and I stopped shaking after a while. He took off his armour in the meantime and even left me alone for a short while, as he fetched his helmet from the other room. He put the armour on the armour rack, as was to be expected, leaving him only clad in a bodyglove now, whose function it was to shield his skin from the hard metal of his armour. Apparently, not all Dark Eldar wore armour that was inserted into their flesh.
I did notice that he was still somehow annoyed. He also took a cup of tea and sat beside me on the bed. I was happy that the bed was that high so I could let my injured leg hang down from it, since putting weight on it did not seem wise. As he sat beside me, I noticed how tall he was, even though he sat straight up on the bed and I was a bit huddled and crouched in my blanket.
Nevertheless, his kindness startled me, because Dark Eldar were known to revel in every bit of suffering. That he just had made me so comfortable did not fit this notion. I got the queasy feeling that my destiny could be a lot direr than one of a ‘simple’ torture slave. That, or I was the luckiest bastard that had ever been caught by the Dark Eldar.
I was not able to endure the silence any longer and said, “Incompetent subordinates?”
At first, he looked at me sceptical, then he started to laugh. His laugh also sounded gruesome and gave me goose-bumps, but I also figured that I had to accustom myself to the voices of Dark Eldar. It seemed as if I had amused him quite intensely, because it took some time until he stopped laughing. I took a sip of my tea and murmured into the cup, “Seems like I’ve hit the nail on the head.”
I froze in horror and revulsion as he touched my hair gently and said, “You really are fascinating.”
Focusing all my willpower, I replied, hating how thin my voice sounded, “How may I take that, my lord?”
He grinned, took a sip from his cup and answered, “The Haemonculus warned me that you are quite different from the average mon-keigh prisoner. He was absolutely right; it’s been a while since I had such a witty conversation with a mere human slave.” The change of his words describing humankind bewildered me somewhat. Dark Eldar rarely called humans by their non-Dark Eldar term.
I was not able to tame my cynicism and replied, “Yes! I ascended from prisoner to slave!”
He laughed again. “It’s curious that you show no fear whatsoever.”
I shrugged and said cautiously, “As I already mentioned to the Haemonculus, I don’t know why that is so and it puzzles me as much as you, because I know I should be petrified right now. Then again it could be because I’m quite sure that you won’t tear me to pieces?”
He made a malicious sound, leant over to me and hissed into my ear, something I was not able to take without flinching, “Why are you so sure about that?”
“Well… I’m quite sure that if I really was a mere torture slave to you, you would’ve started to ram pointy objects into me and not made me so comfortable,” I replied, strangely confident.
“Hmm, what makes you think that this is not only a ploy to make you think that you are safe, so torture will be much more terrible for you in the end?”
His words made me stop for a second, for he was right. I considered them briefly then replied, “Of course, my lord, I am a bit too confident with that. But I happen to know that I am intended for someone else, because this tactical masterpiece – I am referring to your mission to find out more about humankind – could have only been planned by a certain someone. I know that I already bear his sign. This person will be interested in speaking with a prisoner who is not scared stiff and even understands the culture of your kind well enough to handle the situation mentally. So, it wouldn’t make any sense for you to torture or even break me, because I talk to you anyways. Also, I am quite sure that Supreme Overlord Vect despises spoilt goods.” I considered my words for a moment, then went on, “I am sorry, my lord. Of course, you could gain something by torturing me; it would rejuvenate you, as it does to all of your kind. However, I am quite sure that I am of no use to your lord if I am dead-alive and broken.”
With a whistling sound, he exhaled sharply through his teeth. Surprised he said, “Very impressive, my little one. For a human, you are quite intelligent. I’ve never met a slave that smart.”
“Well, in my time this knowledge is no education, rather fanaticism. The 41st millennium only exists as a story, designed for crazy people like me who love to role-play characters of every faction. And yes, this turns filthy sometimes.” He grinned at me in a way I did not like. “Damn it, yes, of course, your people are involved if so.” His grin got wider.
“Curious,” he said in a strange tone. I did not like the look in his eyes and I was afraid what that comment would bring for me in the future. My nausea rose again as I realised that he very well might enjoy my body in a sexual manner. I chased the thought away with all my might, because I was quite sure that I would not be able to take this without snapping.
“And no, I’m no masochist. At least I don’t like it when I get hit or cut.”
Why was I telling him this?
I did like his gaze even less now, because now it was absolutely clear to me that he was undressing me in his mind – well, it was not like much of my clothing was left anyways, but this was rather a matter of principle. I also did not like what I started to feel right now and I had the terrible notion that he knew about my feelings all too well. I tore my gaze away from his and said, embarrassed and taking a sip from my cup, “I think I’m going mad to tell you that without you doing anything to make me talk.”
He started to laugh maliciously. I looked at him, now totally confused. “Oh, this is where you are wrong, my little one, I have done so. Not all interrogation techniques are in need of pain or pleasure to break the victim. Sometimes only a special feeling is required to make someone talk. So, in your case right now it was the feeling to please me or even impress me.” He stood, laughing, his eyes flashing with wickedness and he said to me, “Another cup of tea?”
I shrugged and answered in submission, “With pleasure. You folks definitely are better at brewing tea than we are.”
He smiled, now mysteriously, and said, “We are better at a lot of things.”
“Absolutely, but this was definitely something I was not aware of.” The comment merited me a horrid smile.
Though he just had fooled me quite badly and educed things from me I would not have told so easily otherwise, without me noticing, I was not even mad. Why would I be? I knew that this was the most pleasant way for me to have information extracted from me by a Dark Eldar. As long as he enjoyed the game, I would not be so stupid as to ruin it for him. I was not fond of being introduced to barbs and spikes, though I somehow sensed that it would be unwise of him to do so with me.
He came back to me, I smirked and said, “Ah well, what do I expect of my race? We are quite stupid.”
The captain shook his head and replied, “It’s getting even more curious with you. Not only that you are little afraid, neither of me nor of what might await you, no, you even deny your own race.”
“Have you ever looked at how they act today? By ‘today’ I mean in my time. Humanity is to 90 per cent made up of idiots. The remaining 10 percent are not enough to change anything about that. So, since I now know what the future will look like, it seems that nothing changes, even in forty thousand years.”
He laughed. “I always thought that humankind is only cattle, just there for the entertainment of higher races, like us, however, you are showing me some perspectives that are very extraordinary.”
“I’m thankful that you are listening to me. I also have to admit that I didn’t expect you to be so… how shall I say… friendly with me.”
He flashed a predatory smile at me. “Believe me, normally I’m not, actually, I never was with a slave, but you are interesting, child. How old are you, actually?”
“22 years, well, human years, that is,” I replied.
He lifted his eyebrows in disbelief, taking a sip from his cup and saying, “That young! Amongst my kind, you would not even count as an adult. You are far-sighted for your age and believe me: I have dealt with enough of your kind, who were as old as you are now, to judge that correctly.”
“Thank you, my lord, so they say. Besides, you have to consider that I do not originate from the Imperium, my mindset might be therefore completely different from what you are used to.” I took another sip and said, changing the subject abruptly, “So, what’s up next? Will you now start torturing me? Or have I become something like your whore?” I still did not know where I got this courage and cheekiness from and why I kept behaving like this. Somehow it gave me strength, but I was also aware that I was lucky that this particular Dark Eldar seemed to enjoy my demeanour. Another one might have torn me apart by now.
He inhaled sharply and stated, “Hmm, I have to say, those are both interesting prospects, but I won’t lie to you. I’ll test you a bit, to get to know what you can stand, what torments you the most and how experienced you are. You will not suffer permanent damage by this, because you are right, the Overlord despises spoilt goods. However, you will be my personal slave for the rest of this journey and will stay in my quarters. You won’t leave my side, if I command you to; you will obey my every order, unless I lend you to somebody else; however, I guess, only the Haemonculus might ask for you.”
“A pity. I would have loved to see the ship. So, the Haemonculus is higher ranking than you?”
He smiled. “If you are a good girl, I might take you with me when I am on duty. Then you may see some pieces of the ship. The Haemonculus does not outrank me; he is beyond such ranks, for he is one of our torture masters.” I did not like his inflexion, but what could I actually do against him? All I could do was playing his game courteously and amusing him as well as possible so he did not torment me out of boredom. I also felt that there was something more to the Haemonculus than I was told.
But I just said, shrugging, “Huh. Maybe he has use of my skills as a biotechnologist.”
“Still, you are curious. However, yes, I think, the two of you will have some things to talk about.”
I was really glad to be dealing with a Dark Eldar who possibly was an exception to his race. I was sure that most would have only put me in a cage and would not have just tortured or assault me because they were commanded not to and at the end of the journey they would just have dragged me in front of Vect. This captain seemed to be somehow bemused by my perspectives and appeared to be interested in getting to know me. Nevertheless, I was also aware that all of this could be just a farce to extract more information out of me. Who would ever know?
It was also clear to me that I had no idea what his status in the Kabal was and I was sure that I would not be able to see through him for a long, long time. I deemed that such a mission would not be given to a newcomer, but rather an esteemed member; that again would mean that he would stand quite high in the esteem of Vect. However, who could really understand the scheming and thinking of an alien race, especially one as complex as the Dark Eldar?
I was torn out of my thoughts as he asked me a question which caught me off-guard, “Are you still a virgin, child?”
Dismayed, but amused, I started to laugh. I shook my head and said, “No, far from it!” I stopped, chugged the last remains of my tea and continued, “Well… with one of your kind… I guess I am kind of a virgin, but measured by human standards I guess I am more experienced than I should be.”
He grinned, his teeth flashing. “This doesn’t surprise me,” he said. He came closer, I had to resist the urge to jump away, and whispered into my ear, “But you will see that it is something completely different with one of our kind. For you puny humans it is nothing but a game, for us, it is much more than that. Of course, it is a nice diversion for us, but it is also art and sacral. Our best can make a female of any race dance on the edge of an orgasm for hours or even days on end, until she’s not able to feel or think about anything different and until she wants nothing else than that.” My eyes grew wider, he looked at me intensely and stroked perfectly gently through my hair; making me shiver and my stomach cold and queasy again, as well as my wish to get away from him even more dominant. It took all my willpower to not jump away; but I also did not dare it, for I was sure that he would feel insulted by it and I did not want to know what he would do to me then.
“You love and hate the thought at the same time, don’t you?” He laughed into my ear, his warm breath stroking it, and moved away again. “I think you have quite good prospects, perhaps you will be the chosen one of a Dracon, a Hierarch or even an Archon someday.”
“Chosen one?” I asked, confused and interested what this could mean.
“Oh, these are the very best of our slaves. Lucky. Most skilful. Those, who knew when to put a knife in someone’s back, how to endure their master and those who obeyed without asking. Those are the ones that get rid of the slave collar. It is a long way, a bloody way, a way, which asks for unscrupulousness and intelligence in equal terms; but I get the feeling that you might have got what it takes,” he explained.
“Who are you that you can judge that so well?” I asked him warily.
He laughed. “Oh no, my little one, this game only works in one direction. You will learn who I am when and if it becomes necessary. Everything you have to know right now is that I am your master and you are my slave.”
It was the cruellest thing he had done to me until now. Making so many promises, praising me so highly just to show me very closely what I was: a slave, a plaything to the whims of my master. It made me angry. I looked at him, looked calmly into those cruel eyes and said, with suppressed annoyance, “And what does the master now wish of his slave?”
My inflexion seemed to be too bold for him, because he seized me by my throat, pulled me closer to him and hissed, “That she shuts her mouth and lies down, to save her strength. A strength she will need awfully badly if she stays as insolent as she is right now!”
I saw that I had been too bold, dropped my gaze and said, aware that I had to be careful now, “As you wish, my lord. Forgive me; it wasn’t my place to be that bold.”
He let go of my throat, patted my cheek gently and said, “Good girl. You are quick-minded; this will help you survive.” His inflexion made my stomach turn.
He made a head movement towards the bed and I obeyed. I lay down, covered myself with the blanket and closed my eyes. My ill-treated body relaxed because of the soft bed. The captain turned off the light and to my great dismay, he came to me. I could hear that he took off the bodyglove (I could not see a thing now) and lay down beside me. I winced slightly as his filigree, but incredibly warm hand caressed my belly, then my breasts. I bit my tongue not to make a sound and held still as he did this, though I felt utterly sick and revulsion crept down my spine. He came closer, his warm breath stroked my hair and he brushed my forehead with his lips. Almost tenderly he whispered, “Good night, my little one!”
I forced myself to say, “Sleep well, my lord.”
He turned me onto my right side (facing away from him) and I froze as he pulled me against him, so his body touched mine; with this, I felt that he was still wearing his underpants. His skin felt different than the one of a human, softer and smoother. I tried to relax, while he still caressed my belly. It was difficult, because all I wanted was to run away or to bite his hand, to make him stop. In these minutes I realised that the time with him would not be as pleasant as I had thought, what a naïve notion. At some point, though, the fatigue washed over me and I fell asleep, at the side of my master…

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:41

Chapter 2

Mind Games

“You think to challenge me, pitiful human? Me, the bane of empires, the father of pain?
Let me educate you; I need a new pet...“
Archon K'shaic of the Kabal of the Bladed Lotus

AS I AWOKE the next day, I immediately remembered everything that had happened and what my current situation was. It did not lift my mood whatsoever. I lay on my back, opened my eyes and noticed with surprise and relief that he was not beside me. Nevertheless, I quickly realised that he was not too far away, because I could hear him say in a scornful tone, “Good morning.”
I raised myself to my elbows and saw that he sat by the table and was obviously having breakfast. I now sat up completely and wanted to move backwards to lean my back against the back of the bed, but I stopped with a small cry of pain. I cursed silently, because I had completely forgotten about my injured leg. He looked at me and said, “You truly are beautiful when you are in agony.”
I froze in mid-movement, looked at him bewildered and replied, “This is the most disturbing thing you have said until now.”
He laughed and responded, “Don’t forget from which race I originate. Some, who did, lost their minds over such petty things.”
He continued eating delightfully, then said, as a sideline, “Are you hungry? If so, come here.”
I laughed bleakly and stated, pointing to my leg, “And how do you think I shall manage that?” He just grinned at me viciously. I had to resist the urge to roll my eyes and I replied with repressed annoyance, “Oh, I see, we are playing this game. The slave has been naughty, so we humiliate her a bit.” I smiled joylessly and continued, “Believe me, to really humiliate me, you have to do better than that. I have been humiliated for the past 20 years.”
He laughed. “Refreshing. It doesn’t matter how impudent you are, you don’t cease to entertain me. Who did that to you?”
“My parents did.”
He seemed to be surprised and said, “You are quite stable if so. Usually, your race tends to be rather disturbed if their upbringing was unsettling.”
“Oh, you know, a bit of therapy and everything’s fine. I’ve always been a survivor.” The irony of those words hit me right after they had left my mouth. It had occurred to him too, because the smile he now flashed into my direction did not bode well for me.
I clenched my teeth and slid to the edge of the bed. Even the slightest movement of my foot was punished with waves of pain rippling through my whole body. I tried to hide my discomfort as well as possible; I did not want to give him the satisfaction of seeing me suffering, but I managed quite badly, because I wheezed like a stopping bus as I arrived at the edge of the bed with sweat on my forehead. I did not have to look at him to know how much he enjoyed watching this.
That was why I was extremely surprised when he came to me, lifted me and carried me to the table, seating me gently on one of the chairs. I looked at him in surprise and asked, “No mind games?”
He smirked and replied, “Such petty humiliation is wasted on you. You are too clever for that. I will find ways to punish you without damaging you physically in time; I can assure you of that.”
“In that case, I won’t spoil the fun for you.”
He looked down at me coldly and stated, as cold as his stare, “Don’t press your luck, little one! You’ve earned a lot of my favour quickly, but you can lose it just as quickly. And believe me; I have enough methods at my disposal which will punish you badly without ever letting Asdrubael know what I did to you.”
I bit my tongue to hold it, for he just revealed something to me. I was quite sure that not a lot of Dark Eldar dared to speak the name of the Supreme Overlord. This fact just added to my theory that he stood high in the Overlord’s esteem. That or he was just unbelievably idiotic not to fear and respect the Overlord.
Meekly I replied, “Forgive me, my lord. I think I still have to find my place.”
He flicked his right index finger against my temple, which made me jump more than I would have liked, since his pointed fingernails made it quite unpleasant, and he said, “You will learn fast enough, child. If not, I will show you your mistakes very closely. I can’t give a badly trained slave to my Overlord.” He then seated himself again and continued eating. I inspected the dishes and recognised some things which could have been found on a human breakfast table, but also many I did not know. I had always been a curious person concerning culinary art and therefore I decided to taste every dish. I did not like that he watched me with a broad grin. He really was wearing me out; I wanted to scream in his face why he was grinning like a cat with a big, fat mouse in its claws all the time. The moment I thought about it, it occurred to me that the comparison actually made sense.
Although I should have known better, I asked cautiously, “My lord… may I ask what the dishes are made of?”
His smirk widened and he replied, “Are you concerned about eating the flesh of your own kind?” I nodded slowly. He laughed. “Well, don’t be! Your meat doesn’t taste good if cooked or prepared otherwise. We only eat chunks of human flesh if they are ripped out of the still living, agonised being. It has to be… bleeding fresh.” I swallowed heavily, tasting bile on my tongue, and I almost lost against my roiling stomach, because it was apparent how much he had enjoyed his last words. Though I knew that humans were nothing but cattle for Dark Eldar, it still appalled me intensely.
I took a deep breath, fighting down nausea and disgust and started tasting all of the Dark Eldar dishes. I was really surprised that I liked most of it, though some things were very intense, especially for breakfast, but there was nothing I entirely disliked. He warned me of one dish especially, Mironin Haras (this meant something like ‘conserved blood’, not a nice name, but all Dark Eldar dishes had such charming names). This dish was a paste, shimmering in all different colours. Before I tasted it, I had to promise him to not swallow it quickly, but leave it on my tongue, no matter how intense it would be. Though I should have known better, my curiosity got the better of me and I tried it.
My eyes grew wide as I tasted a tiny spoonful.
At first, it was so hot that tears welled up in my eyes, then it tasted incredibly salty, my salivary glands seemed to explode, finally it went bitter as hell. I let the paste melt on my tongue, though this while was very unpleasant and I would have loved to swallow it. After this trial, I was rewarded for my patience, because those three components mixed to a really astonishing taste, not describable with words. “Interesting,” I said, as I had swallowed it.
He stared at me piercingly and approved, “Indeed. You are the first human I know to keep her stomach contents after tasting it.”
“Thanks for the warning,” I retorted sourly.
The captain chuckled. “It will be hard to make life difficult for you. It is a custom among my kind to feed only this dish to disobedient slaves for a while. Of course, we don’t tell them how to eat it. Most of them lose a lot of weight if on that diet.”
“And you enjoy every second of it, I bet.” This race really consisted only of sadists. Considering that this was the only way for them to prolong their life, it was no surprise at all.
“Of course, why should we come up with such ideas if not to use them afterwards?” He smiled and commanded, “Take another spoon!”
“Oh, now you really want me to push my luck?” I scoffed.
“Do what I say!” His voice made it clear that disobedience was a stupid notion. I therefore wisely followed his command and was surprised, for now, it tasted just great. “See? You have to trust me a little bit, child!” he said, his tone as taunting as ever.
I could not help it; I had to laugh because of the sheer irony in his words.
Trusting a Dark Eldar.
However, this was a grave mistake. He jumped to his feet furiously, grabbed me by the throat, lifted me and threw me on the floor. I let out an anguished cry because my injured leg dashed against the floor. I had trouble breathing, because he knelt on my chest with one leg. I realised in horror that he suddenly had a dagger in his right hand and at my throat; his left hand had grabbed my hair firmly and nailed me onto the floor. I breathed heavily in sheer agony and fear clung to my bones like ice for the first time, as I looked into his black eyes while he sized me up coldly and maliciously, snarling with rage. I dreaded what was to come next for me.
“Out of words, are we?” he growled. He took the dagger off my throat, turned around on my torso and I winced as I could feel the cold metal of the weapon against my hip. He did not allow even the faintest movement, because he wheeled around again, slapped me in the face with the back of his hand, seized me at my chin with his left hand, pulled me so close to him that the tips of our noses almost touched and hissed, “Don’t you dare to move!”
He let go of me again, I tried to hold as still as possible, though I was trembling in fear and I was in terrible agony. Then he turned his attention back to my lower body and ‘freed’ me from my underpants. Somehow, I did no longer have the capacity to feel embarrassed. He said to me, “It’s time to show you what it truly means to be the slave of a Dark Eldar.”
He reached onto the table and fetched a metal choker and a delicate chain. I really tried to figure out why I had not noticed those in the first place. He put the dagger aside, seized me by my hair again, lifted my head a bit and donned the choker around my neck. I did not struggle. As he closed it, I felt that it was unpleasantly tight. On the front of the choker sat a small eyelet, at which he now attached the chain. Then he got off me and stood up, the other end of the chain in his hand and commanded, “Get up!”
Because I did not obey immediately – how could I, disoriented and dazed as I was because of sheer pain – he pulled me up with the chain, which made me gasp in agony, and snarled, “I said, get up!”
He pushed me onto the bed and gave my back a hit with the chain. I cried out in pain, though I had clenched my teeth. He was beside me immediately, spun me onto my back and pulled me close to him with the chain again. Obviously satisfied he looked into my fearfully widened eyes and said, “See, little one? This happens if you make me mad. I’m sure that you won’t repeat this mistake again, am I right?”
I only wagged my head, silently and intimidated.
“Good. It would be a pity if I had to treat you like a regular slave; you are too promising for that. But if you should dare to mock me again, I will do some really unpleasant things to you. Keep in mind that this was just a small reminder.”
He left me through a door I had not seen until now, because it was behind a corner on the left side of the room. I guessed that it led to the bathroom. I was alone for quite some time and used this time to take a look at my back, seeing and feeling all too well that I had a severe bruise there. I snorted angrily. Who could have known that he was that humourless? Yesterday it had felt different, but then again, who could know how strong the mood swings of Dark Eldar were?
As he came back, obviously showered, because his hair seemed to be still damp, I had regained my composure somewhat. I only took a short and frightened look at him, and then went back to staring into thin air. He dressed and donned his armour except the helmet and I had to admit that he looked even more impressive in his ornated armour.
He came to me once again, seized me by my collar and I was taken by surprise as he kissed me. I struggled at first, but his vice-like grip made it clear that I would go nowhere. He did not hesitate, forced my jaws apart with his other hand and led me into a quite passionate deep kiss, which showed me that he knew very well what he was doing. Again, I fought against him, still not able to break his touch and absolutely appalled by him – in the first few seconds. Then I tried hard to push away the thought of who he was and what this could mean for me and let sink in what I was actually feeling. His lips and his tongue felt so different, warmer, softer, just more… perfect than those of a human, his pointed teeth were a bit disturbing. Though the situation was quite grim, I somehow enjoyed what he did, while pushing the thought of my situation into the far back of my head.
At least I enjoyed it until he ended the kiss, because shortly before, he bit my tongue so hard that I shrieked and started bleeding. Briefly, he licked the blood off, but then he released me, laughing viciously and also loosening the chain from my collar. He left without a word with my horrified gaze in his back.
So I sat there, swallowing my own blood, breathing heavily, trying to grasp what just had transpired. It was not pleasant at all, and I had a hard time to keep from laughing manically. It just kept getting worse by the minute. Obviously, it was not enough that I was in the hands of the Dark Eldar, no, I also had to be with one that apparently showed some sexual interest in me, in addition to the sadistic joy he did not hide at all. The only faint hope I had was that he would not assault me because I was not meant to be his, however, it remained to be seen how far the influence of the Overlord truly reached.
I was also aware that he had to be quite mad with me because he dared to hurt me that crudely. I did not know how long this journey still would take, but I guessed that all my wounds would have healed until we arrived in Commorragh. If he really wanted to dare to give me not unscathed to his lord, then he had to be truly unwise.
I was surprised as the Haemonculus entered after a short while. He looked different today; half of his face was covered with a black mask, which just underlined his intense, black eyes. “See? I told you that we would see each other again,” he said, his covered smile apparent in his inflexion.
“Unfortunately, the circumstances are not as pleasant as anticipated,” I replied with a sullen tone.
“How come, my child?” The Haemonculus truly seemed to be curious and seated himself beside me on the bed, looking invitingly at me.
“Well, I think I’ve angered the captain quite badly,” I began hesitantly.
He asked, again with a smile in his voice, “What makes you think that?”
I told him what had happened. While I did this, he examined the welt on my back and assured me that it would be gone in a week.
When I was done, he shook his head and said, “Don’t fret, child. He isn’t actually mad at you; this was just a flash of irascibility, nothing more. If he had been truly mad, I can assure you that we wouldn’t have this nice chit-chat, but I would rather fix your wounds and see to it that no scars remain from your punishment.”
I replied sarcastically, “Now I feel reassured!”
He chuckled. “Let me tell you a few things about the good captain. His name is Archon Verisael Chu’uk, young for his position, an upstart, who has impressed the right people with his intelligence and ingenuity and was cunning enough to overthrow the last Archon before him. Because of that, he is extremely unrestrained and it is also the reason why he is so impatient with his men. He wants to prove himself, this mission is of utter importance, and he wants to do everything right, a lot of pressure is on his shoulders. Additionally, if you are insolent on top of that, this is just the final straw to make him explode. But I am sure that he enjoys your courage.”
That explained a lot. He was one of the highest of the Kabal, above him stood only the Supreme Overlord himself. If he were not in the Kabal of the Black Heart, he would have been the head of a Kabal.
“Well, yesterday he seemed to enjoy my presence and the fact that he could have some decent conversation with me. That is also why I was surprised by his anger,” I explained.
The Haemonculus shook his head and elaborated, “Never forget that our emotions are far stronger than those of your kind. You have to get to know your boundaries and you should never dare to overstep them. Who knows who your master in the future will be and how impatient he or she may be with you?”
“I thought I was meant for the Supreme Overlord?” I asked, now confused.
He sniggered. “Yes, of course, you are, smart child. But if he should tire of you someday, you may be given to another master and as it is with you humans, we also all have different personalities. But there is one thing I can tell you about the Overlord: he appreciates intelligence and ingenuity and he will like yours. Time will show how long you will be able to entertain him with that.”
I was really surprised that he told me such valuable information. I said, “May I ask you something, my lord?”
“Go ahead!” His eyes flashed in amusement.
“Why are you helping me?” I truly wanted to know.
He looked at me, interested, and then said, tilting his head, “Does it make a difference?”
“No. Yes. Seriously, I don’t get it. Of course, I am grateful for every ounce of help I can get, but I simply don’t understand why you are doing it. What can move someone like you, who is possibly thousands of years old, towards helping such a young human like me, who is nothing more than another slave? Yes, I may have more potential than most of my kind and yes, I may be of use to you, but I simply can’t imagine that this is enough reason for you.”
He chuckled mysteriously. “You wouldn’t understand the answer if I gave it to you. Let me put it that way: it is refreshing to be reminded what it is like to be… young.”
“But this is only one part of the answer, am I right?” I replied, somewhat knowingly.
“Yes, my little one.” His gaze was now piercing, then he said cryptically, “You have some merit, child. We will see how far you will go.”
Then he turned towards my leg and said, “Try to hold still now! I will look after your wound.” He produced a casket made of ebony, which contained his instruments. He removed the bandage and the fixation. I could not see what he did in detail, since he sat in front of me. The procedure was painful, because he cleaned the wound again and applied a gel onto it, which burned like fire. I gritted my teeth and tried to hold as still as possible, but it was not always possible for me.
When he was done, he said, “Well, to be bold, I’m not satisfied. You shouldn’t put weight on that leg for at least a week.”
Sourly, I replied, “It is not like I had a choice. The Archon threw me.”
He nodded. “I see. Then try and don’t anger him more than is inevitable. Nevertheless, I will talk to him, otherwise, he will have to present a limping slave to the Overlord and this will be definitely on his head.”
“Thank you again.” My gratitude was sincere. Being patched up by a Haemonculus was an honour after all.
“Oh no, don’t thank me, because on the long run this would fall back onto me since I am the physician on this ship. And I can’t have that.” He patted my shank and said cheerfully, “Well, time to go, my child. I’ll be back tomorrow. Have fun!” I drew a face and he left me with the sound of his cackling and horrid laughter.
Again, I was not alone for a long time, because shortly after the Haemonculus had left, a very unsure looking girl came through the door. She was human, not older than sixteen years and definitely a slave. She said to me, “Um… hi! I was told that you would need my assistance in moving around in the quarters and I am here for exactly that.”
I sighed with relief and said, “Hey, I’m really happy to see you, because – to be bold – I really have to go to the toilet!”
She came to me and helped me out of the bed and into the bathroom, which was quite small and which contained a shower, a washbasin and a toilet. When I was done, she wanted to help me back, but then said, “Oh, and I also was told which items you are allowed to use in the bathroom.” She showed me, which that were.
I nodded and replied, “Thank you. I so need to refresh myself. I’ll call you when I need you.” She nodded and left me.
After what felt like a quarter of an hour I limped back to the bed, she helped me with that. I felt better, though I would have killed for some clothing. I had a bad feeling that it would take some time until I would get some again – if ever. Since there was nothing to do for me, I started talking with the girl.
“Are you allowed to talk to me?” I asked her.
“Yes. Oh dear, I thought I’d never see another human again,” she replied.
“So, are you from earth or from the Imperium?” I wanted to know.
“Imperium?” The confusion was apparent on her face.
“Alright, question answered,” I said with a sigh.
“God, what are these… things?” she said with a shudder.
“I fear, I have bad news for you…” I told her about the Dark Eldar and about the universe they came from and it was no surprise that she was not quite stable after I had finished. I understood her fear, because I was quite sure that I was only that calm because I knew I would stay mostly unharmed until we arrived in Commorragh.
“Oh god, I… I don’t want to die!” she cried out, tears welling up in her eyes.
I laid an arm around her shoulder and said, “Hey! Hey. Come here.” I hugged her, stroked her hair and said, “There, there. It will be alright, you will see.” I knew that this was a terrible lie, but I had to tell her exactly that. “You see, you have to calm down. If they see you cry, they’ll only enjoy it,” I explained to her. It took me quite some time to calm her down again – at least that much so she stopped crying, and it took me even longer until she did not look like a picture of misery.
I knew that her reaction was normal and my calmness was not. I too should be such a crying mess, but somehow, my situation did not affect me as much as it should.
When I had managed to calm her somewhat down, the Archon came back. Isabelle (this was the name of the girl) had a hard time keeping calm. I looked at him defiantly, but also afraid, too stubborn to just fear him, though I had a queasy feeling in my stomach. I had not forgotten what he had done to me, though I knew that he could do much worse. However, my injured pride was much more painful than my physical wounds.
I did not alter my gaze as he smirked at me. Then, his attention wandered to Isabelle, his facial expression grew contemptuous and he said to her, “Oh, you are still here, I forgot. Leave! The guard will take you back to your cell.” She literally fled the room.
When she had left, he shook his head. “You mon-keigh are so pathetic. I still wonder why you make up most of our slave population,” he said with a still disdainful huff.
I shrugged and stated, “We must be good for something, apparently. Also, there is a thing I wonder about, my lord, if I may ask?”
He nodded while he took off his armour.
“When you are talking to me, you don’t call me a ‘mon-keigh’, which really surprises me. May I ask why?”
He snorted scornfully and explained, “Don’t let it go to your head, slave, but you are not the average slave from your race. Therefore, I decided to call you a human.”
I knew better and was sure that he was lying, just to keep me under his thumb. It was not ordinary that Dark Eldar really called a human ‘human’. If they did, the one concerned had to be something special. This was good for me.
Unexpectedly he said, “Did you like your fellow slave?”
Truly puzzled, I asked, “Why would you care?”
He was at my throat in only one fluent, quick movement. His eyes flashed angrily at me and he said with a snarl, “You don’t have to know why. Just answer!” I had been far too disrespectful. I needed to stop this cheeky behaviour, otherwise, he would discipline me.
Ruefully and scared I replied, “I’m sorry, my lord. Yes, I like her.”
His eyes flashed and I did not like the way he looked at me.
“Oh, then you will be even more sorry to hear that when you no longer need her, she will be my torture slave. She disgusts me and the thought of ripping her intestines out delights me” he said in a cruel tone. I looked at him horrified, I could not do anything else, and the fear had my stomach in its icy grip once again. He fed on my horror for a while and then he declared, while raising an eyebrow, “What, you won’t beg for her life? You are even more interesting than I originally thought.”
I gasped, “Where would be the sense in that? You will do as you please, my word won’t change it.”
He laughed maliciously. “True words indeed. We will see how stable you are after you are done listening to her screams,” he said. Then, he let go of me.
I swallowed. It looked as if my journey would be much more unpleasant than I had originally anticipated.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:42

Chapter 3


"You? Why should I care? You, a pitiful child, asked me for mercy?
I am older than you could possibly imagine, I have watched entire worlds burn beneath my feet,
I have seen things which defy sanity itself, and you ask me for mercy?
You mon-keigh disgust me. "
— Archon Kh'err'akh'an of the Kabal of Shadow, to a captured Imperial.

IN THE NEXT days I was very uneasy, to put it mildly. I needed a lot of restraint not to tell Isabelle what would happen to her since it was hard enough as it was. I would not have done her any favour with it. Had I told her, she would have been broken before the Archon could have his twisted fun with her and he may have held this as a grudge against me, which I wanted to avoid at all costs. I knew that my behaviour was condemnable, but I had to look out for myself. Bonding with other slaves caused nothing but pain here, as hard as this sounded.
However, an interesting distraction was at hand.
On the fifth day after I had been caught, I awoke to the sound of two voices talking to each other. After waking completely, I recognised that it was the Archon and the Haemonculus who were obviously engrossed in a fiery discussion. I pretended to be asleep, since I could understand their words. Clearly, somebody had forgotten to turn off the translator.
Still, I had a hard time following the discussion, because they were talking about strategic details of their mission. What I figured out quickly, was that the Haemonculus seemed to question the Archon quite intensely. He seemed not to have as high as an opinion of him as he had talked me into believing.  
So I lay very still and listened, until the Archon spat, “I don’t care what you would like me to do! This is my ship and it is my command! Do what you’re here for, I want that little bitch healed by the end of the week; I need to prepare her for the Overlord!”
“Thanks for that title,” I thought. Then, Chu’uk stormed out of the room, huffing.
The Haemonculus snarled too, muttered something under his breath I did not get and then said, “You can stop pretending, child. I know that you are awake.”
I winced, but opened my eyes and sat up a bit. Then I could not help grinning confidently and said, “So this is what’s it all about! I see now why you are helping me. You don’t trust Chu’uk at all, which is why you want me to trust you, so I can work as your spy. Am I right?”
He released his breath with a hissing sound and replied, “You are too clever for your own good, young one, but yes, you are right. Something is odd about this Archon and I just want to know what it is. I think he is up to something major.”
“Alright, I’m all in, since I don’t like him too much. But how should I accomplish this? Neither am I somehow trained in this field of expertise nor can I spy on him since I don’t speak and can’t read your language,” I stated.
“Then we’d better train you, hmm?” Oh my, was he never going to drop this slightly amused tone, suggesting he always knew a bit more than he was telling me?
“Oh, I’d love to be trained, but I doubt that he will let me go, since he wants to ‘prepare me for the Overlord’, whatever this means, but I don’t like the sound of it,” I replied with a sour tone in my voice, slightly annoyed by his smug behaviour.
The Haemonculus sneered. “Luckily, I have a say in such things. Since you are a biotechnologist, I have use of your skills. Therefore, I will take you in as my assistant and there is nothing he can do about it,” he said. “Unfortunately, I will have to wait a bit with this, otherwise, it would look suspicious.”
“Do we have enough time?” I asked anxiously.
“Depends on how fast you learn. It will take about three months until we reach Commorragh. It is little time, but you have proven that you are quite bright and I have my means to accelerate your learning rate. But I must warn you: it will be hard for you, I will be hard on you, and in the evening you will have to face the Archon again. And I deem that he won’t be too gentle with you either.”
I nodded.
“It is sealed then,” he said.
There were interesting times ahead.
However, first and foremost, unpleasant ones were about to come. I spent the next four days brooding seemingly sullenly, but within I was almost eaten up by fear. I tried to prepare myself for hearing Isabelle’s terrible suffering. If I was unlucky, the Archon would make me watch.
I also discovered a very cruel aspect of myself in these days. I had to find out after three days that Isabelle was an absolute girlie, something I could in no way relate to. She also had started quite quickly to go on my nerves, since she kept whining about her situation and babbling about topics that did not interest me in the slightest. It was not that I did not understand her, but after days of constant complaining and yapping, I had enough. So I caught myself thinking happily that I would be rid of her soon enough, though I knew that it was very cruel to wish anybody such an ending, even if that one was the biggest girlie on earth. Maybe this was also the desperate try of my mind to make Isabelle as unlikeable as possible to me, so that I would not be that much shaken by her inevitable screams.
On the fifth day after I had eavesdropped on the conversation between Archon and Haemonculus, the latter gave me permission to walk again. I knew all too well what this meant for me. The Archon would tear Isabelle to pieces today. Feeling very uneasy, I waited until he came back.
Chu’uk entered the room with a terrible smile on his face and I knew what was about to come. He already seemed to know that I did not need Isabelle any longer. Without altering this horrid smile, he went directly to her, grabbed her by her collar, drew her very close to him and whispered tenderly into her ear (but loud enough so I could hear it), “Time to play, little one.” He laughed maliciously as he saw in her widening eyes that she knew what that meant. Without taking notice of her pleas for mercy, he dragged her into the torture chamber.
Trembling, I closed my eyes as I realised that I still could hear them. I was not surprised. I could no longer understand the words, but I heard enough, well, enough for the Archon’s purposes anyways. What actually surprised me was that he came back. He went directly to me, grasped me at my collar, threw me on my ventral side, pressed me down and bound my hands behind my back. He seized me by my hair and hissed into my ear, “We don’t want you to cover your ears, child.” Then he let go of me, leaving me as I was and went into the other room again, laughing eerily.
I had a hard time squirming back to my sitting position – with hands bound on one’s back this was not an all-too-easy task. As I was there again, I closed my eyes and awaited the terrible course of things.
It did not take long until the screams began.
I tried to stay as calm as possible, though I could hear all too well what was transpiring in the other room. I learnt that her screams were not even the worst thing about it, because I could hear that he taunted her as he tortured her and he punished every plea and begging for mercy with even more intense agony. His bloodcurdling laughter, which accompanied his terrible deeds, did not help at all. I tried to focus on the fact that I was lucky not to be forced to additionally watch this terrible scene. It did not help a lot, because my imagination undertook that part as gruesomely as if Chu’uk had made me watch.
Afterwards, I did not know how long it had taken, but it had been far too long for my taste. I did not know whether she had fainted or he had killed her – it did not matter. Desperately, I clung to the faint hope that I would not end like this, although I knew it was all too probable.
So I sat curled up on the bed and could not help but to stare with fearfully widened eyes at the Archon, who now came to me and did not hide his dreadful joy. His gauntlets were covered in blood; I guessed he had rammed those terrible claws into her body. He did not say a single word, came to me, seized me with a slick gauntlet at my chin and kissed me. I had a hard time not to gag as he did this, since he disgusted me so much, not at least because the smell of blood was overwhelming. I fought my revulsion with all my might and tried to remember that this was absolutely normal for Dark Eldar. I won against my revolting stomach just so.
And of course, he bit me.
This time, he did not stop the kiss after his bite, licking the blood from my tongue and enjoying it full-heartedly. Still, some blood ran down at the corners of my mouth and I trembled in his vice-like grip, fearing that he was lost in his bloodlust and that he would now start torturing me.
Therefore, I was surprised as he drew his mouth away from mine with force, looking deep into my eyes and whispering, “No… you are not mine.” He sighed. “Such a pity.” Then, his vicious smile was back, now underlined with my blood. He smeared even more of Isabelle’s blood onto my face as he caressed my left cheek – I closed my eyes in horror as he did this – and he said, mocking me, “Hmm, wasn’t that a nice lesson in humility, my little slave? I can feel that you will respect me a lot more in the future. Am I not right?” He did not expect an answer and just left me, entering the bathroom.
As he had left the room, I just sat in the same position, frozen in horror and still fighting against my roiling stomach. I did not notice that I was almost hyperventilating. I was lucky that he was away for quite some time, because it gave me time to gather myself, at least that much so that he had no further reason to mock my fear. I also made myself aware that this was only a very mild form of the torments that could await me from his hand and somehow, though twisted, this notion eased my mental pain. At some point, I shook the horror off – not only mentally, I also shivered physically – and calmed down, at least so much that he could not see my fear in an instant.
He then came back again, the blood removed, and he doffed his armour. After that, he came to me, undid my bindings and said, “Alright, child, enough punishment for today. Go, wash! I guess you don’t like the smell of blood, though I have to say that her blood wasn’t good at all.”
“So, you did not enjoy it?” I asked warily.
He chuckled softly. “Oh, I did, but she was terribly weak. Blood from weak mon-keigh tastes terrible.”
I then had to ask, though I was aware it was not all too clever, but I needed to know, “And what about mine?”
His appreciative sound already answered the question for me but he then breathed into my ear, “Do you think that I like to bite you while I kiss you if your blood tasted bad?” He snapped his teeth beside my ear, making me flinch, because the sound was unpleasantly loud. I tried to stay calm and only wagged my head in answer; I would have never managed to say something right now. He laughed softly and scoffed, “Clever girl. Off you go!” I followed his command with delight and vanished into the bathroom.
There I forced myself not to look into the mirror, because I was sure I would only be sick again. I went into the shower and let the hot water rain down on me for quite some time. While I let my mind wander, I noticed that I had absolutely no idea how I was to survive or even endure the Supreme Overlord if Chu’uk’s small games almost drove me mad. It was a known fact that the former was the worst of this race, concerning cruelty, no, rather concerning everything. All my hopes lay with the Haemonculus, for his training would either let me make it or not. I would give everything, as much as I had never given in my whole life and I would persevere, no matter what. Giving up and perishing pathetically was not my style; I was too proud and too stubborn for that.
My unshakeable willpower, which had been tested many times before, gave me courage and strength. It was enough to face the Archon again relatively calmly.
Therefore, he eyed me with much interest, tilted his head a bit and stated, “It’s really interesting how quickly you are able to regain your composure.”
I shrugged and replied, repressing all fear that was left with all my might, “Crying and wailing is no good for me. So I simply try to stop and be calm.” I managed to say that without a trembling voice, though it took all my mental strength.
“And you’re doing a good job with that. Come here, little one, time to sleep!” Luckily, he seemed to fall for it.
I obeyed, laid into the bed and endured him stroking my body as I tried to fall asleep. I wanted nothing more but to bite his hand and to push him away, but I could do no such thing, because he made me feel so weak and terrible and also I did not want to find out what he had in store for me if I dared to attack him. It surely was better for me if I just endured his deeds silently. At some point, after I had retreated into the farthest corner of my mind, I was able to sleep.

Somebody woke me the next day quite early and I caught sight of the Haemonculus. Chu’uk was nowhere to be found, and I was grateful for that. I looked at him drowsily and he said, “Rise and shine, child! We have lots of work to do, you have much to learn! Make haste with eating and washing, I will come back in half an hour of your time.” Then he left.
I did as he bid me. He came back like he said he would and I was unbelievably grateful that he brought some clothing for me with him, though it was only practically underwear made of some soft material. Still, it was better than being forced to run naked through the ship. He then donned a chain on my collar and we started our little journey through the ship.
The ship was very gloomy – as it was with all things in Dark Eldar culture, I guessed. It was only very dimly lit with a cold, blue-greenish light – barely enough for me to see – and everything was made out of black metal. I was surprised that I was able to see in the corridors, because the last time they had been pitch-black. We did not meet many people, most of them were warriors or messengers, who ran their errands and I felt interested gazes upon me, but no one dared to talk to me or touch me. I was very happy that I was with the Haemonculus, a twisted notion.
It seemed as if the lab of the Haemonculus was on the other side of the ship, because we took quite some time, not walking all the way, but also using some elevators and other means of transportation. The corridors did not change, no matter where we went and I was sure that I would have been lost without a guide. Additionally, walking with bare feet was not too pleasant around here, since half of the hallways did not have solid floors, but rather grids made of metal. Also, the Haemonculus had me walking at quite the pace, in defiance of his means of locomotion, and it was hard to hold that pace, considering the metal around my neck.
At last, we arrived at our destination, the lab of the Haemonculus. He led me inside and I was surprised as we entered it. I was glad that it was a pleasant surprise.
My expectations had been that I would see even more pain and suffering around here, since Haemonculi had a quite distinctive profession, but his laboratory was surprisingly sterile, held in black, and not so different from a lab of my time. I was astonished as I recognised some of the machines. The difference between a human lab and this one were cuffs that could be found on the walls and on some tables, as well as some very distinctive instruments. Haemonculi were, amongst other things, the torture masters of the Dark Eldar race.
I was very relieved when I was allowed to sit down on a daybed. He then tied me down, I looked at him in confusion. He explained, “Just a precaution, as the last time. To make you learn as efficient as possible, I will do two things. On one hand, I will inject a toxin into your system which will accelerate your learning rate rapidly, but you will have a headache after I give you the antidote. Don’t worry, it will not damage you, it only accelerates your neurones intensely.” He sighed and added absently, “Sadly, it only works on humans. It would be so nice for our race, but no one ever found a working and non-lethal formula.” I was amazed that I could identify with this creature a lot easier than with the Archon. Usually, Haemonculi were not known for their charming personalities and sane minds. But right now I just saw a scientist, who pitied that he could not find a beneficial aid for his people. After a while, he found back into the present and went on, “On the other hand, you will experience pain during your training, because I have learnt through extensive tests that punishing mistakes with pain makes the human brain learn the fastest.” I did not like those prospects, but it was not like I had a choice.
I asked, “What will you teach me?”
“Depends on how fast you learn. I will start with our language and writing system. This will help you greatly in spying upon the Archon. Then, to prolong your life as a slave, I will teach you etiquette rules for slaves and court etiquettes, since it will be good for you to know these. You will have to learn about the command structure of the Kabal, along with how you identify the ranks of every individual by reference to their armour, since if you have to serve at meetings of the highest in the Kabal, you’ll have to know in which order it is wise to serve them. These are the things we’ll have to get into your brain. The rest is rather a bonus and will transform you from an average trained slave into a well-trained one – though I can guarantee that your master will find it pleasing that you speak his language. If we have the time, I will teach you about the anatomy of the Dark Eldar body, medical knowledge, acupressure points and massage techniques and I will train you to endure pain more easily and how you can keep your mind from snapping. And, if there should be still time, I will fill you in a bit on the Overlord himself. What he is like, what you’ll have to avoid when dealing with him. However, I doubt we will get that far. Now, enough delaying talk! Let’s start right away!”
In defiance of his words, he attached a small metal plate on the top of my head and explained further, “This little chip will stimulate the pain centre of your brain directly. You will feel sharp, short bursts of pain if you make a mistake, but it will do you no harm.”
“Funny. In my time, scientists believed that there is no pain centre in the brain.”
He chuckled extremely amused. “Oh, they obviously have no idea. It is the best method to torture the hell out of a human without damaging him or her severely. Although… what would torture be without streams of blood and artistic markings all over the body?” His fondness of torture somewhat sickened me, though it was not surprising. Then, he injected the poison into my arm, folded a screen in front of my face and said, “I will leave you now. Train hard!”
And this I did…

The next three months were the hardest of my whole life. Though the Haemonculus showed me that I did good and learnt fast, he did not go easy on me. He had me training for ten hours a day but my day did not stop after this, because then I had to face the Archon again. Chu’uk noticed that my behaviour towards him improved and he let me know that he would leave my education to the Haemonculus, since I seemed to learn quickly by his methods. I was happy about that and I was quite sure that his fantasies about how the Haemonculus was training me did not match reality.
Though language and font of the Dark Eldar were highly complex, I was quick. I had never seen that many unnecessary letters and such strange inflexions and the font was made up of complex runes, which would mean something completely different if only one line was left out or done the wrong way. I noticed how quick I learnt, though I always had been talented when it came down to languages, but without the toxin I sure as hell would have been unable to understand it as well as I did now after just one month of training. I disliked the painful punishments, though, because they were really numbing, but again, the Haemonculus knew his stuff: I studied even quicker with that.
In the next two weeks, I was taught etiquette, ranging from greeting phrases to rules of conduct and also complex movement patterns. I also learnt how to determine the rank of a Dark Eldar by discerning the armour correctly. I really liked that, because I always found their armours to be awesome and it made me happy that I now had a greater understanding of them.
In the last six weeks, I also had some interesting subjects. I always fancied anatomy; therefore I hung on the Haemonculus’ every word, who decided to teach me his field of expertise personally. It was an honour and I was aware that no one else could give me that much of a detailed education concerning this topic. He spoke in his tongue with me, explaining on the one hand that the translators were not good enough to train me properly, on the other he wanted to train me even further concerning the Dark Eldar language. It was astonishing how different humans and Eldar were, the differences ranging from bone materials and location to internal organs, senses and nerves. Again, I was a good student and when he was satisfied, he taught me massage techniques and acupressure points and for these lessons, one of his torture slaves had a nice time, because I had to train the techniques on him. If I did something wrong, the Haemonculus punished me and of course, I was aware that he enjoyed my punishments pretty much. Additionally, he also enjoyed the last part of my training: mastering pain and steeling the mind.
He was not nice to me.
This was the utterly sugar-coated summary of it. First, he taught me specific breathing and meditation techniques, which eased pain, distress and nausea and then he inflicted all of it onto me and watched with delight as I tried to use them. I screamed and threw up more than once, since he did not take it slow with me but tormented me quite intensely from the beginning. Though I cursed him on the inside, I knew that it was necessary, because the Overlord would also be hard on me later on.
Oh yes, the Overlord.
In the end, when I did not start crying like a little child when he tormented me and when he was satisfied with my progress, he told me some things about the Overlord. There was not a lot of new stuff for me to learn here, since I already knew a lot about him.

Chu’uk made this whole time a living hell for me. Though he spared me from listening when he tortured someone, he now showed me closely how much he wanted me in a sexual way. He kissed me a lot, touched me in ways I found repulsive, hurt me while doing it and neither allowed me to make myself more pleasant to look at nor wearing clothes in his presence. Once, in a passionate fury, he was about to assault me and I only saved myself from that experience by reminding him in this moment that I was not his in the end and how unwise his course of action was. I tried not to remember too closely what he did to me for that insolence afterwards, only the Haemonculus saved me from being a complete mess for two weeks or so.
After this incidence, the Archon had no respect or kindness for me left; he constantly mocked me and agonised me whenever possible and treated me like a misbehaving and stupid pet. This was not very pleasant, but then again, this way he never suspected me as a spy. Afterwards I was sure that I was only able to bear his nastiness because I did not spend too much time with him and the mental pressure I experienced in this time was much more taxing than the physical, however, I also took his way of treating me as training for the Overlord, because he would be a lot meaner to me after all.
Thus passed the time with Archon Chu’uk.

Halfway through this time, I was able to read Chu’uk’s notes, which he kept carelessly in his quarters. What I found out startled me and let me doubt his sanity, because he really planned on assassinating the Overlord by his own hand. Chu’uk wanted to do it when he gave me to the Overlord, because then he would be close enough to him.
Had he never read any history book on his own people to know how this usually ended?
He really had to be full of himself to think that he was good enough to kill Asdrubael Vect in such a  crude attempt. The Overlord surely had survived more sophisticated attempts on his life and it was all too possible that he already knew what Chu’uk was planning.
How was the saying?
Pride will have a fall.
Without any doubt, Chu’uk was one of the proudest beings I had ever met.

I told the Haemonculus what I had found out the next day. He nodded and stated, “This is even more idiotic than I had anticipated. I had the feeling for quite some time now that the Archon wants to take over the Kabal, but that he wants to do it in such crude ways surprises me. Nevertheless, the Overlord has to be warned and protected and this is where you come in, child.”
I looked at him in confusion and surprise. “Me? But how…”
“You have proven that you are clever, so I am sure that you will find a way to do it,” he said, determined.
“But what about you? Can’t you…” I started, but again he cut me off in mid-sentence.
“No, child. I am not allowed in High Commorragh if I am not summoned there explicitly by a Dracon, a Hierarch or an Archon. Since you will be present, if your information is correct, it will be up to you, but I can assure you that if you do it subtly enough, the Overlord will be very pleased with you.” His eyes narrowed. “It seems as if you will have quite an interesting future, my child.”
I sighed. “Well, I hope I don’t blow it.”
“Let’s hope for all our sake that you don’t. If Vect falls, Commorragh will burst into a bloody civil war, which might consume the whole city. Normally I don’t care much about politics, but in this special case I’d rather be sure.”
“But I am sure that the Overlord can protect himself quite well without me helping,” I tried wiggling out of this, in a subdued tone.
His mood turned sour. “Do you want to rise in his favour and live not only as his torture slave or not?!”
“Of course, I want to!” I replied hastily.
“Then stop complaining and do your job, slave!”
This concluded the discussion.

It looked as if I had to manage somehow to warn or even save Asdrubael Vect…

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:44

Chapter 4

Asdrubael Vect
"There is no good story without a villain. I shall provide you with an antagonist beyond your imaginings
or even your comprehension, and as you die you will curse my name exquisitely."
— Drecarus, Necromaester of the Sutured Helix

I KNEW THAT we had reached our destination when I was roused from my slumber, because I was awoken by some slaves. After I had showered, they looked to making me presentable. I was surprised when I was given clothing, even though it only was a bikini made of leather and pure white gold. I counted myself lucky. Of course, I also was provided with a white gold collar. I didn't like the make-up they applied on me very much, but I assumed that the slaves knew the tastes of Dark Eldar better than me.
When the slaves left, I sat on the bed, somewhat freaking out. What would the city look like? Would I snap? Would I be acceptable to Vect? Was my fate to be a mere torture slave or something more important?
All the answers to those questions were extremely significant and precarious. I would have them in the near future, though.
A short while after the slaves had left, the Archon came to me, grinning widely as he beheld me and said, “Well, well, look at that! You really look enchanting.”
“Charming. As if I hadn’t offered several times to make myself more pleasant to look at,” I replied with a false sweetness in my voice.
Chu’uk laughed again. “Of course, my little slave, but it wouldn’t have been wise to allow it, because I’m quite sure that I wouldn’t have been able to restrain myself at all. But who knows? Maybe you will be mine someday and then we can indulge ourselves in all the things we have not done before.”
I took all my willpower not to show him in any way that I knew what he was planning and that he would lose his status quite soon. He would not die for a long time, that I was sure of. My timing had to be perfect though, since I wanted to impress the Overlord.
I stood, put the chain of my collar with a fake smile in his hand and said, “What are we waiting for? I’m sure that the Supreme Overlord is not a man of great patience.”
The Archon smiled viciously, caressed my cheek and replied, “Still so self-assured. I will watch with delight when your soul is torn to pieces by him.” I was already used to such petty mockery and therefore endured it silently. He donned his helmet and led me away. We walked through a lot of corridors, until we reached the exit of the ship. Eventually, we stepped into the eternal, blood-red twilight of Commorragh.
Though the Haemonculus had tried to prepare me for this, I was dumbstruck as I had my first look at the city, after my eyes had adjusted to the light – I was nearly blinded by it after god-knows-how-long almost utter darkness. Describing it in words seemed almost impossible.
All those were words that raced through my mind, as I tried to understand what I was seeing. The architecture was distorted and mind-bending, using angles that should not be possible, twisting and turning into sickening curves, diverting the eye, making one’s stomach roil. I felt sick and dazed as I tried to ascertain the nature of the city. The highest spires, like thorns, were beckoning to pierce the heavens, which consisted of black, looming clouds; from these very spires blood dripped down, uniting at the feet of those towers into rivers. The stench of blood and death was omnipresent around here and I had a hard time keeping my stomach from revolting.
One spire, belonging to a huge, black fortress, at whose outskirts we were standing, was piercing the clouds. I had a good guess whose it was, for without doubt, this was the Black Fortress, the seat of the Kabal of the Black Heart and the court of Supreme Overlord Asdrubael Vect.
Since the impression of the city left me dazed and sickened, I closed my eyes for a second, calmed my spirit and then followed my master obediently, who had been so kind as to give me a minute to look at the city.
As we walked away from the ship, some guards surrounded us. Their faces were covered with helmets, so I had a hard time determining from which races they originated, but I was sure that one of them was a Sslyth. Four arms, snake-like, massive and huge bodies were not to be found in many races. I also saw that the leader of this squad was an Incubus - all the things I had read about them were absolutely true. Just watching him walk was soothing for the eye, since his movements were so smooth and fluent; he was absolutely inaudible. If I had not clearly seen him, I had not been aware of his presence. The Archon and the Incubus greeted each other with a short nod and then we went on.
As it was wise in Commorragh, we only spent a fairly short time in the open; and then we stepped into one of the towers. Inside, my mind was tested again, because here I could hear what Commorragh was known for – a never ending screaming chorus of tortured slaves, which could be heard from far away, as well as the cruel laughter of their masters, who enjoyed prolonging the torment even further. It seemed impossible, but I had the taste of fear, pain and desperation on my tongue, they seemed to ooze out of the very air. As if all this was not terrible enough, the architecture inside was even worse compared to the outside; in here, the angles stayed as nauseating as they were outside, but to make matters worse, the stone in here was lined with vertiginous patterns, making it almost impossible for a human mind not to snap. Trying to ascertain the nature of these patterns was not a wise idea, because they made mind and body feeble and could let one easily fall unconscious.
This time, I was not given a moment to accustom to my surroundings, because when I paused in my pace, my master yanked my chain harshly. I was lucky to keep my balance, because I immediately felt under my bare feet that the floor was spiky and sharp. Falling onto it seemed like a bad idea.
I was led up gigantic circular stairs, the design on the walls and pillars continued and I needed all my mental strength not to get lost in those patterns. To make matters worse, my master found it amusing to bring me off balance and to watch me (indubitably gloating) regaining it just so. I hated him for that, but knew better than to show my anger. I just played along, focusing on the fact that his head would soon be found on a spike somewhere.
I did not fall, no matter what he did to me.
Nevertheless, it became more taxing not to fall the longer we climbed the stairs, because they were seemingly never-ending and my muscles were sore already. The higher we came, the more twisted the architecture and patterns got and after some time I had the feeling that they moved when I did not look closely enough. The blood-red twilight, which was let in by high, narrow windows, added greatly to this notion. It became increasingly difficult for me to keep my sane mind and I felt dazed again.
Eventually, we reached the top of the stairs and I was unbelievably happy as we did, because I had almost no strength left. We now stood in front of a colossal gate, which was decorated with the symbol of the Kabal of the Black Heart, the ornaments were made of platinum and gems; it truly was a magnificent sight.
Chu’uk took off his helmet and gave it to one of the guards; my chain was given to the Incubus. Then the Archon came to me, seized me at my chin, looked deep into my eyes and said, “Behave yourself! I can’t have the Overlord thinking that you are not well-educated; and believe me when I say this: if it comes down to punishing impudent or disobedient slaves, I am merciful compared to him.” I nodded silently. I winced as he cuffed my hands with handcuffs, also made of white gold. He said to me, “No slave, who meets the Overlord for the first time, is allowed to do so without being shackled.” I snarled in my head. It seemed as if the Haemonculus forgot to tell me about this small detail. Either it was that or Chu’uk smelt a rat and tried to thwart my plans.
I had to improvise.
Then, Chu’uk turned around again and the massive gate opened – without a single sound. With this, we stepped into the throne room of the Supreme Overlord Asdrubael Vect.
Again my stomach turned as we were inside, because here the architects had outdone themselves once again with mind-bending madness. The room was an enormous dome and the patterns on the walls wound to the top of it in a vertiginous helix in the middle of which a circular window was located, exactly above the throne. Also, eight windows, which were placed radially around the room, squirmed unto the top, following the curve of the dome and they had no straight lines whatsoever.
Now everything spun around me. I had to tear my gaze away from all of this to keep from fainting. As I dropped my gaze, I gasped in horror, because also the floor was arranged in a helix-like pattern, twisting and turning, missing any straight line; it was not helping at all with my nausea. Additionally, walking with bare feet in here was really agonising, because every single line in the pattern on the floor was a sharp edge. I had not yet been able to sneak a peek of the Overlord, because everybody around me was too tall and I had no chance of looking over their shoulders.
With all my might I remembered my training, closed my eyes and padded along behind Archon Chu’uk. I halted as I felt that the rest did so too and slowly, distressingly slowly, the spinning in my head stopped and my senses grew clear again. I then carefully looked around me and peeking between the guards I could see some kind of machine on the left side of the throne, possibly a translator. It did not surprise me, because, after all, none of them could know that I spoke their language pretty well.
Unified, the group bowed and dropped shortly to one knee before the Overlord and I followed their movements accordingly, for everything else would have been suicide. When we stood again, my master took a step forward and started with a long and expansive greeting in the tongue of the Dark Eldar. It was not translated, but I understood it all too well, not showing it, though, and I tried to look like a slave whose fighting spirit had been broken.
“All hail the Supreme Overlord of all of Commorragh! May all your foes shiver before your might and glory and may their end be a cruel and slow one! I salute you, with all my will and heart, my Supreme Overlord, my lord of lords!” Chu’uk said, his tone respectful.
I found it unnerving that I still had not seen one bit of the Overlord, however, in a second, I could hear him all too well. His voice was powerful, filling this vast hall with ease and it sounded cruel, dark, low-pitched and booming, still having an eerie touch through his multiple vocal cords. It was easily audible that he was used to giving commands and his voice carried the gravity of thousands of years, though it did not sound like the one of an old man, but one in his best years. I really wondered how some could believe that this man grew weak or old. Solely his voice made absolutely clear that he did not intend to die anytime soon, then again maybe he did not sound like this all the time. My heart pounded in my chest. Though I had not taken a single look at him, he already impressed me. His pronunciation and intonation of the Dark Eldar language were much more elegant – I also had to notice soon that he did not use any contractions. Well, that was how the founder of a language sounded, “Welcome back, Archon Chu’uk. I take it that your mission was a success?”
“Yes, my lord. A full success, I daresay. May I give my lord the details later? I have a present for his lordship, which will be to his lord’s liking, I deem.”
“Go ahead.”
The Archon was given my chain, took hold of it so tightly that I could not lower my head and led me forward.
Thus, I locked gazes with the Supreme Overlord for the first time.
Without a doubt it was his gaze that mesmerised me the most, for looking into a demon’s eyes could not have been any worse. His eyes seemed to absorb what little light was around here, like two bottomless pits, making one drown in them, and his gaze showed razor-sharp intelligence, unending malevolence and sheer, pure cruelty. There was a certain sombreness, gravity and experience in that gaze, which showed somewhat how old he actually was. Looking into those eyes unsettled me more than anything else I had endured until now, because I felt utterly naked and exposed.
The next shock came when I realised what I was actually seeing when looking at his face.
He was utterly flawless and youthful.
My mind raced. He should not look like that. It was a known fact that Dark Eldar tended to wither because of the things they had to do for survival, since the stain of their deeds darkened their souls and this darkness showed itself on their bodies, in the form of wrinkles, black lips and veins piercing their youthful beauty. What was wrong with him? Why was there not the slightest sign of these things in the face of the most ancient of the non-Haemonculus Dark Eldar?
However, I did not have the capacity right now to ponder this thought, because I needed all my mental strength to keep my jaw from dropping, for he was so incredibly handsome. His features were delicate, yet noble, his expression showed placidity and little interest in me; his sculpted, high cheekbones underlined the intense stare of his eyes. I also noticed that his features were not as clear-cut as those of any other Dark Eldar I had seen so far, which could be explained due to the fact that Vect was genetically closer to an original Eldar than to a Dark Eldar. After all, he was the founder of this race. Nevertheless, he was a truly magnificent sight to behold.
In his right hand rested a spear-like sceptre, which was also set down on the dais on which the throne was placed. Without a doubt, this was the legendary Sceptre of the Dark City, a very sophisticated piece of Eldar technology. It was made out of black metal, runes glowed in red all over it, and a skull made out of platinum, three crescent-shaped blades, which were barbed and worked one upon the other, as well as spikes, ornated the top.
His armour was resplendent, made out of black metal again, decorated with platinum skulls, rubies, blades, barbs and spikes and each plate was chased with platinum. I then noticed that the armour was not black like I had thought before, because as I looked closer, I saw that the blood-red light was reflected in innumerable colours, like raven’s feathers did it. The sight was breath-taking. His head was graced with a tall and noble helmet, which was parted horizontally into three segments. It had no visor, but two horn-like, platinum blades which emanated from the position of his temples and were bent towards the tip. The tip was decorated with a mane of blood-red hair which had platinum strings inwrought in it. This mane and a heavy wrap with vertiginous white gold patterns interwoven in it played around his shoulders and sides.
The throne itself stood on a dais, some stairs lead up to it and it took the shape of two long, bent blades, which framed the Overlord’s head. Above his head and helmet, the sign of the Kabal of the Black Heart was embedded between the blades, shining in white gold. Behind the throne was a structure which contained a lot of skulls and swords that I assumed they originally belonged to the stupid ones who had dared to defy or fail him.
His throne was surrounded on one hand by a human female slave, who was chained to the throne, bearing a white golden collar with matching clothes, unearthly beauty and black skin; on the other stood his lifeguard, consisting of two Sslyth and two Incubus-Hierarchs. I really wondered how Chu’uk wanted to pass those without dying.
I heard that the translator started humming. It seemed as if the following words were translated for me. Chu’uk said, “My lord, I have brought this quite interesting slave to you, along with thousands for your dungeons, of course; however, I have deemed this one worthy to be presented to you personally. She is from the time you have sent us to and she has an enlightened view of humankind, which she is eager to tell, along with a very sharp mind, oddly sharp for a human. She can take a lot; the Haemonculus and I were not easy on her.”
I could easily see that Vect was not impressed at all – if he had been younger and unrestrained he would have possibly rolled his eyes, at least that was what his inflexion in the following words suggested. He showed more than just a little annoyance and disappointment, “Why should I be interested in another slave? I have enough servants of her kind.”
Before Chu’uk could reply anything, I interjected cautiously, “If my lord may let me greet the Supreme Overlord in the manner that is appropriate?” Probably out of pure surprise Chu’uk loosened my chain that much so I could perform the proper, movement-based greeting of a slave to an Archon. It was a complex thing, but I had been trained very well by the Haemonculus.
I took all my composure not to gloat after I was done, because the look on Chu’uk’s face was priceless. I almost could hear his mind raging why the frak I was able to do this and why the hell the Haemonculus had trained me that well. What also cheered me up was that the Overlord now beheld me with much more interest and in accordance to my feeling he then stated slowly and musing, “She has been taught well, Chu’uk, you have educated her nicely.”
Chu’uk only managed to reply thinly, “Thank you, my lord.” Clearly, he was left in disbelief.
However, Vect was not so easily impressed, because he said, “The way I see it, movements can be remembered, if shown appropriately. Tell me, girl: why should I consider you as my slave?”
I bowed respectfully – it was uncommon that an Archon spoke directly to a slave and the Supreme Overlord doing it even more so – and then I let the cat out of the bag as I replied in their language without fault and accent, “Supreme Overlord, I have been told that I am quite a good singer, cook, chemist, masseur and discussion partner; however, I guess none of that really matters to you. The thing that might interest you, Supreme Overlord, is the fact that you will not find a more cunning, scheming and intelligent soul in any other human slave. It might be… delicious.”
A startled murmur passed the ranks of the Dark Eldar and even Vect straightened himself, seemingly surprised too – it was not possible to read anything from his facial expression. It was very uncommon that a being from another race spoke their language and therefore the interest in the eyes of the Overlord seemed to be true. He leant a bit forward and said pensively, “It seems as if we will not need a translator with you, my child. Chu’uk, give her to me, I demand to take a closer look at her.” I almost pitied Chu’uk, because he looked so lost, but I also saw the anger in his eyes. Because of his rage he also forgot about his plans for change in management and he yanked my chain so harshly that I was choked and brought severely off-balance, barely keeping myself from falling. However, Vect criticised him this instant, “Gentle, Chu’uk! I will not have this precious little dove harmed!” I guessed that it was obvious to the Overlord that it had not been Chu’uk who had trained me. Teeth-gnashing and with a small bow the Archon gave my chain and the key to my metal collar to the Overlord.
Vect then pulled me close to him far more gently, until I was pressed against the side of the throne, so a few sharp edges pierced my belly. He changed the chain into his other hand, the one with the sceptre, seized me at my chin and drew me even a bit closer to him, making me look directly into his relentless eyes, our noses almost touching. I winced as the cold metal of his gauntlet touched my skin and my heart pounded heavily. As I was so close to him, I finally realised with whom I was dealing and that I could not grasp in the slightest what it meant to be the slave of Asdrubael Vect. He was a legend, not only amongst his kind and also not because he was so popular. He was rather infamous than famous. I swallowed as all of a sudden I felt terribly cold, a shiver running down my spine, full with fear and I froze in awe. Of course, he noticed these things and I thought that I saw a spark of amusement in those ice-cold and black eyes, but I was not sure. To look that closely and directly into those eyes was almost more than I could take and I needed every ounce of my willpower to hold still and not try to back away or divert my gaze. Then again, I was quite sure that I could not have managed any of it and I was also aware that it would have been a very painful mistake. This legendary Dark Eldar now inspected me from all sides, as if he looked at cattle at a market, well, I was not much more to him… yet. I had his interest, yes, but to be something else than a mere torture slave to him I had to distinguish myself even further. If I was lucky, I would get that chance soon.
As he was done, he let go of my chin. He then laid his left hand on my side and I barely kept from wincing because of the cold metal against my skin. I gritted my teeth and thanked the Haemonculus silently, as the Overlord dug the sharp tip of his thumb into my side, tearing through my flesh, giving me a bleeding and painful cut, while he gave me an adamant and intense stare. Only because of my excellent training I was able to remain calm and not to back away, yes, I did not even flinch as he did this to me; just my slightly pressed breathing betrayed me, however, I was sure that he could sense my distress and that he enjoyed it. Seemingly satisfied, he then pulled the tip out of my flesh. He made a musing sound while he licked my blood from the tip and stated, “Not what I usually prefer, yet she has got more spirit than any human I have ever met and her life essence possesses more beauty than anyone of any slave I have ever had. Additionally… she is quite calm. Having for once a slave who does not make the slightest flinch when having pain inflicted on her or is not shivering with fear and mewling in horror is at least something… different.” I was surprised by the last sentence since I had started to tremble in his grip in the end. Gazing too long into those eyes gave me a headache.
Nevertheless, I knew how to behave, did a slight bow and said, “Thank you, my lord.” Something moved in his face as I said these words. I was not sure what it was, but it could have been a slight sign of a smile.
“She even has manners! Interesting,” he declared and sounded somewhat amused, a thing, that did not fit this cruel face and voice. Then he said, “Hmm, did you not say earlier that you can sing, my child?”
I nodded.
“Well, then! Convince me! Sing for me!” he demanded. This command caught me somewhat off-guard, but I already knew which song I would sing. It was the perfect opportunity for me to warn him about the Archon. With great hesitation, for I had a big and extremely critical audience, which possessed far more vocal chords than a human and senses to match them, I began to sing with my contralto voice:

“And who are you,” the proud lord said,
“That I must bow so low?
Only a snake of a different coat
That’s all the truth I know.”

“A coat of red, a coat of black
A serpent still has jaws
And mine are strong and poisonous
As poisonous as yours”

And so he spoke, and so he spoke
That lord of such low tier

And now the rain weeps o’er his hall
With no-one there to hear
Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall
And not a soul to hear

This song was a good choice, because it lost nothing of its touch and gloom without instruments. The dome also ensured very lovely acoustics and I sang as fair as I had never sung before. I also had the best motivation, since my life was at stake. I had changed the lyrics a bit to make more clear of whom I was speaking, but the picture was quite obvious. The Overlord had closed his eyes while I had sung, now he opened them slowly again and declared, “An interesting song, sung by a lovely voice. I like the lyrics.” Chu’uk showed with his darkening gaze that he did not like the lyrics at all.
“Alright, my child, I will give you a chance to rise in my esteem. You will be my new personal slave. I was wary of my old one anyways, so this fits me just fine.” As soon as he had ended this sentence, his slave at the side of his throne started to beg for mercy, but not for long. She stopped with a cry of agony as he changed his sceptre into his left hand and gave her a casual slap in the face with the back of his right. This hit, though cursory, was hard enough to make her lower lip burst. Then, he decided to give her more attention, grabbed her at her hair and spat at her, “Hold your noise! You have annoyed me enough with your constant wailing!”
I winced because of his cutting tone. Having blades inserted into one’s ears had to be an equally pleasing sensation. As brutal as this scene was, it also was priceless for me. I now knew a bit more about the Overlord: first and foremost, I learnt that he appreciated it if his slaves only suffered openly if he wanted it that way. I would try and only let my pain show if applicable. Secondly, I saw his enormous physical powers through this hit. The fashion of his blow had shown that it had been only a slight hit, had he been serious, he would at least have dislocated her jaw. I swallowed inconspicuously. He seemed to be a lot stronger than any Dark Eldar I had encountered before. Who knew whether he was genetically or bionically modified, although it would have been rare outside of the Covens of the Haemonculi?
Asdrubael Vect was known to be out of the ordinary, in any way.
The Overlord now took his sceptre into his right hand again and said, “Take her to the Prophets of Flesh Coven! I am sure that she will be of use to the Haemonculi.” At first, I wanted to wonder to whom this command was given, but in an instant, two guards (all of them were Incubi, as I had to find out), who came out of nowhere, fetched her and dragged her away. The next words of the Overlord concerned me, “Let this be a lesson for you too! You will only wail and scream when I allow you to!”
I bowed my head and replied, “Yes, my lord, I will.”
Seemingly satisfied, he looked into my eyes, caressing my wounded flank so that I flinched, and commanded, “Chu’uk, do me a favour and let the child be brought to my quarters. I will occupy myself more with her later on.” Again, he showed this almost-smile. I could not figure him out and was sure that I would not for a very long time, if ever, assuming I survived longer in this society than a handful of weeks. Chu’uk did as bid, and neared the throne again, apparently submissive, but I had learnt to read him and seemingly Vect did not sense the danger he was in. I was not too fond of letting Chu’uk even try to assassinate Vect, because I was quite sure that the former would make my life a living hell for humiliating him as much as I just did.
I was faster than Chu’uk, solely because I knew it in advance.
With supernatural agility, the Archon jumped at the Overlord, his sword flashing in his hand. I did not think the moment I jumped at him. I collided with his sword arm, got my belly cut at his armour and brought him off-balance. He shook me off, but I was not ready to give up. I jumped at him from behind as he turned to the Overlord once again, clung onto his back with my legs, threw my shackled hands over his head and started to choke him, giving him a thrust with my hips to make him stumble. He now completely lost his balance and fell on his back, on me. Chu’uk obviously did not expect this; this was the only reason why this worked. The spikes and blades on his armour now dug into my flesh and I gasped in pain, while his weight knocked the air out of my lungs. His guards also jumped at us. The Klaive of the Incubus came down on my head. I closed my eyes, sure that this was it.
I clenched my teeth as I heard a terrible metallic clank, which left my ears ringing. I opened one eye and I saw that one of the Incubus-Hierarchs of Vect stood over me, parrying the hit of the Incubus. Shots rang. I heard death cries. Chu’uk tried to get rid of me, but my position was too supreme. He could not shake me off and my legs and arms were strong, because I was an excellent equestrian. His attempts to breathe got weaker, his face changed colours.
My heart skipped a beat as Vect shouted, “Do not kill him, child!”
I let go of the Archon in an instant, who could only roll on his left side and fight for air. I loosened the chain that had twisted itself around my leg and stood up, being really happy that the Overlord had been so quick-minded as to let go of it, otherwise my neck would have snapped. I came back to my place at his side and gave him my chain back into his hand. I was not sure, but thought that a small spark of surprise flashed in his eyes as I did this. I also believed that I saw a small smile, but I was even less sure of that. As I gave him my chain back, my fingertips touched the tips of his gauntlets. I shivered. He noticed it and his eyes flashed with amusement, of this, I was – for once – sure.
I stopped wondering about that and looked at the scene in front of the throne. The Incubus-Hierarch had given short shrift to Chu’uk’s guards, because they were all dead and he alone stood victorious. He dragged Chu’uk up from the floor, shackled him, then picked up his sword and presented it to Vect. Chu’uk could do nothing but kneel and pant. I realised in this second that none of Vect’s guards but the Incubus-Hierarch had moved. Apparently, those Hierarchs were truly masters of their craft, as it was said. I shivered. The Overlord gave me a look that warned me not to do anything stupid as he laid my chain down beside him on the throne. Vect now took Chu’uk’s sword from the Incubus-Hierarch, looked at it and said, “A fine weapon, it is a shame that its master is a fool and a traitor.” He gave the sword back to the Incubus-Hierarch, who then thrust it into the structure behind the throne. “Take this traitor to my dungeons! I will deal with him later!” Vect commanded. Again, two guards appeared out of nowhere, dragged Chu’uk to his feet and steered him out of the throne room. He still had no breath to say anything in mitigation, not that this mattered or was somehow possible.
When they were gone, Vect took my chain again in his hand, turned to me and snarled at me, “Are you out of your mind? If you get yourself killed, you are of no use to me!”
I ducked a bit and flinched at his every word, because his inflexion was that sharp. Absolutely confused I replied, “I have seen it as my duty to protect my lord.”
Now I had confused him for a second, then I thought I saw that almost-smile again. He stroked my hair with this claw-like gauntlet; I winced beneath his hand, which seemed to deepen his strange smile. He stated, “You indeed are a sweet thing, my child! I find it refreshing that such a young girl like you is ready to sacrifice her life to save the one of such an old predator like me. Nevertheless, my child, you are not here to protect me; you are here to please me. The protection of my humble self is the responsibility of my lifeguards.”
I really wondered how I had been able to outdo an Incubus-Hierarch in matters of speed. It simply was impossible, not even the fastest human in the whole Imperium could have done this. Either the question was written all over my face, or Vect had read my mind, because he explained, “You were the only one to react because I told my guards to let him through. I already knew of his schemes.” Now it was my time to be absolutely confused. He noticed it and explained with an amused tone, “Of course I knew, do not look so surprised! Do not think me a fool who does not notice a traitor when he sees one. I just wanted to take him on by myself, because I found his crude plan utterly insulting, for if someone wants to dethrone me, they have to do it in a more sophisticated manner; this was just ridiculous.”
“And… and still, you let me take him on?” I said, extremely puzzled.
“To be honest, I was also quite surprised that you did. It was clear to me that you knew of his schemes; I just did not expect that you would defend me. I will reward you for that. Do you have a special wish, my child?” Vect said, his tone almost tender, a thing, that made me shiver, because it gave me the feeling that he was about to do something unspeakably cruel.
I hemmed and hawed a bit, then said cautiously, “If I may be so bold, my lord, I’d love to be rid of that collar.”
Now I could almost see this vicious smile of his. “No, my child, I cannot fulfil that wish, for this would loosen you of your status as a slave, and you are far from impressing me enough to give you that kind of honour. Never mind, I will think of something nice for you. Nevertheless, I see that you are truly keen. It was a clever wish with a good amount of a hidden agenda, I like that.”
The Overlord caressed my cheek; I closed my eyes with a gasp because I was afraid he would hurt me with the talons on his gauntlet. Being cut in the flank was one thing – cuts in the face were a lot harder to bear without a single sound. However, this time, it was just a caress. “You really are… unusual, to say the least. You will be taken to my quarters and I will send a Haemonculus to you to tend to your wounds. Yet, you have to answer that question first: who taught you so well?”
“Partly I studied by myself, for the most part I was trained by the Haemonculus who was on the ship,” I replied swiftly.
He lifted his eyebrows in astonishment. “By him? This day is full of surprises for me, it is truly refreshing. You have to know that he is one of the oldest and most renowned Haemonculi in all of Commorragh.”
Again, it was my turn to be amazed. “Well, I feel even more honoured then.” I smirked confidently and added, “And I knew that something was odd about him!”
The Overlord was amused by my childish triumph; I could see it in his eyes all too well. “I get the feeling that we will have quite the time together,” he said. Then he commanded, “Take her to my quarters and take those bindings off of her! See to it that she gets fed and bathed!” The Incubus, who was now beside us, confirmed the command with a bow. Vect gave my chain to the guard and said to me, “If you feel tired, my child, do not hesitate to get some sleep and you may sleep in my bed, ignore the cage. You are too valuable to deserve that kind of humiliation.” I nodded and the Incubus led me away.
I took a deep breath as we had left the throne room, because his presence was somewhat strangling and I was very glad that the situation had unfolded just as I had wished for. The guard led me down the only corridor that was here and at the end was a door and behind it another small circling stair. I really wondered why I had not seen any kind of elevators or teleporters around here, for I was quite sure that Dark Eldar were as technologically advanced as not to be forced to walk all the time. Maybe the stairs were another little test for slaves around here and the realisation hit me that climbing stairs with injuries was not fun at all.
We climbed the stairs, went through a door at the top and into another small corridor, which was a dead end. At the right side was a well-ornated door, which we also passed.
My stomach grew cold as we stepped into the room behind it, because we had entered the torture chamber, as it had been with Chu’uk’s quarters. ‘Chamber’ was not really the best description for it, because the room was quite large. It was freezing cold in here and I tried not to look too closely at the room, but I could not avoid seeing torture instruments and machines, shackles at the walls and the ceiling and some cages, which were all additionally sealed with energy fields. Not a single one of the cages was empty and I was quite sure that the Overlord would spend a great amount of his time around here, rejuvenating himself through the torments of those pitiful creatures.
The guard did not halt in his pace and brought me to the next room, for which I was very grateful.
Here I had to stop, because I was that amazed.
The quarters of the Overlord were – as it was to be expected – enormous and gorgeous. I noticed that this most likely was the topmost room of the tower, because it was very high, possibly twenty metres, and it tapered at the top. The base of the room was equilateral and a halved decagon; the walls did not keep the edges of the bottom, but tapered at the top in a round edge. The walls that were the farthest away from me and at the front, were made out of unilateral mirrored glass, meaning one could see out, but not in. I knew this because I had seen this kind of glass before, in the laboratory of the Haemonculus, and he had explained to me how it worked.
A breath-taking view of Commorragh was to be seen through the windows. The dome, which was the throne room, was underneath the spire, I could look down on it. I was confused that I could see the city, because from down below it had not been possible to see that spire I now was in, since it had been the one that had pierced the black clouds. Maybe it was good for me not to know the answer.
The view on the city was enchanting in a twisted way. Though this tower possibly was the highest in all of Commorragh, I still could see what transpired in the city down below… and how murderous it was. I saw countless, tiny figures, which scurried from tower to tower over millions of ways and bridges. The skies were also bustling with activity and I could see that it was a bloody game, on the ground and in the air. Fights were the daily fare and I could see more than one unlucky pedestrians on those innumerable bridges and walkways, who got fetched by one of the predators in the air. Possibly most of them were slaves.
I tore my gaze away from the view and examined the quarters of the Overlord further. I was very happy that the floor was smooth, but the black stone still had kept its vertiginous patterns. They were now made out of white gold, which was engraved into the stone and it gleamed like it was flaming hot in the blood-red twilight, it was a magnificent sight. The walls, however, still were sharp-edged and they were ornated with weapons, skulls and furs of gigantic beasts.
To my right, I could see a vast, laid table, made out of black stone. Even farther to the right, at the wall behind me, which was also the wall where the door was, was a huge fireplace, with a comfortable looking bench and two divans in front.
Between the table and the fireplace was the cage the Overlord had mentioned. I was very happy that I did not have to sleep in there, because it was a nasty contraption, a hemisphere made out of bars, which had mean spikes and barbs on the inside. There was barely enough place for a human being to huddle in there and being longer in this cage had to be really taxing, for just one little brush against those barbs surely caused some terrible wounds.
To my left was an enormous canopy bed, it was flanked by two nightstands, which had a lot of drawers. The four twisting bedposts, which were decorated with a blood-red, silken canopy, wound their way up to a platform, which was connected to the rest of the room through a circling stair. It was at least ten metres above the floor. I could not see what was on the platform; I only saw that from this platform again stairs led up, to another one, which was also attached to the middle of the wall with the entrance. In the leftmost corner of the room were some cupboards and an armour and weapon rack; to the right of the bed were two doors.
I was puzzled by the washing basin beside the entrance. It looked like a metal bowl, which possessed a tap that was ornated with flourishes and the bowl was standing on a solid block of stone. Next to the bowl was a pile of towels. I wondered why this basin was exactly here of all places, because I was sure that one of the other doors would lead to the bathroom. I figured that I would know the answer soon enough.
All things considered, these were quarters worthy of a king and Asdrubael Vect was exactly that.
The guard led me a bit more into the room and I flinched as the door snapped shut behind us, because it sounded extremely heavy. Then, I noticed something else; well, it was rather that I missed something.
The room was silent.
The everlasting background noise of screams and laughter was not to be heard in here. I was relieved because of that at first, but then it occurred to me that maybe it was that way so no one could hear what he did to me in here. I chased the thought away.
The Incubus unshackled me and also loosened the chain from my collar. With a strangely sombre voice he told me that I was allowed to eat and bathe and, when telling me the latter, he pointed at one of the doors to the right of the bed. Then he left.
There I was, alone in these enormous quarters and I felt as small as ever. I was glad that it was warm in here, because in the throne room it was a tad too cold for my light garment, although I was aware that I would have to spend a lot of time there with him. What a freezing notion.
I looked at the table and noticed how hungry I was. I had not eaten today, as I only now noticed with surprise, because the whole excitement had suppressed my hunger greatly.
Now, as I had time to calm down, I felt the throbbing of my wounds even more so. I looked down and was frightened at how bad it looked, because blood had run down my body and I was quite the mess. Therefore, I made haste to get into the bath, because I was supposed to be showered before the Haemonculus appeared. Nevertheless, before I did this, I had a peek behind the door that had not been explained to me. Unsurprisingly, I found the toilet behind it. Then I went into the bath.
Again, my breath was taken away, because everything was so impressive. The bathroom was a half-oval, big room, three walls were straight and the fourth was arcuate and the latter was made out of windows, again they were mirrored. The room was lined with black tiles – no surprises about the colour here. To my right I could see an enormous bathtub, which was embedded in the floor and it was also made out of black, shining stone, the taps were golden – it literally possessed more than one since it was that enormous – and it took half of the room, ranging from the entrance to the windows. To the left was a washstand, made from the same stone as the bathtub, which also possessed a golden tap and a big mirror with a golden and ornated frame was hung on the wall behind it. Straight ahead was the shower. It had a fixated shower head with a generous diameter, which was hung up high on the wall, and no cabin, but rather a wall of frosted glass separated it from the rest of the bath and the drain was embedded in the floor. To the right of the shower, between it and the bathtub, was a small sofa, which seemed to be very comfortable. I saw that clothing and a towel were there for me. I also noticed with delight that this room possessed an under-floor heating, which was very relaxing for my cold feet and also some soft mats lay on the floor.
I went to the sofa and found a short letter, which explained to me what I had to do with my old clothing and which things I was allowed to use for myself. I had to throw my old clothes into a barrel, which was standing between washstand and shower. As I opened the lid, I saw that inside was a shaft. I had no idea where it went. Vect’s invisible servants had to be on the ball, because the time between Vect giving the command that I was to stay in his quarters and me arriving here had not been too long. I guessed that one was as good as that in the Overlord’s service or perished…
…which reminded me of my fate.
I undressed and showered. At first, my wounds started to burn as the warm water ran over them, but then the sensation ceased and I relaxed with delight. The shower gel and the shampoo had the scent of eucalyptus, camphor and mint, which was delightful. I tried not to let my mind wander too far, but I succeeded not so well, dreading what the Overlord might do to me later on, though I still had some wild hope that he would not torture me at the spot, but rather would only do so if I was to be punished. I had this hope, because I remembered that his old slave did not have any obvious scars, then again, there were a lot of torture methods that were not in need of visible wounds…
I silenced my thoughts with an angry headshake. I would see soon enough. There was no need that I wore myself out – the Overlord would do that easily without any aid.
I stepped out of the shower, dried myself and went to the mirror. I took a look at the wounds on my back, they were thin, long cuts, but I did not waste my time too long with that, rather inspected the contents of the box that was standing on the washstand and was meant for me. I found hair accessories, a hairdryer, brushes (for hair and teeth) and make-up. I, therefore, brushed my teeth, combed my hair into an acceptable hairstyle (my hair was short) and put on some subtle make-up. Then, I inspected the new clothing I had been given and found that it consisted of a bra top and hot pants, both made out of soft leather. I was very surprised, yet happy, that I was given some clothing again. Everything fitted perfectly. Then I went back to the main room. I was already shaking because my circulation was breaking down out of sheer starvation; therefore, I sat at the table and started eating.
I had thought that the dishes on Chu’uk’s table had been exquisite, however, now I had to find out that they had been nothing compared to what I was now allowed to taste. I had never tasted such fantastic things, every single dish was kind of an excess for the palate, though I again found some dishes that obviously needed some kind of trick to make them tasty. I would try asking the Overlord about it.
When I was done and felt a lot more confident, I explored the rest of the room. I climbed the first set of stairs and at the top, I saw that this obviously was the private library of the Overlord. The platform was a lot bigger than it looked from the bottom. The shelves were not only filled with books, but also with data-crystals and –sheets. Also, a divan was here, along with a machine I could not fully identify and I guessed it was something like a computer terminal.
Then I climbed the second set of stairs. Here I again found two divans, between them a small table, behind them a whirlpool and also the private bar of the Overlord was here, in the form of an arched shelf, whose front was made of glass, through which I was able to see many bottles with different fluids in them and also many different kinds of glasses. Maybe I would have a sip of some of those, though the question remained whether I could stomach and/or survive them.
Once I was done, I descended and sat on the bench that was standing in front of the fireplace, to wait for the Haemonculus. I did not have to wait for long.
I was very relieved as the only Haemonculus I knew entered the room. He wore his mask again and said, as always with a smile in his voice, “I take it that you were successful?”
I nodded and replied, “Not as successful as I hoped, since he still forces me to wear that blasted collar, but I impressed him. At least I am allowed to sleep in the bed, not in the cage.”
He chuckled softly. “I’d call that quite successful. The Overlord is known for his explicit cruelty and adamant requirements when it comes down to his slaves, especially his personal ones. Also, the fact, that he doesn’t deem it necessary to test you or have a control chip inserted into your brain, shows that you must have done something right.”
“Control-chip?” I looked at him in bewilderment and disbelief.
“Oh, yes, one of our better inventions. These little devices either inhibit any movement of the slave that would somehow betray or harm her master or induce sense-crushing pain if anything is tried. That he does not deem this necessary shows either that he trusts you or that he does not perceive you as a threat whatsoever,” he explained to me and it was clearly visible how much he enjoyed telling me that.
“Oh dear, it seems as if I have underestimated you again.”
The Haemonculus let out an evil chuckle and replied, “Yes, we can play with your bodies even more and in ways than you could never even imagine. Also, you should know that the Overlord usually likes to test how strong in mind his personal slave is by putting her in that cage until she begs him to let her out and forces her to promise to do everything he demands, without hesitation. However, I doubt that he will do this to you; it seems as if he skipped this step and it is highly unlikely that he will rid you of that collar in the next time. You must impress him even further to have that honour bestowed upon you and pass his more advanced tests.”
“I have the bad feeling that I will land someday in that cage, for punishment,” I replied anxiously.
“Perhaps, perhaps not, yet only time will show us. Now, let me tend to your wounds,” he said.
The Haemonculus came to me, produced his small ebony box, which contained his tools, and I had to lie down on the sofa. He examined my wounds and then he started to disinfect them. It burned like fire, as always, but I clenched my teeth for I was used to worse things. Then, he covered the wounds with a cooling gel, which also burned, but it helped greatly with the healing process. Finally, he covered the injuries with gel pads, which would be absorbed by my skin and they helped with closing the cuts.
“You were lucky,” he said as he was done.
“Why?” I asked, though I was able to guess the answer.
“The spikes on Chu’uk’s armour could have been poisoned, besides, battling an Archon with nothing more than handcuffs could have ended in far worse wounds,” he explained patiently.
“Well, it is over and I guess I was that lucky because I really caught him by surprise. Also, you lied to me.” I figured that I was allowed this boldness, since this strange creature seemed to be somehow fond of me.
“Did I now?” he asked, his voice carrying a chuckle.
“Yes. You could have told me that you were one of the most renowned Haemonculi in all of Commorragh,” I said accusingly.
He laughed viciously. “I did not lie to you. I just did not deem it necessary for you to know.”
I shook my head. “Ah heck, you are right. Nevertheless, I want to thank you again for what you did for me. You certainly ensured my survival for some years from now on, though I have to say that the Overlord already knew about Chu’uk.”
He chuckled. “Of course, he did, he is Asdrubael Vect, nothing happens in Commorragh without him knowing it. Also, do not thank me too early – if you blow your chance from now on it could be not too long until we meet again – and then I will not fix your wounds, but rather give them to you. We would not want that to happen, now would we? And now, you’ll have to excuse me, I have to torture some slaves for the Overlord.”
“Wait a minute… you were aware that the Overlord already knew of Chu’uk’s schemes? Why then let me warn him? Why let me jump into the blade for him?” I asked, now utterly bewildered.
“Child, you have to learn a lot about the political machinations here in Commorragh. Did you really think that I solely let a slave warn him, risking that she fails? I got word out to the Overlord as soon as proof of Chu’uk’s treason was given to me by you. So, why did I still let you take Chu’uk on? Through that, I assured that you somewhat impress the Overlord and rise in his esteem. You are an enticing individual, I would have hated it to see you being destroyed so blatantly; you have such great potential, you just needed a push in the right direction.”
I felt betrayed, yet strangely honoured, because he truly seemed to cherish me. “Couldn’t you have just told me?”
“And risk that you do not try it with all your might? Do you really think that the Overlord would be impressed by such a mediocre display and would not see right through you? Whatever you may or may not know about him – remember, and remember this very closely: it is said that he can read lesser minds like books and you are absolutely no challenge to him. Don’t try to lie to him or outsmart him – you simply can’t.”
Though it hurt to hear that, he was right and his decision to make me run into an open blade had also been right. I decided to take it as an important lesson and pushed my mental injury away.
Then it occurred to me what he additionally had said. “You are his torture master? He does not do this himself?” I bolted out.
Again, he laughed. “Child, do you really think that he has the time to torture all those slaves he needs for survival by himself? We are talking about thousands of souls every night. He comes to our tower, feasts on the agonised souls we prepare for him and then leaves. Sometimes he finds the time to linger a bit longer, to savour the agony of the slaves we prepare for him. Of course, he does the torturing himself sometimes, on occasions when he finds the time and of course he enjoys doing it. Nevertheless, as Supreme Overlord of Commorragh and Archon of the Kabal of the Black Heart one does not have time to torture slaves for hours or even days on end until they break. Before you ask – yes, of course, he is one of the best torturers in the entire Dark Eldar race. We taught each other different techniques, sharing the same years of experience, we experimented sometimes together and even developed new methods to prolong the suffering even further!”
I had never seen him like that. He was outright euphoric, but that was the way Haemonculi were, this was their gruesome profession, their terrible passion. Though I knew that, a cold shiver ran down my spine, because it was creepy to hear him talk with such enthusiasm about such sickening cruelty.
“Again, before you ask: yes, I am also that old.” He went to the door and said, “Goodbye, my sweet child, I sincerely hope that we see each other again – and I hope for your sake that it will not be while lying under my knives.” The Haemonculus let the door snap shut behind him and somehow I missed this strange ally already.
I pulled my knees to my body and suddenly, I felt cold. It was at this moment I truly and for the first time actually realised where I was and what was ahead of me. I now was surrounded by beings that were thousands of years old and loved nothing more but to torture the hell out of other beings. If I was not on my toes all the time and did everything in my power to amuse the Overlord, my chances of also feeling these torments were all too high and right now I was in social circles that managed with ease to keep someone alive for years under unspeakable agony while drinking every ounce of it like fine wine. I did not know how I should manage all this and I hoped that somehow I would know the answers to all those questions in time and that I had some time to grow into the position I was in.
I barely knew my new master personally. I knew a lot about him, but that did not help me much in knowing how to handle and impress him, only some faint hints about what he could be like were my gain. My only hope was that if I worked with enough brains around here, the opportunities would present themselves.
I sat there like that for a very long time, shaking, wondering, barely keeping myself from crying, but at some point, I felt how tired I was. I had slept very shortly, experienced a lot and was under a tonne of stress. I went to the bed, gave my next action some thought and then undressed. I had the feeling that it was not a good idea to sleep with my clothes on and I feared that he would go for me in a sexual way anytime soon. I did not know what this exactly meant for me or how I was to bear it. I simply would have to handle the things how and as they came; one step at a time.
I put myself to bed and I sighed in surprise and relaxation. The bed was the most comfortable one I had ever lain in. The mattress and slatted frame supported my body perfectly and relaxed every single muscle. I covered myself with the blanket, which was covered in silk and after I had silenced my thoughts with force, I fell into an uneasy slumber.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Join date : 2019-07-05
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:45

