Monday, May 11, 2009

Chapter 1, page 3

The shimmering blue lash seemed almost to hover in the air as time crystallized into a moment of fear for Wyrena. The short-lived spell was broken as the twisting beam of energy alighted against the bare skin of Wyrena's shoulder, and the nerves under the welt it left were instantly overloaded with pain, heat, cold, pressure, and a multitude of other horrible sensations. At the same time, Wyrena could feel her psyche faltering as she missed a line in her prayer to Tyr and her concentration almost shattered.

Soon, another stroke came, this time across Wyrena's face, and her prayers became even more frantic as the confusing sensations evoked a profound disorientation as her tactile senses rebelled against the insults to their integrity, and began to spill over into Wyrena's other senses in a brutal synesthesia. Wyrena began to truly hallucinate after the third lash, nameless horrors seeming to claw paths through the edges of her senses, with the horrifying pain all the while eating away at her defenses. Stroke upon stroke landed upon Wyrena's skin as she strove to maintain the integrity of her mind solely through her willpower and the discipline instilled upon her through years of Justicar training. After what seemed like hours, the lashing stopped.

Porphyria looked upon the form of the Justicar. It was covered in superficial cuts and welts, each of which lay as raw testament to a moment of suffering and terror. Idly, Porphyria considered the Justicar's fate. Porphyria could see the potential for Wyrena to betray the Justicars of Tyr and in turn become an agent of chaos -- her scanning of the threads of fate had told her that much at least, although Wyrena's resilience to the tortures with which she was being inflicted had been unforeseen. While Porphyria admired the discipline of the Justicar, she ultimately saw it as just one more bond to break.

Idly, Porphyria wondered if telling Wyrena the truth of her existence would hasten her transformation. Porphyria knew that Wyrena's parents had been sharecroppers on the farm of a Discordian priest when the Justicars had come. The Justicars, adjudging the taint of chaos to be too pervasive within Wyrena's parents, had slaughtered them and taken the infant Wyrena to be raised into the order as one of Tyr's disciples. Porphyria knew that this news could very well push Wyrena over the edge, but she also knew that it would ruin Wyrena as a potential spy -- she would not be able to conceal her rage at her parents' deaths as well as she could conceal her shame at her own betrayals of Justicar values.

"You're really quite good, you know," Porphyria purred into Wyrena's ear once she sensed the dim echo of gibberish within Wyrena's mind fade as the speech centers of Wyrena's brain sorted themselves out from the remnants of confusing sensations from the flux whip. "Most of your order buckle after the first or second lash, but it seems you've really taken your lessons to heart. I will advise you though, that the next part actually has a pretty good chance of causing permanent damage to you, so if you'd like to save yourself, now would be a good time to stop praying and let me know what I want to know."

Porphyria could hear Wyrena continuing her litany weakly, half in her broken voice and half in an almost as broken mind, "Live to serve Tyr and the Universe. Live to defend Tyr and the law..."

The prayer was cut short as Wyrena felt a void opening up in her mind. It was as if the most precious parts of her identity were being ripped away and replaced with nothing. Wyrena could feel her willpower fading along with her sense of self as she struggled to maintain equilibrium and the natural order of her thoughts. Unassailable horror grew within Wyrena's mind as she sought any solid thought upon which to anchor herself, ultimately finding nothing.

Porphyria knew that she could not drain Wyrena's mental energy for much longer if she wanted to avoid permanently damaging Wyrena. She could feel Wyrena's willpower crumbling -- the offensive prayer to Tyr had fallen entirely silent as Wyrena began to lose her ability to maintain coherent thought. Porphyria felt pleasure as Wyrena's mental energies mingled with her own, and it was only reluctantly that she broke off her drain when she heard a half-whispered thought from Wyrena: Coelwin.

As she closed off the mental contact between herself and Wyrena, Porphyria could sense the dawning sense of shame and self-loathing that Wyrena felt. Porphyria suspected that Wyrena would attempt to hide her betrayal of the Justicars, even as her shame deepened and made her more vulnerable to Porphyria's influences. A feeling of glee welled up within Porphyria as she considered the new possibilities that Wyrena could open up for her. Porphyria had in the past attempted to gain covert information from the Justicar organization through the use of psychic mindreading links with various Justicars, only to be thwarted by the Justicars' first line of defense against such incursions -- a powerful sensitive and mindshielder by the name of Aranius who invariably was able to detect and wrench apart even the most subtle of links. The prospect of having a willing agent within the ranks of the Justicars was almost too good to be true. Porphyria did not worry that the Justicars would sense the spread of chaos within Wyrena's soul. There were other Powers with whom a bargain could be struck in order to conceal that seed of chaos from the other Justicars -- even from Tyr Himself, if necessary.

Porphyria gathered up the limp Justicar, wincing against the bright sunlight that streamed in through the door of the small cell as she opened it. Porphyria spread her wings and began flying Wyrena back to the field from which she had been taken. She knew that there would be much to prepare upon her return.

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