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|chapter2 of the novel destiny Sarcanirin meets new taskmaster||
Sevastian walked into the room and gazed down the sleeping form of the street urchin he captured earlier that day. He was still puzzled why he did not kill her like the other three. All he knew about her was that she had an aura of promise shrouding her soul like a blanket. Putting on a stern face, he grabbed a pitcher of water from the table by the bed and threw it into the urchin’s face.
“Wake up my little ball of anger. It is time to start your new life of servitude. Now don’t be disappointing me by reaching for the dagger that’s not there. I might have spared you earlier, but I can still end your life with a snap of my fingers.”
Sarcanirin spit out a mouthful of water and glared up at the man. Staring at him with all the hate in her soul, she finally got a good look at the High Priest. The most prominent feature was his hair. It hung shoulder length, was a glossy black like a raven’s wing. It framed his tanned face and accentuated the deep emerald color of his eyes. Recalling the sarcasm he used earlier, she noticed the tiny lines around his eyes and mouth showing years of self-serving smirks. Watching Sevastian walk around the foot of the bed and bend over to untie one of the ropes binding her, she couldn’t help but be in awe of his regal bearing. The deep blue of his robe, with the light blue highlights like a lightning storm playing across his chest and arms, flowed around him as if it was alive. As he bent closer to untie the rope, Sarcanirin caught a faint scent of lavender and poppies. Without a conscious thought, Sarcanirin whipped out her leg as she felt the rope loosen. Raising his thigh to block the kick aimed at his groin, Sevastian smiled and viscously backhanded Sarcanirin across the mouth.
“My, aren’t we a brave one,” Sevastian scolded Sarcanirin. “We can do this all day, my little urchin, or we you can let me finish untying you and we’ll started on your new life.” Raising one eyebrow, and giving her one of his little smirks. Suddenly all humor left his voice. “Now what is it going to be!?”
Wide-eyed, Sarcanirin wiped the blood off her chin with a shaking hand and slowly nodded. “What does he want with me?” Sarcanirin asked herself. “I’ll kill you if you ever hit me again.” She muttered under breath.
Showing no sign that he heard her, Sevastian finished untying her. He stepped back and clapped his hands three times. He looked at Sarcanirin and noticed the open look of hostility on her face. “Keep that anger little one. It will help keep you sane in the trials ahead. I do so hope that you survive the coming years because I see great events in your future.”
Hearing the door open, he turned to the slave that entered the room. “Have her bathed and clothed then take her to the kitchen. Mistress Venna is waiting for her.” Looking over his shoulder at Sarcanirin, he winked at her. “I hope you enjoy being a scullery wench for awhile. It will help you know discipline. Mistress Venna is a hard taskmaster, but I think you can deal with that, I have no doubt.”
Walking toward the door, Sevastain's expression hardened when he noticed the slave hadn’t bowed to him. Turning to Sarcanirin, who was still on the bed, he called. “Oh, my little one. Here is an example for you on what happens if you don’t follow the rules.”
As he walked by the slave, his arm shot out and grabbed the slave by the throat. Raising his hand, Sarcanirin saw that he held a long, curved blade. Holding the slave against the wall by his throat, Sevastian eyes bored into the slave. “Next time you won’t forget to bow to me!” With that he released the slaves throat and before Sarcanirin could blink, he had grabbed the slave’s hand and spoke a word. Suddenly the knife flared with a red-hot glow. Sevastian looked back at Sarcanirin, winked and then cut off the slave’s hand with one swift motion. A loud hiss filled the room and Sarcanirin gagged as the acrid smell of burnt flesh wafted to her nose. The slave let out a blood-curdling wail and dropped to his knees clutching his arm. Sevastian grabbed the slave by the hair and said, “You have your orders. If you fail me again, you will lose another body part, a vital part.” Giving Sarcanirin a grin so filled with evil, she shuddered. He turned and punched the slave in the face, smashing his nose flat against his left cheek causing a torrent of blood to cascade down the front of the slave’s tunic.
Wiping the blood off his hand on a clean part of the slave’s shirt, Sevastian turned to Sarcanirin. “Remember what I said little one. Hold on to that anger, but don’t you ever think to cross me.” Having said that, he spun and walked out the door.
Sarcanirin released the breath she hadn’t noticed holding and looked around. The room she was in was like the jails she saw in town. Dingy, smoke covered stone walls dripped with moisture. Along with the bed she was sitting on, a side table held the pitcher that Sevastian dumped on her. The only other thing in the room was the fireplace and a couple of logs.