I awoke as I heard the door snap shut and was wide awake in a second. What confused me was that I had heard just the door, nothing else. More bleary-eyed than I wanted, I saw the Overlord stepping into my view, making no noise at all as he moved, despite his heavy armour. His motions also showed that he was a very experienced and almost perfect warrior, for they were as fluent as those of the Incubus-Hierarch. Though it was impressive, it was also only logical, because the Overlord was used to living in constant danger and undoubtedly, his age also added to his skill. It was a known fact that stupid, slow and inflexible people did not last long in Commorragh and he was neither.
He turned his back on me; I guessed that he had not noticed I was awake. I wanted to exploit this fact a little and watched as he doffed his armour. He first took off his helmet and I was able to see that his hair was done in a very complex and utterly beautiful style, with lots of chains, gems and spikes inserted into it. His hair was of course black and the blood-red twilight only added to this notion, because it made it look utterly black, almost as if it absorbed the light. In fact, this twilight made it pretty impossible for a human eye to perceive anything perfectly sharp, which was annoying. As his helmet was removed, he worked his way down his body, removing the parts one by one. They seemed to be attached hydraulically to each other and to the bodyglove he was wearing beneath the armour, because as he took them off they let out a small hiss. He also took off the bodyglove and he had placed his sceptre in the weapon rack, which was attached to the armour rack.
As he was done, he only wore tight boxers. I held my breath in surprise as I beheld him, for his whole body shared the utter youthfulness of his face. His stature was, as with all Dark Eldar, lean and wiry, and his muscles were athletic. Only the profound look in his eyes hinted at his age, which was at least eleven thousand years. He then went to the cupboards and got himself some clothing, which he put on. It was a simple tunic made out of black cloth, with some small, white golden embroidery on it and though that simple, the attire just underlined his majesty somehow.
The Overlord went to the table, seated himself at the head and started to eat. Still, he had his back turned on me. I snatched my clothing from the floor, slipped as silently as I could into it and made my way to the table. Halfway there I said, “If I may be so bold, my lord, you seem to be a little weary.”
I instantly regretted my stealth. I was scared witless as he turned around in a split-second and threw a knife at me. It whooshed past my left ear, only a few millimetres away, and got stuck in the bedpost behind me in a quivering manner. Out of sorts, I blurted, “Alright, alright, I get it! No surprises!” Because he poised for a second in this position, I could see this nigh perfect warrior, who looked me straight in the eye. His concentration was absolute, his hand perfectly steady, his movements utterly precise, staring at me with those downright disturbing eyes. It would take some time until I could look into those eyes without having my stomach freezing with fear.
I was quite sure that he had only missed me because he had wanted to.
Vect relaxed again and said with a snarl, “Surprise? Hardly, my child. I heard you all the time. I just wanted to teach you a lesson in never trying to sneak up on me.” With my heart still pounding, I came to him. He said to me, his tone now relaxed again, “Come and sit, child. Eating alone is boring anyways.” A second later he added, “Ah, forget it. You are probably not hungry. Nevertheless, try and calm your heartbeat. I cannot hear myself thinking over its pounding.”
I paused for a second, then I remembered how sharp the senses of a Dark Eldar were and tried to calm down. I showed a small smile and replied, “Oh, I may be not hungry, my lord, but I love to eat, especially if the dishes are as well-prepared as they are on your table.”
Therefore, I obeyed him and placed myself on the seat to his left. I said, while I took some samples of some dishes I liked the most (and, just maybe to impress him a little, included Mironin Haras), “I am curious, my lord, if I may.” He nodded. “But it surprises me that your kind has to eat, actually. I thought that eating souls is enough for you to survive?”
Vect huffed contemptuously. “Enough, yes, if done often enough. Enjoyable to live solely on it? Hardly. We may not need other food, but we like it too much to relinquish it.”
I nodded and stated, “Interesting. But I also meant what I said earlier. You seem to be a bit weary and agitated. Anything I can do to make you feel better?”
The Overlord huffed again, more forceful this time and answered, “If you killed some imbeciles, who are foolish enough to defy me, though I know their obvious schemes years in advance, yes, then you truly could make me feel better. Apart from this, I fear there is not much you can do. This gives me a headache, but it is nothing too serious.”
“Well, I guess I am not much of a killer,” I began and I was surprised as he smiled slightly. This smile almost made me break off in mid-sentence, because it was that awful. Such dire and cruel features should not show a smile.
I pulled myself together though and continued, after the slightest pause, “But I was told that my head massages are good against headaches. So, if you like, we could try that later on.”
My master nodded and stated, “Very well, I will give it a try. It cannot be worse to what my last slave did.”
I frowned and noted, “You really seem disappointed and agitated even by the memory of her.”
Vect sighed and replied, “She was all looks, no brains as I had to find out quickly. Unfortunately, the choices I had beside her were even worse.”
Carefully, I asked, “I take it that with me it is the other way around? I had the feeling that you did not find me quite aesthetically pleasing.”
The Overlord looked at me re-evaluating, then said, “No, when I look at you now, I see that I misjudged that. It is just that Chu’uk’s slaves did a terrible job with your make-up.”
I laughed and agreed, “And there I thought I was the only one who felt that way.”
Again this horrid smile, then he replied, “It is just that dark-skinned slaves are found more valuable amongst my kind, since our skin can only be pale, but I have to admit that the colours of your hair and eyes make you quite exquisite. You are pretty, child.”
I bowed my head a bit and said gratefully, “Thank you, my lord. I am honoured.”
The Overlord watched me closely as I ate my portion Mironin Haras. I hid my displeasure about the hot spiciness, but rather enjoyed what came afterwards. “You are a curious human, little one, as you are not as afraid as any slave I have had before and I have never seen a human eating Mironin Haras with such joy.”
I smiled shyly, then stated, “That is easily explainable, my lord.”
“How come, my child?”
I explained, “I guess I am not that afraid because you haven’t abused me as much as you would have maltreated a slave that has not risen as quickly in your esteem as I have. If you had me thrown into that cage, I guess I would not be as relaxed as I am now after sleeping in this comfortable bed. And I’ve eaten Mironin Haras several times before and I know how to eat it.”
“Who told you?” he asked, apparently truly interested.
“Archon Chu’uk. He meant to surprise me with its taste, but was also kind enough to warn me in advance, since I entertained him well enough. And now I love it,” I told him.
“Curious. You truly must have impressed him, because I have witnessed Chu’uk as very cruel to his slaves, especially his personal ones,” Vect stated, his tone pensive.
I laughed; in an interrogative manner he raised an eyebrow and I hurried to explain, “I was told exactly the same thing about you.”
My master showed his vicious smile. “And rightly so, for what you experience now with me is also extraordinary. Yet, I am surprised to find it refreshing.”
“The Haemonculus told me what your usual modus operandi with your personal slaves is and I think you like it because it is a bit of a change. Change is something that does not come often or easy to you these days, I guess,” I knew that I took a bit of a shot with that.
“True that.” He did not seem to mind.
Vect finished his meal and said, “The Haemonculus must value you greatly if he tells you such things. This is curious as well.”
“Well, I will be honest, my lord. He also told me that you two must be quite good friends, developing new torture methods and such,” I said cautiously.
“You already know more about him and me than any other slave has ever known until they were subjected to our mercy,” he said, his eyes narrowing a bit.
“You do not often use that word, I guess,” I replied with a bit of a chuckle in my voice.
The Overlord gave me the smile of a predator. “Do not dare to be too bold, child, lest you might experience one of my mild punishments.”
I jumped on the inside and assured him hastily, “Forgive me, my lord. It is my greatest fault to get too bold too easily.”
He left open whether or not he accepted my apology, stood up and went to the divans in front of the fireplace.
I followed and offered, “Well, if you like, I could loosen that hairstyle of yours, brush your hair and then massage you.”
My master nodded and said while he sat down on one of the divans, “That sounds good, my child. Do so!” I then hurried into the bathroom to fetch a certain hairbrush which I had noticed the first time. It had very soft bristles and I was sure that it felt delightful on the scalp.
As I came back, the Overlord already had undone his hairstyle. There had to be some trick to do it, because it seemed far too complex to be loosened that fast. His silky, black hair now dropped down his shoulders and though it was an uncommon sight to see a Dark Eldar with his hair loose, he still looked magnificent. Vect fixated me with his piercing black eyes as I walked towards him; it was far from pleasant. Then I knelt behind him on the divan and started brushing his hair. It was as smooth as it looked. I felt that he enjoyed it. I also loosened some knots in his hair and was very careful as I did this, because I knew how unpleasant this was, though I was aware that maybe he would not even feel this little displeasure, but I wanted to make him enjoy this as much as possible. It took some time until I had brushed his whole hair.
When I was done, I leant myself against the head of the divan, seated myself cross-legged and put a pillow in my lap. I said, “You may want to place your head in my lap, my lord. This makes it more comfortable for you and I can do my work better.” He did what I suggested and closed his eyes, for which I was very grateful. I scanned his head quickly with my hands to feel where the acupressure points lay and then started massaging him. I concentrated very hard and tried to remember everything I had been taught. I did the best I could, because I was dead sure that impressing him in this matter was a nigh impossible task. It took some time, but I was utterly relieved as I felt that he was relaxing beneath my hands. Wearing this heavy helmet the whole day was surely straining.
Eventually, after quite a while, he let out a satisfied sigh and stated, “You know your subject well, I have not felt that relaxed for quite some time.”
I truly was glad about that and replied, “I’m happy to help and I’m glad that I did this to your liking.”
Vect opened his eyes (I cringed on the inside), looked deep into mine and said, “You do not stop to intrigue me, slave girl. I wonder when you will disappoint me for the first time.”
I smiled shyly and replied, “I hope I’ll never do.” His smile now had a wicked touch and he stroked my hair gently. It was the first time that my master touched me with his bare hand. I did not feel something special as he did, but the fact who he was and how he had behaved until now made this touch somewhat awe-inspiring. I shivered and his smile deepened.
The Overlord continued, “We will see. I am tired, my little one. Let us go to bed.” This was what I had feared. But I would not get away from this one, I got away even less so, because he said, as he sat up and looked intently at me, “Do I see fear in those beautiful eyes of yours?”
“A bit, maybe?” I replied with a little shrug and a sheepish smile.
His smile was predatory this time and he asked, “You are not a virgin, girl, are you?”
“Yes and no. No, when it comes down to humans. Yes, if it comes down to Eldar,” I had to reply truthfully.
Vect’s eyes seemed to glow. “Good. I had hoped you would say that, for I had feared that Chu’uk could have spoilt that for me.”
I swallowed and asked, “Do you want me to undress?”
“That would be nice, yes. However, first, let me do something about that collar. Its fashion does not suit you.”
My master drew closer to me and put the key to my collar in its lock. I really was puzzled from where he had gotten it now. I sighed in relief as he took off the collar, because the thing was not pleasant at all. Of course, I was aware that this was evil intention.
“How do I deserve this honour, my lord?” I asked, very confused, to put it mildly.
The Overlord laughed (that sound almost let my blood freeze), put the collar aside and replied, “We do not need that kind of symbolism and humiliation in my quarters. We both know your place. In the throne room, you will still have to wear it, not for me, but for everybody else. So, do not get too excited about it – you still are my slave, nothing more. I just find it unpleasant to have that cold metal against my skin when I decide to be that close to you in my bed.”
“I understand,” I replied obediently.
“Now, child, you may lie down while I finish some business in the bathroom. I need a shower after this long day.” I nodded. I stood up and went to the bed; he followed me, but then went into the bathroom. I was surprised, but then again I was very grateful that I did not have to have this bloodcurdling gaze upon me when I undressed. I laid myself on the bed and huddled up against the blanket, shaking and scared out of my mind because of the thing that might happen in the very near future.
It took a while until he came back and I froze in fear as I noticed that he was naked. I could not help examining his body shortly and I had to admit that he looked stunning– everywhere. I also was startled by the fact that his hair was only a little damp. This confirmed my suspicions that Eldar hair was a lot different to human hair, because it was impossible that such thick and long hair was already almost dry without being blown dry. Now he wore it in a classical Eldar-plait that suited him very nicely. The Overlord was a dashing sight, and somehow this made the thought of him having me anytime soon a bit easier, though I still was aware that this most likely would be far fitter to serve his pleasure than mine. At the same moment, the thought that he should not look as amazingly handsome as he did, hit me again, because Dark Eldar started to wither because of the things they had to do to their souls for survival. Vect was far too old to look as good as he did. There was something about him that made him stand apart from all other Dark Eldar, but it was impossible to tell what it was. I somehow dreaded the answer to that question.
My master smiled wolfishly and asked slyly, “Do you like what you see?”
I had to be honest, “How could I not?”
His smile deepened and he came beside me. I lay on my back; he gently swept the blanket down to my hips, but not uncovering them. I closed my eyes as he examined my body. My master caressed my belly, and I winced as I felt his lips upon mine.
I was ashamed because I liked it. This kiss was two existences colliding. Him, an ancient being, experienced, determined, dominant and me, not much more than a girl compared to him, who was about to uncover a part of her of which she was not sure whether she could bear it or not. Beforehand I had thought that Chu’uk knew how to kiss.
I had been so wrong. This was what a true master felt like.
I was disturbed by his utter gentleness, this cruel, ancient creature, which had killed more beings by torturing them to death than I could possibly count. His lips caressed mine and the feeling turned my head.
Then he got a bit rougher and grabbed my jaw. The Overlord made me open my mouth and turned the kiss into a deep kiss. I shivered because his tongue was cool, like the rest of his body. His tongue felt completely different than Chu’uk’s and once again I noticed that something was completely odd about him. Whether it was his age or something else, I could not tell. Also, he tasted peculiar, like cold spring water, cooling and sweet. Vect was… better than Chu’uk, in more than one way. I returned his kiss as well as I could and hesitantly I laid my shaking hands on the sides of his head. I knew that I would be absolutely powerless against him and that I had to endure what he had in store for me. I still felt terribly cold and was trembling all over, but then again excited, because I had always longed for a partner like him.
I had the dreadful feeling that he could sense that.
I flinched as he bit my lower lip. I could not escape, because he had let go of my chin, but now let his fingers slide softly into my hair. I was quite sure that his grip would tighten if I tried to resist. Besides, I still lay on my back, so there was no chance for me to back away at any rate. My master licked my blood off, kissed me until I stopped bleeding and then his hand slid out of my hair and softly over my cheek. As he drew away from me slowly, he licked my blood off his lips and gave me an intense stare. I deemed to see a demonic glow in his eyes.
Vect took a deep breath, showing his delight and then whispered, “I cannot deny how much I enjoyed that and I can feel that you did too. However, today I am too tired to stretch this as far as it should, if it is your first time with one of my kind. It must be extraordinary, but I fear I cannot do ‘extraordinary’ today. Nevertheless,” He rose and smiled down on me. “I am still surprised by you. You are the first slave not to squirm in horror under me when I practice my first kiss with her.” His smile turned into a vicious grin. “I was right. We will have a lot of fun.”
The Overlord lay down beside me and covered us with the blankets. Then he pulled me against him, like a toy. I seemed to weigh nothing for him. His body was cool, his skin soft and smooth. Vect breathed a short kiss on my forehead, then gently pressed my head against his chest. I could hear his heartbeat and his strong breaths. “Do not fight it, child,” he suddenly said and I jumped a little. “Do not deny it; I can feel how much you want to fight your pleasure. I just do not understand why.”
I replied with clenched teeth, “Because I don’t want you to think of me as a mindless whore, who even can’t wait to please you.”
Vect chuckled softly. I actually liked that chuckle. “You are doing me wrong, child. I know a mindless whore when I see one. Are you ashamed?”
“Yes.” I cursed myself vividly inside, because it was easily audible how embarrassed and afraid I was.
Again this soft chuckle. “There is no point in playing hard-to-get with me, girl, I get what I want anyways. If you overflow with lust at the mere thought of it, fine by me. Never forget that you are in Commorragh, child, where passion is celebrated in many forms. That you can enjoy it suits me just fine, it would be worse if you could not enjoy it at all, because, after all, this is what you are here for; to please me, by any means necessary. Besides,” His tone got suggestive. “We love our whores creamy and ready, so that we can intensify that lust even further, turning pleasure into rejuvenating suffering, though only very little pain is dealt. You, my child, will feel that too.”
I swallowed heavily, but he did not stop and continued, with a cruel tone in his voice, “Sex done by my kind lasts far longer than between you puny humans. It is not a matter of minutes, rather an hour- or day-long orchestrated form of art, the art to stretch the foreplay as long as possible, make the female lose her mind and swear anything to the male just to be allowed to come. And when she does, and he has done his job well, this orgasm lasts for several minutes, not just seconds. If it is not mind-blowing, it was not done right. Then, when he thrusts himself into her, she has to come again at the very first thrust and nothing but screams can express her feelings. Then it was done perfectly. Then we can call it extraordinary sex.”
Now my whole body was covered in goose-bumps and a cold shiver ran down my spine. Spending days in most intense ecstasy did not sound too pleasant. My master laughed. His laughter turned my blood to ice. “Also, let me tell you one thing: I have a lot of practice on humans and I will find out quickly what torments you the most, what arouses you the most and you will not come until you are good and ready.”
Subdued and feeling as small as ever, I noted, “I guess you had enough time to become a master at everything.”
An evil chuckle. “True that.”
Vect breathed a kiss upon my forehead and said very softly (when he used it this way, I found to my surprise that his voice sounded very soothing), “Sleep now, my child. We have a long day ahead of us.”
I had to ask, “I have just some questions, my lord, if I may be so bold?”
My master sighed, but replied, “Alright. You did well; I shall answer your questions.”
“Do you have to get up at a certain time tomorrow? Do you want me to prepare something for breakfast?” I asked, eager to please.
Vect laughed briefly, then explained, “Time does not work this way in Commorragh. The day begins when I say it does, it ends when I say it does. And no, I have other slaves for cooking and all the chores no one wants to do, you are here for my amusement and for that alone. And now, sleep.”
My master let go of me, I turned onto my other side, curled myself up and he did not bother me any longer, he just caressed my hair a bit. After a while, he said, “Still, it is somewhat odd to have someone lying with me in that bed. It has been a while since a slave gained that much favour to be allowed to sleep in here. Ah, well. Never mind my pondering, child.  It would be hard for you to understand.”
I had to add, “I feel honoured and I think I can contemplate what a while means in your terms.”
“Hmm, can you? I doubt it. Never mind that now. Sleep.”
Though it was very difficult for me, I tried to relax. It took a while, but then I fell asleep at the side of Asdrubael Vect.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Join date : 2019-07-05
Location : Vienna

Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:46

On Archon Varys (who will appear in this chapter): I did NOT steal the name form the "Game of Thrones" series. Now some of you may say, "LIAR! You re-wrote "The Rains of Castamere" in chapter 4!" True, folks, but I knew the song before I read the books or watched the series. My husband knew the books and watched the series before me and played the song to me. That's how I got to GoT. I wrote chapter 5 before I did. After I knew GoT, I found it hilarious that "my" Varys and the Varys in the GoT-books had a similar profession; therefore I decided to make a remark in that direction.

Also, their names are pronounced completely different. The Varys in the "Game of Thrones" series is pronounced exactly in an English manner, but "my" Varys is spoken like this: the "v" is pronounced as the "w" in "when", the "a" as in "master". The "r" has to be rolled with the tongue. The "y" is spoken like in "young". The "s" like the ones in "caress", rather sharp. Stress is on the first syllable. Just a small introduction into the elvish pronunciation. ;-)

That's all I wanted to say before I get some haters over here. I'll now leave you to it, enjoy!

Chapter 5


"A blade to the chest? How pedestrian. We left behind such base concepts long ago, dear heart.
Let me introduce you to a far more interesting demise..."
— Haemogarch Vanthis, Necromaester of the Dark Creed

AS I AWOKE on the next ‘day’, I heard a noise which I thought I would never hear again. It was the sound of rain drumming against the window. Surprised, I opened my eyes and I was even more startled as I realised that the Overlord was no longer in bed and that it seemed to be darker than yesterday. A bit dazed and with ruffled hair I sat up and immediately located my master. He sat on one of the divans in front of the fireplace, which was now lit with a big fire and read a book. Now and then, he took a sip out of a cup which was standing on the small table in front of him.
“Good… uh… morning, I guess?” I said a bit bemused. It was impossible to make out what the time was, because there was no day and night cycle on Commorragh, only the eternal, blood-red twilight.
Vect looked up, smirked and replied, “Good morning, my child. It is good that you are awake, I am starving by now.”
“And we can’t have that, my lord. Nobody likes to be hungry,” I stated with a smile.
He returned my smile. An honest smile on these cruel features was an extremely strange thing to behold. “Indeed. I tend to get genuinely mean when I am.”
I could not help it, I had to laugh. My master looked at me in bewilderment and I could see the question in his eyes. “Well, my lord, I am laughing because this is something I could have said. I tend to turn into one of the most frightful monsters of humanity if I get really hungry… before I collapse. My body can’t take too low blood sugar levels.” His smirk widened. “Don’t even consider it,” I growled with feigned anger.
He burst out in a roar of laughter. Evidently I truly had amused him, because he needed some time to settle down. The Overlord went to the table, seated himself and noted, still very exhilarated, “You truly are cute when you try to be angry. Come, child, let us have breakfast!”
I let out a small, disparaging sound and murmured, “I wasn’t even trying to.” As I reached for my clothes, I had to find out that they now consisted of a silken and short dressing gown, which showed more of my charms than it covered. It was not like I had a choice; therefore, I slipped it on and paused as I looked out of the window. The rain that came down was black, no wonder it was a lot darker than yesterday. “What a nasty weather! And still, I find it ruminative,” I stated while I came to the table.
He smiled. “You are the first slave not to be frightened by the black rain. I never heard it from a human that he or she finds it contemplative. They found it rather unsettling.”
“I always loved rain, especially when going to bed. Why should I care what it looks like? Makes me sleep even better,” I explained, shrugging.
A wolfish smile. “You slept very well, I saw that.”
I sighed. Why was I not surprised that he had watched me sleeping? Creep. “How long, actually, does your kind have to sleep? I was never the first to be awake.”
Again, Vect grinned. “We do not practically sleep. It is rather a meditative and trance-like state that helps our mind and body to regenerate. But we can snap out of it at any time so it is impossible to ambush us while we are in it. Also, we can go for quite some time without doing it.”
“Huh. Interesting. But, well, our races differ greatly, so I am not surprised.” I sat down and we started to eat.
He said to me, “You might want to be careful with the tea. It is quite strong.”
“In which way?” I asked, startled.
“Caffeine,” my master explained.
“Interesting. I’d better not try it, then. What kind of tea is it? What is it made of?” I asked, now especially interested in that stuff. Was it not always so that humans longed the most for the things they could not or were not allowed to have?
“It is a special weed that only grows on the highest spires of Commorragh. Harvesting it is quite dangerous,” he elaborated, while pouring himself a cup.
“Especially if one considers Reavers and Scourges?” I added with a shy smile.
My master nodded. “Additionally, yes. How come you know so much about my kind?” His tone got somewhat sceptical.
I hurried to say, rather carefully, “This will take some time to explain.”
The Overlord made an inviting move with his head. “Do. We have time.”
So I started explaining: my interest in role-playing, my specialisation on the darker people in this universe and my lessons with the Haemonculus. What I kept from him was how closely I had studied the information about him. We ate while I explained.
When I was done, he nodded slowly and remarked, “Astonishing. It is really curious that this future is so well-explained in a mere fantasy in your time.”
“This is also why I have a hard time to keep from snapping when thinking about the fact that my life is hanging by a very thin thread. Too much knowledge is a curse,” I replied sourly.
Vect shortly bared his fangs with his predatory smile. “That thread may not be as thin as you think.”
“Really? Now, that surprises me.” It truly did. That meant I had to do something right.
He laughed softly. Then, my master lost this playful attitude in the blink of an eye and started, with a serious tone, “Enough of this bantering chat, slave girl. We have some serious matters to discuss. This will be your first day in my throne room and I have to say, you picked an exceedingly hard one too. I really advise you to keep your mouth shut there. You will only talk when talked to or when asked something. Any boldness or even one wrong word will carry a serious punishment for you. I think you know enough of my kind to picture what serious punishment in our terms means for you. And believe me; you have just been gently caressed when disciplined until now. I cannot have my slaves being anything but obedient. Is that clear?”
“Yes, my lord. I won’t be as stupid,” I assured him obediently. Fearfully, I wondered why this day would be very hard for me. I was sure I would be given the answer in a second…
“Good. It is also imperative that no one gets to know that you understand our language. And here comes your uttermost important task: I will have a strategy meeting with my Circle today, which consists of my Hierarch and the most skilful Archons of my Kabal. I appreciate them the most. It will be your job – on the official side – to see to their needs, but you will spy on them for me, since you speak our language. Remember anything that you deem important, for I sense a traitor among them, and be prepared that they will not be gentle with you. They are not only my most skilful elite, they also count to the cruellest and they hate incompetence and insolence just as I do. The generosity you experience from me currently must stay in these quarters. I want to see you on your most submissive and courteous behaviour!” He continued with a very soft tone (it made his words even crueller than if he had spoken them in a menacing manner), “If you should dare to mess this up – meaning they should either get the feeling that you can understand them or you make them think I was too easy on you and have become soft – you will see what little mercy I have left for incompetent and disobedient slaves. Have I made myself unquestionably clear?”
“I hear you, my lord. I will do my very best,” I replied obediently and with a nod.
“You should hope for your own sake that this is good enough,” my master replied, making my humble obedience seem somewhat invalid.
I swallowed. This was going to be fun, to say the least. Starting my service with his Circle was the last thing I wanted. However, as always, I was left with no choice. What I asked myself, was, why the Overlord, who had known every scheme against him long before it unfolded, now suddenly needed a simple slave to detect a traitor? I was sure that there was a lot more to it than he just had told me. However, I was not to question him, for this was a very dangerous mistake. I was a slave and it was absolutely not my place to scrutinise him.
When we were done, he commanded me to shower and make myself look presentable. I obeyed. As I was just done with doing my hair, which I always did last, but still standing in front of the mirror, he came to me. I froze as he came up that close behind me so that our bodies touched. My master laid his hands upon my waist and caressed my flanks softly with his fingers. While doing this, he said, “Beautiful. You know how to please the eye.”
My eyes widened as he produced a silver collar, which he donned around my neck in a tender manner. I immediately had to feel that this collar apparently had been made for me, because its circumference was perfect not to hinder me while breathing, but I felt it every time I moved or swallowed. I gasped, as he swept his fingers gently and slowly over the edge of the collar, also touching my skin. Then my master bowed down to me and whispered into my ear, “Yes, I can see that you feel where the hidden thought in this collar lies. Always reminding you of what you are, always caressing your soft skin a bit. A cold caress, perhaps, but still a caress. This collar only opens to my touch, by the way. So do not think you can somehow be rid of it if I do not allow it. And now, my little slave, you better get out of here and get dressed, lest I will not contain myself any longer.”
I nodded silently, intimidated and scared to the bone, drew away from him, took the clothes that had been prepared for me and went, as fast as I could without insulting him, out of the room.
As soon as I had closed the door behind me, I started to dress. My clothes consisted today of a bra and hot pants made out of a Lycra-like material. On the outside, they were ornated with silver, little chains and rubies, which matched my collar. The fabric was no longer visible from the outside. Also, two red cloths (I guessed that they were made out of silk) were mounted on the pants, dropping down to my shanks between my legs and over my bottom. The attire suited me.
Still, my heart raced. The Overlord scared the hell out of me and I was sure he was doing it on purpose. I was completely helpless against it, because he pushed my buttons perfectly. I was scared, but somehow it also turned me on. This disturbed me utterly.
I spent the while he was in the bath sitting huddled on the bed and trying to regain my composure. I managed it moderately. When my master came back, he smiled at me outright viciously. He made me flinch as he stroked over my hair while he passed me on his way to the armour rack, where he donned the bodyglove and the armour. It was clearly visible that he had routine. After putting the heavy wrap over his shoulders, he turned to me. Though I had seen Vect like this before, I was speechless, because he looked so glorious in this noble attire. His eyes glowed from under his helmet, as he studied me with enjoyment. Then he came to me, dragged me to my feet and attached a chain to my collar. While doing this, he said, “Alright, slave girl. Let us go!”
The Overlord took my chain into his hands, but then attached it to his belt, which forced me to walk a bit hunched. I had to follow him as he fetched his sceptre and then we left the room. I shuddered as we entered the torture chamber, because I was remembered of the cold and of the ambient noise in Commorragh. I noticed that he moved completely differently when he wore his armour. His stance underlined his dominance, pride and martial prowess. It also made clear that defying him was a stupid idea. In his quarters he moved in a more relaxed manner, smooth like a small cat, but right now he showed the gait and dominance of a tiger.
When we left his quarters, Vect’s lifeguard joined and surrounded us. None of them even took a look at me. I was not surprised. Incubi renounced such passions and Sslyth seemed to be too different to take pleasure in looking at a half-naked human woman. We made our short journey to the throne room in this small party. To climb down the stairs behind the Overlord while being bound to him was not very comfortable, because my chain pulled me down and forced me to do it stooped. When we arrived at the bottom, my muscles almost convulsed, but I clenched my teeth and did not show it.
Then we entered the throne room, which had changed quite a bit. In front of the throne now stood a semicircular table made out of a white material. I would find out later that it was made out of bone. At this table sat eight Dark Eldar, all of them attired with lavishly decorated armours and finest clothing. They outdid each other in looks. Yes, they were a beautiful people on the outside, but on the inside, they were truly hideous. They all stood up and greeted the Overlord with a slight bow. What surprised me was that I did not see a single woman in this circle, because I knew that gender was quite irrelevant in their society, only skill counted. I knew that once a woman had been in this circle and I knew that Vect had regarded her highly. But this story did not have a happy ending and now she was presumed dead. Most likely she was left to rot in some dungeon for the things she had dared to do.
Vect passed the table on its right side, loosened my chain from his belt and attached it to the left side of the throne as he sat on it. I tried to remember everything I had been told about the rules of conduct in high Dark Eldar society. I had to present myself really well or my master would punish me. Therefore, I waited until everybody else sat down and only then I knelt onto my heels. I did not show how uncomfortable the sharp-edged floor was for me. I felt the gazes of the Circle upon me, apparently, they were curious as to who this new slave was.
For now, I was not the topic, because Vect greeted them and welcomed them to this meeting. I was surprised how respectful and appreciative his tone was. He took his time with the greeting. As he was done, he put the sceptre into a socket in the throne and then went to the table, taking me with him. He took the place on the straight side of the semicircle; it was the place of honour. To my surprise, he did not bind me again, but rather draped the ice-cold chain around my shoulders, which made me flinch heavily. The Circle laughed about that. One of them asked, “If I may ask; where did you get that exquisite slave from, Overlord? She sure looks tasty.”
Vect smiled and stroked my hair proprietary. “That sweet thing was found on our time-travel mission. Chu’uk brought her to me, apparently as the last wise thing he did.” A malicious laughter filled the room.
The Archon, who had asked before, added, “So, she is quite new, isn’t she?”
“Yes. I just got her yesterday.” An interested murmur passed the ranks of the Circle. I tried to look as clueless as possible, though I was charmed by the compliments. That every single one of them had a mocking nature to it did not matter to me. It was the best I would ever get around here.
Another one of the Circle asked, “Do you consider selling her?”
The Overlord chuckled softly and replied, “Hell, no! Why should I sell a virgin?” He lied with a naturalness that was astonishing. But then again… did he actually lie? In their terms, I probably was considered a virgin. They seemed to be surprised, some expressions and sounds showed that.
The one that had asked the question, stated, “Forgive me, my lord. Of course, virgins are most enjoyable to break.”
“Indeed. But she has proven to be a natural in most things and tended to my needs quite eagerly last night.” Some of them grinned wolfishly. I was quite sure that what they imagined had not been the reality.
I tried to look as innocent as possible and smiled at the Overlord shyly. He caressed my cheek with a vicious smile, then he turned his attention to his Circle and they started the meeting. A space map was projected above the table and Vect started to present his future plans. I was not able to follow the meeting any longer, because another slave took me aside and told me what I had to do. I looked at her surprised as she gave me a big teapot made out of shining, black stone. Bewildered I asked, “No wine?”
She shook her head and replied, “Their wine is made for relaxing mind and body and not wanted if they have to concentrate. This tea sharpens the mind and heightens the senses.”
I nodded, thanked her and then started with my work. I had to see to it that none of the Archons was left wanting concerning the tea. I smelt that this tea was a different one than the one at breakfast, but I was sure to smell the caffeine-containing herb. I noticed, as I approached the table again, that every single one of them had a small translator in front of him. Apparently, these were for translating possible commands.
I began with my task at the Overlord, but he did not take notice of me, because he was still busy explaining his strategies. Then I looked at the armours of the other Archons and discerned by the looks of them where I had to go next. To the right of the Overlord sat his Hierarch, second in command of the Kabal. The next one sat on the opposite side, to the left of the Overlord. The hierarchy continued in this manner. The closer an Archon was seated to the Overlord, the higher his rank was. Then I realised that I did not know their names, but I was confident that I would overhear them in time. I again thanked the Haemonculus silently and then continued with my work, in the correct order. The curious looks I got for that knowledge did not evade me, but that did not mean in any way that they did go easy on me. Two of them ignored me, engrossed in a discussion with the Overlord. The rest took – for my liking far too much – notice of me. I got ‘coincidentally’ cut with some armour-blades and was touched in ways I extremely disliked. Some asked me how old I was. The one that looked the youngest, but was not the lowest in the Circle, seemed to be interested in me in particular, he also had been the one to ask the Overlord whether he would sell me.
He took me at my chain and pulled me very close to him, so that he could whisper into my ear, “You seem quite confident for such a young and fresh slave. Tell me, who taught you so well?” I was lucky that they spoke English with me when the translators activated, therefore, I knew I would not betray myself if I answered. I did not show my dismay as he caressed my back and then laid his hand between my legs.
I smiled shyly at him and answered, also in a whisper, “Archon Chu’uk was so kind to teach me a bit, since it was clear to whom I would be given. And as we all know, our Overlord despises badly trained slaves.”
He lifted his eyebrows in disbelief. “Chu’uk? Curious. You must have impressed him.”
“He was quite pleased with me, yes, my lord.” I thought that it was a good idea not to tell who had really trained me, because it would only draw unnecessary attention to me. I cringed on the inside as he inhaled my scent and softly kissed my neck.
Then he said, “A shame that the Overlord won’t sell you. You are just my taste. So fresh, young and… wet.” I gasped because he was right, he truly had aroused me. With a vile smile he let go of me and I hurried to carry out my duties, cursing my physical reactions vividly on the inside.
So I roamed around the table, receiving more and more cuts and caresses. I strained my eyes and ears, but it was difficult to overhear softly spoken words underneath discussions. Also, I was far from being an expert in the Dark Eldar language.
The meeting took hours. I did not really understand what they actually discussed, but what I saw easily was that the discussions grew rougher by the minute. I also got to feel that, because the cuts grew deeper and the touches even more unpleasant.
At some point, there was a break in the discussions; just angry silence filled the room, seemingly because the Circle could not reach an agreement. I had an idea about how to put oil on those troubled waters, approached Vect and said very quietly and shyly, of course using English, “Supreme Overlord, I have a suggestion to make, if I may.”
He did not even look at me, his face was without any expression and he said, bored, “Go ahead, slave.” I barely kept myself from wincing, because I was not used to hearing him speak in this language.
I bowed my head thankfully and continued cautiously, “What about calming the minds over some tasty food and sweet wine? I have heard that negotiating and thinking with an empty stomach is twice as hard as with a filled one.” Because of that, he started to laugh evilly, the rest of the Circle attuned instantly. It certainly was one of the eeriest things I had ever heard and I was not sure whether I just had made a mistake or if I had entertained them.
Luckily, his following words put me at ease again, “See? That is also why I will not sell her. She makes use of her brain. I like the suggestion.” He commanded the slave, whom I had talked to earlier, to him and instructed her about the meal. She bowed in a hasty and frightened manner and hurried away.
Then, the Overlord said, “Alright, let us take a break while the meal is prepared.” Thus, the gathering dissolved for a short while, some left the throne room, and others chatted about trivialities.
Vect pulled me to him and hissed into my ear, “Anything?”
I shook my head.
“Keep working on it!” he said.
I nodded briefly.
Then he smiled maliciously, drew me even closer and kissed me. I flinched as he bit me and kissed me until the blood ran down the corners of my mouth. I did not enjoy it, but avoided too much struggle. As my master released me, I looked at him, perturbed. My stomach grew cold as I could see in his eyes how much he had enjoyed this. Though he treated me (feigned, I hoped) much rougher in front of his Circle, he actually enjoyed the cruelty.
What had I expected?
With a bloody and cruel smile, he wiped the blood off my face. The Overlord said to me, his tone soft, but cruel, “Not enjoying that, hmm? Believe me, in due time you will.” The smile vanished from his face and he demanded, “Sit, child. You may also have a break.”
I obeyed and knelt on my heels on the floor.
I now had time to look at my body and wished in the same moment that I had not. I had lots of small, painful cuts and I now could feel how aroused I actually was. They kept me perfectly between pain and pleasure, so none of the feelings got the upper hand, but I still had to suffer both. I had the uneasy feeling that my welfare depended on how I did today. I was sure that if I did well, my master would amplify the pleasure in his quarters; if not, more pain was to be expected. Though I feared what each of the treatments meant for me, I preferred being rewarded to being punished, since I wanted to rise in his esteem.
After a short while, several slaves came in and brought tableware, cutlery and several meals with them. By now, the members of the Circle had come back to the table. Those slaves had an even worse time than me and I now realised how gently the Archons had treated me. The waiter-slaves got manhandled even worse and none of the Archons seemed to enjoy their presence and bodies otherwise, but I also saw that they made a lot of mistakes; mistakes, I would have made too if I had not been instructed so well. Either it was my good training or the Circle refrained from hurting me too badly because I was Vect’s personal slave.
I sighed silently as I smelt the dishes. I already was hungry again, though I had eaten a lot in the morning, because I had foreseen that there would be no lunch for me. I looked up and was frightened as I saw that Vect seemed to be enormously displeased with something. He frowned and his eyes narrowed in anger.
Then he snarled, “Alright. This. Is. It.”
He called two guards and demanded, “Seize that stupid coordinator slave and flog her until she faints! Then give her to the Haemonculi, for stabilisation! When they are done with her, imprison her in my torture chamber, I will deal extensively with her later. I have had enough of her incompetence!” When they turned to go, he added, “Oh, I almost forgot. Do this here, use a whip without barbs so it takes longer and gag her, since we have matters to discuss here, though I would love to hear those screams in their full beauty. Also, keep the other slaves here, so they can see what happens if they infuriate me with their incompetence.”
I swallowed. This was a fate that should not be wished upon anybody. As the guards went to do their job, the Overlord leant down to me, grabbed me by my collar, dragged me up to him with only one arm and hissed into my ear, “You should also remember that very well, child. I will not make you watch, since you have done well until now. Just never forget it!”
Subdued, I replied, “I will, my lord, and I’d like to thank you for your kindness.”
I did not know why, but he seemed to love my reaction, because he calmed down, breathed a kiss upon my temple and whispered to me in his language, so softly that truly only I could hear it (I figured that the translators were somehow started selectively), “You are so pure, child, you make it hard for me to control myself.” I did not understand what he liked so much about my words, but I decided to be happy that it was so and that his mood increased in an instant.
Either it was that or it were the muffled screams of the gagged slave that now began. The guards had gathered the waiter-slaves, had chained the one to be punished to the wall and had undressed her and now started beating her. What really appalled me about this (besides the thing they did itself) was that they did not hit her on her back, but rather on her breast and belly. I did not dare to imagine the pain and tore my gaze away from this terrible scene. That did not help against her screams, though. I was also terribly aware that it would take a while until she fainted.
However, the most horrible thing about the whole scene was the expressions that could be read in the faces of the Circle and the Overlord. It was absolutely clear how much they enjoyed the screams. Vect took a deep breath and said, “Better, much better. I should have prompted this earlier.” Now he scared the hell out of me. For the first time I was here, I realised how terribly evil and sadistic he truly was. I had tried not to think about this side of him until now, to keep my mind calm. Now this was somewhat no longer possible. I noticed that I trembled a bit.
The assembly was not impressed by the screams, which sounded more racked with pain and tormented by the minute, but rather enjoyed their meal. Vect had also relieved one slave from watching and had commanded her to run to the kitchen and fetch the things the other slave obviously had forgotten. I sincerely hoped that he was not as relentless as to have someone punished that hard for the first mistake. I figured that either it took some mistakes to make him that angry… or one that really pissed him off.
I had to look after the beverages of the congregation and I was very careful not to make a single mistake. I was lucky, because the members of the Circle seemed to be able to control their feelings very well, because they did not let me feel their sadistic enjoyment. Still, I was sure that there was more to their restraint. I was very happy that they were apparently very pleased with me, because they did not let me starve and watch how they enjoyed those awesome dishes, but rather fed me tiny bits, like a human would have given some bites to a pet. I played along and thanked every single one for it. It was humiliating, but this way I could fill my rumbling stomach a bit.
While I served an Archon whose place was in the middle of the hierarchy, he caressed my flank with his taloned gauntlet and I had to giggle a bit because he did it so gently that it tickled like hell. Meanwhile, he said to Vect, “You have a really obedient and entertaining new slave, my lord. And she seems to enjoy her work too. I like her far better than your old one.”
The Overlord laughed wickedly and replied, “A good thing to hear, Archon Varys, that we share the same opinion. I am also far more pleased with her, though she only had such a short time to prove herself.” By now, I had overheard almost all of their names, only his was missing. So, those were their names, according to the hierarchy:

Archon Sythrac, Hierarch (second in command of the Kabal, the Overlord’s right hand and his                                            most esteemed advisor)
Archon Zuol (the Haemonculus had told me that he was the commander of the best                         squad of the Kabal)
Archon Sarnak
Archon Varys
Archon Nuscul
Archon Ea’nash (he had been the one who was particularly interested in me)
Archon Alactel
Archon Tahril (I knew that he had been the commander of the force in the Kaurava-                           System)

Nevertheless, I was surprised by Varys’s name and I showed this. The Archon, of course, noticed it and asked, while he continued with this rather sweet torture, “You seem to be surprised by my name, slave. Why is that?”
I had to pull myself together as not to flee his touch, which grew unpleasant, and replied, “Just coincidence, nothing more, my lord. I have read it in a book once, where the name was given to a character, who was a very talented spy and who served the realm with all his heart.” I clenched my teeth as he slowly drilled one of the tips on his fingers into my side until I bled.
He said, while doing this, “What a nice coincidence indeed. It seems that he and I have something in common.” Then, he let me go and I continued with my work.
At some time, my work led me back to Archon Ea’nash, who seemed to have taken some particular interest in me, because he did not miss a single opportunity to caress or arouse me. Though his looks were absolutely attractive, I was sure that his soul was one of the darkest around here. I hoped to never end up as his personal slave. This time, he again took hold of my chain and forced me to stay with him. He whispered into my ear, with a tone of pure joy, “Are you unsettled by her screams, my child?” The poor slave still had not lost consciousness, though it was audible that her strength waned. I only nodded in silence. “You are honest, I like that. However, you have to see what these screams are for us: sweet, sweet music. Also, the suffering she endures is like the best wine to us, rejuvenating our very body and soul.” He lowered his voice even more, so much that I could barely hear it, but this way I could hear all too well how much pleasure he felt saying those words, “I’d love to hear you scream. And who knows? Maybe I will.” He let go of me in a quite sensual manner and obviously enjoyed my fear.
Then I returned to my place at the side of the Overlord, because they had finished their meal and the table had to be cleared. Perfectly timed, the screams of the slave ceased, because she had fainted. The rest was forced to work again. Horror, shock and nausea in some cases were apparent on their faces. They did their work as quickly and conscientiously as they could, apparently trying not to give Vect any more reason to have another slave punished, not that he needed one if it pleased him. Vect declared another slave as coordinator, seemingly randomly chosen. I was sure as hell that nothing he did happened out of erratic motives or randomly. It was clearly visible how afraid she was, but she was smart enough to thank the Overlord for the promotion and to fill her new position hastily.
The inanimate body of the punished slave was brought out of the room by two guards. I did not want to, but somehow had to look at her. I swallowed heavily. I did not know how she was to survive this. Then again, I remembered how ingenious Haemonculi were when it came down to prolong life and suffering of slaves.
I spent some time sitting beside Vect’s chair, but observed the assembly inconspicuously. I now was able to read their facial expressions a bit and I sometimes listened with closed eyes, to discern their voices better. The discussions continued; I listened as closely as I could and the whole new world of those voices started to unfold for me. I had sharp ears as a musician and knew how not only to hear but to truly listen. There were incredible tones and nuances in those voices, they could tell so much without saying it, and I noticed that there was a twisted kind of beauty in them.
Then I observed something: there were two voices which seemed to be out of place. One was a lot too controlled and flattering, it was never sharp or even conceited, as it was with all the other voices, because when it came down to it, every single Dark Eldar only looked out for his or her own good. This they showed proudly and loudly with their voices. This voice was different. It did not demand; it only connoted. It did not contradict; it only proposed.
This did not fit one of the most powerful Archons in the Kabal of the Black Heart.
That could only mean one thing: he was the traitor, who tried to divert the Overlord’s eye by calm restraint, because Vect had to control the more stubborn members of his Circle. This way, the traitor tried to forge alliances and stab his knife into the Overlord’s back. He really did it well, because he did not hold back too much to sound too submissive. This tactic called for a much-disciplined mind. I remembered the voice and opened my eyes. I was surprised as I saw whom it belonged to.
Archon Varys.
Though I found him the most pleasant one to be around, I now realised that it also could have been cold calculation to make me as comfortable as possible and to cloud my mind so I would not suspect him in any way. He seemed to have the experience to behold me as Vect’s little spy.
The second voice that sounded off was the exact opposite. It sounded extremely arrogant, vain and angry and was the one of Archon Ea’nash. Maybe he had acted so extremely repulsive only to keep me away from him. I was not sure whether he not also could be the traitor.
Because of that, I kept a close eye on them for the rest of the meeting, which was hours. Alas, I was not able to find out anything more specific.
What had and yet had not puzzled me at the same time in the end, was that they had cut me all those hours without destroying every inch of my skin. This treatment had gotten more painful the longer the meeting had lasted, because they had deepened the cuts they had only made very superficially in the first place. They knew how to deal pain without dealing serious damage at the same time. I was sure that I was also tested this way, because I thought to see a hint of acceptance in their eyes, masterly hidden, but by now I had some practice in reading Dark Eldar. It took every ounce of my will not to show them how I felt, because though the wounds were small, they hurt like hell. I also felt the blood loss by the end of the meeting. I was trembling and I felt dazed.
Also, every single one of them had tasted my blood. It did no longer appal me, for it had been tasted so many times. What I had noticed was that it seemed as if they had enjoyed its taste. If Chu’uk’s words had been true, this was good for me, because it meant I was strong and Dark Eldar fancied strong slaves.
Eventually, the meeting ended and I left the throne room with the Overlord. We went back to his quarters and as it had been in the morning, the guards stayed outside.
I was relieved as he freed me of my collar quickly. Then I staggered to the bed and fell onto it. He immediately said, “Get off the bed! You are bleeding!”
Though everything spun around me, I raised, turned to him and said (in English this time), “Oh come on! It’s not like you haven’t done things in that bed that soaked the sheets with blood!” Though this was a daring statement, I was lucky, because his sense of humour seemed to be more distinctive than Chu’uk’s. He started laughing. Still, I did not want to try his patience and laid myself upon the floor. Everything spun. No clear thought was possible. I said, half-delirious, “Do you actually understand me when I speak this language or do you have a translator hidden somewhere?”
He showed his predatory smile and replied, in perfect English, “Both, my dear child.”
I looked at him in disbelief and said, in his language again, “You could’ve spoken it all the time then?”
“Of course, I could have. It is just that I do not like the human language and I do not see why I should speak it in my empire.”
“Of course.” It now occurred to me that apparently English had to be the language of the Imperium, otherwise it was quite a riddle why he spoke it. This was curious, because, from all the sources I had had in my time, it had been suggested that Low Gothic, the colloquial language of the Imperium, was a mixture of English, German, Spanish and French. Apparently, this information had been wrong. Then again, it was also unheard of that Dark Eldar condescended to learn the human language.
I watched him blatantly for a while as he doffed his armour, then I said, “Huh. Wonder what I’m experiencing right now is how it feels to bleed to death.”
He laughed again. “Believe me, child, you are far from exsanguination. The toxin that was on their armours now makes you feel dazed and weak.”
“Poison? Now I feel really assured. You people have such a nice variety of poisons,” I replied anxiously.
“Do not worry, it is just a pretty weak poison and this was just done to test you; I instructed them to do so. Give it a bit of time, nourishment and rest and you will not feel it anymore,” he calmed me down. Still, his tone was somewhat callous.
“Why… why did you do this?” I asked, in denial.
A vicious smile. “I have to be sure that you are not only strong in mind but also possess enough strength in your body.”
I did not like the implication and asked warily, “For what?”
Now his vicious smirk turned into a wolfish one. “Child, you are not that naïve, are you? I think you know very well what I am talking about.”
“I guess I’m still too naïve. I had hoped that it wouldn’t include sharp or pointy objects and poison. But it seems I was mistaken.” He did not comment on that and just looked at me mysteriously. The gaze made me cringe on the inside. He was also done with his armour by now. I continued, “But I guess I wouldn’t be much fun right now, now would I?”
“No, my child. I want you at your full strength.” He came to me and I gasped in surprise as he lifted me like I weighed nothing, carried me to the table and sat me on one of the chairs there. Every single step let my head spin more intensely. “Eat, child! You will feel better afterwards.” I needed all of my concentration for eating. He also ate something, but watched me closely. After a while, he said, “You passed the test with flying colours, I daresay. They were satisfied with the way you served them. You learnt your lessons well.”
My brain was a lot slower than usual, but positively more liberated, and I was not afraid to speak my mind. “Yup, I thought so, judging from what they did to the other slaves. I can’t thank the Haemonculus enough for teaching me that well.” I felt very tired and relaxed all of a sudden. My eyes widened as I understood which additional effects the poison had on me. I said, now again switching to English, “Forgive me, my lord, I can’t seem to concentrate enough to speak your language, but please don’t tell me that this stuff I have now in my system is also a muscle relaxant and a truth serum; because it sure feels like it.”
His evil smile already gave me the answer. He stated, “You are right. This poison is designed to take hold of you fairly slowly, but it seems that you experience it much slower than is usual, which means, that the peak of its effect is yet to come.” His smile deepened. “We will put that to good use.”
I shrugged, grinned and replied, “Well, still better than having sharp and pointy things rammed into my flesh to make me talk. So, ’sup? What’d you want to know?”
“You really are afraid of being tortured, hmm?” he said with false tenderness.
I leant onto one elbow, looked at him with a lopsided sneer and replied, “Come on. As if anybody isn’t. And yes, the thought scares the hell out of me.”
His teeth flashed for a split-second. “True that. Nevertheless, you are the first one to admit it openly.”
“This could be because I’m all too well aware of how easily I can end up in that nice torture chamber of yours. I guess, by reminding myself I keep myself really cautious. But I don’t fail to notice that you have failed to answer my question.”
He laughed again, but then turned serious, “Right, enough bantering chat. So, any thoughts on the traitor?”
I continued my sneer and replied, “You don’t need poison for that answer. As if I’d be stupid enough not to do my job.”
He no longer seemed to be in the mood for games, because he leant closer to me and snarled, “Answer the question, slave girl!”
A bit put into place, I replied hastily, “Fine, fine I’m sorry, my lord! I was able to narrow it down to two of them: Archon Varys or Archon Ea'nash.”
A cold stare. “Go on.”
“Well, Archon Varys, because he’s too modest for one of the most revered Archons in this Kabal and agrees far too often with you. He doesn’t demand, he doesn't object. And he was too nice to me, possibly trying to beguile me. On the other hand, it could be Archon Ea’nash, because he is far too aggressive for his position and far too insolent. Also, he is the sickest son-of-a-bitch in this whole Circle. Should’ve bitten his fingers off.” I instantly regretted my anger and this statement as he hit me hard in the face. There was one good thing about the pain: I got clearer. Still, I was aware that this hit had been a soft caress. He could have done much worse things to me for this insolence.
Vect growled, “Mind your tone, slave! Believe me, he was gentle with you! It surprises me that you are that naïve, by calling Ea’nash the worst of them. He is by far the youngest and not that accustomed to taming his passions. However, let me tell you one thing: they were all incredibly gentle with you, since you impressed them so much. Believe me, if you were not as well-taught as you are, you would have lost consciousness at some point, because you would have felt much more pain and pleasure.” He looked at me with narrowed eyes. “I do not know what to make of you, slave girl. On one hand, you seem to be quite the observer; on the other, you seem to miss the obvious.”
I shrugged and replied, “Well, I guess that I haven’t accustomed fully to reading in the faces of your kind and that I still have much to learn about all of you. And on top of that, I’m just a stupid human.”
He frowned, shook his head and responded, “You, my child, are many things, but stupid is not one of them.”
I sighed in relief and said, “I’m honoured, my lord. I just wear my heart on my sleeve, that is.” My strength started to fail me. I bedded my head into my arms on the table and murmured, “Gods, I hope this light-headedness stops soon, I can’t stand it any longer! I hate it to be deprived of my wits!” He did not help at all with his evil laugh and gentle caresses of my hair. It was almost more than I could take. To stand his mockery was a hundred times worse to all the cuts and immodest touches I had received from the Circle.
“So distressed, my child? I fear I have to tell you that this will take a bit longer to end.” His words were cruel, but somehow I liked them. I was appalled by the feeling and the thought.
“I should be happy that you take such delight from this, shouldn’t I? So, what’s up next? I guess you are weary of this variation of this game”, I tried changing the subject.
My master made a musing sound. “There it is again, you read me quite well, better and more intently than any human slave before you.”
A short chuckle shook my body. “Guess this comes with soaking in all knowledge I could get about you.”
Vect mused, “Hmm, it seems that you have not told me everything about your knowledge. You will tell me, but first, let us make a change of scene; I would like to discuss those things in other circumstances.”
The Overlord stood up, came to me and carried me into the bath. In there, I noticed with surprise that the tub was filled and the scent that hung in the air turned my head even more. I had a hard time thinking straight. Apparently, Vect wanted to be absolutely sure that I was telling the truth. The only question that remained was why he did not torture me to get them out of me. He would enjoy it and it rejuvenated him.
Then the scales fell from my eyes.
“Oh, this is just grand,” I whispered and jumped because I just realised that I really had said it.
Of course, Vect had heard it and asked immediately, “What is it, my child?”
“I finally understood it. You know, I didn’t get until now why you aren’t torturing me to get the answers out of me. But now,” I laughed. “Now I see that you were doing it all the time. You do it by taking the very thing from me that matters most to me: my intellect.” I looked into his eyes, shook my head and stated, “Damn it, you are as excellent as they say. Tell me, my lord: does this rejuvenate you too? I’d love to know."
He put me down and said, “In a different manner as inflicting physical pain unto you would.”
Excited, I replied, “Oh, I see! So it’s mentally!”
“Indeed, and it has been a while since I had such a suitable victim as you. Why? Not because you suffer so much by losing your intellect, it is rather the fear that torments you so much, the anguish of making a critical mistake while in this condition, to give me every reason to subject you to excruciating pain. And I never had a subject that was more afraid of the prospect of being tortured than actually being tortured.”
I drew a face. “I curse my vivid imagination.”
A soft chuckle. “Oh, but this makes you so… refreshing.”
I shook my head and admitted, “Damn it, you are scaring and arousing the hell out of me, my lord.” I was absolutely aware that I would never have admitted that under normal circumstances. He grinned so widely that I could clearly see his shining white, pointed teeth. Now I saw that the canines of both upper and lower jaw had been replaced with obsidian fangs, at least it looked like obsidian. It needed a lot of artistic skill to shape them so that they did not hinder him in any way. I now really was puzzled that I had not felt them when he had kissed me or noticed them otherwise until now.
Now, Vect got down onto my eye level, pulled me against him and hissed into my ear, “And it will get even worse.” With these words, he cut my clothing off me; I had no idea where he had gotten the dagger from. Then he grabbed me and threw me into the water. I hit the surface quite unpleasantly with my belly and screamed as the water touched my wounds. This scream was a silent one, because I already was under water when the pain hit. It burned as if someone had poured acid into my wounds. I emerged from the water while spitting and gasping, but fell to my knees with a grunt of pain. Tears welled up in my eyes. I rolled myself into a ball and breathed heavily. I was not able to hide my suffering. All I wanted was to get out of the water and whatever had been put into it, but I felt that this was a bad idea.
I flinched as he suddenly was beside me and stroked my hair and back. I had not heard him at all, he could be terribly quiet. I forced my next words forward with clenched teeth, “What’s that for? Do I deserve a little punishment?”
I could hear the cruel smile in his voice. “Quite the opposite, my child. I spared you the torment of inflicting the pain unto yourself and the reason it hurts so much is that your wounds start to rapidly regenerate. You will suffer for a while, but it should be over soon.”
I breathed heavily and said in a strained manner, “You could have told me.”
He scoffed, “And spoil my delight? We would not want that, now would we?”
I hyperventilated for some time, then replied, “Of course not, my lord.” I did not know which was worse: the terrible pain or his tender caresses. I would have loved to scream, but I did not want to give him a reason for gloating.
Nevertheless, he seemed to enjoy it, because he said after a while, which I had spent trembling in pain under his touch, “Mmh, I guess it would also be delightful to torture you physically. I can feel that you would be quite tough to break.”
Strained, I responded, “Maybe we will find out one day.”
This had been a mistake, because he grabbed me by my hair, dragged me to his eye level and snarled into my ear, “Do not dare to tempt me, lest I will cut your wounds open just to put you back into the water. Again and again and again, until you can only scream and between your screams, you will beg me to stop. Do – never – again – dare – to – tempt – me. Understood?!”
Completely subdued and with pain-wrecked voice I replied, “I won’t, never again, my lord, I swear!”
Apparently satisfied, he breathed a kiss upon my temple and whispered tenderly into my ear, “Good girl.” Then he let go of me and let me fall back into the water. My fright and pain had cleared my head a bit, but the more I inhaled from the steam, the more my senses were dimmed and the more my tongue was loosened.
At some point, the pain stopped and if I had not been in the water, I would have fallen onto my side. Both my body and my mind were worn out, but I knew that we were just getting started.
“Very good. You have to know that pain slows down the poison even more, so you should experience its peak in a short time,” he said. I closed my eyes as he held me by my waist, gently this time, and leant me against the side of the tub, my head on its rim. I was shaking; the pain had taken a lot of my strength. He said to me, his voice calm, “Easy, my child. Relax now, the toxin will help you. Slow, deep breaths.” I obeyed and it took a while until the tension in my body ceased.
At some point, I could no longer hold my thoughts in, “I still can’t believe that I’m here, in this place, with you. You, one of the most mythical, most powerful and cruellest creatures ever to walk the universe. Intriguing you. Even impressing you. I never thought it possible.” I lowered my voice to a whisper, as I continued, “And I love it. I love every second of it, whether you are torturing or caressing me. I never thought that possible, too.” Anguished, and against my will, I added, “Goddammit, I even liked it when I was touched by the members of your Circle. I wouldn’t admit it then, but deep down I felt it. And it scares me. Have I already become a mindless whore, a plaything to powers I can’t even imagine?”
He started caressing my hair while grumbling in a musing way, then responded softly, “We are all just playthings to powers we cannot imagine, my child, but you are far from being a mindless whore. Nevertheless, it is interesting that you think about such things. Others would just have been happy to enjoy it, never asking why. However, one question remains: what do you know about me that fascinates you so much? I am a bane to your kind; they only dare to whisper my name in this age. How come, that you, such a young human, have come to admire me?”
I took a deep breath, then replied, “It’s because of what I know about you and that’s possibly more than anybody else does. Before I came here, I studied every bit of information I could find about you. And with this knowledge, I thought that meeting you would be uttermost interesting. I know where you come from, how you rose to power, what powers possibly stand behind you and your reign and I know about that twisted kind of humour you have, if one looks at how you make your enemies die. I became to admire your ingenuity; your shrewdness; your battle skills. Even your cruelty. And I dreamt of meeting you, even as a slave and to be able to see what it is like. What you are like. And now… I’m here. As a slave. At your mercy. That thought blows my mind and excites me if I think too hard about it. And,” I swallowed, “I love your people. How they look, how they move, how they think, how they act. That delicate, yet unbelievably cruel and immodest behaviour. Most importantly, I fully understand why you do what you do. Still, it scares me to be part of your society. But I guess I would do every single one of your Circle if you ordered me to, because you are all so beautiful, so elegant, so perfect. I never found my ideal in human men, but in your kind, I can’t seem to stop to see my ideals. And it is so intriguing that you look like this and act like that. It’s just the mixture I’ve ever dreamed of.”
The Overlord stopped the caresses for a second, then continued and stated, “Most fascinating. I have never met a human who thought about my people in this way and who knew that much about me.”
“Would you answer one question for me, my lord?”
“Go on.”
“Is it normal that you treat your personal slave like this? Well, I know that you don’t in the beginning, but later on? Is it always like this?” At first, he halted again, then he started to laugh unrestrained. I seemed to have amused him truly this time, because he laughed until a single tear ran down his cheek. He needed some time to calm down again. Without any doubt, this was the evilest laugh I had ever heard – even around here.
Finally, my master said, wiping away the tear, “No, my child, definitely not! It is very sweet and innocent of you to even ask this question. I am incredibly gentle with you, usually, I have my personal slaves thrown into the cage and when I come to my quarters, I would humiliate, torture and assault them until they break and either start to like it or lose their minds. After all, they are nothing but cattle to me, just here to amuse me due to their suffering. This would go on and on, until I can find no further pleasure in tormenting them and I take the next one to be my personal slave. But you,” he caressed my cheek and looked intensely into my eyes, “You, my sweet child, have such a beautiful mind that I had no desire of bending it to my will and needs. You have the aptitude to like what I do without me breaking you; therefore, you might stay my slave without breaking, but only time will show that.”
Cautiously I added, “And maybe even become your chosen one?”
He again laughed shortly and responded, “I never had a chosen one before; no one could impress me that much.”
“Not even Lady Malys?” I asked slyly.  
He stopped, frowned and then snarled, “You know about her?”
“That is what I meant when I said that I possibly know more about you than anybody else. Yes, I do,” I said with a weak smile.
“Your logic is flawed here; she was never my slave, just an individual that was smart enough to be worth of my attention. It was sweet as long as it lasted, but in the end, she bored me, just like the rest,” he said, but somehow I had the feeling to hear a tiny slice of regret in his voice.
“Well, it is hard to intrigue a mind as old and wise as yours longer than some moments,” I stated, shrugging.
The dominant Overlord was back in the blink of an eye. “Leave such flattery be, child, it will not work on me.”
I called myself to order and replied carefully, “I did not mean to soft-soap you. I know better than that. I just speak the truth.”
The malicious sound he made warned me that he was about to get mean. In a cruel tone, my master said, “Well, since you feel so obligated about telling the truth right now, why do we not start talking about humankind in your time? After all, this is why you survived your journey here so… unscathed.” With the last word he ran a single finger down my body, between my breasts, over my belly and over the inside of my left thigh, without touching my genitals. Because he noticed how uneasy the last part of his touch had made me, he did it again, apparently savouring my dismay. With a malicious smile on his lips he reached for the dagger which he had used to cut my clothes off, then he grabbed me by my left wrist and forced me to turn onto my side as he nailed my arm down on the rim of the tub. As he ran the blade of the dagger like a razor down the inside of my forearm, actually shaving some of the fine hair there off and showing me how terribly sharp it was, but without cutting me, he said, somewhat lost in thought, “It is quite easy, actually. You will tell me everything that I want to know and you will not have to feel any more pain. I think we are clear on how easily I can hurt you badly, especially right now. One single cut is all it takes.”
I did not have the strength to struggle, therefore, I replied, “Yes, my lord. But what if you don’t like my answers?” It was meant as a serious question, but apparently, he understood it as a cheeky remark, because in a movement so fast I could not follow, he had the blade at my throat. Vect then slowly forced me to press my head against the rim, if I did not want to have my throat cut. In the process, he had me overstretching my muscles painfully. I clenched my teeth and breathed heavily as he held me like this for a while.
The Overlord looked at me, his head tilted, then said, his eyes narrowed, “I am still not sure what to make of you. You know how to behave most of the time, then again you do not think your words over and dare me. Either you are incredibly stupid or insanely brave.”
Through clenched teeth, I said calmly, “I am sorry, it was meant as an honest question. I am the one with the truth serum in her system; it is not like I can do much to choose my words.”
“Hmm,” he said almost approvingly. “True. How mean of me.” The irony in those words was almost killing me. He made me flinch as he quickly and shortly stroked the blade over the bottom of my chin, then he laid it back against my forearm.
I sighed in relief as I could relax my body again, then said cautiously, “So, what do you want to know, my lord?”
Thus, he started questioning me.

It had taken quite a while… I was not sure how long. What I was sure of was that my strength had waned with every passing minute. He had asked about society structure, warfare, ideology, values and history. I answered his questions as well as I could and apparently I did a good enough job of it, because he had not cut me even once. To what end he had asked these questions I did not know, because they seemed random for me. Then again, I possibly did not possess enough intelligence to comprehend his thoughts.
When he seemed satisfied for the moment, I asked, “So, this is it? Have I outlived my usefulness now?”
He laughed wickedly. “Oh no, my little one. I might find another question for you, time and again. Besides, you have been trained so well and are talented; it would be a shame to let this go to waste. Also, as it happens, I am sure that you will survive quite a while, longer than my personal slaves usually do. I am just getting started with you, there is so much more I want to show and let you experience.” I dreaded what that meant.
My strength now finally started to completely fail me. I had been sitting on my heels and would now have fallen forward, shortly blacking out, if he had not caught me.
He said, “I see that this game starts to take its toll on you. We better put you to rest.”
The world started spinning again, this time even more intensely, breathing was a strain and even my heart seemed to slow down. I no longer possessed the strength to even speak, and closed my eyes as he took and lifted me out of the water. He wrapped me in a towel and barely dried my hair, then laid me down on the sofa. He also dried himself, and now I watched in fascination as he just shortly rubbed his hair, almost completely drying it in the process. Delirious I watched him as he combed it and then quickly and expertly fixed it into an Eldar-plait. After that, he came to me, picked me up and went back to the main room. There, he laid me on the bed.
There I laid, not able to move, he beside me, watching me closely. At some point, the irony of my situation hit me and I manically started laughing. The longer I laughed, the more confused the Overlord beside me looked. If I had been stronger, I possibly would have savoured this priceless look on his face.
Finally, I managed to say, “It’s really ironic, isn’t it? I just told you how much I wanted all this and still, I’m scared to death when I lie in this bed with you. Or even when I am with you, with that blasted thing around my neck.”
“I deem that it is a bit different to imagine and wish for a thing than actually experiencing it.”
“Of course and I know that. Still, it’s ironic.”
“Also, most certainly you do not know what it is really like. If you imagine things, you will possibly do so in a way that pleases you. Now you cannot be sure if you will like it or if you can take it, and, of course, that scares you even more. You also only know about me; you do not actually know me. However, you will, if you stay as collected and intriguing as you are now, because you will survive long enough to get to know me.”
Vect gently stroked my belly, I said, “Would it not please you to take me here and now?”
My master made an amused sound. “No, my child. You must be ready for this and not only half-conscious.” He bent over me and kissed me, tenderly this time. I expected him to bite, but this time, he did not. As he was finished and slowly drew away from me, he left his eyes closed. Only now I saw how perfectly sculpted they were, like two elegant brushstrokes in a perfect painting. Quietly my master said, “Yes… that definitely felt different.” Then, he covered me with the blanket and added, “Oh, and one last thing, my little one: I already knew that Varys was the traitor.”
I did not possess the strength to react greatly to this, though I felt betrayed. I just said slowly, “But… why…?”
“Why I lied to you and let you search for him? It is quite easy, actually. I wanted to assess you, and this I did. Or did you rather mean why I let him stay in my Circle if I knew about his intentions? How do you humans say? Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. By observing him I might learn more about his collaborators.” I wanted to ask him to what conclusion he had come with my assessment, but my master demanded softly, “Sleep now, my sweet child. You have a very straining day ahead of you and I want you to be well rested.” I closed my eyes, somehow enjoyed his caresses in my hair and at some point, I fell into a deep, quiet slumber…

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:50

Chapter 6


“You have five senses... Sound... Smell... Sight... Touch... *strokes his arm* Mmmmmm and taste...
*kisses him* I'll tantalise every single one of them...”
— Lhamaean Serezia to her Lord Iutka,
Commander of the Pirate Fleet of the Shrouded Hand

AWAKING ON THE next day was very relaxing for a change. All that was left of the poison was a fading memory, my senses were clear again and my body complied. Nevertheless, I had not forgotten what I had told him and I was ashamed when I thought back. I would have loved to fuse with the bed, now that he knew how I truly felt about him, though he still scared me witless. It was a twisted mix of feelings.
I slowly opened my eyes, and as I did I had to find out with a tormented groan that he sat beside me and looked down on me, like a mountain loomed over a small valley. It still was a challenge for me to look into those icy eyes and even more so now, because he knew a lot more about me. The moment he noticed that I was awake, a predatory smile started to grace his face and he said to me, “Good morning, my child! I take it that you have slept well?”
“Good morning, my lord. Yes, thank you, I have. And I take it that my lord is hungry?”
His smile deepened. “In more ways than you can imagine.”
I was aware what he was talking about, but decided rather to ignore the remark. As I looked into his face for some moments, I noticed with surprise that some slight wrinkles had appeared around his eyes and mouth. I guessed that this showed how direly and often he needed regeneration.
However, I did not show my consternation and I cautiously sat up. I was surprised that I did not feel a single thing of the poison. I got out of bed, slipped my dressing gown over my shoulders and went in the direction of the table.
Halfway there I paused as I noticed that he had not followed me, but rather still sat on the bed and looked at me with narrowed eyes. I turned to him and asked, “Is something wrong, my lord?”
For a short time, he continued his piercing stare, then he replied, “No, my child, on the contrary, everything is better than expected.”
He then came to me, tenderly caressed my bottom, which I liked more than I wanted to admit, and then we went to the table. We had a long breakfast, but did not talk very much. I noticed that he acted completely different today, more tense and concentrated. I did not ask him what was amiss, because I had the feeling that it would be a terrible mistake. After we were finished, he commanded me to go showering, as usual. He had not told me a single thing of what would be happening today.
As I stepped out of the bath, I knew the answer. He immediately came at me, took hold of my chin and lead me into an intense deep kiss. As he drew me against him with ease, I noticed two things, which were him being naked and apparently aroused. That explained his strange behaviour. Fear and excitement flashed through me at the same time, because I knew what this meant. I was aware that it was easily possible that I would not survive this without injuries – both in the mind and the body.
While he kissed me, he blindfolded me, so expertly that I could not see a thing. As he was done, he also ended the kiss, caressed my flanks and I jumped a little, as he spoke English with me, “For this, I have turned the translator on, and I want you to speak this language. I want you to be very aware that you are a human and helpless.” I nodded. He picked me up and carried me to the bed, whispering into my ear, “Do not worry, child, since it is your first time, I will be very gentle with you and I intend giving you only very little pain, but even more ecstasy. You will suffer nevertheless.” Then, he threw me on the bed, and was over me in a split-second.
It did not take long until he blew my mind...

