My most sincere apologies for not updating faster. I've been faced with massive writers block and decided to leave the story be for a while until my muse returned. Well, I guess the time has come.
Just to warn you: this chapter is not beta read, or anything else. It's just…right out of my mind.
And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams,
Are where thy dark eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams –
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.
In the state of illusion, caught in a world of pain and intrigues her only hideout was to retreat in her thoughts and leave the physical world as much as she could behind. She used this time to repair the barriers of her mind. If her body would fail to withstand the tortures charged upon her, then at least her mind had to keep the enemy at bay. For the sake of all…
As she was so isolated in her own self, Arya became more aware of what was going on around her. Not whether the air was cold or warm, or whether the sun smiled down upon the world, but every mental connection that brushed her own aura would not go unnoticed.
And it was in these hours –days?- that her mind was approached directly once more. Though with the small difference that the intruder was not Durza. She could not tell who it was, but instead of spreading discomfort and uneasyness, it was very careful in its approach, almost as if it was deliberate not to harm her in its coming.
The presence was alien, yet still in some way familiar, though she could not discern where she knew it from. The moment she would try to concentrate on it harder, it would be gone as quickly as it had come, leaving her with the impression that this was only, like most things nowadays, an illusion.
"I had to heal two of her ribs; they were dangerously near to her lungs. One wrong movement and they could have been pierced. I interpreted the danger as too high as to let them remain like they were."
"You did well." Durza answered, though most of his attention was directed to the scene before him. The cook, who had been responsible for the elf's food, and thus also for her 'poisoning' was the real source for everyone's tense moods. Only because of him did the prisoner manage to escape her cell in the first place. Now, he was facing the consequences.
I did not know, master! he'd begged for mercy, but Durza had shown none. It was a commonly known fact, that elves avoid meat; and this one elf seemed to be in a good enough state yet, to choose hunger before breaking the traditions of her people. Of course she couldn't have been administered the inhibitor that way!
"Because I feared she could suffocate I thought it better to see to her nose too. It sustained a lot of damage."
He didn't want to dwell on that matter anymore, though. The elf had questioned his authority and he had given her an answer. Finally turning his back on the screaming man, Durza turned his attention to the mage behind him. He was a man hailing from somewhere south of Uru'baen, judging by his accent. Durza couldn't remember the name of the town, but he wasn't trying very hard either. It was of no importance.
"When is the next torture session sheduled?"
The mage seemed quite surprised by that question, "The next… you have not ordered anything yet, master… but considering her current state, I'd say-"
"- then bring her now."
This perplexed the mage visibly, as his features betrayed him, but nonetheless he nodded his head quickly and with a short bow turned around on his heels.
"Where is the egg?"
He couldn't remember just how often he had repeated the question, but its answer was always the same. Silence. Apart from the occasional moan and scream, when the whips bit into her flesh, the elf had not yet said a word.
"He, that can have patience, can have what he will. And I'm inclined to say, dear elf, that patience is not a skill I am lacking of. You will not see the sun again until I have my answer, and will learn that idocity -- which is often so foolishly refered to as courage and bravery – will condemn you to an eternity of pain and misery, but nothing more."
She was dangerously near of slipping into unconsciousness, but he wanted her here, very much alive and even more aware of her situation. Nodding towards one of the men in the room, he watched as a bucket of icy water, spiced with a good amount of salt was thrown at the captive, instantly bolting her awake and screaming in pain.
"As I've told you before," he continued, ignorant of her pained condition, "arrogance will get you nowhere."
"No, no it won't…"
The answer surprised him as much as her for speaking the words out loud. He couldn't guess whether her retort meant that he had succeeded in breaking her, or if she – whereever from – had retained her haughtiness.
"So you haven't swallowed your tongue yet… mayhaps you have rid of your pride then?"
There was no answer this time, not even a twitch that indicated she had even heard him speak. Though she was awake, he could see that.
"Where is the egg?"
A set of yellow teeth was revealed as he realized that he had successfully attacked her mind. Despite of the happenings the day before, Durza dared to say that he was in a good mood; though probably that wasn't so good for the elf.
He wasn't really expecting to stake any achievements in this session, he was merely enjoying himself, and that enjoyment reached new heights when he realized that her defences were slipping. Both physically as well as mentally. The beating from the day before – though not part of his initial plans – had weakened her immensely.
He probed her mind again, and for the first time didn't confront any defences. Durza was so perplexed himself, that for a moment he just stood and observed, wondering if it was the same elf he was dealing with.
Different memories floated around, each open and available for him to observe. Something at the back of his mind warned him, but the Shade was too engulfed in what he saw.
They were sitting atop of a hill, him and her, lying in the arms of eachother in protection against the cold night breeze. The moon was high and shining brightly, soaking the scene into an idyllic counterplay of light and shadow.
She had her head perched against his shoulder, watching the stars' eternal dance above. "I fear for it, Faolin. Ever since it has been trusted on me, not a moment passes, when the thought of failing doesn't occupy my mind."
He remained silent, though his hand softly carrassed her own.
"I don't want to be held responsible for shattering a dream. For ending the life of so many innocent. I don't think I could ever wash all the blood from my hands."
There was silence again, before he softly replied, "What we cling on to is hope. A man's dreams may be shattered, and his life ended. But there will always be those, who hope that the man's actions have not been for nothing. It is the only motivation we have to go on as we do. Do not let this flicker go out."
And he knew, as he drew back from her mind, that she was not going to tell him a word about where the egg was.
And that's it guys.
Again I'm sorry, that I won't respond to any reviews this time, but I simply don't have the time to do so, and I guess you all wanted a chapter up more quickly, than waiting another while until I reviewed all reviews. Next time, promise!