Hearing a shuffle behind her, Sarcanirin spun around and saw the slave hobble toward her with an evil, lustful glint in his eyes. Sarcanirin quickly jumped off the other side of the bed, effectively using the bed as a barrier between her and the slave.
“Back off orc butt! You think you hurt now, come closer and I’ll give you more than you could handle.”
Sarcanirin was dismayed when the slave smiled, revealing a mouthful of broken rotted teeth. “Master not here to protect you little girl. I think I take first shot at you before fat master have you.” The slave said nasally while slowly crawling over the bed and backing Sarcanirin into a corner.
Looking around quickly, Sarcanirin saw a log next to her feet. Grabbing it, she held before her. “Don’t come any closer, I’m warning you!”
“Ohh, little girl has big stick. Ooo, I scared. I like girls who fight. More fun it is.” The slave taunted.
Suddenly a deep booming voice came from behind the slave. “I warned you about crossing me.” Sevastian yelled.
Sarcanirin felt a mix of relief and dread pass through her. She was glad the High Priest was back, but she couldn’t help but shiver in anticipation of what she knew was coming. Sarcanirin remembered all too well what happened to her comrades in the alley when they crossed him.
With her eyes closed, she felt her stomach lurch when she heard the slave’s scream get cut off in a wet gurgle. Opening her eyes, she saw the High Priest holding the slave’s head in one hand and a gleaming battle-axe in the other. Sevastian looked at Sarcanirin then at the severed head he was holding. He threw the slave’s head in the corner where it landed with a sickening thump. Wiping the gore off his axe, Sarcanirin saw him push a button on the handle and suddenly the axe head retracted. In its place was now an evil looking rod. It shone with an inner blackness that Sarcanirin could feel cold emanating from it. It had a rounded ball the size of Sarcanirin’s fist on top of the rod. Sarcanirin could feel the evil flowing off the rod, and realized that this was the same rod that Sevastian hit her with in the alley. She felt the strength starting to leave her legs as she looked up at the High Priest.
“I knew I was going to have to kill that slave sooner or later. He was too willful. I only came back here because I forgot to introduce myself. I am the High Priest Sevastian. However, I can see in your eyes that I did not need to do so. You already know I am. That is good because it will be easier for you to call me master.”
Sarcanirin felt as if a door had closed on her soul at his proclamation. She closed her eyes and muttered a prayer to any god listening. No one answered her plea.
“Come little one. I’ll take you to Mistress Venna myself. She’ll be your first teacher, so learn well. She will just have to clean you up herself.”
Sarcanirin felt Sevastian grab her shoulder and heard him mutter a word she thought she recognized, but before she could realize from where, her world went dark for the second time.
* * * * * * * *
“So this be the wretch that be replacing Jo’arth?” A portly stern looking woman demanded. “She not look like much. Hard pressed replacin’ Jo’arth she will. Now mista High Priest, ye keep bringin’ whelps younger and younger and they not lastin’!” She exclaimed, waving her wooden spoon at Sevastian.
Sevastian forced a smile, wiped the splatters of soup off his face and put Sarcanirin between him and the woman. “Now, now Mistress Venna.”
Sarcanirin’s eyes widened when she heard the name. “This is going to be my new teacher?” She thought to herself. “What’s she going to teach me, how to stuff my face?”
While Sevastian and Mistress Venna were talking, Sarcanirin had a chance to look around. Wrinkling her nose from the stench of boiled beets coming from the kitchen, she saw other kids her age sweeping and mopping the floors. She also saw there were older kids wiping the tables and the bar on the far side of the room. She noticed that all of the kids wore dirt, torn, and threadbare tunics and looked as if they hadn’t seen bath water in two moon cycles. They looked incredibly thin in her opinion. But the thing that troubled Sarcanirin the most was their vacant stares. None of them looked at her and seemed too engrossed in their work.
Suddenly one of the kids that was mopping the floors knocked over his mop bucket sending a flood of soapy water all over the floor. Sarcanirin jumped when she heard Mistress Venna yell at the offender to hold. Mistress Venna excused herself and waddled—Sarcanirin had to clamp down on her lower lip to keep the chuckle that threatened to escape inside—over to the kid she yelled at.