As he was done, he stayed in me, only slightly panting. I had to keep from laughing manically, because the difference between us hit me again. There was him, in his perpetual, glorious calmness, though he had just frak my soul out of me, and then there was me, mind and body still rippling with aftershocks of what had just transpired, though it had been already some minutes since he had been done.
At some point, my master slowly opened his eyes and started smiling, as he looked into mine. After what he just had done with and to me, this gaze somehow did not pierce me as much as before. With cruel tenderness, he caressed my hair and said softly, now again in his tongue, “Ah, I enjoyed that, my sweet child. I enjoyed you. And from what I saw, you also did.” I could not reply; all I could was just lying there, still panting, the world spinning. This just had been the most mind-blowing experience of my whole life, but still, I was sure that this only had been the version with velvet gloves.
The Overlord closed his eyes and shivered, then said with relish, “Mmh, how I would love to do that right now again or at least stay a bit longer in you!”
At this point, I had somewhat regained my breath and replied weakly, “What hinders you, my lord?”
A predatory smile showed me his fangs. “Your barely-existing stamina, child. You would faint if I took you again.”
I returned the smile and elaborated, “Yes, of course, but what I meant was: what hinders you to stay in me a bit longer? Lie down, savour the feeling. You already had me, do you really think I mind if you stay in me now?”
My master laid one hand on my belly, then again slowly opened his eyes and stated, “Interesting.”
“What is it, my lord?” I asked puzzled.
“I can feel no fear or at least disgust from you, just relaxation,” he stated, beholding me with astonishment.
I smiled confidently, then said, “I would be terribly naïve if I felt that way, now wouldn’t I? It was clear that you would sleep with me. And I also love the constellation. I always dreamt of being taken by a being that is much more powerful, experienced and older than me. Besides, I am done for.”
He made a musing sound. “It seems that I might start to really enjoy sex again. I did not believe that possible.” His eyes fixated mine. “You do not stop to surprise me, child. I wonder if I ever come to punish you.”
I smiled shyly and said in the same manner, “I hope not. But then again, you can always do as you please with me.”
An evil smile. “Indeed, I can.”
He lay down on top of me; I winced as he moved inside of me, because I was sore all over. The Overlord laid his head beside me, closing his eyes again. Again he caressed my hair, I gently hugged him in return; never had I felt so much relaxation from him. We stayed like that for a while and what I noticed just now was that he was much lighter than he should be, considering his height and musculature. I wondered about it for a while, but then I remembered what I had been taught: the bones and muscles of Eldar were much lighter than the ones of humans, but much tougher, since they consisted of a completely different material. As it was with most things, the bodies of these aliens were much more efficient than a human one.
At some time, my master sat up again, stroking my cheek and said, “Yes, that felt good. You feel good.” I did not get what he meant, he smiled and explained, “You see, I could not have done this, staying in you that is, if you would have been fearful. I can sense your feelings and your fear would have only spoilt the experience for me, but I have to say that your relaxation was very refreshing for me. It seems that you are rejuvenating me more than I have originally anticipated.”
With honest amazement, I replied, “And there I thought your kind only revels in the suffering and pain of others.”
He laughed softly. “True that. Still, there are some parts of our lives where it is a bit different and where we long for more than pure suffering. Of course, it makes the whole thing that much sweeter, but there is a point where enjoyment or at least well-being of both sides is wanted. At least some of us know that this is important.”
“Good to hear that I served you to your liking, my lord.” I truly was relieved that he felt that way. It meant that our future intercourses might not be as unpleasant as I had anticipated.
“And you really mean that. How sweet,” he said mockingly, while caressing my cheek.
I did not mind his taunting, smiled and replied, “Why shouldn’t I? You dying is the last thing I want and the last thing this city needs.”
Now my master looked at me with an extremely sceptical and piercing gaze, his eyebrows slowly contracting into a wary frown. “It seems that you have more knowledge in this fragile head of yours than any human I have ever met. You will tell me everything. And I really advise you to answer my questions; otherwise, I could get serious about torturing you.” He seemed to be really upset about that.
Ruefully, I replied, “I beg your forgiveness, my lord. I will tell you everything you want to know.”
I was relieved as this wicked smile of his again graced his lips; he ran his thumb over my cheek again and said in a soft, but nevertheless creepy tone, “Yes, you will, my child.”
Then, he drew away from me, but picked me up and carried me into the bathroom. I was not surprised to find the bathtub filled up to the rim. He waded into the water with me, then lowered himself into it, taking me with him. I was happy that the temperature was comfortable for me and my muscles relaxed somewhat. He also let go of me and sat me down. The wound I had been given and my sore parts burned shortly, but the warm water eased the pain quickly. My master demanded, “I want a head massage, slave girl.”
Not very happy about that, since I was not sure whether I should trust my remaining strength, but still obedient, I nodded, leant myself against the rim of the tub and bedded his head upon my belly. Again, I was struck by the notion how handsome he was. If I had not known it better, I would have never guessed that he was about eleven thousand years old. He closed his eyes and I started massaging him. His long hair floated around me in the water, softly stroking my sides. While I massaged his head, him obviously enjoying it, he gently ran his fingertips over the outsides of my shanks. At some point, he said, “Now, my child, what about your knowledge? I would like to hear more.”
I nodded, then replied, “I will tell you gladly, my lord. But first I have to know which year it is.”
“It is the year 995.M41. Why would you need to know?” I froze for a second as he said that. That meant that the 41st millennium was drawing to a close and who could know what it might bring? Havoc was one quite possible option and I was sure that it would hit Commorragh as hard as every place else. I knew that Vect had a problem with Khaine’s Gate, which was a portal to who-knows-where (possibly the warp, but this was not confirmed), which kept ripping the Undercore, the deepest part of Commorragh, apart.
Although this took me quite aback, I kept him from waiting too long and replied, “I see. So, the thing with Khaine’s Gate is starting to get out of hand. Luckily, I can give you some advice on how to delay it.” In a split-second after I had finished speaking, he bolted up, wheeled around so fast I could not follow his movements and grabbed my throat.
He snarled with burning eyes, “Alright, slave, you better start talking about how you know about this gate and why the hell you know about the future! If I find out that you are a psyker, I will end you!” He had scared me witless and I was not able to answer for some seconds, frozen with fear. As his eyes narrowed, I knew that my time was running out.
I gave myself a push and answered with smothered voice, “Please, my lord, calm down and let me explain! I swear, I told nobody but you!” This was not what he wanted to hear, because his grip tightened; now strangling me completely.
The Overlord pulled me so close to him that our nose-tips almost touched and hissed, “Answer right now or I swear I will make you scream so loud that they hear you all the way down to the Undercore!”
With my last breath, I gasped, “I read about it. In my time, all events until 995.999.M41 are reported. Please, my lord…”
I fought for air as he loosened his grip that much so I could breathe again. His eyes were still narrowed, showing clearly that I was not out of danger. “Go on,” he snarled.
Thus, I told him everything I knew what would happen, not only the future, but also the past, to show him that I was not lying. I told him about the riots he had to expect because of the up-heating situation with Khaine’s Gate, which would kill thousands of his people because of their failing portals, Malys’s alliance with the Harlequins, who were about to thwart a lot of his plans and were possibly responsible for the aforementioned catastrophe to weaken his position, and the raid he should make on the day 978.999.M41 on Bakka, to steal the artificially grown Nulls that the Imperium had there, to delay the catastrophe which was about to happen at Khaine’s Gate. Their anti-psionic powers would deaden the warpal tides that were washing out of Khaine’s Gate. I tried to remember every little detail that could be important for him, though his stare made it hard for me to concentrate on anything else.
When I had been done, he had let go of me and had started to stare pensively into thin air. It was easy to see that his whole mind was set on processing the information I had just given him and I was sure that he was thinking a lot quicker than I ever could have followed, though I was not slow in mind myself.
It took a while, but then he closed his eyes, rubbed his temples and stated, “Alright, I will have to act as soon as possible, for it is imperative that these happenings are dealt with in an accurate way. And,” Again his hand shot out, grabbed my hair and dragged me so close to him that he could hiss into my ear, “If you should even think about telling anybody but me what you know, I will show you why I am feared throughout my whole race for my cruelty.”
Subdued, I replied, “I would’ve never dared such a thing, my lord.”
Apparently satisfied, he let go of me and demanded, “I take your word for it. Now, go ahead with your massage. I will stay with you today and I want to relax, since tomorrow will be quite a straining day.” He lay down again and I continued my task.
As I looked into his face whilst I did my work, I thought to notice that some of his wrinkles were gone; still, I could see some. Maybe this meant that my strong feelings whilst intercourse had indeed rejuvenated him a bit; however, it seemed as if he needed more than that to truly keep his youthful façade.
“What will happen tomorrow, if I may ask, my lord?” I asked in a curious tone.
My master deigned to answer, “I will get together with my Circle again and we will run battle drills. I have not only chosen them for their loyalty and resourcefulness, but also for their skills with a blade. I need to keep my skills as sharp as ever and only the most revered Dark Eldar stand a chance against me.” He felt that I was happy about that and asked, “What delights you so much about that, child?”
I answered with excitement in my voice, “I always hoped to see your kind in battle, since it must be utterly elegant and aesthetic to watch. And to see the very masters at it must be an even more uplifting sight, especially when one is allowed to watch unharmed.”
Vect laughed softly. “Though your curiosity is enchanting, I have to warn you that you might find it hard to follow any of those fights. My kind can be far quicker than the human eye. Still, though I know that you are counted as an adult amongst your kind, you sometimes have the spirit of a child.”
“I know that my lord, still, I am excited. I also swore to myself that I would never let that curiosity go, since it makes life so much more enjoyable.”
“An interesting thing to live by, if one can allow it to oneself.”
My master had me massaging his head for quite some while, apparently enjoying it greatly. I was happy that it was this way and that his anger had waned, it was a lot safer for me. At some point – it had been a taxing while in which he had enjoyed my massage silently – he opened his eyes again and said, “Enough, child! I am hungry. Let us go eat!”
That settled it. We got out of the bathtub and I was more than surprised to not only find underwear as clothing for me, but also a simple tunic. I could not contain my cynicism and said, while I twirled the cloth in my hands, “Oh – my – god! Actual clothing!”
A diabolic smirk passed his lips and he replied, “Would you rather be naked, hmm?”
I pursed my lips, pressed the tunic against my body and stated, “Totally.” He laughed, I continued, “Seriously, I am grateful, my lord. Chu’uk preferred me undressed and on the ships of your kind it is not warm enough for no clothing at all.”
He nodded. “Yes, he was a lecherous bastard. This is also why I was surprised to hear that he had not assault you. It must have been incredibly hard for him to contain himself.”
“I guess he was scared as hell of you after all, because why should he have cared if he wanted to kill you in the first place?” I suggested.
“True. Good to see that I have not lost my edge after all.” His expression showed clearly that he was pleased with himself, like a cat that knew its prey in a safe corner.
I shook my head. “It is unbelievable that some idiots really think that you grow too weak and too old even for your race. I always knew it could only have been a ruse to feign weakness to let those idiots, who think opposing you is a good idea, walk into a trap.”
The smile I now had to see made my stomach freeze and shot a cold shiver down my spine, though I somewhat was used to his facial expressions by now. It clearly showed the malignancy and deviousness of this ancient Dark Eldar, feats, that were responsible for him surviving on top of this murderous and insidious society for ages past and yet to come.
“Good.” He stretched the word in a gruesome manner. “Then this works even better than I had anticipated,” he said in a malicious, but satisfied tone.
The whole situation reminded me very closely of whom I was dealing with and that it was wise to show him great respect, for getting tangled up in his nets usually lead to a very creative and agonising ending. Since he seemed lost in thought, I asked cautiously, “My lord, did you not say earlier that you were hungry?”
He blinked, apparently finding back to the present, then answered, “Yes, of course. Let us go!”
We sat down at the table and started eating. Meanwhile, I asked, “I have a question, my lord, if I may?”
He nodded.
“You said earlier that Chu’uk was a lecherous bastard. Is he already dead? That would surprise me, actually.”
The Overlord let out an amused, yet sardonic sound and replied, “Oh no, he is alive, but not so well. Let me put it that way: he does not have much to be lecherous about nowadays.”
We both grinned.
“Ah, I thought so. But I have to admit, I was not entirely truthful, my lord. Chu’uk did not actually assault me, but he did touch me. I guess I saved myself from it by reminding him at the right moment that it was not a good idea.” With a sour face I added, “Well, he nevertheless whipped the hell out of me for spoiling his pleasure afterwards.”
I flinched as he snarled, “Quit your wailing and better get used to it! You will see what awaits you if you ever dare to spoil my pleasure.”
This called me to order. I tended to forget what I was for him, though he was much nicer to me than to any other slave. Nevertheless, I was just his slave, nothing more, and in this role, I should rather expect pain, not whine about it. Therefore, I replied ruefully and with bowed head, “Forgive me, my lord. I forgot my place.”
“You tend to do that quite often, slave girl. You might want to correct that, otherwise, I will not take your collar off in here and treat you much rougher, just to remind you.”
“Yes, I will, my lord.”
Again, I had to notice how incredibly hard it was to assess his reactions. On one hand, there were dialogues with him, in which he allowed me to be a bit bold and sarcastic, like the one before in the bathroom, on the other and without warning he was the dominant master all over again, who just waited for a reason to punish or torment me. I figured that maybe this was his strange way to show me what he liked and what he did not, what amused and what annoyed him. I noted to myself that I would try it out with caution.
We spent the rest of the meal in silence, I was too afraid to say anything, since it seemed as if I had put him off with my cheekiness. At some point he said, without looking at me, “I like you better when you are less afraid, child.”
“I’m sorry, my lord, I’m just cautious not to anger you any further.” With heart pounding, I added, “You can be quite terrifying, if so, you know.”
I almost sighed in relief as he smirked mischievously.
Still, he said, “So much fear for such a tiny remark… What had you done if this just had not gone your way, I wonder?”
I smiled shyly, replying in a subdued and weak manner, “Endured your anger?” I flinched heavily as he caressed my hair – his smile widened because of that.
“Good girl. At least you learn fast,” he said to me tenderly and taunting.
Somehow, this did not help at all, since every single time he talked to me like that, I was almost torn apart on the inside. On the one hand – as perversely as it sounded – it turned me somehow on, on the other, I almost froze in fear every time, because I knew that he was about to do something unspeakably cruel when he spoke to me with this gentle, yet mocking tone.
It wore me out not to know how to measure him up, though I was perfectly aware that it would take a lot longer than three days to solve an eleven-thousand-year-old riddle, which had never been solved by anyone so far. It was twice as hard for me, because I was used to weighing up people quickly and correctly most of the time. Then again, I did not have a lot of practice in assessing the Dark Eldar psyche. They were completely different to humans, their personalities were far more complex and I had to deal with the most complex of them all.
For now, the expected cruelty failed to happen, because he got up and stated, “I will leave you now. Do whatever you deem necessary – it will take some hours.”
“Is it rejuvenation time?” I asked with curiosity.
A predatory smile. “Exactly.”
“At this point, I sincerely want to thank you that you spare me from being present when you celebrate this part of your existence,” I said and I meant it. I really was grateful for that.
“Do not thank me too early.” I looked at him horrified, he smiled viciously. He did not add anything to this statement, just left me high and dry with it and went away without saying another word after he had donned his armour.
I snorted. There I had my awaited cruelty, because now I could wonder my brains out what this ominous statement could mean for me. I was aware that I could end in his torture chamber all too easy someday, though I would do my very best to avoid it. It also could mean that he would take me with him to the tower of the Haemonculi Coven he was going to, which was just as pleasing. Then again, I would see in the future if thanking him had been a mistake.
To kill some time and since I did not know whether I was allowed to sleep, though I was very tired, I had a look at the library. I really enjoyed being somewhat properly dressed again and having more than twenty percent of my body covered with cloth. By now I was a bit unfamiliar with it, but it definitely gave some of my dignity back, since Dark Eldar knew all too well how to take it away quickly.
I took a while deciphering the covers of the books, most things I was sure I would not even be able to comprehend, but then I found something that caught my eye.
It was a book about the Circle.
I simply had to read it. It surely would contain vital information for me, for if I was to survive around here, it was through brains, not muscles, and I intended to do everything in my power to keep my mind as sharp as possible. So I took the book and went back to one of the divans in front of the fireplace.
Before I opened it, though, the reality of what just had happened to me hit me. I was glad that the thought hit me while he was gone, because I was damn sure that even one little sign of weakness was enough for him to make my situation a living hell for me. I closed my watery eyes in shame and desperation as I had to admit to myself that I had enjoyed it more than I should have; then again, it had not exactly been assault, but it also had not been consensual, well, not that anything in my life would be consensual again. I tried not to think too hard about it, but I could not help remembering how he had made me scream, first begging for the orgasm, then begging him to stop. It had taken hours, both of it, the foreplay as well as the intercourse itself and he had me screaming with lust all the time. I still was surprised that I was able to stand, where this strength came from I did not know, maybe my body still had to realise what it had been put through. I had never felt such intense ecstasy in my whole life, though he also had given me some pain. He had shown me very closely that he was a master in those things and that I had absolutely no idea about sex, as well as making it clear to me that it would get worse and that he had taken it slowly today. It would get much worse. Again, I forced myself not to ponder this, but rather take this step when it became apparent.
I tore my mind with force away from the past and future, focused on the present, opened the book and started to read. At first, I struggled with the words, since I was quite sure who had written the book and the sentences were, therefore, quite complicated, but as I got the hang of it, it was terribly interesting for me. I found out a lot about every single one of the Circle members, information on their full names, what connections they had, where they hailed from and also a hint of what their personalities were like:

Archon Valossian Sythrac, Hierarch
Archon Aaryn Cra’ozamahr Zuol
Archon Tacari Sarnak
Archon Pachu’a Masrara Varys
Archon Yevhen Nuscul
Archon Tahvyn Nabeh Ea’nash
Archon Duayne Alactel
Archon Ceallach Tahril

Archon Sythrac, the Hierarch, was, as obvious as could be, Vect’s right hand and second-in-command over the Kabal concerning whole military expeditions. He seemed to be a Halfborn, getting his current position through his wits and intelligence, which could only be matched by one and one alone. Sythrac had to be feared in battle too, wielding his unique Huskblade, which literally could turn his enemies to dust in a single blow. Sythrac seemed to be an extremely resourceful, but unspeakably cruel personality. The Overlord was suspected to prize him highly.
I was quite sure that there had to be more to it than the book suggested, as Vect would not be so stupid as to write his true thoughts on his Circle down.
Archon Zuol seemed to be the commander of the most important raids, and also seemed to organise them, of course upon consultation with the Overlord. His personal squad, the ‘Despair Bringers’, was the best in the whole Kabal, which was truly remarkable, considering what an enormous organisation it was. According to the book, he was a Trueborn and a real menace in battle, which was not surprising considering that he almost had finished the training for becoming an Incubus, which would have meant for him to forsake all worldly claims, especially the power of his house. In the last instance, he aborted his training and rather slew his father, gaining the power and resources of his house. The deed also merited him the place of his late father in the Overlord’s circle, because he impressed Vect deeply in assuming control of his house. It seemed as if Zuol’s father had been a raging tempest in battle too. Zuol was described as a harsh and hard personality, but he seemed to respect courage.
Next was Archon Sarnak. Being a Halfborn, he first tried to be the student of a Haemonculus, but he had to find out quickly that it was not for him. He was able to back out of the training, but not without the wrath of his former master, leaving him bald on the entire left side of his head. This misfortune also had given him deep ties with the Coven of the Altered, because they mocked his former master by restoring Sarnak’s skin without leaving a mark from the terrible wound he had sustained and said that his former master had to be dabbling in his profession at best, for not being able to inflict permanent wounds on a traitor. Since then, Sarnak had worked his way up, with a bit of help from the Haemonculi, and it were his connections and his cunning nature that let him take his place in the Circle. He was a great asset to the Overlord, in terms of his associations to the Haemonculi and he seemed to be openly satisfied with his position, a thing that was rare with a Dark Eldar.
Archon Varys, a Trueborn, was graced with a sharp mind and ears that knew where and when to listen. There was little that was kept from him, no lack of trying though, making him the perfect spymaster for Vect. This special talent had developed itself in his early years, where he had to watch his back due to his treacherous sister. It had not taken long until he rid himself of her and both of his parents, cementing his grip, and his alone, upon his house, swearing that his own children would not dare stab his back. So far, he had none. Varys was as his job required – sly, sharp-minded and calm, always lying in wait.
Archon Nuscul cemented the vital connection to the Wyches of Commorragh even further. Being a Halfborn and escaping slavery, he tried his luck in the arenas of the Dark City, and was a moderately successful Wych. It was a rare thing for a male Dark Eldar to become. However, Nuscul was not pleased with his moderate success, he thrived for greater things. Knowing that he surpassed most of his kin in terms of wits and martial prowess, he demanded his place in the most renowned Kabal of all. He fought and backstabbed his way up in the ranks, distinguishing himself time and again from those that spoke against him and finally caught the Overlord’s eye, since he maintained his connection to the Cult of Strife, strengthening the link between the Kabal and the Cult even more. It did not take long since then until Nuscul was invited into the Overlord’s Circle. It was said that Nuscul possessed a strange and human-like form of humour, being a quite amicable personality for a Dark Eldar Archon.
Vect’s words on Archon Ea’nash were not implying fondness of the Circle member. He described him as a spoilt, Trueborn child, which always had gotten everything it wanted – although his exact words did not show this degree of diplomacy. The reasons why he made it into the Overlord’s Circle were his nevertheless sharp mind and the incredible connection to the Lhamaeans, a profession and group of Dark Eldar, which was vital for every Kabal. This connection came from the fact that he had deep ties with Archon Yaelindra of the Blackened Tear who also happened to be the founder of the Lhamaean order – it was suspected that he was her lover. The young Archon therefore also deepened the connection between the two Kabals and allies were a rare, yet precious thing in Commorragh – if the bond was true, which was even rarer, but considering that it had been Vect himself who had granted Yaelindra the boon to be an Archon and to found a Kabal, it was likely that this affiliation was true indeed. Ea’nash was the youngest of the members of the Circle, but he made up for it with his ingeniousness when it came down to ambushes – both political and military. He had not yet taken power over his house, but it was clear that he was about to, being sick of the iron reign of his father.
Archon Alactel was a very interesting character. He once had been an outlaw and Heliarch, but quickly became bored with his life, because he outmatched all of his brethren easily. He had thrived for far more than matching others with ease and had enlisted with the Black Heart. Once being a Hellion had merited him incredible senses and quickness, letting him shine quite bright in the ranks of the Kabal. Since the Overlord longed for connections to the outlaws of the city, for he knew about their resourcefulness and the perfect ways to use them, he invited Alactel into his Circle. Alactel was a very proud character and tended to look down on everyone who had a lower standing than him, reminding myself of a human gang mentality.
The information on Archon Tahril was very vague. He seemed to be a Trueborn, but without a house. Where he came from, remained a mystery. It appeared that he had a knack for politics, outmanoeuvring his foes and politicising himself to the top. He had commanded the campaign in the Kaurava system and had done a great job in assessing the situation and estimating the opportunities for promising raids. He made the Kabal richer, both in manpower and in resources, when he came back with his vast masses of prey and plunder. His great success merited him a place in the Overlord’s Circle. Also, his favourable connections to all the lords in the Kabal helped the Overlord keeping an eye on them. Tahril seemed to be a rather silent and brooding Dark Eldar, seldom speaking his mind and thinking his words thrice over before doing so. He seemed to be a withdrawn personality.
I was only so much done as to scan the descriptions, when my master came back.
Relieved, I found that his mood seemed to have improved greatly, because he was positively glowing. I deemed that rejuvenation was a truly awesome and fascinating experience and being pushed farther away from death was a happy notion for a Dark Eldar.
Besides, I was dead sure that all the wrinkles I had seen earlier were gone again. Though it was fascinating, I also found it fairly eerie, mostly because I knew how the regeneration process of his kind worked. Possibly thousands of slaves had died tonight for him.
I greeted him politely and was surprised that he greeted me back. I went to return the book back to where it belonged and he commanded, “Fetch me some of that great Shaa-doman wine!”
My eyes widened as he said that and I replied, “That must be some really old vintage, since I doubt they are making any more.”
Vect laughed, purely amused, after all it had been him who had levelled Shaa-dom to the ground four thousand years ago, because he had sent a human ship with an exploding warp drive into this realm, destroying most of it and leaving the whole town with demons in its wake, which haunted this realm until the present day.
My master described the bottle and the glass he wanted the wine in to me, also commending my choice of book, “A wise choice, it pleases me to see that you are using your brain. You might go far.”
“Thank you, my lord,” I replied. Then, I hurried to get the wine for him.
I cursed silently to myself as I climbed the stairs once again, since my strained muscles now really started to hurt badly. Climbing stairs was no fun after the strain my thighs had been put through today.
Finally, I came to the top, huffing. I quickly found the bottle and the glass and I was astonished as I poured the wine into the wine glass. I had never before seen such a dark red wine and also its bouquet was mind-blowing. I felt my mouth watering as I smelt it, for I also was an oenophile. Then again, I was quite sure that one sip would kill me, since this stuff had to be about four thousand years old.
What a way to die!
I hurried back to my master, who had doffed the armour in the meantime and had seated himself on the couch in front of the fireplace. I handed him the glass with a slight bow, he took it and told me to sit down beside him. I obeyed; he drew me against his left side, wrapped his arm around me and softly caressed my side. With relish, he took a sip of the wine, seemingly even more relaxed than he had been after intercourse. A while we sat like that, in silence and with every passing moment I fought harder against my fatigue.
Unexpectedly, he said to me, “Do you know what the secret behind perfect torture is?”
I straightened up a bit, bewildered, looked at him and replied hesitantly, “Uh, excellent knowledge of anatomy and lots of experience?”
The Overlord nodded and responded, “True for the cruder facets of torture, but this is not what I meant. The true art of torture is not to make one’s victim scream as loud as possible, though it is a fairly refreshing side-effect, but rather sustaining mental horror as long and intense as possible, for that is what indeed regenerates a Dark Eldar, although, it must be done by one’s very hands, to feel the physical reaction following the mental horror. For example, a hallucinogen would not do the job. It is quite an… intimate and quiet form of torture and must be practised as such. Most of our younger ones do not know about this secret, but I daresay I have perfected it. Every human body has its very special points few know of – the female has many more than the male, which is also why I prefer female slaves. Touched and stimulated in the right way, orchestrated with the right situation and surroundings, it is possible to induce the greatest horror with the least bit of pain and damage.”
I swallowed, for I was reminded again what a true master of torture sat beside me. Spooked, I stated, “I guess when it comes down to punishing me, you will show me.”
Caressing my side, he replied, “Yes, my child, however, I will only do so if I am not too angry with you, for when I am, this subtle form does not satisfy me and I will want to hear you scream.”
Still, he confused me. “May I ask why you are telling me that?” I asked him boldly.
My master showed his terrible smile. “Just to give you a little glimpse of what might await you in time,” he said with delight.
I winced and tried to ease the conversation with saying jokingly, “I thought we already established that I am scared enough of you, my lord?”
His teeth gleamed through his predatory smile. He ran his fingers softly over my cheek and said tenderly, “No, my child, you are not, though I somehow enjoy that. Still… it is good for you to stand a bit in awe of things to come; it will make you more cautious.”
I was surprised as he dragged me against him and kissed me. I was able to taste the wine on his lips and tongue. It was intensely sweet and aromatic, almost bitter in its aftertaste. While Vect kissed me, he put down the glass, laid both of his hands upon my head, one hand in my hair, the other at my jaw, forcing it open. It did not take long until his teeth sunk themselves into my lips and tongue, but this time, the blood did not run down, for he licked it off, apparently savouring the taste. I held as still as possible, not making a single sound, though he hurt me quite badly with that, because he ripped my wounds open once more. The feeling was terrible, but his vice-like grip showed me that I would go nowhere and that it was a stupid idea to defy him. Snapping my neck was easy for him, though I was sure that he would never give me such a quick death.
Therefore, I endured his deed with forced patience, until he had enough and drew his mouth away from mine, but still holding me. I looked directly into his demonically glowing eyes as he did. With relish, my master said, “Ah, no blood before yours has ever tasted so sweet with this wine! I would love to let you taste the combination, but I fear that even one sip is too toxic for you. You have to know that the whole taste of this wine only unfolds when mixed with human blood, a fine invention, and the older the wine and the fresher and younger the blood are, the better the taste is.”
“Isn’t it a pity that the reserves are limited, then?”
Vect smiled. “Oh, I have the recipe for it and I can have some more whenever I want to. The thing is that this wine has to mature at least for 200 years, otherwise it is toxic, even for a Dark Eldar.”
I was not surprised.
My master let go of my head, but then grabbed my left wrist, producing a dagger seemingly out of nowhere and cutting it with a swift slash. He was so quick and skilful with that so I was barely able to follow, I truly realised what had happened when I felt the burning sensation of the cut. The Overlord placed the glass under the trickle of blood that came out of the cut; he intensified the flow of the fluid by bending my hand backwards.
“Do not worry, you will not feel the blood loss,” he said to me. I did not know how much blood I lost in the process, but as always he was right, I did not feel it. After that, he kissed my wound and it closed really fast after that.
Then it finally occurred to me.
“Wait a second… is your saliva a coagulant for a human body?” I asked incredulously.
“Such cleverness!” he sneered.
“How convenient! Damn it, there is really no way to bleed to death around here, isn’t there?”
“That would be such a crude way of dying. Too crude, far too crude. And too pleasant.”
I truly was shocked. “How perfectly can a race evolve towards its ultimate goal?” I murmured, “Biochemically speaking it is really astonishing.” He looked at me and raised one of his eyebrows interrogatively. “I was a biotechnologist before I came here,” I explained.
“Huh,” he stated, “That explains why you have such a hard time with keeping in your place.”
I nodded.
“So, you were a student in your time?”
“Yes, my lord. One semester was all I had left.”
“Interesting. For a nearly full-fletched scientist, you sometimes seem to be a bit… childish.”
I shrugged. “That may be, my lord, but I guess if I was as old as you are, any 22-year-old would be somehow childish for me,” I mused.
“True. Especially any mon-keigh that young,” my master added with a scornful tone. He could not make me mad with such remarks, because I knew that Dark Eldar were so much better in most ways than humans. It was no wonder that they beheld the others like cattle. The Overlord made a pensive sound and remarked, “No anger… it seems that the humans of your time are quite different to their future kin.”
“I guess that comes from not being raised in a fascist regime, where humanity is praised as the best of the best. I, on the contrary, know all too well what your kind and especially you can do. Scoff all you want, my lord, it won’t make me mad. Compared to you, each and every individual of humanity is an imbecile and a weakling.”
“Such sweet words. I wonder whether you truly mean what you say?”
“Wouldn’t you have punished me already if you had sensed that I did not?”
His teeth flashed. “Indeed.”
Vect caressed my cheek and said in a strange tone, “Still, I am not sure what to make of you, child. You took it quite calmly when I slept with you, even enjoyed it, then again you wailed about how Chu’uk treated you. You bear it with fortitude when I bite you while I kiss you or when I cut you to drink your blood. Still, you are scared when I put you in your place, though only through words. So composed… but still… a child.” He took hold of my chin and looked me deep in the eye for a while. His stare was paralysing, but I returned it calmly. After that, Vect continued, “You have some merit, my child. But I still have to figure out why I feel that way.”
My master let go of me, I dropped my gaze and replied, “And I am truly glad that you feel that way.”
I tried hard to suppress my yawn, but he still noticed it and said, “Hmm, it seems that you need some rest. Very well, then. Go to sleep, child!”
Without thinking, I asked jokingly, “Do you want a good night kiss?”
Vect’s eyes narrowed and he said, his tone dangerous, “What have I told you about daring me?”
I was alarmed and only now realised what I just had said and I could not believe that I truly had said it. Obediently, I replied, “That I should be wise not to do it.”
With the same contemptuous stare, my master continued, “Correct. After repeating this, would you still like to dare me?”
I swallowed, sensing the danger I was in all too well, and I replied very cautiously, “Of course not, my lord. I nevertheless wish you a good night, Overlord.”
I was relieved as his expression relaxed again and he said, “Good answer.” The Overlord dismissed me; I went to the bed, undressed and got into it. I had to gather myself, only now realising how close I had been to a severe punishment. The only thing that had kept me from it was his enormously bright mood. I would remember this very closely and keep myself from doing such a stupid and dangerous thing in the future. I simply had felt far too safe.
After I had forced myself to be calm again, the fatigue washed over me and I quickly fell into a deep and tight slumber…

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Join date : 2019-07-05
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:52

HUGE thanks go to my wonderful husband for this chapter, because he wrote the fighting scenes in this one, for I completely suck at writing fights. You will see more of his input in the future.
Yes, we still don't know the name of the main character and yes, I am doing this on purpose.
Oh, and one last thing, for all of you that might fear that: this WON'T, I repeat, WON'T become a love story! Really, ladies and gents, how ridiculous would that be with Dark Eldar? I think we all can agree upon the fact that the concept of "love" is perceived completely different by their and our kind.
Of course, the main character will develop, the behaviour towards her of other characters will change, likely to the better for her, but there will be no touchy-feely smoochies involved.

Chapter 7

Friendly Strife

“The blade that I wield is an extension of myself, as I am an extension of my blade.
We both thirst for blood. We both seek only murder.
Only in death do we find purpose in life.”
— Klaivex Khyrassos from the Brotherhood of the Void

THIS TIME MY awakening was extremely unpleasant, because it was a slap in the face that ripped me out of my slumber. I bolted upwards; the pain did a great job in waking me up. With blurred vision, I caught sight of my master, who sat in front of me on the bed and flashed his terrible stare at me.
Not entirely awake, I started, “What did I d…?” I never finished the sentence though, because he hit me again.
Vect snarled, “Do I need a reason to beat my slave?” Because I did not answer him immediately, he beat me once more.
Before he could find another reason to continue, I said hastily and subdued, “No, of course not, my lord! Please, what can I do for you, my lord?” I made an effort out of it not to forget his rightful title in every sentence.
My master spat at me, “Waking up would be a good start!”
Ruefully, I replied, “Yes, yes, immediately, my lord!”
However, he was not done threatening me, because he continued, his inflexion now deadly calm, “And you might want to hurry up in taking a shower and suiting up, otherwise you will have to skip breakfast or even go with me naked.” I nodded, jumped out of the bed and hurried into the bath.
Inside, I halted in front of the mirror, puffing and needing a few seconds in regaining my composure. My left cheek was burning from where he had hit me, because he had done so quite hard, well, for my standards, I knew that he could have done much worse. By the same token, I was sure that I had to accustom myself to such arbitrary beatings. If his mood was bad, I had to expect this kind of treatment and if I did not tread carefully when he was upset, I had to anticipate more than just a beating.
I did as he had bid me and hurried in showering, making myself look presentable and putting on clothing. My clothes today were held in the colours silver and emerald green, the fashion of them was the same as the last time I had gone with him. I only needed ten minutes or so to be ready, then I left the bath again, with a queasy feeling in my stomach.
My master already sat at the table and was eating. Completely unsure of myself, I came to him and asked him timidly, “Have I done something to anger you, my lord?”
Vect looked at me with his dark eyes, which cast an even darker look at me and he replied, “Besides being incredibly hard to wake? No, I guess not.” As he reached for my face, I flinched heavily. The Overlord burst out into a roar of laughter, touching my face anyways, but this time, it was only a gentle caress. My master said to me, his eyes flashing with amusement, and pure scorn in his voice, “Oh, it was not so bad, child, calm down. I just wanted to see how you handle a little beating, that is all. Now, sit and eat!” I nodded and obeyed, though I was highly confused. Had he just played another of his cruel games with me or was he still playing me, showing me now amusement to make me careless? I decided to go with caution anyways.
We had breakfast in silence, I had the terrible feeling that he was highly entertained by my fear and because of that, I dreaded what he had in store for me today. Perhaps I saw a bit of what my life would have been like if I had not been trained so well. Again, I was sure that he still only touched me with velvet gloves, but I was not fond of finding out how dire my situation could become.
All of a sudden he stated, “Again, you will be the only slave around to serve us all. Do as well as the last time and you will not have to fear any more pain or lust than before.”
I nodded and hurried to reply, “I will do my very best, as usual, my lord.”
My master left me without acknowledging my answer in any way. I continued eating, sure that I again would not see lunch and my queasy stomach made it hard for me to eat as much as it was wise to.
Vect came back after a short while, carrying my collar in his right hand. Today it was a different one, made out of silver metal and it was ornated with emeralds, again it fitted my clothes. The Overlord bowed down to my eye-level and breathed a kiss upon my temple while he donned the collar around my neck. I flinched as I had to feel that it was tighter than the other one. Or did I just imagine it, because I was so tense?
As if he had read my thoughts, the Overlord hissed into my ear, “Yes, my child, it is tighter than the other one, just to remind you stronger about what you are, however, I am sure that you would not want to complain, now would you, my sweet child?”
I wagged my head hastily and replied, “No, of course not, my lord!”
Vect chuckled evilly, kissed my temple again and whispered tenderly into my ear, “Good girl.” He stroked my hair gently and continued, “And because you are being such a nice, good little slave, I want you to have these.” He opened the hand which was not currently stroking my hair and I was extremely taken aback as I saw a pair of masterly ornated, perfectly worked earrings in his palm. I guessed that they were made out of white gold and two entirely pure, drop-shaped emeralds were inwrought into the metal.
I inhaled sharply in pure astonishment and burst out, “Thank you, my lord! They are beautiful!”
He laughed at me drooling over his present and stated, “Good to see that women of all races are kind of the same.”
In other circumstances, this statement would have made me angry, but I was too happy right now to care. I took the earrings from his palm, tilted my head backwards, looked directly into his eyes because of that and admitted, “Now I am completely confused, my lord. You seemed so displeased with me today and now you are giving me a present?” I truly did not get it. What was his game?
My master smirked, making his teeth flash and he replied, “I want you to stay confused. You do not have to understand me, just serve me. And we want you to be pretty, do we not, child?” His question was rhetorical though, because he drew away from me after saying it and went to the armour rack, to don his armour.
I asked him, “Was this the nice thing you thought about for me for trying to protect you?”
Vect looked at me out of the corner of his eyes and replied, “No, for that I will await your wish.”
Now he had me even more puzzled. Since I knew that he would not give me an explanation for his strange behaviour, I decided to be happy about the gift and went into the bath to put the earrings on and to have a look at myself. I had to find that they were perfect for me, fitting my outfit and the form of my face perfectly. This ancient Dark Eldar truly knew his stuff when it came down to aesthetics.
Afterwards, I hurried back to my master, who examined me shortly – I noticed that he sneaked a smile onto his features while he did – and then he donned the chain on my collar. I did not ask him why he was smiling, because I was not fond of angering him again, since his mood seemed to be splendid right now. Then, he led me out of the quarters, into the terrible ambient noises of Commorragh.
This time, we had a longer way through the Black Fortress, which was the seat and court of the Supreme Overlord and his Kabal. I had to find out that there indeed was a high-speed elevator down these enormously long circling stairs. I receipted with an angry snort that Chu’uk apparently only had chased me up by foot to torment me. I hated that bastard and I was glad that he had gotten what he deserved.
We went on through numerous corridors, which had me quickly confused, because of their strange junctions, directions and forms, following this somewhat erratic architecture, that was to be seen all around here. Puzzled, I asked myself how one could not get lost around here. I also knew that it would be unwise for me to wander around here without permission, for I was sure that my life would be ended quicker than I could scream. I felt the gazes of numerous, invisible eyes upon us.
It was best not to tangle with these creatures. They killed everything that was not quick enough to escape them or strong enough to defeat them. However, they knew better than to attack the Supreme Overlord and his lifeguard. What surprised me actually was to find them here, in the Black Fortress, but maybe they also were in league with Vect, to eliminate any unwanted guests. Who would ever know?
Finally, we came to our destination, which was at the end of an even more looped corridor and a set of doors. Without slowing his pace, Vect went through the first one and I followed him without a choice. The lifeguard waited outside.
I was taken aback as we entered a quite small room. Everything I had seen so far of the fortress had been quite vast. Apparently, this room was a changing room, because the Overlord loosened the chain from his belt and (surprisingly for me) my collar, put down his spear and my chain and took off his helmet. Again he had me bewildered, as he put it into my hands, indicating with his stare that I was to keep a close eye on it. As he let go of it, I was amazed again, because the helmet was extremely light. Had it not been as big, I would have been able to hold it in one hand without any strain. So much for the heavy helmet.
Shortly, I stared into thin air, until the evil laugh of my master pushed me back into reality. He said to me, smirking, “You sure look like someone told you the most unpleasant secret ever.”
I only half-registered his words and murmured to myself, somewhat out of sorts, “Of course… Ghostplate Armour, how could I’ve been so stupid?”
I winced so hard that I almost had dropped the helmet, as Vect spat at me, “By the forces of chaos! Is there anything you do not know about my people?”
In the first few seconds, I could only stare at him in fright, then I managed, stuttering, “I… I… think, there is a whole lot I do not…”
“Nevertheless, you know way too much.” His eyes flashed.
Hastily, I added, “Of course, I won’t tell anyone!” It was this moment I realised that he was pulling my leg again, because his gaze had a distinctive sheen to it. I snorted, drew a face and said somewhat snarling, “And you really enjoy scaring me to death, don’t you?” His predatory smile was answer enough. What amazed me was that he did not punish my very cheeky remark.
While my master doffed his armour and bodyglove, I asked him, “Are you injured, my lord? Is there anything I can do for you? I have been trained in acupressure and medical massaging.” I had noticed on the way here that he was slightly limping. I was quite sure that somebody who had not had that much time to study his movements would have never seen it, but in the meantime, I was quite adept at knowing how he moved.
Vect halted for a second, flashed a mischievous smirk at me and replied, “No, my child. It is just my age getting the better of me sometimes.”
Somehow concerned, I replied, “Isn’t this a bit disadvantageous if you are training today? I mean, surely you could delay it if you want to?”
“No, it is not and I have my reasons not to delay it.”
I did not get more of an answer and he just let me stand there to wonder what this was all about, while he put on a cloth that looked like a Hakama from earth, with a tight sash fastening it around his hips. His upper body was left uncovered; I only had to wrap his wrists and hands in tight bandages. My master hit my fingers numerous times while I did it, because I made some mistakes. In mitigation, I had to say that the technique was quite complex and I had a hard time figuring it out, despite his good explanation. Besides, I was still wondering which game he was playing now, concerning his injury.
As I was done, we went through the second door into another room. Here I beheld the training hall of the Circle for the first time.
The vastness of the Black Fortress greeted me in here again. The room was circular and huge, containing a spacious, also circular arena in its centre. Around the left half of the arena was an elevated structure, on which comfortably looking loungers stood, each of them with a small table, and the increased fashion of the structure made it easier to observe what was happening in the arena. We climbed the structure, but I was no longer able to follow my master, who seated himself, because I was taken aside by some slaves, who had their place at the topmost right corner of the structure, to stay out of sight of the Circle members. They told me what I had to do – again my task was the same as the last time. The others were here to assist me in my task by providing the food and drink I had to bring to the Circle members; the rest of the slaves would stay at their place, where something like a small bar with taps and kitchen sinks was set up. Since I was very confused why almost all the Archons were just clad in such light fashion if this was a combat exercise, I asked the other slaves what this was all about. They explained to me that the arena also was a hologram-field, in which weapons and obstacles could be loaded and that it was covered with a dampening field, which blocked all sound only from the outside to the inside, to not disturb the combatants. The weapons would be able to interact with everything that was in the holo-field, but not actually injure the combatants, rather make them feel the pain and impairment the actual wound would inflict upon them. A duel was only concluded if a deadly attack was made, everything else was insignificant, but this was the Dark Eldar way. They drew their weapons to kill, not necessarily in a quick fashion, but if it came down to their own they rather looked to it that their opponent was put out of commission quickly and permanently. To not kill quickly in a league like this was an arrogant and stupid mistake. I also understood the hidden agenda here. To host the duels like this made it impossible for one of the Circle members to modify or poison their weapon, for there was no trust at all in this race.
I also learnt that the slaves, who helped me today, were exclusively the personal slaves of the Circle members. I saw why it was so. Those slaves were closest to their masters and knew all too well what would happen to them if they disobeyed or even rebelled against them. Since the Archons were not protected by armour today, they wanted to be sure not to get a knife stabbed in their backs, though a hundred slaves were no match for every single one of them. The motto ‘Better be safe than sorry.’ was the one and only thing that kept someone alive in Commorragh. I was surprised to only find humans in the ranks of the slaves, all of them female, and only one but me had fair skin, all others were dark-skinned. It seemed as if humans were doing best as personal slaves.
I began with my task immediately and had to find with great shame that I was somewhat excited as I saw them in those light clothes. They all were perfectly trained; I loved those lithe and wiry builds.
I smirked. I could not help it; somehow I started liking my job.
Of course, smirking had been a mistake, because Archon Sarnak, who was not engrossed in a discussion and also did not follow the battle between Tahril and Alactel too closely, had sensed it and asked me, “What is so amusing, little one?”
I felt with great dismay that I blushed and replied, “To be honest, my lord, I am quite interested in diverse battle techniques and quite happy to be allowed to watch.”
He smiled as cold as ice, and he continued, “I don’t believe you fully, child, but it is not my place to make you tell the full truth. Shall I explain the rules to you?”
I bowed slightly to him and said with lowered head, “I’d love to know, and I will be with you in a second, my lord. But first, I have to carry out my duties.”
His smile deepened, he nodded shortly and dismissed me. Sarnak was one of the creepier specimens in this assembly. He looked young – like most of the Dark Eldar and most of this Circle. As I had read up about him, the left side of his head was bald; the other side was graced with silvery-black and fringy hair in a layered cut. As it was a custom among the Dark Eldar, he wore the rest of his hair, which was long, in a tight plait high on his head.
I did as I had said, hurried to look after my tasks and then came back to Archon Sarnak. He commanded me to sit down beside him, so I knelt beside his lounger. He took a relished sip out of his cup and I winced slightly, as he laid his left hand upon my shoulder. Of course, Sarnak noticed it and said mockingly, “What are you afraid of, fledgling? Pain? Or do you even already long for death?”
I looked without fear into his cruel eyes, and replied, “That would be far too boring, now wouldn’t it?” I could see in his eyes that I had caught him by surprise, for this was his quotation, “Death? You want death? I'm afraid that would be far too boring.”
Sarnak made a reflective sound and stated, “I begin to see why our Overlord likes you.” He shot a curious look at me for a second, then looked to the arena and added with a predatory smile, “Ah, it seems as if this will end soon.”
I followed his gaze and had a hard time understanding his statement, because the duellists were moving so quickly that it was difficult for me to follow their actions. What I could see clearly though, was that this fight looked mostly like a dance, because it was so flowing and elegant. It was exactly as I had imagined it. I knew I would try hard to become quicker, to be able to see those awesome movements. I also could see that Tahril’s weapons were two energy claws and Alactel’s a Hellglaive, like it was to be expected from an Ex-Heliarch.
Sarnak explained the rules of the small tournament to me, “Well, it is quite easy, easy enough even for a mon-keigh to comprehend. We battle in duels against each other, the pairs are organised based on our rank in the Overlord’s Circle. Each winner then fights the winner of the next higher ranking battle, until the two best of us are determined. Those two have the honour to fight our Overlord, a most honourable friendly strife.”
I was astonished, “Two at once?”
The Archon laughed at my amazement and said, “Yes, my child, one alone is not enough to indeed be a challenge for him. After that, if he wishes so, the others may fight him, in the same constellation, although he may pick the pairs in those fights.”
I nodded. “Thank you for explaining, my lord. I have one more question, if I may?”
Sarnak nodded approvingly.
“Why is it that you can move so damn fast? I mean, if you don’t fight, you usually don’t move that fast and it is no problem for one of my kind to follow your movements. Right now, it is a true challenge,” I asked, indeed curious about it.
“An interesting question, I will answer it. You have to see, we have special senses and speed reserves we can use if we deign to and they flash us into a certain battle-status, if you will. If we are in danger, in battle, enraged or simply blood is spilt around us, our bodies produce a certain neurotransmitter, which helps us prolong this heightened state and this status quickens us even more and makes us more precise the longer it lasts. If this chemical is not produced, we can maintain this state only for a very short while. In this condition, time slows for us, that is why we are so fast, bullets slow down, making it easy to dodge them, movements seem to be in slow-motion. This is also the reason why your kind can never reach the same kind of agility.”
I truly was amazed. “This is highly interesting. On a molecular level, this has to be as astonishing to watch as seeing your kind in battle. Thank you, my lord, this was a highly productive conversation for me.”
Sarnak laughed. “You are the first slave to ask such questions. Why the interest, I wonder?”
I explained to him what my profession had been before I had come here.
He made a pensive sound. “A Haemonculus could find your mindset highly interesting,” he mused.
I just smiled shyly, suddenly realising that this conversation went into a direction I did not like, because I was sure that it was impossible to lie to a Dark Eldar and to an Archon even less so.
But I got lucky this time, because the fight between Tahril and Alactel was finished. Alactel had won; it seemed his superior agility had given him an easy win. It was my chance to get away and I took it, “My lord, it seems that my services are needed elsewhere. I have to leave you, though again I have to emphasise that I enjoyed our conversation very much.”
He smiled. “I have to return that compliment, talking to you is different than to any other mon-keigh slave I have met so far. I think I get a good guess about why the Overlord keeps you rather unscathed, it is said that he is fond of sharp minds. Very well, I won’t keep you any longer, slave girl.”
Though Sarnak indeed had seemed to enjoy our conversation, he hurt me when I got up. He dug one of his sharp fingernails deep into my shoulder and tore a bleeding cut into my skin as I got up. I clenched my teeth, not halting my movement, though it hurt quite badly. None of us mentioned his little cruelty and I bid him farewell with a small bow.
As I looked up through somewhat watery eyes, Alactel’s and my gaze shortly crossed. As I examined his face, I had to find that I had missed until now how handsome he was. His black eyes seemed to glow; his features were flawless; they were perfectly sculpted and as graceful as I had never seen in a face before. His extremely silky, shining black hair was cut into a Mohican, but his hair was long and he wore it in a plait high on his head. On his forehead, between his eyes, was a complex, serpentine tattoo, it fitted his dainty features perfectly, even underlined them. As it was with all Dark Eldar, his body was perfect, lithe and wiry. Alactel was as handsome as any girl could wish for.
Nevertheless, he noticed my gaze and I saw his eyes narrowing. I looked away hastily and only realised in this moment that I had stared at him quite blatantly. This was no good for me. Stupid mistake. I cursed myself on the inside.
Letting out a small grunt because of the burning sensation on my shoulder and with a queasy feeling, I went to Alactel, because he and Tahril had started fighting before I had been able to ask them about their needs. While I did, I crossed paths with Nuscul and Ea’nash, who went to the ring to test their martial prowess against each other. Nuscul did not as much as to look at me, Ea’nash smiled at me wolfishly. This time, a smile was all I got, because he had no time to touch me. I was sure that he would find the time soon; I simply had to deal with his advances.
Finally, I was with Alactel and I noticed with surprise that he was still panting and his skin was glistening with sweat from the battle. Somehow, this added to his beauty. I bowed to him and said, “Greetings, my lord. May I ask, what…”
He never let me finish my sentence, though.
Alactel’s left hand was at my throat in a split-second and he dragged me close to him. I had to look deeply into his pitch-black eyes and he hissed, “Don’t you ever dare to do that again, slave! The only reason I don’t ask for having you whipped, is that you are the slave of the Overlord and he likes to determine whether his slaves are to be punished or not and, if so, he likes to do it himself. Don’t think that he hasn’t noticed this little incident. Look at me like that once again, and I’ll make sure that you get punished. Last. Warning. Are we clear?”
Profoundly daunted I replied, “Yes, my lord, we are. Thank you, my lord.” It was perfectly clear to me that he was utterly merciful for not having me punished at the spot.
His eyes narrowed again shortly, then he added, “Hmm, at least you have some manners and really mean what you say.” Then, he let go of me and told me what he wanted me to bring him.
Afterwards, I hurried to get to Tahril too. The black-haired and grey-skinned Dark Eldar with the black lips did not waste much of his attention on me and told me as a sideline what he was in need of. I was glad about it, because the less attention I got, the better it was for me.
When I came back to Alactel, he looked at me quite intently and then said, “Interesting. You are not afraid of me, regardless of what I said to you.”
I shook my head and replied, “No, my lord, because you were right about what you said. It wasn’t my place to do what I did. And I’m very well aware of how kind you are to me by not having me punished for that insolence.”
Alactel made a pensive sound. “Hmm, it seems that you know a lot more about the existence as a slave than one would reckon. Have you been a slave before you came here?”
I had to smile wryly and answered, “No, my lord, from where I come, slavery is forbidden. But I’ve been very well taught and I had quite some time to adjust before I came to Commorragh.”
“Your pronunciation of Dark Eldar words is good, child.”
I bowed slightly and said, “Thank you, my lord. I had some time to learn how to pronounce the name of this city correctly.” I added with a frightened inflexion, “The Overlord had me practice and punished wrong pronunciation. His methods are… effective, to say the least.” Though this was not entirely true, I rather only bent the truth here than actually lying about it, for I truly had been punished harshly when I had pronounced words wrong during my training. Why did I do it? I was sure that it was wise to give the Circle the uttermost cruel and relentless impression of their Overlord, to never even let them doubt his absolute supremacy.
Bending the truth seemed to work, because Alactel apparently did not notice it, for he said with a knowing and cruel smile, “And I’m sure you deserved it.” He dismissed me with a painful caress in my face, which left me with a small cut on my cheek. I hurried to get to Tahril, but he took as little notice as before of me.
Now I had a small break and I placed myself so that I could watch the whole Circle. I also had the time now to examine them a bit closer without them noticing it, because they all watched the current duel.
The face of Archon Sythrac, the Hierarch, did not reveal any expression. What was apparent, was that he had to be quite old, since some small crinkles showed in his face. Nevertheless, he was a glorious sight, his features were elegant and clear-cut and his black eyes beheld the world around him with a profound and pensive gaze. His hair, which he wore like everybody else around here in a high plait, was also black and had some silvery strands and his stature was like the usual one of a Dark Eldar – svelte, but also wiry and he was quite tall.
The beginnings of advanced age were also apparent with Archon Zuol. His black hair was somewhat odd, for it was wavy and it possessed some white strands. His skin was milky and it was easily seen from his stature that his martial prowess was remarkable, because his body was not only athletic, but also far more muscular than the ones of the others. He had somewhat hawk-like features, clear-cut, his eyes even more slit than it was usual with Dark Eldar and his nose was a bit curved, which underlined the notion that he looked like a hawk, ready to swoop down on his prey.
The hair of Archon Varys contrasted sharply with the one of Zuol, for it was utterly straight and silky, with not a single curve in it, falling down like a waterfall between his shoulders from the plait he wore it in and also straight down in front of his ears, were some strands were loosened to play around his face, which was extremely lofty and clear cut. Advanced age also showed itself a little in his features and they were graced with two dark-red tattoos, one between his eyes, the other around his right eye. His gaze had some kind of well-hidden keenness in it, revealing that he was a vigilant observer. Varys was one of the sveltest Dark Eldar I had seen so far, rangy, with long, elegant fingers and extremely sinewy musculature.
Archon Nuscul, who was just fighting against Ea’nash in the arena with two daggers, possessed also a highly slim and agile build. His hair was truly fascinating; the left side of it was black as night, the right snow-white. To deepen this contrast, he had his hair parted in the middle, some strands plucked out of his tight plait left and right from his face. Also, his eyebrows showed this strange colour scheme. What I had noticed was that most of the time a small smile could be seen on his face, as if he alone had heard the best joke ever and was not willing to share it. This smile now was deeper, apparently, he enjoyed the battle.
Archon Ea’nash was truly one of the most dashing sights in this Circle, contrasting sharply with his behaviour. He wore his silky, black hair also in a high plait, but it was parted on the rather right side of his head and on the left side he had a layered haircut, making the hair there underline his noble features. His flawless skin was like alabaster; around his right eye was a red tattoo. His build was wiry and athletic in an elegant manner and he fought against Nuscul with two energy swords. Ea’nash’s face was now a grimly grimace, apparently, the fight did not go the way he wanted it.
It was also in these seconds that the duel ended, Nuscul had beaten Ea’nash.
What surprised me greatly about the duels was the ceremony and deference that were attached to them. Every duel was started with a bow to each other and the Overlord and also concluded in the same manner. As decadent and cruel this society and kind were, as strict seemed their codex to be when it came down to ceremonial and obeisance.
The two duellers got out of the arena and sat down to rest. With this, I had to work again and I was very happy that I had to go to Nuscul first because of his position, because I was sure that Ea’nash would keep me for a while.
I came to him, did a small bow and asked, “Is there anything you wish for, my lord?”
He smiled at me, still panting and sweating, and replied, “Don’t bother, dear. I have the sweet taste of victory on my tongue, there is nothing I need right now.” Ea’nash had heard those words, because he shot a caustic look into Nuscul’s direction. The latter smiled back at him with pure malicious glee. I had to laugh on the inside.
Nevertheless, his words took me somewhat aback. I had been given many names since I was here, but ‘dear’ had not been among them. Nuscul was indeed a strange Dark Eldar.
I bowed again, and started again courteously, “If there is anything I can do for you…”
He smiled, patted my cheek tenderly and replied, “I’ll let you know, sweetie.”
His extremely unusual behaviour let me freeze for a second; I completely had forgotten how it was to be treated kindly and not be hurt out of joy. Though his acts showed that he beheld me a bit like a pet, I was glad that it was this way, though I had no idea how I should handle him. I would find out.
With a queasy feeling, I went to Ea’nash.
Though his sour mood was apparent, he smiled at me from afar and I returned his smile shyly. I was not entirely sure how I should act when dealing with him, because, on one hand, he seemed to love the impression of the innocent, helpless slave girl I gave him, but, on the other, maybe he also liked it if I returned his advances. I had to try it.
Then I was with him. “Is there anything I can do to improve your mood, my lord?” I asked him carefully.
His smile widened, he pointed to his lap and said, “Indeed, you can. Come, sit with me for a while, sweet child!” Though I did not like the notion at all, I obeyed. He hugged me, pulling me against him, then caressed my cheek and breathed a kiss upon my neck. Though he was drenched in sweat, he neither smelt bad nor was it unpleasant to touch his skin. Dark Eldar indeed had a completely different physiology to humans; I was reminded of that dearly in these moments. “I have to admit, I’ve missed you. Tell me, child, how did you like the poison?” he asked me.
I smiled at him timidly and replied, “It was an… intense experience, to say the least.” The inflexion on the word showed clearly what I truly meant.
Ea’nash flashed a wolfish smile. “Ah, I would’ve loved to be there when it kicked in. It must’ve been a lovely sight and must’ve made you so… vulnerable.”
He really was terrible, but I played along, “I’m sure you would’ve made it worth the while, my lord.”
The Archon chuckled softly into my ear. “Oh yes, I would have. And you would’ve loved it.”
Oh dear, ‘lecherous’ did not even start to cover this. Without letting my revulsion show, I said in a sweet manner, “I’m sure of that, my lord.”
Now he looked at me pensively for a while, then stated, “Huh. It seems you’re much more confident than the last time we met. Interesting. But then again, I’ve seen slaves change quite quickly when they were with the Overlord. He has the gift to bring out the very best in fledglings like you, he is a true master. And it seems that you’re quite fit to be his personal slave.” While he spoke to me, he caressed my flanks and his warm breath stroked my hair. I was sure that he was perfectly aware that he tickled and aroused me a bit with this. Then, I froze in repulsion as he kissed my ear and whispered into it, “Tell me, child, has he already slept with you? Already made you scream?”
I swallowed heavily, now no longer able to stay absolutely calm and answered dismayed, “I’m not sure if I’m allowed to answer that question, my lord, I’m sorry.”
Again, Ea’nash chuckled into my ear; I had to restrain myself not to flee from him. “So the answer is yes. Did you enjoy it, hmm?” He laughed as he saw my obvious dismay. “Oh, don’t fret, my child, I won’t make you answer that. I can feel the answer all too well.” He ran his fingertips over the rims of my ears and I shivered. Ea’nash truly knew how to arouse a woman. Finally, he laughed again, kissed my temple and demanded, “Ah, enough! Get off of me, child, or this might get out of hand!” I obeyed all too willingly.
He looked at me appraisingly for a short while, then said, “There is something that baffles you, child, ain’t I right? What do you want to know? Just ask, don’t worry, I’ll answer your question.”
I hemmed and hawed a bit, then I shyly said, “Well… my lord… I’ve wondered why all of the personal slaves around here are human? Since your kind enslaves so many races, I find it puzzling that they’re all human.”
His teeth flashed as he smiled at me, then he replied, “It’s quite simple, child. You mon-keigh are tough enough to provide some entertainment if we choose to entertain ourselves by pain, but you’re also willing enough to provide sexual entertainment. From all the races, you’re the nicest to look at, if prepared properly, and of course, you’re easy enough to keep under the thumb to never even dare an ounce of resistance. It’s quite pleasing. So, there you have your answer. I guess it’s not quite what you wanted to hear.”
I shook my head. “I should’ve known, actually. But thank you for answering my question, my lord.”
Ea’nash bowed his head in pure mockery. “You are welcome, fledgling. Now go, I guess you have some other duties to attend to.” This I had indeed, because the duel between Varys and Sarnak was over, leaving Varys as the victor. It seemed as if the two Razorflails had been superior to the two Agoniser-gauntlets.
I hurried to the duellists to ask them about their needs. Sarnak only dismissed me with a disgruntled huff; Varys was as always nice to me – far too nice, as I thought.
The next while passed quite uneventful, the duel between Zuol and Sythrac was ended with leaving Zuol as the winner, showing that Demiklaives were able to even beat the infamous Huskblade. I was surprised that Zuol had been allowed to keep his Incubus-weapons, though he was not one of them and I also was amazed at the fact that he wore blades on his underarms in the form of vambraces, which he used quite recklessly. This was the fighting style of the Incubi, not only fighting with their weapons, but with their whole bodies.
What I had noticed was that the higher the hierarchy of the combatants was, the faster and more masterful the fights were. Following the last duel had been a real strain on the eye for me, but I loved to watch those battles, because they were as aesthetic as I had hoped. All of them looked more like dancers than fighters; it was truly soothing for the eye. I also noticed, not without astonishment, that my mind and eyes were able to dissolve these incredibly fast movements the longer I watched. I was truly amazed that it was possible for a human body to adapt to such velocity so quickly. Also, this made the whole thing even more interesting.
Thereupon the second round for Alactel and Nuscul was at hand. Both of them fought in a grimly manner; apparently, they both were set on fighting against the Overlord. Their youth showed in their fighting style, they were so incredibly quick; it was nauseating to follow their flowing motions. I admired Nuscul’s skill with his blades, since daggers were difficult weapons to use against a glaive, and Alactel’s incredible reflexes, because he dodged Nuscul’s lightning-fast dives under his defence with skill. The fight was a grimly toing and froing; more than once it looked like it was over for one of them, but they outdid themselves every single time, using even more audacious manoeuvres to get out of tight situations. I knew that the duel had to be good even for trained eyes like those of the Archons, because every single one watched the combat with concentration, not a single sound was to be heard from the ranks of the Circle; no conversations were held. In the end, Nuscul stood victorious, barely so as it seemed. It was clearly visible that Alactel was furious because of his defeat, and Nuscul seemed to shine in an aura of pure spitefulness and joy.
Then, Varys and Zuol duelled. I did not watch the fight in the beginning, but rather visited my master for a change. However, he was more interested in the duel than me; seemingly it was important for him to watch the combatants, to be able to estimate them precisely for his combat later on.
Because I had nothing better to do, I watched the battle as best as I could. It was a true relish to watch them, for it was clearly visible that Zuol’s technique was unique in this Circle, because he did not struggle with Varys’s attempts of disarming him. Fighting against Razorflails with swords had to be quite an unpleasant experience. Then again, it was clearly visible who was dominating this duel; Varys seemed to be no match for Zuol.
And then it happened.
Varys was dodging an extremely complicated looking combination of Zuol, apparently slid too much to the side, got entangled with one of his whips in one of the obstacles and fell with a loud grunt of pain. It was a strange thing: they did not even gasp when they strafed each other with those terrible weapons, death cries were all that came out of their throats, yet Varys now stayed on the floor, breathing heavily in visible agony, his face distorted. Zuol stopped his movements and came to a halt.
I decided to show once again why I was the personal slave of the Overlord. I hurried to the arena, shortly crossing gazes with the Overlord and awaiting his approving nod. Then, I went directly to Varys and asked, “What’s wrong, my lord?”
He snarled through clenched teeth, “Stupidity. And I seem to have hyper-extended my right thigh and arm.”
I nodded and replied briefly, “Hold still. I will dull the pain for you.” Skilfully I palpated his injured parts and quickly noticed that he indeed had overstretched his right arm and thigh. With the enormous tension Eldar-muscles were under, this was an injury that was much more agonising to them then it was to humans, which explained Varys’s extreme reaction. I first treated his thigh, because I was sure that this bigger muscle hurt more badly than the other one. I massaged it to take the tension, which followed the injury, away, and then used some acupressure points to dull the throbbing of his injured muscles. I felt the surprised gazes of the Circle between my shoulder blades… but also Vect’s small and smug smile.
It did not take a long time until Varys sighed in relief.
I instructed him, “There. You now should be able to stand up. I’ll take care of your arm when you have lied down and I’ll massage you so that the muscles can relax.” Varys could now indeed get up and he only was slightly limping as he went back to his lounger.
I also got up and swallowed as I met Zuol’s quite piercing and distrustful gaze. “You know an awful lot, slave. You indeed are well-educated,” the Archon said with a sceptical inflexion. He did not look happy about my skills, possibly suspecting a conspiracy here and he was looming over me with his weapons still in his hands. I did not feel safe, since the Archon was taller than me for about two heads, and, as he had shown impressively, a magnificent warrior. I was relieved as he turned away from me and shouted across the room, towards the Overlord, “You really have a talented slave, my lord. She’s better in dulling pain than some of our physicians.” His distrust was apparent.
But Vect would not have it, because he boomed at Zuol, “Do you think that I endure anyone less talented than her as my personal one? Wipe that distrust off your face, Zuol!”
It was absolutely clear to me that he Overlord just had saved my hide. But why? I possibly would never know the answer.
In a softer manner, Vect added, “I will have her massaging you after we are done here, if that calms your spirit.”
Zuol – now realising that he had been too bold – relaxed, nodded and replied, “That would be… most generous, my lord.”
“Good. Now, take a break, you know what it means to face me in battle!” Vect replied, his tone not allowing any kind of objections. Zuol also followed this ‘suggestion’ and left the arena. I followed him and went to Varys, to tend to his injuries.
The Archon still breathed heavily, he seemed to be in a lot of pain, even though I was sure that the Dark Eldar were used to agony. I had one of the other slaves bringing me a warming massage oil and now spread it on his injured arm. Varys watched me closely as I massaged him. His muscles had tightened intensely in this short while and I was not surprised that he was not able to fight down this ache. I knew what I did, since my teacher had been a true master in these things. If someone knew everything about a body, no matter the race, it was a Haemonculus. It took me some time to treat Varys’s arm, since the tension also had spread to his shoulder and neck. At some point, Varys stopped eyeing every single one of my movements critically, closed his eyes and relaxed, which made my task easier.
At some point, he made an appreciative sound and said, “You should teach my personal slave how to do that. You know what you’re doing; I have to give you that.”
I smiled and replied, “Thank you, my lord. I have been taught well.”
He opened his eyes, looked at me and stated, “Yes, you definitely were, and I begin to suspect that it was not only Chu’uk who taught you, but also someone else.”
I looked at him timidly and replied carefully, “Well, you may be right with that, my lord. Let me put it that way: I’ve always been good with massages, read a lot and it wasn’t too hard for me to transfer my knowledge to a non-human body.” I also bent the truth here a bit and prayed that it would work.
I was lucky, it did, because he just tilted his head a bit and said, “There is more to you than meets the eye. I can see why the Overlord has chosen you.”
I finished the massage at his fingertips and asked courteously, “Do you feel better, my lord?”
He smiled. “Yes, child. Go now; I’m sure your master is in need of your services.”
I nodded, got up and did what he had suggested.
However, the Overlord was not in need of my services, he just waited to let the last combatants rest up a bit before he fought them. Still, something was amusing him extremely, because I could see his famed half-smile on his face. I was sure that only those who knew him well could see this hint-of-a-smile. I was wise enough not to ask him about his amusement and just hoped that he would tell me if he deigned to. As he always did when he was enjoying himself and I was close by, he drew me against him and kissed me.
This time, the kiss was no fun for me, because he instantly bit me, and kept his teeth sunk in my wounds for quite some time, even moving them a bit and hurting me badly with it. I could not suppress a small cry of pain and I immediately felt some relished gazes upon me.
At some point, he let go of me with his teeth again, but he continued kissing me until the blood ran down the corners of my mouth and down my throat, because I had no chance of swallowing it. The kiss burned like fire and he humiliated me with delight, I felt tears burning in my eyes. He enjoyed my agony for quite some while; then he drew his mouth away from mine, but still holding me at my collar. I looked into his cruel eyes that shone with relentless delight and he flashed a bloody smile at me. Then he dragged me closer to him again and hissed into my ear, so everybody else could hear it, “It was not that bad, child, so quit your wailing.” Utterly softly, so only I could hear it, he breathed into my ear, “Well done.” What this meant was left to my interpretation, but I was supposed to be happy that he had liked something I did.
He dismissed me with a harsh wave of his hand and I consorted with my fellows in misery, to clean myself from my blood. One of them asked me in Low Gothic and in a hushed tone, “Are you alright?”
I nodded and replied in the same manner, “He just loves to bite.”
She grinned and replied, “You are incredibly calm and sane considering who’s your master.”
I shrugged and stated, “I was lucky to be trained fairly good before being his slave. I guess that is what saves me from his worst punishments.” By the way, she was the other fair-skinned slave I had noticed earlier. What leapt out at me, was, now that I took a closer look at her, how young she was. She could not have been older than sixteen. “And who is your master?” I asked her.
She pursed her lips, then replied, “My master is the most honourable Archon Ea’nash.”
We just looked at each other shortly and I understood that she had to say this in this exact manner; otherwise, she was due for a punishment she rather avoided. I nodded understandingly. I was aware that we had to be careful with our words, even if we were a bit away from the Circle. The ears of Dark Eldar were sharp enough to hear every single word and they possibly were not fond of cheeky slaves.
I said, “I’d better get back to work.”
She nodded and replied, “Yes. I hope we talk to each other again – in the same state of mind.” I smiled and nodded shortly. Then I went back to the Circle.
I had learnt more about her in this conversation through the things she had not said. Apparently, she had to be quite clever and adult for her age, but I guessed one either learnt that lesson quickly as the personal slave of an Archon or perished. That she was that young also spoke its own language, for I had been aware that Ea’nash was a sick bastard, but how sick he truly had to be was clearly shown by the age of his personal slave. Maybe I would ascertain his madness one day, but for now, I was happy that I did not.
I was aware that I had to talk with the slaves about their masters somehow, because the more I knew about their personalities, the better I could serve and impress them. I just had to do it discreetly.
I went back to the Overlord, who was now about to get up. Jokingly, he said, “Wish me luck.”
I replied, “I doubt that this has anything to do with luck, my lord.”
His teeth flashed through his diabolic smile and he stated, “Good answer.”
As Vect got up, he said, “Gentlemen, I would like to change the rules a bit for today. Since it is hardly fair that I fight against the best of you well-rested, while you two already had to fight, I would like to fight the second best first, although I will have to substitute my Hierarch for you, Varys, since you hardly have a place in this fight whilst you are injured.” It was apparent on Varys’s face how little he liked those words, but he was wise enough to not say a single word. The rest approved the plan, and Sythrac and Alactel went into the arena to meet their Overlord’s demand.
Thus, Asdrubael Vect, the Supreme Overlord of Commorragh, entered the arena. Wearing nothing but a black, wide-cut pair of trousers, much like a Hakama from earth, together with a tightly woven sash and bandages around his wrists and hands. His training partners turned around and gazed deep into their Overlord’s eyes, he returned their stare. Then, they shortly bowed to each other, like etiquette demanded it. With a light, almost unnoticeable limp he walked into the combat ring and Alactel bared his teeth for a fierce, bloodthirsty grin.
“Are you wounded, my lord, or is the age simply getting the better of you?” Sythrac softly said with a sneer on his face, just loud enough for the spectators to hear.
A holographic image flashed and came into being in Vect’s hand, a facsimile of the Sceptre of the Dark City he used in combat. “Seeing you brought along your walking stick, we would not want to damage our Overlord any further, agreed?” Sythrac continued mockingly. I really wondered if he was out of his mind to speak to the Overlord like this. Then again, he was his Hierarch and he was possibly the only one around here that was allowed to do so, maybe even asked to question his master.
“Not damaged or old enough to be unable to show you how fast you can fall, Sythrac!” Vect hissed back, nevertheless slightly angered by his Hierarch. Alactel burst out in a shrill, cackling roar of laughter, obviously amused by the exchange of verbal blows.
“Enough of the bravado and baring of fangs! Are you ready? Or are you scared of an old man, so that you have to use your tongues instead of your weapons?” Vect spat contemptuously.
Vect assumed a combat stance, bending both knees, bringing his weight nearer to the ground and flashed his weapon, circling it once over his head and to each of his sides. Alactel did not need more of an invitation than that. He burst into action, charging, before the Overlord could finish his display. He took off from the ground, and lunged at his opponent, closing the distance in a mere heartbeat and swinging his Hellglaive in a crescent move overhead, aiming to cut his opponent open – if it had been a real weapon. Vect, suddenly faster than he had made them believe, brought the sceptre in between them and blocked Alactel’s blow with a strained grunt. Alactel, however, fought to win, and put his lithe build and agility to good use. Turning in mid-air, he shifted his weight and used the other head of his weapon to strike under the guard of the Overlord, as his feet finally touched the ground. But Vect was gone with a fluent side-step and Alactel’s Hellglaive hit thin air, barely so, as it seemed to me; but it was this moment that the hunter became the hunted. Vect already had brought his weapon around and smashed the full length of his weapon’s shaft against Alactel, clearly aiming for his throat. The flawless face of the young former outlaw showed surprise and regret, but he managed to bring his weapon in between and to bluntly block the blow. However, he had no time left to shift his stance and weight and so the force of the strike knocked him off his feet, directly into a disgruntled Valossian Sythrac, who had aimed to use his ally’s agile assault to move into striking position. Sythrac used one hand to stabilise Alactel’s momentum and shoved him back to face Vect.
“Meddling fool, get faster or get cleverer! Cross my path again and I will take an ear!” Sythrac boomed to Alactel’s back.
A faint smile passed over the Overlord’s flawless face. “Shall I leave the lovebirds to their quarrel, or are we still fighting?” he mocked his opponents.
Alactel flashed his teeth, his face distorted in an enraged visage, turning his peerless beauty into a reminder of the horrors he would inflict on those who wronged him. He charged again, but not as blindly as before, he kept turning, shifting his weight, forwards, backwards, sidewards, each turn and shift spinning his Hellglaive around overhead, aiming with each revolution for his Overlord’s throat, legs, arms or whatever else he thought was unguarded.
The shifting distance between them and the sheer speed of the combatants made it nauseating to watch for me, I blacked out for a second, hit by vertigo, and for a short while, I could only hear the sound of sharp instruments whistling through the air and the chime of blocks and ripostes.
I finally regained my breath and consciousness and realised I had watched the combat without drawing a single breath. I tried to follow it again, but the fight had reached a tempo that almost made it impossible to make out the individual contestants.
At some point, I found my focus and saw that Alactel had never broken his destructive dance; he possibly would have ripped and torn the Overlord’s Hakama if it had been a real weapon, but he would never have touched his skin. Sythrac, on the other hand, saw that Vect had his hands full with the agile assault of Alactel and used precise strikes to disrupt Vect’s movement. Every step, shift of weight or block of the Overlord caused Sythrac to react, favourably attacking from a presumed blind spot.
“How does he keep track of them?” I had to wonder.
All of them were sweating bullets by now, all expressions of rage or amusement gave way to a look of pure focus and concentration. Sythrac’s Huskblade always got closer to Vect’s skin, each dodge and block getting more strained as the latter had to watch out for Alactel’s continuous hail of blows as well. The combat got more compact, distances were closed, Vect was somehow losing this. Alactel must have thought so as well, as he broke out in laughter and stopped his dance, ending it with one fell overhead chop, aiming directly for Vect’s calvaria, shifting all his weight into the blow. Sythrac waited for the reaction of his Overlord, and as Vect turned to block Alactel’s grand finale, he aimed to thrust his Huskblade between his opponent’s shoulder blades, in one perfect studied and disciplined motion.
Vect had other plans.
Seeing Alactel shifting all his weight towards him, he stepped right up to him, catching the blade of Alactel’s weapon with the business end of his sceptre. With one fell jab, he added to the weapon’s already impressive momentum, resulting in Alactel, slowly becoming aware of his demise, losing his stance, falling straight forward, as Vect sidestepped him. Alactel’s blade connected, directly chopping into Sythrac between his shoulder and neck, who, in turn, jabbed a both furious and panicked Alactel straight into the face, who so unwillingly had swapped places with his actual target. Screams of pain echoed through the arena, one slightly shrill and decisively more horrific to behold than the other one. Even having to feel what the death by the Huskblade was like had to be a maddening experience. Turning to dust could not be fun.
A chuckle remained.
And then the screaming started again.
“Insolent, unrefined, blunt, idiotic MISFIT!” Sythrac boomed in a voice that could probably instil respect and fear into anyone.
Alactel, however, was unimpressed, because he retorted in a both negligent and caustic tone, “What do you expect, old man? An apology? We fought together, we lost together. If you had taken a more active part, who knows what the merits could have been?”
With this insolence, Sythrac came over him, swinging his fist with the intent to damage, Alactel, not expecting such rashness in his superior, never had the time to react.
Vect’s voice boomed through the arena, nearly deafening me and letting Sythrac freeze in mid-motion. “You are both right. You fought together and lost. Learn from it. Did you hear that? Learn from it, especially you, Alactel. If you were as good as you think you are, you would not be as easy to exploit by a skilled fighter,” he explained, in a voice that demanded and allowed no objection. “Go, I have to rest up before the next one. Good warm-up though,” he mocked them, while sending them away. It was apparent on both their faces that they were upset about their failure, but they did not dare to say a single word and just moved silently back to their loungers – like two children that had been caught stealing sweets and had been reprimanded – after acknowledging their Overlord with a bow.
Vect, on the other hand, shortly stayed in the arena, apparently to catch his breath, then he came to me, moving even smoother than a cat. It was this second I realised that he had never been truly limping, he had just acted like it to make his opponents careless and unsure. He gave himself a weakness to be exploited, which did not exist, and, in turn, exploited his enemies’ strategic use of it.
That devious bastard.
I already had the crystal-clear water, which he would have demanded anyways, ready for him. As I handed the cup to him I just asked, “Why? And why lie to me?”
Vect smiled, the cleverness and superiority now showed clearly again and he deigned to explain, “To your first question: to make them careless and also for my amusement. To your second: you are not a seasoned enough liar to keep it from them had anybody asked you. So, do not look so betrayed, it was just best for both of us; or, at least, for me.” Of course, why should he look out for me?
After a few minutes, the combatants for the next match started entering the arena and I received permission from my master to watch the fight from the first row.
Nuscul, the lean, catlike and young Archon was the first to enter the arena. Unlike the others so far, he sported a black full body glove, two dangerously looking daggers – one barbed, like nothing I had ever seen before, but seeming as if it dealt wounds that never healed, a Wych Blade, I guessed; the other one blackened, tarnished with a greenish sheen, must have been the deadly Venom Blade – and his usual, ever-present, faint smile. He was known to be smiling all the time, unless he became serious in combat or any other confrontation. At this point, I had assumed, people rather were trying to keep him smiling for their own good, as an earnest face of him could prove lethal to his surrounding fellow Dark Eldar. He put his daggers aside and continued with some stretching exercises, looking very much like a cat while doing it, whilst Zuol entered the arena.
Wrapped in a black Hakama, he wasted no time, concentrated and summoned his holographic weapons; Demiklaives, a pair of vambraces, doped with razor-sharp, curved blades, and a vicious pauldron for his left shoulder, crowned by thick, conic thorns, ending in twisted barbs. Lastly, he crowned himself with a circlet, adorned with a long, jagged chaos of blades. At this point, he simply had to ram an opponent to bray him. His manic, blood-thirsting grin was all the reassurance I needed to be sure that somehow, he had that idea, to begin with. Compared to the battles before, in which he only had sported the two vambraces, he was obviously using all his options here, although I was not sure if that was a good sign.
Vect entered the arena last and made no big show or flashy display; he simply held his right hand open and summoned the Sceptre of the Dark City.
“I would like to make a joke about an old man and his walking stick, but the ladies could get the wrong idea,” Nuscul said in a casual voice, as if he and the Supreme Overlord had nothing better to do in their free time than spending it in each other’s company. To my surprise, Vect’s laugh was the loudest in the room and he seemed unperturbed by the implied familiarity.
“If you prove competent, you will find some child making jokes in your honour as well, Nuscul,” he joked, louder and less casual than Nuscul himself.
The young Archon laughed and strangely, it seemed sincere. He wiped away a tear of laughter and puffed, “Harder, daddy!”
And the observing members of the Circle went wild.
His Wych training showed, he was used to entertaining a crowd, a bloodthirsty, deranged, always-expecting-more kind of crowd. He lived up to it very well, I guessed. I felt entertained as well, although I did not dare chime in the laughter, for I feared the repercussions it may have had.
Vect’s laughter subsided and he shook his head, looking at Nuscul, still smiling, “After all the things I have heard about you, I know this: if you are as fast as your mating rites, I am literally frak.” At this point, I was way from sure if Vect merely did his part in entertaining the observers or simply playing another gambit. I never had guessed that even the comprehension of such taunting humour was possible for him, let alone reacting to it that well and playfully.
Nuscul was laughing tears again and fought for air for a few seconds.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:52

Zuol had not had any reaction to all the humorous exchange whatsoever. He stood there like a statue, simply staring into thin air as if all of this was a mortal embarrassment and beneath him. As if he would have liked to demonstrate his objection to the continuance of this display, he separated the Demiklaives from each other and swung them around the back of his hand, frowning, as if he was displeased with the holographic weapons. Nuscul followed that display, turned back to Vect and took the bait, “If I did not know any better, Zuol here wants to tell us something. It’s probably something about his father and how he never acknowledged him, even in his final moments.” The crowd broke out in laughter again and a somewhat surprised murmur followed as Nuscul hit the floor, rolled back over his shoulder and recovered his stance. Zuol lowered his stretched-out leg, which was taking the place Nuscul’s chest had been occupying half a second – or even less – before.
“Make fun of me once more, pretty boy, and the jar holding your remains will be ten times the worth of what is left of you. Do you hear me?” Zuol said in a vitriolic voice, baring his fangs, giving him – together with his barbed circlet – the looks of a bloodthirsty and mad warrior king.
Vect chuckled and said, “Well, I see you can hardly wait for me, Zuol. Shall we begin? Activate the dampening field!” The deep, rolling sound of the dampening field grew until the seats on the observation deck were only slightly vibrating. The combatants bowed before each other and assumed their combat stances.
Vect’s stance was open but he distributed his weight evenly, allowing him to act and react equally fast.
Zuol and Nuscul had a different philosophy. No matter how little they liked each other, they were two professional fighters, a gladiator and a soldier prodigy, and thus synergised perfectly. They had one thing in abundance and that was speed.
Nuscul moved first, charging in low, dodging Vect’s jab in the last split of a second, aiming for his upper leg with both daggers, one coming in from behind, one from the front, a movement that reminded me of a venomous snake’s bite. Vect immediately deflected the Venom Blade, a weapon he evidently respected in combat, but before he could bring his sceptre around to block the Wych Blade, Zuol came over him. Disgruntled and annoyed Vect brought the weapon around to deflect a well-timed overhead cleaving strike from Zuol, with both blades striking the sceptre only half a second apart, effectively even disrupting something as crude as this weapon-to-weapon block. Nuscul, however, did not stop his assault and although Vect had destabilised him entirely by deflecting his main hand, he used the counter-momentum to drive the Wych Blade deep into the Supreme Overlord’s thigh.
Vect’s face shortly turned into a visage of pain and hatred, but only for a split second, and he returned to his focused gaze, as if he also drew strength from his own agony. Lightning-fast he shifted his weight to his healthy leg – at this point, it was clear that Nuscul had severed something important in his right leg – and smashed the sceptre towards Nuscul’s temple. Zuol tried to block with the Demiklaive in his left hand, but was too close to Vect to effectively use his other blade. Therefore, he smashed the apex of his forehead into Vect’s face and the vicious, barbed circlet connected. The Sceptre of the Dark City had been stopped less than a millimetre in front of Nuscul’s face and Vect had to take a little jump back – stepping was becoming too arduous, as it seemed – due to Zuol’s forehead smash.
It was hard to follow the combat simply by not knowing what damage had been caused exactly, as the holo-arena merely simulated the adequate amount of pain and numbing of senses or paralysis of muscles, but for someone not being wounded directly, all one could have done was guess to assess the damage.
Nuscul performed an acrobatic reverse somersault after he arced over backwards once in order to increase the distance between him and Vect. He evidently was not convinced that these wounds made the Overlord any less dangerous. He nodded acknowledging towards Zuol who nodded back and smiled for the first time since he had entered the arena. Both knew that Nuscul only was still competing because of Zuol, but both were too professional to make a fuss about it.
Although they might have been pleased with the damage they caused so far, they did not show it and their concentration remained unbroken. They circled around the Supreme Overlord until they were at exact opposite sides and even though Zuol was clearly the better fighter, Vect chose to follow Nuscul with his eyes more than Zuol.
Both of the attackers burst into action again, the wounded Vect right in the middle. He spun around on his healthy leg, spinning his weapon around his girth and as Nuscul lunged in like a pouncing jaguar, he took a huge jump back – I had no idea that he had that kind of strength with only one leg contributing most of the power – and smashed the upper end of the sceptre right across Zuol. As the Archon was in mid-charge, he could not do anything but bluntly weapon-block it, however, this time, the sceptre discharged, sending Zuol flying four metres back, spinning wildly and out of control and ultimately smashing into the arena ground with a fleshy thud. Nuscul seemed to increase the speed even further, but the observers gasped at the performance that transpired further. Vect – with his eyes closed – leant back perfectly horizontally in the split of a second by which time he had brought the upper end of the sceptre right before his face. Nuscul took a dive, sliding the last metre towards Vect, both his weapons ready, focused on an upside-down staring Vect. But yet again Vect showed why he was unbeaten in combat, leaping into the air, letting a perfectly executed assault of Nuscul go to waste as the young Dark Eldar slid by down below, far out of range for two daggers, not, however, for the Sceptre of the Dark City. Vect slammed the business end of his weapon into Nuscul’s chest, nailing him onto the ground, while also using the weapon to slow his descent at which time Nuscul was screaming out of his mind.
The sceptre was feared for its lethality, I dared not picture what an exposure, which Nuscul just had to experience, did to oneself. Simulated or not, this was probably one of the worst kinds of pain imaginable – even for the Dark Eldar – I concluded.
Zuol had risen by that time, turning around, staring bluntly at Vect. Nuscul still screamed in a high-pitched voice, trashing around due to the sheer amount of pain. It might have been only a few seconds, but I was thankful when he fell unconscious. Even though I had witnessed horrific things since I had been taken captive, no other scream compared to this and I suddenly realised that if they did this only for training purposes, what horrors may they reserve for and inflict upon others? So far, I had to deem myself lucky to have gotten away with what I did.
Vect, who had been observing the twitching, thrashing Nuscul all the time, nodded acknowledging afterwards and said, “I believe no one has sustained a hit like this and remained conscious for so long. He can sustain more damage than he can deal and yet has a lot of time left to learn. Impressive. I am anxious to see what will become of him in terms of a fighter; he might prove a true challenge one day.” Zuol struggled to remain focused. Somehow, the praise and respect for Vect’s fallen enemy had triggered something in him and with heavy steps, he walked towards Vect, spinning one blade clockwise, the other one counter-clockwise around his hands, once. Vect assumed a defensive stance – obviously the best choice in his current state – and waited for Zuol’s onslaught.
But Zuol did not charge, lunge or assault him. He walked around him, slowly, calmly, forcing Vect to turn around with his revolution around him, knowing that no matter how strong he was, at some point even his leg had to tire. Vect seemed a lot slower and weaker than before, but Zuol also knew about the use of feinting and ruses in combat and he made it clear that he chose when to attack and that he would not be lured into playing by his enemy’s rules. With every revolution he came a little closer and at that precise moment at which he was in Vect’s range, the Supreme Overlord lashed out at him.
Almost disgusted, he deflected the attack with one blade, but he did not pursue to attack. Again, he made clear that he had the upper hand and would fight as he saw fit, not as somebody else dictated, not even if his enemy was the Supreme Overlord of Commorragh. Vect lived on borrowed time here, he had the advantage of range, but he was wounded and in close combat, the usage of two weapons simply was more flexible and faster than a staff-like weapon.
Vect became more offensive, but after Zuol’s last encounter with the sceptre, the Archon trod carefully, always deflecting the dangerous blows, dodging others, and also remaining in control. Vect looked tired and annoyed by the fight, but both of them remained focused; however, it seemed as if Zuol’s forehead smash had damaged Vect’s face on its left side.
It was hard to assess – in the holo-arena blood was never drawn – but it seemed as if Vect had his eyes wide open, more than necessary, as if he had suffered a bleeding on his forehead that slowly dripped into his eyes.
Finally, Zuol decided to end it and showed his superiority by using his two weapons to great advantage. Whenever Vect lashed out at him, he used one Demiklaive to deflect his attack, and the other one to attack, while making sure to use the hooked end of his blades with every block to drag his enemy’s weapon around, disrupting his stance by shifting his weight. After a few such manoeuvres, Vect was littered with cuts, some superficial, others deeper – or at least I assumed so, as the arena showed no wounds sustained by the fighters to the observers and Vect showed no pain whatsoever – but the Overlord refused to desist.
Zuol, however, refused to let down his guard for the final blow. To me, it looked as if a younger, stronger tiger circled the old, experienced one that he wanted out of his territory, but Vect had no intention of leaving. Zuol struck him once more and Vect feinted a block and as Zuol struck with the other hand again, Vect ducked, and brought his weapon up from under the left arm of Zuol. Although his first attack had connected, Zuol had to overstretch a little to make that happen and this time Vect used Zuol’s blades to his own advantage. He lodged the lower end of the sceptre in the hook at the end of the Demiklaive and dragged Zuol half a step towards him. When he smashed the sceptre upwards, it connected to Zuol’s arm, who, in turn, brought the free arm around – under which Vect had ducked earlier – and chopped down towards Vect’s left arm as well, while his face was contorted by the enormous concentration necessary to not be overcome by pain.
The two fighters distanced themselves from each other – mainly by Zuol taking a few steps back – and fought for breath. With a loud clink, he had dropped the Demiklaive from his left hand and he bared his fangs without making a single sound, except the drawing of his breath. Zuol looked at his left arm, hanging down limp and useless.
However, this time, I saw it clearly, Zuol’s attack had connected as well, although he did not have much space and probably did not sever anything important, he had struck Vect along his entire back and the back of his left arm. Also, he had employed the barbed vambrace and had torn Vect’s left wrist. The Overlord’s arm was not entirely useless, but the disadvantage was great for someone using a weapon like a spear.
They smiled at each other and Vect was seemingly not the only one drawing strength from his own pain. Vect stood up straight for the first time after he was wounded by Nuscul and placed his weapon vertically beside him, while Zuol rose his remaining blade straight upwards before himself, the edge facing towards his enemy. Zuol marched forward, determined to finish this, it was obvious that if he played for time, he would lose this, as Vect just had proved. With mighty cleaving motions he seemingly missed the Supreme Overlord by a millimetre at best, and when he drew back, he slashed him with his vambrace while evading his massively slowed strikes.
At this point, I was not sure anymore if Zuol toyed with Vect or simply could not do any more than just aim to hurt. Vect’s decreasing speed made it enormously challenging for him to perform a sincere attack at all, but he refused to give Zuol an easy way out. The fight continued like this for a few seconds until Zuol had sealed his demise. When he cleaved and aimed directly for Vect’s neck, the Overlord knew he would not be able to deflect or block this momentum anymore. He ducked again, smuggled the blunt end of the sceptre beside Zuol’s front leg and to the surprise of Zuol and all observers he let himself drop to the ground and kicked the sceptre’s rear as hard as he could with his healthy leg. Zuol’s eyes widened with surprise and rage as he fell straight on his back, right beside a sneering Vect. Before Zuol hit the ground, Vect’s right hand was shortly behind the crystal end of the sceptre and as soon as he could he rammed it into Zuol’s armpit – the only exposed and vital point he could reach and that would make sure of incapacitating his enemy – while laughing frantically.
His eerie laugh mixed with Zuol’s horrible death-cry. The Archon did not do much better than Nuscul, he also ended up screaming and thrashing around and after some agonised seconds he too fell unconscious.
Vect’s laugh remained, as he slowly got up from the floor of the arena. Revelling some moments in the sweet taste of his victory, he stood there, motionless, braced on his sceptre, chuckling manically to himself. Then, he deigned to switch off the holo-field, with it the dampening field, the holograms of the weapons and the pain-inducers.
With this, Zuol and Nuscul came back to life, and they got up rather slowly, apparently still recovering from the shock they just had received. Vect said, “Gentlemen, I have to thank you for this truly enticing and challenging fight, it has been a while since I had to exert myself that much! Go now and rest, you surely deserve it!” His enemies seemed as if they had no strength left for objections or jokes, they just bowed to him in silence and he also graced them with a bow of his own. Then, they left the arena, clearly exhausted.
Vect took a deep, relished breath, I could see it even from where I was, stretched himself like a cat after a long nap, and then also made his way out of the arena.
It truly was astonishing – the Overlord had not lost an ounce of his cattiness as he came back to me, though he just had fought a truly hard battle. Only the sweat on his skin showed that he just had exerted himself. As he passed me - I waited for him down at the exit of the arena to be there for him if he had any instructions for me - gently running his fingertips over my hair, he did not even breathe heavily any longer. Something was completely different about Vect, compared to all the other Dark Eldar I had met; there was something about him that was just… more. I was unable to say what it was, but I planned on finding it out.
Somewhat confused I gazed after him as he and all the members of the Circle vanished through different doors. Only now I realised that there were nine, each for every member.
Nevertheless, I let out a relieved sigh as all Dark Eldar had left the room. Now was my chance to talk to the girls, without having to fear that one wrong word could merit some punishment. I asked them about their names and told them mine:


Some of them even had a hard time remembering their names, because they had been here for a long time and their masters simply did not care about what they were called. ‘A long time’ in this context meant between five and ten years. The oldest of us, Lethe, who was about thirty years old, was an exception for surviving for ten years around here. The fewest slaves survived that long in such a position. Of course, I was the only one that did not come from the Imperium, the rest had either been taken captive whilst raids or had been wounded in battle and had been nurtured back to full health, only to be sold as slaves. Why they had been particularly chosen, most of them did not know, but just as I did, all of them did everything in their power to maintain their current rank, just to not be degraded to a torture slave. Some knew that it had been their beauty or complexion that had merited them their current position.
I knew that I had to take this chance to find out more about the Circle members, for if someone knew them well, from a human perspective, it was their personal slaves. Therefore, I cut down to the chase and talked to every single one of them, whilst we did the dishes.
I started with Zethina. I was not surprised that she spoke with fear in her voice, since her body showed several scars and also some fresh wounds. “Archon Sythrac, the Hierarch? Not much to tell about him except the fact that he likes to torture the hell out of me. He is a really mean one, sadistic from head to toes, cruel. But he is extremely self-controlled and nothing he does happens out of erratic motives. More than once he told me how much he would like to see how far your composure goes. He is cautious with you, though, since he distrusts the Overlord’s schemes and suspects you as a spy.” I thanked her, for this was vital information for me.
Akadia was next; also she seemed to be cautious when talking about her master, though ‘only’ some small bruises where to be seen on her body. “Zuol is dangerous. He has a sharp mind, keen eyes, but his blade is even sharper and he knows what he can do. He takes me everywhere he goes, so I come around a lot and he loves to torment me by showing me how close freedom is to me, but that I will never have it. He is careful with you, though, since he does not know what to make of you. But I warn you: given the opportunity, he will test you and it will be a game that is designed to hurt. All the advice I can give you, is: be courageous and tough, he somehow likes that.” This was the second time I had heard that. I would test it out carefully.
Cyrine had to say the following, but was more relaxed than her colleagues, “Archon Sarnak sees me only as his pet. I am just an animal to him, an animal that happens to be able to talk. He is cruel, patronising and arrogant. He thinks of you no different, but still, there is some interest in him about you that makes him cautious, since he asks himself what the Overlord sees in you.”
Next was Rhia, she seemed to be one of the most mentally unstable around here. Her eyes grew wide and dark as I asked her about her master; she leant close to me and whispered in a frightened tone, “Don’t be blinded by how Varys treats you around here. He is sick. He is cruel. He does unspeakable things to me. And, if he gets the chance, he will do these very things to you. Be careful, he is always watching… always…” I truly pitied her. This poor girl had to have endured terrible things, because this panic-fuelled fear of her master was real and I figured with horror that he had to torment her in a psychic manner, because she had no visible wounds. Sadly, there was nothing I could do for her…
Then, I talked to Lethe. She had something utterly soothing about her, possibly she had the mindset that she had survived long enough around here and had not much left to fear. I was surprised to see her smile as I asked her about Archon Nuscul. “Oh, believe me, I am a lucky one around here. For an Archon, I guess, he is quite nice, though he loves to put me on drugs or make me drunk. He is decadent, lecherous, loves to toy and sleep with me, but rarely hurts me. Also, he has quite the sense of humour, pitch-black humour of course, but still. Hit a bit on him sarcastically, you will see, he likes it. Do that and you might have his interest and favour,” she told me.
After that, I talked to Aenid, the one I had talked to earlier. She seemed to be a rough and tough personality, able to take a lot for her age. “Ea’nash? I think you already figured him out. Lecherous, evil, sadistic, batshit crazy. He orchestrates very special games for me in his quarters and sleeps with me every day, but also a lot of pain is involved and hell, I am not the only one he sleeps with every single day. He likes you. He wants you. And, if he should get you, you will spend the night of your life with him. Keep up that ‘little girl’ act, I can assure you, you drive him mad with it. He is a paedophile, well, at least in their standards. I was fourteen when I came to be his and lucky to be very open-minded, if you know what I mean.” I knew all too well what she meant.
Tzarine had to say the following about her master, “Alactel is arrogant, very proud of what he achieved. He was once a Hellion, you know. He does not care much for you or me or any human except when it comes down to be there for his amusement. And I can tell you it is a painful and tiring game. He is sadistic, as they all are, I guess, but he only shows that very rarely in public. And he is cautious with you. Nothing more to say.” Tzarine seemed to be somewhat absent-minded, maybe this was because of fatigue, because dark rings were under her eyes and some of her wounds seemed to be fresh.
Last but not least, I spoke with Taura. She seemed rather calm, but was also unscathed – for now. “Tahril is too occupied at the moment with keeping up with the rest of the Circle to have time for anything else. I am only very shortly with him, since he bought me as a treat for himself when he entered the Overlord’s Circle. He is a successor of another Archon, as I understand it. So… I did not have much time to figure him out.”
I thanked all of them for the information; some of it would help me along.
I would have loved to stay amongst my kind a bit longer, but Lethe, as the most experienced one here, said, “It is time to return to our masters. They will be in need of our services and the last thing we want is to keep them waiting.” We agreed, bid us farewell and then went to our masters.
I also stepped into the room of the Overlord and was surprised to find him lying in a bathtub. Since it was embedded in the floor, I assumed that it had been covered with the stone slabs beforehand. He did not face me, but of course, he had heard me, because he said, “Come here, child, I have some instructions for you!” I obeyed and knelt myself on the rim of the bathtub, beside his head. “Some of the Circle members have requested a massage from you. Do it well, but do not do it too well! I do not want them to be suspicious about who really had trained you. You will go to Zuol and Ea’nash, in that order. When you are done, one of my guards will take you back to my quarters.” I nodded and got up to follow his command. As I was at the door, he softly added, “And… good thinking with Varys and Ea’nash. I liked that.” I thanked him sincerely and then went out.
On the quite short way to Zuol’s chamber it occurred to me: I had to play this political game, which was omnipresent in Commorragh, too, if I wanted to survive; in fact, Vect had made it quite clear to me right now, by commending my sly behaviour when it came down to his Circle. I let out a determined grunt. I had my wits and would not go down because of political issues, for I always had had a hand for playing people. I ‘just’ had gone from puppies’ to master’s classes when it came down to that.
After this realisation, I hurried to get to Zuol and a few seconds later I entered his chamber. The Archon also still was in the bathtub, his eyes closed. Apparently to entertain himself, he let a small throwing dagger dance around his left fingers, flipped it into the air, caught it again in an agile manner just at the tip on one of his fingertips and continued with these hypnotic movements, without moving his arm a lot. It truly was fascinating to watch and it showed how much he had mastered the skills with a blade. Harsh and martial were the two words that described Zuol best.
The Archon did not as much as look at me when I entered, he just said, “Come here and do what you are here for, slave!”
I was surprised that Akadia was nowhere to be found; apparently, he had sent her away. Obediently I came to him and knelt beside his head, so that he did not have to turn it if he deigned to look at me. Shyly, I asked, “My lord, which part of your body shall I massage?”
He opened his eyes and I flinched as he let the tip of the dagger, which he just had played around with, stroke over my flank so softly that its tip did not even scratch me and he replied, “Make an educated guess, slave! You are not that stupid, are you?”
I answered, “I’m sorry, my lord. I just wanted to be absolutely sure.”
Zuol closed his eyes again and said, shrugging and bored, “Fair enough.”
I started with my work immediately. I only needed a short scan to feel that his neck- and shoulder muscles were a bit strained and I quickly found the soothing and relaxing points on his body. I started massaging his head – not as expertly as I could, since I was not allowed to show too much of my skills. It did not take long for me to realise how muscular Zuol was and that his muscles were far more steeled than Vect’s. Zuol was a warrior to the core. Because of his distinctive musculature, it was incredibly taxing for me to massage him, because I needed a lot of pressure to make the massage having any effect.
Alas, it was not that easy to fool Zuol.
He did not trust me at all and whilst he still had his eyes closed, he started to slowly drill the dagger into my left side, right beneath my ribcage. While he did this, he said, “I’m quite sure that you can do better than that. What you did to Varys seemed far more efficient than what you do now, slave. And I doubt that the Overlord would be satisfied with this mediocre massage.” Then, he seemed to change his mind again, because he opened his eyes and grabbed me at my chin, dragging me pretty close to him. He hissed at me, “Do it as well as if you gave it to him or I’ll flay some parts of you, you little whore!”
I swallowed, intimidated by his fierce behaviour, and said with trembling voice, “I will do my very best, my lord, but I’m afraid that this is all this lowly slave can manage.”
I only showed through slight gritting of my teeth how much he hurt me with the cut he now drew down my left side. Zuol locked his hard gaze with mine all of the time. Only as he was done and had the dagger pulled out of my flesh, he made a musing sound and stated, “Hmm, I can’t tell whether you are lying or not. Either you are incredibly well-trained even in this field of expertise or you are really not as good as I thought. Both would surprise me, actually. Then again, I find it interesting how well you handle pain. Someone has taught you quite a lot.” He let go of me, shrugged, then added, “Ah, well. Do your best, little slave! We will see how long the Overlord will suffer your mediocre performance.”
Thus I started massaging him again, showing a bit more of my skill and was rewarded with a relished sound. Zuol was silent for a while and enjoyed the massage, though he accentuated it for himself with my pained grunts and gasps, as he inserted the dagger once again into the fresh wound and cut it open several times. It took all my will and concentration to remain somewhat calm, not to try to avoid this torture and to still keep on massaging him. The cut he had given me was neither deep nor dangerous for me, but having to feel the blade at this already agonised part of my body over and over again was highly excruciating. I tried to show him as little as possible, but I could not help the tears in my eyes. I knew that he savoured my suffering.
As I was done massaging him, all his muscles relaxed, Zuol opened his eyes again and stated, “Not bad. But also not as extraordinary as I had anticipated.” He sat up, turned around to face me and added, “But still, it is interesting how calm and concentrated you were, considering that I gave you pain and not an insignificant amount either. I think I begin to understand why the Overlord has chosen you and keeps you unbroken.”
I bowed my head and replied, “Thank you, my lord.”
He let out a contemptuous huff. “Oh, don’t thank me, slave. I still don’t think that you will last longer as his slave than… let’s say… a month? What you have shown today may be interesting at best, but you have to do better than interesting to keep the Overlord entertained. And now, leave. I no longer have use of your services.”
There was nothing in the world I loved to do more.
As I was out of the room, I paused shortly to gather myself. I had acted this submissive on purpose to test my hypothesis on Zuol, namely the one that it was wiser to be a bit defiant and tough towards him, since he seemed to respect courage. It had been clearly visible how much he despised overly-obedient slaves, since I guessed he had seen enough of them and was bored by the notion to have to be dealing with another one of those weaklings. He would be a piece of work, but I now knew what I had to do, though it had cost me dearly. I snorted irritated and looked at my wound, but was happy to find that it was not too deep and had already closed quite fragilely. I meditated shortly to calm myself down and then went into Ea’nash’s room.
The Archon was no longer in the bathtub, but rather sat on a quite comfortable looking sofa and he was just clad in a towel that was around his hips. As always, he smiled at me wolfishly as he saw me. Also, Aenid was out of sight. What I also had noticed by now was that every changing room was furnished completely individually. Vect’s and Zuol’s rooms had shown frugal and belligerent necessity; Ea’nash’s looked luxurious and comfortable.
The Archon said to me, “Ah, sweet child, come here and sit with me!” It was clear to me that he wanted me to sit on his lap, therefore, I wanted to place myself on him like I had in the training room, but he said, “No, you’ll have to face me, otherwise it will be hard for you to massage my head, hmm?” I sighed and rolled my eyes on the inside, but did as he bid me. Therefore, I sat on his lap the other way around, my knees left and right from his hips and my bottom in his lap. Ea’nash softly caressed my fresh wound without hurting me and asked, “Who did that to you, child?”
I answered, “Archon Zuol, my lord.”
The young Archon shook his head with a contemptuous grunt and snarled, “Ugh, that mannerless brute! I still don’t get how this waste of nobility can be a Trueborn! To mar such soft and young skin, that’s a crime!” I was surprised that his anger seemed to be true.
Apparently, it had been a flash of irascibility, because he calmed down again, smiled and added, “Heh. I guess my slave would disagree with my words here, since I cut her time and again, but I have to say she had it coming every single time. And…” He caressed my cheek. “…you, my dear, are a completely new level of… beauteous.”
I dropped my gaze and replied shyly, “Thank you, my lord. You do me too much honour.” His compliments flattered me, though I knew he was into me and they were possibly meant in a mocking way.
His smile now turned into the wolfish one I already knew so well and he responded, “Oh, don’t be so modest, child! I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.” He took my wrists, kissed their insides tenderly, his teeth tickling my sensitive skin and he said, “Well, my dear, do what you are here for, though I have to admit that I would love to do some other things to you.” I smiled at him sheepishly, and then I laid my hands upon his head. I immediately felt the acupressure points and also felt that he was not as muscular as Vect or Zuol, but far more sinewy. He was quick, even for a Dark Eldar, and he had shown that in his duel against Nuscul today. Matching with an ex-Wych was no easy task.
I massaged him tenderly, but not as well as I could and I avoided the tips of his ears like the plague, because I knew that some of the most erogenous points lay there and I was sure that it was not wise to arouse him even further. I did not want to experience a Dark Eldar raging with ecstasy, because I already had experienced what an aroused, but still disciplined Dark Eldar could do to me. I feared that not a lot of restraint was left in them when they were in this state.
Ea’nash did not close his eyes, though, but decided to rather stare at me with a broad and satisfied grin. He made me shiver as he caressed my flanks and belly tenderly and I could easily read in his face how much he enjoyed my reactions. Ea’nash let me do my work quite some time, but at some point, he laid his hands upon my head and – as I had expected it, which was why I stayed so calm and was able to enjoy it somewhat – drew me against him and kissed me. I obediently opened my mouth as he demanded entry with his tongue and also returned his kiss compliantly. It truly was a passionate and wild kiss and the Archon showed me clearly how much he desired me. His fingers dug themselves deeper into my hair as he felt my answer to his kiss. Again, Ea’nash tasted and felt completely different than Chu’uk or Vect. His lips were soft, but extremely flexible and he tasted warm and somewhat milky, with a touch of cool menthol, which made the whole experience somewhat tingling. His tongue was pleasant to feel, I assumed this was because he was quite young for a Dark Eldar. The kiss lasted for quite some while and I had to admit that he knew what he was doing, but Vect outdid him easily in every aspect.
At some point, he drew his mouth slowly away from mine, but then pulled me against him and whispered into my ear, “Feels and tastes a bit different than the old guy, hmm? Well, that’s what young Trueborns are like.” This was a truly impudent remark and he could only hope that Vect never got to hear this insolence. For now, I just nodded silently and let out an affirmative hum. Trueborn were known for their despicable pride and exorbitant arrogance and three of the four Trueborn I had met so far matched that description perfectly. Only Tahril had not shown anything, but I had to admit that I had not dealt enough with him to truly know. I had the feeling that this boldness would be the downfall of some of them.
For a while Ea’nash held me like this, softly caressing my bottom and I could feel very well that he had been aroused by the kiss. At some point, he breathed a kiss upon my ear and whispered softly into it, “There is so much more we could do… but I guess we’ll have to wait with that until he sells you, hmm?”
I raised my head, looked at him and said with a lascivious smile, “Let’s not rush anything, my lord! I’m sure he would be angry if we got any more… intimate.” Oh yes, he should believe that I was as much into him as he was into me. It would make my life easier with him.
Ea’nash inhaled sharply, then kissed my palms and said, “Indeed. I will have to wait. Now, go, child, before I make a critical mistake!”
I had not to be told twice, got off of him, bid him farewell with a slight bow and exited the room.
I was utterly surprised and felt honoured as I met the guard on the corridor, who was to bring me back, for he was one of the Incubus-Hierarchs. Apparently, Vect wanted to be absolutely sure that I got back to him as a whole. I bowed slightly to the Incubus; he nodded shortly in return and donned a chain on my collar. Then he led me through the bastion, back to the Overlord’s quarters, without saying a single word.
Whilst we were walking, I started wondering what could have moved Vect to have me brought back by an Incubus-Hierarch of his very own lifeguard. Was I that important to him? I sincerely doubted it, because I was nothing but a slave, as expendable as ever, therefore, I decided to go with the theory that he did it, on one hand, to make others believe that I was important to him, maybe having some idiots who wanted to threaten him show themselves by attacking me, on the other, I was sure he did it to lull me into a false sense of security. I was not so stupid as to believe I was something special to him. Asdrubael Vect had no things or people precious to him, only faint and expendable allies, since everything else was far too dangerous for him, for there would always be someone who got to know his weak spots and would use them against him. Without being utterly relentless it was impossible to rule Commorragh.
Tearing my thoughts away from the Overlord, I had to admit that Ea’nash still unsettled me more than Zuol. Feigning to play his game was a lot harder than enduring Zuol’s harshness. It had been already clear to me that the former desired to have me, but today he had shown me how intensely he did, because I was sure that the only thing that had kept me from being assault back there was that I was the personal slave of the Overlord after all and as such it would have been a suicidal idea of Ea’nash to do so. I sincerely hoped that Vect never sold me to him, for I had a pretty good idea of what my life would look like if he ever did. Though Ea’nash was attractive, friendly with me and knew what he was doing, something about him disgusted me so much that I had a pretty hard time with returning his advances. Also, I was sure that if I ever got to be in bed with him, this would rather be fit for his pleasure, not mine.
I forced my mind into silence and concentrated on the things that were at hand. For now, I ‘just’ had to deal with the Supreme Overlord of Commorragh. Somehow, this was easier for me, god knows why.
In these moments we arrived at our destination, the Incubus-Hierarch led me through the torture chamber, took the chain off my collar and opened the door to the quarters. I bid him farewell with a bow and then went through the door, which he closed behind me.
As I entered the room I was greeted with a view I had not anticipated. My master lay on the bed, all limbs stretched widely from him and all he wore were some tight boxers. His eyes were closed and he did not react towards me in any way. Somehow this was a strange sight, to see him that casual and relaxed; somehow it did not fit the picture of the relentless Supreme Overlord.
With care I came closer to the bed, not wanting to disrupt him in any way. Because he did not acknowledge my presence at all and I had shifted quite some time uneasily from one foot to the other, I carefully and softly said, “My lord, is there anything I can do for you?”
He opened his eyes, blinked a few times and then said, looking at me and smiling slightly, “Ah, child, it is good that you are here. I require a massage.”
I nodded and replied, “Immediately, my lord. Just let me fetch the massage oil.”
I let go of my obedient face as I entered the bathroom. After giving three massages today I was quite tired already and the prospect of again giving all my strength and concentration for a longer period of time was more than I could take. I also was starving. However, since complaining just brought the anger of my master down on me, I sighed heavily, took the warming massage oil out of the cupboard, took off my earrings, since they would just hinder me if he had me lie down beside him and went back to my master, not showing my indignation.
Vect had not moved one millimetre and did not as much as look at me. I climbed into the bed and asked, “I take it that you want a full body massage to relax your indubitably strained muscles?”
He opened his eyes again, looked at me, his gaze somewhat soft now, caressed my cheek and replied, “Yes, my child.” Then, his eyes narrowed for a second and he added, “You are quite hungry, child, are you not?” I nodded truthfully. With this, and to my utter surprise, he patted my cheek and said, “Well, then! Have something to eat first! I do not want you to do this half-heartedly.”
I was relieved. “Thank you, my lord.”
My master smiled – seeing that this smile seemed to be honest unsettled me extremely – and he responded, “You have been a good girl, so there is no need to punish you unnecessarily.” These were strange words indeed from a being of which it was said that it was one of the cruellest ever to walk the galaxy. Until now he had been nicer to me than Chu’uk, in any way. Then again, who would ever know if all of this was not some kind of twisted plan, whose trap would show itself to me when it was far too late?
I rid myself of this thought, obeyed him, went to the table and started eating with great pleasure. My body owed me the overdue nutrition with confidence and newfound strength. As I was done, I came back to my master. I said to him, whilst spreading the massage oil on my hands, “May I start with your back, my lord?”
“No, you can leave that, it is rather my arms and legs that need tending,” he told me.
Therefore, I started with his legs. Whilst I massaged him, he asked, “So, child, tell me: has anyone of them done something particularly nasty to you?”
I shook my head and replied, “No, my lord, nothing out of the ordinary. Archon Zuol decided to poke me with a dagger while I tended to his needs and Archon Ea’nash… well.”
“Well what?”
I hemmed and hawed shortly, then replied, “I guess if I hadn’t been your personal slave, he would have assault me at the spot.”
The Overlord let out a musing sound. “Hmm, this one seems to be particularly untamed. If he should ever try it, let me know. He has his limits and raping my personal slave oversteps them definitely. I will not have such a thing from one of my Archons.”
“I guess his fear of you will always stop him. But I have to admit that I will enjoy reporting such a thing to you.”
He chuckled lowly. “He really bothers you, hmm?” he asked me.
“More than the rest, yes, since I don’t know what to expect from him. I also don’t get why he is so into me. Because that he is I know for sure, he didn’t hide the fact,” I said, somewhat bewildered.
“Ah, I see, doing our homework, are we? I take it that you talked to the other slaves?” Vect asked with a smile.
I snorted and responded, “I would be quite the idiot if I hadn’t. Every ounce of knowledge I can get about your Circle I will take.”
“And a wise decision this is. You will do fine in this new life, my child, yes, indeed finer than I have seen so far in any human slave. You played Varys and Ea’nash nicely today. Keep this up; I am interested to see how you will do in those political nets around here.”
I nodded and said, “I will, my lord and I have realised by now that I have to. I’ll try and impress you further and I’m just glad that you feel that way, my lord.”
Vect chuckled. “Looks and brains. Now I am impressed.”
With an injured inflexion I gave back, “Now you are mocking me.”
Again this evil chuckle, followed by the mandatory taunt, “Aw, do not take it so hard, child. As I said – you are doing well. And now I want you to concentrate.”
This concluded the discussion. I obeyed, shut my mouth and concentrated on the massage. It took quite a while and a lot of my strength.
I was rewarded with a relished sigh of my master as I was done. Underlining his sigh, he said, “Ah, a well-educated slave is really a treat. I have to give my regards to Vlokarion; he has done a great job with you.”
I froze. “The Vlokarion? It was he who had trained me?” I asked in disbelief. In an instant, another realisation hit me. “Isn’t he supposed to be dead?”
My lord chuckled softly. “Now she even knows the names of Haemonculi,” he said, somewhat lost in thought. Then he turned to me and replied, “Yes, there is only one in Commorragh, as far as I remember and he is very alive and well, despite of what you think to know. And you, my little one, know more than is advisable for your own good.”
Vlokarion was no less a figure than the only Haemonculus able to stand beside Urien Rakarth in his vile accomplishments. Urien Rakarth again was said to be the oldest, most ingenious and craziest Haemonculus of all of Commorragh, though it was an ever-lasting argument between scholars if Vlokarion was not older than Rakarth and who of them was the greater genius. I figured that Vlokarion’s survival was a well-kept secret; otherwise Rakarth would not bear the title “Master Haemonculus” without any challenge. Possibly it was best like this for Vlokarion; like this, he could do his research in peace and silence and undoubtedly he shared his knowledge with the Overlord in return.
That Asdrubael Vect had managed to employ both for his causes, though Rakarth was known to do his own thing, proved once again how strong and sublime his resources were.
I shook my head in utter disbelief, still not quite grasping that I had somewhat befriended one of the best Haemonculi that had ever been. “It is astonishing how stable and rational he is, considering that he matches up with Rakarth in wits and age,” I said, still taken aback.
Vect laughed, wholeheartedly. “Oh, he is the silent counter-balance to Urien, often enough tempering his madness. Otherwise, Urien would not be bearable and would wreck the very foundations of Commorragh with his experiments. I appreciate him, I truly do, but sometimes his thoughts are somewhat hard to follow.”
It had to be noted here that this was voiced by one of the greatest minds ever in Dark Eldar history.
“Nevertheless,” he continued, stroking my hair softly and looking me deep in the eye, “I cannot stress enough how important it is that no one gets to know what an awful lot you know about our culture. Some might witness you as too big a threat to be left alive. I, on the other hand, find it enticing. Never mind that now, child, come here! You need to sleep; I can see that you are tired.”
My master was absolutely right with that; I was truly tired. I was relieved as he took off my collar, then I obeyed him and laid my head upon his right shoulder. He laid his arm around me and started caressing my side and I shivered, because I still had to get used to the gentleness he could show if he wanted to. After wishing him a good night, I closed my eyes and this time it did not take long for me to fall asleep, while still lying on his shoulder.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 19:54

Chapter 8


"Why are you screaming? I haven't even started yet..."
— Malekith Sythil, torturing an Imperial Guardsman

IT HAD BEEN a quiet and relaxing day for me, since I did not have to be in the throne room with my master. The Overlord had told me that nothing of importance was at hand today and therefore he was not in immediate need of my services. I always was happy when I did not have to be there, because on one hand, it was a tad too cold for me and on the other he was exquisitely cruel to me when we were there, to never show anybody that I was somewhat and somehow dear to him.
I spent my time reading, bathing and making me pretty for him, conserving my energy for when he came back, because he often enough desired a massage or sex and both of these things took a lot of my strength. I had developed quite the sense of time, though I had never seen a clock around here, and I knew when he would be back.
In general, I had started to adjust to my situation. I now was Vect's slave for quite the while – I figured that it was about three months now – and I had learnt a bit how to measure him up and sometimes I knew what to expect. He still was somewhat nice to me – it seemed as if I did my job quite well – but he also underlined time and again that his kindness would be gone in an instant if I dared to disappoint him. One did not disappoint Asdrubael Vect, slave or Archon alike.
I also handled his Circle better every time I saw them, on one hand, because of the things the slaves had told me, on the other because by now I had read the whole book on them, giving me some additional information on the Archons. It made it a lot easier to size them up, though all of them still were complex puzzles to me.
Thus, I danced on the rim of the volcano every day, hoping that it never would erupt.
Today, I expected the Overlord as usual at the same time, sitting on the bed, so that he did not have to make a detour when he was in the mood to have me. I also had found out by now that Dark Eldar never smelt bad, no matter how drenched in sweat they were or how long it had been since their last shower. It was a sharp scent, but still, it reminded me of a cat that had been a long time in the sun. These people were apex predators, with every ounce of their will and body.
And now, the oldest of those predators (Haemonculi excluded), whose personal slave I was, came dashing through the door.
His facial expression and his stance should have warned me, but by this time I felt quite safe and carelessly I said, “Someone looks like he had a really bad day and as if he needed a lot of care.” I was allowed such jokes by now, therefore, I was somewhat insolent.
In a split-second, I knew that this statement had been a terrible mistake, for he was in front of me in one, lightning-fast movement and he backhanded me in the face with his right hand so hard, that I was vaulted from the bed onto the floor. I let out an agonised grunt, tasted blood and could just cower on the floor, my world almost going black from the pain and the concussion. But, of course, my master was not done with me. Again he was with me quickly, grabbed my throat and lifted me with just one arm to his eye level, so that my feet did no longer touch the floor. He strangled me, watched me a while as I smothered and squirmed in his grip, then said, “That might teach you never to forget how you should speak to me, slave!”
With a very thin voice (there was not much air left in my lungs), I gasped, “I beg… your forgiveness… my lord! It… wasn’t… my… place…”
Vect let go of me as my sight grew dim. I fell onto the floor and just lay there, fighting for air, only now noticing the cuts I had sustained from his gauntlet. It took quite the while for me until I found my breath again, but he did not feed on that for long, rather went to the armour rack and just doffed helmet and sceptre. Then he came back to me, smiling maliciously, as I looked at him in icy fear while still panting. The Overlord grabbed me at my hair and hauled me across the room in this manner. I did not beg for mercy, because I knew on one hand that it was impossible to move him if he was set upon a certain thing, on the other, I was quite sure it only would have made him even angrier.
My master dragged me to the cage, as I had feared, but I could not see how he opened it as he never let go of me. Then, the Overlord also grabbed me at my hip, sinking the tips of his gauntlets deep into my skin, lifting me and throwing me quite unpleasantly into the cage, and whilst that I sustained some cuts from the tips of the bars. I knew better than to sit up again, but rather tried to make myself as small as possible, to dodge the barbs and spikes that were inside the cage, but now I had to see that my efforts were in vain, because the bars were variable, for he closed the cage so tightly that I still could feel the spikes and barbs slightly piercing my skin. One tiny movement and I would injure myself.
I could only look at him in horror as he crouched in front of me and looked deep and satisfied into my widened eyes. Then he said, “I guess, it is time to give you a lesson in humility, slave. You will stay in there until I come back. And I think that you will have learnt your lesson well when I do.”
Vect got up again and left the quarters.
There I was now, in this cursed cage, not able to move even one millimetre without drawing terrible wounds. I never had him seen that impatient and ferocious, but this was the grave danger with Dark Eldar: every emotion they felt was a lot stronger than those of a human and with this, it could easily happen that they were absolutely uncontrolled while enraged, and Vect had just closely shown me what this meant. I was terribly aware that he was not done with me.
By now I could already feel that my muscles started to seize slightly, because they were extremely tense, but by the same token I was aware that it would take quite the while until he came back. I just hoped that I would somehow be able to maintain my composure and not give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry and beg for mercy, because I was sure that he would enjoy it even more if I behaved in this manner. Thus, I waited for him to come back.

I hated it to be right this time. Afterwards, I did not know how long I had been in this cursed cage, I just was sure that it had been hours and as I had expected it, my muscles had started to seize pretty quickly. I had not been able to do anything else but relaxing them a bit, shifting my position that tiny bit so that the spikes and barbs now were inserted into my flesh. I was shaking with agony and exertion by now, but I had maintained enough of my willpower not to beg him for mercy.
I could only hear that he came back, since it was impossible to see it from my position, and I also heard that he washed his hands in the basin beside the door. As he was done, he came to me. I felt that he was calmer than before, but when I could see him, I immediately recognised that the malicious sheen in his eyes was still there.
This was not over for me.
I swallowed.
As I now looked into his eyes, I for the first time felt the fear his slaves usually experienced when they dealt with him and I got a taste of what it would have been like for me if I had not been so well-taught. The feeling let me freeze all over, it seemed as even my blood turned to ice. What I also realised was that my well-being and how much I would keep from his favour would immensely depend on how I acted today whilst my punishment. I was not allowed to beg for the end, of that I was sure, but I also was very aware that maintaining this willpower would be one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life.
The Overlord again crouched in front of the cage, looking me deep in the eye for a while without saying a single word. In the second I was about to ask him what he was up to, he said with an inflexion that shot a cold shiver down my spine, “Good. I see that someone became a little more silent and humble. This suits you, my little one.” Those words did somehow not bode well for me.
I let out a relieved gasp as he started to open the cage – but only for one second, because then the pain cut in. The only thing that kept me from screaming was the best breathing technique I had been taught, because opening the cage also meant that the spikes and barbs that had inserted themselves into my flesh were now pulled out, tearing even bigger wounds in the process. I was trembling all over, closed my eyes and I gritted my teeth. Though I was aware that I would scream today, no matter whether I wanted it or not, I did not want to give him the satisfaction that easily. In the same second, I realised that it would be wise not to overdo it with my toughness, otherwise he would torment me even harder to make me show my pain, because he wanted to see me suffer and I was to give this to him.
Oh, how I naïve I was to even think that I had the willpower and toughness to withstand him silently!
The Overlord then reached into the cage, grabbing my hair so firmly that I had to follow his movements if I did not want to scalp myself. Though it hurt terribly, I kept still as he lifted me out of the cage. I was glad that he put me down, but he did not let go, rather dragged me after him to the bed. Again I was reminded of his tremendous strength, because he had lifted me without any effort and he dragged me along like a toy.
I realised that, in a way, I was nothing more than that to him.
Vect threw me on the bed, facedown, nailed me down and bound my hands behind my back. As I was incapacitated like this, he just let me lie there, flashing a stare at me that told me not to budge and went to the armour rack to doff his armour. I noticed that his gauntlets were missing; I guessed that they still were lying in the torture chamber. I now realised why the basin was there, he possibly had washed his hands in there, cleaning them from the blood of an unfortunate slave who had to count the cost for his severe wrath.
As my master was done, now only wearing boxers, he came back to me. I flinched heavily as he let his fingers glide into my hair, but this time, he just stroked me gently. He laughed softly and evilly as he noticed my fright. Then he said, with an eerie and lowered voice, “You have to know, child, you still manage to surprise me, though you have angered me quite a lot. You are tough; I have to give you that. It has been a while since a slave did not scream when I took her out of the cage like this and did not beg me to do so in the first place. You also would have made a formidable torture slave.” He took a deep, relished breath. “Since you still surprise me and entertain me so well, I have decided to be easier on you than I intended to be in the first place. You will still scream for me, though, because I demand it. You will learn this lesson – and you will learn it the hard way now.”

Yes, I learned it the hard way, he made sure I did. I did not know how long he punished me, I only knew that I was not able to scream any longer in the end, because I simply had no strength and voice left. I was unbelievably grateful as I fell unconscious after hours of unspeakable pain…

Slowly and arduously I regained consciousness. As I opened my eyes for the first time, I was completely disoriented as everything spun around me and I closed them again with a groan. Hence, I needed a while to recover my senses and when I did, I noticed that I was lying in the bed, covered with one of the blankets, and I could feel and smell that I had been bathed and that the bed had been freshly covered.
After a while, I tried to open my eyes again and this time, I was relieved to find that I was only a bit dizzy, the world was not spinning like crazy as before. I looked around and again was eased as I saw that I apparently was alone, because I was quite sure that he only would have mocked me if he had been here. I stayed in bed for a while, still stabilising myself and I paused as I tried to palpate my wounds, because apparently, a Haemonculus had done his job, for all my wounds were sealed with gel pads and I gasped in surprise as I realised that the welts on my back were almost gone, only the bloody one was still there, but it also was halfway closed. Fearfully I asked myself how long I had been out.
I tried hard not to think about what he had done to me…
…but I had to.
I had not forgotten how much he had enjoyed it. Whipping me, cutting me, raping me whilst torturing me and in the end, he had shown me what the stimulation of the aforementioned dread-points meant.
Tears welled up in my eyes.
I could not help it, I started to cry. The physical torture had only been half the thing and if it only had been this alone, I was sure I would not lie here crying my heart out. What he had done to me mentally was much, much worse. His perfect taunting had almost driven me insane and he had me crying like a little child all the time, but especially when he had stimulated my dread-points and assault me at the same time. I would never forget this feeling, this utter helplessness and the notion of not being able to move because I was completely frozen in horror. It had been the uttermost terrible experience in my whole life and I prayed to whatever god may hear me in this universe that I never had to experience it again.
Oh, I had also screamed my skull out.
Yes, he had taught me never to be insolent again and hell, I would heed his ‘advice’.
What also made me now die with shame was the fact that somehow, in an utterly twisted notion, I had enjoyed the sex, though it had clearly been assault. It was clear to me that he was an absolute master when it came to twisting mind and body. All I wanted was to curl up and die when thinking that he still had made me come. Whatever was happening in my head – I did not like it and I was terribly afraid. Had he already started bending me for his purposes? Was he already successfully brainwashing me? To not see or know this just wore me out.
I cried out in sheer mental agony, bolted upwards and punched one of the bedposts with all my might. Though I felt dazed once more, the physical pain somewhat pushed me back into reality and cleared my mind. That I now had some bleeding cuts on my knuckles did not bother me, physical pain seemed to be the only thing that kept me from snapping.
At least, I calmed down that much so I could remember what the Haemonculus had taught me. I assumed an Indian style sitting and started breathing deeply, focusing my mind once more. It took quite the while until I trusted myself to be calm enough again to face my master somewhat composed.
In this moment I also let the pain I was still feeling sink in and realised how incredibly thirsty and hungry I was.
Carefully I got out of bed, dressed with the dressing gown and went to the table; my throbbing head made this a somewhat complicated journey. With a gasp, I fell more than I sat onto one of the chairs, and reached for a pitcher, filled with water and a glass with shaking hands. The first sip I took was like the sweetest relief I had ever experienced in my life and water had never tasted that delicious to me. After I had almost chugged it down, I had to fight against my roiling stomach for a while – it truly seemed as if it had been a while since I had drunk anything – but afterwards I felt a bit better.
After quenching my thirst, I started eating, somewhat listless, though I was hungry. I just dreaded what my master would do to me when he came back and the thought chased away my appetite. Besides that, my body was throbbing all over, every single muscle was strained and my head was still killing me.
When I had finished eating, I felt a bit better, as the spinning had stopped altogether and I did not feel so cold anymore. The strength I had regained through nourishment had also given me some confidence again. My primary goal was not to be scared witless and start crying again when I saw my master again.
Unfortunately, the Overlord was not long in coming after I had regained my calmness again. When he walked through the door, I just had my face burrowed in my palms. I bolted upwards as I heard him enter. Angrily snarling on the inside, I heard his taunting laughter. Somehow, my pointless wrath gave me far more strength than I had been able to tease out of myself before. With the most scornful tone I had ever heard, he said, “Well, well, look who is awake! How do you feel, child?”
He went to the armour rack to take off his armour and I replied in a dragging manner, “I could say ‘terrible’, but that would not describe it sufficiently. Let me try it like that: I feel like having the worst hangover in my goddamn life and thinking it a good idea to run a marathon while still being drunk. That a good enough description for you, my lord?”
My master smirked and replied, “Very empurpled, my dear.”
I looked at him in absolute bewilderment.
Had he just really called me ‘dear’?
What the hell was happening here?
Though utterly confused, I said carefully, “At least you seem to be in a great mood, my lord, if I may be so bold.”
Vect paused, looked at me and said with an utterly strange inflexion, “You learn pretty fast, child. I like this tone of yours much better than the last time.”
I shrugged, feeling somewhat empty inside, which was in a way better than to be scared witless, smiled in a tormented fashion and replied dutifully, “Well, you illustrated your point… how shall I say… extensively.”
The Overlord laughed shortly as he slipped into one of his tunics. Then he looked at me and replied in an eerie tone, “Believe me, child, this was not extensively, just a short reminder who you are dealing with.”
I swallowed and responded with a timid smile, “Then I never want to really annoy you.”
He came to me, I flinched heavily as he stroked my hair, which deepened his horrid smile, and he said, “No, you do not, my child.”
Vect seated himself beside me at his place at the head of the table and started eating. Meanwhile, he looked at me with narrowed eyes and tilted head. I really did not know what to make of this stare, and after a while, I asked, completely bewildered, “What did I do now?”
His lips curled into an utterly evil smile and he replied, “Nothing, actually. Still, this is peculiar. The normal reaction I get when one of my slaves faces me after I punished her, are tears, shock and crawling into the darkest corner she could find. Why are you so incredibly calm, I wonder?”
Now that he had said it, I noticed it even more than before. I felt empty, yes, but he was right too, I was far too calm. Somewhat caught I looked at him and responded, while shrugging helplessly, “Honestly, my lord, I don’t know. You are right, the reaction you mentioned would be more appropriate; but… somehow, I am so calm, though I know I really should be scared out of my mind. I am clueless about it myself.” The question kept nagging at me now that he had voiced it. On the other hand, I already had noticed that I had handled a lot of things around here a lot better than I should have. Yes, of course, I had been scared out of my skull and horrified, but I knew that I somehow took it all way better than I should have. I should not be able to face him so calmly, training or no, it simply should not be possible for my mind to face the man that had tortured the hell out of me the other day so calmly. The thought almost unsettled me more than my mental breakdown and acknowledgement of brainwashing earlier. I had the terrible feeling that at some point all of this would come back at me and I was not sure if I could stand it then.
Right now, I did not have the time for such thoughts. I had to face the here and now.
Pensively I added, “My best assumption would be that I am fully aware that you are still very kind to me. I mean, what you did to me wasn’t fun at all for me, but still I know that it was one of the milder things you could do. At least it involved a great deal of passion. And for that, I am very grateful.”
“Enlightened indeed, my child.” Vect shook his head, making a musing sound. Still lost in thought, he said, “And just when I thought I had figured you out…” My master reached for my face; again I flinched as he did and I could see the malicious glee clearly in his eyes. This time, it was just a caress, though it made me tremble. I still had to process what had transpired. Without taking notice of my fear, he continued, “You entertain me a lot more than I had anticipated, you peculiar, little thing.” I closed my eyes in horror as he ran his fingertips down my cheek, over my throat, my shoulder, my arm and to my fingertips. My master remained there, stroking my fingertips gently and I opened my eyes again in bewilderment and horror as he said, apparently completely distant, “Fingertips… such sensitive spots. I love to imagine the noises you would make if I introduced you to torture methods that are adjusted to these parts of your body…” Then, he paused, blinked a few times and seemed to find back into the present. These moments were those that scared the hell out of me. Sometimes he seemed to be completely lost in his thoughts and every time he was, I had to realise that I did not want to know what transpired in his head. Apparently, he had tortured me to death a million times in there.
Now completely out of sorts I said, “Seriously, what did I do now, my lord?” This time, I even had to gather myself not to jump away from his touch as he again softly stroked my cheek.
“You did nothing, my sweet child, as I said. I just love to… imagine things. But there is no real need to subject you to this kind of torture,” he replied. His gaze now pierced me again intensely and I dropped mine. Vect did not seem to mind, because he got up and went to the sofa in front of the fireplace. My master seated himself, pointed beside him onto the couch and demanded, “Come here, child! Let me see your wounds.”
I obeyed, but had to ask, confused, “You? But I…”
The Overlord cut me off, “You thought a Haemonculus looked after you?” I nodded. He took me at my left wrist and made me sit down beside him while I looked at him with wide eyes. Vect chuckled softly, caressed my hair – this time I was able to take it without flinching – and explained, “Do you really think I would be much of a torture master if I could not keep my subjects from dying?” He shook his head. “Believe me, I am at least as good as the average Haemonculus. So, hold still now, though this might hurt a bit.”
I had to drop the dressing gown from my shoulders and he picked up the small ebony box, which had been lying on the coffee table. It reminded me of Vlokarion’s and as he opened it, I could see that its contents were also the same. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth in advance as he detached the gel pads from my wounds. This did not hurt, though, the pain only started to cut in when he started cleaning my injuries. I wheezed and gasped in agony as he did this, because the disinfectant burned like fire and my wounds still were open a bit. He seemed to be satisfied, though, because he said, somewhat lost in thought again, “Good. Just some nicked muscle, nothing serious.” Whilst working, he said to me, “You really cannot stand burning sensations, hmm?”
Through clenched teeth, I answered, “Yes, my lord.”
With the trained senses of a seasoned torture master, he replied, “Good. Then this fits in with my observations. You know, you were quite calm whilst your punishment, apparently able to take a lot of sharp pain.”
“Screaming and crying was calm in your opinion?”
He laughed – it was the most uncalled-for laugh I had ever heard – and replied, “Believe me, those were just small screams and little tears. And let us not forget one thing: you did not beg me to stop, which surprised me. But when it comes down to burning sensations, you seem to be unable to restrain yourself.”
Again, he made me shiver in horror. I had screamed so hard that I had had no voice left in the end. I never wanted to find out what true screams were for him then, if those just had been ‘small screams’.
My master cleaned and sealed all my wounds again, it was a truly unpleasant while for me. As he was done, he let his fingers slide into my hair, came close and whispered into my ear, “And you have been a very formidable victim for the dread-points. You felt absolutely marvellous under me.”
Utterly bewildered because of his completely strange behaviour I replied, “I am glad you liked it, my lord?”
He laughed into my ear, kissed it tenderly and said, “Lie down, child. Though you were unconscious for three days, you still need to rest, I can feel that. I will be with you shortly.” There was nothing in the world I loved to do more, just to get away from him, dropped the dressing gown beside the bed and put myself into it. At this point, he was already in the bathroom.
I was shocked because of his behaviour since he had returned; I had never seen him like this. His terrible, cruel tenderness, cold interest and horrible relish almost drove me insane, because I did not know whether he was having a cruel joke at my cost, he was about to assault me again, this whole thing just was another prelude for another torture session or if he just enjoyed it so much to think back at what he did to me whilst imagining new punishments and painful games for me. I did not like any of these options. But what was I to do against him?
My master came back again, as always naked after he had been showering, and he laid himself beside me. He drew me against him, so that my head rested on his shoulder and my body was pressed against his. I was relieved to find that his was cool, which excluded ecstasy. Vect closed his eyes, took a deep breath and said after a while, in which he just had held me, “You feel good, child, soft and warm. I like to hold you.”
“But you also like to torture me,” I said, again confused what he was up to now.
“Of course, this is what I am, that is what defines my kind. But you already knew that when you came here.” I nodded slightly. My master laid his other hand under my chin and kissed me tenderly. Somehow this kiss reminded me of what he had done to me the last time while he had kissed me and my body revolted against his touch, everything in me repelling it. Of course, he noticed it, paused and drew his lips away from mine again, but still staying very close to me and he whispered, “Relax, child. Your tenseness is no good, it spoils my delight. Besides, I think I have made it clear that you have to fear no pain from me for today. However, if you keep wincing at my every touch, I swear I will get creative, and you do not want that, do you, hmm?”
I shook my head and replied, “Forgive me, my lord! I… I did not mean to…”
I fell silent as he laid one of his fingers upon my lips and said, “Shhh! I know, my child, I know you did not mean to do that. Of course, you did not, only a fool would dare me after being punished by my hand. Now, take it easy and give yourself to me. It will not hurt.”
I pulled myself together with all my might, pushing all memories of my punishment into the far back of my mind and I tried to stay as calm and relaxed as possible. I tried to return his kiss, but still, I felt terrible. He kissed me for quite a while, also French-kissing me, but he stopped rather quickly. “Better, but I know that you can do even better. Well, never mind that now, you are still extremely young and new to this life, so I will temper justice with mercy this time. Now, close your eyes and sleep, my little one. You will need strength for tomorrow.”
Now my master let go of me and let me choose my position. After I did, he still laid his hand upon me, which bothered me greatly today, though I was used to his caresses whilst I tried to fall asleep. I had a hard time forgetting what he did to me with these very hands the last time I had encountered him. Because of this horrible notion, it took me quite a while to fall asleep again, though I still was exhausted…

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:06

Chapter 10

The usual Business

"Let them resist. It will make my inevitable victory even sweeter,
their screams of fear and agony all the more whole. Let them resist..."
— Archon Kh'err'akh'an of the Kabal of Shadow,
besieging an Imperial Fortress.

I AWOKE QUITE smoothly, although I rose from a mixture of unconsciousness and sleep. I was engulfed in pleasant warmth and I felt utterly relaxed, I had almost forgotten this feeling. Something gently stroked my flank, I cherished the feeling. I had not forgotten what had transpired and I was surprised to find that it had not shaken me at all. The reason for this was definitely that my master had been absolutely gentle with me and the intercourse had taken my pain away, both things, which had been quite pleasant, though still it had been mind-blowing and I had fainted in the end. However, I was grateful for that.
Again my master confused me, because the day before yesterday he had still held a tremendous grudge against me, and though I had somewhat redeemed myself by saving his Hierarch, his gentleness had caught me off-guard. Why was he like that? Did I do so well, though I had pissed him off? Was he that cautious when taking critical steps with me to not break me in the process?
A tender kiss on my forehead flashed me out of my pondering.
I slowly opened my eyes, my senses fully awakening with that and I found that I lay on my left, clinging to my master, my head on his shoulder, my right arm on his chest, my right leg over his. Somehow feeling awkward, I wanted to move away, however, he pushed me back against him, gently, but determined. I got the hint and obeyed. Vect’s low-pitched and now soothing voice reached my ears, “Relax, child. You slept so peacefully like this the whole night; let me hold you a bit longer like this. I somehow like the feeling.” I obeyed and let myself be caressed and held by him. While he did this, he continued, “I indeed enjoyed our game yesterday, especially because you were not frozen in horror. This is something I have not seen so far and I must say it makes the whole experience even more enticing.”
I replied, “I am glad you enjoyed it so much, my lord. Then again, I don’t see why this should be perceived as horrible as you just described. It is a matter of openness and acceptance, as I see it.”
My master nodded and agreed, “Exactly. Your mindset is, as I think we have pondered enough, completely different from the humans in this era. Imperial women cannot stand this, I know, I have tried often enough. Still, I wonder how far your open-mindedness will go and when you will start to struggle and dread what I do to you. Let me tell you in advance: next month, I will play a bit longer with you before I sleep with you. Prepare yourself for that.”
I smiled at him timidly and responded, “I will, as well as I can, my lord. But may I ask something, my lord?”
“Go ahead,” he said, his inflexion amicable.
“Why were you so gentle with me, when you were so displeased with me the day before? It is not that I want to complain, but I’m dying to understand it,” I wanted to know.
Vect smiled at me mysteriously, and then he said, in a soft, yet somehow dangerous tone, “Never again ask me why I do something. It is neither your concern nor is it within in your reach of understanding. Are we clear on that, my pet?”
There I was given another rather sweet new nickname by him. I was not sure whether I liked where this was going or not.
Or was it even going anywhere?
Without showing my concerns, I replied dutifully and carefully, afraid to have awoken his wrath once again, “Perfectly clear, my lord. Please forgive my insolence.”
I sighed in relief as he tenderly kissed my forehead. “Good girl. I will forget that you asked since you are doing so nice otherwise.” I could not help shivering. Vect smiled amused, gently stroked over my cheek and continued, “Do not be afraid, child. There is nothing to fear for you, I will not punish you.”
“Thank you, my lord.” I truly was grateful for that.
My master laughed darkly as I said that, hugged me tightly for a second, stroking my hair, then said, his hand still upon my cheek, “However, now the time for cuddling is over. We have a long day ahead of us, and, to be honest, a hard one for you too.”
“May I inquire why?”
“Today, I will meet with the Archons of the other significant Kabals. It is an annual meeting, where I present to them new goals and rules around here and where I take a look at them and make sure nobody of them is up to something. Of course, I have them monitored all the time, but nothing can tell one’s intentions better than a hard stare into someone’s eyes.”
“I see. They will be even less nice to me than your Circle and you will be especially harsh with me.”
“Indeed. No need to explain this to you. What happens between the two of us in these quarters stays in here, but I do not need to remind you of that. However, I will also have you especially styled and dressed; I will send slaves skilled in those arts to you when you are done showering. I want you to look at your very best, but you will also have to endure more chains today and I want to see you on your very best behaviour. Is that clear?”
“Of course, my lord, my actions reflect on you, and naturally nobody should think that your personal slave is badly trained. I take it that I am not to speak True Eldar tongue?”
“Yes. Well, then. Let us get up and have breakfast. It will take some time to have you prepared properly.”
As the master dictated, so we did.
While we were eating, I asked, “May I inquire which Archons from which Kabals will be present?”
Vect nodded and told me:

Kabal of the Flayed Skull: Archon Vraesque Malidrach
Kabal of the Blackened Tear: Archon Yaelindra
Kabal of the Baleful Gaze: Archon Llanthei
Kabal of the Black Myriad: Archon Vhane Kyhrac
Kabal of the Bloodied Claw: Archon Akhara’Keth
Kabal of the Broken Sigil: Archon Xerathis
Kabal of the Last Hatred: Archon Thyndrak
Kabal of the Lords of the Iron Thorn: Archon Marquis Vaulkhere

He also added, “Usually, Vorl-Xoelanth of the Dying Sun and Y’polleon of the Falling Moon would attend, but those two are engrossed in a senseless squabble over some insignificant system, ever-quarrelling about how to destroy it. Their Kabals are ancient and significant in power, but if they continue like this, they will lose their ground soon. Additionally, Archon Vaenix of the Sundered Eye was in this meeting until recently, but since his Kabal did nothing of notice the last few thousand years and is waning in power, I decided to no longer invite him. Also, the Obsidian Rose, which controls the finest weapon shops, has fallen from grace as I found out that Khromys has conspired with Malys. It is high time to put Khromys in her place; she has annoyed me long enough with her monopoly on high-quality weapons.”
I knew that the first two Archons were twin brothers and they were as different as they could be, quarrelling right now whether they should destroy all the moons in the system and wreak havoc on the planets or simply destroy the sun, annihilating the whole system in one enormous blast.
Of Archon Anas Vaenix I knew nothing more than his name and the name of his Kabal.
Archon Aestra Khromys, leading the Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, was a weapon specialist herself and made sure that her Kabal produced the finest weapons and controlled the best and most weapon shops in Commorragh. To conspire with Malys apparently had been her last mistake, because my master obviously was severely pissed off by her treason. I figured that soon there would be one Kabal less in Commorragh and the Black Heart would grow again in size and influence.
I sincerely did not get why people still tried to cross Vect, since such a deed always ended in the same manner, which was their utter destruction and everybody who supported them.
My heart sank as he had told me the names of the attending Archons. I knew them all and knew what they had done so far, what they loved, what they hated. All of them were infamous and some were even mythical. I did not hide my discouragement.
Vect eyed me from the side as he was taking a sip of his cup and said, after he put it down again, “Am I correct in assuming that you know enough about them to picture how this day will go for you?”
I nodded and replied with a sigh, “Yes, you are, my lord. And am I correct in assuming that I am to be extra-nice to Archon Yaelindra, considering she is a great asset to you, for her unique connection to the Lhamaeans? And that I have to keep an especially close eye on Archon Malidrach and Archon Vaulkhere, which is why I am not allowed to speak in your tongue?”
Archon Yaelindra had gotten her right to take one of the highest spires for her Kabal from Vect himself, five thousand years ago, after she had poisoned the entire Hive world of Tybor III in the most gruesome fashion, by turning its inhabitants slowly into desiccated husks. The Overlord had been impressed by this deed, making Yaelindra one of the most powerful Archons in the Dark City and one of his best allies. She also thereafter founded the Cult of Lhamaea, a sisterhood of highly skilled lovers and poisoners, who drew their knowledge from Shaimesh, the Dark Muse of Poisons. The Dark Muses were kind-of lesser Eldar gods, often symbolising dark arts. It was theorised that they once had been of the old Eldar race and the worship and praise they got made them gods. History was very vague on that. An Archon with at least one Lhamaean in his court was to be sure to have the finest poisons at their disposal.
The two I had mentioned last were most likely to try something. Archon Malidrach was head of the second-biggest Kabal in Commorragh, especially in military strength, ever-thriving to dethrone Vect.
Archon Vaulkhere hailed from an ancient noble house, the Lords of the Iron Thorn. Their former head had been Archon Qu, who had dared – three thousand years ago – to declare his realm, Pandaimon, independent from Commorragh. His military strength had been able to match Vect’s back then, but Qu had been betrayed by his own daughter, who had been one of Vect’s courtesans. Naturally, the Lords of Iron Thorn were cautious now, but still held this grudge against the Overlord and it was all too likely that they would try and stage a coup against Vect.
My master frowned and replied, “I am not sure whether I should cherish your knowledge or start feeling threatened by it.”
I laughed shortly and responded, “As if I was a threat to you and stupid enough to betray you in the first place. I am not fond of dying a creative death.”
Vect let out a low and evil chuckle. “Loyalty is nothing I am used to around here, therefore yours is a bit… suspicious.”
“I just love my hide, this is it. Please just look at my knowledge as an asset, not a threat! I would never dare to defy you!” I was afraid that he meant what he said.
Luckily, he did not, because right now he burst out into a roar of mocking laughter. My master took a while until he calmed down again and then he said, still breathing heavily, “Child, relax! I am just pulling your leg.” He took a deep breath and then continued, now in a sincere manner (as always I was impressed how quickly he could change from roaring laughter to deadly sobriety), “Again, keep this to yourself, no matter what.”
“I am aware that this promise is not that easy to keep, since ‘no matter what’ covers a lot of ground around here. However, I swear, my loyalty will be to you and you alone.” I winced and continued, “Oh dear, this sounded like some twisted love confession.”
Again, my lord chuckled.
I was so glad that he had a decent sense of humour.
Chu’uk would have killed me by now.
“Love… a concept rarely truly grasped in this galaxy at this time, and around here even less so, considering that having someone or something to love is just another weakness to be exploited. I know that you will have a hard time understanding this notion, since you are so young, but it is the best advice I can give you for a successful life in Commorragh.” I knew he was right and I possibly understood his words better than he could ever imagine. I was stopped in mid-thought as he asked me a question I had not expected at all, “Have you ever been truly in love, child?”
I could just look at him, caught totally off-guard. It was not only his question that had put me off, but also his inflexion, there was a sobriety and sombreness to it that made me wonder. Was there something more to this question?
I gathered myself and replied, “Yes, I have been, once, some years ago. But the douchebag just dumped me for another stupid bitch.” I was not able to hide the pain in my voice; the end of this relationship had utterly destroyed me back then.
“Such agony… you truly had to be hurt back then, I have never heard you swear that blatantly,” he stated, his head tilted.
“Why are we having this conversation?” I asked him, bewildered. I did not like this at all.
There was a strange calmness about him now. Vect looked at me with an unfathomable gaze; then said, “Honestly, I am not sure myself; however, it has been a long time since I talked about love and now I find that I never did with a human.” He shook his head. “Never mind, child, we are living in two different worlds to really reach an understanding of each other in this case.”
My bewilderment just had to be apparent on my face. I truly did not get why he acted so strange all of a sudden. Then again, he did act in a puzzling manner quite often, why not now? I guessed I found it so hard to grasp hearing him talking about love, because it was something that did not fit him at all and it was a thing he never truly experienced and let happen, as far as I knew. The only one that had come close to being a lover to him had been Lady Malys, but it was suggested that only she had truly loved him, he had just played his usual game and dumped her at some point.
What if there was more to it?
I possibly would never find out, therefore, I chased the thought away and concentrated on eating. My master also fell into a somewhat sullen silence now; he seemed to ponder something intensely.
When we had finished breakfast and I was about to get to the bathroom to get showered and styled, Vect said, almost as a sideline, “Oh, I almost forgot. You will be coordinating the slaves today. It is high time you did.”
I froze in mid-movement and then slowly turned my head to look at him. In a thin voice, I said, “I what now?”
I sucked at commanding.
“I think you understood me quite well,” my master said and I noticed the dangerous undertone in his voice all too well.
“Yes, my lord, I did. I take it that I still am to serve the Archons myself whilst doing that?” I asked cautiously.
“Indeed. Now, go! We have a tight schedule today.” This I did.
In the bathroom, whilst brushing my teeth and under the shower, I processed what I was to do today. I really, really was bad at commanding and I had the queasy feeling that somehow the other slaves despised me; my greatest weakness was that if I truly knew something better, I tended to appear as a know-it-all, simply because I knew it better and did not hide my opinion about that. Here, I indeed knew most and best about how to behave around Archons. I would try and educate my staff even further, because I was sure that I was to be punished if they made mistakes. It was time for me to tend to those that had ignored my advice in the first place. Somehow I had the queer feeling that I would get my means to punish them in a painful way. I was not sure if I was able to do that, for I had never hurt someone before just for punishment. I only had done it out of self-defence until now. However, did trying to avert a punishment for myself not count as self-defence around here?
I pondered that for a moment.
Then, I decided that this would be the only notion for me that would make me hurt another one of the slaves.
By now I was done showering and stepped out of the shower, wrapping myself in a pleasantly large and pre-warmed towel. As I looked up, I saw that I had company. Two human, female slaves waited for me; one of them was not entirely youthful anymore, the other was quite young. I was surprised that again I only interacted with human slaves; I had half-expected to see at least one Dark Eldar slave here, since they possibly knew best what their own kind preferred in terms of style. I gave them a short nod and said in a greeting manner, “Ladies.” They returned the greeting with a nod. While I dried myself, I asked them, “I take it that you are here for me?”
The older one answered, “Yes, my lady.”
I frowned and froze in mid-movement. Turning my head towards her, I asked, “Come again?”
“I said: yes, my lady.”
My frown deepened, I crossed my arms and said, “Whoa, hold it right there! What merits me the title ‘lady’?”
She seemed to be truly confused, because she said, hesitantly, “Well, since you are the Coordinator now, I have to…”
I cut her off, “Are you trying to tell me that we truly have ranks amongst ourselves?”
She just nodded, still apparently confused.
I shook my head. “Please, stop this nonsense! We are all slaves, what sense does it make that we have ranks? Here I am, knowing frak everything about Dark Eldar ranks, but nothing about the ranks of the slaves. Oh, the irony.”
Obviously dismayed, the slave said, “Please, my lady, we have to start working, our time is short and we would not want to keep the Overlord waiting.”
I snorted, then nodded. “Alright, since I can’t convince you to stop this ridiculous addressing, let’s just move on. You are right, keeping the Overlord waiting is a stupid and dangerous mistake.”
Therefore, I sat on the chair they had prepared for me and they started their work.
In the process, I found out that apparently the older one of the two slaves was commanding the younger one. The latter seemed to be her apprentice. While they worked, I asked them blatantly why they were styling me and not some Dark Eldar slaves, considering their advanced knowledge of the tastes of their race. The older slave explained that these kinds of slaves were here for generations and that the first one of them had truly been trained by Dark Eldar women. Since then, the knowledge had been passed down; they only occasionally got new information on what was the newest thing concerning fashion in the Dark City.
When they were done and I had a look at myself in the mirror, I truly was taken aback.
My – by now again long – hair had been braided into a complex style on the back of my head, which looked like a flower; they had done an exceptional job with my make-up. Also, a tiara that consisted of silvery chains had been worked into my hair, and an arrow-shaped ruby now lay on my forehead. Red and silver had always suited me. My make-up was a subtle one. It underlined my features perfectly, highlights and shades were very well made and I looked sincerer and more mature with it.
I complimented their work; they just receipted the compliment with humble compliance. By now I was quite sure that they had been scared into respecting me that much.
I still found it ridiculous that someone older than me referred to me as ‘my lady’. However, deep down I also liked the respect I was given, since in the last months I had been the one forced to give respect to everybody else.
Then they helped me with donning my clothing for today. I drew a face as I saw what I had to wear. The Overlord had not been exaggerating when he had said that I had to bear more chains than usually. Basically, the clothes consisted of bra, hot pants, collar and heavy, metal cuffs around my wrists and ankles. The latter did of course not bind my limbs together, but they were attached to the collar with delicate chains, which would hinder too much movement on my part. Also, the bra was attached to the collar, making it some kind of mocking neck-holder. The collar itself was a lot more ornate today, on one hand, the chains that led to it were attached with skilfully chased eyelets; on the other, itself was ornate with chasings, relievos and rubies. Also, bra and pants were attached to each other through two uttermost delicate chains – one on the front, one on the back – and each link was decorated with tiniest rubies. The clothes were made out of the Lycra-like cloth again, but again were adorned with silver on the outside and the metal was also decorated with vertiginous patterns. Also, the usual pieces of red, silken cloths fell down between my legs and over my bottom. Altogether, this attire was gorgeous, but wearing it would be uncomfortable. It clearly showed how fine the hands of Dark Eldar could be, concerning artistic tasks, and that I would be Vect’s pretty pet for showing around for today.
As they were done fitting me into the clothes, the two slaves left with a slight bow.
I had a look at me again in the mirror after they were gone and had to find again that the attire suited me perfectly and underlined my charms. What I found unnerving were the many chains I had to wear today. On one hand, they jangled delicately with every move I made; on the other, they hindered me somewhat and though they were attached to the collar on the backside, I knew that I would have to be on my toes not to get entangled with them somewhere and knock something over. I sighed. Since I had no choice, I went to leave the bathroom and to go back to my master.
I did not hide my resentment concerning my clothes as I came back to him. The Overlord took a very close look at me and then started smiling. “Why the long face? You look absolutely stunning. Good to see that I still employ the best of the best.” His every word trickled with scorn.
I snorted and replied, “Yes, it is a beautiful attire. Who does not love to jangle with every movement? I feel like a windbell.”  
The Overlord frowned. “Windbell?” he asked.
I sighed, seated myself again beside him and explained, “One of the most useless inventions of humankind ever. Basically, it is an arrangement of metal tubes, which are loosely attached to each other. Then this thing gets hanged in front of a window or outside, so if the wind blows, the device chimes. Utterly. Useless.”
My master chuckled. “Seems as if the comparison fits, then. Believe me, this will be the least of your problems today.” With this, he went to the bathroom himself.
I sighed as he was gone. There was no need for him discouraging me time and again. I knew that I was doomed anyways.
Therefore, I waited until he came back, sulking and pondering my strategy with the slaves. I had an idea, but everything depended on whether my master would let me leave before the Archons arrived.
I did not ask him yet, as he came back, I thought it was best to take him by surprise. He also did not pay much attention to me as he donned his armour. Therefore, our way to the throne room was quick and silent this time.
In front of it, I decided to take the shot and asked, with pounding heart, “My lord, may I leave now to instruct the slaves further? I will make haste and see to it that I am back before the Archons arrive.”
The Overlord halted in his pace, so did his lifeguard, then he turned to me and looked at me for a moment, eyes narrowed. I could almost see his mind processing a million thoughts in this time, possibly pondering whether I was trying something or if I just truly tried to do my job as well as I could. There was always doubt in this mind, no utter trust could be found. After all, this was what had made him so successful. I had to hold my relieved sigh back as he finally slightly nodded and said, “Very well. However, do not dare to be late!” I held still as he removed the chain from my collar.
I bowed to him after this was done and said, “Thank you, my lord, I swear, I will be punctual!” With this, I was dismissed.
Vect and his lifeguard made their way to the throne room and I hurried down to the kitchen.
My heart still pounded with great nervousness as I entered it. I wanted to scurry to the section where I knew my new staff would be found, but I was halted in my pace by one of the Dark Eldar Overseers around here.
I acknowledged him with a nod and asked, “What do you need?” Somehow, I felt a bit too proud to give him the title ‘lord’.
He chuckled. “I need nothing. You, on the other hand, are lacking something.” My heart jumped a second at his words and my mind started raging what I could have forgotten. However, he did not leave me to stew and rather continued, “You will need some kind of emphasis if the slaves don’t obey you as you wish it, agreed?”
I nodded, but dreaded what was now to come.
“Good. I was instructed to give you something fitting, so, here you are!” he said and produced a pair of silvery rings.
I took them, but had to ask in confusion, “Nice, but what are these?” I feared the answer.
The Overseer flashed his pointed teeth with the relishing smile he now gave me. “Agonisers; the tiniest and mildest form of them, since we can’t expect you to know how to use them correctly; those two little toys are just designed to harm, not to kill. I guess I don’t have to tell you that it is easy to snuff lives out with the more advanced versions of them. Oh, and they just work on humans, so don’t even think about using them on one of us.” He then additionally explained to me how to activate and deactivate them. It was simply done by brushing them against each other. Their appearance did not change with that, so I would be extra-careful not to do it accidently. I decided to put them on my middle fingers. As it was to be expected, they fitted me perfectly and were completely inconspicuous.
I swallowed. I was not comfortable at all with the thought that I was to hurt my fellow slaves. Commanding them was one thing – truly making them do what I wanted a completely different one.
Of course, the Overseer saw my dismay and he relished it. With a mocking bow, he said, “Regards from the Overlord. It was his idea.”
So this was another test. I should have known, actually.
I, therefore, chose to ignore the Overseer’s mockery, bowed slightly and said, “Thank you. I will use your… gifts wisely.”
He flashed a lopsided smile. “I am sure you will.”
Then, I hurried onwards, to ‘my’ slaves.
Apparently, they had been informed that I was their new Coordinator, because they were waiting for me, looking at me with anticipation.
I took a deep breath – I hated giving speeches – and then started, “Ladies and gents, as you might know, I am to coordinate you today. I’d like to show you some things before we start and I advise you to keep them in mind, since it will make your service a lot easier and give the Archons fewer reasons to punish you. After that, I’d like to speak with the most experienced, to make sure that I have some seeing eyes down here while I am up in the throne room; then, with the least experienced, to instruct them a bit more closely. I’ll try to do my best in this position, though I have to admit that I do something like this for the first time, and I hope that you try too. I won’t lie to you – I won’t take kindly to people that do not heed my commands and advice. I hate making threats here, but I want you to understand that in the first place it will be my hide on the line if some of you blow it. Is that understandable?”
That said, the slaves nodded or made approving sounds. I then told them some basics I had already witnessed they lacked and also introduced them to some general things they had to mind. The reactions to that were mixed – some were shocked about their mistakes, some seemed to be grateful, others, on the other hand, were openly annoyed by my advice; I kept the faces of the latter in mind, just so I knew whom I had to look out for. I had a bad feeling that I would use those Agonisers today.
After that, the groups I mentioned came to me. There were three experienced slaves (who were not older than me and once again let me wonder about whether I would survive any longer around here) and also three new ones. The latter seemed not to be much younger than the former. All were human, as it was usual, and there were four females and two males, equally distributed among veterans and newcomers.
First, I spoke to the veterans, “I want you to keep things steady and running down here, since I can’t be here myself. I am expected in the throne room, for my usual service. Besides, I think the three of you know way better how things should run down here than me, since I have just gotten a glimpse of it in my time here. Also, take some protégés; see to it that there is always someone here who knows what’s up.” I was relieved that they agreed with me. They then went away to do as I asked.
Now I turned my attention to the newbies, “I advise you to heed the basics I have told earlier; Dark Eldar despise disrespectful mistakes. Also, there is one great rule you have to heed if you want your life not to be too unpleasant right now: no matter what they do to you, keep calm! The more you show them your fear or pain, the more they will enjoy hurting you. This is the best advice I can give you. Heed it, and you will see that you will suffer less than those that don’t act this way!” Additionally, I instructed them about some basic serving rules, which they might not yet have known. I wanted everybody to know what they were to do. The newcomers nodded and thanked me for my wisdom.
So far, so good. I checked with the veterans that I was leaving again and after I was sure that everything down here would be just fine, I went back to the throne room.
On the way there I halted, as I was alone in the secret hallway. Though I did not like it, I had to try something. I needed to know how strong the pain the Agonisers brought was, so I could measure the rate of punishment I was inflicting on somebody else. I took a deep breath and brushed the two rings against each other. There was really no sign of knowing that they were turned on; I figured that this was yet another facet of the test. I gulped, gritted my teeth, and inhaled deeply. Then, I laid my right hand on my right thigh. I exhaled sharply and drew my hand back as the Agoniser had connected. It truly was a nasty kind of pain, piercing marrow and bone. The spot I had laid it upon still throbbed a few seconds afterwards; my nerves apparently had been stimulated directly. The last thing was not new to me; I knew how those terrible devices worked: they connected directly with the nervous system, guaranteeing the purest and worst kind of pain. The sting had not been that bad, I had already felt worse; however, what really made my stomach turn was the fact that these two rings were just mild Agonisers. I never wanted to find out how a severe one felt. It had to be a maddening experience.
Therefore, I carefully turned them off again and decided to only use them on those that completely ignored my advice and would not care about whether I got punished for their misdeeds. For milder mistakes, I would either resort to a spoken rebuke or a good old slap. Then, I hurried onwards.
Stepping through the great portal all alone made me feel somewhat awkward, especially because it was just me and the Overlord for now in the throne room. The guards and the two barkeeper-slaves did not count for me.
As I entered the throne room, I saw that a similar table as at the meetings of the Circle was now here; shining in white, apparently again made out of bone. The difference was that it was formed like a horseshoe, therefore leaving the Overlord sitting on his throne, above the others. It made clear that they had to respect him and that he stood above them, in every sense of the meaning.
I scurried to him, bowed before the throne and then took my place at his left side. He chained me to the throne. To break the silence, I said, “The slaves are instructed, my lord, everything should be set.”
“Good,” he just said in a cold manner.
With this I knew that from now on I was not to babble about anymore; I would have loved to ask him why he wanted me to do the punishing today – but then I remembered our conversation in the morning and decided that it was best if I did not ask. One more question about his motives could carry some serious disciplining for me.
Besides, Vect would need his concentration for the Archons now, for he had to be ever-wary of a traitor among them. Also, he now again showed his side of the utter relentless Supreme Overlord, no time for a playful attitude or the slightest glimpse of kindness and I had to be at the peak of my manners and submission. Therefore, I waited silently at his side until the Archons arrived.
As I stared into thin air, I saw that the symbols of the Kabals were engraved into the seats at the table, so every Archon found their place immediately. I figured that the position of the seats also connoted the hierarchy in the way it did with the circle. This is what I figured it had to be, considering the symbols:

Archon Vraesque Malidrach of the Flayed Skull
Archon Yaelindra of the Blackened Tear
Archon Llanthei of the Baleful Gaze
Archon Akhara’Keth of the Bloodied Claw
Archon Thyndrak of the Last Hatred
Archon Xerathis of the Broken Sigil
Archon Vhane Kyhrac of the Black Myriad
Archon Marquis Vaulkhere of the Lords of the Iron Thorn

The hierarchy did not surprise me. It was only logical that Malidrach lead it, having the second strongest military power in Commorragh and that Vaulkhere was the lowest around here, still a tiny, yet well-placed humiliation from Vect’s side. This reminded me closely to never truly awaken his wrath, for he seemed to be highly resentful, even after this long time. Three thousand years were no short thing, even in Commorrite time.
Finally, the Archons arrived, one by one, and with each of them I learnt that there were many different facets of beauty and ugliness to behold, both on the in- and outside.
First to arrive was Archon Vaulkhere. He was clad in charcoal grey armour, highlighted with cerulean gems and an equally coloured tuft of hair graced his helmet. Each of his sheets of armour was lined with white gold, and his wrap and decorative loincloth were made of utterly fine chainmail, which shone magnificently in the blood-red twilight of Commorragh, because those chains were made out of white gold too. His face still showed youth, after all, he could only have reigned for about three thousand years, not much of an age for Dark Eldar, and his features were finely sculpted, haughty, and showed that he was proud of himself. He took his helmet off after the great portal had closed itself behind him, neared the throne, halted in front of the dais on which it stood and graced the Overlord with a bow of his head and falling onto one knee in front of him. He said, “Hail, Supreme Overlord!”
Vect graced him with an icy smile and replied, “Archon Vaulkhere, how decent of you to be over-punctual.”
“I would never dare to make you wait,” the young Archon replied. Though his tone was submissive, I imagined hearing a slight inflexion of annoyance in it.
“Of course, you would not. Please, take your seat!” the Overlord said. The mocking nature of his words was unmistakable; yet, Vaulkhere was clever enough to let the taunting go without notice, stood up again and took his seat at the table.
Next to arrive was Archon Akhara’Keth. He was the sharp contrast to Vaulkhere. Adorned with his cadmium red armour and broken white decorations, he was a terrible sight to behold. It was easily visible that he was ancient. Deep scars and wrinkles tore his face apart and many black veins pierced its possible former beauty. His stance and gait were a bit stooped and it seemed as if falling onto one knee strained him. Akhara’Keth was known for having an excellent lifeguard and many cunning devices in his throne room to keep off would-be assassins and him safe from them. Why was now apparent. He seemed to be too ancient to meet the physical requirements of defending himself any longer. Yet, his mind was sharp enough to keep him on top of his Kabal.
Seeing this old Dark Eldar shook me, because his abhorrent shape reminded me closely that something was utterly wrong with Vect. I did not know how old Akhara’Keth was, but he had to be younger than Vect, since it was known that the latter was the oldest of his race, Haemonculi left aside. What the hell had the Overlord done to himself to keep his youthful shape, while this old, but still younger Archon withered like an old tree?
I shivered and regretted it in the same moment, because it made my chains jangle.
The greeting between Akhara’Keth and Vect was more respectful than the first one. As the Archon got up to take his seat, his ancient gaze brushed over me and I could see in his eyes that within this withered body lay an utterly awake and sharp spirit. I would not dare to underestimate him, for I had the queasy feeling that he sized me up quite perfectly with this short stare.
Shortly after Akhara’Keth, Archon Llanthei arrived. She was clad in olive green armour, which was highlighted with vermillion gems and an equally coloured tuft of hair on her helmet. Wrap and loincloth of her armour were also vermillion-coloured, but had some gold inwrought in them too. Llanthei was a stunning sight; it was not surprising considering that she and her Kabal valued aesthetics over everything else, knowing exactly how easily physical perfection could fail, since she and all her flock had once been the lowest of the low in Commorragh. She was young, which was apparent, her facial features were graceful, perfectly shaped and an unfathomable expression lied in her pitch-black eyes. Her movements were snake-like, as she took off her helmet and graced the Overlord with a greeting equal to the other Archons, though her movements were soothing to behold, because they were so fluid.
At this point, I had no idea that I would change my view on perfect movements twice today.
Vect and Llanthei greeted each other with cold respect.
Next was Archon Xerathis. He was clad in dark cyan armour with titanium white highlights. His gaze revealed some kind of hidden cruelty, which did not surprise me, for I knew that he favoured terror-tactics. Some Archons thought him to be predictable because of that, but it was just jealous talk, because Xerathis proved time and again that he was an excellent tactician. The greeting between him and the Overlord was aloof, yet courteous.
Then, Archon Thyndrak entered the throne room. This Dark Eldar woman apparently also was ancient. Her face showed deep lines, yet her features were sharp and hawk-like. For a human eye, she was not a beautiful woman, her face was simply too clear-cut for that, underlining her alien origin. Pure madness shone in her eyes; I knew that Thyndrak counted to the sickest and cruellest Dark Eldar that were. Her Kabal specialised in prolonging life and suffering as long as possible; they were on the brink of developing a technique that could drag a soul back into its dying body, blurring the line between life and death in the process.
Thyndrak smiled viciously and somewhat mad at the Overlord as she knelt before him and though she had to be as equally old as Akhara’Keth, she showed no sign of physical weakness. Yet, her mind had to be wrecked and she did not hide the fact. Somehow, the dark violet armour with the blue highlights gave her something utterly mysterious.
The next Archon that arrived was a feast for one’s eyes, for it was Archon Yaelindra, the mistress of the Lhamaeans. She moved like the most graceful cat, lascivious, beckoning to touch her, but yet her demeanour showed the fangs of a poisonous snake. Words simply could not describe such flowing movement, she downright floated in front of the throne; and the bending of her knee to the Overlord was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my whole life. Yaelindra possessed a captivating beauty, with soft, perfectly sculpted features, lascivious, full lips and shining eyes. Her hair was crimson; a rare thing amongst Dark Eldar and it was perfectly complemented by her indigo armour with the black ornaments.
With a voice that could seduce the most strong-minded man with its allure, she said, “Greetings, Supreme Overlord.” Damn it, simply her voice turned me on, her concupiscent movements left aside. She truly was the queen of the Lhamaeans.
However, (and of course) Vect was not moved by her beauty – if he was, he hid it perfectly; I figured that he had dealt with her often enough to be resistant to her charms – and he replied, “Archon Yaelindra, as always, it is my genuine pleasure to greet you in my halls.” This was quite the amicable greeting, but it was no secret that her and his Kabal were allies.
She chuckled – a pleasurable shiver ran down my spine as she did, because it was so beautiful – and she replied, “Oh, the pleasure is all mine, Overlord. After all, it is, as always, an honour to be graced with your presence.” To my surprise, Yaelindra sounded as if she truly meant these words.
Vect left the compliment unanswered and just dismissed her with a slight nod. She floated to her seat.
Then, Archon Kyhrac entered the throne room. Arrogance and narcissism were so apparent on his face, it made me sick; he was stunningly handsome, every bit of his face was perfect; I was sure that he had some surgical modifications done and wore a tad bit of makeup, to underline his painfully perfect features. I knew that Kyhrac was a narcissist at his finest. He forced the Trueborns of his Kabal to have their faces surgically altered, so they looked like him. On the official side, he had stated that this tactic should confuse would-be assassins, but it was known that he loved the look of his own face the most. He also had eradicated the population on Phlogiston VI by inducing a doppelgänger virus into the air, which turned the face of every inhabitant of the planet into his likeness; of course, this process was lethal. This had just shown his vanity and narcissism once more. Kyhrac’s armour was slate blue, adorned with crimson ornaments and perfectly, yet subtly, placed gold lines and dots. The tuft of hair that was on his helmet, as well as his wrap and loincloth, was also a mixture of crimson and gold. The attire suited him magnificently.
Kyhrac almost reluctantly paid his respects; the Overlord did not seem to care, but his tone suggested that he was not very fond of this pompous prick either.
Last to come and as expected, was Archon Malidrach. He proverbially stormed the throne room, his steps and stance showing pride and self-awareness. Malidrach was no youngster, age showed slightly on his features. I knew that he had started out as a Reaver and his armour, which shone in deep red with ornaments and his helmet decoration in pitch-black, was adjusted to just this profession. His stature suggested a lot of muscles; his features could best be described as hard and fierce, as were his cold, determined eyes. Malidrach was a military man, the way he moved and bowed to Vect made that clear. The greeting between the two Archons that commanded the biggest Kabals of them all was more than aloof. It was apparent that they did not have any amicable feelings towards each other.
With Malidrach’s arrival, the circle was complete and the Overlord started the meeting.
What I found out while it lasted, was that on one hand, the Overlord explained to them the general direction he wanted the future raids to go and which systems he reserved for his Kabal. He also set bounties for specific individuals of other races or the destruction of some planets that were a thorn in his side and with which he did not want to deal himself. It seemed as if there was a lot more tactic to their raids than it looked to the outside, because after Vect had declared which planetary systems were his to have, the other Archons discussed their claims on different systems. It seemed as if they seemed to be very careful not to cross each other with the raids, for this would only result in unnecessary fights between the Kabals outside of Commorragh. Of course, they would not heed those plans entirely, after all, they were Dark Eldar and tried to get the best out of everything, but I was quite sure that they were not stupid enough to cross Vect in his plans.
After this had been discussed, the Archons had to present their general plans of machinations and expansion of their Kabals within Commorragh, so that they could sort out differences in that way and Vect distributed the space of the city as he saw fit.
Only after this meeting I understood what Vect’s position truly meant. He indeed commanded all of Commorragh; if anything was to change in the city, his permission was to be obtained beforehand. Of course, he did not intervene if two Kabals fought over territory and weakened each other with that, but if it was a political move, it seemed as if he had the last say in it. I only began to understand in the course of the meeting how sublime and sovereign his position truly was.
The title ‘Supreme Overlord’ indeed was the only one that fitted his echelon correctly.
As they started discussing, my master unchained me without any acknowledgement and I immediately got up, bowed to him though he did not look at me – I damn well better paid my respects – and started with my task.
Without any hesitation, I went to Archon Malidrach. I bowed to him and calmly said (using English/Low Gothic seemed so strange to me again), “Greetings, Archon! May I inquire what your wishes would be for today?”
The greeting I got from him was a painful slash across my left cheek from one of the thorns on his armour. The movement had been so quick that I had not been able to see it. This just underlined how Malidrach had started his career; he had been an utterly successful Reaver and had been able to establish a Kabal with the riches he had earned this way. Since then, he had always honed his skills regarding his speciality and therefore, his reflexes were mostly unmatched – at least by the members of his Kabal, for Malidrach commanded the Flayed Skull for quite the while now. The Archon replied, his inflexion as sharp as the thorn that had just pierced me, “Start with talking only when talked to, slave! Bring me the best, dry wine this court has to offer.”
Though I hated what he had done, I bowed obediently and scurried away without saying a single word.
As I was walking towards the bar, I let my hand glide over my cheek and I was not surprised as I saw blood on my fingers. With this, I was made aware that this day would be a hell lot more painful than the meetings I was used to. Even Malidrach had shown me that the Circle meetings had been nothing compared to what I was to experience now. I had to be extra-careful, for they did not know me and did not know of my skills. To them, I was another stupid, human slave, and – to make matters worse – the personal one of the person they hated and envied most in this city.
At the bar, I thanked the slaves for giving me a damp towel to clean myself from my blood. I told them which wine I needed. They provided almost instantly and I hurried back to Malidrach, glass and wine bottle in my hands.
Again without opening my mouth I poured the tasting sip into the glass. Impatiently Malidrach grabbed it, inhaled the bouquet of the wine and I was surprised as he actually took the sip. I had half-expected him to toss the wine back into my face.
I was even more surprised as he nodded approvingly and I was allowed to pour the rest of the wine. After I was done dealing with him, I went to the other side of the table, to Archon Yaelindra.
I noticed with a small smile that surprised gazes followed me on my path. Apparently, they had not expected that I knew how their hierarchy worked.
I bowed to the allied Archon and said in a greeting manner, “My lady.”
She turned to me and I had to shiver as she took me at my chin and lifted my head so that I looked into her eyes. Yaelindra looked at me for a while, then let go of me and she said, “You must be Vect’s new slave. I have heard so many things about you and yet you are different from what I had imagined.”
I smiled shyly and replied sarcastically, “Only bad things, I hope?”
She chuckled – this produced pleasant goose-bumps on my skin – and she responded, “Oh, I have to disappoint you; I have heard only good things. Tahvyn keeps rambling on about you; he can’t wait to purchase you.”
I needed a second to process who ‘Tahvyn’ was. Then I remembered that this was Ea’nash’s first name. So they were romantically involved. Interesting. Maybe this knowledge would prove useful to me one day.
I remembered my professionality and asked, “What can I get for you, my lady?”
She made a relished sound and said, “Give me something sweet. I love those meetings and Malidrach’s caustic stares make them oh-so-much sweeter.” She waved jokingly in Malidrach’s direction, just lightly and elegantly curling her fingers; his gaze darkened. Apparently, they were hateful rivals.
I bowed slightly to her and scurried to the bar. I had just the thing for her.
I came back to Yaelindra with a sweet wine made of a variation of berries. She took the tasting sip and let out a relished sound. She said, “Mmh, you sure know what a girl likes.” Yaelindra caressed my uninjured cheek, so expertly and tenderly that I could not help but feel aroused. “Thank you, my little one. Go on, I am sure that the rest are in need of your services too.”
As I scurried to Archon Llanthei on the other side of the table, it occurred to me that Yaelindra was exceptionally nice for an Archon. Either Ea’nash had truly showered me with praise or she treasured her connection to Vect too much to be mean to me.
Archon Llanthei eyed me attentively as I bowed to her and greeted her. She tilted her head after I was done and said, “You are strangely confident, slave. Usually, the Overlord’s slaves are only shades of their former selves.”
“There is nothing to it, my lady, I just have been taught well,” I assured her submissively.
“Too bad that you are not a True Eldar; you could have made it far in my Kabal,” she stated pensively.
I kept my gaze lowered and replied, “Thank you, my lady, alas, I am not. May I inquire what refreshments I shall bring you?”
She told me. Though Llanthei was not entirely amicable towards me, she showed me cold respect and kept me at a distance at the same time. I was sure she had her reasons for it, so I let her be.
Next, I was with Akhara’Keth. I dreaded what was to come for me from his hand.
As it was custom, I bowed to him and greeted him appreciatively.
I winced as he laid his hand upon my chin and lifted my head, to make me look into his ancient, yet incredibly far-seeing eyes. He narrowed his as he prolonged this hard stare. I kept as calm as possible as he drew a painful cut down my left side with his other hand, while still eyeing me critically. I felt the warm blood run down my hip.
After twisting the thorn of his gauntlet in my wound and making me gasp and wince a bit with pain, he said, pensively, “Such a well-trained, little bird. I’d love to know who instructed you, but I am quite sure that you are not allowed to tell me anyways. Therefore, never mind that, child. So… any strong spirits on the menu?” His voice sounded as ancient as he looked; cackling, throaty and experienced. He had not taken his hand off my chin.
Somewhat restrained I answered, “Yes, my lord. What would you prefer?”
He smiled – this smile had no joy in it; just pure viciousness – and replied, “Let’s test your skills even further. Bring me what you think I might like. If you pass, I will let you go unscathed. If you fail, I will punish you.” Now, Akhara’Keth let go of me. I bowed and hurried away.
I shivered as I was at the bar. Something about Akhara’Keth creeped me out, I just could not say what it was. I chose a bitter, yet pleasantly strong spirit for him, since it somehow fitted what little I had seen of his personality.
I served the nicely ornated glass to him, palms sweaty with fear this time, for I was not fond of feeling a punishment from his hand. Akhara’Keth took the glass and the tiniest of sips. As soon as the liquid had touched his lips he put it down again, turned to me and grabbed me by my collar with his left hand (I was standing at his right side). He drew me pretty close to him – I felt nauseated at the thought that these scarred lips could touch me – and whispered into my ear, “Almost, but not quite; looks like someone is due for some punishment.” He laughed into my ear as I let out a small cry of pain. The Archon was with one of his pointed fingertips of his gauntlets in my wound again; I did not know what he did, but it hurt like hell and he made me whimper and tears well up in my eyes. Somehow, my gathering and breathing techniques did not work here. I fought against his grip, but he was simply too strong for me. He went on and on; I bit my tongue and dug my fingernails into the armrest of his chair to not cry out too loud; all I wanted was for him to stop. A desperate side-look into his eyes told me that he had no intention of doing so soon.
However, help came from a side I had not expected it from.
“Archon Akhara’Keth, do you mind to stop torturing my personal slave?” the sharp voice of the Overlord boomed through the hall. His phrasing suggested a politeness that simply was not there.
Akhara’Keth let go of me in an instant, as if I was searing hot. I could not help but to retreat a few steps, cringing and breathing heavily, sight blurred with tears. I had never been put off that much in public, not even by Vect.
The Archon of the Bloodied Claw replied, “Forgive me, Overlord, I got carried away by her beautiful reactions.”
Vect snarled, “Better find your restraint again! The task you have given her was one for a truly experienced slave, which she is not, she is still quite new. If you want her punished at length, let me know; she is mine to discipline in this manner.” Again I was impressed by how sharp his senses had to be and how wide his attention apparently could spread. Seconds ago, the Overlord had just answered some questions, but it seemed as if he had heard every single word I had exchanged with the Archons so far. Seemingly, he kept a close eye on them and me.
Somehow, this made me feel honoured.
Now Akhara’Keth smiled viciously and retorted, “One might think that you are somewhat fond of her, Overlord.”
Vect’s gaze darkened. “I have expected more wisdom of you, Akhara’Keth. I am not ‘fond’ of a single one of my slaves. She just was quite expensive and arduous to get and I will not see her wasted by your amateur hand. I think it is best for you if you keep your thoughts to yourself.”
Though I was still gasping in pain – somehow the wound only slowly stopped its intense throbbing – I smiled to myself. This just had been one of the biggest insults and roughest tones I ever had been graced to hear from the Overlord when talking to another Archon. The affront in his words was apparent, yet Akhara’Keth did not dare to note it. The Archon did the only wise thing that was left for him to do and said, “Forgive me, Overlord, it was not my place.”
“Indeed it was not!” Vect growled. His wrath seemed to be sincere.
With this, the discussion was concluded and I had time to retreat for a second to gather myself.
The slaves at the bar shot me some sympathetic gazes and again provided me with warm and damp towels to clean myself. I looked at the wound and found with horror that it looked jagged. He had torn it in a way I had not yet seen; it looked like it would never heal again properly.
Well, I would see about that.
What puzzled me was why the Overlord kept bailing me out of truly unpleasant situations. What did he get out of that? He had to have some kind advantage from this; Asdrubael Vect never did something out of the goodness of his heart.
The thought almost made me laugh.
After I had made sure that I was no longer bleeding like a pig brought to the slaughter, I continued with my work.
Therefore, I went back to Archon Akhara’Keth and let him give me instructions on what he truly desired. I had not been far off indeed, for the beverage he now longed for was similar in taste to the one I had suggested for him. I shivered. I did not want to know what he would have done to me if I had failed his taste completely. For now, I had no longer to deal with him and went to the next Archon.
I dreaded what would await me from the hand of Archon Thyndrak. She was not known for her kindness and mental stability. As respectful as ever, I bowed to her – great, now doing that hurt like hell – and greeted her respectfully.
I winced as I felt her cold gauntlet at my injured side. She made an annoyed sound as she examined the wound and stated, “Such a crude injury! He has no taste for fine arts, this Akhara’Keth!” She flashed a terrible smile with her pointed teeth at me and said in a malicious tone as she caressed my also injured cheek in a cruel fashion, “If I had punished you, your injuries would have been aesthetic, yet even more painful. You would have begged me to stop before your master had intervened. Don’t mind what that blunt brute over there does to you – he is nothing compared to me. Oh, what a beautiful torture slave you would make! I would love to rip your soul out of your body and swallow it bit by bit, so that you would know exactly what is happening to you. Mmh, and what a treat you would be! So… delicious!” She enjoyed every single word.
I simply could not handle her.
Thyndrak’s atrocious words combined with her almost tender caress put me off severely and I replied with a weak and trembling voice, “I… I am sure of that, my lady.” I flinched as she let the sharp tip on her thumb glide over the injury in my face, so tender that she did not injure me any further, but her caresses drove me insane. I continued thinly, barely able not to back away from her, “How may I serve you, my lady?”
I felt just like the very first time I had served in this court, though I had some experience and had felt some things by now. Yet somehow, those completely different facets of madness were almost more than I could handle. I stared fearfully into her black eyes and I could see how much she enjoyed my horror. She was a true monster; I could see it clearly.
Why, oh why, did they all put me off so severely? Why was I able to handle Vect that much calmer, though he had done similar and worse things to me? Somehow, the Archons touched me so deeply though they did nothing off the charts. Yet, they seemed to push my buttons perfectly. This showed me how well Archons were versed in tormenting others.
I almost sighed in relief as she told me what she desired and dismissed me. I fought the tears down as I went to the bar and back. I was lucky that Thyndrak seemed to have scared me enough into submission, because she did not take note of me as I served her drink.
Archon Xerathis was next. I tried to brace my mind against the assault it would surely have to deal with in a second, since I knew that he loved terror-tactics. Nevertheless, I showed him the same courtesy as any other Archon.
Xerathis looked at me and said, “Such a pretty attire. Yet, you would hate to wear it in my court.”
I looked at him, bewildered, then asked, “My lord?”
He chuckled and explained, “Well, when one of my slaves gets to wear this ceremonial clothing, I have the chains coated with a toxin and a hallucinogen. The toxin assures that the chains feel searing hot if they touch the slave’s skin, the hallucinogen makes them believe that they sustain burns from it. It is always most entertaining to watch how they try to avoid touching the chains. Just try to imagine it, child! It is just impossible to avoid them.”
I looked at him in horror, though I should have expected such mental torture from him. And though I tried not to with all my might, I somehow had to imagine it. Blatantly cursing my vivid imagination in my mind, I could just stand there and visualise what this would be like, my whole body cringing on the inside, for I knew how little I could stand burning sensations. I stared into his black eyes while I did and I hated that he knew what I was going through, for slowly a vicious smile started to grace his features.
At some point, Xerathis chuckled and said, “Very good, my dear! Ah, the fun I could have with you! As usual, the Overlord has the perfect eye for those slaves which are best to torment. And yet…” I let out a purely afraid gasp as he grabbed me by my collar and drew me close to him. “…yet, you are strangely calm, though you are scared and in pain.” He made a musing sound, then took a deep breath. “What a balance. Strange for a human.” Chuckling, he let go of my collar again and said, “Ah, well! Enough of this! I’ll let you do what you are here for, little one.” With this, he allowed me to do my job.
I fled him. Again, I did not know why he put me off so severely, since he had done nothing special to me.
By now I was utterly grateful that Vect treated me as good as he did. I figured that the Archons of the Kabal of the Black Heart treated their personals slaves in general better than Archons of other Kabals, though I had only met the Archons of the Circle and their slaves. Maybe this came from the fact that it was the Overlord’s Kabal and that he had also been a slave once and possibly knew what it was like to be abused day in and out and that it was sometimes wise to keep slaves at least healthy and without pain. Somewhat satisfied slaves could be an asset in some situations.
At least I thought so.
Whatever the true reason, I was really glad that I was where I was.
I served Archon Xerathis his drink in silence and then went on to the next, who was Archon Kyhrac.
For once I had some kind of strategy. Kyhrac was known to be a terrible narcissist, and I would exploit this fact. I greeted him with the usual bow, then I stayed at his side and let a dumbstruck expression show on my face.
I had to keep myself from smiling confidently as he took the bait, “What’s wrong, slave? Can’t handle my perfection?” Oh, he was so full of himself, it worked.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:09

I hemmed and hawed a bit, then said, in a shy manner, “A bit, my lord. Still, I am grateful that you allow me to witness your perfect beauty and that you grace me with your words.”
Kyhrac chuckled. “What a courteous, little dove you are! However, I have no time for chatting. I desire the finest, semi-sweet red wine you can bring me and a cup of Tár’yenna tea.”
I bowed and replied, “Of course, my lord.”
I flashed a small smile as I went to the bar and instructed the slaves on tea, wine and glass. The tea he had requested was the one with the high caffeine content and which heightened their senses. Fittingly, Tár’yenna meant something like ‘heightening’. I was actually puzzled that he was the first one to ask about it.
I had a good idea how I could kindle his narcissism even more. I decided to serve the wine in a glass, but the tea I would bring him in a perfectly polished, lined metal cup. It was so well-polished, that it was like a mirror. I was sure that he would love that, since he loved looking at his face the most.
I brought the glass, cup and bottle to him and served tea and tasting sip with a bow. After I had brought the bottle back to the bar, paid my respects to him and was about to move on to the next Archon, Kyhrac commanded, “Slave, come back here for a second!”
I scurried back to his side and said with a bow, “Is something amiss, Archon?”
His left hand, which grabbed me lightning-fast at my throat and started to choke me, gave me the answer. Nevertheless, he snarled, while he opened the cut on my face again, “Did you really think I would fall for your blunt attempts of flattery? Did you think I’d even care? In fact, you insult me with that; I don’t care about the appreciation of such lowly beasts like yourself. How dare you presume that you are the equal of any True Eldar by admiring me?!”
Now, his true narcissism and madness showed. It was in these seconds – while he smothered me – that I remembered something I had once been told about narcissists. With that, I realised my critical mistake. True narcissists longed for the admiration of people they thought important; anybody who stood below them and adored them only made them angry, because for them it meant that others, who were more worthy of appreciating them, should admire them even more so. Therefore, what I had done had possibly been the worst way I could have acted.
Thus, I did the only thing that was left for me to do and I said in a thin voice, “Please… forgive me… my lord. I… forgot my… place.”
Only as my sight grew dim he let go of me. I fell to my knees and fought for air. With this, Kyhrac no longer took notice of me. I needed a bit to regain my breath, then I struggled to get back on my feet and with a kind of sloppy bow, since I was dizzy, I left his side.
I shortly retreated to calm myself and make sure that my face was not drenched in blood, then I went to the last of the round, to Archon Vaulkhere.
I knew that the Thornlords were proud beyond measure; therefore, I decided to be even more careful with him than with the rest. I bowed to him and said, “Greetings, Archon of the Lords of the Iron Thorn! How may this lowly one serve you?”
I barely kept from spitting blood as he backhanded me across the face. Of course, he had hit me on my injured cheek, which made the blood flow again and the pain in my face explode. I drew a step back with a pain-wrecked grunt, hands on my face, because it hurt so badly. Vaulkhere snarled at me, “For one, with not opening your filthy mouth in my presence and pestering me with your stinking breath. You don’t have to talk to serve, just await orders, you mannerless bitch!”
I took my hands off my face and bowed to him in acknowledgement. I already saw the blood on my palms. It was quite bad. While I remained bent down, he gave me his order. I nodded, rose again and went to get it and gather myself.
At the bar, I said to the girls, “Do you, by any chance, have a mirror somewhere? I have to see how devastated I look.” They gave me what I asked with pitiful looks, it was a small hand-mirror, and again some towels to clean myself. As I looked into the mirror I was startled in both bad and wondrous ways. The wound in my face had made blood run over the left half of it, making it a bloody and terrible grimace. Also, my cheek was slightly swollen, no wonder after a hit with a metal gauntlet. That I was in pain was apparent in my facial expression. However, I was also utterly surprised to find that my makeup was still perfectly holding. Neither blood nor sweat nor water had smudged it; and after I had cleaned my face from the blood and had made the wound stop bleeding, I looked almost as good as new.
I sighed, took the refreshments Vaulkhere had asked for and served them with a bow but without a sound. Luckily, he let me be. Maybe he was too careful to prolong my punishment after what had transpired between Akhara’Keth and Vect. Considering that the Thornlords had to be utterly careful with what they were doing after their faux pas three thousand years ago, this was a likely option.
After all the Archons had been served, I took a short break a bit drawn back and tried to gather myself as well as possible.
It barely worked.
I had only made my first round so far and I was hurting all over. My cheek and side throbbed, my throat was still raw and breathing was still unpleasant. If they continued like this, I was sure that I would not make it through this day without fainting. However, since I now knew how I had to act with each one of them, I figured that this would become a bit easier for me. Also, Vect had made clear that torturing me at length was only his privilege.
And I was so angry inside.
I deserved better than this. I did not mean with this the life I had had before I became a slave – strangely enough, I had hated this life so much that nothing was lost for me in that regard – but I was thinking about the way I was treated by these Archons. I knew I was good at what I was doing, otherwise, Vect would have ended me quite some time ago; however, that these Archons treated me like the most regular, idiotic slave shook me quite badly and made me so furious.
Nevertheless, I was not allowed to show this anger and I feared that it would let me make some more mistakes. I had the feeling that something strange and dangerous would happen to or with me today. I had no idea what it could be, but I had the feeling that something was different.
I took some deep breaths, calmed down as well as I could and then returned to my place at the side of the Overlord. There, they all could see me and I could also keep my eye on them, not only regarding my service to them but also if someone acted suspiciously. By now, I was quite adept at reading in Dark Eldar faces and after all, the Overlord had instructed me to keep an especially close eye on Malidrach and Vaulkhere.
I would make sure as hell that at least my master was satisfied with me today.

This day was the most arduous I had ever experienced in Commorragh. Of course, the cruelties against me did not stop, though I did better than in the beginning. However, I did not sustain more wounds, just the two slashes were those I had to bear, but that did not matter. They knew exactly how to use those injuries to make me almost go insane with pain. It was not so that the pain was so intense – no, it was the permanency of it that made it so unbearable. I needed all of my willpower and my best breathing techniques to not be reduced to a whimpering mess.
However, this was not the worst of it.
At some point, the meeting took a break and lunch was to be served. With this, I had to scurry to the kitchen and instruct the cooks and slaves there on their work. I again repeated to the waiter-slaves what they were not to do under any circumstances, arranged the waiters in groups for cutlery, appetisers, main courses and dessert, and I also chose only the most experienced slaves that were to bring up a separate table for my master and serve him. Then I had to leave again to continue my service in the throne room.
I changed drinks into those fitting to the meals we would serve – of course not without more atrocities towards me – and after I was done I returned to the side of my master and kept a close and watchful eye on my staff.
It did not take long until I burrowed my face in my palms, then got up again and started to bark them around. Either I had been given completely new staff – for I could not remember that they had been that bad before and I thought Vect perfectly capable of setting such a trap for me – or I really sucked at commanding.
Therefore, I pushed the slaves around a bit to make them do their work correctly and better than before, but I had not yet found a reason to use the tools I had been given. After a while, everything ran a lot more smoothly and as I was satisfied to some extent, I returned to the side of my master. I kept eyeing my staff critically and still I noticed some mistakes, but nothing too bad, therefore, I decided to be not so hard on them.
However, after a while, I made out a single slave that did everything wrong that one could possibly do wrong. She could not have listened to my advice which I had given twice this day. There was no excuse for the mistakes she produced and she had already sustained some wounds, undoubtedly because of that, though the Archons did not hold back with administering punishment in general.
How could one care so little for one’s skin?
The tasks were not that hard, though I admitted that the rules in court were tough to remember. However, I had told them the most important ones; apparently, she also did not care whether I got punished for the things she did, she could not possibly be that stupid, to not remember the tips I had given. I felt ridiculed, disrespected and betrayed. I really had tried hard to make this as easy as possible to them all and this was how I got repaid?
Anger flared up in me, searing hot, turning into blind rage.
This was the final straw.
I so had it for today and she was the perfect target for my built-up fury.
I stood up, turned to Vect, bowed to him and said, “My lord, may I be excused for a second? I have to discipline one of the slaves.” I barely managed to say this in a calm tone, since I was so pissed off.
“Granted. Don’t hesitate to do it here,” he approved with a nod.
His words let me halt in my blind rage for a second. I had no problem with beating the crap out of that stupid bitch, but to do it under well-versed, torture-experienced eyes made me queasy again.
Then the thought of just having been ridiculed by one of the slaves I had tried to protect in the first place hit me again and my rage took the upper hand again.
Therefore, eyes glistening with wrath, I rushed the bow and said, “Yes, my lord. I’ll be right back.” Then, I stormed off, after this stupid imbecile that was just about to leave the throne room. She would not go unscathed, oh no.
“You woke the wrong dog,” I thought.
I caught her, turned her around at her shoulder and before she could do or say anything, I backhanded her hard across the face. She stumbled a step backwards – I had hit her with quite the force – but I pursued her and spat at her, as I gave her a hard push that let her stumble even more backwards and collide with the wall, “Do I look like a bitch?!”
Barely recovering from the concussion, she stammered, “W… what?”
I slapped her again, harder this time, and snarled again, “I said: do I look like a bitch?!”
She still looked at me, confused and afraid, and – oh! – I enjoyed this look. That little slut had it coming all the time, for I now remembered her face. She had been one of those that had not listened to my advice and who had rolled their eyes at my speech and she had been the only one so far who had frak up constantly.
I would not have this. My hide was too precious to me.
Hesitantly and meekly, she said, “N… no, you certainly don’t.”
I brushed the rings against each other, ready to use them.
For a split-second, I recoiled at the thought that I was about to torture somebody…
…but then the anger drowned everything again, washing my doubts away. I grabbed her by her hair and collar and pushed her with my whole body against the wall so she could not escape me, and as she started crying and screaming as the Agonisers connected, I boomed at her, “Then why are you trying to frak me like one?!”
I felt a lot of gazes upon me as I held her there and let her squirm and scream in my grip. There were those of the Archons and the Overlord, I did not have to look at them to know that they enjoyed what transpired; but also the other slaves stared at me in horror. Again, I could not let this happen; so while I still punished the girl, I turned my head towards them and hissed, “What are you looking at? Do your pathetically executed jobs or you are next!”
They did not have to be told twice, they fled the throne room and apparently me too.
Then, I turned my attention back to the slave I was hurting. She struggled harder against me the longer I punished her; however, my position was too sublime for her to get away. Besides, I was a lot more muscular than her; she was one of those skinny, arrogant bitches I hated the most. Just because she thought her body was perfect, she believed she could do anything she wanted.
I only stopped as I felt her getting weaker; I did not want her to faint. Still pushing her against the wall with my body, I turned the rings off and then had her at her throat again, making her look into my still with anger flaring eyes. Then I snarled at her, “So, have we learnt our lesson?” She trembled beneath my grip, oh, it delighted me; I enjoyed it too much. She nodded intimidated in my grip, but this was not enough for me. I slapped her again and spat at her, “Have you forgotten how to speak?”
She whimpered and wagged her head, hyperventilating for a few breaths, then she replied with a tearful voice, “I… I have learnt m… my lesson.”
I hit her in the face again and hissed, “That’s ‘my lady’ for you, you useless imbecile!”
She started sobbing uncontrollably and I saw that I would not be able to beat another word out of her. Therefore, I drew away from her, but grabbed her hair again and dragged her to the portal. With a powerful shove I threw her out, she fell quite hard, and I spat at her, “Now, get out of my sight! If I see you frak up only once more, this will be nothing to what I will do to you then!” I stood there, still panting with rage, until the portal closed. Then, I turned around, swiftly checking my hairstyle, bowed and said, again calmly, “Please forgive the interruption and strong language, Supreme Overlord and Archons! I just can’t stand incompetence and stupidity.”
Vect said in a cold tone, “I applaud your handling of slaves which overstep their borders, but now it is time that you do not forget about yours. You have kept us long enough, though this while was – and I think I speak for all of us here – quite entertaining to behold.”
I bowed again and replied, “Of course, my lord. I await my punishment for my impudent behaviour.”
“We shall see about that later on. Right now, I have more important matters to attend to.” I was not entirely sure if he truly was going to punish me or if he only said this to again cement the picture of the utterly relentless Overlord.
I hoped that the latter was the case. His punishments were harsh.
Therefore, I kept my mouth shut, bowed once again and then came back to my place at the left side of his throne.
Vect kept me there for quite the time, since there was nothing to do for me. This gave me time to process what I just had done.
Apparently, I started to go insane.
Was I truly only doing this solely out of self-protection?
The painful answer was no. I had not forgotten how much I had liked hurting the slave girl. She had tried to cross me, yes, but I should not have enjoyed this as much as I did. Only now I realised how much I had relished her squirms and screams. The thought made me feel cold and sick. It seemed as if my human feelings had been maimed so constantly and for such a long time, that I started to think and feel like a Dark Eldar. Everything in me should have recoiled at the thought, yet, it felt normal for me.
Had I already been brainwashed that hard?
I would never know, yet, I knew something was wrong with me. Although… was it so strange? When being exposed for so long to such a cruel society in the position I was in and having cruel behaviour encouraged, was it not normal that the human mind tried to adjust to that just to keep the body from harm?
I no longer could grasp a clear thought on that.
I just had to go with it and face the fact that my own kind now feared and hated me around here, possibly more than they hated the Dark Eldar. I was human; I should not act this way, in their eyes. And although I was aware that I was treated much better than most of the other slaves, I somehow had the feeling that my position would destroy me even more than them in a psychological way. I had accepted my fate and now did everything in my power to please my master; hell, I even longed for his praise; every single word from him in that direction made me utterly happy.
As it seems, I had become Vect’s pet, eager to please him, without noticing.
However, if this was the thing that would let me lead a quite pleasant life here, I would do it; there was no sense in struggling.
Hell, I would do everything for this.

As the end of the dining was conceivable, I decided to clear away the cutlery and plates only with a skeleton crew of the most adept slaves. With this, I knew that what I had done to the girl had on one hand been the worst and on the other the best thing I could have done.
It was the best thing, because they followed my orders and advice much more precisely than beforehand and they went to great lengths to keep each other from mistakes. This was how I wanted this to go.
On the other hand, it was the worst thing, because it was apparent that they now feared me and were disgusted by my behaviour, for they kept the conversations with me professional and concise, no friendly talk was in for me. However, I had expected as much.
The meeting also decided to take a break while we did our jobs and since there was nothing for me to do directly, I only watched the slaves from afar, at the entrance of the throne room. Some of the Archons had left the throne room, some stayed; I saw that Yaelindra talked to Vect and from what I saw from my position, it seemed to be an amicable conversation.
I now looked out for the two Archons I was to spy on. I decided that it was futile to waste my attention on Malidrach, since he had decided to stay at his place, engulfed in sullen pondering, as it seems. I would not get much out of him, considering how much he despised me.
The other one, Vaulkhere, was a different thing. He had stormed out of the throne room as soon as the break had been announced and he now paced like a tiger in a circle in the corridor in front of the throne room, hissing something to himself. I could not make his words out, but somehow I got the feeling that it was wise that I did.
My mind raced. If I came too close to him, he surely would notice. It was impossible for me that I hid from him, because he would hear my heartbeat anyways. I had to think something up.
And I had an idea.
I snatched one of the slaves that had done exceptionally well and went off to the side a bit with her, in Vaulkhere’s direction.
I smiled on the inside. Now I could understand some bits he said, but it was still tough, since he used some kind of strange dialect, which distorted some words severely.
The slave girl looked at me with fearfully widened eyes and I smiled at her. With horror, I realised that I enjoyed this power I now had over the other slaves and that I liked the fear in her eyes.
I said, in a calm tone, “Don’t be afraid, I just wanted to tell you that you did exceptionally well today. Though I punish disobedience and constant mistakes quite harshly, I also know when someone did her job quite nicely. And you did. I just did not want to tell you this in front of the others, since they might be jealous, ok?”
She nodded, bowed her head to me and thanked me in the correct manner.
I then let her go again and stayed at where I was for a minute, looking of course away from Vaulkhere and pretending to concentrate on my staff.
I was lucky. He did not take notice of me and I was able to decipher more of his hissed words. What I heard, I did not like at all. I gathered things like “…the bitch of the Strife is the key to this… need to kill her off… Malidrach can shove his arrogance up his arse when I am on top… he’ll see his fault… oh yes… I’ll show them ALL…”
It was quite clear to me what he seemed to be up to. This was definitely something the Overlord should be informed about. Apparently, Vaulkhere planned to kill off Lelith Hesperax and it seemed as if he had tried to get Malidrach into this.
I barely kept myself from shaking my head. By now the arrogance and idiocy of most schemes around here seemed ridiculous to me. Why would anybody want to kill Hesperax off? She was one of the best means of rejuvenation in the Dark City, killing her would be utterly stupid, since one would make a tonne of enemies in the process; she was a freaking legend.
Besides, I was sure that Vect would take this personally. And I did not want to know what he did to people whose acts he took personal. It had to be magnificently atrocious.
Therefore, I carefully drew away from Vaulkhere, who seemed to be completely emerged in his thoughts; he never even took a look at me. Well, he never could have guessed that I understood his words. I went back into the throne room, since the slaves were done with clearing up and I had to be there again to serve in my usual manner. I, therefore, waited at the side of my master until all the Archons had come back and the meeting was continued. It still lasted some time.
Only quite at the end of the meeting the Overlord called me to him and said to me, “Say your farewells to your staff and then come back here. We are leaving for the slave markets shortly.”
I bowed and left.
Outside the throne room, I paused for a moment. Then I started to grin. Slave markets? Did that mean that I would see some more of Commorragh? I fancied this thought, but in the same second, I was sure that I did not want to see the slave markets, since this would shake my mind anew. I am sure that my lord took me there to show me what I would have gone through if I had not been pre-selected for him.
I really had to be insane to fancy seeing some more of the Dark City, views, which shattered human minds on a regular basis.
Determined I walked into the kitchen. Apparently, the word of my deeds had spread beyond the humans here, because now almost all the human slaves beheld me with horror, the few Eldar here seemed either not to care or punished me with contemptuous looks, the Dark Eldar smiled at me and the Overseer chuckled evilly to himself. The slave I had punished sat in a corner, still crying, and she started trembling and sobbing loudly as she saw me. Another one was with her and tried to comfort her; she shot an accusatory look at me; I did no longer care.
They were no longer worthy of my pity. All in all, they had not truly heeded my advice and made a lot of mistakes.
Therefore, I had no kind words for them, “Seriously, your performance was overall mediocre today. Each time I have to work with you, I will hold short lessons before each day from now on, to make sure that you remember the basics. I advise you to listen to me and do better than today. Some of you did well today, but by far not enough for me to be satisfied. Also, your colleague over there has served as a warning. Don’t dare to cross me or not take me seriously, lest you will end up like her! Now, go about your business, we are done for today.”
I left them, but the Overseer followed me. I noticed it, halted as we were at the exit of the kitchen and I said, “I take it you want your ‘gifts’ back?”
He laughed. “No, my dear, I actually don’t. These are yours now, and as it seems, you will need them. I have already heard what you have done and all I can say is: nicely executed. They will follow you more precise in the future.” The Overseer grinned widely. “I had not expected that you had it in you.”
I shook my head and replied truthfully, “Me neither, in the first place. But it seems as if I get the hang of it.”
He made a musing sound. “Hmm, there is more to you than meets the eye. Well, I won’t keep you any longer. I have some slaves to discipline myself.” With this, he left. So did I.
I came back to the throne room only to find to my surprise that the Archons were already gone. Only Vect was still there, sitting a lot more relaxed on his throne and he started to applaud slowly and mockingly as I came to him. He said with a malicious smile, “I have never seen a slave punish another so thoroughly.”
“I really was pissed off, my lord, and I can’t stand ignorant and insolent idiots,” I replied.
“Hmm, that was easily visible. Still, now I have to see to it that you are not snatched by a Haemonculus – I think, Vlokarion would have liked that performance too; as I have seen it, he cherishes natural-born torturers,” Vect said, his inflexion almost jokingly, a strange thing.
I shook my head and said, “I assure you, my lord, I was only that fierce because I was so angry. Otherwise, I would not have been able to do this, I think.”
The Overlord chuckled. “Oh, really? I have caught a different scent back there. Never mind that now. We best get going.”
So we did.
He chained me to his belt again, then we went out of the throne room, into the high-speed elevator and downwards. I somehow figured we did not go down to the bottom of the stairs and as we got off the elevator, my suspicions were confirmed in that regard. We had halted somewhere in between and then went through one of the numerous hidden doors that led deeper into the Black Fortress. Our path led us through some winding corridors and loads of junctions, so that I quickly had no idea where we were and how it was possible to navigate around here without going crazy.
So much again for running away.
There was more than one reason why it was not necessary for Dark Eldar to lock their slaves up.
At some point, after walking quite the time and with quite the pace – I really got enough of cardio training around here – we reached the personal hangar of the Overlord.
A flyer was already waiting for us here; the hangar seemed to be built for this certain flyer. Though I only had seen some flyers from afar when I had found the time to watch the ado from the window in Vect’s quarters, I was sure that this flyer was not a normal one. It did not surprise me at all, since Vect always had to be extra-sure that no one was able to get him. It certainly possessed more weapons and more armour than a normal flyer and was also a lot bigger. After all, the Overlord had to show that he was more important and more influential than all of the other Archons; and he made no secret out of it. However, this was the way it worked in Commorragh; sometimes it was more necessary to show how strong one was, not hide one’s strength, especially if one’s position was so sublime.
We boarded the flyer without hesitation. Inside I had to trust my master in leading the way, because on the short corridor with the three doors – a glimpse which I had caught as long as the entrance had been open – no artificial light was to be found and I was blind in an instant. Luckily, this was only for a second or so, because after that we entered the cabin and it possessed a window with mirrored and darkened glass, which at least let in some light, barely enough for me to see anything. After the door had closed behind us with a hiss and a heavy thud, my master unchained me and bid me to sit down opposite to him. I should mention at this point that the cabin contained two rows of unbelievably comfortable benches, facing each other and between them, in front of the window, a small table and underneath it some kind of mini-bar.
An icy shiver ran down my spine as I saw that I still could clearly see the eyes of my master in this almost-darkness, because they were glowing demonically and with a ghostly, pale sheen. The stare of these frightening, relentless eyes reminded me very closely that I had no idea what truly differentiated my master from all the other Dark Eldar. Also, it once again let me wonder what he had done to himself to be still so youthful, so much more intelligent, so incredibly far-seeing and so ever-ahead of his enemies. By now I was sure that his body had undergone some kind of modification.
I swallowed. Somehow, I suddenly felt a lot less safe than before with him.
I actually jumped a little as he said to me, “So, I figure you have learnt some vital lessons today?”
I nodded and replied, with my gaze dropped, “Yes, my lord, I certainly did. I will never again open my mouth in court if not asked to. I made some mistakes and I got what I deserved.”
He took me at my chin and I winced. My lord made me lift my head again and look into his demonic eyes. His voice filled the room, velvety, yet dangerous, “Look at me when I am talking to you. If I want you to drop your gaze, I will tell you and you will know when it is wise to do so.” His eyes narrowed. “Or are you afraid of me all of a sudden? That would be most… disappointing.”
Now alarmed on the inside, I wagged my head in his grip. I realised what I was to do now. I returned the stare of his horrifying eyes as calmly as I could and replied, “I just again realised that I know a hell lot less about you than I thought I did and that notion put me somewhat off. However, I can assure you, my lord, this small slip will be the last one and it will not affect my performance whatsoever.”
Vect still had his eyes narrowed and kept them this way for a while. He eyed me critically in this while, never taking his cold, metal gauntlet off my chin. I somehow felt as if he was looking directly into my skull, this terrible gaze piercing my very thoughts.
I had to keep myself from sighing in relief as he finally slowly said, “Alright, child, I will overlook this misstep of yours; but I have to warn you: do not try to find my secrets. Do not make this stupid mistake, for if I find out, I will get creative on you. I would be terribly disappointed with you, since you have been so promising until now. You will get to know what you have to know about me, nothing more. Are we clear on that, my little one?”
“Yes, my lord. Crystal clear.”
I barely saw it, but rather felt his evil smile, a thing, that made me cringe on the inside. He gently patted my cheek, then drew his hand back and said, “Good girl.” He shifted his position a bit, then asked, “So, anything on Malidrach or Vaulkhere?”
I smiled and replied, “On Malidrach I fear I have nothing, since he kept me on distance quite good, as you undoubtedly have noticed yourself. However, I overheard some interesting things from Vaulkhere. Apparently, he plans on assassinating Lady Hesperax and as it seems, he has asked Malidrach for assistance in the matter, who seems to have turned him down. I guess, in the long run he thinks he can get to you in this way.”
Vect made a contemplating sound. “A plan to assassinate the Queen of Commorragh is an insult of the highest level and it strikes me as odd that Vaulkhere is that bold and stupid to mumble about it in my very palace. I will look into this; Vaulkhere generally appears to be too cautious and intelligent to pull off such an idiocy. Maybe he was trying to thwart someone else’s scheme with that, without showing that he was the one whispering it into my ear. Still, if I should find out that he truly is so impudent as to stage an assassination of Lelith Hesperax, heavy penalties will incur for that. I would count that as a personal insult.” His stare turned hard again. “Tell me exactly what happened and what you have heard.”
I, therefore, told him and also mentioned Vaulkhere’s strange dialect.
I also had not missed how appreciative Vect had talked about Hesperax. I knew it! There was something going on between the two of them; I had never heard my master speaking so highly and respectfully of someone.
After I had finished, he said, “Hmm, this sounds so obviously idiotic to me that I think he tries to expose someone else with this. However, I really have to find out how he caught wind of you speaking our language.”
“Maybe he just took a shot with it or hoped that another one of your spies hears it?” I interjected cautiously.
“I will have to look into that, no matter the answer. I have to think now, child, so be silent,” Vect demanded.
I nodded and obeyed.
This gave me some time to look out of the window; I did it with great curiosity and interest.
From up here, the city again revealed its twisted beauty. Though blood was flowing practically everywhere, and the architecture needed some intense getting-used-to, by now, I understood that Commorragh possessed a strange and insane beauty. Maybe it only was just so different and alien to anything the human mind was used to that it frightened the beholder intensely. It was just so hard to… understand, those strange angles, sickening curves and absolutely lack of upside and downside most of the time. Spires not only were on top, literally, every structure possessed many spikes and spires that protruded from the bellies of the buildings; sometimes it looked as if the towers were fighting each other. It was magnificent and sickening at the same time.
I then let my gaze wander to the horizon and for the first time, I really understood how vast the city had to be. The endless swarm of buildings never stopped, only very far ahead I saw that the colour of the city turned from black to white; apparently, this part was made out of pure bone.
I again was surprised as I turned my head to the very right and there I saw an immense gathering of pipes and tubes, a true labyrinth, so to say, which seemed to reach from the deepest depths to the highest spires. The top of those pipes was immersed in thick, greenish-blackish smoke, so it could not be seen. I was quite sure that this was the Poison Crown, the seat of the Kabal of the Flayed Skull, Malidrach’s Kabal. It could only be reached by flight and those pipes truly led down to the deepest depths of Commorragh, all the way down to the Haemonculi Covens.
I shivered and slowly backed away from the window again. The smell up there had to be nauseating at best.
I winced as my master said to me, “Beautiful, is it not?”
I smiled timidly and replied, “Well, not quite the word I would have used to describe it, but yes, I can see where the beauty of it lies. It is a twisted, deadly kind of beauty, but still, if one looks closely enough, it is.”
“Interesting words from a human. The Imperials just find it disgusting and nauseating.” Vect truly seemed to be contemplating my words here.
I decided to try to change subjects and asked, “My lord, I have a question, if I may?”
He deigned to indulge me there and replied, “Go ahead.”
“Is there anything new on the assassin I stopped the other day?” I asked.
Vect huffed and replied, “Not yet, child. You have to understand that such machinations work quite slowly in Commorragh. It might take a month or two until I can be sure about that. However, I have to say that I am content with the work you have done today. You did well with the Archons and you certainly did nicely for hearing Vaulkhere’s words. Though I am not sure whether this plan has any substance, I might as well tell Lelith when I see her today.”
“Thank you, my lord. I am glad that my service is satisfactory to you. May I ask what you have planned further for today?” I asked, still cautious, though his benevolent words made me happy. God, I had become such a pet to him. Nevertheless, somehow I liked it and still was sure that I was in the best and yet worst position around here.
“As I said earlier, I now want to visit the slave markets, because I am expecting a special delivery for me. Of course, I will also have an eye on other slaves there, but this is my primary objective there. Then I will make sure that my gift reaches the Crucibael and finally, I will treat myself with a performance of the Queen of Commorragh; it has been too long since the last time. Afterwards, I will personally pay my respects to her. Then I am done for today.”
I swallowed. This was still quite the schedule also for me.
My master continued, “I want you to remember closely what you will see at the slave markets. Never forget that if you stop to please me, you will end up down there if I do not find you worthy of dealing with you myself.”
“Yes, my lord. I already figured that out. And I am very aware who will buy me if you deign to sell me.”
For once, my lord truly seemed to be puzzled, “Oh, do you now?”
“Yes. Archon Ea’nash had told Archon Yaelindra such a thing. He really seems to be into me, though I dread what my life will be like if he ever gets me,” I explained.
An evil chuckle. “Good. Then you will do your very best to keep your position, right?”
I nodded. “Yes, of course, my lord.”
“Very well. Also, I need you on your best behaviour when we meet Lelith.”
“I will do as you ask, my lord,” I said dutifully.
I felt the flyer descending by now. I was surprised how smoothly the movement of the aircraft was; I already had noticed that whilst ascending. Considering the velocities all the crafts of the Dark Eldar used, it was stunning; considering their technology, it was not.
As we got off the flyer, I learnt that I had not yet seen all the horrors of the Dark City and that I was about to experience one of the worst of them.
The screams that were nothing but a subtle, yet gruesome background noise in the spires of Commorragh, were here painfully omnipresent. It was audible even for human ears how pain-wrecked they sounded and what unimaginable tortures and agony the beings that uttered them had to suffer. My stomach turned cold in an instant and I realised that my happiness concerning seeing more of the Dark City had been terribly premature.
Now I did not want to see where those screams came from.
But I would.
We had halted in another hangar, again apparently built for this special flyer. The lifeguard surrounded us the moment we got off and we went through a well-ornated and big portal in the usual, fierce pace. With a sour face, I noticed that the floor around here was nothing more but a metal grid, utterly displeasing for bare feet.
A long and vast corridor, whose floor consisted of a metal walkway, was to be found behind the door. As I looked down between my feet, I saw that another corridor was under this one, but it was scurrying with activity, not empty as the one we were currently standing in; countless masses of Dark Eldar and slaves of all different races bustled about. It seemed as if this upper corridor was reserved for the Overlord. The left and right walls were made of glass, embedded in the black stone that formed the ceiling; those walls were about forty-five degrees tilted away from the walkway. In regular distances, doors were embedded in the wall; it was visible that behind those doors stairs led down to the lower level.
And on the lower level, in countless halls, which were lit with the blood-red twilight of Commorragh, which shone into the rooms through big windows, slaves were sold.
This was also where the screams came from, because the slaves got tortured, undoubtedly to determine the beauty of their screams and the taste of their souls. This was done on elevated pedestals, where mostly one torturer tortured the slaves and a second Dark Eldar apparently led the auctions for the slaves.
My stomach turned.
Until now, I never had been forced to watch when someone was tortured; I just had had to listen. I had used to think that my own imagination was worse to what I would actually see. Now I saw that I had been so wrong. I learnt that my imagination was not even capable of thinking up the things I was seeing right now. And right now I only saw two of the numerous halls that indubitably were placed alongside this pretty long corridor.
The Overlord was greeted by another Dark Eldar in lavishly decorated robes; from what I heard, he seemed to be the owner of this particular slave market. He was so incredibly obsequious, it was ridiculous. Then again, if he loved his hide, he damn well better paid that much respect to the Overlord.
After he was done with his overly respectful greeting, Vect said, “I take it you have the merchandise I demanded?”
“Of course, Overlord. If the Overlord was so kind as to come along…,” the trader said. While he did, he looked at me from the corner of his eyes, since he was bent down and it felt like he seized me up like a pet on an auction. It was neither pleasant nor appreciative.
Therefore, I tried to close my eyes to all the torturing that went on beneath us, but it was not always possible for me, because some screams were so piercing. I still felt terribly sick and was not sure whether I would be able to keep the contents of my stomach. I now cursed the fact that I had grabbed a bite to eat in the kitchen earlier on. The Dark Eldar hardly made a difference of the race of the slaves – all of them got tortured.
But there was one thing I noticed: Eldar seemed to be more valuable than other races.
I thought so because not all of the halls were the same – the farther we went, the more exclusive and exquisite they seemed. The first rooms had been a mess of people standing around, aggressively bargaining for the slaves, while the latter got mostly whipped or cut; the last rooms, however, were a completely different category. The bidders there were seated and the auctions were civilised; the slaves got tortured in a much more methodical and yet gruesome manner.
Eldar were only to be found in the last rooms.
My heart skipped a beat as I saw a pregnant human woman in one of the halls and my nausea rose again. I did not want to imagine what horrors she would have to bear in the very near future. The methodical precision of the Dark Eldar showed clearly in her case, for she had sustained some bruises and cuts, but her belly was left untouched. I dreaded what that meant. She would give birth in this terrible place and they would make sure that it would be the most agonising and maddening experience in her whole life; they possibly would keep her child alive, just to torture her by making her watch when they hurt the child.
I tore my gaze away from the woman and tried also to do the same with my thoughts. I failed miserably; my imagination went its own way there. I closed my eyes as I felt hot tears welling up in them. If I started to cry now, I was sure that my master would think up something extremely vile for me. I was not allowed to cry. The cruelty of the Dark Eldar hit me once again, and it hit me terribly hard. I shivered, suddenly feeling very cold and again nauseous, the direness of my situation being again very clear to me. I had to muster all my mental strength to not just freeze in place with horror and I swallowed down the tears with all my might.
I prayed that I would never end up down here.
I won against my roiling stomach just so as we reached the end of the corridor and stepped through another door.
The room we now entered was barely lit and a lot cooler than the outside. The trader led our small group just a bit forward and we halted in front of a huge cube; the sides were about fifty metres; the cube was made out of dark glass.
The trader asked us to halt about twenty meters in front of the cube; he, on the other hand, went to it and said, “Here is what my Overlord asked for…” Then he pushed a button, which was installed on the cube. “…the Alpha-Trytor.”
Blue lights came to life inside the cube and I could not hold back a small shriek as I saw the terrible creature that jumped at us with a deadly roar. It did not actually jump, it phased out of the visible spectrum and back into it, only millimetres away from the glass. It possessed a snake-like body, yet four strong legs were right now not in use and tucked up beside its body; apparently it could choose whether to use its tail or legs for locomotion. Also, it had two big scything talons, which protruded from its back on some double-jointed limbs and a set of smaller ‘arms’, that slashed the air with razor-sharp blades, which were located at the sides of its thorax. Its head was vaguely reptilian, its jaws lined with countless, needle-like teeth and it possessed six eyes; two on its front head, two on its side, two on the back of its head, giving it perfect 360° vision; the latter I saw because it slithered wildly about in its cage. It teleported time and again and hissed and growled at us.
Never before had I seen such an alien and terrible creature; yet I knew that this had to be a Tyranid.
However, I never had heard of a ‘Trytor’.
Vect slapped me carelessly and casually in the face for my shriek, but did not deign to snarl at me. It was a very mild reprimand, since he did not even deem it necessary to hit me on my injured cheek.
My master said, “Ah yes, and a splendid specimen indeed. From all the races of this galaxy, the Tyranids never seize to amaze me, since their creations are by far the most creative and deadly. A Trytor, the combination of Trygon and Lictor… Who would have thought about such a fantastic challenge?”
“I take it that the Overlord is satisfied with his purchase?” the trader interjected cautiously.
“Yes, I think the Succubus of the Cult of Strife will like this challenge. Make sure it is delivered timely,” Vect replied.
Now I had to keep my jaw from dropping. Hesperax was to fight this thing? This could prove interesting, even for her, for the movements of the Trytor seemed to be lightning-fast; at least my eyes were not quick enough to follow and they had already been trained a bit in following extremely fast movements. Since Vect had mentioned that he would watch her performance, I took it that I would too. Now, that really excited me. Hesperax was said to have a maddening beauty and grace about her and watching her performances was not only almost priceless, but also an honour.
“Very well, Overlord. If he doesn’t mind, I shall escort my Overlord back to his flyer?” the trader asked.
My lord nodded in approval and we again left the room and went back through the gruesome corridor.
As we were almost at the end of it, I halted for the slightest second in my pace as I looked into another auction hall and saw something or rather someone there that caught me totally off-guard.
A young woman, approximately as old as me, was to be sold there. She looked good, was slender, tall and long-limbed; her hair was red and her eyes watery-blue.
The thing was: I knew her.
She was my best friend.
I closed my eyes in utter horror as she turned her head towards the window the moment we passed by and she cried out my name, “Temira!”
Hearing my name called in such a pleading manner and especially out of the throat of my best friend, made me halt in my place.
This. Was. No. Good.
I sighed resignedly as my master also halted in his pace and his sharp voice cut my ears, “I take it you know this one, child?”
Feeling hot tears burning in my eyes again, I nodded.
I heard the malicious sound he made and felt him leaning down towards me. He took me at my collar and hissed into my ear, “And what is she to you? Do not dare to lie; I would sense the lie anyways.”
I swallowed and trembling, I answered, “She is my best friend. Her name is Lisbeth.”
We always had been fellows in misery, different and loners; we had been mocked because of our unordinary names and had held each other’s hands when one of us had a horrid time at home. How deep this misery would go now, none of us could have fathomed. As I thought about it, it was no surprise that she was here too. Her home had not been that far away from the house I had been watching back then. It seemed so unreal to me now, like a faint memory. Since I had been here, I had been glad that I had had no lover back in my time; I was sure that being separated from him would have torn me apart in no time. However, I had never imagined that I would find someone I knew so well and held so dear like Lisbeth, around here.
It was deadly.
I opened my eyes; the mental pain had to be apparent on my face. Vect let go of me, evilly chuckling, and called the trader to him. Ever-bootlicking, the latter scurried to the side of the Overlord and said, with false courtesy, “Yes, Overlord? How may I serve?”
“I would like to purchase this particular slave,” the Overlord replied, pointing at Lisbeth.
The trader frowned and said with a bow, “Certainly, Overlord, but I have to admit that she might not be to my Overlord’s liking. I had a hard time selling her until now, since she is so skinny and… unresponsive.”
Vect made a pensive sound. “I have my reasons. Now, shall we start haggling or not? If she is really so hard to sell, you might want to make me a good offer.”
Yes, Lisbeth was a tough one; she knew what it was like to be beaten up. Her mostly drunken father had taught her that cruel lesson quite well.
I looked at her again and saw with great pain that she had been severely mistreated. Bruises and cuts covered her body and I did not dare imagine what she must have gone through, being only down here, while I was with the Overlord all this time. We looked into each other’s eyes and reached a silent understanding. We both knew that we were doomed and I could see the apology in her eyes, because she had realised like me that recognising each other had been a terrible mistake. Lisbeth did not know as much as me about the Dark Eldar, but enough to picture what an amicable connection between two humans meant for them in Commorragh. I portended her that it was okay. After all, her reaction had been… human.
I dropped my gaze in shame, realising in this moment that I was a lot less human than she remembered me. I would not let her see me like this. Never.
Then again, I was quite sure I would not be given a choice in that matter.
With a pained look, I gazed at my master and the trader, who were currently discussing Lisbeth’s price. Never before had anything disgusted me so much like this conversation. I guessed it was because she meant something to me and hearing others talk about her like she was a piece of furniture to be bought, made me sick.
It was the first time I outright despised my master. Until now, he had fascinated me so much in a strange and enticing way that I could somehow justify and overlook what he had done to me and others. I had figured him to be somewhat different than the rest of his kin, which he was, in a way, but there was a thing all of them shared: this utter disrespect of all the other races and the notion that especially humans were nothing but cattle – things – to be there for short entertainment and then to be discarded. Lives did not matter and yet, in the same notion, they mattered most in the Dark City.
I took a deep breath. If I wanted to survive any longer around here, I would have to live with it, as with everything else.
After a short while, an agreement was reached between Overlord and trader. The trader commanded his staff to take Lisbeth away and to the Black Fortress. I watched with a pained gaze – knowing that my master would have made me watch anyways if I had dared to divert my eyes – as they took her away. They were not gentle, to say the least. As I knew Lisbeth, she likely had struggled a lot, as the fighter she was. Her biggest weakness was that she did not know when to stop struggling and now she paid the price for her resistance. It was no wonder though, because the only way she had been able to make her father finally stop beating her up was to stand up to him. This was the way she handled such situations.
Around here, this was fatal.
As Lisbeth was dragged out of my sight, I also was led away, my master continuing his path back to his flyer in the usual, stern pace. I followed, feeling empty, hollow and somehow utterly betrayed. I had thought that I had earned at least some favours, but now I clearly saw again that I truly was nothing more than a regular slave to the Overlord, a plaything, just there for his amusement and as such, I was to be subjected to every torment he could think up for me.
Apparently, I had judged my situation completely wrong.
At this point, I asked myself whether all the things he had said to me concerning me being different and intriguing really had been true or if he just had played me incredibly nicely. Right now, I wondered if he only had just toyed with me all the time, making me think that I was something special, lulling me into this false sense of security and then take this privilege away again, just to show me clearly that I should not think highly of myself in any way. It would fit into what I had read about him; Vect was the most mischievous being around here.
How could I have been so blind?
Maybe I was more desperate than I wanted to admit.
Back in the flyer and again on the bench whilst facing the Overlord, I asked, with a weak and emotionless voice, “What have I done to deserve this punishment? What was my mistake?”
Vect uttered a completely vile chuckle and replied, “Punishment? Hardly, my child. If I wanted to punish you, I would have had your friend tortured and made you watch, whilst I would have savoured your pain.”
I sighed heavily and helpless and continued, “Let me guess – now that you have her and know what she is to me, you will punish both of us if I fail in any way.”
I felt the evil smile of my master. He said mockingly, “Very good, child. You are learning pretty fast. Then again, you humans make it so easy for us. You care about each other so much and utterly expose yourselves with this obtuse and naïve notion.”
I could no longer look into his cruel eyes; this demonic soul which possessed this body was simply too much for me at this point. I burrowed my face in my palms and just gasped, my voice showing my desperation, “Why are you doing this?”
He gave me the most unsatisfying answer to this question, again showing how little he actually cared, “Why not?”
Then, and apparently in the same moment as me, he remembered our conversation from the morning. I looked at him, my eyes grew wide in horror as I realised in this moment that I had questioned him again. Therefore, I did not struggle as his right hand closed around my neck, choking me easily in the process.
“Well, my little slave, it seems as if you have truly broken the rules this time,” he said, speaking quite slowly and letting me smother in his vice-like grip. “Disappointing, but predictable. At some point, if pressured hard enough, you humans always seem to fail.”
He choked me for a while, up to the point where everything turned black around me; only then he let go of me. Vect had pulled me off the bench and I now fell to my knees, my head and arms hit the other bench, though. I fought for air, the darkness only slowly lifting from my mind and with the first breath I somehow found, I gasped, “I know that a simple ‘forgive me’ will not make this right. Therefore, all I can do is to await my punishment.”
My master made a pensive sound. “Hmm, still, you are somewhat considerate when you make a mistake and you realise them quite quickly. Shall I overlook this? No, this time, I think I will not. However, here is the twist in the story, my little one: I will not tell you when you are due for your punishment. Let this thought linger on your mind and gnaw at you. Yes, I think this is a fitting foreplay for your actual and undoubtedly physical punishment.”
Though I knew that he was right, I replied, “Of course, my lord.”
Without acknowledging my submission, he said, “Get up, child! Gather yourself; I want you to look good when I lead you into the Crucibael. No tears!”
I obeyed and tried to calm myself down as well as I could, afraid, that I could fail him again. Still, I had to ask one thing, and I was only able to do it with a trembling voice, “Will you punish Lisbeth too?” The thought almost tore me apart.
The Overlord made a contemplative sound, then said slowly, “That depends on how you behave until the end of the day. Fail me again and she will suffer. If you do nicely, she will go unscathed.”
I nodded and said cautiously, “May I ask whether you have already decided what to do with her in the meantime?”
My master chuckled. “Is this not obvious? Nevermind, I will explain it to you, child: for now, I will keep her close by, locked up in a cell. Should you do well for the next time, her situation will get better as well and she will be a regular maid or waiter. If you should misbehave again anytime soon, I will have her moved to my torture chamber and locked up there in a cage. Her fate is now tied to yours. If you want her to live somewhat pain-free, you better not fail me again in such a dim-witted way.”
“Yes, my lord. I understand,” I replied obediently. At the same time, something died in me. I could handle getting punished for my own stupidity, even though I knew that he would make me scream anytime soon. What I could not stand was the thought that my mistakes would be reflected on somebody else, who was completely innocent and dear to me. I hated Vect so much right now and yet it was a helpless rage, because I knew all too well that there was nothing I could do.
Play the game.
That was all that I could truly do here.
“Still, there was an interesting development today: now I know your name,” my master contemplated.
I sighed and replied, “You could have asked me.”
He frowned and replied, “Of course I could have, but, to be honest, it never occurred to me. Usually, I do not know the names of my slaves; it is completely irrelevant to me. Still, in your case, I like the notion. Temira…”
I shivered as he spoke my name. It put me off, more than any nickname he had given me until now. This was because on one hand something in me cringed and recoiled at the thought that he now knew my name; somehow I felt that this gave him even more power over me, though it was hardly possible at this point. On the other hand, he spoke it pretty contemplative, rolling the word like a fine wine on his tongue and throat. This made it sound somewhat eerie.
“It has a nice ring to it. I like it,” my master stated.
Somewhat bewildered I said, “I’m glad to hear that, my lord?” I just was not able to follow his moods. Moments before, it had seemed as if he continued his malicious streak forever, now he again seemed to be content and gentle. By now I was sure that I would never figure him out.
We spent the next time in silence. I looked out of the window again, just because I did not want to meet the gaze of my master any longer. It felt like he was impaling me with his stare. As I looked down on the twisted city, I let my mind wander. Right now I was puzzled that I never had actually thought about the people I had left back in my time. I no longer had had any connection to my family; therefore, not much was lost for me in that regard. I also had not had a relationship, so therefore, I had not lost a loved one. And though I had some friends who sure would miss me, I never had thought about Lisbeth, who would have gone to great lengths to find me. She was my only true friend and the thought that she also was here now, sharing my bleak fate, tore me apart. Back in our time, she would have been able to move on, but around here only death would await her at some point.
And it all depended on me what this death would look like.
I figured that I had not thought about her, because there had been so much for me to take in and adjust to. It was not surprising considering my position, but still, I felt guilty for not giving a damn about anybody else than me. Then again, how should I have known that I was not alone around here?
Suddenly a cruel thought crossed my mind and I barely kept from flinching. With Lisbeth here, I was no longer unique around here. She had quite the same mindset as me and knew also a bit about the Dark Eldar society. If Vect ever should tire of me for any reason and decided to shape another being into his personal slave, Lisbeth was his next best choice, since he seemed to like the mindset of the humans of my time. I would have to be a lot more careful in the future to keep my position, for I now had some competition.
Thinking this way about her tore me apart. Though Lisbeth had my utter trust, my position forced me to consider that if I wanted to live, I might have to sacrifice her in the end.
How I should manage that, I did not know.
With these thoughts, I felt that the flyer descended and we came to a halt at some point. Without saying a single word, my master chained me again and led me outside.
The moment we left the flyer, my jaw dropped in amazement and I whispered, “Awesome.”
We stood in front of one of the most magnificent buildings I had seen so far in Commorragh. I knew that it had to be the Crucibael. The literature I had read on it had not been lying when it stated that this arena was the vastest in the Dark City and also the most resplendent one. The enormous arena, which apparently had the shape of an old-fashioned amphitheatre, but a full circle, like the Colosseum of Rome, was made out of polished, black stone – which looked like obsidian – but also out of sheer bone. It was adorned with barbs and spikes, like everything in the Dark City, but it had a certain sense of symmetry and aesthetics to it, which were hard to describe, because again like everything else around here, the angles that had been used were mind-bending and nauseating. The ornaments were lined with gold, which shone like lava in the blood-red twilight, and gigantic green and red gemstones adorned the building, making it shine like a bloodied diamond in the light.
Sadly, I was not given time to admire the building any further, because my master seemed to be in a bit of a hurry now. I had to jog along with quite a fierce pace to match his; otherwise, I was sure that he would just drag me along if I fell. This was unfortunately all too likely, because my attire made it hard for me to run properly, since the chains hindered me in moving smoothly. It took a lot of my concentration not to fall. As I followed, I looked around me and realised that the arena was placed on one of the highest spires in Commorragh, again underlining the sublime position of Lelith Hesperax. To our left, I could see the spires of Corespur and again I was hardly surprised; the close association of the Kabal of the Black Heart and the Cult of Strife was evident in so many facets. Also the colours they used matched each other. Vect and Hesperax certainly did not make a secret out of their affiliation.
The vast place in front of the Crucibael was empty, yet roars of excitement and the applause of thousands were to be heard; apparently this night’s program was already in progress and the arena was open-air. As it sounded, it was filled to the brim. We went into the building through a gigantic portal, which looked a bit like a maw. Inside, the floor was covered with a red, soft carpet, for which I was incredibly grateful, though I had the eerie feeling that it was made out of skin. For once I could enjoy the floor beneath my feet… somehow. Or, at least, I would have if I had the concentration for it.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Join date : 2019-07-05
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:09

We scurried along the richly decorated corridor, which was almost empty but for some Dark Eldar valets, who courteously greeted us. It only made sense, everybody else was already seated and watching tonight’s performance. The Overlord did not even take notice of them but rather stormed along. The corridor we were following was arched and I figured that we circuited half the arena until we went through another, smaller portal. Behind it, we again went along in a narrow and steep corridor, at its end up some stairs and then we seemed to reach our destination.
We stepped out into the open, onto a balcony made of black glass, which was placed so that a perfect view of the arena was to be had. I noticed that there had to be a force field around it, because the air was slightly shimmering at the open parts of the balcony.
In the arena, two Wyches were currently fighting a bunch of smaller Tyranids on white sands (so that the spilt blood was easily visible), but from what I saw, it seemed as if the fight was about to end.
A throne was placed on the balcony, also lavishly decorated. My master unchained me, but gave the chain to one of the Incubus-Hierarchs, who then took off my chain and nudged me to a bar at the back of the lounge, where I was handed a goblet and a wine jug by a slave that tended the bar there. I took the jug and goblet and saw to it that I went back to the side of the throne, already filling the goblet and readying it for my master. Vect himself stepped to the balustrade and I heard that the crowd cheered louder as it beheld its Overlord.
He waited until the fight ended, which was only after one minute or so, then he greeted the crowd through a vox-caster, which seemed to be integrated somewhere in the balcony, and he announced the performance of Lelith Hesperax himself today, as it seemed. As he was done with his announcement, he waved shortly to the crowd and then sat down on the throne in a slow and dignified manner. I handed him the goblet with a bow and looked at the arena again.
The arena looked exactly like one of the old amphitheatres of the Roman Empire; only the materials that had been used to build it and the fashion of the architecture distinguished it from the classical build. The ranks were filled to the brim with people and the noise the audience made was almost deafening. They all were cheering for her Excellency. The balcony we were on was definitely the place of honour, no surprises here.
The cheering of the crowd crescendoed once more as a portal opened at the other side of the arena and through it stepped the one and only Lelith Hesperax, Queen of Commorragh.
Even from this enormous distance, I saw her impressive shape, as well as the circumstances allowed. She was a radiant beauty and every inch a fighter, obviously, no matter from how far one gazed upon her. Her harness was revealing, to euphemise, covering only very vaguely the features of her body and only one side at that; almost her entire left side was uncovered, only a thin strip of fabric covering her left breast and a second one holding the suit in place around the left hip, making the front rows go insane with desire. She made a spectacle out of it, as to be expected by a seasoned gladiator, flourishing her braided, blood-red hair – along with thousands of braided-in barbs and blades – and clashing her heel blades while somersaulting, producing numerous sparks in the process. The white sand she disturbed and cast into the air made her seem like a ghastly dervish, a malevolent spirit from the tales of old, and the crowd liked it, loved it, demanded more and never got quite enough.
At this point I realised that she was as capable a storyteller and spinner of illusions as Vect himself, only the medium was different – while he wrote his story with people, manipulated actions and desires, she wrote her story in viscera, blood and other, more worldly desires. I could not figure out for the life of me, who, in their respective way, was better.
And then suddenly the absence of roaring – piercing screams and false promises were as noticeable as a thunderclap in the dead silence of midnight.
A glass cube was slowly raised by the central elevator, not tarnished, but crystal clear this time, for everybody to see its content. Even from this distance the creature was horrid, otherworldly and always seemed to be… misshapen somehow. I heard the faint humming of generators powering up – a Shadow Field locking down the arena without hampering anyone’s vision or experience, to ensure the creature would not escape – which soon subsided after they reached their peak performance. The elevator came to a creaking halt, smashing into its final position, the creature within its cargo thrashed about, moving the cage several inches. The arena was dead silent; I believed I could even hear the crunching of the sand under the Queen’s tender feet.
Vect rose, he stepped up to the balustrade and all eyes turned on him. His eyes were transfixed upon Hesperax for a moment. Then, he toasted to her and she bowed in return.
This apparently was the sign for the beginning of the fight, because the crowd roared its approval, Vect chugged the wine and returned to his seat in the lounge; he flashed a smile and turned his eyes again on Hesperax, while he raised his goblet with his right hand. I quickly refilled it; spoiling his mood and leaving him wanting in any way in public was probably among the fastest ways to die one of the slowest and most horrific deaths in this city. Besides, I had already frak up badly today and I did not want to give him any reason to punish Lisbeth too.
“Watch and learn, child…” he whispered, while the energy field of the cage was turned off and two sides of it slammed open. “It is starting. Try to keep up,” he continued smilingly.
The creature vanished and reappeared over the head of Hesperax and swooped down onto the Queen of Commorragh, like a reptilian bird of prey, leaving behind only a faint trail of smoke between its current location and its point of origin. But the creature had not ever matched up with this kind of adversary, apparently. It let out a victorious scream, slamming down its enormous scything arms while the two smaller pairs of arms flailed away with razor sharp claws at its enemy, and even its front pair of legs clawed and scythed into the direction of its opponent. It evidently was more mobile than anticipated. These motions alone produced a small sandstorm and vision was heavily obstructed for a few seconds, while all that could be heard were the screams and the snarling breath of the Trytor. Soon, it was only the breath and after a few seconds which seemed like ages, the sand cleared and I could see. The creature was looking for its prey and I was amazed to find Lelith Hesperax standing just behind its scything talon, hiding in plain sight from her enemy, slowly drawing her vicious Wych Blades. The creature foraged for her with its head and limbs and just as it raised the talon behind which the Queen of Commorragh was hiding, she struck. Even though both had a superhuman reaction time, she hit the Trytor right on the head, dealing a gashing wound on its temple, while I just realised in amazement that she just hid from a creature with literal all-around vision.
The wound was oozing greenish-white blood, but I figured that no vital organ had been struck. I assumed she was trying to negate her enemy’s greatest strength – its perception – via destroying its eyes, yet her first attempt had failed. However, she still had dealt damage to her adversary, dancing away immediately after her own attack, gracefully dodging her opponent’s counterattacks by sidestepping, rolling and jumping out of harm’s way, while the Trytor kept flailing at her, slithering after her and using all its available limbs in the attempt to dismember its enemy.
And then it just vanished.
Hesperax flourished her weapons and…
…closed her eyes.
I could feel my heart beating so hard that my chest hurt, I almost cried out loud, along with hundreds of thousands of Dark Eldar spectators, as the creature manifested right on top of the Succubus, its tail coiled and its fangs bared, prepared to deal the lethal blow. It dropped down onto her, its flailing tail trying to knock her off her feet, while it kept biting, clawing and hacking at her with its limbs, trying to restrict her movements, cutting off her paths wherever she kept evading. The sand was flung meters into the air by the creature’s thrashing movements, yet to its own demise, as the Queen of Commorragh spun around and used the bad vision to her advantage. Seemingly unhindered by it, she whirled into action, diving deeper under her enemy, jumping, rolling around and recovering her stance right beside it.
A flash of light – a mere reflection of two immaculately wielded blades – took one of the creature’s front legs.
The creature screamed and vanished, Hesperax smilingly guarded for its next attack. But this time, the creature revealed its true intellect, not reproducing its last manoeuvres, but reappearing in the same spot as it vanished, facing its enemy head on, its tail whirling around Hesperax, its hind legs scything at her and generally locking her movement this time. The strikes came inevitably. Already trapped by the creature’s tail and hind legs, the Queen of Commorragh had nowhere to go.
Or so I thought.
She vaulted over the mess of talons and claws and struck out, in her usual, blindingly fast demeanour, crippling her opponent’s head, only this time, she took out one of its front and hind eyes. The Trytor recoiled and vanished, escaping right under a devastating series of attacks of Hesperax that would have sealed its fate for good, only to reappear about thirty meters away. Its head bloated up, the soft skin of its head flashed neon blue and orange and suddenly it released a devastating barrage of bio-plasma, obliterating several hundred square metres of the arena.
I remembered for the first time in the fight that there was a whole arena full of spectators witnessing the spectacle, hearing their frightful shouts and screams, fearing for their Queen. I was so drawn into this fight, that I had forgotten everything around me, even the circumstance of my captivity.
I suddenly understood why she was the Queen of Commorragh.
The arena fell silent, the creature breathed heavily and yet there was no sign of the Succubus of the Cult of Strife and I believed to see despair within the faces of the crowd that was close enough to me, upon witnessing this event.
“Look closely now! The real fight has just started; predator against predator, both realising one is dying here tonight,” Vect chuckled.
I pondered what he meant, witnessing the despaired outrage of the crowd, while the creature slithered carefully through the obliterated arena, seemingly seeking its opponent. The first spectators were about to leave in disappointment and pained anger, when the creature vanished with a scream, seemingly struck by something. I focused on its last location only to find two daggers standing out of the sand. Even before the creature could rematerialize, a singed – and definitely in high spirits – Hesperax dug out of the burned sand of the arena, back on her feet, now eyes open again. The roar of the crowd was deafening, even in the Overlord’s lounge. The creature returned to its physical form, this time no more than ten metres away and I could see parts of its head swell again, showing bright colours as before.
However, this time, Lelith Hesperax knew what was about to come.
A precisely thrown dagger hit the creature in its chest, which was a more or less thick section of its snake-like body, and as the creature screamed and buckled over, another dagger hit it right under the chin, pinning its maw shut. While the creature was busy digging out the vicious, curved and barbed Wych Blade, the Queen charged, jumping right behind her enemy, while her singed, yet amazingly well armed, braided hair was dragged over her enemy’s head. Hundreds of barbs and blades destroyed the creature’s eyes, ripped off its scales and flensed its head. Trying to escape the pain, the creature tried to follow the trajectory of least resistance, leaning back, while the Succubus used her hair like a rope to wrangle the creature down. As soon as it hit the ground, she spun her left arm into her braid, bridging the distance between her and her enemy while not letting go.
The Trytor flailed in panic, trying to tear or cut through the braid, but Hesperax was too fast, dragging her hair away from the creature’s attacks, without giving it an inch of space. After only a few seconds, she reached the creature, mounted its chest, twisted and pulled down the dagger stuck in its ribcage while she put a foot to the neck of the Trytor.
The creature screamed, flailed uncoordinated, and bled out, its toxic blood soaked up by the sands of the arena.
The crowd roared while the Queen reclaimed her second dagger. She smiled, turned to each side, arms outstretched, head tilted back in a both gracious and haughty pose, confirming who the champion in these walls was. And then she left, as fast and surprising as her victory had been, breathing deeply from the fanatic screams following her triumph.
The soft and amused chuckle of my master snapped me back into reality. Hesperax’s performance had been so enchanting that I now caught myself staring blatantly at the door through which she had left.
The Overlord mocked me, “Interesting to see that even the dull senses of a human are utterly captivated by her. I take it you liked it, my child?”
Pulling myself together with all my might and tearing my gaze away from the door with all my will, to face my master again, I nodded and replied, “Yes, my lord, I surely did.”
He chuckled and chugged down the last remains of wine in his goblet and then waved it at me in a demanding way. I took it from him with a bow and gave it and the jug, which I had been holding all the time, back to the slave behind the bar.
Then I came back to my master, he chained me to his belt, and we left the balcony again, to meet the Queen of Commorragh in person.
Still somewhat light-headed from the performance I just had been allowed to watch, I followed my master into the bowels of the Crucibael. I was surprised by the vastness of the halls and hallways of the arena and also that the Overlord was allowed inside without anybody asking, since Wych Cults tended to be quite secretive about their inner structure and usually did not take part in the political games of the Kabals.
Then again, the ties between the Kabal of the Black Heart and the Wych Cult of Strife were quite deep and there was no telling how deep the personal connection between Vect and Hesperax was. I had the strange feeling that I was about to find out.
The deeper we went into the building, the more ornated the hallways got, well, the decoration was mostly made of blades and gruesome trophies, possibly remnants of the most interesting foes the members of the Cult had fought and annihilated in the arena and on the battlefield.
As we reached an even-more-so arrayed corridor, I had the feeling that we were at the end of our journey, because this hallway found its end at a lavishly adorned door, which was even more magnificent than the rest.
We halted in front of it and my jaw almost dropped as my master took off his helmet. I had never imagined that he would do this outside his quarters or the training hall. I looked at him in utter bewilderment as he handed his helmet to one of his bodyguards and I simply had to ask, “Why… why are you doing this, my lord?”
Vect flashed a mysterious smile at me and said, while taking off his gauntlets too, “You will see in a minute.” I had to keep myself from rolling my eyes and sighing in annoyance. Was he never going to drop this enigmatic attitude of his?
Apparently not.
Another one of the guards was handed his gauntlets and sceptre, I got unchained and then we stepped through the door.
As we entered the room, I was unable to take a closer look at it, because my gaze was immediately allured by the woman that waited for us in here.
Though I had just seen Lelith Hesperax fighting, I only now up close was able to see her true beauty.
She was so painfully perfect that my eyes and head started to hurt, but by the same token I was unable to look away, because her appearance could only be described as… captivating.
Absolutely everything about her was perfect – from her flowing, silky, blood-red hair, over her picture-perfect sculpted face, to her immaculate breasts, down to her flawlessly curved hips and supple, lithe legs… words were not enough to describe this absolute beauteousness. I felt waves of vertigo washing over me, because her perfection was simply too much for my mind to grasp.
Gods, I knew I was staring at her blatantly, but I was unable to snap out of it.
I was aware that she noticed my stare, but she did not seem to mind, because she chuckled softly, her voice high and clear – yes, gods, even her voice was like honey to one’s ears – and got up from the divan she just had lain on, in one swift and so ever-flowing movement. Even a cat seemed clumsy compared to her.
I wanted to cry because the movement was so graceful.
With two fluent steps she was within arm’s reach of Vect and this time, my jaw dropped indeed as the two greeted each other in one of the most intimate ways possible for Dark Eldar.
To an outsider it might have looked unspectacular, since all they did was laying the backs of their right hands onto the other’s right cheek and slightly bowing their heads to each other, their foreheads almost touching, but I knew what this greeting meant.
They might just as well have kissed.
This form of greeting indicated a level of respect and trust that was nearly unique in the Dark City. It was highly unusual that touches were exchanged whilst a greeting, let alone a touch with bare hands and even more so laying them onto each other’s face. Both were utterly vulnerable in those seconds and knowing what seasoned killers they were, it would have been easy for them to eliminate the opposite.
This was a fight I would have loved to see, because I was not sure who would win it.
Yet, the greeting was over in a few seconds, by far not enough time for me to recover. I still felt light-headed and had not been able to tear my gaze away from this utter beauty I was allowed to behold.
As they had drawn away from each other, Hesperax’s gaze fell upon me and she said, again completely engulfing me in a stupor with her melodious voice, “What’s it with your little helper here, Asdrubael?”
Did she just really…?
This did not help at all with my bedazzlement.
Before the Overlord could answer her question, I managed to say, my voice highly strained, “Someone… please… slap me out… of this.”
My master had not to be told twice, he backhanded me, but I was able to feel that this was rather a gentle push than a hit. I was grateful that I had to close my eyes as he hit me and the pain snapped me out of my stupor.
My eyes still closed, I heard Hesperax say, “Why have you brought her here? Don’t get me wrong – she is a sweet enough thing, but you know that I am not into such young slaves.” I now opened my eyes, looked at her again and almost gasped as I saw that a sneer graced her features. It made her even more beautiful, as impossible as it sounded. She continued, “Or are you getting too old and need a slave to help you around?”
To my surprise, Vect receipted her cheeky remark with a short laugh, then he retorted, “As if you were any younger, my dear Lelith. No, this child has nothing to do with my age or the need for assistance. This one has a special talent, which I wanted to show you. Child, be so kind as to tell Lelith what you know about her.” Hesperax chuckled at his remark. The wonders did not stop here for me. I knew that Hesperax also had to be incredibly old, but as old as him… damn, she looked so stunningly young!
I did not let this shake me too much, but rather did as he had bidden me.
It took a while, since there was so much to tell about Lelith Hesperax. I not only told the plain lore, but also added my own thoughts, but without showing that it was my own theories.
I was quite sure that an utterly surprised look on Hesperax’s face was not often to be seen. I now was lucky to count myself amongst those that had seen such an expression from her. I did not need to mention that also this expression made her look utterly stunning.
“That is… something else,” she now said, shaking her head slightly in disbelief. Her flowing hair underlined the smooth movement even more. Then Hesperax turned to me and asked, “You knew all this before you came here?”
I bowed slightly and answered, “Yes, my lady.”
The Succubus turned back to Vect and said, “Just when I thought you held all the aces around here, you still manage to find one more to hold, you ancient bastard.”
The Overlord flashed a confident smile and replied, “Exactly. There is a reason behind my unique position in this back-stabbing and traitorous society.”
“And what a reason indeed,” Hesperax added and her inflexion, as well as her smile, were highly suggestive. There was something between them, I just could not say what it was, but they seemed to share a bond that was either extremely deep for Dark Eldar or utterly ancient… or both.
Somehow, they reminded me a bit of an old, human couple, but such a thing was unthinkable for Dark Eldar. If there was something more about this relationship – and right now I was sure as hell that there was – they had hidden it perfectly from the public for millennia.
Vect shrugged, seemingly unmoved by her gamy behaviour, went to the richly laid table and seated himself, casually reaching for a glass and a flask, pouring himself a glass of wine. I jumped as I realised that this was my task and that I just had neglected my duties severely. My master, of course, noticed my fright and said, “Relax, child, the rules are a bit loosened up around here. Take a seat and just hold your tongue while the grown-ups talk.”
I nodded and said, “As you wish, my lord.”
I began seating myself at his feet as I usually did, but before I could, Hesperax’s soft voice came from behind, “Honey, you don’t have to sit on the floor, why don’t you just take a seat at the table?”
Still not sure whether they were playing a cruel game with me and tried to lure me into making a mistake, I replied hesitantly, “My lady, I’m not sure, if I…”
She cut me off, “Girl, these are my halls and here only my rules count. When I say you sit at the table, you do, are we clear?” Her sharp inflexion made clear that it was best not to tangle with her.
I, therefore, bowed my head and said, “Of course, my lady, please forgive my ignorance.” I did as she bid me and seated myself to the left of my master.
While I moved, Hesperax said to Vect, “Oh dear, what have you done to this poor thing that she is so utterly submissive?”
He answered, “Actually, not much, since she did quite nicely until now. She is just careful, which is only wise of her; besides, Vlokarion trained her and I guess that he was not too gentle with her.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Vlokarion? Of all the teachers she could possibly have…?” Hesperax burst out. She shook her head, her gorgeous hair followed the movement like a silken ribbon, and then she said to me, “I don’t know what you did that you gained his favour, but apparently you must be good at charming people. Then again, Vlokarion’s motives are so erratic that I think even he himself is sometimes not sure why he is doing something.”
I replied, “It is also a mystery to me, my lady, but in the first place he needed me as a spy against Chu’uk and it seems as one thing lead to the other. Why he has trained me so exceptionally well I don’t know, but I also have the strange feeling that he is somewhat fond of me. I can assure you that I was not in the state of mind to charm him in any way.”
The Succubus shook her head and seated herself to the right of Vect. Then, she turned to me once more and said, “Curious. Nevertheless, you had to do something exceptionally right, because Haemonculi usually only choose extraordinary individuals as their apprentices. So, lighten up, child! I know that you are used to serving in the toughest courts of them all, where only perfect behaviour and submission let you survive, but around here rules are loosened. So do yourself a favour and relax a bit, I personally can’t stand over-submissive slaves.”
I nodded, smiled and replied, “Alright.”
Hesperax chuckled. “You are quite the quick, little adapter, aren’t you?” she said jokingly.
Vect grinned, baring his fangs and added, “If she was not, she would not have survived in such a barely scathed state until now.” Without altering his wolfish smile, he added, “How did you like your challenge today?”
She smiled. “It was interesting, for a change. I liked its reflexes and unusual physiology. Took me quite the time to figure out where its soft spots were. Where did you dig up this particular specimen?”
Now the Overlord showed one of his legendary mysterious smiles. “I have my sources.”
The Succubus laughed. “Typical,” she just added.
He also shortly chimed in the laughter – it was the strangest thing I had heard until now, since both of their laughs were sincere – but then made one of his legendary mood changes and said, now completely sincere again, “Enough of this. There are some things you should be informed about, Lelith.”
The Succubus now also dropped her playful attitude, sat up straight and replied, “Very well. What is going on?”
“It seems as if someone is trying to kill you – again.”
Hesperax shook her head, graceful as ever, sighed heavily and said, “They never learn. Who is it this time?”
“That is the right question. My little slave here has picked up the words from Vaulkhere, but I sincerely doubt that he is as careless and stupid, as to whisper about it in my very halls,” Vect explained.
“Huh. I see your point there. Vaulkhere may be an arrogant bastard, but he is not a fool and definitely not careless. Any ideas on who is truly behind this?”
The Overlord shook his head. “Not yet. However, I can assure you, I will find out.”
Hesperax smiled again. “He is always so protective of me, my dear Asdrubael. You know, I am a big girl; I can look out for myself. They want to kill me? Fine. Let them come.”
To my surprise, Vect chuckled. “I know. Nevertheless, I would not be much of a leader if I let one of the most favourite figures of my people die in a stupid assassination assault.”
Hesperax chuckled too. “You need to relax,” she said. Then her inflexion changed and in a seductive, yet gaming manner, she added, “Come along, after all, this is what you are here for, right?” She got up in one, so ever-flowing movement, then her eyes found mine. “What about her?”
Vect smiled shortly, then shook his head lightly and said, “She is far from being ready for something like this.” To me, he said, “Come, child, I will instruct someone to bring you back to my quarters, where you will wait for me.”
As he got up, so did I. The Succubus chuckled, gently ran her fingers over Vect’s cheek and whispered softly to him, “I’ll be waiting in bed for you.” Then she left with swaying hips and cat-like steps.
That confirmed my assumptions.
I was not sure if their relationship could truly be described as romantic, but it definitely was something else than most around here had. At least they slept with each other, as many sources had already suggested.
My master led me out of the room, then shortly talked to one of his guards, ordering him to take me back to the flyer and to the Black Fortress. Then we said our goodbyes for now.
The journey back to the fortress and to the quarters of the Overlord was uneventful.
After this long day, I enjoyed being alone for a change. His presence was somewhat strangling and today I was really glad that I had my break from him.
Still, as I sat at the table, eating with great delight, since I had been starving by now, my stomach felt queasy. I had not forgotten that I was still due for a punishment. My only faint hope was that he would be too relaxed after his time with Hesperax to even bother punishing me. That, or he would do it to round off this day for himself with some screams and pain. Then again, I hoped that he would finally get it over with, so my mind could be taken off this terrible dreading again.
Whatever the case, I was sure that he would take his time, knowing all too well how it ate me up.
It took hours for him to come back and though I tried to relax in those hours and though I was exhausted, barely keeping awake, since I was not sure whether I was allowed to sleep, I was uneasy and could not truly wind down.
As he finally came back, I could see from his stance that he had to be utterly relaxed, for I had never seen him move so chilled out.
I smiled at him from the couch, where I was lying with a book to kill time and said, “I take it that the last hours were enjoyable for you, my lord?”
To my surprise, he returned my smile and replied, “Quite.” With this, he just took off his helmet and laid aside his sceptre and then went to the table to eat.
As it was expected of me, I brought back the book and followed him to the table.
While he ate, he said to me, “Keep your mouth shut about what you got to know back in the Crucibael.”
I nodded and replied, “I never intended to do anything else but that, my lord.”
“Good. I like your understanding of these things. There is no need to remind you about such matters any longer,” he said.
I sincerely thanked him, hoping inside that he might let go of my punishment at this point, since my qualities outweighed my mistakes. Nevertheless, he was not in the mood for talking, because he ate silently; from his gaze, I could guess that he was far away with his mind. I kept very quiet not to disturb him in his pondering and in moments like this, his true age seemed to show. I just was not sure why I felt that way. There was just such a deep-going reflectiveness about him, which somehow added a certain sheen to his eyes, that made him look incredibly old.
So we spent this while in silence; I had to keep myself from shifting uneasy in my chair, for I was sure I would just have annoyed him with that. After this strange while, which he had spent staring into thin air and eating absently, he seemed to come back into the present and finished his meal.
After he did, he said to me, somewhat unexpectedly, “Child, I want you to take a shower and remove your make-up. Leave your hairstyle as it is. Then come back, without dressing yourself.”
I bowed and went to do as he bid me. I was relieved that I was finally allowed to take the clothes and the chains with it off. The attire had just annoyed the hell out of me the whole day.
In the shower, the thought of still having a punishment before me again gnawed at me. I just wanted to know when he would finally do it!
Still, I felt better and less filthy after showering, my head a bit clearer now, though I was still exhausted, since this day had been incredibly long. After drying myself and again checking my hairstyle, since it seemed as if my master had taken a particular liking in it, I came back to him.
I was surprised to find that my master had finally rid himself of his armour and was sitting at the footboard of the bed in a wingchair, facing the bed. Beside him was a small table, which was laid with a crimson padding and some things on it I could not quite see from my point of view. I really wondered where he had gotten the wing chair and the small table all of a sudden. Then again, he had enough servants at his disposal that followed his every whim. He had rested his elbows on the arms of the chair and his slightly fanned-out fingers were touching each other’s tips. His head was slightly tilted forward and he looked at me with a certain sheen in his eyes from under his brow, that bode ill for me.
If I had not known what this look he now gave me meant and how dire things were to become for me in a minute, I would have laughed my ass off, because the pose he was holding right now was exactly the one every villain in just like every film ever used.
However, in this situation, I just swallowed heavily, my heart strongly pounding in my chest and I asked, afraid of the answer and with a slight bow, “My lord?”
Vect gestured to the bed and demanded, “Sit down on the bed, on your heels, facing me!”
“Yes, my lord.” I did as he bid me.
I was so scared.
My master got up in one, flowing movement and started chaining me to the bed with metal cuffs, which were fixated with long, delicate chains to the two bedposts left and right of me. He took his time, adjusting the length of the chains time and again, until my arm muscles and joints were almost hyperextended and the bindings held me quite perfectly in place. By the point he was done – he had not said a single word to me – I trembled with fear, for I was sure that he was about to punish me.
As he went to the table – distressingly slowly, as it seemed to me – and poured himself a glass of wine, I shot a quick and panicked look at the small, cushioned table that stood beside the wing chair in front of me.
I was sure that I paled and my eyes widened as I saw what was on it.
I knew those rings and I was quite sure that the whip with the leathery and metallic lash and the golden handle was not an ordinary one. In fact, I was sure as hell that all these things were indeed Agonisers.
I looked at my master in pure horror as he came back and when he saw in my eyes that I knew what was about to come for me, a slow, vicious, yet slight smile showed on his face. He sat down again in the wing chair – I only now realised that he was close enough to touch me without any effort – and put the glass down on the small table, beside the torture instruments.
Vect stared at me for a while, still punishing me with silence, then he slightly shook his head and said calmly, “Just look at you. Scared out of your mind just by the thought of what I might do to you. At some point, you humans are all the same. Such a shame.”
I lowered my gaze, no longer able to meet his, as I felt ridiculed and ashamed. I flinched heavily as his right hand touched my chin and lifted my head again, making me look into his eyes once again. He narrowed them and he growled at me, “Look. At. Me. What is it with you today that you look away without permission?”
I started shaking harder and replied, “I… I am sorry, my lord. I… I… can’t seem to find the strength to meet your gaze today.”
I yelped as he slapped me in the face quite hard. With my eyes closed and my cheek burning and bleeding again, I heard him say, “I thought you knew better than to answer a rhetorical question. Though you have done quite well today in some points, you keep disappointing me at other occasions. I cannot and will not have that with you. You should know by now what you are to do and what you should leave.”
I only recovered slowly from the hit; the dire truth was that my pain acceptance for today was exhausted. The meeting today had taken a lot of my strength and though I had had quite some pain-free time, my mind and body were still feeble. The notion of soon having to feel the pain Agonisers brought, sickened me.
“Still, I enjoyed watching you punishing the other slave quite a lot. I found it entertaining how much you enjoyed it, funnelling all your rage and pain, releasing it upon her. I am curious to see how far I can push you in this matter. Then again…” He let go of my chin and I watched with a pained look as he slipped the Agoniser-rings on. That he did it utterly slowly did not make this any better for me. I winced again as he laid his right hand against my bleeding cheek, the cold metal of the ring touching my face, but not yet giving me pain. “…I figured that I should show you on which points you should use them, to produce the best results. Why not do it whilst punishing you? I am quite sure that you will remember it quite well like this, am I not right, my little slave?”
I just nodded slightly, never able to say a single word, trembling harder.
He shot me a scrutinising look. “I have never seen you so severely unsettled. Why is that, my child?”
I swallowed heavily and replied, “Because I know what the pain these things bring feels like.”
“Do you now? Has Chu’uk punished you in this manner? Or did Vlokarion use them to educate you?” he asked.
I wagged my head. “Neither. I tried them on myself earlier today, to know how severe this punishment would be and I figured that I should know what I inflict upon others. And seeing the whip over there, I am not sure if I will not snap.”
Vect now laughed one of his totally uncalled-for laughs. “And what sense would that make? Breaking you, after I finally have you where I want you, seems to be a very unwise notion to me. No, child, I will mainly use the rings on you, you will only have to feel a few hits from that whip, for each severe mistake you made today. Also, do not forget one thing: those two types of Agonisers still do not count to the worst of those devices. The needle-gauntlets we sometimes use are the real menace and those can cripple nerves permanently, if not used correctly. But I do not wish to maim you; I want you to fully recover again. I will have Vlokarion come around tomorrow to check on you.” He paused for a moment, apparently pondering something, then continued, “Still, I find it commendable that you are so thorough with your tasks. It is highly unusual that slaves try Agonisers on themselves to use them correctly. An odd thing indeed.” Again, he seemed to contemplate a thought, then said, “Very well. For this highly laudable behaviour, you will have to feel one hit less from the whip. After all, dutiful deeds should be encouraged.”
Though I was relieved to hear that, his reassurance and praise now did not help at all. I tried to speak and thank him for his consideration, but I could not.
I started trembling all over and barely kept from crying as I watched him brushing the rings against each other, activating them with this simple movement.
My master flashed a gloating and vile smile at me and said with a tone of utter mockery and viciousness in his voice, “Now… shall we begin?”