“Ye did that on purpose ye little rat. Ye wanted to embarrass Mistress Venna in front of yonder High Priest. I know ye did.” Shaking his head in denial, the boy started to say something only to be cut off by the wooden spoon smacking him in the face. Motioning to the two larger boys, Mistress Venna pointed to the boy at her feet who was holding his bleeding mouth.
Sarcanirin could only wonder what was going to happen next. As Mistress Venna went behind the bar, Sevastian leaned over and whispered in Sarcanirin’s ear. “This is why Mistress Venna is the best teacher for young ones destined to join the priesthood. She lets no infraction go unpunished and makes the other students help.”
Sarcanirin jerked her head away from Sevastian’s fetid breath and turned around to avoid watching the scene unfolding in front of her. However, Sevastian had other things in mind and before Sarcanirin could completely turn, he had her be the shoulders in a tight grip. Forcing her around to watch, he scowled, “You watch and you learn.”
Unable to move, Sarcanirin held her breath as she saw the two bigger students lift the struggling boy off the ground. Placing him on one of the tables face down, one student held his arms, while the other one held his legs. A small girl walked over, threw a rope over the boy’s waist, and scampered under the table to cinch the rope tight.
As Mistress Venna came out from behind the bar holding a cat-o-nine tails, Sarcanirin gasped when she saw that evil looking whip, realizing what was about to happen.
Walking up to the table, Mistress Venna motioned to the boys to take their positions. The student who was holding the boys arms dropped to his knees, crawled under the table, grabbed the boy’s arms again and braced his feet against the table. The one that had the boy’s legs took off his rope belt, looped it round the boy’s ankles and did the same.
Now completely immobilized, the boy who had the misfortune of spilling the bucket could only helplessly scream and plead. The little that tied the rope around his waist stepped forward and viscously shoved her dirty cleaning rag in his mouth. Thus muffled, the boy started squirming and weeping.
“I told ye that if ye broke any of me rules, ye would pay.” Mistress Venna told the boy. “But since ye broke the rules in front of the High Priest, ye get to be an example for the newbie.”
Mistress Venna then walked over and ripped off the boy’s tunic, baring his body.
Sarcanirin was amazed to see that the boy was now completely naked. She felt Sevastian lean over again and whisper to her, “You keep your eyes open and watch this or you will be on that table next.”
Mistress Venna raised the whip high and Sarcanirin cringed when she heard the whip whistle through the air to lash the boy’s back with a sinister crack. Instantly the boy arched his back and his eyes filled with tears in pain. As the mistress raised the whip again, Sarcanirin saw five lines appear on the boy’s back. They immediately welled up with blood. When the whip came down again, Sarcanirin noticed little glints of light among the whips nine lashes. To her horror, Sarcanirin realized that the lashes were laced with glass. The whip cracked on the boy’s back a second time and he shot the gag out of his mouth and screamed. Never hearing such an anguished howl like that, Sarcanirin shuddered. She heard Sevastian chuckle and Sarcanirin knew that he felt her shudder.
Repeatedly the whip came up and cracked down on the boy’s now mangled back. After the tenth lash, Mistress Venna, breathing hard, walked casually over to Sevastian and Sarcanirin. Trying unsuccessfully not to look at the gore-covered whip, Sarcanirin looked up into Mistress Venna’s blood streaked face. Seeing the satisfied gleam in here eyes caused Sarcanirin to shiver. Raising her chin defiantly, Sarcanirin tried to put on a brave front, but was too unnerved by the scene she just witnessed.
“Sorry ye had to see this your eminence, but he was the last one ye sent me and I didn’t have a chance to properly train him yet.” Bowing low she waddled back to the bar, handed the whip to a girl no older than Sarcanirin and nodded.
The girl walked over to the boy, bent over to whisper something in his ear. Seeing he was passed out, pointed to an older boy. He walked over to a mop bucket, picked it up and threw it on the unconscious boy. Sputtering awake and screaming from the water in his wounds, the boy started struggling anew. The girl bent over again and whispered again into the boys ear. The boy started moaning and shaking his head violently.
The girl looked over to Sarcanirin and gave her a look so foul that Sarcanirin almost lost control of her bladder. The girl spit in each palm and spun the whip over her head. Whistling through the air, the whip continued to gain speed, until the girl almost lost her grip. Raising on herself onto her toes, the girl brought it down on the boy’s buttocks. With fresh blood welling upon the boy’s ass, the girl went into a frenzy. Whipping the boy incessantly, the girl didn’t seem to want to stop.