Somewhere in the highest spires of Commorragh, a servant talked to his mistress, telling about what had transpired in the throne room of the Overlord the other day, as an assassin was barely kept from killing the Overlord’s Hierarch.
“It might surprise you to hear that the slave-girl was actually the one to foil the attempt.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Our spies were absolutely clear and sure about that.”
Black eyes narrowed, a beautiful face was drawn into a frown and for a while, this angel-like face stayed like that. Then, a smile curled on lascivious lips, yet not lighting this face up, rather giving it a vicious touch.
“Then we have to eliminate Vect’s little helper,” a melodious, yet cruel voice said.
“As you say, my lady,” the servant answered.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Join date : 2019-07-05
Location : Vienna

Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:10

Chapter 11

Prices to Pay

“You are doomed, doomed, I tell you! For tonight we will feast on your very souls!"
—Archon Aaryn Cra’ozamahr Zuol

THERE WAS NO blissful oblivion for me as I awoke this time from my slumber. I had not been allowed to fall unconscious at the end of my punishment this time; I had experienced it all: the mind-breaking pain, the loss of all dignity by being reduced to a whimpering, crying mess and the humiliation of my master’s constant mockery. After he had unchained me – tormented, shaking and bleeding as I was – I had fallen onto the bed, simply out of vigour, and I had been left to cry myself to sleep, feeling like a little child.
This time, my master had not minded that I had bled all over the bed.
And it was this bloody mess I awoke in, badly rested, still feeble and feeling utterly nauseous. I whimpered with pain as my senses started to awake, for my back felt as if it was on fire. With this, I immediately remembered the worst part of my punishment – the lashes with the Agoniser-whip. It only had been three hits, but those had almost ripped my mind apart with sheer agony and they had left bleeding welts on my back.
The first had been for my challenge of my master’s command in the morning.
The second had been for my failure to hold my tongue in court in the first place.
The third had been for my second questioning of the Overlord’s motives.
Vect also had explained to me that I would have had to feel a fourth one, for talking back to Lady Hesperax, but for my commendable behaviour, regarding the punishment of the slave, I was relieved of that one. I was still incredibly grateful for this mercy.
How deep I had fallen. What a dog I had become.
And he had taught me how to use those Agoniser-rings. Oh yes.
I had never known how many nerve nodes and utterly sensitive nerve endings the human body possessed. More than once he had made me feel as if I was dipped into acid and on fire at the same time, making me screaming my skull out. I had found out with the very first touch of the rings that he used a different kind of Agonisers, because the pain had felt a lot nastier than the one of my rings. That, or the points he used them on truly made a tremendous difference.
I yelped as I was ripped out of my pondering by a gentle touch on my back. My yelp was muffled by the pillow I laid on – I lay on my belly. The touch had not been done with the intent to hurt, but my nerves still were sore and sensitive. The evil chuckle that followed my shriek told me that my master was wide awake and he apparently enjoyed my sensitivity.
I winced as he tenderly kissed my temple and I started shivering and whimpering in fear of what he might do to me, as he ran his fingers over my left, injured side.
I exhaled sharply as my master gave me a slap in the face, onto my left cheek, which still bore the slash from Malidrach’s hit yesterday (or at least I thought it was yesterday). I felt the blood flowing again from the wound. I pressed myself harder against the bed, in a futile attempt to get a bit away from my lord as he hissed at me, his lips close to my ear, each of his words cutting like a scalpel, “Quit your wailing and hold still when I am examining you!”
Now I did not dare to move one inch or even utter the slightest sound, though he was not gentle with me. He took a close look at all the wounds I had sustained and palpated them (which was quite unpleasant), apparently checking how badly I was injured. Vect did not say a word whilst doing this and for the first time I was with him, I felt that the silence between us was unpleasant. I was not sure whether he was still angry with me or not.
I sighed with relief as he was done and he said, “That is more like it, child.”
“Please forgive my insubordination, my lord!” As he did not deign to react to that, I added, “How bad is it?”
To my relief, the Overlord chuckled. “You will live,” he said in a highly amused tone. Then my master added in a sincerer manner, “Most of your wounds are merely superficial, however, the one this bastard Akhara’Keth drew is a bit deeper and might produce a scar if it is not tended to properly. I will have Vlokarion taking a look at you later; for a change I want a slave with immaculate skin and without any flaws.”
I really wondered why that was, but I did not dare to ask; the atrocities he had done to me were still too fresh. This time, I had a hard time keeping calm. I needed all my mental strength to not constantly shake and cry because I was tremendously afraid of him. Vect had shown me some more of his fiendish side and the more he did this, the less I was sure if I was ever able to bear everything he threw at me without losing my mind someday.
The notion of my utter helplessness again brought tears to my eyes, but I swallowed them, aware that I would just have angered him with this.
Trying to sound as calm as possible, I said, “What would you have me do today, my lord?”
“How decent of you to ask.” The words were definitely spoken in a mocking manner. My master continued, “Have a quick breakfast, to gather your strength, then make haste with showering and making yourself look presentable. I will meet with my Hierarch today, yet, not in the throne room, he will come here.”
“Yes, my lord. I shall do so immediately.”
Vect had turned me onto my right side and was now sitting behind me on the bed. I indeed tried to get up, to do as he had commanded. I managed arduously and with some whimpers; the still fresh wounds on my back and side made this exquisitely painful. I was not sure how I was to survive serving the both of them today.
Everything started spinning that hard around me that I would have fallen back on the bed if he had not caught me. The Overlord sat me back up, still holding me upright, mocking me, “Easy, child. I have been hard on you yesterday; you need to take it slowly.”
The mockery in his words almost made me cry again. He was such a despicable bastard; I would have loved to choke the life out of him. Yet, I could do no such thing, for I just sat there, panting, the world spinning around me and I felt feeble as ever. My stomach almost revolted at the feeling of his fingertips, which gently stroked over the wounds on my back; I was far from having both mentally and physically recovered from yesterday’s atrocities.
As I sat there, slowly recovering my strength, I noticed that my morning gown was missing. Apparently, Vect noticed my searching gaze and he said to me, “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. As you have fallen from grace with yesterday’s mistakes, you have lost some of the favours I have indulged in giving you in the first place. From now on, when we are solely amongst the two of us, until you have redeemed yourself again, you will stay naked in these quarters. Additionally, I will refrain from taking your collar off in here. The way I see it, I have treated you too amicably and you have shown through your insolence that you have forgotten your place, therefore, I decided it is high time you get a stronger reminder of it.” I winced as he gently kissed my ear and whispered into it, “If you dare to fail me again anytime soon, you will face even direr consequences for your actions. On one hand, I will start introducing you to psychotropic substances and you will learn what it feels like to never be able again to trust your own eyes and mind. On the other hand, I will make you forget what clothing feels like, I will make sure that everyone is able to see that you are my little whore and not a bit more than that. Playtime is over.”
I winced at his last words, for they were spoken as sharply as the blades on his sceptre. I slowly turned my head a bit towards him, only to see a vile smile on his face.
“Do not look so spooked, my little slave. Those things are quite common to happen to one of your kind around here. Being forced to walk about naked in this city is by far not the worst thing that can happen to you as a slave, believe me, there are levels of humiliation you know nothing about. Therefore, be grateful that I still decide to be a bit easier on you than you deserve,” the Overlord said and his tone made cold shivers run down my spine, which hurt like hell considering my condition. I swallowed heavily as I saw the cruel sheen in his eyes as he continued, directly into my ear, “Besides… we would not want to hurt your friend Lisbeth, now would we… Temira?”
I winced at him speaking my name. Though this hurt too, I wagged my head and responded with a very thin voice, “No, my lord, we certainly wouldn’t want that.”
My master chuckled softly and evilly into my ear and said softly, “Good girl. Now, go and flee to the bathroom, my little dove.”
Though I did not trust my strength and knees fully, I loved to do exactly that. I staggered more than I walked into the bathroom and it pained me that he was right: I fled him.
In the bathroom I halted in front of the mirror, bracing myself with my arms against the washstand. I jumped as I looked at my face in the mirror; I was pale, dark rings under my eyes and I had a spooked and shaken look in them. Apparently, he tore more away from me in the torture sessions than my flesh. My face was covered in blood on the left side, for the cut Malidrach had given me yesterday was open again from the hit I had sustained earlier. Though I did not want it, I had to look at my other wounds too. The jagged wound on my side from Akhara’Keth truly looked nasty and torn and still had not closed itself properly; Vect was probably right: if this one got not treated appropriately, it would leave a nasty scar. And though my back had only sustained three slashes, they too only looked frailly closed and ready to burst open again at the slightest mechanical strain.
I looked at the things I was to wear today for service and I was surprised. On one hand, I was to wear the usual hot pants, but my top was something else this time. It was not a bra, but rather a shirt with short sleeves that was made out of a very thin, light material, which barely covered my breasts and was semi-translucent.
Though this piece would reveal more of me than usual, I was grateful for it and I understood the ulterior move behind it. It would not exert pressure onto the wounds on my back and rip them open again. I had no idea why I now again was subjected to his unambiguous mercy, it just totally confused me. One moment he tore me to pieces, the next he caressed me. I would never get used to his capriciousness.
Staggering, I went into the shower. I yipped with clenched teeth, barely kept from screaming, as the warm water touched my wounds, for they burned like fire. I did not hold back the tears now, but stood motionless for a while under the showerhead, silently crying to myself, feeling sorry for myself and being terribly afraid and ashamed of what I had become. I hit the tiled wall in a feeble manner and leant my forehead against it, my body shaking with silent sobs.
I thought that crying was alright, but it got old pretty quickly when there was no one there to pat you on the shoulder and tell you that everything would be alright.
Therefore, I took some deep breaths, fought with every ounce of my will to regain my composure and while I carefully soaped myself, trying to avoid my wounds, I meditated, let the monotonous sound of the falling water be my relaxation as I tried to find a moment of tranquillity.
To my relief, it worked.
As I turned off the water, I felt a lot surer of myself again and even a lot more confident in facing my master somewhat calmly, though I still was afraid of him. I never wanted him to discipline me that hard again, for again not only the physical component of my chastisement had torn me apart, but also the mental torture he had subjected me to. I tried not to think about how hard I had begged him to stop this time, to what a whimpering, crying mess he had reduced me and how he had enjoyed stopping my pleading by making me scream again.
With an annoyed and pained huff, I stopped my mind from wandering and concentrated on the here and now. I focused on styling myself, putting on make-up to make myself look less miserable and bringing my tangled hair into a somewhat acceptable style. I chose subtle make-up that made my face look alive and my cheeks rosy again and decided to keep my hair in a simple, French braid. After all, I had the feeling that Vect wanted me to look humble today and not to overdo it.
Then I wanted to put my clothes on, but realised in the last second what he had told me. I still was alone with him and I was not allowed to be dressed under these conditions. Though I was used to him seeing me naked, somehow this new humiliation nagged at me. I had the feeling that he would exploit my nakedness.
Therefore, I took my clothes just with me and went back to my leering master.
By now he was sitting at the table, apparently waiting for me, and he indeed leered as he saw that I had heeded his command and had not dressed. He commented my quick-wittedness ever so scornful, saying, “Good girl.”
I very much felt like his pet at this point.
I carefully placed my clothes on the bed (whose sheets had been changed while I had been in the bathroom; the blood was gone) and then went to the table, to my place at his left. I was surprised, yet thankful, that the chair made of stone was covered with a soft towel for me – sitting naked on the stone was not pleasant at all and the last thing I needed right now was cystitis.
However, as I passed him, he took hold of my arm and drew me against him, forcing me into a deep kiss. I endured him caressing my tongue with his and I answered his kiss obediently. Still, I died with disgust and fear inside. Disgust, because I remembered again too closely what he had done to me the last time whilst kissing me; fear, because I was terribly afraid that he could be displeased with my lack of passion. Shame made my cheeks blush as I felt somewhat aroused, because his other hand – which was not currently holding me in place at my arm – softly and expertly caressed my bottom. Though those hands managed to do atrocities to a human body most could not even imagine, they also were terribly adept at giving pleasure. I could not fight it.
As Vect finally drew his mouth away from mine, he smiled at me, licking his lips in a relished manner. My master said, “Extraordinary, slave girl. I see with great pleasure that you are performing much more obedient now; try to keep it up, little one. Now, sit, and let us have breakfast!”
Something in his demeanour had changed rapidly. There was a malicious and yet twistedly lascivious way about everything he said and did. I was totally puzzled by it; I had no idea why that was and how I should handle it. I decided to roll with it with utter obedience for now, since he seemed to like that. I would see if I was to throw in some playfulness later on, when he was a bit softer on me again.
Somehow I dreaded what that would mean for me the next time he slept with me.
Without showing all these concerns, I sat as he had commanded and started eating.
After a while, I asked carefully, “My lord, is there anything special I need to know about today’s service? Anything I should look after in particular?”
Vect tilted his head slightly and said, “Maybe I should discipline you more often. I like this attentiveness you are showing right now quite a lot.” He chuckled as he saw my terrified expression. “Do not fret, child, I am just toying with you; you are not a torture slave after all.” With rapidly-changed-to sobriety, he added, “Nothing in particular, just the usual service. However, I hereby give you permission to use the official corridors; I want you to be quick on your feet and letting you run the servant’s ways would delay you unnecessarily.”
“I understand. I will hurry, my lord,” I replied obediently. I simply was too scared to make any kind of jest.
My master, of course, felt it and he smiled at me viciously, but he let me be for now, because he finished his meal quite soon and left for the bathroom. In the door he halted and said, looking me over once again, “Alright, child, you may dress. My Hierarch should be here anytime soon and I do not want him to get the wrong idea about this visit.” Then he left.
I hated his innuendo so much. I never was quite sure what he actually meant with it though I was dead sure that he did it on purpose.
And I had not to be told twice.
As soon as my master was out of the room, I stood up, went to the bed where I had dropped my clothes and put them on. Though his relentless eyes had seen me naked so many times, it made me somewhat uncomfortable to be explicitly forbidden to wear clothing. Then I went back to the table to finish my meal.
By that time my master had also come back. Today he was clad in robes made out of finest, shimmering materials for which I had no names. His resplendent robe with the high collar, which just underlined his elegant stature, was embroidered with motives of torture and battle; it was a magnificent sight to behold. His hair was done in his usual, complex plait, gemstones, bones and blades inwrought into it.
Much to my displeasure he carried my collar with him, as usual. This time, it was a plain ring out of silvery metal. I approached him, since I knew I would not escape from my metallic burden.
My eyes widened as he let it snap shut around my neck this time, for breathing became arduous. The collar was slightly strangling me this time. Of course, he noticed and met my frightened gaze and I shuddered as he ran his fingers down my jawline and let them rest at the tip of my chin. He flashed a cruel smile at me and said, “I have told you before, slave: compliance and prudence merits you pleasantries and benefits, disobedience and foolishness will bring you just punishment, in all its delicious forms. Do not look so frightened; rejoice in the fact that your collar does not yet have spikes on the inside! This is just a slight glimpse into the void of terror that can await you around here when you are unwise.”
I dropped my gaze, bowed my head – which was, expectedly, highly unpleasant – and replied, “Yes, my lord. I am grateful for your still existing favour.”
He lifted my chin again and smiled terribly at me. “You will do fine, child. You just sometimes need to be reminded of it.”
I did not understand what he meant, but fortunately I did not have to answer, because a slave entered the quarters, gaze dropped. It was a male human, who dropped to one knee and said, “Supreme Overlord, your Hierarch requests permission to enter your quarters.”
Vect’s gaze came to rest upon the slave, who shuddered under it. This puzzled me greatly. I was aware that these eyes were something else to stand, but this one did not even look at him and yet shivered in fear as he just had to feel this gaze.
What was wrong with them?
Or was rather something wrong with me?
The Overlord said, “Very well. Bid him inside.”
The slave rose, gaze still dropped and replied, “Yes, Overlord.” He left the room going backwards.
I would have loved to ask my master what this had been all about, but I had no time, for Sythrac now entered the room. He, too, was today only clad in robes. I figured that he had his quarters and tract quite close by, because he was the Hierarch and all that.
As it was expected of him, he bowed to his Overlord and said, “Greetings, my lord. I am honoured to receive this private audience.”
“Quit your flattery, Valossian, or I will send you away again right now. There is no need for putting up a show for my slave; she would have learnt the truth anyways at some point,” Vect snarled.
Sythrac raised his head, looked Vect straight into the eye, smiled and said, “As you wish. Let’s get down to business, shall we?”
I was left standing with a bewildered expression on my face by the two of them, as they went past me and sat down on the two divans in front of the fireplace, which was not lit at this time. I needed a minute to process what I just had heard. Such a familiar and casual tone between the two of them, the implied familiarity by a first-name basis, well, at least, by Vect, and Sythrac’s rather relaxed inflexion definitely was something new.
“Slave girl, are you frozen in place?” the sharp voice of my master cut through my thoughts.
I jumped and replied hastily, “I am sorry, my lord!” I hurried towards them and came to halt between them, Sythrac left of me, Vect to my right. Somehow, this made me highly uneasy.
But my master was not done with barking at me, “What is it with you lately? Was yesterday’s lesson not harsh enough for you?”
Afraid that I had made a terrible mistake yet again, I bowed and pleaded, “Please, my lord, forgive me! You have made yourself more than clear yesterday. I was just thinking…”
“What have I told you about thinking for yourself?” he cut me off.
“That I should leave it be,” I answered and I was scared on the inside how natural those words came over my lips. I had been a scientist once, god damn it!
“Oh, so, was she due for some punishment? A rare occasion, as I have gathered,” Sythrac cut in from the other side.
“Indeed. Yet, in the last time, I found her behaviour… lacking, to say the least,” Vect said while staring pensively at me. I did not like this stare at all.
“May I have a look at her?” Sythrac asked.
“By all means,” Vect said invitingly.
Sythrac reached for me and drew me towards him. I did not dare to resist his request. He turned me around and I flinched as he ran his fingers over the bloody welts on my back. I gasped in pain and clenched my teeth to not show anything else. I held still as he also examined the injuries on my left side and on my face. He was not gentle, to say the least, and I had a hard time keeping calm and not fleeing his touch. Sythrac did not rip my wounds open again, but he hurt me on purpose.
As he was done, he said, “I see. Considering the injury on her side, I figure that she must have done quite some things wrong.”
“Oh, this was done by Akhara’Keth’s amateur hand. Much to my displeasure, I will need to pay a Haemonculus to fix this wound. I am thinking about telling the Maester to ask Akhara’Keth about his payment,” Vect said with an annoyed snort.
Sythrac chuckled. “I would do it exactly so. Why, by the Dark Muses, should you pay for his incompetence?”
Vect flashed an evil and gloating smile. “You certainly have a point there.”
Sythrac let go of me again and I stepped away quite gladly. With a mocking tone, he said to me, “I guess someone has learnt her lesson the hard way.”
Although I was quite angry by now, since I had done nothing to him and he treated me so callously, I restrained myself and answered, “Yes, my lord, I have.”
“Alright, enough delay! Child, bring us the usual things we have in our meetings. You should know about that by now,” my master said and I heard the dangerous undertone in his voice.
I bowed and said, “Yes, my lord. Tár’yenna tea and red wine it is.”
This time, I was graced with a satisfied smile of my master. “Good girl. Off you go!”
I bent down once again as the final greeting and then retreated out of the quarters.
Though I would have died to know what they were talking about, I was happy that I could leave them, for I was not sure how much longer I would have been able to restrain myself.
That ungrateful bastard Sythrac.
Next time I would sure as hell not jump between him and a hired blade and make him see what it was like.
Panting with rage, I stormed along the corridors and down the stairs. Not only did every single move hurt like crap, no, my feelings and thoughts were so confused, I had no idea what I was truly feeling. I was afraid of my master, yet hated him in the same second, a helpless, blind hatred, with no power at all. I was terribly mad with Sythrac, since he treated me like he did, even after I had saved his sorry ass.
And then I thought about Lisbeth and started to worry again. Was she alright, well, as much alright as a human could be in this blasted city? Would I see her again under favourable circumstances?
Wait a second.
I halted in mid-pace and did it so abruptly that I actually struggled and stumbled for a few steps, forced by my too rapidly stopped momentum. I panted in a strained manner (I cursed my master for that blasted collar) and with pain from the uncontrolled movement, one hand against the cold wall and I leant against it, eyes pressed shut.
Something had just occurred to me. Something major.
Had Vect not said himself that no captive but me was left sane and alive from the mission? And now we coincidentally had met someone of my time again and even more coincidentally she was my best friend?
I did not believe in coincidences and a terrible feeling rose inside of me. What if Vect had planned this all along, to see how I handled it if he had power over somebody I deeply cared for? Then again, how the hell did he know that she was connected to me?
Questions over questions and I knew for sure that I would not get any answers to them.
It almost killed me not to know the truth behind this dire situation. I had a strange feeling that I was right, and I felt so betrayed. It almost tore me apart not to know whether my lord was playing me masterfully or whether I started to go insane and completely paranoid. One thing was as likely as the other. I could no longer tell what was true and what was not.
Then again, this was a normal thing in Commorragh. There was little chance to know as a slave what was just a lie and what was not and even Archons often only had some good guesses about it.
Fighting down the tears, I went to the kitchen to fetch what I had been sent for.

I spent the next two hours or so in deep brooding, but only when I was en route between the Overlord’s quarters and the kitchen; when I was in the presence of the two Archons, I made sure that I was at my peak performance. I did not want to give my master any reason to punish Lisbeth or me. I was lucky that the two of them seemed to be too deeply engrossed in their pondering and discussions to take much notice of me. Much to my disappointment, I found that they used some kind of secret language between the two of them – at least when I was present – so I did not understand a single word they said. Though I would have loved to know what their discussions included, it only made sense that they did not let me in on that. After all, this was a highly irregular meeting and it was most likely that the secrets of other secrets were discussed in it.
All in all, if I did not take account of the constant pain I was in and the literal choker around my neck, it was a quite nice and relaxing day in the Overlord’s service.
I was again on my way to the kitchen, more precisely, halfway down the way on the winding stairs, when a figure clad from head to toes in a black bodyglove crossed my way. I was quite sure that it was a male Dark Eldar; the features of the body were underlined by the tarnished fabric, but I could not see his face, for it was covered with a black mask, only the eyes gleamed with a red visor.
Though it seemed a bit odd to me that he went this way, since today no audiences were held, there was no telling whether my master had summoned someone for a particular task and it certainly was none of my business.
It became my business the second he passed me.
All I saw was a quick flash of light, and then the pain cut in.
I realised the second I fell that he had cut deeply into my side and apparently had severed something important, because I could no longer hold my balance, but fell to my knees.
However, he was so much quicker than I could follow.
As I fell, I felt him cutting me several times, severing tendons in my knees and ankles. I hit the stairs with full momentum, for the pain of the cuts just left me screaming and unable to focus on anything else. Blood filled my mouth. Everything spun around me. But he was not done with me.
I felt him coming over me. He grabbed me at my hair, drew my head back and upwards and held an already bloody dagger onto my throat.
A hoarse, Dark-Eldar voice hissed into my ear, “I could cut your throat, but this would be way too quick. I was told to make it slow. Unlucky you.”
While he spoke, I whimpered and cried in pain, because he had taken the dagger away again and had started to also cut the tendons in my arms and wrists, making me completely unable to move. He jumped off of me, threw me onto my back, which again made me yelp in pain since I fell onto my older wounds. Again he was over me, still grabbing me at my hair, while he cut my clothing off of me. I was shaking all over with fear and pain and I cried out as he slowly drew a deep cut down my torso, starting between my breasts and going all the way down to my bellybutton.
He hissed while doing it, “Such a shame. Too bad I don’t have the time I want here.” His inflexion made clear that his thoughts in these seconds were sexually connoted.
I struggled against his grip, but he let go of my hair and hit me hard in the face, making me black out for a second because of the sheer force of the hit. I started shaking and sobbing uncontrollably as he kept cutting through my flesh, annihilating most of my skin and giving me unspeakable pain. I had been cut before; I guessed that his blade was covered with some kind of agent to make the cuts even more painful; also the blade he used was jagged and therefore, drew terrible wounds.
Between sobs, I managed to gasp, “W… why?”
The assassin let out an eerie laugh, drew the flat of his blade over my face, smearing blood and gore onto it and said, “Simple. You invoked the wrath of the wrong people, darling. And apparently, the Overlord is too stupid to see that.”
I screamed as he rammed the dagger into my side.
The assassin continued, ignoring my whimpers and small cries of pain, “I will leave you now to die. It will take some pain-wrecked minutes and I will leave you lying head facing downhill, so the remaining blood flows to your brain, leaving you conscious for as long as possible. Say farewell to your life.”
I shrieked again as he drew the blade from me, opening the wound even further and I felt a strange, warm feeling in my belly.
That and unspeakable, ice-cold, mind-breaking fear.
He left me with swift, fluent steps, this bloody mess I now was. I cried, sobbed and whimpered, shaking all over, so terribly afraid and alone, horrifyingly aware that I would die here and now. The pain was tearing me apart, I felt the blood flowing from me quickly and each breath hurt like I had thousands of needles inserted into my lungs.
I did not want to die, but there was no one saving me this time…

He was humming softly to himself, as he was used to, while he went through the Black Fortress on his way to where he was called. Anyone he met jumped out of his way; it was no wonder, though, considering who and what he was. He enjoyed it. Yes, he enjoyed the respect and fear he commanded over those imbeciles, as it was his rightful place after all the trials he had gone through.
Thinking about some new things he wanted to try later this day, he stood in the elevator, which brought him swiftly and smoothly to the top of the highest spire of the fortress.
As the door opened with a soft hiss, he caught a whiff of a scent he knew all too well. It was the smell of freshly-spilt, young, human blood, mixed with the odour of someone in complete and utter fear.
It was a young, human female. What a mouth-watering bouquet.
He halted in his pace.
He knew this particular smell. As he listened closely, he also knew the voice that uttered the whimpers that now graced his ears like the sweetest music.
It made no sense, to smell this one dying around here. No sense at all. Something apparently was awry.
He followed the scent, which lead him a bit down the stairs again and he inhaled sharply as he beheld her. His trained eyes quickly judged by the look of her body and the stream of blood that was slowly running down the stairs, how much life was left in her and whether he would be able to save her.
He smiled.
It would be a challenge fit for his expertise.
Not altering this horrid smile, he came beside her, lowering himself gently onto the floor and spreading his numerous limbs to start working immediately. Her almost dim eyes found his and she stammered, “Vlo… Vlokarion?” With a relieved sigh, she fainted.
His smile deepened. “It seems as if I am just in time, my little one,” he murmured to himself as he quickly and expertly examined her wounds. With a sigh, he gently brushed against the com-bead which was implanted into his left ear and said, “Overlord, I found something you might want to know about…”

Asdrubael Vect’s voice boomed like a thunderclap through his quarters, almost deafening Sythrac the Hierarch, who was nearby.
“Apparently, someone was trying to kill your personal slave. I will have to teleport with her to my laboratory, otherwise, I fear I will not be able to save her,” Vlokarion stated calmly and coldly at the other end of the line.
The Overlord let out a sigh, but it was one of the annoyed sorts. “Do so. We will talk about your payment later. I shall be with you immediately,” he said.
“Understood,” the Haemonculus answered. Then, he severed the connection.
Vect snorted, then growled in a vitriolic tone towards his second-in-command, “It seems as if we have to delay the rest of our talk, Hierarch.”
“What happened?” Sythrac asked.
“An assassin just eviscerated my personal slave. She was lucky that Vlokarion just found her, barely alive,” the Overlord explained.
“Oh, my. Looks like someone is trying to get back at her for saving me,” Sythrac suggested with a lopsided smile.
“Indeed. Look into this. After all, it is your incompetence that brought us into this situation,” Vect growled.
Sythrac’s smile faded. He knew better than to challenge his ill-tempered superior, so he stood, bowed and left to do as he had been bidden.
Vect donned his armour, took his sceptre and also left in a hurry. He needed to know if he could extract from her who had sent the assassin, though he already had a pretty good guess about it. There was only one in this city who dared to challenge his authority that blatantly. Yet, he needed proof.
“Malys”, he snarled.

Vlokarion was highly concentrated. This was indeed a complex operation. Not only were her wounds critical and she had lost a lot of blood, but also the weapon she had been struck with had been a poisoned blade and had left deeply-burrowed splinters in her flesh.
So crude.
While he was plucking splinters out of her flesh and mending her wounds, some by stitching, some with more advanced techniques, he had her blood dialysed and also some banked blood infused into her. He was aided by some Grotesques; to an outsider, it might have looked like a strange ballet.
A bit farther into the room some additional Grotesques filled a huge tank made of glass with a blueish, phosphorescent liquid. This contraption was a regeneration tank, in which the girl would – undoubtedly unconscious – spend some time.
The liquid itself was charged by exposure to radiation and started to phosphoresce when it was fully charged. Then, very slowly over time, when a body was inserted into it, the liquid boosted the regenerative powers of a body through the energy that got produced chemically by conversion of light to energy. If the energy of the fluid was drained, it stopped glowing.
Vlokarion had deemed these measures immediately necessary, especially because he knew that the Overlord wanted this particular slave to be flawless.
The Dark Muses knew why.
As he was about a third through with his work, he heard someone entering his oubliette. Without looking up from his work, he said, “I have not expected you so soon, Overlord. I will be needing some hours still. This is quite a challenge, even for me.”
The Overlord stepped to the head of Vlokarion’s operating table. He examined the nigh lifeless body shortly and said, “I can see why. Someone was exceedingly thorough here.”
Vlokarion chuckled. “Not thorough enough for me, though I have to admit that if I had been with her any minute later even I might have been too late.”
“Have you found any discerning specifics?” Vect asked.
“Well, it is actually quite interesting. I found a potent toxin, which went, along with the only deep stab she sustained, right into her kidneys. I will only be able to fully heal her in the regeneration tank. Also, I found that a splintering weapon had been used, leaving thousands of poisonous needles in her flesh. It will take me a while to remove those and even longer to make sure I missed none,” Vlokarion reported.
The Overlord let out an annoyed huff. “It is quite obvious to me who is behind this. When Khromys’s weapon technology pairs with Malys’s poisons and connections, they just end up being tremendously annoying. Gather the splinters, I want to have them analysed.”
“All in good time, Overlord. I’ll be needing at least five hours still,” Vlokarion insisted.
“And I will be needing a closer look at her. I need to find proof to my theory,” Vect insisted too.
“She is in no condition to be woken. If you want to kill her, fine by me, but at least let me know so I can stop this considerably arduous work,” Vlokarion stated coldly.
The Overlord smiled mysteriously. “No need for waking her. Just let me touch her head.”
“Very well, but clean your hands first! I don’t want her dying from some ridiculous infection,” Vlokarion stated.
“What do you think I am? An amateur?” the Overlord retorted. Vlokarion chuckled. Even Vect showed a short, fierce smile. They knew each other long enough to know that Vect was everything but that.
Yet, this was one of the rare occasions in his life where Asdrubael Vect truly did as he was told. One did not challenge a Haemonculus regarding his expertise. Ever. This was just as suicidal as attacking the Overlord in his throne room.
After taking off his gauntlets and disinfecting his hands, the Overlord came back to the operating table.
Vlokarion said approvingly, “Just go ahead, I am currently busy with the splinters in her chest cavity anyways.”
“I will. Nevertheless, I must remind you to add what I will be doing next to your undoubtedly enormous collection of secrets,” the Overlord emphasised.
The Haemonculus shrugged and replied, “I think I am perfectly capable of keeping one more. And besides, I do not think that anybody would ask why you touched an unconscious slave’s head in my laboratory. Besides, they won’t talk.” Vlokarion gestured to his mindless servants. Vect did not deem it necessary to give an answer.
Then, he eyed what the Overlord did next from the corner of his eyes critically. Yet, there was not much to see. All he did was gently laying his fingertips upon the sides of her head and temples, closing his eyes and being seemingly highly concentrated. He stayed a while like this, motionless, like a statue.
After this strange while, in which Vlokarion thought to feel a slight shiver running down his numerous spines, the Overlord opened his eyes again and drew back his hands.
“I take it you were successful with whatever you were doing?” Vlokarion asked.
Yet, he did not get much of an answer, just a low and wrathful snarl and bared fangs. The Overlord stepped away from the table, donned his gauntlets, took his sceptre and was about to leave the oubliette in a sudden rush.
However, Vlokarion halted his rush by shouting, “I take it you are aware that there is quite a steep price to pay for my services this time, since I used my personal teleporter and you know how arduous it is to recharge these things?”
Vect halted, turned around again and snorted. “Yes, I am. I take it that it is something highly irregular if you address it that explicitly?” he said.
Vlokarion smiled and turned halfway around to eye the Overlord out of the corner of his vision, without moving his skilled hands or mechadendrites, which held some instruments in the chest of the young woman in place. “Yes, it is indeed something extremely unusual. But seeing that you are quite in a hurry, shall we discuss it next time? All I am currently saying is that I require her for part of the payment.”
“Yes, let us do it like this. However, I will not give her to you for testing,” the Overlord stated determinedly.
“Of course not, Overlord. I require her in quite a different fashion,” Vlokarion smiled.
“Very well, then. We shall talk business when I come back the next time,” Vect nodded. Then he left in a rush.
Without minding Vect’s suddenly hasty behaviour, Vlokarion concentrated fully again on his work and said to the unconscious girl, “Well, my dear, it seems as if it is the two of us all over again.”
With these words, he let another bloody splinter drop into a metal jar filled with isotonic saline to his right.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:13

Please wait for chapter 14 before you complain about Vlokarion's highly implausible payment!
I just did not want to squeeze the whole thing in one chapter, since it would be
a) far too much for one chapter and
b) it keeps the suspense up. Wink


Chapter 12

Quid pro Quo

“Yes, a hug. That is my price. I have never felt the warmth of another's body, who approached me willingly..."
—Haemonculus Salthazar Xorn to an employer

VLOKARION WAS NEITHER surprised nor startled as he heard the voice of the Overlord behind him, saying, “How is she?”
Without turning around or acknowledging his presence in any other way – they knew each other long enough to diminish such petty courtesy – Vlokarion said, “Unchanged since the last time.” He shrugged and continued, “What did you expect? Even I can’t work wonders.” It had been a week since the Overlord had checked on the girl the last time. By now, Vlokarion was used to those weekly visits, though they made him wonder.
Vlokarion thought that this had been one of his best works so far, since the girl would be left without any disfiguring scars from her deep wounds. The Haemonculus was proud of his work. Mending wounds was one thing – making them completely vanish, a different one.
Also, though the Overlord had demanded that she was not to be changed in any way, Vlokarion had not heeded that request entirely. He had changed and enhanced some things in her body, yet, the changes were dormant, so that no one but him could know. Only he could activate them, if it should become necessary for her. If she was due for what he thought she would be anytime soon, she would come to him anyways and it would be a lot quicker and easier to just activate her enhancements than cutting her open anew and implant the improvements. After all, she was to stay unbroken and though he would have loved to hear her screams and feel her agony when he gave her the implants, he was quite sure that she did not have the strength to stand it.
Activating her enhancements would be unpleasant enough for her and enjoyable enough for him.
Additionally, he did not want to be the one breaking her and invoking the wrath of the Overlord with that, though he felt quite sure in his position.
A particularly piercing scream from his current subject halted his thoughts and made him relish the sensations he felt from it. And, of course, he knew that the Overlord – who now passed him slowly, to take a closer look at his personal slave – felt it too and relished it as much as Vlokarion did, if not even more. However, right now, Vlokarion needed silence to talk to Vect and he inserted a needle into one of the drilled holes in the head of his victim, inhibiting the brain centre for speaking, making his subject mute in the process. Oh, how he loved those terrified looks out of watery eyes!
Then, the Haemonculus took a look at the girl, who floated in the filled tank in front of him, oxygen mask and metabolism tubes attached to her body, to let her breathe and nourish her. Though she was human, her physiology had been quite different from any human he had ever seen, and he had seen billions of them. Also, her regenerative powers were astonishing. Vlokarion had noticed the latter already on Chu’uk’s ship. He sighed without a sound. She would have made a formidable test subject, but he knew all too well what he was due for if he dared to do such things to her.
Yes, even for him.
Therefore, Vlokarion said to the Overlord, “She is truly precious to you, am I right?” There were not many in Commorragh that were allowed such a blatant question, but Vlokarion counted himself amongst them. However, the Overlord did not answer; he just looked at the almost lifeless girl for a while, blankly, but somehow pensive, without saying a single word.
Vlokarion shrugged. He was used to the enigmatic behaviour of Vect and he knew that asking again would not merit him anything but an ill-tempered Overlord in his laboratory. He was not fond of the notion.
After a while, the Haemonculus said, “There will be still my unusual price to pay, as I don’t have to remind you.”
Vect now snapped out of his intense pondering, nodded and replied, “Certainly. Go on, I interrupted you the last time we talked about it.”
Vlokarion thought about his words for a second, then he responded, “Besides the double fee, I ask for her for one day and one night. I want her to stay with me for this period, observe my work, and when my day is done, I want her to stay with me in my quarters and tend to my every need. I want to feel her approaching me willingly. It is something I have never felt before and I want to know that feeling.”
Vect again stared pensively into thin air for a while, then he said, “So, it is a night with a willing woman you desire? Why her? I am quite sure that you could have many others.”
“It is more than that, far more. I desire a night with a willing woman indeed, but she must understand what I am, hence the day before where she will observe my work. When she is able to approach me after that day calmly and not shivering in fear, I can be sure that it was done willingly, that it was more than fearful admiration she was able to show me. From what I have heard, she is the only one meeting my requirements, who would not put up some kind of show for me, who would possess the openness in mind to accept what and who I am without being scared senseless. I am sure that we both know the difference between the true affection of an Eldar woman and a human one. The latter is not able to fake this to us and this is the feeling I long for, the difference I want to experience. I want it to feel… right. I want to see whether I am able to get a better understanding of the human psyche through it, since, as we both know, this is the key to ultimate torture and therefore, to ultimate regeneration, to endless life. She is, without any doubt, the only human female around that can manage exactly that. You know all too well what I am talking about, don’t you?”
The smile the Overlord now flashed could only be described as cryptic, and he replied, again without answering Vlokarion’s question, “So it shall be. I think I can save my breath to tell what will happen to you if you dare to break her in the process. I want her to stay unbroken.”
“All too well,” Vlokarion replied with a very self-assured smile.
Threatening a Haemonculus was not a wise thing to do, but in this case, it was rather assuring a mutual understanding than a threat, though the Overlord was certainly the only one in Commorragh powerful enough to back up a threat in this direction.
“One last thing, Overlord,” Vlokarion said, hindering Vect again from leaving. The Haemonculus sighed, then continued, “Why did she know my name? I thought that you wanted to keep my survival strictly between Urien, you and me, as long as the time is not ripe?”
A faint smile passed Vect’s ancient face. “Indeed. It must have slipped out at some point.”
“An unheard-of thing that you would let anything slip from your tongue,” Vlokarion said with false concern, head tilted.
“True. However, after all, she is just a slave. Who would ever listen to her if she told anyone? Besides, no one suspects your survival, so she would hardly get asked about it,” Vect shrugged.
The Haemonculus was aware that there was a gambit played here. Nevertheless, at the moment, it escaped him what kind of gambit it was. “Am I correct in assuming that you get something out of this, by telling a mere slave that I am alive?”
The smile on Vect’s immaculate lips deepened and after a long and meaningful stare, the Overlord left again.
This time, Vlokarion sighed as he was gone. Seeing through Asdrubael Vect was a trick not even he had managed in all the time he had known him. He played his own game and nobody could ever know what he was truly planning and thinking. Either he indeed treasured the girl as much as he wanted to make everybody believe, which would be outrageous, but it was equally possible that he only put up a fuss about this slave just to make his enemies believe that he grew old and weak and that he finally found something he truly treasured, letting them be careless and show themselves.
Also, Vlokarion was aware that giving his name to the girl had been not just a whim or inattention of Vect. He had a scheme there, but in the same moment, Vlokarion was sure that it was one of the most private schemes of the Overlord, possibly shared with no one else, so, therefore, getting to know what it was, was most likely impossible.
Nothing was certain when it came down to Asdrubael Vect and the Overlord would do anything in his power to keep it exactly like this.

I came to now and then.
Each awakening was equally strange.
The first time I came to, I was only barely awake. I felt like I was floating, like in a liquid, and for some reason, I could not open my eyes. After a few seconds and some feeble movement on my part, I felt very much like I was pushed back into unconsciousness.

The second time I felt a bit more alive. I was lying on some warm, but hard ground. I fought for consciousness, dozing off time and again, but I finally came to after some time, feeling terribly dizzy and my vision somewhat blurred.
I opened my eyes and was not able to discern anything farther away from me than one meter. I tried to move and lift my head, to see a few of my surroundings, but instantly noticed that I was far too weak for that. So I did what I could and looked down along my body. My eyes widened as I beheld it, for I was covered with thousands of long needles, who all were attached to hoses and cables and sunken deep into my flesh. I found it highly disturbing that I did not feel a thing and that I was unable to move.
My heartbeat and breathing accelerated.
In a second, I saw a figure standing beside me; from what I could vaguely see, I figured that it was Vlokarion.
My suspicions were confirmed as he spoke to me, “Ah, you silly thing! You should not yet be awake.” As always, his tone was slightly amused.
Extremely arduously I managed to say, “What… are you… doing… to me?”
The Haemonculus laid his hand over my eyes, so I had to close them. He said, his voice calm and, strangely enough, soothing, “Easy, my little one. You have been out for quite a while and severely injured. I am merely regenerating your muscles. Calm down now, you still need to gather a lot of strength and accordingly, enough rest to be able to do so.”
With that question answered, my mind and body came to rest again and unconsciousness reached out for me with its warm, dark hand…

The third time I awoke, I felt a lot clearer and stronger. I also did not have to fight for consciousness; I felt like I awoke from a long, deep and relaxing slumber.
Sweet oblivion engulfed my mind; only somewhere in the far back of my mind, I thought that I had not felt so carefree and relaxed for a long time.
I slowly opened my eyes and had to blink several times before I could see clearly.
At first, I only saw that I was lying in an enormous canopy bed, with crimson curtains, and it was made out of black stone. I thought to myself that it had a nice design; I had always wanted to own a bed like this.
“It is said that the true spirit of a human is revealed when they are free of memory and thought. I am intrigued to see that yours seems to be utterly innocent.”
I knew that I should recognise that voice.
I turned my head to the left, from where I had heard it. And as I beheld the creature that was sitting there, beside me on this gigantic bed, everything came crashing down on me at once.
I groaned as all the memories flooded my brain.
Where I was.
What I now was.
Who he was.
The attack.
And then…
I groaned again, covering my face with my hands.
Through them, I said, “How… how did I... survive…?
A cackling laughter reached my ears. It was not uttered by Vect, who sat beside me.
I looked to the right and beheld Vlokarion, who, as always, sneered at me gleefully. He sat beside the bed on his elongated spine, which he had curled up beneath him to allow for a more comfortable seat, and looked down at me contemplatively. He said, “You gave me quite the challenge, child; I enjoyed it greatly. It has been a while since I had such a lovely patient around for such a long time. I shall miss you.”
I looked at him in pure bewilderment. Though I knew that Vlokarion was quite a queer and eccentric personality, even for a Haemonculus, I sometimes was still puzzled by his peculiarity.
In general, I felt strange, and in some bizarre way charmed as I lay between those two ancient creatures, each of them outlandish and malignant, yet right now, and strangely enough, they seemed only to be interested in my well-being.
I could not help feeling honoured.
Vlokarion then started checking me, testing senses and reflexes expertly and quickly. Some things were not pleasant, especially considering that I was still feeble, quite sensitive and only freshly awoken from a coma that had lasted for two months of their time, as they told me.
After finishing his tests, Vlokarion nodded and said with a satisfied tone, “So far, so good. She is all yours now again. Still, let her take it slowly, it will take some time until she is at her peak again.”
Vect nodded, “Very well. After all, there is no reason for killing her right now.”
Vlokarion chuckled – I really could not comprehend what he thought was funny about that – and said, while he stroked my hair once and tenderly, “Goodbye, my child. We shall see each other again.” He exchanged a greeting nod with the Overlord, then he left.
As always, I felt a strange sting of sadness and regret as he left. For some bizarre reason, I felt a lot safer with him than with my master.
I looked at my lord, who still sat like a statue beside me, and I said meekly, “Okay, I just have to ask: how screwed am I?”
“If you mean physically, I can say that your injuries were tremendously severe and you were incredibly lucky that Vlokarion was around to save you. If you are rather referring to whether I am angry with you, I can assure you that I am not. Assuming that you would have stood even the slightest chance against a highly-skilled assassin would be preposterous, to say the least! Besides, this attempt on your life was actually quite fortunate for me.”
“If I may ask, my lord: how so?”
“You may, yet, it is none of your concern, therefore, I will not tell you. However, there are some other plans and things that will involve you; all will be revealed in due time, child. First and foremost, I need you to recover fully.”
I nodded, though I did not quite understand.
“So, for the next weeks, you will stay here, I will give you some time off from your service in my throne room. And, since I cannot expect you to be stable again instantly, and I do not have the will to care for you personally, I will give you someone for assistance for the time being. I think you know her.”
My eyes widened in disbelief. “Lisbeth?” I asked, hopeful, but dreading what malicious plan he had in mind for the two of us.
Of course, he noticed my fright and he laughed evilly.
“Yes, Lisbeth. However,” he started and paused there, feeding on my fear for a minute or so. “it will be your task to train her, because she will be your replacement for a while.”
Now he had me completely freaked out. I felt sick.
He relished it, but was willing to continue, “Oh, do not look so spooked, I am not replacing you permanently, you silly thing! You will just be gone for quite a while and I will not endure being without a personal slave any longer. Since I like the attitude of the humans of your time, I decided for Lisbeth to be your replacement. I am sending you on a very special errand.” He shifted his position a bit to a more comfortable one and I also turned feebly onto my side, to be able to listen more relaxed to him, since I figured that his explanations would take quite the while.
Then, he started to explain, “There is a quinquennial festival around here, the Carnival of Death, which is held in the Sprawls. The Sprawls are one of the lowest districts, war-torn ruins, stricken by a lot of hideous beasts and the Parched, cadaverous True Eldar that have fallen from grace and fight over the remains of battles held down there. The Carnival of Death is hosted by the Cult of Strife and my Kabal. In essence, it is a race, in which slaves have to retrieve a certain prize from the Sprawls, whilst being hunted by and hunt their fellow slaves. Also, they are chased by three True Eldar bounty hunters, to keep matters interesting. For this time, the Sprawls are off-limits to the public, the Parched and beasts are also driven out of there, because there are some rules for the time being, to make this more gripping. Every Archon with honour and self-respect sends her best fitting, alien slave to this race; slaves of our kind are not allowed. Some truly choose their best to show the high quality of their slaves, some choose those they want to get rid of. Each slave gets combat and survival training for one year, and also three favours, which she is allowed to call in from anyone but a rivalled Archon, however, she must know the person she calls it in from. Those favours have to be chosen wisely, since they will decide whether a slave survives the Sprawls or not. Needless to say, only the one to retrieve the prize survives.”
My heart pounded and I was scared witless. “Hasn’t the Maester said that you should take it slowly with me? Making me face such news is hardly that.”
“Stop complaining, will you! Very seldom is a slave with your unique set of connections sent there. Your chances to stand victorious are good, and you can certainly use the training. I will not pay Vlokarion once again to fix you if you get attacked a second time.”
I was not able to figure out whether he was mocking me or not, therefore, I asked cautiously and somehow excited, “Are you trying to tell me that I would ever stand a chance against one of your kind?”
A mysterious smile. “Remember: you can call in the favours from anybody. Choose wisely, and you might one day.”
I still was confused, though I got a pretty good idea what he was hinting at. “And how will I be able to call in the favours? It is not like I could wander around here without getting myself killed.”
Vect chuckled. “Everything will be explained to you once you are in the Crucibael; all I will tell you now is that it is possible for a smart and strong slave to make the race; well, not unscathed, but definitely alive. It is a game designed to hurt, yet, not to kill, if you are sharp enough. You will also stay in the Crucibael for the time of your training, so we will not see each other for at least one year. Before you leave for the Sprawls, there will be some major festivities, where we will meet again. It is a custom for the Archons to see their slaves off personally.”
“But…” I started.
However, he cut me off, “Enough! I am done answering your squabbling.”
“I am sorry, my lord. I am just curious, that is all,” I added carefully. “Because my frak head is on the line,” I thought additively.
Vect let open whether he accepted my apology and continued, “Before I send you away, there is something else you have to do.”
“My lord?” I asked, confused.
My master smiled viciously, then said, “Vlokarion asked for a very specific payment for his services and as you know, Haemonculi tend to ask for quite eccentric things. This is one of them.”
He then started to tell me what Vlokarion asked for.
My eyes grew wide in disbelief…

I was knocked even more out of the skies and right into hell as Vect had ended telling me about my fate.
“So… you are telling me that the Maester desires me in a sexual manner? I never thought that this was even possible or interested Haemonculi in the slightest,” I said, utterly perplexed.
“It is more than that, far more, child, since he longs for true affection, if only for one night. Do not ask me why he desires that – the ways of Haemonculi are often unfathomable. However, this is what he asked for and you will give it to him,” my master said and his last words made clear that I was not allowed any kind of resistance.
How, in the nine hells, was I to manage that?
“I… I will need some time to figure this out,” I said, still flabbergasted.
“Of course, child. You will have a lot of time for that while you are recovering. Maybe your little friend has an idea for you, hmm?”
I would have loved to gouge his eyes out for his mockery right now. Though it must have cost him a fortune to have me patched up again, for I was sure that Vlokarion would not be satisfied solely with my service as a payment, my master still seemed to care little about what was happening to me. It did not make any sense, but then again, this was exactly what Asdrubael Vect always aimed for: making everybody around him believe that there was no method to his madness, whilst playing everybody so nicely that they did not even notice.
Vect chuckled at my helpless and pained stare, then brushed with his fingertips against his left ear and said, apparently into a com-bead, “It is time. Bring her in.”
I turned on my back again, to be able to eye the entrance. Only a few seconds after the Overlord had voiced his command, the door opened and in came an Incubus with Lisbeth on a leash. She was now no longer covered in cuts and bruises and her fair skin shone in her usual pallor; enough of it was to be seen because she was scantily dressed, as it was usual for slaves around here. Her copper hair was done in a simple braid, some strands were plucked out of it and they framed her delicate face nicely. She seemed exhausted to me; the sheen of her aquamarine eyes seemed to be a bit dulled. It pained me to see heavy manacles around her wrists and the collar around her tender neck; then again, I knew that this was one of the cardinal rules around here: no slave, who met the Overlord for the first time, was allowed to do so unbound.
Though she was my best friend, Lisbeth and I could not be any different. She was tall and slender; I was rather short and muscular. Though she was tough as nails if she needed to be, Lisbeth was actually a tender and gentle personality, where I was headstrong and irascible. We were a perfect counterbalance to each other, which was possibly one of the reasons why we got along so well.
“The slave girl, as you commanded, Overlord,” the Incubus said with a bow.
I took it that the translator was turned on for Lisbeth, because I saw her eyes widen as she heard the title the Incubus voiced. I still had not figured out how translators actually worked, because I heard the Incubus speaking in the Dark Eldar tongue. Apparently, it had not been made clear to Lisbeth whom she would be dealing with. I was relieved on the inside that she was quick enough in mind to also bow down.
I pitied her so much. She had not been taught at all, where I had been profoundly trained and she obviously had not had any idea until now whom she would be given to.
It was one hell of a mountain to process.
Vect let out an amused chuckle and said, “Get up, both of you!” To the Incubus, he said, “That will be all. You may leave.”
As they rose again, Lisbeth now also caught sight of me and I heard her gasp in disbelief. The Incubus removed the chain from her collar and then he bowed again and left.
It was easy to see how much she wanted to storm towards me and hug me and, damn, I wanted to hug her too, but one short look at each other – and we reached a silent understanding that this was not a wise course of action.
I could almost feel Vect’s appetite for our dismay.
It was also him who broke the silence by shifting his position to the foot of the bed at my side, seating himself there and saying to Lisbeth, “Child, come here! I want to take a closer look at you.”
At first, I feared that Lisbeth would not be able to comply; she paled visibly and I could not blame her, since I also still was not completely used to his presence. She just got thrown in at the deep end and what hurt me the most was that I could do nothing to help her.
With unsure steps, she neared the Overlord; I could see her trembling all over. He did not do her the favour of leaving some space between them, but rather grabbed her by her collar as soon as she was in reach and drew her close to him. Lisbeth let out a surprised yelp as he did this, but held still as he examined her; he did it in the same appraising way as he had done with me the first time I had met him. It was apparent that she was cringing on the inside, hating that she was bound, as he stared at her long and pensively after he was done; standing his gaze was more than a challenge after all. To her credit, she did not back away, though she was quivering all over.
After a while, Vect said, “I was told by Temira here that your name is Lisbeth. Is that correct?”
Lisbeth gulped, then stuttered, “Y… Yes, Overlord.”
A faint smile could be seen on his face. “Good, you certainly possess the basics of wits and manners.” Again, Vect just looked at her, apparently drinking her fear, then he tilted his head and added, “I take it you know the basics about the society of my city, since you use the correct title to address me. Therefore, I also deduce that you know how your chances are against me, if you should be dim-witted enough to try and attack me. So, child, let me know: will you be a good slave and behave if I take those shackles off?”
Once more, Lisbeth had to give herself a push to answer. She nodded and said obediently, “Yes, Overlord, I won’t be disobedient.”
The Overlord let go of her and she stumbled half a step backwards. However, that did not hinder him from gently laying a hand upon her face and tenderly running his thumb over her cheek once. She jumped at his touch and I could see her fear and confusion all too clear and again, I could not blame her.
Vect, of course, enjoyed her fear and chuckled. He said, as he touched her, “Good girl. Now, hold still and I shall free you from your shackles.”
It was not like Lisbeth was able to move at this particular moment. She apparently was frozen in horror and bewilderment.
Without altering this terrible smile of his, my master took off her manacles. He very much reminded me right now of a cat with a big prey in its paws. The comparison fit very nicely, I thought. As the Overlord was done, Lisbeth drew her hands back, hugging herself in a defensive manner. It almost tore me apart to see her so profoundly scared.
Even I looked at Vect in bewilderment as he took a deep, utterly relished breath, in through his nose, out through his mouth, producing a hissing sound as the air hit his sharp teeth. His whole body shuddered while he did it. Apparently, he was enjoying the situation. “Mmh, I sense that I will have quite an entertaining and pleasant time while I have the two of you around. It will be my genuine pleasure to exploit your strong feelings for each other.” My master made an amused, yet contemptuous sound and eyed the two of us with a look that glowed with malice.
Then, and to my utter surprise, he sighed and said, “Alright, go ahead, children, embrace each other already! I can feel that desire burning in you almost as strong as if it was my own!”
Lisbeth did not need any more permission than that.
She stormed to me, flung herself to my side and hugged me with a sound that showed pure relief and pain at the same time. “Temira!” she gasped.
I closed my eyes as I hugged her back, for I felt hot tears burning in them. It felt so good to be touched with love for once, though she squeezed me a bit too hard and hurt me. I could feel and share her relief. Yet, in the same moment, I was absolutely aware of the fact that the Overlord would torment us the most with our connection. However, in this moment it was absolutely irrelevant. I felt better in this short while than I had in all the time I was here.
Then again, was it surprising?
I softly whispered to her, “I never imagined that I would see you again, my dear Lisbeth.”
For a while, we were allowed to have this peace.
However, our moment of reunion and comfort was disrupted far too soon as the thunderous voice of the Overlord cut in between the two of us like a scalpel, “Easy, girl, Temira here is still quite feeble! She has just recovered from some grave injury; you are here to be her aide and she will teach you what you need to know.”
Lisbeth drew only very reluctantly away from me. I smiled at her, and wiped one single tear that had run down her cheek off her face, whispering, “Don’t cry.”
I hated it that Vect again cut in from behind with an extremely mocking tone, “Listen to her, child, she is right. Crying is just a waste of your suffering and I personally despise to see things as precious as the sweet nectar of anguish wasted. You do not want to anger me that early, now do you, slave?”
Lisbeth paled again, turned to face the Overlord and said carefully, “No, my lord, of course, I don’t want to do this. Please, forgive my failure!”
I was relieved as a satisfied smile started to slowly grace his features as she said that. I was really assuaged that Lisbeth acted carefully with Vect, though it was unlike her. I knew her to rebel blindly against anybody who oppressed her; then again, I had told her enough about him back in our world – the cruel irony hit me that I had cherished him quite a lot – to let her know what fate she bestowed upon herself if she acted up against him.
“Good, very good. I like your tone, girl. Maybe you could teach Temira a thing or two about courtesy again, since she tends to forget about it sometimes.” He stood up and went to the couch, where some black robes lay. While he put them on, he said, “Alright, children, I shall leave you to it, then. I will be back in a few hours. Lisbeth, it will be your task to see to it that your friend gets fed, bathed and a bit of exercise, just enough to remind her circulatory system what it is there for. Have I made myself clear?”
Lisbeth nodded and replied, “Yes, my lord, perfectly clear.”
Vect sized us up with a final, long stare, then left, taking his sceptre with him.
We both exhaled in a relieved manner as he had left. Then, we hugged each other again.
“Damn, I am so frak happy that you are here!” I said, now no longer holding the tears back.
“You tell me!” Lisbeth replied in the same, heartfelt manner.
We stayed a while like this, just enjoying each other’s friendship and touch and we took strength from the notion that we were no longer alone in this blasted city, though we both knew that ultimately, they would destroy us with it.
At some point, we drew away from each other again, and I said carefully, “Do you want to tell me how you have survived until now or do you rather not talk about it?”
Lisbeth sighed heavily and stared into thin air. “Actually, I’m not so sure how and why I survived myself.”
“Ok, now you got me curious,” I said.
Lisbeth looked miserable, but she continued, “If you have to know, and somehow I have the feeling that it truly would be best, I will tell you. However, I think I should get you up first and see to it that you eat, because I would hate to neglect my duty. I take it that the Overlord is not much fun if you disobey.”
I shivered and said with fear, “You have no idea.”
She nodded. “I see. So, you too, have not gone unscathed. Let’s exchange stories over lunch.”
Thus we began the arduous process of getting me into a sitting position.
It took me a while to muster the strength to do it and at this point, I was incredibly grateful that Vlokarion had regenerated my muscles while I had been out. Lisbeth helped me as well as she could, but I still needed some time. Now I sat on the rim of the bed, panting and barely keeping myself from falling back again, since my vertigo had reached new, unknown heights. Unsurprisingly, nausea was also one of the side-effects I experienced.
“Damn, girl, you look like crap. What the hell happened to you?” Lisbeth said to me.
I smiled joylessly and told her, while I recovered enough to dare the next step. As I looked down on me, I noticed for one that I was naked, but also that my skin was utterly flawless. Even the small scars I had always had from an appendicectomy were gone. Vlokarion really knew his stuff.
Lisbeth shook her head. “Right into the biggest heap of crap, as usual, eh? You also have to tell me later on how you have fared until now. I am dying to know how you became Vect’s slave,” Lisbeth insisted.
I smiled and nodded, then said, “Alright. However, I must ask you to name him by his rightful title. We can’t know whether he has some means to spy on us and I would hate to be punished because of such a stupid mistake.”
“Are we a bit paranoid?” Lisbeth teased me.
However, this time, I did not smile. “I mean it, Lisbeth. You don’t wanna be punished by him! Please, believe me when I say that you should do everything in your power to avoid that!” I felt my eyes getting watery. I still had not entirely processed my last punishment, I now got aware of that.
Lisbeth looked shocked. “Oh my god! Temira, what the hell happened? This is so unlike you!”
I closed my eyes and let my head hang. “I know, it’s just... I barely can stand it myself; I don’t know what will happen if he makes me watch when he punishes you. I mean, I know that you probably also got your share of torture, but believe me, he will be something else.” Somehow, it felt good to be finally able to admit that something was wrong with me and that I was not as collected as I tried to make everybody believe.
Lisbeth laid one arm around me and said, “Ok, I will listen carefully to what you have to teach me and I will be extra-careful. Promise!”
I looked at her and smiled sadly. “Thank you. And I will try to teach you as well as I can.”
Lisbeth smiled. “Good. And now, one other thing.”
I looked at her in a querying manner.
“You now wipe that sadness off your face or I will have to tickle you!”
I laughed wholeheartedly. It was strange at first, then it felt good, but I also realised that I had almost forgotten what joy felt like. The notion made me wonder whether I was really as ok as I thought I was. Then I said jokingly, “Mercy!” With a smile, I added, “Come on, help me get to the table. I am starving.”
She nodded too, then fetched a dressing gown, that was laid out for me, from one of the chairs and helped me to put it on. The gown was a lot warmer than I was used to, but I was happy about it, for I felt quite cold. Then, I laid one arm around her, so she could help me up.
It was quite the arduous journey to the table and I stumbled around a lot, but we managed alright.
With a relieved sigh I fell on one of the chairs and told Lisbeth which dishes I wanted to eat, also explaining them to her in the process (and warned her of some really nasty ones), since I figured that she would not have eaten much of them by now.
As we were both set, I said, “Tell me already! What the hell, Lisbeth? How did they get you too?”
She sighed, then started to recount, “Well, it all started during a stormy night...”
I giggled and I almost jumped again at the feeling of joy. “Stop crap me! I know it was not stormy back then!”
Lisbeth smiled too, then continued, “Nevertheless, it was night. I was dragged out of bed by those bastards. Of course, I struggled, since I had no idea what was happening to me, and I started my custody by gotten beaten almost senseless. Then, they tied me up and brought me back to their ship; I guess I was one of the last, because they were dragging lots of others into the ship, who they had gathered in front of it. I was thrown into a cell, well, rather shackled to a wall. Since they had me beaten up good in the first place, but apparently, not bad enough for some medical care, I was just left alone. I still think that it was best like this, because I heard around me that people were taken out of their cells occasionally and shortly thereafter, the screams started. Thus, I arrived in Commorragh without many physical injuries, but I guess I don’t have to tell you that I wasn’t quite alright in mind. I tried to remember everything you had told me, but to be honest, the biggest part escaped me. And I was so stupid in the beginning. I struggled hard against everything, and all it got me was more pain. Took me a while to learn that lesson. They dragged me from the ship right to the slave markets. I changed hands many times there, from one merchant to another, since no one wanted to buy me, for some reason. I did not act any different than the rest, you know. I screamed and cried when they took me to the selling dais to torture me in front of the bidders, hell, I even stopped struggling entirely and you know how I am. But never was I bought. I don’t know why and to be honest, it unsettles me. I spent all this time down there, never able to have anybody else but myself, since everybody else got sold at some point, but not me. And then you and the Overlord came along. I thought I was going crazy as I saw you, I did not believe my eyes at first. I still don’t know whether it was the worst or best thing that I cried out to you.”
I smiled sadly and replied, “I think it is a bit of both. It is the best thing, because we get to have a short break from all the crap around here, but I fear that soon enough it also will be the worst thing. Our lord will exploit our relationship.”
“You are possibly right, as always. Nevertheless, I was actually sold that day. And this makes me wonder. It is a bit obvious, don’t you think? All the time no one bought me, hell, though I don’t understand a word of their language, I am quite sure I saw the merchants refusing offers. What if he has planned this all along?”
I shook my head and said, “Believe me, never try to question his motives. You will never get an answer. And do yourself a favour and never ask him why he is doing something. Ever. He really doesn’t like that.”
“I understand. Well, it is no use then. So, I guess, he knew about our connection somehow, right?”
“Possibly. It would not surprise me, though I never told him anything like that. But, I guess, you also saw that something is severely off with him.”
“Oh hell, yes. Damn, he looks far too good for his age. You wouldn’t believe the hideous visages I have seen at the markets.”
I chuckled. “I know, right? He has an ace up his sleeve, but, well, let’s leave it at that. What happened next?”
Lisbeth shrugged. “Well, I was brought somewhere around here and locked up in a cell, but one of the nicer ones, with a bed, shower and toilet. You wouldn’t believe how happy I was.”
I smiled without joy. “Believe me, when it comes down to being grateful for the tiniest things, I so know what you are talking about.”
“Well, and that’s it, basically. I’ll spare you the grisly details. I spent the rest of my time in that cell, unscathed and untouched. Gave me some time to recover. Well, at least, until they dragged me up here. And that’s it.”
I exhaled sharply. “Damn, quite a lot to take in.”
Lisbeth snorted. “You tell me.” She shook her head. “There is something about him that makes your blood freeze.”
I nodded in approval. “So, I take it you want to know what happened to me, right?”
She nodded. “Right. How the hell did you manage it to get in this position?”
I smiled joylessly and wanted to start to tell her, but she made me stop as she tasted one of the dishes and let out an utterly relished sound.
I looked at her, one eyebrow raised.
“What?” she complained jokingly. “You didn’t really think that I got anything nice to eat until now?! Believe me, standard slave food around here SUCKS!”
I chuckled, but then said, again serious, “I don’t even want to imagine.”
She shivered. “Damn right you don’t!” Then she smiled and said, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you. Go on!”
So I did. I told her almost everything.

Lisbeth was taken aback as I was finished. “Oh dear. And I thought that I had it bad.”
“Actually, I think your fate was worse to mine,” I said, bewildered.
She shook her head, “I hate to break this to you, but you are... changed. I can’t tell what it is, but you seem not to be entirely... you. Am I making any sense?”
I sighed heavily. Lisbeth had confirmed something I had feared all along. “I was not sure until now. But since you now also pointed it out, I am sure that something is indeed wrong with me. I can’t tell why and how that is, but I felt it before. On one hand, I handle the Overlord far too well, on the other, I think I am starting to become like them. I can’t help it and it scares me.”
“Does it really surprise you? I mean, with all that you told me, the constant pressure you were under, the things he did to you... you just simply had to change. Either that or you would have broken by now.”
Completely unexpectedly, I started to cry. This time, the tears felt different. This pain came from the inside, not from some physical injury I had to bear.
Lisbeth came beside me and hugged me. “Ah, you poor thing! Just let it out, I am here.”
Her words just made me sob harder. What was wrong with me all of a sudden? Why was I so unrestrained? I had to find my focus soon, or Vect would destroy me.
Maybe this break from all the horror did me no good at all. Maybe it was just enough time for my maimed psyche to open up.
I did no longer know.
After a while, I calmed down again and said, “Thank you, Lisbeth. Thank you so much that you don’t judge me for what I have done.” I had told her about what I had done to the other slave.
With a snort, she replied, “Come on! I probably would have done the same! It was her or you and after all, you tried to protect her and she misused that trust.”
I smiled, my face puffy from crying.
“Now, girl, let’s get you showered, right? Do you have any idea what he meant by I should get you exercised?” she asked.
“I guess he just meant that I should do some walking to stabilise a bit more. I really can’t imagine anything else,” I said, frowning. I shrugged and added, “Well, I wanted to show you the quarters anyways, so let’s see how I fare against stairs.”
Lisbeth chuckled and helped me up.
I directed her to the bath and somehow it made me happy that she was as much taken aback as I had been the first time I had seen it.
Lisbeth whispered, “Damn, he doesn’t make a secret of who he is in any facet, right?”
I nodded. “Have you been to the throne room?”
Lisbeth shook her head.
“Wait until you see that magnificent piece of atrociousness,” I warned her.
She drew a face. “Aren’t you encouraging.”
“Sorry. Comes naturally to you once you spend enough time with the master of gloom,” I retorted.
“No, your humour always sucked,” Lisbeth teased me.
I stuck my tongue out. God, it felt so good to be childish for a change...

So, I showed Lisbeth around, told her what she needed to know about the quarters, the basics about how to deal with Vect and how to behave in the throne room, since I did not know when she was due for that task and I wanted to prepare her properly. I, also, showed her some massage techniques, in case Vect wanted to test her expertise.
Additionally, I tried taking her upstairs, but I felt my strength failing me after three steps. Therefore, I just walked around in the quarters at ground level, first with Lisbeth beside me, later on, on my own, while I explained. I was so happy that Lisbeth was as bright as I was. I also decided to try to teach her the basics of the Dark Eldar language, but today was no time for that.
After that, we had both settled down on the couch and again talked about our master.
“I hate to ask this, but has any of them ever... you know... assault you?” I asked Lisbeth. I had to prepare her for that too and it would be the hardest part for her, I knew that, since she knew sexual abuse.
Lisbeth was as serious as ever and said, “No, I was spared from that. Why do you ask?”
I hemmed and hawed a bit, then said, “There is one thing I haven’t told you so far: I have been.”
Her jaw dropped. “What?! By whom?”
“Make an educated guess.”
“Oh, my god! And you try to tell me that I had it worse!” Lisbeth was profoundly shaken by that.
“Actually, it could have been much worse. He at least made me enjoy it somewhat,” I tried to ease up the situation.
“How can this ever be enjoyable?” she gasped.
I sighed, somehow ashamed. “He really knows what he is doing, you know?”
She shook her head. “I see. Why haven’t you told me earlier?”
I made a sad face. “Because I honestly thought I could spare you from telling you this. I only now realised that I possibly can’t.”
Lisbeth closed her eyes and took a few, deep breaths. “Alright. I will manage. At least having an audience whilst screaming and crying stops now.”
I let her have this naïve thought and decided against telling her that Vect would possibly make me watch. I just said, “Just try not to struggle when he touches you, ok? If I were you, I would expect a kiss.”
Lisbeth nodded and stared into thin air. “Yeah. Do you have any advice on how to stay calm?”
I smiled reassuringly. “Actually, I do.”
Therefore, I spent the rest of the time we had alone, teaching her a few meditation and breathing techniques.

Far too soon, for both our taste, the Overlord came back. I felt tired again by the time he did and was not happy about the notion of having to deal with him.
We greeted him courteously and I was relieved to see that his mood was good, for he smiled satisfied, yet evil, as he beheld us. As he undressed, neatly storing his clothes in one of the cupboards, and then, finally, putting on another, simple tunic, he said, “It is good for both of you that you followed my orders and did not dawdle. Too bad, I had hoped that I could do some punishing today. Humans tend to get stupider the bigger the group they are in.”
I smiled shyly and said, elegantly ignoring his remark, “Then again, you can always do as you please, my lord.”
Lisbeth shot me a look that screamed whether I was out of my mind. She did not understand. I knew that he loved and expected to be ‘reminded’ of his supremacy. Also, I drew his attention towards me with that.
“Ah, Temira! It is good to see you up anew. I can hardly wait to employ your services once again,” Vect said as he went to the table to seat himself and eat.
His words charmed me. “Thank you, my lord, you honour me,” I said.
The Overlord chuckled. “Indeed, I do. Now, come, children, let us eat!”
Lisbeth helped me to my feet and stayed at my side as we walked to the table. I could feel how tense she was and I could not blame her. I knew exactly how I had felt in the beginning.
“Temira, I want you to my right today. Lisbeth, you take Temira’s old place to my left.”
Lisbeth looked at me inquisitively and I nodded. Then, we parted ways and did as he had bidden us.
We ate in silence, but this time, one could almost slice it. Vect eyed us alternately; I would have loved to know what he was thinking and plotting at this particular moment.
As he was finished, his next words hit us unexpectedly, “Alright, it is bedtime, my little ones! Temira, off to bed with you! As for you, Lisbeth,” His tone turned to pure mockery. “I fear I have to tell you that your sleeping place will be a lot less comfortable than that.”
Her and my eyes grew wide as he pointed to the slave-cage in the corner of the room.
Lisbeth wanted to protest, but I shot her a sharp look and she closed her mouth again without uttering a single sound. It actually looked funny.
I said, “My lord, I have a suggestion to make, if I may?”
Vect bared his fangs, looked at me and said, “Go ahead.” “You know you will not convince me,” his stare added silently.
Nevertheless, I tried, “I just wanted to point out that this would be highly impractical if I should need Lisbeth’s assistance during the night. I still need her help for getting up and walking.”
Vect slowly tilted his head and narrowed his eyes. Either he was going to devour me right now, or he was truly contemplating my words.
After a while, in which I was dying a thousand deaths, he said, utterly reluctant, “I need to remind myself that you are quite the sharp, well-trained, little bird.” Then, and to my utter relief, he nodded. “Very well. You may also come to bed, Lisbeth.” Without looking at her, he added, “Take a shower. Temira and I have something to discuss.” Those words bode ill for me.
Lisbeth fled the room and I hated to see her go.
Because I was completely sure that he would go medieval on me the second she left, I was surprised to see a faint smile on his lips. “Very good, Temira. I see that your cognitive functions are coming back to you quickly.”
I just looked at him, completely confused.
He chuckled. “Well, after all, you convinced me, agreed?”
At first, he smiled at me, then, the realisation hit me that he expected an answer to that, to assure him that I was aware that he was still in control, though I had used the right argument to seemingly convince him by my own efforts.
Alas, it was too late, I was too slow.
With an angry snarl, he grabbed me by my throat, dragging me out of my seat and close to him, hissing at me, “Then again, I think I have overestimated your quick-wittedness. Do not dare to think that this is any kind of victory for you, slave! You only convinced me because I let you convince me! Are we perfectly clear on that?!”
I answered with a strangled voice, “Yes, my lord, I am absolutely aware of that! I did not mean any disrespect!”
His eyes still narrowed, he almost impaled me with his stare. I had a hard time breathing, because he had grabbed me quite fiercely. Vect stared a long time at me like that and I felt very much like he was staring right into my skull, reading all my thoughts. Only as he was seemingly absolutely sure that I was telling the truth and not trying to act smart with him, he let go of me. I dropped to the floor, completely engulfed in vertigo. I was far from being at my full strength again.
“Get up!” he demanded.
I tried to obey and fought my way back up with a lot of trouble. I wheezed like a stopping bus as I sat on my chair again and I barely kept myself from falling to the side.
Still angry, he took a sip from his cup, then said, his inflexion like a scalpel, “Alright, I shall believe you. Nevertheless, the next time I decide to test your little friend, you will hold your tongue or I will have it removed!”
I nodded, not being able to talk.
Then I blacked out.
It could have only been a second or so, but as I came to again, I felt that I was falling to the side...
...and that I got caught.
As I arduously opened my eyes again, I was on the floor, but in the arms of my master, who apparently had caught me and laid me down on the floor. I tried to get up again, but had to fall back with a pained grunt. The world was definitely spinning too hard for that.
A malicious smile graced Vect’s features and he said, “Easy, child! Evidently, I have overestimated your shape. Vlokarion was not lying when he said I should truly take it slowly with you. Very well, then!”
I almost died with shame as he took me around my shoulders and knee pits, lifted me and carried me to the bed. At this occasion, I noticed once again how strong he had to be, because I seemed to weigh nothing to him.
And he relished my dismay.
As he had tucked me in – it felt utterly strange admitting that – Lisbeth came back. She now wore a light, silken dressing gown and a worried look appeared on her face as she beheld me.
Vect chuckled at that, got out of bed, went to her, dragged her against him by reaching around her waist, nailed her in place by grabbing her hair, and kissed her.
Neither of us had expected that.
My eyes grew wide in disbelief; I sincerely had hoped that he would wait a bit with that. I saw that Lisbeth fought against his vice-like grip in the first few seconds, but then she either remembered what I had told her or started to reluctantly enjoy it, because she relaxed visibly and stopped her pointless struggling.
He kissed her for a while, but still, I knew he was tempering himself, because he neither French-kissed her, nor did he bite her. Nevertheless, Lisbeth had a shaken look on her face as he finally drew away from her.
Vect just laughed at her. Then, he said, “Not bad, not bad at all! Alright, child, you may flee to your friend! Do not worry, I will not follow you... yet.”
Lisbeth truly fled beside me. I moved a bit towards the mid of the bed, to make room for her beside me and the rim, so I would lie beside the Overlord, not her. The bed really was big enough for the three of us. I hugged Lisbeth as she lay down beside me. I felt that she was trembling.
While I stroked her hair, I said, “Are you truly not joining us, my lord?”
Vect smiled evilly, but shook his head. “Not yet. I have some things to finish. I will be right beside you later on, my dear Temira! Sleep well!” His last two sentences were pure mockery. He ascended to a higher level in his quarters; I figured that he would use his library.
I also bade him a good night, though.
Then, I hugged Lisbeth tighter and tried to comfort her with stroking and shushing her. It took her a while to stop trembling – I could not blame her – but as she stopped, I felt her relaxing.
I followed her lead and also closed my eyes.
Because I was still feeble, I did not have a hard time with falling asleep...

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:15

Chapter 13

Trials and Travails

“Do you know what it is when you must question your every action in light of what punishment it may bring?
Do you understand what it is to feel the eyes of your owner upon you even when he is not present?
That is what it is to live in fear, to live the life of a slave."
— Archon Ysclyth of Talon Cyriix

I REALISED THAT I had not noticed when my master had come to bed, as I awoke on the next day. On one hand, this was nothing new, since I only very rarely did, on the other, considering where he was lying now, it was quite astonishing.
Because he was lying right between Lisbeth and me. That bastard.
So much for shielding my friend.
He had each of us lying on one of his shoulders, which was even more astonishing, because I also knew that Lisbeth was quite a light sleeper. Then again, the agility and motor skills of the Dark Eldar were quite unmatched and Vect had already proven that he also aced most of his kind in that regard.
As he noticed that I was awake, he flashed a smug smile at me, completely ignoring my annoyed stare. When I tried to say something, he covered my mouth with his hand of his left arm, which he had lain around me. Vect slightly shook his head and gestured with it faintly to Lisbeth, who was still sleeping quite deeply.
As he was sure I had understood, he lifted his hand from my mouth and let it slide back again to my side, where he started to gently stroke me. Though the touch was gentle and quite pleasant, it was also yet again another little test, because he tickled me on purpose and made me pit my willpower against my body not to utter a single sound. I was ready to ignore his little test and laid my left hand on his belly under the blanket to return the favour. Of course, I was aware that it was futile, because tickling him was impossible, but I basked a bit in the notion of not yet again letting myself be reduced to the level of just some toy.
I looked at him, he stared back at me and a slow smile graced his features, underlining his handsomeness yet again. He understood what I was trying to do and apparently, I amused him with my futile attempts of defiance. I was absolutely positive that I was allowed such things by now; otherwise, I would have never dared to do it and he would have already made me feel that I should rather leave them be.
Somehow, I enjoyed the moment, for we reached some kind of silent understanding and truce, which was rare, yet, the moment passed away quickly, for Lisbeth awoke.
She did not do well.
It took her some seconds to fully awake, to remember where she was and to understand the situation she was currently in. As she realised who was lying beside her and that it was no longer me, she was apparently appalled. Lisbeth tried to draw away from the Overlord, but he caught her by her nape with the crook of his right arm, forcing her back down, again showing how terribly strong he was. He was still smiling.
I could not keep quiet, “Lisbeth, please, stop it!”
It was no use. Lisbeth yelped, because, as she did not stop to fight against him, he apparently started to hurt her. She was too afraid to react properly.
I knew that she was in trouble as I looked at him, for the smile had now fainted from his features. I was aware that he did not like too much of a struggle and Lisbeth now defied him too greatly for his taste.
As I expected, he pushed me a bit away with his left arm and then completely turned towards Lisbeth. He bolted upwards and let go of her nape, and as she tried to back away, he backhanded her hard across the face with his other hand. The hit stunned her for a second, it had been a sincere one, because her lower lip burst open and started to bleed.
However, he was not done with her. Vect now grabbed her by the throat and started to choke her, as he boomed at her, “Will you now stop struggling, you obnoxious brat!”
That was quite the harsh tone from him. Lisbeth stared at him out of wide eyes, dazed by the sheer force of the hit and all-too-apparent fear and her struggling got weaker by the second, as he choked the life out of her.
Our master continued, snarling this time, “Make no mistake, slave, just because Temira here got away with as little as she did, it does not mean that you will too if you stay as dumb and annoying as you are right now! I will enjoy beating and humiliating you into the mould I want to have you cast in and it will not matter how hard you struggle.”
Vect only let go of her as her face started to change colours. Lisbeth fought for air, curling up in front of him, but yet again, he did not let her be. The Overlord grabbed her hair and threw her out of the bed, so she landed quite unpleasantly on her back, again shouting at her forcefully, “Now, get lost! Stop pestering my eyes with your idiot face and my nose with your nauseating stench!”
That was even blunter for him than the first insult. I feared that this was not over for Lisbeth, for I knew that he only was this rude when he was profoundly irritated.
She would now sleep in that cage, no matter what.
She struggled to get to her feet, still fighting for air, managed to get up in a hunched manner and then stumbled away, into the bath.
As she was gone, my master took a deep breath, snorting forcefully as he let out his breath, and shook his head. “This is highly disappointing. She is nothing like you, Temira,” he said, without looking at me.
Though I was scared, I felt obliged to answer, “Absolutely. We are completely different.”
Vect again shook his head. “I do not think that you quite understand what I mean.”
“True, I guess I don’t even see even half of the facets you do. Nevertheless, her reaction does not surprise me at all. She had it a lot worse than me in her childhood. I only started to get mentally abused when I was a teen, she got beaten and sexually abused when she was only a child. Those wounds possibly never healed properly,” I tried to explain.
I winced as he snapped, only looking at me from the corner of his eyes, “Do I look like I care?”
Curling up like a beaten dog, I replied meekly, “I am sorry, my lord, I was careless, I didn’t mean to annoy you even further!”
I exhaled in a relieved manner as he chuckled softly. My master turned now towards me and I was surprised to see a rather soft expression on his face and in his eyes as he looked at me. God, his emotions were so hard to figure out; by now I was aware that the emotions of Eldar were not only more intense but could also change far more rapidly than those of a human. I closed my eyes as he gently stroked my hair once, but opened them, again taken aback, as he said, “Do not be scared of me, my little one, I know very well how to direct my anger. I will not lash out at everybody around me just because one dim-witted individual irritated me. Revert back to your usual calmness, I have found that it is quite soothing sometimes and this is one of those moments.”
Vect lied down again, placing his head in the well I created with my curled-up body. I did not know how to react to that at first, since he showed me a gentleness and... familiarity I was not used to from him. The moment Lisbeth had gotten here, he had somehow changed his behaviour towards me and I was not sure whether it was another test, to see if I could react to him correctly if he was unexpectedly nice to me, or if he now truly saw how good I was at what I did.
I decided to happily roll with it and started to gently stroke his hair. I was confused and had a million questions.
We stayed like this for a while, then he sighed all of a sudden, “Just ask already! I can feel that you are proverbially exploding because of holding back!”
Again I was stunned for some seconds because of this highly unexpected permission, but then I burst out, “How am I different from Lisbeth? Did I handle myself really that much better in the beginning? Will you punish her additively for her failure? Can I do something to ease down your anger towards her?”
He smiled. I was astonished, he really was in a playful mood today. “Full of questions, are you!” he chuckled. “Very well, I allowed you to ask them, now I have to answer them, right?”
I said immediately, “Not at all, my lord. After all, you can always choose what you want to give me and what you want to keep from me.”
Again, he chuckled. I was utterly confused by now. Was I right now really lying with the same Vect I usually knew? I was not sure if I should like this new face he showed me and whether he was trying to make me feel safe to lure me into making a mistake. “Ah, little one, stop showing me with all your might how well-trained you are! I know you are, there is no longer need for you to jump at every hint I give you, so ever-careful not to make a mistake, well, at least when it is only the two of us and only then. When your stupid friend is around, still do it, to show her how a slave has to behave. Additionally, when we are out on official business, I do not have to remind you to be at your very best.”
“I will, my lord.”
“Good. Now, back to your questions. I’ll start with those quick to answer. Yes, you did a lot better than her in the beginning, but I guess that came to a huge part from the education you were subjected to. Vlokarion has taught you really well, I only had two slaves or so before you that were so well-trained. The rest I had to teach myself in a rough manner. Will I punish her additively?” He shot me a quite meaningful look. “Do you truly have to ask that question?”
I sighed. “I just had hoped that you would remit at least some sentences for her, like you undoubtedly did with me in the beginning. It was a stupid question, my lord. I apologise.”
Vect smiled. “You still manage to intrigue me with your perception, for I truly was quite gentle with you in the beginning. Then again, you did not irritate me from the very first second I had you. Hmm, Temira, Temira, you go to great lengths here to shield your friend. Be careful not to destroy yourself with that, you will not be able to shield her always. So, no, you cannot do anything to ease down my anger towards Lisbeth, the only thing you can do is train her good, so she does not act that stupid again.” His smile now got a vicious touch, while he stared at me with his obsidians. “Are you truly so afraid of having to spectate her punishment?”
I could only nod to that truthfully.
I shivered as he stroked my hair gently. “Ah, this is such an effective way to extract the finest mental suffering out of humans, since you care so greatly for each other. However, this will be not due for you if you manage to educate Lisbeth properly.”
“What?” I said. The word just slipped out, sheer surprise blowing my restraint away. I had expected that he would go there with me by default.
Vect laughed. “My dear, you should know by now that I am a fair man. Though you are quite sharp, you
sometimes still do not understand the simplest rules, do you, hmm? If you do nicely as my personal slave, you get spared from the most intense things. If you fail me, you get to feel the consequences. I am fully aware that I will push you exceedingly close to your breaking point if I make you watch when I punish Lisbeth. However, I do not want you to break... yet. Lisbeth has to gain that favour still, then again, you need her and I had her brought here to be there for you. So, here is the deal, girl: Lisbeth’s punishment will be a night in the cage, but nothing else, so she will only be lightly wounded and can still assist you. However, if she fails me again in such a witless manner, she will feel my full wrath and you will witness it, for then you, too, have failed me.”
“Yes, my lord. Thank you, my lord.” I was aware that he could do a lot worse things to her and me. She would suffer, but it would be a light punishment compared to what he would usually do to her for such a grand defiance like she had shown earlier.
“Ah, my sweet, little, well-mannered Temira!” he chuckled and ruffled my hair.
What the hell was going on with him? Why was he so damn nice to me?
“So, be a good slave and do not tell her. I want her to smother in dreadful anticipation of the nature of her punishment.”
“I will do so, my lord.”
“Good, now show me that you truly will. You know that I will sense whether you heeded my command. However, there is one question I left unanswered, the one how you are different from Lisbeth.” He sighed. “Where do I start? Apart from the apparent differences like looks and demeanour, there are a million things to consider. Though both your basic mindsets are similar, you face things in a completely different manner and react controversial to each other. Despite both of you being survivalists and fighters, Lisbeth is a mindless fighter, not knowing when to stop; you, on the other hand, know when you are beaten and do not struggle when it is useless. In crass contrast to that, she is rather fragile and volatile; you are sturdy and determined. And...” He took a deep breath. “You smell and taste completely different. It is, in general, a thing that has intrigued me with you. Usually, humans are not always easy to bear for my kind when it comes down to olfaction and flavour, in fact, most of you smell and taste nauseating for us, which is also one of the reasons why we enjoy torturing your kind so much, because the musk of adrenaline and fear is intoxicatingly sweet and make your kind quite delicious for us. However, you, my dear child, have always been easy on all my senses, which is also one of the reasons why I was able to behold you with more than pure contempt right from the start. I do not know why you are so different in all those facets, but they sure add to the notion that I do not always want to see you in pain and fear, though, of course, you feel and smell mind-bendingly sweet when you are.”
I was not sure whether I should feel repulsed or charmed by his words, for they invoked both feelings in me.
And I surely did not like how he talked about Lisbeth, though I understood why he did. Until now, she had not done too well and had made a lot of mistakes. Yes, she was a tough and stubborn fighter, but she certainly was not stupid, just scared out of her skull. I did not dare imagine what she had to go through, since she had been spared until now from her worst nightmare: assault. Having been severely mistreated as a child, I was not able to comprehend what she must have felt and thought when she woke up, lying next to him, naked, helpless, defenceless. I was not surprised that she had acted the way she did.
After finishing his explanations, he sat up again, but turned once more around to me, gently stroking my left cheek. Unexpectedly for me, he bent down to me and kissed me shortly – I was not surprised by his kiss, but rather by the gentleness of it, and as he did this, I again wondered what had brought him to being so nice to me all of a sudden.
When he had drawn away again from me, he smiled, then softly whispered, “I have to admit, I missed that. However, let us keep this our little secret.”
I smiled back at him, though I was by now contemplating whether I had changed into a parallel universe whilst sleeping, where Vect was actually a nice guy and Commorragh was made up of fluffy clouds, but I replied dutifully, “Of course, my lord.”
My master sat back up again, still smiling, then said to me, “Well, child, we better get you out of bed. Lisbeth will still need to spend some time in hiding. I can hear her crying and her panicked heartbeats.”
Determined to show him that I was not a weakling, I tried to sit up. I managed very ungracefully and as I was upright, I was completely engulfed in terrible vertigo and I was panting like I just had run a marathon. I closed my eyes, concentrated on stopping the spinning, but I was barely able to fight it. I hated how feeble I was.
I got surprised as I was about to fall back again, for I felt an arm reaching around me, stabilising me, and as I opened my eyes again, I looked into those of the Overlord. Without being able to put up any kind of resistance, I sunk against his shoulder. It was awkward for me and I felt embarrassed because of my weakness. Not able to bear it any other way, I closed my eyes again and cursed myself vividly on the inside, as I felt that I blushed.
Vect sighed. “Take it slowly, child! You almost died, there is no need for you to prove to me how tough you are.” He took me around my waist and leant me against the head of the bed. Gently stroking over my cheek once, he said, “You stay here and stabilise, I will ready myself for my day. When I am gone, you will take your time with Lisbeth’s help.”
He let me stay where I was and got out of bed in one, fluent movement. Only now I realised with surprise that he had not slept completely naked today, as he usually did, but still wore tight boxers. My master went to the cupboards and dressed in a light tunic, then went to the table and started eating, still eyeing me critically.
I panted, “This... is so... embarrassing.”
He shook his head. “No, it is logical. I take it you have never been injured so badly before?”
“No,” I replied arduously, “The most severe thing... I... had to endure... was a rather routine operation.”
“I see. Do you remember how you had felt after that?”
“Yes. I also needed a month... to be back... on track. I, too... hated this.”
“Good. And now use that clever brain of yours and extrapolate how much worse it is this time.” Again, Vect shook his head. “You silly, young things! Always thinking that pushing all the time is the way to go. You need to learn when it is time to take a step back and review your situation. Take this as a well-meant piece of advice from someone who has learnt that lesson a long time ago.”
I saw the wisdom in his words, but still, I hated my feebleness so much.
The Overlord chuckled. “Ah, Temira, stop being so delicious! Your evident self-torment is exhilarating to watch and feel for me.”
Sourly, I replied, “Well... at least... I entertain you... with that... my lord.”
He tilted his head. “Always so dutiful. You are lucky that I know you so well by now, from any other slave I would have reviewed it as meaningless flattery, and you know how much I hate that.”
I wanted to reply something, but it was in these seconds that Lisbeth came back.
She stepped out of the bathroom, very unsure of herself, but she apparently had showered and changed clothes; she now wore the usual bra and hot pants I also got to wear most of the time. It was apparent that she had cried and her lower lip had stopped bleeding, but it was a bit swollen and the wound was easily visible.
With lowered head, she said, “I humbly ask for permission to enter your presence once again, Supreme Overlord.”
For a while, he just stared at her, his gaze as cold as ice and his facial expression was like the one of a statue. I really was not sure what he would do next.
Then, finally, as Lisbeth had squirmed almost visibly under his relentless stare, he said, “Alright, slave, you may stay. Is there anything else you would like to tell me?” The dangerous undertone was apparent.
Lisbeth was clever enough to get the hint. She continued, “Yes, my lord. I wanted to sincerely apologise for my utterly inappropriate reaction and I beg for your forgiveness.”
Vect laughed at her for her last words. “Forgiveness... a thing rarely received from me. You are even more naïve than I thought. No, my little idiot slave, you will not receive my forgiveness. I will punish you when I have finished today’s duties, so you remember very closely what it gets you if you dare to disobey or even fight me. You are mine and you will learn to obey me, no matter how little you like what I ask of you.”
She barely kept from crying, I could see it, but she answered with trembling voice, “Yes, my lord. I will await my punishment.”
“Yes, you will. Stop pointing out the obvious! Now, join me for breakfast, I hate it to eat alone and Temira is not fit enough to manage it without your help. The next time you neglect your duties because of your obnoxiousness, I will harshen your punishment. Are we perfectly clear on that, slave?”
Lisbeth nodded. “Yes, my lord.”
“Good, good, I see that you are starting to learn what your role is about. Now, come here, and look me in the eye from now on when I speak to you.”
Lisbeth obeyed, yet, it was apparent how little she wanted to be near him again. I, of course, understood her fear and her reluctance, but then again I was wondering if it was really so much harder for her to adjust to her situation. She still did not do too well. Showing him too much reluctance could easily piss him off again.
Silently, she sat to his left and started to eat; her body language was the one of a beaten dog and apparently she expected him to hit her again. If she did not stop this reluctant demeanour, he surely would. I watched the scene with growing dismay, and I would have killed for being a telepath right now, though I knew that being a psyker in the Dark City was a death sentence. I would have loved to scream at Lisbeth to pull herself together and show him some calmness and gratitude that he still wanted to have her at the table with him after what she had done.
Apparently, she did not understand how kind he actually was to her.
Vect finished his meal quite quickly, then left for the bathroom without saying a single word.
As soon as I heard the shower, in a faint hope he would not overhear what we would say when he was in there, I said, “You have to stop to show your reluctance. He hates that.” I was happy that I had gathered enough strength by now to speak properly again.
Lisbeth snorted angrily. “Why? He knows that I hate him and what I am to him anyways.”
I shook my head. “Yes, but there is a great difference in him having to read it from your feelings or you showing it outright and showing how ungrateful you are.”
Now she got angry. “For what, in the world, should I be grateful?”
I would not have that. “For not being his sole torture slave, for example? Geez, Lisbeth, are you really that naïve? It could be a lot worse for you as the slave of the Overlord! Look on the bright side!”
Lisbeth crossed her arms. “I really don’t see the ‘bright side’ here.”
My annoyance grew by the second. “So, not having to be in constant pain and subjected to his eternal mockery is no bright side for you?”
Lisbeth did not see reason whatsoever. “Temira, we are goddamn slaves!”
“So what? Complaining about it and daring him all the time does not make this better in any way!”
“True, but being a loyal dog is better?”
My jaw dropped. “How dare you!”
“It is true, Temira, just look at yourself! You try to please him with everything you do, don’t you see that?”
By now, we both were panting with rage.
I snapped, “Yeah, because I treasure my skin a bit too much to piss him off in everything I do. I have not survived so well around here, because I pissed each leg I could find. Get that into your stubborn head! Besides, did you not tell me yesterday that you were so stupid in the beginning with struggling against everything they did? And now you start that again, with the most dangerous one around here? Clever, really clever!”
I saw in her eyes that I now had pushed through to her, though I had not forgotten what she had thrown at me. She had not been here and she certainly had not endured the mental pressure I had been subjected to the past months. How could she be so judgemental all of a sudden?
Angry silence filled the room for a short while.
Then, all of a sudden, Lisbeth sighed deeply, shaking her head. “I am sorry, Temira, you are right. You are just trying to protect me, as always, and in return, I snap at you.”
“Damn right, you do!” I hissed at her.
“Come on, don’t be like that now!” she said, her gaze filled with pain.
I sighed too, seeing that I was unreasonable. I snorted and said, “Damn it, Lisbeth, I try not to, I really do. But I had rather hoped that we could try to help each other, not fight each other. We are surrounded by enemies; do we really have to be also enemies to each other?”
She nodded. “Of course, you are right. I sincerely apologise. Please, help me out here! You know how I am!”
I sighed. “Okay, but you have to listen closely to me and stop pissing his leg with every damn move you make.”
“I’ll try.”
“No. No trying. Do it!”
She nodded. Then, she got up and went to me, hugging me gently. “Okay, I will do it. Forgive me for calling you what I did, it was not my place.”
I sighed and hugged her back. “No, it was not, but you are right in a way and I know that. Still, it helped me along. He will not be nice to you if you keep annoying him. If you get the hang of dealing with him, you will find that he is not that bad, after all. But if you keep pushing against him, he will be even harder on you. Resistance only merits you punishments around here.”
We both jumped as Vect exited the bathroom again and shot us a meaningful stare as he passed us on his way to the armour rack, where he donned bodyglove and armour.
I sighed. Of course, he had heard it all. I felt Lisbeth hugging me tighter, pressing her face against my chest, and I gently stroked her hair. I felt her trembling, she was terrified.
I tried to give her at least the illusion of safety, though I knew that if Vect decided to go for her, that there was nothing I could do, if I was not suicidal, or rather, fond of sharing her punishment.
However, this time, we got lucky. Vect just shot me a stare that warned me one more time to keep my mouth shut about what we had discussed earlier, then left swooshing through the door, letting it snap shut behind him.
Lisbeth visibly relaxed once he was gone.
“Damn it, Temira. How am I to survive this? He will kill me!” Lisbeth said, her voice breaking in tears.
With that, I understood that Vect had played his gambit also on me, because I already had a hard time withholding from her that he would ‘just’ lock her up in the cage. But I was determined not to let it slip out, because the last thing I needed right now was him being angry with me.
Therefore, I just said, “No, he won’t and you know that. Relax, it is your second day in his service! Though he is a cruel and evil mastermind, he tends to be fair with his punishments.”
Lisbeth looked at me in disbelief, then shook her head. “Whatever you say. After all, it is you who has spent months with him, not me.” She took a deep breath and wiped her tears away, her actual toughness showing. “Alright, sorry, I will now stop complaining. Let’s get you to that table, you poor thing must be starving!”
I smiled and replied, “Now that you mention it, I actually am. I sometimes forget about my appetite, as it seems.”
Lisbeth drew a face. “I can’t blame you.”
With that, she helped me to the table and we both had breakfast. Apparently, Lisbeth had a lot easier time eating while Vect was gone. I understood that.
As we were done, I said, “Alright, now off to the shower and then I will start teaching you. We have little time and you have a lot to learn, for I figure that he will take you to the throne room with him as soon as I can walk without help again. And the Circle will not be easy on you if you blow it.”
Lisbeth sighed. “I had hoped that we could take a break from all this crap around here, as long as we are together.”
I drew a sad face. “I totally agree with that, but I would rather know that you are safe first and then we can reminisce on the past.”
Lisbeth nodded. “You are right. Let’s go!”
I was relieved. She seemed to find back to her old, strong and determined self.
We joked and smiled as she helped me into the bathroom.
It felt good to feel human for a change.

We had spent the morning highly concentrated. I had gone into the details of discerning armour correctly, greeting phrases and movements, correct service and had told her the names of the Circle members. I had Lisbeth repeating everything I had said, so I could be sure that she would remember, even when she was stressed out.
In the lunch break we made, I tested my physical fitness against the stairs in the quarters again, but still lost after one-half. Nevertheless, I felt that I was getting stronger and I was relieved about that. Feeling feeble and useless was the most terrible notion for me.
At lunchtime, the slaves that cleaned the Overlord’s quarters and provided fresh food for the two of us came around. I introduced Lisbeth to them, since they would meet each other on a regular basis. As always, I felt awkward talking to them, since they were so scared out of their skulls that making any kind of jest with them was impossible.
Lisbeth noticed that also quite quickly, because after they were gone, she said to me, “Geez, they really lost any sense of humour.”
I shrugged and replied, “Does it surprise you? Where we have it bad, they have it much, much worse. I don’t want to know how many times they have been mistreated and assault just for fun. We at least only get punished when we make mistakes.”
Lisbeth shuddered, then nodded. “Right. I somehow tend to forget that we both were somewhat sheltered.”
I sighed. “In a way, yes. In another, we are as exposed as we can be. Don’t let him twist your mind, Lisbeth. He is really good at that.”
“Any advice on how to resist that?”
“Not really. Just keep constantly asking yourself whether you are still human and if you would have done things the same way before you came here. I am aware that I was not able to stay completely unchanged and that I am more like them as I would like to admit, but I try hard not to become completely like them.”
Lisbeth took my hand. “Don’t be so hard on yourself! You defied one of the most ancient beings in this universe, whilst trying to stay as true to yourself as you can. That is a major achievement, Temira!”
“Did I really? You said earlier that I was a loyal dog and you are right with that and I know it,” I said, feeling all of a sudden mentally quite weak.
“Hey, don’t take this like I said it! I was angry and I was mean, okay?” Lisbeth tried to put me at ease.
I smiled sadly. “Alright.” Nevertheless, I thought to myself that she had put more truth in those words than I would have liked to hear. “Ok, let’s get going again. I will now show you how you massage an Eldar properly, since it is all too likely that he will want to test your expertise in this manner.”
Lisbeth’s gaze darkened. “Can I expect that this will be sexually connoted in no time?”
“Not necessarily. If you refrain from touching his ears, where a crap of an Eldar’s erogenous points lies, it is just for relaxation most of the time.” I thought about it for a minute. “Actually, he rarely wants to be massaged when he is out for sex. As far as I have gathered, he is quite straight to business when it comes down to that. A lot of foreplay, but most of the time you play the passive part there.”
My friend took a long and deep breath. “Alright. Let’s cross that bridge once we get there.”
I nodded. “Agreed. All the advice I can give you, is: roll with it and try to relax. If you don’t piss him off, he most likely will make you enjoy it.”
Lisbeth just nodded. I was aware that I could do little to make this easier on her.
So, we went to the couch and I said with a smile, “Well, lie down, I will show you on your body how it works. Try to remember it and then try it on me!”
“What did you show me yesterday, then? I thought this was basically it about massages?” Lisbeth asked.
I had to chuckle. “No, this was just a quick brushing of the surface. I will try to show you the most important points and techniques this afternoon, but we will need a lot more time still until you know everything.”
So, I taught her and thus passed the afternoon...

I had felt my strength waning a lot quicker than usually and therefore, we had spent the last hour just chatting and sitting on the couch. I had figured that I should spare some strength for my master, should Lisbeth blow something and he wanted me to take over. Leaving him wanting was not an option here and my condition, as severe as it still may be, was not a proper excuse.
The later the day grew, the more nervous Lisbeth got, I could easily feel it as I showed her the massaging techniques. As her fear grew, her concentration also waned, which was the second reason why I figured it was wiser to take a break.
We used half of this “break” to devise a plan on how to maybe make Vect ease down Lisbeth’s punishment a bit. I know it would change nothing, but I primarily did it to calm Lisbeth down a bit and to maybe make things more elegant for my master, to have a pretend reason why he would choose a rather mild punishment for her. I figured he would like that after all.
Currently, some unpleasant silence had grown between us.
Lisbeth now broke it with saying, “He should be back soon, right?”
I nodded. “Any time now. You know what to do?”
She nodded. “Yeah. God, give me strength!”
I said jokingly, “You never believed in that guy, why start now?”
Lisbeth had to giggle, but it still sounded nervous. “Right.”
I laid my hand upon her shoulder. “I will help you and give you all the strength you need. You will be fine, you will see.” It tore me apart that I could not tell her what he actually had in store for her and that it was not so bad as she might think.
However, the waiting was now over.
The Overlord came back.
His expression was blank, therefore, it was hard to discern whether he was in a good or bad mood. As always, caution was the way to go, so we both greeted him appropriately and I asked, “How was your day, my lord?”
He shrugged, as he donned his sceptre and helmet on the armour rack, revealing his lavishly decorated hair. “It was nothing special.” Then, he smirked and shot us a mischievous side glance. “However, considering what still lies ahead of me, it just can get a lot sweeter.”
I almost felt Lisbeth paling beside me. This was no good.
Therefore, I took point again and said, “My lord, Lisbeth has a suggestion to make, if she may.”
An evil smile curled his immaculate lips. “Does she now? Very well, speak, my little newcomer!”
Lisbeth stood after I hit her lightly into her ribs, bowed and said, “My lord, I know I won’t escape my punishment for my failure in the morning, nevertheless, I wanted to try to make it at least a bit up to you by offering you a thorough head massage? Temira was so kind as to share her knowledge with me.”
Vect tilted his head and shot her a long, contemplative stare. My heartbeat accelerated. This was good, but Lisbeth had to stay calm. I knew she was struggling with returning his gaze and the Overlord took his time.
I almost let out a relieved sigh as he finally said, “Very well. I will give it a try. However,” he turned towards me, “you are aware that this will test your skills as much as hers and if she fails in her task, there will be repercussions for you too?”
I nodded and said, “Yes, my lord. Nonetheless, I have full confidence in Lisbeth’s skills.”
Vect chuckled. “Hope for your sake that your trust is not misplaced.” He slipped out of his bodyglove. “Alright, first things first. I need to eat, I am starving. Come, children, join me!” He put on a tunic and went to the table.
With that, Lisbeth came to me, helped me up and stayed at my side until I was seated at the table. Though I could by now walk again on my own, I was still feeble and did not trust my strength completely.
Vect looked at me contemplatively as I was seated, and said to me, his head tilted, “It pleases me to see that you are making good and quick progress. Hmm, maybe I will not be as long without a personal slave in the throne room as I thought.” His gaze wandered to Lisbeth. “Let us see whether you are up to the task. Currently, I sincerely doubt that.”
I smiled in a rather tormented fashion and said, “We are currently still working on it.”
The Overlord nodded. “Good. I expect that you do so. You do not want to lose your good reputation, now do you, Temira?”
I continued my tormented smile. “I wasn’t aware that I had one.”
Vect chuckled and gently ruffled my hair a bit. “Ah, Temira! As always, far too modest.” He shook his head and started to fill his plate.
Lisbeth and I exchanged gazes. Hers definitely showed pure confusion and again, I could not blame her. Vect seemed to be in one of his unpredictable, playful moods again and she was far from being used to him. I portended her to relax, she shrugged and also started to eat. Now realising how hungry I actually was, I joined the meal.
We ate in silence, Vect with a faint smile on his lips, Lisbeth as tense as she could be and me eyeing both carefully. Though I was aware that my master noticed my watchful eye, he let me be without confronting me for it.
As we were done with the meal, the Overlord got up and went to the divans in front of the fireplace, saying, “Well, Lisbeth, I am awaiting your efforts with great anticipation.” She got up immediately, however, he smiled and added, “But first, bring Temira here.”
Lisbeth obeyed and helped me up. As she walked beside me when she brought me to him, I could feel her trembling. I gently stroked her with my left hand, which I had laid around her shoulders for stabilisation. I feared that it would not help her much, but it was all I could do right now.
Vect had her seating me beside him, then he let her go to fetch a brush for his hair.
As Lisbeth was in the bathroom, Vect loosened his complex looking hairstyle by removing two large hairpins and two decorative blades that were woven into his hair. By now I had figured out how this particular hairstyle was done and the simplicity of it was surprising, but ingeniously well-hidden.
I said, “I have taught her how to do that, my lord. No need for you to bother with it, then.”
He smiled. “Good. However, I did it for you too the first time you massaged me, remember? Let us give her a fair chance.”
“I would very much appreciate that, my lord. After all, I had the advantage that I was taught by Maester Vlokarion, who used a mind-accelerating poison on me. Lisbeth will inevitably take a lot longer to know what I know and will possibly never speak your tongue. If I had not been ‘upgraded’ by the Maester, so to say, I also would not have been as good,” I said carefully.
“True, true.” Vect smiled viciously at Lisbeth, who came back in these seconds. “Let us see how well you do as a teacher, Temira!” He leant against the back of the divan, and drew me against him, my head now resting on his shoulder.
We spent the next time in silence, as Lisbeth carefully brushed his hair and untangled it gently. I closed my eyes, tired and feeling a bit light-headed, as I lay on his shoulder, my left hand resting on his belly, his left arm around my waist. I was relieved to feel that he was relaxing; apparently, Lisbeth did well.
As she was done, she reluctantly sat beside us, putting the brush aside, laying a cushion into her lap and saying shyly, “My lord, everything is now set for the massage. If you were so kind as to place your head in my lap, I could start now.”
Vect nodded and said to me, “Temira, you will lie down beside me. I like the warmth of your body right now. Although,” he gently placed his hand on my forehead, “I think you are a bit feverish.”
That explained my light-headedness and that I felt a bit cold.
However, he did not seem to be concerned too much by that, because he continued. “Nothing to worry about. Your body still needs to adjust to being awake again and I figure that your immune system has to adapt too. Just take it very easy the next days, I do not want you to get severely sick.”
“Yes, my lord. I don’t plan on overdoing it.”
Vect nodded, then laid down and I placed myself beside him, again my head was resting on his shoulder and our arms were in the same position. I was grateful that his body was warm. I did not jump at that, though it could always be an indicator for arousal, but by now I knew that he could also regulate his body temperature at will. He had told me once as he had seen my confusion about it.
I closed my eyes again and listened to his breath and heartbeats; though it relaxed me, I was on the inside at least as nervous as Lisbeth, for I sincerely hoped that she did not blow it.
I was lucky, however, because shortly after Lisbeth had started with the massage, he let out a relishing sound and I felt his muscles relax beside and under me.
With a smile in his voice, he said, “Children, calm down! Your nervousness is tensing me up again whilst Lisbeth is doing such a nice job here!” He gently patted my side. “Well done, Temira! You seem to be a good teacher too.”
“Thank you, my lord,” I said. I could now relax at his side. Since Lisbeth took a while, I almost fell asleep, because fatigue was now washing over me.
I was wide awake again, as Vect said, “Alright, enough, my lovely newbie!” He lifted me too as he sat up. With again tilted head, he said to Lisbeth, “Good, I like very much how you are progressing at this point. Hmm, you have angered me quite a lot in the morning, but you have also pleased me quite a lot right now. What to do with you, what to do with you...” He seemed to be contemplating for a bit and I was relieved as Lisbeth did not flinch away as he reached for her face to gently stroke her with his thumb.
Unexpectedly, he started to chuckle, then said, “Alright, Lisbeth, here is the deal: if you can show me that you can be as obedient and well-mannered while lying naked beside me in my bed, I will be merciful this time and not discipline you. I liked what you did and how you feel to me and I know that I will punish Temira as much as you when I hurt you. So, keep in mind that if you misbehave and I still have to penalise you, that you are not the only one to suffer.”
Lisbeth replied, her horror apparent, “I will do my very best, my lord.”
So, he had also played me nicely there. I was quite sure that he already had planned not to punish Lisbeth, but he had told me that he would. He had tormented me by not allowing me to tell her that it was not so bad and he had tormented her by thinking that he would torture her soon.
He really was despicable.
Nevertheless, I pushed the thought away for now.
I chuckled and she yelped, as he grabbed us both around our hips and lifted us, carrying us to the bed and seating us gently onto it. With a vicious, yet playful smile, he left for the bathroom.
Lisbeth was still out of sorts and said, “Damn, why did he let me squirm the whole day?”
The answer to that occurred to me and I said, “Well, that was your punishment, as it seems.” If I did not have to tell her that he had also played me, all the better. The last thing she needed was to feel betrayed by me. I continued with a lopsided smile, “Hey, you are lucky! A punishment by his hand usually does not take the form of a sole mind game, as it was today.”
Lisbeth snorted, but smiled. “Yeah, you are right.”
I sighed and said, “Well, let’s get undressed.” I lowered my voice to a whisper and added, “Relax! I’m pretty sure he won’t sleep with any of us. However, be prepared that today he will be naked too and that he will kiss you again.”
Though Lisbeth was apparently not happy about that, we both obeyed and huddled together under the blankets. Both of us did not mind that our bodies touched, though the two of us had never had a romantic relationship with each other. As we lay for a while like this, Lisbeth behind me, both of us turned onto our left side, she said, “I think he is right, Temira. You really seem to suffer some elevated temperature.”
I sighed. “Yeah, I don’t feel so well...”
I wanted to say more, but the Overlord came back at that moment, and as I had predicted, he was naked today, as I was used to. I felt Lisbeth gasp behind me. He chuckled, as he saw us huddled together like that and said with a mocking tone, “Ladies, let me lie in your charming mid, I need a lot of warming, for it has been a quite cold day in Commorragh.”
Since I knew that he expected me on his left side – he wanted to have Lisbeth at his main hand, if she was disobedient, I figured – I shifted my position to the other side of the bed. Vect then climbed into the bed from the foot of it and laid between us.
I cringed on the inside as he grabbed Lisbeth by the hair, drew her against him and forced her into a deep kiss. She struggled at first, but apparently she remembered what he had said to her and she then obeyed him, though I saw how she trembled and how hard she fought against herself.
Vect took his time with her, gently explored her body with his left hand while he kissed her and he held her in place with his right. Though she had to feel a deep kiss and his touch this time, he refrained from touching her breasts, bottom or genitals. It was hard enough for her as it was and I was sure that he knew that.
At some point, he drew away from her, staring into her unbelieving, wide eyes, gently stroking over her right cheek once and whispering to her, “See? It was not so bad after all, my dear child. You even might start to enjoy it if you would relax a bit.” Luckily, he did not seem to mind her revulsion. With a chuckle he let go of her, leaving her to her trembling self and turned to me, licking his lips and saying with an inflexion that showed he was lost in thought, “Now, from the reluctant one to the willing one...”
I closed my eyes as he bent down, laid his right hand upon my cheek and his mouth upon mine.
Vect was a lot gentler with me as he kissed me and by now, I fully enjoyed when he did it. I put up no resistance whatsoever as his tongue slid into my mouth and started to softly explore it and I returned the favour passionately. I felt that I was not quite alright as he started stroking my belly, because I felt with this that my skin was neuralgic and it hurt a bit. Though I knew that he could feel what I felt, he did not seem to mind, because he kissed me for a while, apparently enjoying it.
I smiled at him as he drew away again from me and he said, “Mmh, my dear Temira is as sweet as ever. Good to see that you have not lost your touch. Nevertheless, I see that you need to rest, you are indeed feverish.”
The Overlord rolled onto his back and drew both of us to him, letting us rest on his shoulders like he had done in the morning. Without saying a word, he grabbed Lisbeth at her nape and I could see the terror in her eyes as he pressed against a point back there that made her muscles relax, whether she wanted it or not. I knew this treatment, he had done this to me in the beginning during intercourse too, because he hated it if someone was uptight when he tried to relax. Though she dreaded how easily he controlled her body, it was effective, because, in some twisted way, it helped her wind down a bit.
“Easy there, child. Let it go, I will not sleep with you today. I am aware that you need some time to adjust to this, yet I suggest that you now start winding down or I will still have to administer that punishment. And you do not want to hurt Temira too, now do you, my little one?” He let go of her.
Lisbeth wagged her head and replied, “No, my lord. Please, forgive me, I will no longer annoy you with my tenseness.”
Vect patted her head. “Good. Now, close your eyes, both of you, and sleep! I want you to be always well-rested.”
We both obeyed.
I said, “Good night, my lord.”
Lisbeth added, “Sleep well, my lord.”
He chuckled. “Good girls. Have a relaxing night.”
I knew that Lisbeth most certainly would not have that, but for now, I was too tired to really care.
Shortly after he had said his last sentence for today, I doze off to sleep.

The next month passed in a similar manner.
I educated Lisbeth during the day and in the evening, she had to tend to the needs of the Overlord, who tested her bit by bit as time progressed. By now, she was no longer shivering in fear when she had to lie in the same bed with him and did not resist when he kissed her. Vect made clear to her that she was doing alright, but also that she should not let it go to her head, because she was not that good.
In the moments I was alone with him, he told me that I taught her well, but that I still was his favourite. His words made me proud and happy.
I also had made clear to Lisbeth at some point, that she had not swayed his mind about her punishment, but rather that he had already been set on not punishing her beforehand, and I reminded her repeatedly that she should never believe that she could make him do anything he did not want to do in the first place, no matter how well she did or how hard she tried.
She was thankful for my advice.
I was surprised to see that Vect kept his advances towards Lisbeth on a quite light level, he just kissed her on a regular basis and touched her a bit, but never went deeper. Lisbeth and I were both grateful for that. Though I did not mind lying naked in the same bed with my friend, I was not sure how our friendship would feel if we ever experienced a threesome with him. Luckily, until now, he had refrained from that.
We both also were never sure how much Vect had heard of our conversations, because he never said a word about them, though I was sure that he at least eavesdropped on us when we talked whilst he was in the bathroom. I tried to interpret some of his gazes and facial expressions, but as always, I failed miserably at it.
The Overlord sure played his cards close to his chest.
It was another day full of teaching, by now I was quite fine again and no longer really needed Lisbeth. I was sure that the Overlord would take her to the throne room anytime soon and I knew that during the last month, I had been able to teach her everything that was important for her to know.
Our time together was good for me, I felt a bit more human and less stressed out, since quite a long time had passed in a quiet manner and Vect had somehow tempered himself when it came down to unnecessary cruelty. I had the feeling that he wanted to go easy on me for some time, to give me time to recover, before the trials that still awaited me.
Since I could now see that Lisbeth was able to be strained a bit mentally again, as she had adjusted somewhat to her situation, I told her about Vlokarion’s payment.
“Oh, my god! You have to sleep with that creep?” she exclaimed.
“Shhh! Don’t call him that! If it wasn’t for him, I would be dead and calling him names is not wise, you know that!” I reprimanded her.
“Sorry, it slipped out!” she said, unnecessarily loud. We both looked around in the quarters, afraid that an annoyed Vect would jump down on us and punish us for our insolence.
Since nothing happened, she asked, “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because I need some way and ideas to manage that and I thought that maybe you could help me along with it,” I explained.
“Hmm. Let me think about it for a bit, this is hardly a scenario that can be solved so quickly. I’ll tell you when something comes to mind,” she said.
I nodded. “Yeah. I know that brushing up on my mediation skills will possibly help me, but I really don’t know whether it will be enough.”
I would have loved to talk more about it, but it was already quite late in the evening, and Vect came back in just that moment.
With a malicious smile, he said, “Since Temira here no longer is in need of your assistance, you, Lisbeth, will come with me to the throne room tomorrow. It is only fitting, since a meeting with my Circle will take place and Temira also had her first day in the throne room with them. I want to measure your skills equally and this will be the perfect opportunity.”
It was apparent on Lisbeth’s face that she lost heart there, but she was by now well-trained enough to say, “Yes, my lord. I will not disappoint you.”
“Hope for your own sake that you do not.” He looked at me. “As for you, Temira: I figured that you are by now strong enough for Vlokarion’s purposes. I will give you to him the day after tomorrow. Prepare for that. After you have served him, you will come back here for two days and then you are due for your time in the Crucibael.”
He was as unsettling as ever.
It was an uneasy night for both Lisbeth and me.

On the next day, I was to help Lisbeth to get ready for duty in the throne room. I helped her with her make-up and hairstyle.
As we were in the bathroom and I was braiding her hair, she said to me, “Temira, I am so frak scared! I will frak up, oh damn it!” She tended to swear a lot when she was nervous.
“No, you won’t, stop doing yourself down! You are good at what you do and you will see, everything will be fine! Just take your time, think carefully about what you are doing, and then you will ace it,” I calmed her down.
She sighed deeply. “You know that this is the main problem here. I tend to frak up when I am nervous.”
“As I said, it is important that you take your time to think about every step you take.”
“And what about Ea’nash? He will eat me whole from what you have told me!” Lisbeth was about to panic.
“You don’t know that. Just because he takes such interest in me, does not mean that he will do the same with you. Lisbeth, you are no longer a complete newbie. Just roll with it, as I told you!” As she did not calm down, I hugged her from behind and said into her ear, “If you don’t stop panicking, I’ll have to tickle you!”
Lisbeth started giggling as I said that. “Oh, damn it! Alright, alright, you are right!” She closed her eyes and took some deep breaths.
As she meditated, like I had taught her, I continued braiding and styling her hair. By the time I was done, she had calmed down considerably.
I smiled and said, “See? Better, isn’t it?”
Lisbeth smiled and nodded. Then, she looked at herself in the mirror. “Thanks for helping me. Damn, you make me look good, girl!”
I giggled and said, “You always were a looker, not much to do here!”
Lisbeth hugged me, then took my face in her palms and said, “No, I mean it. Thank you for everything. You helped me so much and I helped you so little.”
I shook my head. “That’s not true. You helped me to feel like a human being again. It feels good to be together. Thank you for that.”
Our idyllic moment was ruined, as Vect entered the bathroom and said, “May I shower or shall I leave the room to the lovebirds?” Though his words suggested a jest, his inflexion and facial expression entirely showed his annoyance.
I drew away from Lisbeth and said, “Please, forgive us, Overlord! We will be off right now!”
He made a dismissive gesture and we left.
We waited for him, sitting on the bed and killing time, chatting. He did not take long and we went silent as he passed us on his way to the armour rack. Quickly, he had put everything on.
Then, he came back to us, grabbed Lisbeth at her right arm and dragged her to her feet. With surprising sleight of hand, he produced a collar for her and donned it around her neck. She, too, had been relieved of the collar in the quarters, but not until three weeks in his service had passed. Before that, he had only taken it off if she had to sleep or shower.
I saw in her face that she did not feel comfortable wearing it again, but he did not give her time to process it. He donned a chain on her collar and on his belt, smiled falsely at her and said, “Let us go, child! I am interested to see how you will do compared to Temira.”
With that, they left me.
I sighed deeply as I was alone. It felt awkward to be alone again, I had gotten used to Lisbeth’s presence.
With weary steps, I went to the glass wall to look out. Heavy, black rain was falling down today and though the sound of it pounding against the glass had always made me feel at ease and as if I was back on earth, it did not work today. Though I had tried to encourage Lisbeth as well as I could, I was not as sure that she would not blow it as I had told her. She had been a good student, yes, and she had learnt a lot considering the little time I had had to teach her, but I knew that Lisbeth was someone to experience a blackout when she was severely stressed. I just hoped that she would heed my advice, trying to take it slow and keeping her wits about.
It drove me crazy that I could not be there to help her.

I spent the whole day running in circles, trying to distract me by reading and studying, but nothing of it really helped. I would have killed to be with her in this trial and I sincerely hoped that Ea’nash was not interested in her in the slightest, because I knew how hard it was for her to stand Vect’s advances, when we were only amongst ourselves. I was not sure how she would do if she got touched in front of an audience.
Hours turned to years for me.
I skipped lunch. I could not bring myself to eat even one bite.
The worst thing and the finest torment about it was that I knew that the door was not locked. If I was stupid enough to do so, I could leave and walk down to the throne room. But only a fool would have dared that, for several reasons. First of all, I did not know what my master would do to me if I ever left his quarters without permission and additionally, I was sure that this was one of the ways to get myself killed with ease. I had not forgotten about the Mandrakes around here.
As I was thinking that I would go mad if I had to wait one second longer, they came back.
It took all of my restraint not to immediately ask how it went and for the first seconds, I was just confronted by Vect’s blank face.
Then I beheld Lisbeth and I gasped.
She was littered with cuts and bruises and it was apparent that she was exhausted.
Still, with this blank expression, Vect took off her collar, she stumbled a few steps forward, and then fell to her knees.
I could not hold myself back any longer and took a step forward to rush towards her to help her, but Vect barked at me, “Do not dare, Temira!”
Now I was utterly confused and scared. The signals I was getting were so controversial, I could not make heads or tails of it. He had taken off her collar, which meant, that it could not have been too bad. However, Lisbeth looked worse than I had after my first day, and Vect seemed to be annoyed.
I said, “Forgive me, my lord, but I have to know: how did it go?”
With this, Vect started to laugh evilly, but wholeheartedly. He took his time with answering my question. Lisbeth did not show any reaction, she just knelt there, still panting heavily and apparently gathering her strength, her gaze empty.
As the Overlord finally was able to answer me, he said, “Well, where do I start? I saw that you have taught her well, and little Lisbeth here did adhere nicely to the rules of serving. However, she does not know a thing about social interaction with the members. She treated everyone exactly the wrong way and she got to feel exactly that. It has been a while since I have seen Ea’nash hating a girl so much.”
I sighed. I had feared that too. At least, she had been spared from Ea’nash’s advances, though I did not want to know what he did to people he hated.
There was not much I could have done to prepare her for this. I had told her a bit about their personalities, but I had known that Lisbeth was not too good when it came down to social intelligence. How bad she apparently was with it, I clearly had had no idea about.
“To make matters worse for her, dear Lisbeth seems to react quite strongly to the poison. Let us see what secrets she will reveal to me in a short while,” Vect added with a mischievous smile.
I cursed silently on the inside. I had hoped that the truth serum had only been a special treat for me, but as it seemed, Vect liked to do that to every single one of his personal slaves. I dreaded what Lisbeth would spit at him under its influence.
Despite my wish to help, there was nothing I could for her at the moment.
By now, Vect had rid himself of armour and bodyglove, and went to Lisbeth to pick her up. She did not struggle, but I guessed that came mostly from the poison. My master said to me, as he left with her for the bathroom, “You, my dear Temira, stay here, no matter what you hear.”
I did not like that sentence at all.
After they had vanished into the bathroom, I fell onto the bed and buried my face in my palms. I was sure that she would say something wrong under the influence of the truth serum and now he would hurt her. It was inevitable, of that I was sure.
I hated it to be right.
It only took half an hour or so until I heard her first scream.
I closed my eyes and lay trembling on the bed, as I also heard his terrible laughter. Though I could not hear it, I knew exactly what he was whispering in her ear right now.
How much he enjoyed it.
That tears or pleas would only make things worse for her.
That she would scream for him until she saw her mistakes and started to apologise for them.
And she would, I knew that she would, whether she wanted it or not.
And he would not stop there. No, he never did.
With this terror, again the thought occurred to me that I would be given to Vlokarion tomorrow, and that I would witness his work. I still did not know how I could manage it without snapping...
Another scream ripped me out of my pondering and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I really wanted to go in there and make him stop, but I was aware that the only thing I would manage with that, would be that he would also torture me and make us watch alternatingly as he tormented the other one.
As always, Vect took his time. After all, it was his most favourite thing to do.
When he came back, with an unconscious Lisbeth on his arms, I looked at him in pure horror. It puzzled me for a second that Lisbeth was immaculate after the torture, but then I realised what he had done to her. The tub had apparently been filled with the regenerating fluid, and I now knew how he had tortured her. That thing burned like fire and I was sure that the fresher the wound, the more painful the healing process would be. Apart from that, he was a true master with a blade.
Without taking notice of my shocked stare, he tucked her in.
Then, he turned towards me, “Oh, do not look at me like that, Temira! You and I both knew that it was inevitable.” He shook his head. “You have taught her well, but she is far too reluctant. I took it slow with her up to that point, but she will learn it the hard way now. Either she bends or she breaks.”
I dropped my gaze and said, “I had really hoped that my training would have changed something.”
Vect snorted. “It only delayed the inevitable. That ungrateful brat showed her true colours under the truth serum. She will never be as good as you, Temira, and you know why?”
I shook my head, my eyes widened.
An evil smile graced his immaculate features. “Because you, my dear, like what you do and admire me, when it comes down to it. She just hates her situation and me. I am done being easy on her. Just be grateful that you are not here to see it.”
Vect was as frightening and as evilly magnificent as ever. I knew that he was right with what he said, though I hated to admit it. I had feared that things would turn out this way. I was only able to change Lisbeth’s education, not her nature, and I was aware that she would possibly be destroyed because of it. I wanted to cry, but I swallowed down the tears. The last thing the Overlord wanted to see right now was another weak slave.
Therefore, I mustered all my remaining mental strength, kept calm, nodded and replied, “Yes, my lord, I am grateful. When will the Maester take me with him tomorrow?”
“I will send for him as soon as we are in the throne room. Now, child, let us eat and enjoy the remainder of the evening in a relaxing manner.”
The rest of the evening was relaxing for him, but not for me. I feared for Lisbeth, I feared for myself and I still had no idea how to face Vlokarion.
Yet, I would.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:16

Chapter 14


“You, human, dare to say that you are not afraid of me? Shard, fetch me my tools..."
— Archon Karon the Nightmare

TOTALLY FREAKED OUT I waited with my master in the throne room for Vlokarion to arrive. Though I knew that the Haemonculus would not tear me to pieces, but rather do quite the opposite to me, it somehow did not help at all. I still tried to figure out how to observe his gruesome work all day, not going insane during it, and then, when I knew what a terrible monster he was, trying to please him the whole night – without being scared witless. As always, I would have to improvise, though I feared that my breaking point would soon be reached.
I had not tried to avert my fate, for I knew that if Haemonculi had set their minds on a specific payment, it was impossible to change them. Additionally, Vlokarion had enough influence in the Dark City, so it would have been unwise to challenge him. Provoking one of the most renowned Haemonculi of all time was an utterly stupid notion.
On the other hand, to make him an ally was wise. This should not be too hard for me, since I knew him already and he seemed to be fond of me – however this was possible. I was not to blow this chance, because if I did, the consequences would be dire for me. If I succeeded in satisfying Vlokarion, the bond between him and the Overlord would be strengthened, which was favourable for Vect and especially for my head staying attached to my body. No pressure here.
It also pained me greatly that I had not been able to say my goodbyes to Lisbeth, because she was still unconscious when we left the quarters. I dreaded what she would have to endure when I was gone, but I also had to be honest to admit that right now I was a bit more worried about myself.
Eventually, Vlokarion entered the throne room, his terrifying silhouette almost floated into the room on his elongated spine, without making a single sound. His mechadendrites underlined his flowing, snake-like movements and reinforced his creepy appearance in combination with his spindly build and loose clothing. His head, which was shrouded in parchment-like skin, looked as if it had been artificially extended on the back; his facial expression and obsidian eyes were perfectly collected. If someone could impersonate the word ‘alien’, it would be him.
Vlokarion just did a small bow as he had halted in front of the throne and said in a greeting manner, “Overlord.”
Vect returned the greeting with a slight nod and said, while he loosened my chain from the throne, “She is all yours. Take her!” He did not bother to mention that I was to be brought back in one piece.
Vlokarion had not to be told twice, came to me, took my chain and said to me, “Come, child! There is much I want to show you.”
I stood, flashed a somewhat pinched grin and replied, “Of course, my lord.” With this, we left the throne room.
I padded along behind the Haemonculus, still deeply emerged in thought. As we were in the high-speed elevator, which brought us down to the landing platform, Vlokarion said to me, “You are strangely quiet, my child. I remember you to be far more talkative.”
I smiled at him shyly and replied, “Well, for one, months in the Overlord’s service have taught me to only talk when talked to and, to be honest, I am still trying to figure out how I don’t screw this up.”
The Haemonculus chuckled softly. “I am sure you will do just fine, as always. Try and calm down a bit, for where we are going, the scent of fear is known all too well.” I had no idea what his words meant for me, but I would try and heed his advice.
Thereupon we stepped onto the landing platform, where a flyer was waiting for us.
In that instance, something occurred to me and the impact of the thought was so intense that I had to halt for a second.
I just had figured out a way to maybe, just maybe, face Vlokarion the way he wanted it after spending the day with him. I would have to try and focus on the scientific aspects of his work, pushing all feelings aside. Other races were to the Dark Eldar what lab rats were to humans. I had to look at it this way and accept Vlokarion’s profession. This might work.
The Haemonculus, however, misinterpreted my stop and said, slightly irritated, “It’s just a flyer, child, no need to freeze in place.”
I had to laugh and it still sounded nervous. Then I explained, “No, no, it’s absolutely not fear that kept me from walking. I just realised something, this is it, and it’s a good thing. I’m sorry I have kept you, my lord.”
I sighed in relief as the evil smile, that usually graced Vlokarion’s features, returned onto his face and he said, “Yes, this is how I know you, child. Well, then! Let’s go!” We boarded the flyer.
Inside, Vlokarion commanded the pilot to take off. Our way led us down in a steep angle, down the unfathomable height of the mighty towers of Corespur, all the way to the underworld of Commorragh.
While we were flying, Vlokarion said to me, “Two things, child. Firstly, if we should come by Rakarth, since I share my spire with him, endure everything silently in his presence, no matter what he does or says to you. Only answer him if he asks you a direct question, be on your edge, most of his questions are rhetorical and to himself. He is a bit out of his mind…”
I had to giggle.
Describing Urien Rakarth as ‘a bit out of his mind’ was the joke of the century.
Vlokarion had paused as I had giggled and asked, frowning, “What is so amusing, little one?”
Still puffing, I replied, “I would have called the Master Haemonculus something different than ‘a bit out of his mind’, that is all.”
The Haemonculus snorted and replied, “Who am I kidding? He is absolutely insane. Ingenious, but insane.” He flashed a lopsided smile, then he continued, “Back to business. I meant what I said. Be extra-careful with him, he tends to punish slaves quite severely when they interrupt his line of thoughts unasked; and believe me, he will not give a damn that you are the slave of the Overlord and you most likely will not survive this undoubtedly lengthy punishment.”
“I will sure as hell remember that. Then again, I have learnt to be extra careful,” I confirmed.
“Good. And to the second thing…” He produced a small flask from his loose clothes. “I will put one drop of this concoction into each of your eyes. It will make you see in the dark; otherwise, you would be blind in my laboratory. Don’t startle, it will be uncomfortable the first few seconds and everything will be quite bright at first, until your brain adjusts.”
I nodded and obediently tilted my head backwards, so he could do as he had said. As he did that, I was reminded of his tremendous expertise when he touched me, because it was easily perceptible that he knew perfectly what he was doing, there was no hesitation in the way he handled me.
In a minute the concoction started to work, and I started to gasp in pain. The – until now – dim, red twilight of Commorragh now stung my eyes like a flashlight and I suddenly had acuity in my vision I had almost forgotten, since my brain had already adjusted to the constant, slight blurring of my sight. I closed my eyes, because they were now utterly sensitive.
While I tried to adjust to my enhanced vision, I asked Vlokarion, “Do you see the city like this?”
“Yes and no. In terms of brightness and acuity, yes; however, our eyes still see a bit more, since my kind can see more of the light spectrum than yours,” he explained.
“How long will my vision be changed?” I asked.
“Depends on your metabolism, but one dose should suffice for the rest of our time together. I would not want to give it too often to you, since it reprograms your rod cells, as well as your nervous system regarding vision. Permanent changes could occur and may not be favourable for you.” His smile turned into a wolfish one. “Besides, I won’t mind when you will be blind later on.” I returned his smile shyly. I was not sure how I was to survive or manage this.
The deeper we went, the darker it got. At some point, we moved about in utter darkness, only a few metres away from the ground of the city. Though I was able to see in darkness right now, I only caught some glimpses of movement and shadows on the edge of my vision. I was thankful for that.
After a short while, the flyer stopped at another landing platform. Vlokarion shackled my wrists and we got out of the flyer.
The second we went outside, a shield bubble extended around us; it was produced by one of Vlokarion’s mechadendrites, as I could see because of the livid glow of the energy field. I looked a bit confused at him; he smiled and explained, “The underworld possesses a different kind of danger than High Commorragh. At the top, it is the political games and nets you have to look out for. On the bottom, you have to be wary of the things that lurk around here, us Haemonculi included.” He led me a few steps further, then halted again and said, “Take a closer look – I’m sure they will show themselves.” He gave me more space with my chain, so I could explore the rim of the shield bubble. When I was there, I saw something that was utterly disturbing.
The darkness around us was moving.
At first, I did not see it, but the longer I stared into the blackness, the more I saw shadows that swirled beneath shadows.
All of a sudden, a face appeared in front of me.
I was startled so hard that I actually jumped back. I only heard Vlokarion’s mocking laughter on the rim of my consciousness, because the creature that just showed itself to me, cast a spell over me. It somewhat was rather a more solid shade amongst shades; I was just able to see a kind-of flickering of a figure, which assumed a certain shape for a second, but only to dissolve at the same time. I caught glimpses of black skin, which was covered with green, glowing runes, patches of white, lifeless skin, which seemed to be some kind of clothing and bilious green, glowing eyes, which showed nothing but bloodlust. I could not truly figure the face of the creature out, since it always took a different shape, but I somehow thought to see the distorted face of a Dark Eldar.
This had to be a Mandrake. I was not surprised that no one wanted to seek a fight with them.
I looked at it for a while, then I stated, “Let me guess – they are only one thing to be wary about around here.”
“Exactly. Now come, child, I’d rather not stay too long out here,” Vlokarion said and I obeyed, following him closer to the tower we were currently standing in front of.
‘Tower’ was hardly the correct term for it, since this building wound itself even more downwards. I was not sure whether the dancing shades in here played a trick on my eyes or the building indeed moved like a breathing, living being; I knew that the possibility was there. The spire was built out of black, glistering material; the fashion of the patterns reminded me of entrails and tumorous ulcerations. I felt sick.
Until now, I had thought that High Commorragh was a true nightmare for my senses. Now this belief got corrected. The underworld smelt even worse, the scent of blood was also omnipresent and to make matters worse, it mixed with rot and putrefaction. It was so dark down here that I had a hard time discerning the entrance in front of me and I was not able to make out any other buildings, despite my improved vision. Nevertheless, I was happy that it was this way. Also, a strange whisper was omnipresent, just on the rim of the audible spectrum; I was surprised that I did not hear any screams. I figured that the inhabitants of this part of Commorragh were the reason for the absence of them. Nevertheless, this whispering wore me out.
I wished it instantly back as we entered the tower. In here, the air was filled with terrible screams; agony and horror were easily tastable, for the air was saturated with them. The smell got even worse, because the scent of blood now mixed with those of burnt flesh and inflamed wounds. I had a hard time fighting down the bile that now filled my mouth and controlling my roiling stomach was an even harder task. I halted in my pace, for my mind did not do too well in adjusting to those new horrors, but this time, Vlokarion did not give me time and just pulled me forward. I hurried not to fall.
The Haemonculus lead me through endless corridors and down innumerable stairs. We never saw anybody else, for which I was grateful; just those terrible screams, which could be heard easily all around, showed that possibly Vlokarion’s and Rakarth’s lackeys did their horrible jobs.
In the end, I was sure that we had descended unto the bottom of the tower.
What put me off severely, was that there had been no sign of traps or puzzles or anything that looked like a warding mechanism. I did not believe that it was that easy to get in here just by walking into the place. I had the dreadful feeling that if I had not been with Vlokarion, I would have been eviscerated before I even had had the chance to enter the tower, let alone scream.
I just added the thought to the collections of secrets I possibly would never uncover.
As we seemingly had climbed down the last set of stairs, finally another Haemonculus crossed our path. Vlokarion hissed something I could not understand, but I figured from his inflexion that it was a curse, and the premonitory look he shot at me warned me who now came our way.
Necromaester of the Prophets of Flesh and so far officially unchallenged Master Haemonculus, Urien Rakarth, looked as if he had arisen from a nightmare. His stance was hunched, for which his stunted spine bore the blame, but it was only one of many that supported his spindly body and he was carried by an anti-grav device. This bony corpus was framed with innumerable mechadendrites and limbs, making them look almost like twisted and broken wings. Each one of those extremities looked different – some were silvery, others atrophied, then again some were highly functional and even sophisticated, showing Rakarth’s unique skill in the arts of flesh-crafting. His face – his terrible face – was mounted on his skull with cords made out of leathery flesh, showing an ever-leering grimace, and his obsidian eyes glowed with pure madness. He seemed to mumble something to himself – if it meant anything, which was unlikely, possibly only he could comprehend the meaning of the words.
He was an unfathomably great and unspeakably cruel mind, but he was also utterly engulfed in insanity.
I gulped as Vlokarion led me ahead. A few steps in front of Rakarth we halted and Vlokarion nodded a greeting to his colleague. I looked to it that I bowed.
It had been a while since I had dreaded somebody that much around here. I knew I was in danger, because Rakarth was extremely irrational and it was unfathomable what ideas he might cook up in this mad head of his.
With a voice that reminded me of the scratching of fingernails over a blackboard – yes, it was that screeching and sharp and his multiple vocal chords only added to that horrifying notion – the Master Haemonculus said, “Ah, Vlokarion!” Only now did he notice me, because this insane stare of his black eyes fell unto me. Rakarth leant down and close to me – too close for my taste, but I did not dare to budge an inch – and he croaked, “And what do we have here?”
My heart almost stopped, as one of the limbs on his right side, which actually had a functional hand, shot out and laid itself gently upon my chin – he bore long and sharp blades attached to his fingers; a Scissorhand. Rakarth made me turn my head so he could take a closer look at me. I did not dare to do anything but follow his lead, since I could feel, though his touch was perfectly delicate and he did not hurt me, how terribly sharp the blades were.
After a while, he made a musing sound and muttered, “Hmm… isn’t this Vect’s newest duckling? What is it doing here? Was it disobedient?”
Vlokarion started to say carefully, “Urien, she…”
He was cut off mid-sentence, as the Master Haemonculus wheeled around and hissed at him, now with a completely different voice; it sounded strong and sharp as his blades, “Do you mind not interrupting when I am having a talk with the duckling here?”
I was surprised as Vlokarion let out a resigned sigh and replied, “Of course not. By all means, go ahead!”
It did not seem as if Rakarth truly seemed to care whether Vlokarion voiced any resistance, but rather turned his attention back to me and continued contemplating, now again with his cackling voice, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Too immaculate for disobedience. How exciting! What a riddle!” Rakarth truly seemed to be delighted.
I only could stare at him in perfect bewilderment, barely keeping my jaw from dropping, because I was utterly shocked at this madman I now had in front of me. ‘Batshit crazy’ did not even start covering this.
Rakarth eyed me from all sides for a little longer and then, again in a completely different voice – it was velvety and low-pitched this time – he cooed, “Tell me, duckling: why are you here?”
I had to gather myself to be able to answer him. The slow narrowing of his eyes warned me that my time was running out and I pushed myself to say, “I am here because of Maester Vlokarion’s bidding. He asked for me for one day and night, to observe his work and to serve him, Master Haemonculus.”
Rakarth started giggling, strangely his giggle reminded me of the one of a schoolgirl that just had something unsavoury whispered into her ear, and he responded, again in his cackling voice, “Oh, how formal our little duckling is! I like it; I really, really like it! Maybe one day the duckling will come around to play with me, hmm? Yes, yes, yes, one day we will play and oh, the duckling will like it.” I smiled at him in an utterly tormented and horrified fashion; he was not disturbed by this, because he patted my cheek and using his velvety voice, he cooed along, “Have fun, duckling. I am sure that you will enjoy what dear Vlokarion can give you.” I shivered as he passed me and stroked my hair with the blades of his Scissorhand as he did.
Only as he was out of sight, Vlokarion said with a lowered voice, “Well done, my child. You handled him pretty well.”
I looked at him, my eyes still widened in fear and bewilderment and I said, “That was… something else. Could we just go? I might start screaming if I stay a second longer.” I almost held my breath because I was that tense.
Without commenting my fear, Vlokarion led me forward, deeper into the bowels of the tower. After a short while, we came to a door, which Vlokarion opened through barely touching the material. It glided sideways without a sound and we stepped through it. As the door closed behind us, Vlokarion took off my manacles and said solemnly, “Welcome to my home and laboratory!” With these words, he slithered a bit sidewards so I could take a look at his realm.
The vast room was unexpectedly spacious and clean. It reminded me somewhat of Vlokarion’s laboratory on Chu’uk’s ship. Everything was held in black; a part of the room was separated from the rest by some walls, which were only about three metres high – I should possibly mention here that the room was very high; I estimated it was about six metres.
It was utterly dominated by a special kind of table, apparently being a mixture of surgical table and torturing rack, made out of clean metal, but also bearing shackles and its foot seemed to be quite flexible; it stood in the centre of the room. Beside it was a whole arrangement of tables and boxes; all of the tables were laid with numerous, sickening devices. I did not have to ask what they were made and here for. Above the table also some chains and hooks were to be found, apparently there to bind someone there. Around and above this table, numerous containers could be seen; to me, they looked like coffins made out of glass. I figured that the Dark Eldar that were to be healed or rejuvenated were put in there. Their bodies would be regenerated due to the suffering of the unlucky bastard that would be strapped down to the torture rack. Since the rest of the room was littered with some other racks, cages and strange devices, which were arranged in a fashion that gave them a strange and disturbing alignment to the central table, I figured that often enough not only one creature was to be tortured in here.
The only portion of the room that was not part of this arrangement was the leftmost corner of it. This section was the aforementioned one that was separated from the rest by those low walls. Since some entries, which did not possess doors, were left out on the walls, I could see what was in this section. It seemed to be the scientific part of the room and again I recognised some of the devices there.
I thought that the room also summarised fairly well what the tasks of a Haemonculus were and how much time to each task was dedicated. Three quarters were dedicated to torture, one quarter to science. It summed the profession of a Haemonculus up quite well.
After I had dealt with the creepy arrangement of the room, my next mental test was at hand, when several Grotesques came to us from several sections of the room. They were not much more than drooling, insane and twisted… things, which had been sane creatures a long time ago. Through the skilled hand of a Haemonculus and possibly years of mind- and body-breaking torture, they had turned into… this. They heeded every command of their master and followed his every bidding without asking. In accordance to how they were ‘made’, they were a terrible sight to behold. I was grateful that they did not smell as bad as they looked. Interestingly enough, Vlokarion’s chamber was quite sterile in terms of smell. This helped my stomach relax a bit.
The Haemonculus gave his minions orders – possibly preparations for today’s schedule – and they vanished as quickly as they had appeared, though their gaits were scuffling without exception and they seemed incredibly slow; yet somehow they were quite quick. One’s mind was tricked by those things.
I only realised as they were gone that I had drawn backwards and now stood with my back against the wall. I also only felt now that I was almost hyperventilating; everything around here unsettled me vastly. My palms were wet with sweat, as well as my forehead and my heart pounded that heavily in my chest I thought it would rip my ribs apart.
As Vlokarion looked at me I tried to calm down with all my might, forced a tormented smile onto my features and explained, “It’s a bit much to take in. Give me a minute, please!”
With surprising patience, he nodded and said, “Come with me. I will show you to a room that might help you with calming down.”
I swallowed and obeyed him. He led me through another door, which led out of the room in the scientific section. Behind it were Vlokarion’s quarters.
As it was expected from a Haemonculus, his quarters were minimalistic, yet they once more underlined his profession. In here, again a small laboratory could be found, along with another rack. I figured that if someone was brought in here without having my distinctive purpose, they would feel the worst things of them all. What truly surprised me was that also a bed could be found in there; I knew that Haemonculi did not have to sleep; therefore, I was somewhat puzzled why he even possessed one. Then again, it was also all too well possible that he only had it brought in here for what he had in mind with me. I shivered at the thought. Also, another door led into another room, I guessed it was the bathroom, since Haemonculi also still possessed some certain needs. I was not sure whether they even ate and, therefore, needed a toilet, but I figured that an occasional shower was also due for them, though Vlokarion seemed to be strangely without any metabolism at all. Who knew what intense modifications he had gone through and how little actually was left from the living, breathing and feeling being he once must have been?
I drew my thoughts with all my might away from that and asked about something that puzzled me, “Don’t you have any Wracks?”
Vlokarion chuckled and then answered, “Oh, I do, but currently I have sent them on errands or they do their own missions, trying to impress me and to convince me to make them a Haemonculus. Currently, they fail. They need more time; they are too young.”
This confirmed some theories I had had. Wracks, who were Dark Eldar that gave themselves into the hands of the Haemonculi to get modified, either out of boredom or out of necessity, often turned out to be apprentices to the Haemonculus who had worked on them. If they did well enough and impressed their master with some acts of particular cruelty or devastation time and again, a Haemonculus might deign to make one of his apprentices one of his own kind. How this was done, or what it took for a Dark Eldar to become a Haemonculus, was not known; if someone in Commorragh could keep secrets in an absolute manner, it were the Haemonculi. The only two things that were sure about this act were that it involved unspeakable and possibly mind-breaking pain and that every Coven had their own ritual for this ascension, which also explained the difference in their specialities.
I decided to put all my luck on one card and said, “Would you mind leaving me alone for some minutes? I need to meditate and calm down a bit.” I dearly hoped that he did not mind.
I could not help a relieved sigh as Vlokarion started to smile again and said, “As your original teacher, it makes me proud to see that you have truly honoured the knowledge I have taught you, indubitably ensuring your survival until now. Very well, my child, you may have some time to meditate. I need you to be calm. In the meantime, I will prepare everything for today’s task.” He turned to slither out of the room, but halted again in the doorway and added, “If you feel the need to freshen yourself, don’t hesitate to use my bathroom.” Then he left me alone.
I took a deep breath the minute he left me and dropped with a sound of desperation onto the bed. Focusing deeply on my breathing, I assumed an Indian style sitting, closed my eyes and started to meditate. I did not let my mind wander, but kept it in check with the darkness before my eyes, trying to find tranquillity in the depth of my breaths.
You are a scientist. He is a scientist. Act upon it.
I half-opened my eyes again and wondered why it had taken me so long to come to this conclusion. Of course, I was aware that it would not be that easy, with focusing on that alone, but it would make things a lot less emotional for me. Emotion was something that could destroy me if I let it happen, though I was aware that I would not be able to block it out entirely.
Nevertheless, I would try. At this point, I had come too far to back down now.
I let out a low hum, drawing it out as long as my breath supported it and until I felt dizzy. I was far from being entirely collected, but it would have to suffice. Keeping Vlokarion waiting was hardly an option.
Therefore, I got up, feeling better and walked determined towards the door again, back into Vlokarion’s laboratory.
As the door slid open, I saw that he was alone again, right now having a look at a variety of instruments and concoctions that apparently had been laid out for him besides the central torture rack, on a metal table. Also, a quite high chair was now standing beside the rack and it too bore shackles. The rack was still empty.
I dreaded that this chair was meant for me.
I neared the Master Haemonculus again, stopped in respectful distance and said, “Maester, I am at your service. Thank you for giving me some time.”
Vlokarion looked up and at me, his ancient eyes transfixing me, then he nodded and said, “Good, good! I see that you are much calmer than before. I like the fact that you truly know how to use the tools you have been given by now. Come here, child, let’s get you all set for the show!”
I obeyed and came to his side. The second I did, I let out a surprised gasp, because Vlokarion seized me with his numerous mechadendrites and, as I had feared, placed me onto the chair. The nature of it left me sitting with loosely crossed legs, but my ankles got nailed in place by metal shackles that closed themselves automatically around them, and my wrists got locked in a similar manner between my legs. Luckily, the shackles were not too tight and gave me a bit of freedom of movement, so my blood flow would not be blocked.
Nevertheless, I looked at Vlokarion in confusion. He said, and somehow, he sounded strangely sincere with that, “Forgive me for the shackles, my child, but I have to be sure that you are not trying to cover your ears or advert your eyes. You have to see, witnessing when I myself lay hand onto a slave for torture, it is a rare event and it is a kind of art that is seldom done by my own hands. Usually, my grotesques carry out my instructions. But for this special day, in which you will join me, observing my works, I decided to show you my expertise by myself. You better feel honoured, other clients have to pay tremendous amounts to witness what you are allowed to witness today.”
I knew that what he said was true, but I had to keep myself from telling him that said clients relished what he was about to do, not were forced to watch it. However, I, of course, was wise enough not to tell him this, for I was sure that I would severely anger him with this. Haemonculi were proud specimen and once their slowly-arisen anger was invoked, it was hard to quench their thirst for blood. The target of their anger inevitably suffered dire consequences in every way.
Therefore, I just nodded and said, “So, you just want me to observe, is that correct?”
Vlokarion let his fingers dance absently over his torture instruments, then said, “Yes. And don’t disrupt my work. Keep quiet. I don’t like being disrupted whilst working.”
I again nodded and replied, “Of course, Maester. Nobody likes that.” Nevertheless, I encountered another facet of Vlokarion now. He seemed to be more... determined and set upon certain things the minute we had entered his laboratory. However, it made sense. This was his place of ultimate power and he would not be questioned around here. I had to be careful.
I was ripped out of my pondering, as a secret door at the far end of the room opened up. Through it came two grotesques that led a human man in their mid. He was barely clothed, the last remains of his clothes hung in rags on his body. Physically, he seemed to be quite sturdy and strong, still, but I could easily see on his face that he was scared out of his skull. I could not blame him for that.
As the realisation hit him what was about to happen to him, he started to struggle in the vice-like grip of the two grotesques and rallied verbally against his fate. The two monsters beside him just dragged him along, he was by far not strong enough to match against their altered physique.
It scared me that I did not find my mind shaken by that in any way. I should have been shocked at this terrible fear I was seeing and the realisation that he also knew all too well what would be happening to him, but somehow, I felt empty inside.
Terribly empty.
What the hell was happening to me?
I watched somehow passive as they stripped him of the last remains of his clothes and forced him down on the torture rack.
Vlokarion looked him over shortly, then hissed with a relishing tone, “Oh yes, this one will do nicely, his heartbeat is sturdy and strong. See, child? This is why I keep my subjects well-fed.”
I could just nod.
Somehow, Vlokarion’s words had put me back on track with my feelings. My stomach grew cold and I felt myself shivering. Maybe just now the realisation hit me what I was about to experience.
For a while, as Vlokarion made his preparations, checking his newly-donned Scissorhands and sorting his tools and concoctions, the man cursed him vividly with all the vocabulary he possessed. The Haemonculus did not mind at all and let him be.
Then the prisoner got aware of my presence and his desperation showed again.
“Help me!” the man pleaded with me.
Obligated and desperate to say something, though it was obvious, I answered, “I can’t!”
That tipped the Maester off a bit. Vlokarion wheeled around, made a hissing sound, grabbed the man by his hair and spat at him, “Eyes on me! If you dare to let them wander again, I might see it fit to remove them. Your attention should be focused on me and me alone; the girl won’t help you.” Then the Haemonculus turned to me and my eyes widened as he let me feel one of the blades of his left Scissorhand at my throat. He hissed at me, “And you, hold your noise! You are here to observe, not to talk. Disrupt me once more and I will punish you, without letting your master know that I did. Believe me, it will still be a punishment fit for screaming.”
I had never been so afraid of Vlokarion, since he had never shown me this utter dominant and cruel side of his, though I had been aware that it was there. I gulped and replied, utterly submissive, “Of course, Maester!”
This seemed to be enough for him, because he drew his blade away from me again and focused on the poor torture slave.

The hours to come should make me wonder who was worse in his own way: Vect or Vlokarion.
I decided for myself that I would run from both of them if I ever got the chance.