Just when Sarcanirin had enough and was going to move to stop her, Sevastian, with a command spell in his voice, yelled “STOP.”
The whip came down again but stopped inches from the boy’s rear. The girl, breathing heavily, looked to Sevastian with a look of disdain.
Sevastian walked over to the girl, and noticed the look he was receiving and asked the girl, “You seem to enjoy this. Do you?”
The girl nodded enthusiastically. Thinking she had pleased the High Priest.
Sarcanirin glanced over the Mistress Venna who lowered her head, knowing what was to come.
“Well girl, I don’t think we need someone like you in this brotherhood. You like to inflict pain a little too much.” Sevastian told her. “Inflicting pain is okay if it has a purpose, but inflicting it just for the sheer delight of it is unworthy in the eyes of our God. Sarcanirin, come here!”
Sarcanirin reluctantly walked over to the High Priest. She watched Sevastian pluck the blood-covered whip out of the trembling girls hand. Sarcanirin noticed that the trembling girl was not trembling out of fear, but out of anger.
Sarcanirin jumped when Sevastian threw the whip against the wall where is left a smear of blood trailing down to the floor. She saw Sevastian pull that evil looking rod off his belt, and mouth a word. Touching the girl on the head with the rod, he raised his other hand and pointed at the girls eye. Slowly moving it toward her, he suddenly poked her in the eye. It didn’t have a lot of force behind it because if it did, the girl would be missing an eye now. What it did though, was show Sarcanirin that the girl couldn’t move.
Putting the rod back on his belt and drawing the curved knife, Sevastian handed it to Sarcanirin.
Surprised, Sarcanirin wasn’t expecting that, instead she thought the High Priest was going to gut the girl in front of her as a “lesson.”
“Okay my little ball of anger, it is time to show Thelemar what is in your soul.” Sevastian told Sarcanirin.
Sarcanirin grabbed the knife and looked at the fear in the girl’s eyes. Slowly she reared back to stab her in the heart. Setting herself, she thrust forward, but at the last moment threw the knife on the floor.
“I’m not going to kill someone just because you told me to! I was sickened by what I saw but I don’t want to kill her. Sure I wish she could share some of the pain she inflicted, but death is to steep of a penalty. Punish me if you want, but find someone else to kill her.” Sarcanirin said defiantly.
Setting her shoulders, she waited for the first blow to come. She was surprised though when Sevastian only nodded his head.
“See my young one,” addressing the girl before him. You don’t always have to kill to show you’re committed to Thelemar. I think you need a lesson though, and you should thank our Lord that Sarcanirin isn’t like you. Sarcanirin if you’d please.” Sevastian said motioning her forward.
Sarcanirin smiled, for she could do this! She walked up to the girl and paused, debating what to do. Finally, she brought her fist back and aimed for the girls face. At the last second though, she kicked out her foot and the room filled with the sound of breaking bone. The girl, paralyzed, could only topple over with a broken knee.
Sevastian nodded and released the spell that held the girl. Screaming and clutching her smashed knee, the girl gave Sarcanirin a look of pure hatred that told Sarcanirin that she now has an enemy. Sarcanirin didn’t care a bit, for an enemy gave her focus.
Sarcanirin looked over to Sevastian and was amazed to see him standing over the boy, chanting and laying his hands on his mangled back. His hands flared a bright incandescent blue and the boy’s wounds started to heal before her eyes. Sevastian looked over at the girl with the broken knee.
“I think you should feel this pain for awhile, so I won’t heal you just yet.” He told her as he turned to Mistress Venna. “I will return in a half of a moon cycle to tend to her wound. I leave you know and wish you luck on Sarcanirin’s training. I must inform you that our Lord Thelemar, has a vested interest in her. So do not fail me! Also see if you can do something with that girls sadistic attitude. If it doesn’t improve we might either have to kill her, or send her to Darchotic’s sect. They enjoy pain as well as inflicting it. Though I heard that most initiates don’t survive the transition from acolyte to priest.” He turned and walked over to Sarcanirin and again wondered what his God saw in the thin, defiant, and full of anger female. “Listen well to Mistress Venna’s teachings. Don’t back down to anything or anyone. Instead, hit it straight on and don’t worry about the consequences. I’ll be watching you so don’t you dare disappoint me. Chosen one or not, you’ll suffer greatly before your death.” Having said that, Sevastian spun on his heels and stalked out of the room.
|chapter1 of Destiny||Destiny Prologue|