After witnessing hours and hours of torture, though I did not know the human that had been the unlucky bastard to end under Vlokarion’s blades, my mind was not only profoundly shaken, but rather torn asunder by the things I had been forced to witness.
I was sure that I would never forget those terrible screams, heart-breaking pleas and mind-breaking submission I had had to witness from Vlokarion’s victim. I had never seen someone torn so much apart in such a skilled fashion and I had never known the abyss minds could be pushed into, the harder they got tried and destroyed. I had known that it was possible to break someone, to make them do anything just to escape the pain, but until now, I had never understood what it had meant.
Now I did, and I wished that I never had.
The thing that frightened me the most was that I had understood it. This had been more than torture; it was a twisted form of art. I saw that there was a method behind this madness, a plan to this cruelty. Yes, as mind-wrecking as it sounded, Vlokarion was an artist, but the canvas he used to paint on was a living and breathing one, his paint was blood and his brush was a scalpel.
I jumped what little I could in my shackles, as Vlokarion said to me, “You see it, don’t you?”
I could just nod silently, feeling utterly sick and feeble, and I felt how hard I trembled. I was not sure if I threw up if I opened my mouth right now.
The Haemonculus nodded and I let out an unbelieving, yet relieved gasp, as he started to loosen my bindings. While he did, he said, “Good. I had hoped that you would.” As he was done unshackling me, he added, “Just remember, what I have shown you is one of the essences my race builds upon. Understand it, and you will truly see what it means to be a True Eldar. The knowledge will help you grow even better into your role and will make you serve even better, ensuring your prolonged survival. If you don’t want to end up like this, you should start to adjust your mind to those things, for at some point, you will witness them on a regular basis. Now, go, and give yourself some time to process! I’ll need some time here still and I want you to gather yourself in the meantime.” He smiled terribly and I flinched as he laid one hand upon my cheek, which was impossibly clean, considering the mess he had produced. “You did well, child.”
I still only nodded again and then fled him, into his quarters. Luckily, he let me be.
In his quarters, I sat on the bed, shaking, staring into nothingness, tears running down my cheeks. I did not utter a single sound, though I would have loved to scream all the horror and terror I felt, out, yet, I could not. What was happening to me? Why did I see their point to this and why did I understand his craft so well? I really, really should not be able to follow this twisted, sick line of thoughts.
Yet, I did.
With stuttering breath, because I was trembling so hard, I tried to calm myself down, scraping the last remains of restraint, decency and humanity that were left in me, together. I told myself repeatedly that I was better than the rest of the humans around here, for I was in the position I was and I was successful with it and I refused to break, no matter what they threw at me. I remembered how much I had wanted to be here, in Commorragh, back in this distant, past life I had had, I remembered how much I had hated my old life and told myself with all my might that I was apparently special around here, something I had always longed for in my old life and that I would earn even more prestige around here, the harder I tried to understand the Dark Eldar.
And I told myself that I would be the first human to truly do it.
I was special, I knew I was. And I did no longer question that.
I had seen it when Lisbeth had entered the game. This was how humans usually fared around here, being reluctant, fighting senselessly and ultimately, destroying themselves by clinging to their old selves, their old lives, their... humanity.
That, or they were simply not important enough to even get a chance.
Somehow, it hurt to admit it, but I was drifting away from my humanity; and the distant, but not nearly enough frightening aspect of it was that I wanted it.
Somehow, the thought of yet again having a goal besides surviving, encouraged me greatly. I was aware that I was just pushing what I had seen the past hours away into the darkest corner of my mind, behind this thick wall I had erected in it to seal all the horror away. Still, I waited for the moment where it would crack open and where I would just break, fade and go insane.
But today was not that day.
I had a goal and I would reach it. And if reaching it meant to let myself be frak mentally and physically by this monster out there, that just had tortured a human being into insanity in just some hours, effortlessly, mercilessly, emotionlessly and then killed said being, so it would be.
I would come out on top of this, no matter what. That I was set upon.
I now was strong enough to close my eyes, to push that images that had burnt themselves into my retinas away and to welcome the warm darkness, breathing deeply, finding my focus once again. Slowly, my trembling subsided and even slower, my mind calmed down again, though it still was like a profoundly beaten-up child, curling up and whining.
Far too soon, Vlokarion joined me.
Instantly, my fear hit me again, I fought my trembling as hard as I could. Nervous, heart pounding and very unsure of myself, I looked at Vlokarion, and as he came to a halt in front of me, I asked, “So, how do you want this to go?”
Vlokarion looked at me, apparently confused, and blinked a few times, seemingly processing my question in this insane, yet genius mind of his. “How I want what to go?”
I replied, now also puzzled by his question, pointing at the bed, “Well… this. I assume you want to spend the night with me? In every sense of the meaning?”
At first, the Haemonculus frowned. Then, slowly, his face turned into a smiling grimace as he started to laugh wholeheartedly. It was a terrible, bloodcurdling laughter and it got my hackles up. It took Vlokarion quite a while until he was able to calm down and then he said, still panting, “Oh, no! No, no, no, no, no! Apparently, my meaning was misinterpreted!” He snorted, still highly amused. “No, child, I have no intention of sleeping with you.” He sniggered. “I have no interest in such things, not even with a Lhamaean, though I have heard that they could make one feel young again. No, my child, the time where I was sexually active has long passed, the things that excite me now would be deadly or at least unspeakably torturous for you. No – I just want to lie with you, feel your body, your warmth, your touch, maybe your kiss… depends on how you feel to me. I want to feel… appreciated. No, that’s not the word, there is another one for it… oh, what was it, what was it…?”
“Loved?” I tried to help him out.
“Yes, loved! That’s the one!” he burst out.
This just made so clear how alien Haemonculi were to all the other Dark Eldar. They tended to forget what love meant, hell, they even forgot the word, though it existed in their language; however, the meaning of it was not the same as in the human language.
Then again, it was known that most ancient Dark Eldar forgot about it, yet, Vlokarion was the first one around here to show that kind of alienness.
I sighed in utter relief, a lot of pressure and stress now off my shoulders, though I still felt sick and profoundly shaken when I dared to think about the past hours. I smiled at him and said, “I have to be honest here, Maester: everyone thought that you wanted to sleep with me and though the thought was odd for me, I had accepted my fate. Still, up to this point, I was not sure how to manage this. But to make you feel loved and appreciated, this I can do.” I was surprised how calm and confident I sounded with this, because I still remembered very clearly what he had shown while the torture session. I would never forget this face of utter satisfaction and joy, his body shaking and shivering in anticipation and excitement for every bloodcurdling scream.
Vlokarion chuckled. “I still find the thought of me sleeping with you hilarious. Ah, little one, you are not ready for this!”
“Actually, this is exactly what I had thought,” I said, still smiling. It felt to me as if that smile was pinned onto my face. I feared that if I altered it, I would start screaming.
Nevertheless, I was so happy that this had turned out this way.
He nodded in approval, then he came to me and laid his left hand upon my cheek. Vlokarion said, “Undress, lie down and relax, child. I will be with you shortly.” With these words, he left for the bathroom.
I almost started laughing hysterically as he had left.
That was a good one.
He made me wait for some time. I made sure in the meantime that I did as he had bidden me. I just laid my clothes beside the bed on the floor, since I did not find a better place for them. Also, I looked to it that I pre-warmed the bed for him, though I was still somewhat tense. I did not have to sleep with him, no, but making him feeling loved still was a stunt I was not sure how I should pull.
Then he came back.
My heart skipped a beat as I saw that he was naked.
I had never seen skin so pale and so parchment-like. He was ancient, it was apparent with his body. Though he was spindly, so much that his bones could be seen at some points, it somehow fitted him and his wiry musculature just added to the picture. I knew that he was much stronger than he looked. What scared me was that these bony, long fingers would touch me soon in a manner that would make them feel possibly quite awkward. His still attached mechadendrites and spine framed his frail body, like twisted wings, and I could see his muscles work as he slithered towards the bed.
With a lopsided smile, he gently sat down beside me and looked down at me, his gaze piercing mine intensely. Seeing my apparent dismay, he said, “Relax, child. I will not hurt you, if you do as I please.”
I shivered as he laid his hand upon my cheek, then gently running his bony fingers down my face, over my tense jaw, along my neck and between my breasts, resting it there. He closed his eyes and said, “Oh, you are so tense and afraid, I can feel it myself. Just listen to your heartbeat – almost as fierce and desperate as those that I am about to torture.” He shook his head. “Apparently I have misjudged you. I had thought you stronger than this. What a disappointment.”
Vlokarion moved to get out of bed, his anger and disappointment apparent, but I said, “Wait! Please, Maester, wait!”
Why was this all of a sudden so damn hard for me? We had already discerned that he would not sleep with me, so why the hell was I now so afraid to cuddle with him?
He halted and looked at me over his shoulder. I gave myself a push, took a deep breath, sat up and then slid my arms around him from behind, giving him a gentle hug. It was the first time our bodies touched so greatly – his felt cool and smooth, yet I could feel every single muscle, sinew and bone of it. There was no soft spot on this body and his skin almost felt like wax. The mechadendrites that were connected to his protruding spine also were disturbing for me, as their cold metal and dead flesh touched me. I heard them moving as I had my ear against his body and between his shoulder blades, but I noticed that I neither heard a heartbeat nor breathing. I swallowed the fear down with all my might, since I just got reminded that I did not know a single thing about the physiology of Haemonculi and how alien they were.
With eyes closed, I said, “Please… forgive my weakness! Lie down again, I will give you what you desire and I will give it with all my heart.”
He did not move for some moments and fear crept up again in me, the fear that I might have spoilt the moment too much. Then he took my wrists, turned my palms upwards and I shivered as he gave me a gentle kiss on each of them. His lips felt raw and slender, I was not sure if kissing them would be pleasant. As he was done, he said, while he stroked my palms with his thumbs, “Alright, child. I will give you a second chance, since you are so young and because I am aware that I have strained you quite a lot. However, if you dare to fail me again, I will let your master know that you have failed and then I am sure that you are mine to punish.”
He let go of my wrists and turned around again, looming over me like an angel of death with his broken-wings-mechadendrites. I pulled myself together once more, knelt, laid my hands gently upon his bony and sunken cheeks and then tenderly kissed him.
I had been right – his lips were not too pleasant to kiss. Their rawness made it somewhat awkward and also his spindly stature was disturbing for me; touching his body did not bring me any comfort. I shivered hard as he ran his bony fingers utterly gently down my spine. I gasped whilst kissing him, as I felt his numerous mechadendrites touch me – metallic and fleshy alike – as they took me into a truly strangely feeling embrace.
After a while of tender kissing, I drew away again, he let me, I laid down on the bed, covering myself with the blanket and gently patting the space beside me. “Please, come here, Maester! Tenderness needs a lot of bodily contact and warmth. Let me warm you!”
He nodded and laid himself in one fluent movement beside me. I bid him to rest his elongated head on my shoulder and I gently embraced it and kissed his cortex. Touching his waxy skin with my lips also felt strange, but I told myself that I better got used to it for some time. My heart was still beating fast, but I got calmer the longer our bodies touched.
As that happened, he let out a satisfied hum. “Good to see that I haven’t misjudged you after all. Apparently, I gave you too little time to process.” He shifted his position a bit, carefully laying one bony hand between my breasts again. “Does this make you feel uncomfortable?”
The question hit me quite unexpectedly. I sniggered a bit nervously, then said, “No, Maester. I am used to touches like that by now. And I am used to a lot more, too.”
Vlokarion made a contemplative sound. “Hmm, I see. So, you would say, without your gathered experiences, it would make you feel uncomfortable?”
I was not sure by now whether his interest was sincere, or if he just played me nicely. However, I decided to play along, which was, undoubtedly, for my best, and answered, “Yes, without any doubt.”
He only acknowledged my words with a pensive hum.
We lay like this for a while, he running his fingertips over my body, staring at me, apparently silently measuring my reactions, and I stroked his head and cheek gently, kissing him occasionally onto his forehead and cortex.
After a while, Vlokarion said, “This might be entertaining for a bit, but there has to be more to human love than that! Are you lying to me, child?” His inflexion grew dangerous.
I jumped a bit at that, he smiled at my accelerated heartbeat, and I hurried to explain, “No, Maester, I would never dare! This is but one facet of it. Physically, of course, there would be intercourse, for example, but we already established that going that way would not work. Mentally, you have to consider a lot, lot more. I take it that the concept of unconditional love is alien to you?”
His eyes narrowed, I made haste with continuing, “It means that you trust one individual with all your heart and soul. You know from that one that you could fall and he or she would catch you, no matter how hard it would be. You not only trust each other, you need each other and taking one individual away would mortally hurt the other. This would be true, unconditional love. It works similar in friendships, but the feelings are not that strong and no romance is involved.”
I had expected that Vlokarion would not understand this one bit. However, the utterly confused look on his face was just priceless. He pondered my words for a while intensely, then he shook his head and replied, “Why, by the Muses, would one want to have that? Why would you want this kind of vulnerability? It could be so easily used against you!”
I sighed. “Yes, of course, you are right with that. But still, it is one of the most beautiful things to have.”
His forehead drawn to a frown, he closed his eyes, apparently intensely pondering my words. Then, slowly, and to my great dismay, an evil smile graced his features. “What a strange, yet indeed highly interesting concept! I still can’t claim that I understand it, nevertheless, thank you for pointing that out to me, I am sure I will put it to good use!”
Oh, the malice in this words! The torturer was back once more!
I had the terrible feeling that I just worsened some fates around here.
Of course, Vlokarion saw my dismay. “Oh, don’t feel guilty, little one, if you had not told me, someone else would have! Besides, you are here for exactly that – to unravel the mysteries of human love to me. So, is there anything else you can show me? I liked the kiss you gave me before quite much... I just started to get the hang of it again, it has been such a long time since I kissed someone, longer than you could even imagine...”
I figured it was time that I stopped talking; therefore, I turned onto my right side, laid my arms around his shoulders and put my mouth unto his.
Again, the raw sensation of his lips unsettled me a bit. As I kissed him, this time I felt that he was not used to it and I needed to guide him a lot. I combined my kisses with gentle strokes on his back and face, and in return, he hugged me gently, again also with some of his mechadendrites, and he used them to tenderly stroke me. Goose-bumps were again imminent with that treatment, the mixture of flesh and metal on my skin felt quite intense. Though I needed to work a lot with my mouth, since he really seemed to be inexperienced, or, as to his own account, only slowly remembering his technique, I felt that I enjoyed it the more the longer we kissed. I had never imagined that I would get to feel so much tenderness from this monster, who had, just an hour or so ago, tortured and killed another being.
I shook the thought off, right now, there was no time for me to ponder this.
Then, the relief washed over me again; I was so happy that he had not prepared some kind of exquisite, sexual torture for me here, because I was sure that I would have snapped at that. Also, it moved me greatly that I was something really special to him, so special that he just wanted to be cuddled by me and not to scream for him. I was sure that this occasion was extremely rare, if not even unique in this city.
I was unique in this city.
And with great shame, I started to cry silently. I could not hold my emotions back any longer.
Vlokarion, of course, sensed my tears, drew his mouth away from me and looked at me in apparent confusion. He tilted his head and asked, “Why do you cry?”
I smiled at him, tears still flowing down my face, and answered with breaking voice, “Out of relief and honour.”
The Haemonculus frowned. “I have seen a lot of tears in my time, but never out of those reasons. Explain, child!”
Therefore, I continued, wiping the tears off my cheeks, fighting for my composure, “You see, I am really happy that you don’t want to sleep with me, because, to be honest, I was not sure how I should have done it without going insane. Though my status is as low as can be, I still value my life and sanity. Also, it makes me feel incredibly honoured that you chose me for this task, to make you feel loved and appreciated, because it confirms my suspicion that I am something special, though I am just a slave.”
Vlokarion started to laugh.
Now it was my turn with being confused.
The Haemonculus took a while to calm down again, then he managed to say, “Child, though you have proven your wits time and again, you sometimes need a surprisingly long time to manage to understand certain things. Do you really think that you would have managed to survive one solar year around here, being one of the youngest personal slaves the Overlord had ever had, if you were not indeed something special?”
“But, without your training...” I started.
However, he cut me off this time. “Yes, yes, it surely helped you along, but in the end, the best training does not change the fact whether an individual is made for the position or not, whether it has the aptitude for it. You do, and though you often enough hate what you have to do, you obey and push all those unpleasant feelings aside, just to... serve. Not solely serve, but rather serve in the wanted and right manner. And this, child, is a quality that is inexplicably rare in slaves. This is what made you survive so barely scathed. This, and the fact that you don’t taste and smell like humans normally do. You are a break for everyone’s senses, I can assure you of that.”
My jaw had started to drop with his words. He had told me the same things Vect had already told me and the impact of them now hit me in the face like a hammer.
This just confirmed that Vect had not lied about me being different in more than one way.
At this point I did not no longer think about the possibility that both lied to me.
His next words shook me, “You, my dear, were born to be a slave, as it seems.”
This was not a very charming statement, but the longer I let it sink in, the more I understood that it was, in this case, actually a compliment. And a huge one at that.
I looked utterly confused at Vlokarion, as he jumped out of bed with a happy chuckle. As he stood, he turned halfway around and explained, “I have to take notes of what we are doing here. After all, all of this serves a purpose.” Somehow almost shyly, which now was unbelievably strange, he added, “Does this disrupt the moment for you?”
I smiled sympathetically and answered, “No, not at all! After all, I know that a scientist has to take his notes.”
The Haemonculus smiled and said, while he slithered to the desk in his quarters, “I tend to forget that you once had a scientific profession. This makes things a lot easier with you.” At the desk, he took out a notebook, bound in what looked like soft skin, not leather, and took some notes, actually writing with his hand. After he was done, he slithered back to the bed, laid the notebook and pen onto the nightstand and lay down beside me once more.
Unexpectedly, he took my head between his bony hands and started to kiss me again, now with much more initiative form his side. It did not take long until he French-kissed me.
His tongue felt utterly strange, because it was hard, pointy and also felt somehow bony. I concentrated very much on this kiss, not able to tear my thoughts away from it, since his tongue felt so alien as it caressed mine. Vlokarion was, as it seemed to be normal with Dark Eldar males, quite dominant, did not let me have a lot of freedom now, quite contrary to what had transpired whilst the first, longer kiss, and he just took what he wanted. I could handle this a lot better than the thing before, since I was used to being used. It was strange, but it felt like he was hungry for this kiss, caressing my body with his hands and mechadendrites in a more demanding manner than before, but never crossing that fine line between mere tenderness and arousal. I thought that he possibly also knew very well where he could touch me without arousing me. If there was someone that knew each anatomy perfectly, it had to be a Master Haemonculus. I returned the kiss as passionately as I could, obediently giving him what he desired, yet not entirely enjoying it, since it was so peculiar.
However, it seemed to be enough for Vlokarion.
After a while of just kissing, he drew away from me again, then he whispered softly, “Very well, child, you served me nicely. Now, I want you to wind down and go to sleep; it was a long day and you have to be exhausted. Don’t mind me, I will lie beside you and watch and analyse you as you sleep, maybe touching you a bit. Tomorrow, when you wake up, I want you to share some more tenderness with me and then I will bring you back to your master. I am sure that he will be pleased to hear that you have served me well. Sleep now, child, you are safe here!”
I nodded, bade him a good night and curled up on the left side.
“What is it actually about this ‘good night’ thing you humans are saying?” he asked me after my good night wish.
“I guess it comes from the fact that with sleeping, there is always a chance of nightmares for my kind, and you bid those, who you appreciate, a good night with sweet dreams, since no one likes nightmares.”
As I voiced these words, I realised that I never had had a nightmare as long as I had been around here. It was really strange, as much as my mind had been torn asunder, I should have woken up screaming a lot of times. Yet, I never had. I tried to ignore the thought and be content with it, but somehow, I now kept it in mind.
Maybe I was more stressed out than admitted, because it was known that if a person experienced enough of a trauma, the subconscious did not deal with it through nightmares, or the dreaming stopped entirely.
I hoped that there was another, more esoteric reason in my case for it.
Again, Vlokarion took notes of that.
I did not mind, for he was right, I was exhausted. As I relaxed mind and body, I felt that I actually enjoyed it as he softly stroked my hair and skin, while I gently drifted away into a deep slumber...

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Join date : 2019-07-05
Location : Vienna

Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:19

Chapter 15

A Dream Team tarnished

"No, I don’t want everything. I want two of everything!”
— Archon Kh’err’akh’an, of the Kabal of Shadow

I blinked, oblivious to where I was and for the first few seconds, I thought I had gone blind, since I literally could not see a thing. There was not the faintest source of light around here, so there was nothing my eyes could adjust to.
Then I remembered that I probably still was in Vlokarion’s quarters. At least I guessed so, because the bed I was lying in, felt the same.
I winced as I merely heard a door opening and I rather felt that someone entered the room; I did not hear the person moving.
I was frightened so hard by the gentle touch on my face that I let out a small shriek and shoved myself backwards in a reflex-like reaction.
I relaxed again as an all-too-well-known laughter filled the room and a very familiar voice said, “I sometimes tend to forget how frightful you humans are when you are deprived of your visual sense.”
Still panting and with a quick heartbeat, I gasped, “Maester! You gave me quite a turn there!”
Vlokarion gave a snigger – I found this kind of laughter just so unfitting for this old monster – and replied, “Yes, it was easy to see that, my child.” I felt him sitting down on the bed. “Though I would love to experiment on you a bit longer, especially now that you are blind, I fear I lack the time. Maybe the Overlord can be swayed once more at some point to give you to me, so I can deepen my research in this matter, but for now, our time is over.” I heard him shifting his position. “Here, let me help you with your visual problem.”
With his words, I could see again, because he lit a small glow-globe, which he held in one of the metal hands of his mechadendrites. The faint, blueish light of the device cast long shadows and gave Vlokarion’s white, waxy skin an unnatural, unhealthy sheen. His black eyes reflected the cold light also in a rather eerie manner.
I needed a second to realise that he was holding my clothes in another of his mechadendrite-hands and had the artificial limb stretched into my direction, so I could take them. His actual arms were folded in front of his chest.
Though I had seen quite a lot of him the last day and night, he still managed to creep me out. With a shy “thank you” I took the clothes, slipped out of bed and put them on. That I could feel his cold stare between my shoulder blades while I dressed, did not help in making me feel comfortable.
I turned to him once I was done, nodded and said, “Alright, I am all set!”
Vlokarion smiled mysteriously, nodded and with an unearthly smooth movement, he got up. Without making a sound – this time, I noticed that he was absolutely silent as he moved, though I could see – he slithered towards me. I only now realised that he had taken off my collar while I was sleeping, as he produced it with the attendant chain. He noticed my confused stare, his smile deepened and he said, “You slept very deeply and astonishingly peacefully. It was easy for me to not wake you during my tests.”
Though he had told me that he would try some things while I was asleep, the notion still creeped me out. Carefully, I asked, “May I ask what kind of tests you were conducting?”
“You may, but I doubt that you would understand when I explained them to you. Let me just say that the results were… interesting,” Vlokarion stated rather cryptically.
That did not answer any questions whatsoever.
Therefore, I kept my mouth shut, and held still while he attached the collar around my neck and the chain to something hidden in his wide robes. Without saying another word, he turned around and led me outside.
Though I had crossed my fingers that I did not have to meet Urien Rakarth a second time and found myself holding my breath time and again as we climbed the stairs out of the tower of the two Master Haemonculi, my concerns were needless. The journey back to the Black Fortress was surprisingly uneventful and Vlokarion kept rather silent and to himself; I figured he still was pondering the results he had gotten from my nocturne observation.
I expected him to lead me back to the throne room, but I was surprised to find that he led me right to Vect’s currently empty quarters.
Inside, he took off the chain and the collar; he placed the latter carefully on the washstand beside the bowl. Then, he turned to me once more and said, “This is where we part ways again, my lovely child. I shall find another time to probe your skin and flesh with my instruments. But before I go, I demand one last kiss. I found that I enjoyed them greatly.”
Though he once more creeped me out, I smiled and said, “That can be arranged, Maester.” I drew close to him and relaxed as he took me into a multiple-limb embrace with his mechadendrites and arms. Our lips touched, I let him take the lead, endured his kiss silently, returned it obediently and looked to it that he felt entertained enough, as his pointy tongue slid into my mouth.
I winced as, this time, he bit me after he had finished the deep kiss, and continued kissing me and licking my blood off my lips. I felt his body shudder as he tasted my life fluid; it did not surprise me, my blood seemed to have a fantastic taste for every Dark Eldar. I had no idea as to why, but there was not one of them, who had kissed me and not bit me at some point and loved the feeling and taste of it.
Vlokarion took his time, giving my wound time to heal and relishing each second of it.
As he finally drew away from me, he stayed close to me, his actual hands at my cheeks and whispered, “Don’t forget about me when you call in your favours at the Carnival.” With this, he let go of me, winked at me – which I found, somehow, highly disturbing – turned around and left. The sound of the door snapping shut behind him had somehow something final.
After Vlokarion had left the room, I took a deep breath, this time, happy to be rid of him and I wiped my mouth with the back of my left hand, for I felt tainted by his kiss. The time with him surely had changed my view about him and had made me painfully aware that he had shown his utterly gentle and playful side to me until now. I wished I had never been forced to look into this black, sordid abyss, which was his soul.
I found it suspicious not to be received by my master, who would surely have loved to immediately ask me how it went, with a half-scrutinising, half-threatening stare and there was also no sign of Lisbeth. I sighed. I dearly hoped that he had not taken her to the throne room again.
Everything was tidy in the room, the bed was freshly made, the table was newly set – I figured that the cleaning crew just had been here.
Since I had not showered during my time with Vlokarion, I went into the bath, since I felt a bit filthy and this was no condition to meet my master under.
Inside of it greeted me a view I had not expected.
The tub was filled, hence, the air was humid and very warm and the scent of the bathwater was pleasant and relaxing; I smelt a mixture of lavender and rose. Lisbeth was sitting in the tub, alone.
Something died in me as I beheld her.
I could not yet see her face and much of her body, since she had turned her back to me, but her posture showed me that something was terribly amiss.
“Lisbeth?” I said softly.
She apparently had not heard me as I had entered, because as I spoke, she jumped so hard that she splashed some water out of the tub and as she turned around in this jump, I could see pure horror in her eyes, before she recognised me.
Breathing heavily, she said, “Temira! I am so happy that it is you! I had feared that he was back again!”
Then she started to cry.
Though I was afraid that Vect might lurk somewhere and punish me for helping Lisbeth out, I hurried to her and hugged her from the rim of the tub and stroked her hair gently. She tried to speak through her sobs, but I said, “Calm down first, and then tell me what happened.”
It took her quite a while to do so. I held her all the time, stroking her hair, hugging her tightly and telling her that it was alright. This terrible lie was all I could tell her to comfort her.
As she had calmed down a bit, I made her look at me and said, “Now, do you want to tell me what happened or do you rather keep it to yourself?”
She shook her head. “No, I think I will go mad if I don’t tell you.” She snivelled and wiped the tears off her face with the back of her right hand. It looked quite helpless.
I tried to loosen up the situation a bit by saying, “Mind if I join you? Baths are rare at Vlokarion’s.”
Lisbeth showed a sad smile and shook her head. I took off my scarce clothes and joined the bath.
“You don’t have to look at me if that makes it easier for you to tell me,” I suggested.
Lisbeth nodded. Then she started to talk, staring into thin air, “Well… you heard what he did to me two days ago…”
I nodded.
“And, because of the truth serum, I spat everything at him I was thinking and I was quite impolite, to say the least… he did not take it well.” She took a deep breath, then continued, “I had hoped that he was done with me after he had make me scream my skull out and beg him for forgiveness, but…” A shudder ran through her slender body. Trembling, and stuttering she continued, “But… but he wasn’t… oh god, Temira, he wasn’t…” Then, she drew close to me. I gently laid one arm around her and I felt that she was trembling all over. She closed her eyes and her lips close to my ear, she whispered, “He assault me while you were away.” She buried her face in her hands, and spoke now so quietly that I could barely understand her, though she was close to my ear, “After he had cracked me, he used my body against my mind. Oh god… oh god… I liked it, Temira…” Suddenly looking at me, she cried, “How can I look at myself in the mirror ever again?” Once more, she started to sob uncontrollably.
I gently hugged her now with both arms, as she curled up to a trembling, hyperventilating ball, and told her, “Lisbeth, this is only natural…”
“Natural?!” she cried, “It is NOT natural to enjoy assault!” I could almost feel her shame and embarrassment.
The notion frightened me.
“No, it is not, but you have to understand, though it is assault, that he knows exactly how to use your body against your mind. And no matter how much you hate what he does, he will always find a way to make you enjoy it, and he will make an effort out of it, because he knows that you will punish yourself the most afterwards, because you enjoyed it. Don’t go there, Lisbeth, don’t punish yourself for something you can’t fight! And, for the love of whatever god may hear me, don’t try to fight against an eleven-thousand-year-old predator, who has torn millions of girls like us apart!” I tried hard to talk some sense into her there.
It took her a while to calm down, but I felt that she understood what I said and most likely even acknowledged it.
As she had stopped to spasm with sobs, she looked at me, nodded and said still with a breaking voice, “You are possibly right, as always.”
Though I hated myself for it, I told her another terrible lie, but I knew that it was right now what she needed to hear, “He now has done the very thing to you which you have feared the most until now. What can now possibly bring you down?” I hated myself for closing that sentence with a warm smile.
She needed it.
Possibly, the lie would destroy her at some point.
But she needed it right now, or she would break here and now.
I needed her to stay sane. I needed a bit of moral support before I had to fence for myself in the Crucibael.
And maybe, just maybe, she would now be able to adjust to her situation and reach the status I had right now.
Lisbeth went absolutely still as I had said that. I knew I had her with this. For a while, she stared into thin air again, then, she looked at me and I rejoiced silently as I saw something in her eyes I had missed until now: determination. My friend said, “You are right, he has done his worst to me. Since he has assault me, there is little left to fear for me. No sense in fearing each encounter with him and each day.”
I smiled again, now the smile was sincere, because I was relieved, stroked over her cheek, and said, “That’s how I know you! That’s my girl!”
“I’m sorry that I was such a crying whinger until now. I will now stop that and I will be there for you as you were there for me. I will no longer tremble in his presence, as you tried to teach me, this is no good.” It seemed as if I had given her confidence wings.
Nevertheless, I had to make her also cautious, and said, “Just don’t tell him that he can’t do any worse things to you, ok? The last thing you should do is daring him – in any way.”
Lisbeth nodded. “Of course! I have learnt my lesson concerning caution towards him.” She shook her head, then continued, “Remind me to thank the cleaning crew the next time they are here.”
“Why is that?” I asked, sincerely confused.
“They found me lying in bed quite catatonically. They helped me into the tub and ran the bath for me with the relaxing herbal mixture. I don’t know whether I would have been even able to speak if they hadn’t helped me,” Lisbeth told me.
“Huh. How very nice of them,” I said, surprised. At this point, I noticed that I never had to be picked up by them in the first place. This just encouraged my thoughts about something being severely off with me.
Lisbeth now drew away again and said, “Thanks for picking me up once more. I promise you that I will try very hard and hope that this was the last time.”
I smiled. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. It is a lot to take in.”
We both jumped and shrieked shortly, as each of us was hugged by a strong arm from behind and an all-too-well-known voice said, “You do charm me, Temira! I would like to think that I am a lot to take in… in more than one way. Am I not right, Lisbeth?”
Panting, I let my head sink backwards, unto the upper arm of the Overlord and was greeted by his tender kiss onto my forehead. I saw out of the corner of my eyes how Lisbeth blushed… his innuendo was pretty clear this time. He graced Lisbeth with a similar kiss, then let both of us go.
I turned around – now seeing that he was kneeling stark naked on the rim of the tub – barely-so calming my heartbeat again and said, “My lord! As always, you can be incredibly quiet!” I shook my head, then continued, “Seems as if today is the day of people giving me quite the turns.”
Vect smiled mockingly and said with the same inflexion, “Oh, my poor Temira! Did Vlokarion scare you too?” He reached for my face and stroked my cheek with his thumb once. That gesture only added to his mockery.
“Let’s just say that I am bad at perceiving when I am blind,” I told him truthfully.
Vect chuckled, then added, “I enjoyed listening to your little talk, my children!” He turned to Lisbeth, gave her the same mocking touch as me, she received it a lot more frozen than me, and said to her, “So much shame for something so… delicious.” His chuckle was pure scorn. “Ah, well! Enough repetitions of this delectable game and you will get used to it!”
I almost felt Lisbeth dying with shame right now.
All of a sudden, it made me angry. I had tried so hard to pick her up again and all he did was now ruining all my efforts again and pushing her harder and harder. I did not know exactly what she had said to him while under the influence of the truth serum, but he was punishing her unnecessarily.
Therefore, I said, with a snappier voice than I intended, “I think, Lisbeth has learnt her lesson and you have punished her enough, my lord.”
I realised the mistake as the words had left my mouth.
His neck cracked around and I had his enraged stare upon me, which seemed to pierce right into my skull. “You think?” he hissed.
I tried to jump back to evade him, but, of course, I was way too slow.
In a lightning fast movement, he was in the tub, towering in front of me and he held me by the throat, lifting me off my feet. “You – think?” he repeated, dangerously slowly. Squeezing my throat so hard with a sharp drawing of his breath, that I let out a strangled yelp because he hurt me so badly, he continued, growling, his voice rolling like thunder through the bathroom, “What have I told you over and over about thinking for yourself? Hmm?!” I had never known that this last word could feel like a knife to the heart.
Strangled and dutifully, I replied, “That I… should… leave it… be…”
Lisbeth jumped in, “My lord, please, she…”
He cut her off by backhanding her without even looking at her. With a pained grunt, she hit the rim of the tub. Vect hissed at her, “Do yourself a favour and stay out of this, you little whore!”
Then he turned his deadly stare onto me once more. “Good, really good, Temira! Now, do you care to explain to me why you are still trying it again and again?”
He knew there was no useful answer to that. I could just stare into his relentless obsidians, fighting for what little air he allowed me to have.
Nevertheless, he shook me and barked at me, “I am not hearing an explanation, Temira!” He drew me very close to him, brought his lips to my ear and hissed into it, “Yes, because there is none. Did you think you were privileged enough to shield your idiot friend from me? Were you really that stupid?”
I still could not answer, frozen in fear.
However, this time, he demanded an answer.
The Overlord slapped me in the face, so hard that my ears rang and then pushed me underwater. Since his hit had forced quite some air out of my lungs, I struggled as he held me underwater, but, of course, it was futile, he was way too strong.
I thought he was going to drown me.
My struggling got weaker, as the urge in my body to draw that fatal breath full of water got overwhelming. My sight grew dim, stars danced in front of my eyes and only as my mind and body gave in, in the millisecond as I just had to breathe, Vect dragged me to the surface and let go of me.
Coughing water, yet fighting for air at the same time, and coughing even more because of it, I emerged, yet fell to my knees immediately, because I had no strength left in my tormented body.
However, my master did not give me any time with that.
The Overlord grabbed me by the hair, threw me through the water towards the rim, so I hit it painfully with my back, was over me in a split-second and immobilised me down on the rim with fiercely grabbing my hair and burying my wrists under it, nailing it all down with just one hand and he fixated my legs with kneeling on them.
Then, he hit me in the face once more – I felt my lower lip burst – and boomed at me, “Were you really that stupid?!”
I just needed a moment to catch my breath. For a minute, just Lisbeth’s suppressed sobs – I saw from the corner of my eyes that she was bleeding – and his and my panting filled the room.
Trembling and with a shaking voice, I answered as soon as I could, “Yes, my lord, I were. I will await my punishment for my insubordination and can only beg for your forgiveness at this point.”
I yelped as he slapped me again.
Fear crept up in me as he leant down to me, so close that our noses almost touched and for a while that felt like an eternity, he just stared down on me. I made a frightened sound as he reached for my face again, but he just resorted to gently stroking over the cheek he had hit repeatedly. Tears were in my eyes. He had reduced me to a crying mess once more. This would not end so lightly for me; that I was sure of.
“Temira, Temira, Temira,” he started, making me wince as he patted my injured cheek repeatedly while he said that, “have I not told you that you should not destroy yourself with trying to shield your friend, hmm?” He ran the fingertips of his free hand fanned-out over my face, so I had to close my eyes with a gasp.
Vect shifted his weight on me a bit, but only to hurt me with it and he relished my pained grunt as he did this; I could see it in his eyes.
An evil smile started to grace his features; apparently, a mean idea had struck him in this second. With a sly and cruel tone, he said towards Lisbeth, “Child, what do you think? Does Temira deserve a punishment?”
Lisbeth looked at him, eyes wide with horror, blood running down from her cheek where her head had hit the rim, and she answered, stuttering, “Y… yes, m… my lord, I… I s… suppose she d… does. However,” she swallowed, visibly giving herself a push, “however, I would like to ask you to punish me in her stead. After all, she just tried to protect me and she should not suffer for my failings.”
An evil laughter submerged itself eerily slowly from the Overlord’s body. It was by far the most bloodcurdling laughter I had heard around here, even from him. He always managed to outdo himself in sheer malice. “Ah, you mon-keigh and your indestructible need to look out and to avow for each other! Tell me, Lisbeth, what hinders me from chastising you both?”
With pure horror and torment in her voice, she said, “Nothing, Overlord.”
Vect laughed again, the viciousness and cruelty of this ancient Dark Eldar showing once more. Tossing back his glossy, black hair, but without loosening his grip upon me one bit, he said, with full relish, “Yes! Yes, that is it! That is what I live for! Nobody and nothing tells me what to do and what to leave!” With pure scorn, he added, “Good girl! My newest pet is learning its lessons so… nicely!”
Calming down instantly again, his face an unreadable mask once more, he looked down on me again and said, “As to you…” Another slap in the face and my receiving yelp, then he pushed his right index finger hard against my chest, without causing a wound, but it still hurt. “You misbehaved. However, since you are leaving for the Crucibael soon and I want a good and strong competitor, I will have to restrain myself right now. Nevertheless,” a wicked smile crossed his face, “I will let Lady Hesperax know to give you a lot of attention. I am sure that you will behave much better when you return.”
Once more, Vect leant down to me and hissed into my face, “Nonetheless, one tiny mistake and I will take out that Agoniser-whip again. And you do not want to make me do that, now do you, Temira?”
Now having found my breath again, I replied, “No, Overlord, I will behave!”
With a mocking smile and inflexion, he replied, “Let us see about that, shall we?”
I let out a relieved sigh as he got off of me.
However, that relief was swept away, as he said, “Good. Since you are so eager about shielding each other, and I have seen such dedication usually only in lovers, be two good slaves and kiss!”
We both looked at him as if he had spoken our death sentence.
As his eyes narrowed, I took action. I was not fond of feeling that Agoniser-whip again.
I moved over to Lisbeth, who looked at me in bewilderment, laid one hand around her shoulder and one onto her cheek and put my lips upon hers.
It felt utterly strange.
I had lived through so many things with her, our friendship for each other was true, but this just took it a step too far. I was pretty sure that he only made us do it to humiliate us and to twist our friendship, not because it aroused him. I was pretty sure that he was beyond such blatant entertainment.
I tasted not only Lisbeth’s lips, which were rather sweet, but also her tears and blood, since she was still shaken from the quite fierce hit and the following concussion she had received from him earlier. I was used to extreme tastes by now, so I took the mixture of sweetness, saltiness and bitterness quite calmly.
At first, Lisbeth was just frozen in my arms, but as I continued the kiss, she started to return it, hugging me, trembling. It felt utterly wrong, though it was not the first time for both of us to kiss a woman. At least, I was sure that I did not have to feel pain from her whilst kissing her; though both of us were injured, we took great care to keep the kiss gentle enough not to hurt each other. We exchanged a long and tender kiss, and we both could feel from the other that we tried hard not to let it be too awkward.
At some point, an evil chuckle made us halt in our efforts. We both looked at the Overlord in bewilderment as he let out an amused and relished sound and said with pure enjoyment in his voice, “Ah, some of the most bittersweet emotions I came to taste in a long time! Enough, children, otherwise, I might get drunk from it!”
Though he just had broken a bit of what we were, we both were relieved to see a gentle smile on his face.
“You did well, children! Now, leave me, I will join you shortly for dinner. We have to discuss some things still.”
He did not have to tell us twice. We got out of the tub, dried ourselves and put on some clothes – quickly, but not too quickly, so we did not insult him. He had done enough to us for today.
After we had left the bath, we sat onto the bed beside each other, not looking at each other.
I could no longer stand the silence after a while and asked Lisbeth in a lowered voice, “Are you alright?”
“Yeah. You?” she replied.
I nodded. “I think so, yes. Let’s better get used to it.”
Lisbeth nodded too.
No more words were necessary on what just transpired between us. Forced or not, we both knew that on the one hand, our friendship had changed, on the other, he surely would use it against us.
However, we both knew that it would take more to destroy our friendship. Change was not necessarily a bad thing. And we would have to change our view on it too, if we wanted it and us survive around here.
I was glad that I could be sure that Lisbeth saw that too.
I made a head movement to the table and we both went and sat down at our usual places, waiting for the Overlord to join us.
Not having to talk because you knew the other one so well was really a blessing around here.
Then it hit me. “Wait a second… did he say ‘dinner’?” I asked Lisbeth, profoundly confused.
She frowned, then answered, “Now that you mention it, he actually did!”
I shook my head. “Damn. How long have we been out? I mean, I guess you were unconscious, right?”
Lisbeth nodded.
“I was just sleeping,” I stated. A terrible suspicion crossed my mind. What if Vlokarion had drugged me to keep me sleeping longer and deeper, so he could do whatever he wanted to me?
Lisbeth saw my worried expression and said with an understanding smile, “It’s not like you can change a thing about it.”
I nodded. “You are right. We got other people to worry about.” Then, I saw a very distinct expression on Lisbeth’s face. “He just entered the room, right?”
She just nodded.
I sighed deeply, buried my face in my hands and said, “Alright, my lord, I will await that Agoniser-whip now… I am such an idiot.”
I froze as I felt his hands upon my shoulders. Trembling, I looked up and into his blank face, him just staring silently down on me for a while.
It hurt that I saw disappointment in his eyes.
However, it did not hurt because I was afraid that he would punish me. It pained me that I had disappointed him. The notion frightened me. Why did I care so much? Why was it so… vital for me to have his appreciation and to please him?
I eyed him very closely, as he took his hands off my shoulders and seated himself at his usual place. I could no longer see the disappointment now. I tried to calm myself with thinking that this maybe had been all.
I winced, as he said, “Temira, fetch me some Shaa-doman wine!”
I received his order with bowing my head, got up and hurried to the topmost platform in his quarters. On the way, I was wondering my brains out what this could mean for me. Then, I realised, I would see in a minute. If he wanted to have Lisbeth’s blood in it, I could be sure that he was severely disappointed with me. If he decided for my blood, and disliked it, then also something was amiss. At this point, I sincerely hoped that he would like it, as usual.
At the topmost platform I once again wondered about the whirlpool. Not even once had I been in there, with him or otherwise. I really wondered by now whether this was reserved for special occasions.
I did not let myself be slowed down by that, rather poured the wine into the appropriate glass and saw to it that I got back to my master. I had tried his patience enough for today – keeping him waiting was the last thing I should dare right now.
I handed him the glass with a slight bow, and as he had taken it, I asked carefully, “My lord, whose blood would you like to have today?” My heart pounded heavily as I said these words. There was no point in hiding my dread, he and I knew that I had frak up big time.
Again, he stared at me for a bit, tilting his head slightly and narrowing his eyes. Then, an evil smile graced his features and he said, “Yours.”
Obediently and a bit relieved, I offered him my left wrist.
Without altering his smile, he took it and bit into it, sinking his obsidian fangs into my flesh. Only a small flinch of the corners of my mouth betrayed the pain I was feeling. He let a bit of my blood drip into the glass with the wine. As he had enough, he sealed my wound with a gentle lick.
I quickly looked at Lisbeth, who had watched the whole scene with an unsettled expression. It only now occurred to me that it was the first time that she watched a scene like this. That the Overlord enjoyed some of the Shaa-doman bloodwine was a rare occasion; in general, he did not often taste blood. I figured that his supply of souls was of good enough quality, so he did not have to resort to such crude means of nutrition.
So, I shot Lisbeth a reassuring look and I could see that she relaxed. I was happy that this was taken care of.
I turned my attention back to my master and looked at him with anticipation. I jumped as he said, “Temira, do sit down again! You know that this wine is certainly a dessert wine, so let us eat first!”
I nodded, bowed slightly and said, “Of course, my lord, forgive me.”
Vect shook his head. “What is it with you today? Forgetting all rules of conduct, being unusually insolent… one might say that your time with Vlokarion has decreased your intelligence and wiped your memory.”
“No, my lord, the Maester was very kind to me, there is absolutely no excuse for my behaviour.”
Again, the Overlord shook his head and started eating.
It was a silent meal, Lisbeth and me exchanging looks, me eyeing Vect inconspicuously from the side and him brooding quietly. I did not need to communicate with Lisbeth to pass her food and drink according to her needs, and the other way around. However, we did not always get everything right; I figured that it was better this way, otherwise Vect might have wondered about whether we actually were psykers, which would have gone really bad for us, and especially, for me, because the Overlord had suspected me to be a psyker already once. I did not want to reinforce that notion for him.
Nevertheless, I noticed that our master noted this nonverbal communication with a slight frown. The idea hit me that he might be indeed a bit puzzled about that. Unconditional and deep friendship was something that might be completely new to him. Yet, he did not say a word, but his stare almost showed the gears working in his head.
As he was done eating, a vicious smile graced his features and he said towards me, “Maybe you need some time to let the lessons come back to you, hmm? Go, dry your hair and think about it for a bit!”
I got up and bid my meanwhile farewell with a slight bow towards him.
As I turned and went to the bathroom door, I was almost exploding emotionally on the inside. I wanted to be present when he tasted the wine, to know whether I had completely ruined his mood or not!
I blushed as I had to let out an audible, relieved sigh as he said, shortly before I entered the bathroom, “Oh, and, Temira: your blood complements the wine perfectly, as always!”
Before leaving, I said, barely holding back the tears of relief, “Thank you, my lord!” Then, I left the main chamber.
In the bath, whilst blowing dry my hair, I took some deep breaths and meditated over the monotonous sound of the hairdryer. I still was amazed anew that this thing worked quite similar than in my world, bearing the difference, that it was somehow far more efficient and it took only half the time to get my hair dry. I could not figure out what was different about it, but it worked.
I was really glad for the break and I loved blow-drying my hair. It always relaxed me greatly and this was exactly what I needed right now. I found my calm again, on one hand, because I was able to get my wits about again, on the other, and to the biggest part, because I apparently had not frak up too hard. He still liked my blood. It was not as bad as I had thought.
I jumped a little as Lisbeth entered the room. I looked at her interrogatively, she just passed me, fetched the soft-bristle brush and waved it meaningfully at me, while she went to leave the room. I just nodded in an understanding manner.
As I was done, I returned to the main chamber, feeling far more confident, and was shortly startled as Lisbeth came my way again. She just pointed at her damp hair, I nodded. Without a word, she left for the bathroom and I went to my master, who had placed himself on the couch. I saw that Lisbeth had already brushed his hair. Vect still had the wine glass in hand, which was still half-full, and he now rested his head on the rim of the backrest of the couch, so he stared at me upside-down.
I said, “I take it that you require a head massage, my lord?”
His upside-down smile was somehow highly unsettling for me. “Ah, my clever girl is back! I could have Lisbeth doing it, and though she manages quite well, she just lacks that indefinable certain something you have in your technique.”
“I don’t deserve your praise, my lord,” I replied obediently.
Vect chuckled. “Temira… you were insolent; I gave what I wanted to give you today and nothing more. We are done with that.”
I gave what I wanted to give…
Clearly, he did not see it as punishment, but education. I just took it in, but it left a cold feeling in my stomach. If now my education looked like this, I did not want to know what my punishments would look like from now on.
Again, he flashed this creepy upside-down smile at me and said, ripping me out of my pondering, “Now, come here and kiss me!”
I obeyed, came to the couch and kissed him, upside down as he was. I winced as our lips touched, because I was reminded of my bruised lower lip and cheekbone. I shuddered as he ran his fingers over my injured cheek, administering only slight pressure, but it still hurt and I had to keep myself from backing away. For a while, he enjoyed my kiss while he made me flinch as he hurt me at my cheek with his fingers and at my lower lip with putting pressure with his tongue onto it.
As he allowed me to stop, he laid the hand he had had at my cheek into my nape, inhaled my scent, and whispered to me, “Mmh, I should hit you more often before I kiss you. Your small waves of pain and your inner fight to stand it without backing away make this tenderness oh-so-much sweeter.” He bared his fangs with his predatory smile, then continued, “Now, child, do what we discussed earlier!”
I nodded, not able to say a word, since his cruel enjoyment unsettled me once again. Somehow, I liked when he talked to me like that, but he also creeped me out profoundly with it.
Yet, he was a Dark Eldar and possibly the cruellest of them all, so I had to stop being spooked about it.
I, therefore, started massaging him and soon could be relieved as I heard his relishing sounds because of my work. I, by now, knew his head and its points so well that I did not have to concentrate too much on it and I let my mind wander in a relaxed manner.
Lisbeth also came back after a while, and he had her sitting beside him, one arm around her, while I continued massaging him.
As I was done, he sent me off to bed, but had Lisbeth stay with him still.
I undressed and slipped under the covers, but remained in a sitting position and eyed what transpired between them critically. He examined her face and head, also checking her senses, since she had hit her head pretty severely beforehand. As he was done, he said to her, “Do not worry, child, these are just light grazes. You will be fine again tomorrow.” Vect then kissed the graze on her head, then went to her lips. Lisbeth did not stay as clam as I did, she winced and tried to back away, since he was hurting her too, but the Overlord was not in the mood for games, because he grabbed her firmly by the hair and around her waist and forced her to endure the pain and his kiss. As he had enjoyed her wincing and squirming enough, he drew away a bit, but not letting go of her, and hissed at her, “You might want to stay calm during the thing I am going to do next, or your time with me alone will start out more hellish than you could ever possibly imagine.”
She nodded and said shyly, “Forgive me, my lord! I know, I have a lot to learn, still!”
I was relieved to see a soft smile on his features. Vect let go of Lisbeth, stroked gently over her injured cheek and said, “Yes, you have, child, yes, you have.”
Then, he grabbed her wrist, bit into it and I could see the delighted ripple that went through his body, as Lisbeth yelped beside him, her blood filling his mouth. Lisbeth shot me a scared side look, I portended her to stay calm. That she needed so much reassurance from me, worried me, because I would be gone for a long time pretty soon. She just had to learn, one way or the other…
Vect only drank a few sips of her life fluid, then he sealed the wound in the usual manner and said, lost in thought, “Hmm, for your flavour we will need another wine. The Shaa-doman bloodwine would not mix with the bitterness of your blood…” He chuckled as he noticed Lisbeth’s horrified stare. With cruel tenderness, he caressed her hurt cheek once more and said to her, “Very good, little one. Go to bed, I will be with the two of you shortly!” Lisbeth nodded and obeyed his order.
Lisbeth also undressed and joined me under the blankets. I hugged her shortly and whispered softly into her ear, “It’s alright.” Then, I let go of her again and raised myself to my elbows, and saw that my master chugged the last sip of wine. He got up and then stretched himself luxuriously, looking very much like a cat as he did this. After that, he went to the cupboards, took off his clothes and came to us.
Again, he demanded his place between us; we, of course, obeyed. For a while, we just laid there with him, as usual, on his shoulders. Then he said, all of a sudden, “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, children!”
We both looked at him quizzically.
Vect chuckled, then said, “You both will join me tomorrow in the throne room. Another Circle meeting is at hand.”
“That soon again?” I said. The words slipped out. At this point, I began to ask myself whether Vlokarion had not done something to me to make my tongue slippery.
However, I was lucky, the Overlord did not seem to mind. “Yes, Temira, sometimes ruling this city requires more than just regular meetings. Besides, the timing is good; it will be necessary that you show Lisbeth how to behave towards the members. After all, she will be your replacement when you are away. I have postponed your departure for one day. You will teach her tomorrow in the throne room, and on the day after tomorrow, you will leave for the Crucibael,” he explained patiently.
“I will, my lord. Thank you for explaining,” I replied courteously.
“Good, since this is settled, sleep now!” he demanded.
Lisbeth and I exchanged an unhappy look, but did as he had bid us, after wishing him a good night.
It was an uneasy night for both of us.

Lisbeth woke up in the middle of the night.
As she did, she found that she was lucky, because Vect had let go of her and rather turned towards Temira. Though she did not want to leave her friend alone, she was grateful right now, because she had to leave for the toilet.
As silently as possible, she made her way there, though navigating in the almost dark room was, as always, a complicated thing.
As she entered the main room again, her heart almost skipped a beat, because Vect had apparently woken up, now towering over Temira, who still slept deeply and Lisbeth gasped as she saw that he had an injector in his hand, which he now used on Temira’s neck. She only saw all those details, because the lights of the bathroom shone into the room and lightened it enough for her to see properly.
Of course, he had noticed her and, while he still was hunched over Temira, stared at her from under his brow with his black, paralysing demon-eyes and a slow smile started to show on his features. Vect laid his index finger of his right hand onto his lips, to tell Lisbeth to be quiet, then portended her to come back to bed. As Lisbeth did, she was able to witness his superior agility, because he leant over Temira, moving so controlled, that he did not move her, though he shifted his weight, and he let the injector vanish in one of the drawers of the right nightstand.
With great dismay, Lisbeth joined the widely awake Overlord in bed, who drew her close to him and whispered softly into her ear, “You will see the effects on her in the morning.”
Too scared to answer, Lisbeth just nodded. She froze as he caressed her cheek and kissed her forehead. Then, he let go of her and let her lie down again. However, he laid his arm around her and drew her against him, whispering into her ear, “You will find your place soon enough, child. And if you do not,” his eyes flashed, “it will be my genuine pleasure to form you into the mould I want you to be cast in.”
Lisbeth knew all too well what he truly meant by that.
She could not take him chuckling into her ear without flinching. “Sleep now, little Lisbeth, tomorrow will be a straining day for you and you would not want to fail as hard as you did the last time, hmm?”
Lisbeth just shook her head in answer.
Another kiss on her temple, another flinch. Though he gently stroked her hair and belly, she tried hard to relax and sleep again. It took her a while, but finally, she could slip back into the oblivion of sleep.

It was pain that woke me on the next day, an agony, I knew all too well.
With a tormented grunt and rolling myself to a ball, I acknowledged the dull, cramp-like spasms that greeted my abdomen; and with palpable wincing I acknowledged the gentle kiss on my temple and the soft, yet callous whisper into my ear, “What a delectable way to start the day!” I felt him inhaling my scent. “It seems as if your body has an impeccable timing when it comes down to the Circle meetings.” A soft, cruel chuckle. “Go now, child! You do not want to bleed all over the place, now do you?”
I didn't have to be told twice.
I got up, without looking at him, slipped out of bed and hurried to the bathroom, careful to reach it before the bleeding started. I managed that, but another spasm engulfed my body before I could step through the door. I tumbled against the doorframe and dug my nails helplessly into the cold stone, only able to bear the pain with a whimper. Tears shot in my eyes. Vertigo and nausea hit me.
This was way worse than usual.
I had the dreadful notion that I could feel how he fed off my pain. This seemed to be delicious even for him and that certainly meant something.
I could hear that he whispered something to Lisbeth, but I could not understand the words. Right now, I was busy, so I no longer thought about it; I took some strained breaths and entered the bathroom.
Inside, I stumbled to the washstand, took some deep breaths and splashed some cold water into my face, to clear my thoughts. It helped a little.
Knowing that nothing else would really help, I turned to go showering. It was this second the door opened. I turned around, expecting to see a gloating Vect coming after me, but I was relieved as I saw Lisbeth. With a worried look on her face, she came to me, laid one hand on my back and asked, “What’s wrong?”
I snorted a joyless laugh and replied, “Menstruation. It hurts like crap around here.” I smiled equally joyless at her. “Well, it seems, you are in this case lucky around here.”
It was a rather tactless statement, but the pain almost made me go insane. Lisbeth did no longer have a uterus – the assault she experienced in her childhood had destroyed her female organs completely. Only through luck she had been able to survive the injuries she had suffered and the operation which patched her up and removed her reproductive organs. She had also had to undergo a severe hormonal treatment in her young years to express secondary sexual characteristics and some long-term therapy to understand and face what had been done to her.
Yes, her father had been a bloody bastard, but luckily, he had also got what he deserved. He was left to rot in prison for the rest of his life.
The bloody bastard around here would not share this fate.
I realised what I had said, shaking my head weakly and said, “Forgive me, that was really uncalled-for and tactless! I just have a hard time thinking clearly.”
Lisbeth’s face turned into an angry grimace and I feared that I had overstepped my rights. However, she hissed, “It’s not your body that has a good timing.”
I blinked. “Come again?”
She repeated, “It isn’t your body.” To underline her words, she nodded in the direction of the door.
Of course.
I looked at her, completely taken by dreadful surprise, slowly realising what she wanted to tell me without saying it. “What?” I just managed to say.
She nodded with a sad face. “I thought you should know.”
I sighed deeply, breathing the pain down once more and said, “All of this now makes much more sense.”
Lisbeth looked at me, puzzled.
I flashed another joyless smile and added, “This is my prolonged punishment.” I shook my head. “It now really makes a lot of sense. Most of the time when I was menstruating, I had made a mistake the day before.”
On one hand, I was relieved, because I understood some things a bit better now, but on the other, the realisation of how much control Vect had over me hit me hard. There was absolutely no escape from him, he still could surprise me; that he could play with my body that much also took me quite aback. Of course, I had known that Dark Eldar had a variety of means to agonise humans, but it seemed as if I just had scraped the surface of that.
I was ripped out of my pondering, as Lisbeth hugged me and said, “But you are no longer alone. I will help you every way that I can with the Circle today. You helped me so much already, it is my turn to return the favour.”
I smiled and replied, “Right. Thanks for being with me.”
She snorted a sarcastic laugh and said with a lopsided smile, “Not that I had a say in this, right?”
I chuckled and nodded.
Lisbeth then let go of me and said, “Okay, I gotta go now again. He only allowed me to check on you, now I have to go back.”
I nodded and Lisbeth left again.
With a low growl because of another spasm, I went into the shower. The hot water raining down on me felt good, and as so often, it helped me meditate and breathe easily and I was able to dull the pain a bit through sheer willpower. Vlokarion had saved my ass so many times with his teachings, it was really astonishing.
After showering, I applied the sealing gel and put on clothes, which had been prepared and lain out for Lisbeth and me on the sofa in the bathroom.
Now clad in blackened white gold and crimson, I got back to the main room of the quarters.
As I did, I saw that Vect and Lisbeth were already sitting at the table, having breakfast. Almost shining in malicious glee, the former said, “Sit down and eat, Temira! It will be a straining day for the two of you.”
One look into his eyes was enough to realise that he was aware that I now knew what he had done. He had counted on Lisbeth telling me. I smiled a false smile and agreed with a slight vitriolic ring in my voice, “Indeed, my lord. It will be.”
I tried really hard to not show any pain whatsoever during breakfast, just to defy him a bit, but it was simply not possible for me, it just hurt too much. I knew that he enjoyed it, both my pointless defiance and my agony, but he did not show it.
Vect sent Lisbeth away as she was done eating.
After she had left the room, he smiled viciously at me and said, “Is there something you would like to tell me, Temira?”
I sensed the danger I was in; apparently, I had shown my frustration too much.
Therefore, I replied, very carefully, “No, my lord. I already said too much, I am aware of that now and I am sorry for that.”
With a dangerous smile – I had not known until now that such a facial expression existed – he stated, “Wise decision.”
Everything was said between us with that rather scarce conversation and I felt that it was wiser to keep my mouth shut altogether.
As Lisbeth came back, the Overlord got up, shot me a look that clearly stated I could have done much worse things to you and vanished into the bathroom. I felt rather lucky that he was only reprimanding me with his stare.
I sighed in relief as he was gone; Lisbeth seated herself on the bed. She was now clad in white gold and emerald green, colours, which fitted her nicely because of her copper hair. I still had to admit that the choice of our garments was, as always, very tasteful. Not only did the colours match our complexion nicely; the clothes, though little more than underwear, were also fitted to our body shapes, to underline them charmingly. A lot of things could be said about the Dark Eldar – but they knew their aesthetics.
I stood up and placed myself ungracefully beside Lisbeth.
For a while, we sat beside each other in silence, until Lisbeth said out of nowhere, “You know, I counted the days.”
I looked at her, puzzled.
“I was able to count them because there was a certain routine to my day. Waking up, washing, breakfast, being presented to the first row of bidders, a small break, another presentation, dinner, sleep…” She shook her head. “When I look back at it now, it was actually pretty easy. I had to care about a lot less than now.”
I swallowed, not wanting to ask that question, but had to, “And… and how many days did you count until now?”
“461,” she replied.
I let that sink in. That meant that I was now a little bit over a year with the Overlord. It felt a hell lot longer.
Paling, Lisbeth continued, “You know what day it is today?”
“No, what day is it?” I asked, dreading the answer.
“It’s Christmas,” Lisbeth simply said.
Her words resonated in the silence and the greatness of the room.
I had thought that no memory of my old life could hurt me, but this most certainly did. Christmas had always been a special day for Lisbeth and me.
Since she had spent most of her childhood in an orphanage, since her father got imprisoned and her mother had left her to her fate, her Christmas evenings had been rather sad. Before she had met me – we had met each other in the upper classes of grammar school – she had no one to even wish her a merry Christmas. No one had been willing to accept her queerness; since she had lived through so much at this point and had been in therapy, she had had severe trust issues. I had been ready to take the challenge, at this point not knowing therapy, but being also broken and understanding her fears. We had walked the way to university together; she helped me with standing up against my parents and also facing the trials of therapy. By the time I had broken with my parents, we had spent our Christmas evenings together, since we had always felt more like sisters, though we both were singletons and never knew how siblings felt about each other. We just imagined it that way. We had had a small flat together, barely managing to finance it with what little money we had. Both being students, she studying archaeology, me biotechnology, this was not always easy.
The small job I had taken on the fateful day, when our lives were turned upside down, had been one of the rare ones that had separated me for a bit longer from her.
Oh, how I wished now I had stayed with her! We could have been in this together all the time!
Now, looking back at this life after one year spent in slavery, it looked like paradise. Lisbeth had reminded me of that. I had drowned the nice memories out of necessity. Now, they flooded my mind.
The taste and smell of cookies, freshly out of the oven.
The feel of the sometimes helplessly overheated flat we were living in, since the heating did not work properly.
The scent of the small Christmas tree, which we used to have sitting on our table.
The sound gift wrap paper made when it was used.
I swallowed down the tears.
I hissed, with a shaky voice, to stop that train of thoughts, “Damn it. I need to get my crap together.”
Lisbeth nodded – I could see that she too had to fight for her composure – and agreed, “Yes. Sorry that I started that.”
I shook my head. “Don’t worry. We’ll manage.” I barely won against the tears.
Damn that menstruation and this sensitivity that came with it!
We both winced as the bathroom door opened and the Overlord came back to us. I swallowed again as I looked at him and had the feeling that he had heard every word of the conversation. This just bode ill for us, for it would only be another way for him to torment us.
With a terribly knowing smile and some mocking caresses, he put our collars around our necks, then went to the armour rack to don his armour. We did no longer say a word to each other, but our emotions were laid bare in front of him, I was aware of that.
Vect did not say a single word.
After he was done with his armour, he portended us with a beckoning gesture that we should come to him. Of course, we obeyed. The Overlord said to us, “My slaves, since having both of you leashed to my belt is a bit cumbersome, I will only chain one of you, the other one will show the Circle today what a nice, behaving pet she is.” He paused here shortly, only to relish our dread about who would be chained and who would follow him unbound. Vect took a chain into his hands, ran it slowly through his fingers, smiling viciously, and then let it snap shut around the eyelet on Lisbeth’s collar. He caressed her cheek mockingly and said to her, “Do not take it so hard, child! You still have to work hard to gain as much of my favour as Temira.” Then, he turned to me and gently stroking my hair, he said, “My lovely Temira, you will follow me today without a leash and I advise you not to disobey. My guards give short shrift to running slaves.”
“Of course, Overlord,” I answered.
Lisbeth remained silent.
Thus, he left the quarters with us, him leading the way, Lisbeth and me behind him. It felt strange; on one hand, because I had Lisbeth beside me and she was, like me, a lot shorter than the rest that surrounded us, on the other, because it was the first time I walked with the Overlord outside of his quarters without any restraints.
I felt proud, because I was sure that he did not give this honour to most of his slaves and that he still had Lisbeth bound, but not me, even nourished my pride. I was happy that apparently I served him well. A satisfied master was good for a slave.
Yes, I was indeed special around here and I liked it.
Nonetheless, I felt bad for Lisbeth. She had done well most of the time, and still, the comparison between her and me was not fair, since Vlokarion had made sure that I would be exceedingly well-trained.
However, I could not change a thing about that.
Therefore, surrounded by Vect and his guards, we went to the throne room.
As we entered it – the usual table was assembled in the vast hall – I was surprised to see that two of the Circle members were missing; Sythrac and Nuscul were not here. I growled on the inside. Apparently, Vect did not want to make things too easy for Lisbeth, by removing two very strategic members from the Circle for today. Sythrac was one of the hardest to serve; he was the second biggest menace and threat around here. Nuscul was the easy mode of the round. Once his humour was understood, the service to him was actually a nice diversion.
Again with impeccable timing, another spasm hit me, I gritted my teeth and needed all my concentration to keep on walking and not to stop and writhe. Heads turned, as they sensed my agony.
Zuol frowned.
Sarnak seemed absent, not taking notice of my agony.
Varys acknowledged me with a polite nod, the relish shining in his eyes.
Ea’nash flashed a greeting, yet terrible smile at me.
Alactel’s nostrils flared, he did not hide his sadistic joy.
Tahril just looked at me coolly, not showing any reaction whatsoever.
I did not let my gaze linger for too long, as it could have been understood as a provocation. I focused on walking again and understood the slight nod my master gave me. I was to sit on his right side, beneath the sceptre. Therefore, I coordinated with his movements, to not obstruct him in any way. As I had dropped, now sitting on my heels and under his out-stretched arm, besides his sceptre, I had a strange feeling of protection and awe at the same time. As he greeted the Archons to the meeting, I looked up and I shuddered as I saw the razor-sharp blades of the sceptre above me, as close and clear as never before. The tiniest touch of those blades made grown warriors scream in pure agony. And yet, right now, I was sitting under it, protected by its wielder.
I was surprised to find that I liked the notion. It gave me a pleasant shiver down my spine.
I could not see Lisbeth from where I was currently, but that changed quickly, as the Overlord placed his sceptre in the fixation at the throne – I winced as he rammed it into place beside my left ear – unchained Lisbeth, and then got up. I was relieved that she did the right thing and got up too, as did I, as we followed him like two shadows to his seat at the table.
Ea’nash said at this point, “Overlord, it is, and I think I speak for quite some of us, delightful to see that you have deigned to bring your experienced, personal slave with you, especially in this… state she is in.” It was a daring statement, but then again, Ea’nash was known for daring statements.
However, Vect was in a playful mood today, because he chuckled and replied, “She is here to educate the other one. I fear I have to tell you, that she will be gone for a while; I have chosen her to be the Black Heart’s representative at the Carnival this year.”
A murmur passed the table, Ea’nash looked truly surprised, and Zuol’s low-pitched voice cut in from the side, “My lord, I’d like to suggest that you to reconsider that course of action.”
“How so?” Vect voice rang like a thunderclap in the vastness of the throne room. So much about his playfulness.
Zuol, now aware that it had probably been a mistake to speak up, replied carefully, “It is unusual for this Kabal to send a physically rather… underprivileged slave to the Carnival. She certainly has proven that she has got guts and brains, but I see little chance for her survival considering her physique. And, I am sure that the Black Heart wants to win the Carnival, as tradition has it.”
His stare a palpable force, Vect growled at Zuol, certainly not liking to have his motives questioned, “The last time I looked, I was the master of this Kabal. I have my reasons to choose her for the task, and not some physically strong and mentally, how did you put it, underprivileged one. Let us make a wager on her survival, yes? What about one thousand of your finest slaves for my dungeons when she brings that unlikely victory?”
Zuol stared at Vect as if he had spoken his death sentence. However, he kept his composure and replied, “Yes, Overlord. I will take that bet.” He could not really say anything else without losing face.
Vect had not said a single word about Zuol receiving anything from him should I fail and he lost his bet. It did not surprise me. Why should he?
I sighed on the inside. This would certainly ruin Zuol’s mood and Lisbeth and I were sure to feel that.
Vect made a dismissive gesture. “Enough of the Carnival! The matter is settled. It is bound to be interesting, as always.” Then, he turned towards me and said, “You will start service.” With a cold stare in Lisbeth’s direction, he added, “And you, will watch closely and learn. You do not want to repeat that fiasco from three days ago, hmm?”
The Archons laughed, I could see that it hurt Lisbeth. Another thing she had to get used to, as cruel as it sounded.
Yet, she was wise enough not to let it influence her performance, as she and I bowed after receiving our orders. She dropped to the floor, beside Vect’s seat, and I went to the bar to receive the usual pot of Tár’yenna tea.
This time I was lucky – the next spasm hit me as I was currently at the bar, waiting for the two slaves there to prepare the tea for me. I bit my tongue to keep quiet and burrowed my fingernails into the cold stone, out of which the piece of furniture was made. I screwed up my eyes and took some strained breaths, trying hard to breathe the pain away. It worked to some extent.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Join date : 2019-07-05
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:20

As the pain had eased down a bit again, I took the teapot, noticed the – as always – pitying gazes of the two waiter slaves, smiled weakly at them and then attended to my task.
Without being acknowledged in any way, I started my service at the Overlord. He had other things to do now, his attention was focused on his Circle.
With a queasy feeling, I went to Zuol next. Since Sythrac was missing, he was the next one in the hierarchy. I did not talk to him as a greeting, just bowed to him and poured the tea. I gritted my teeth, fully concentrated not to spill any of it, as the next spasm hit. I did not dare to even breathe deeply, since I knew what a relentless and harsh bastard Zuol was. I felt his gaze fall upon me, as I fought against the pain, and barely won.
I yipped completely out of sorts as Zuol grabbed me by my collar and drew me close to him. It was the first time that he dragged me close; before that, he had only hit me if he wanted to teach me a lesson. The Warrior-Archon hissed into my ear, “Better master that pain, slave! You will have to learn to fight whilst feeling it, nature will not pause its course just because you need to survive in the Sprawls.”
I nodded what little I could and gave back, with a strangled voice, “Yes, Archon, I will try my best!”
He let out a contemptuous snort. “That’s the sentence of losers. Pathetic.”
Zuol let go of me, but I knew that if I backed away now, I would lose what little of his respect I had earned by now. Therefore, I stood my ground, looked him straight in the eye and said in a determined manner, “Right. I will master it.”
I was surprised to see a fierce smile dance over his face for a split-second. Whilst baring his fangs, he said, “Let’s see whether I will lose those one thousand slaves…” With that cryptic sentence, he dismissed me with a wave of his hand.
Therefore, I made my way to Archon Sarnak, on the other side of the table.
He greeted me with a lazy smile and a gentle caress on my back, as usual. Turning his smile into a lopsided one, he said, “Well, I can see that a true master has worked on you to make you even more flawless than before. Interesting.”
I smiled shyly and said to him, “Yes, my lord, I am very grateful that the Overlord was so generous as to have me patched up.”
“Generous, indeed,” Sarnak smiled. He tilted his head and asked me, “Have you already thought about the favours you will call in at the Carnival?”
I had not really, up to this point, but he just graced me with an idea. I remembered what Vlokarion had said to me before he had left, “Don’t forget about me when you call in your favours at the Carnival.”
Vlokarion would certainly be a wise choice for a favour.
“A little bit,” I answered, now truthfully, “And including a Haemonculus in the favours surely is a good idea.” I had not forgotten about Sarnak’s ties to the Haemonculi.
Sarnak’s smile widened. “Clever girl! If you need to be acquainted with one, let me know. I am sure that an agreement can be reached.”
This was indeed a generous offer. I bowed to him and said, “Thank you for this exceedingly generous offer, Archon! I will make sure to remember it, when the time comes.”
I would not need the offer, if all went well, but an open door should not be closed hastily. Who knew when this could come in handy? With another slight bow, I left Sarnak.
Varys greeted me with the usual kiss on the hand, over-courteous as ever. His eyes flashed as he said to me, “The slave prodigy has returned! I find it a pity that you will leave us so soon again. And especially,” his gaze grazed the huddled-up Lisbeth beside Vect, “to such an incompetent successor. Use what little time you have to teach her well, otherwise she might no longer be in her position or even alive when you come back; and as I have gathered it, the two of you are close.”
I jumped at his last sentence. Varys was truly the spymaster around here. Nothing escaped his knowledge, as it seemed.
“I intend to do my very best, Archon,” I said to him.
Varys smiled seemingly sincerely at me and said with a sweet inflexion, “Oh, I am sure that you will, as usual, wunderkind.” His words flattered me, although there was no telling whether he truly meant what he said. I doubted it.
Nevertheless, I bowed and stated, “Thank you, Archon, as always, you flatter me.”
Varys dismissed me with an elegant nod.
My way to Archon Ea’nash was really short this time, because Archon Nuscul was missing. I felt sad about that, for I really liked Nuscul. He always gave those gloomy meetings a touch of colour.
Since I knew what would await me from Ea’nash’s hand, I put down the pot before nearing him completely. With a broad grin, he drew me against him and my lips upon his. Kissing the young Archon, of course, always had some kind of humiliating quality; he was voracious and demanding, and his hands touched me in places I still did not feel comfortable with in public. Yet, I knew that he hated a struggle, so I held still and let him do what he wanted with my body.
Ea’nash took a while, a relishing shudder ran through his body as another spasm hit me and I squirmed a bit in his grip; not because I wanted to struggle, but because I could not bear the pain in any other way. He kissed me through all of it and only as the spasm was over, he drew away from me, eyes closed, eyelids fluttering and I could see that his eyes were rolled upwards.
It seemed as if restraining himself truly drove him insane and yet, enticed him the most.
Ea’nash looked at me in the end and flashed a wolfish smile. Whilst caressing my cheek, he whispered to me, “So beautiful and delicious! A shame that you have to leave!” He shook his head slightly. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but,” his gaze darted quickly to Varys, “I have to agree with the old geezer. Teach your idiot successor well, or she will not survive until you are back.”
“What was that?” Varys’s velvet voice came from the side.
With a falsely sweet smile, Ea’nash turned towards him and said, “I think you heard me quite well, Varys. Or have you grown so old and is the quality of your soul meals so low that you lost your sense of hearing?”
Varys snorted forcefully. “I don’t have to take this from an infant, which has never even tasted a proper soul meal.”
Ea’nash bared his fangs with a sneer. “Maybe, but at least I know what that thing between my legs is for.”
Varys inhaled sharply, to throw back an even sharper insult, but Vect boomed, “One more word of this imbecilic bickering and I will degrade one of you, so you do not sit beside each other any longer and I am spared from your mind-numbingly oafish conversations!”
Varys and Ea’nash said, as always, their meek apologies.
Ea’nash’s gaze darkened as he turned back to me, a thing, I had never seen before, and my heart skipped a beat as I had to admit that it made him even more handsome. The Archon growled, “I wanted to have her flogged for struggling against me, you know. However, the Overlord refused. Good for her. Who would have thought that a prudent beauty like you had such a stupid friend?”
Apparently, word had travelled fast around here that Lisbeth and I were acquainted. That, or he had heard what Varys just had said to me, and had added his own thoughts to it. Whatever the reason, it made me feel very uneasy.
“I will help her in serving a lot better, my lord,” I said calmly, while his left hand gently caressed my bottom.
He slapped my buttocks lightly, smiled wolfishly and said, “Very well. Go now, I have taken up enough of your time.”
I left him with a faked, playful smile and still hated it to go to Alactel.
As I had feared it, he drew me close and inhaled my scent with a relished, deep breath. “Ah… so much pain… you are a stunning dessert to the soul meal I enjoyed before I came here.” Clearly, he enjoyed my agony, which had me in its fangs once more as another spasm hit. The Archon held me close for as long as I was in extreme pain, and I could almost feel him drinking my ache like the sweetest wine.
Only as I relaxed again, he let go of me and said, “Aww, over so soon! Well, it is a special treat after all.” He nodded to signalise me that I may serve the tea. I did as he bade me and was very happy that he let me go with that.
I went to Tahril, who was sitting next to Alactel, and poured the tea.
I almost spilt some of it as he said to me, with his low-pitched and somewhat raspy voice, “This is highly interesting. Though you are being put through so much, you just don’t give up. I have seen so many before you just break, completely losing their will to fight. But you, you grow with every challenge that gets thrown at you. Why is that, I wonder?”
It was the first time Tahril had said anything to me that was not a direct command.
I put down the teapot after I had finished pouring the tea, then looked at him calmly and said, “I am not sure of it myself, my lord, but the Overlord explained it once with stating that I am not from the Imperium, therefore having little to lose and a lot to gain if I persevere. I am not constantly plagued by the thought that I will be forever doomed if I cooperate with you.”
Tahril nodded. “I see. An interesting perspective.” He tilted his head slightly. “You are wondering your brains out why the Hierarch and Nuscul are missing, right?”
I learnt from this conversation a lot. Tahril seemed to be a silent, vigilant observer.
I nodded. “Yes, my lord.”
“They are on a raid, seeing it from two different perspectives, attacking from two different angles.” He smiled. “Make of that what you will.”
I nodded, bowed slightly and replied, “Thank you, my lord, I will.” Somehow, it relieved me to now be able to at least guess the answer, not just be left wondering where Sythrac and Nuscul had gone to. An educated guess was better than just knowing nothing about a topic.
Tahril dismissed me.
As I turned around, I sneaked a small smile onto my features. Maybe I would be finally able to reach out to him.
While I brought the teapot back to the bar, I let my mind linger a bit on what Tahril had said. I guessed that Sythrac and Nuscul both were on the same raid, but pointed to different targets, like a planet and its moon. It was a good tactic. If one should fail, the other would still weaken the place by a successful attack. Like this, they also did not have to work directly together which was, considering Sythrac’s gloomy earnestness and Nuscul’s motley humour, better this way. Otherwise, I was quite sure that they would be rather busy clawing each other’s eyes out.
Then, an idea hit me. It all depended on whether Vect would play along. I just had to take my chances.
With that in mind, I went back to the side of the Overlord and bowed to him, to make clear to him that I needed to ask him a question. He left me standing there for quite a while, which was, considering that he had a Circle to organise and a meeting to lead, not surprising, and I waited silently and courteously at his side, until he would deign to give me his attention.
After testing my subservience, he finally looked at me and said, “What is it, slave girl?”
I bowed to him and said, without looking at him, “I would like to make a suggestion, if I may, Overlord.”
He nodded. “Granted.”
I continued, still staring at the floor, as it was expected of me, “May I take my successor to the kitchen and show her around? I will instruct her on the procedures there and I would hate to disturb the meeting whilst talking to her when I explain the rules around here to her. We will be back before anyone of the Circle is left wanting in any way, Overlord.”
Vect stared at me shortly, eyes slightly narrowed, but then he nodded and replied, “Very well. Go, but make it quick! If you dare to be late, I will have both of you punished.”
I bowed and said, “Thank you, Overlord, I promise, that won’t be necessary.”
Vect chuckled evilly. “Rather hope it for your sake.”
I bowed once more, and was happy that Lisbeth got the hint and got up. Quickly, but not quick enough for insulting them, we left the throne room.
Outside, I nudged Lisbeth down the stairs, and as we walked, I said, “Did you see what I did?”
She blinked and stared confused at me.
I repeated, “Did you see what I did? Did you understand what the trick with each of them is?”
Hesitatingly, she shook her head.
I nodded, sighed and said, “Ok, listen closely now, for I fear that when we come back, the Overlord will have us switching roles. First and foremost, we shouldn’t use our names and you should not let anyone know that I understand their words. Now, to the Archons: Zuol is a fierce warrior. He only respects courage and toughness. So act like it. Back down once, and he will do nothing but torment and try you. Sarnak is a scientist at the bottom of his heart. Appeal to that side of his, and he will open up a bit to you. Varys is a spy and a gentleman. However, I can’t really tell you how to crack him, he just had decided to act nice with me. Ea’nash… well. I guess you figured that one out. Whatever you do, don’t struggle when he touches you. He hates that. Alactel is just a sadist, so endure his advances with as little reaction as possible, and he will lose interest soon. And leave Tahril just be. When he wants to open up to you, he will and not a second earlier.”
Lisbeth nodded. “And what about Sythrac and Nuscul?”
“It is best to treat Sythrac like Vect. Utterly. Careful. He is dangerous and powerful. Nuscul is a joker, using pitch-black humour. You have to loosen up a bit to get him going,” I explained.
She nodded again. “Okay. I will do my best.”
I smiled at her. “Hehe. Already caught that bit about trying, eh?”
She grinned back. “Well. Zuol was quite clear about that. And so were you, as I remember now.”
Therefore, I showed Lisbeth the way to the kitchen and acquainted her with the senior slaves there and introduced her to all the waiter slaves. They should know that she would be my successor and that it was expected of them to obey her as they obeyed me. I dearly hoped that Lisbeth was up for that job.
I rushed everything, since I knew that our time was painfully short and I did not want to give Vect a good reason to have one of us or both of us flogged… if it would be just that when he was profoundly displeased.
So, I made Lisbeth hurry back with me to the throne room, having her repeating what I had said about the Archons and explaining a bit more.
As we stepped through the portal, which lead to the throne room, I could see that Vect was just taking his last sip of his cup of tea.
Just in time.
Again, he just stared at me shortly and gave me a slight, but portending nod. It was as I had feared: Lisbeth would now do the serving.
With a bellyache – on one hand literally, one the other, figuratively – I went to my master, bowed to him and sat down beside his seat. I looked at Lisbeth as she came back with the teapot in her hands, we exchanged a glance and I gave her an encouraging nod.
Lisbeth did okay, but not good.
She could not stand up enough to Zuol; he backhanded her across the face.
A short conversation was done between her and Sarnak; after that, he smiled at her and gave her a soft caress on the cheek, on which Zuol had hit her. It seemed as if she had done well with him.
Varys eyed her critically as she was with him; but since she behaved exceedingly courteous around him, as I had told her she should, he acknowledged her with a slight, polite nod. Not bad.
Her service to Ea’nash, was, as expected, rather a catastrophe, since he did not spare her from his touches and she backed away. For that, and since he knew that Vect would not have her flogged, he grabbed her by the throat, choked her and forced her into a kiss, during which she yelped, because he bit her quite hard and blood ran down the corners of her mouth. After he was done, he pushed her away.
Her bleeding barely-so stopped, she went to Alactel. I was surprised to see that she handled the pain he gave her quite calmly. Then again, it made sense. She could tolerate a lot of pain, but no sexual advances.
Tahril just ignored her, like he had done also with me until now.
Although her performance had not been too great, I was not yet worried too much. She needed time to process and now our biggest strength would come to show, when we would serve them both.
Lunch was served.
I showed Lisbeth how coordination was done, what was important, what she had to look after when the waiters did their job and which things she had to reprimand. Luckily, I did not have to show her that last part; I was not sure whether I could have done it when she was present.
In general, I was aware that I actually should tell Lisbeth the details about punishment. I should tell her about the Agoniser-rings.
However, I could not find it in my heart to do it.
Though I had enjoyed it and the power I had back then, I could not look her in the eye and give her instructions on how to torture someone. She would have to find out for herself, as much as I wanted to help and shield her. I had been ashamed enough when I had told her about what I had done, and I knew that she was not stupid, probably remembered what I had confessed, knew that it was most likely expected from her too and therefore, just had to decide against showing her.
We both looked after the beverages of the Circle and it was this part where we could shine bright. We just coordinated perfectly, though we never had been able to practice that kind of service before. Nonetheless, this was the biggest advantage of our deep connection: we did not have to communicate to have a high degree of coordination.
I looked to it that I served Zuol and Ea’nash constantly, not her, so they both could calm down a bit towards Lisbeth. I was not sure whether it worked, but at least I could shield my friend that way.
And she shielded me, as she had promised she would.
I was just at Alactel’s side, moving off to refilling his drink, as a particular nasty spasm hit me. I could not fight it, the wave of pain that now washed over me was just too strong and my hands grew limp, the bottle slowly gliding out of my numb hands, while I writhed in agony.
Lisbeth saw what was happening and jumped to my rescue. Barely in time, she was at my side and elegantly caught the bottle that had just in this moment started to fall. We looked at each other, exchanged a smile and a nod and I drew thankfully backwards, while Lisbeth overtook my task smoothly.
In these moments, I felt a lot of gazes upon us and I was actually very happy that it had happened, because for the first time, Lisbeth was able to show her quick thinking and not so badly developed motor skills.
I was not sure, but it might have helped her.
After that small incidence, I held back and let Lisbeth shine a bit more. Zuol and Ea’nash still gave her a hard time, but the rest seemed to be a tad more appeased. I was unbelievably relieved. With my mistake, I had apparently accomplished what I had not been able to do with all the advice I had given her. It gave her confidence, I saw it.
This was good, she needed it.
Therefore, I stretched the game further and did not restrain myself so much when the pain hit me, so she could shield me and correct my mistakes. I felt Zuol’s disdainful stare upon me, but I also understood that he might look at me in a different light if I came back from the Carnival with a victory for the Black Heart. He was now for Lisbeth to win over. My kind of victory would be an alternate and more complete one, should I be able to accomplish it.
I also was aware that Vect possibly eyed what we did quite critically and I awaited his judgement after the day was done with a queasy feeling. I really could not estimate whether he would like what I had pulled or if he would reprimand me harshly.
As the Overlord saw that it was good that we both served, he had us maintain this service as lunch was over and it again was the tea that was to be prepared and served. This lifted my spirits a bit. I figured that he liked our coordination and that he used it on purpose.
The day passed without major injuries for Lisbeth this time.
Then, we were back in the quarters.
As the door had snapped shut behind us, I looked at the Overlord with mixed feelings.
At first, he just stared at me, without any expression, then, a slow and cruel smile graced his features and he said, “Oh, Temira, are you afraid that I frown upon your little… ruse?” He shook his head. “It was not even a ruse, it was obvious, really.” An evil smile. “Nonetheless, it fitted its purpose. Well done, my girl.”
The new nickname made my heart skip a beat. He honoured me and yet, it somehow scared me. Him being too nice was mostly a dangerous sign.
Vect left me standing like that, certainly enjoying my confusion and said to Lisbeth, “Better. Let us see how you do without Temira in the next year, hmm?” Again, his gaze fell upon me. “You will be leaving tomorrow. No further delays.”
This was it. The last night at the side of my master for one year, or forever, depending on whether I won the Carnival or not.
I spent the rest of the evening and the night with a cold feeling in my stomach.


There will be an explanation on Temira's rapidly degrading mental state. Wink That's all I'm saying for now.

"Phantasy is more imporant than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
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Into the Devil's Eye Empty
PostSubject: Re: Into the Devil's Eye   Into the Devil's Eye I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 05 2019, 20:23

Chapter 16

Preparations and one Favour
"Greed, opportunism and a lack of foresight breed disaster.
So it ever was."
— Supreme Overlord Asdrubael Vect

IT WAS AN unusual path the Overlord walked down today. Unusual, but not unfamiliar. After all, Vlokarion was one of his oldest allies and he had visited him down in the bowels of Commorragh a million times by now, when they had to discuss something no one should even guess at. Nevertheless, it was a way that always tested his nerves and senses, though nobody would have ever guessed from his demeanour.
He smiled slightly.
Then again, who would ever question him?
Vect found that he cherished the challenge and the slight feeling of physical, immediate danger from time to time. As he descended the long, winding stairs into Vlokarion’s lair, he was aware that he was watched by millions of unseen eyes, or, rather, devices, and that he only was not attacked or harmed by one of the numerous traps around here, because his genetic code was one of a few that got recognised by the invisible scanners of Rakarth’s and Vlokarion’s tower. Everyone, whose DNA was not imprinted into the databanks of the two Haemonculi Masters, or someone, who was not accompanied by a registered member, so to say, would be eviscerated immediately. Dissolved, rather.
It would have been wrong to say that Vect was at the mercy of the two Haemonculi, but climbing down those stairs certainly was one of the more thrilling things of his existence, since there could be a malfunction in the scanners or the Haemonculi could reprogram their system. Needless to say, the Overlord had had some fail-safes installed himself, which, in case of his true death, would ensure that both Rakarth and Vlokarion met a true death themselves. Going down alone was not his style.
Despite himself, Vect allowed such immediate danger from time to time, to keep his senses about and not to have them blunted by sheer boredom. Every step and breath was somewhat of a cliff-hanger.
The Overlord sighed. It had been too long since he had attended a decent battle. Vect made a mental note to himself about planning a great-scale raid, fit for his own command, and then moved on.
However, he was spared the unpleasant experience of perishing for today, and arrived at Vlokarion’s doorstep, so to say.
Without any sound, the heavy, metal slate, which acted as the door, slid aside and let the Overlord step into the heart of Vlokarion’s demesne.
As expected, the Haemonculus was tinkering with a bleeding, writhing and screaming mess on his operating table; undoubtedly another one of his unfortunate test subjects. Vect was aware that the Haemonculus had noticed him entering; on one hand, Vlokarion was a master when it came down to enhancing senses and bodies as a whole, on the other, the Overlord was quite sure that the Haemonculus’s brain was directly connected to his whole laboratory. Nothing happened in here without him noticing.
With his usual, falsely-friendly inflexion, Vlokarion said, “Ah, Supreme Overlord, how good of you to pay me a visit!”
A particularly refreshing scream echoed in the vast chambers. Vect drank the wave of pure agony, which washed over him with this scream, like a fine wine and with a well-hidden delight. It were these moments that reminded him why he was engaging Vlokarion.
The Haemonculus shortly dared to turn his attention to his subject and said, “Quiet, you! Don’t act up when the grown-ups are talking, otherwise, we shall go for another round.” Sobs that would have broken all but the cruellest hearts were to be heard after that statement. Unfortunately for the victim, it was in the presence of two of the blackest hearts found, even for Commorrite standards.
With delight, Vect noticed that Vlokarion had chosen an exquisitely delectable specimen for his experiments today. Sensitive, keen and easily manipulated, it was a mon-keigh child. Certainly, this individual was not as delicious as one of the Eldar kind, but it certainly was a… treat.
With a cruel smile curling his lips, Vect said, “Is there any reason why you spoil me so delightfully?” With a half-earnest meant, but definitely dangerously voiced inflexion, he added, “Any bad news you want to prepare me so bluntly for?”
A heart-chilling chuckle escaped the scrawny frame of the Haemonculus. Though so spindly, Vect knew all too well that Vlokarion was an opponent in combat to be reckoned with. There was no telling how many enhancements had been added to this pale flesh, wrapped in parchment-like skin.
Vlokarion replied, “I believe that we both know that I am beyond such desperate and childish attempts of swaying your mood, since I know they won’t work and do me any good.” With what probably passed as an innocent smile for him, the Haemonculus added sweetly, “After all, I did not know that you were coming. So, how could I have prepared anything?”
They both knew that it was an elegant lie. Vlokarion might not have known that Vect would be visiting him today, but he had surely known the second the Overlord had passed the entrance of the tower. Enough time for a skilled master like Vlokarion to prepare something suitable.
Nevertheless, Vect decided to play along, and spoke the next lie, “Indeed, my dear ally.”
Retracting his extra limbs and removing his instruments from his victim, the Haemonculus said, “However, I am sure you did not come down here to exchange false niceties. What can I, your – how did you put it – dear ally, do for you?” Vlokarion knew that he was allowed more than the back-breaking submission everybody else had to show the Overlord, therefore he enjoyed this refreshing polemic Vect deigned to have with him from time to time.
So did Vect, but he did not show it. Raising one perfectly arched eyebrow, he retorted, “Vlokarion, I am disappointed. Are you not able to guess yourself?”
Showing his shark-like teeth, the Haemonculus replied, “I take it you are here because of the special psychotropic treatment I have imposed on the dear, sweet child you keep as your personal slave?”
Vect answered him with a slight nod and had to keep from chuckling as the Haemonculus asked, with an eagerness he could not hide, “How did it go?”
Blank-faced, and set on unsettling the overly-cheerful Haemonculus a bit, the Overlord answered, “Satisfactory, but not as I would have liked. She could not keep her tongue in check the day she came back and after I gave her the second dose like you said I should, she started to feel pride about the things she achieves and to feel superior to her beloved friend. However, this is absolutely not what I wanted to achieve.” He shook his head. “The whole sense of this treatment is to actually bind her mentally to me. I do not see what the state she now is in can achieve in that.”
Despite the Overlord’s rather displeased words, Vlokarion stared into thin air, flashing a smile that would have had lesser beings running away in horror and tapping his fingertips together, he said, “I can assure you, Overlord, everything is working exactly as anticipated. This is but the first step down the road to her complete submission. Now we have to let time and the absence of your presence in her life work for themselves. I would like to suggest that you have a word with Lady Hesperax and have her ensuring that the girl gets some particularly harsh treatment, to make her see how well she has been actually treated by you. I can guarantee you, she will be happy to be back at your side… if she gets back, that is.”
Vect sighed volubly at that, but agreed, “Very well. I shall speak to her and stress the issue.”
Still, in a cheerful mood, Vlokarion rambled along, “Excellent. It was exceedingly complicated to get the mixture right, but I am more than pleased to see that it works out just as intended. Are the stimulus and the reassurance of her friend’s presence also working as intended?”
Again, a short nod from the Overlord. “Yes. The mental break helped the cracks in her mind to open up just a bit wider and now I can fill them with the designs I have in mind for her.”
The Haemonculus was excited, he could not hide it. Mind-manipulation without breaking the victim was a high, complicated and respected art amongst his ilk. When the time for him came to step out of the shadows, he was sure to flaunt his finest works and surely would receive the highest honours of every Coven. His protected state gave him the time and his allegiance to the Overlord the means to achieve all his goals.
Outright happy, Vlokarion almost chantingly uttered, “Good, good!” Within a split-second, he changed to his usual, cold demeanour and in an earnest manner, he continued, “Aren’t you concerned that sending her to the Carnival could make all your efforts, ah, superfluous, my lord?”
Now flashing his fangs too, Vect replied, “How shall I put that… I am sure that my Archons will smooth the way for her. There are some things developing and I suppose that I will have a formidable laugh and some changes in lower management when the Carnival is over. Besides,” a vile smile showed on his features, “it will be also your responsibility to ensure her survival.”
“Of course, Overlord. I am sure that she will call on me for a favour and I have already planned everything accordingly.”
“Very well. I take your word for it.”
Vlokarion was wise enough not to point o