For the darkship prompt meme prompt "what a mess you made" and the lj user="100-tales" prompt #066 Pain

Summary: Between his duties, Walter is at Denna's mercy

Warnings: Torture. Vomit.

Walter looked at the floor of the dungeon. He watched as the red booted feet approached him.

"Look at me," Denna purred.

Walter glanced upwards, trying not to shiver. Mord'Sith could smell fear.

Denna laughed cruelly. She stroked his cheek and Walter closed his eyes. The leather of her glove was cool against his skin as she cupped his cheek, tipping his head upwards. Then she released him and a moment later his head was driven forwards by a fierce blow to the back of his head. He closed his eyes tighter, not daring to react.

"You are no Lord Rahl," she hissed. "You are not worthy to stand in his stead."

"No, Mistress." His submissiveness would be unlikely to save him from a beating, but a lack of respect would only anger Denna, and an angry Denna was even more dangerous than a calm one. He could only pray his efforts to please her at least mitigated the abuse.

Denna grabbed for his shirt and roughly pulled it over his head, leaving him naked to the waist. Then she herself chained him to the wall, the manacles tight about his wrists, arms pulled up above his head. Only his toes could touch the floor and his arm muscles protested at the weight they were now forced to bear. That wasn't his only concern though, for in this position he was horribly exposed and vulnerable.

Walter's lower lip trembled as Denna studied him, her lip curling in disgust at his perceived inadequacies. She tugged at a lock of his hair and he stifled a yelp of pain.

"Others may be fooled by you, but I am not," Denna said.

"No, Mistress. You could never be so easily deceived."

That caught her attention. "You try flattery to avoid your well-deserved punishment?"

"I honour you no more than is your due." Desperation had honed Walter's showmanship.

Denna considered this a moment, head tipped so that her braid hung low over her shoulder. Then with one swift movement she drew her agiel and pressed it to his neck.

Walter howled in pain as the agiel's magic coursed through his veins, inflaming his nerves and searing his skin. When she finally withdrew the instrument of torture he let his head flop weakly towards his chest. Only his restraints kept him upright. If he could have, he would have curled up into a ball on the cold floor.

Denna put one finger under his chin and forced it upwards so she could stare into his eyes. Then she leaned in and kissed him, red lips briefly caressing his cheek.

"You should thank me, Walter, for my generosity."

"Thank you, Mistress," he mumbled automatically. He feared what would happen if he displeased her. He was completely at her mercy; he could not complain to Darken Rahl that his Lordship's favourite Mord'Sith was mistreating him. And as long as she didn't kill him (and even then she could probably revive him), nor leave marks on his face or hands, he could perform his duty as Lord Rahl's double. Anything else was fair game.

Walter could imagine many horrible, terrible, things Denna might do to him.

He was sure Denna could imagine many more.

"Tell me why you love me," Denna ordered.

"Your hair is like sunlight. Your skin is like milk. Your voice is like honey. You are beautiful, Mistress, and therefore I adore you." Last time his praises hadn't been good enough and she'd beaten him for it, leaving him with bruised ribs.

Today, she smiled. "Very good. Now, tell me how much you love me."

This was a new order and he hadn't a ready answer prepared. "More than life itself," he lied.

"Clich├ęd," Denna said in a bored voice and drove the agiel into his right hip.

It seemed an eternity before the pain stopped. Walter was weeping, his tears dripping in an unseemly manner from his face. His arms were pounding not only from being chained up but from his anguished struggles against the restraints. He was overwhelmed, and exhausted.

"Tears?" Denna asked in mock surprise. She used one finger to wipe at his face. "Do I displease you?"

"No, Mistress," Walter wept. "Never."

Denna leaned in close so that the curve of her breasts touched his side and when she lifted her chin and spoke to him, her breath was warm on his skin. "Then why do you cry?"

Walter sought an answer that would satisfy her, even though he knew it was impossible to find one. When Denna was in a mood like this, she would torture him exactly as much as she wanted, no matter what he said. It was just a part of her cruel game to question him, to give him the illusion that he might make the agony stop if he found the right words.

"B-because I'm grateful, Mistress," he said. "I cry in gratitude."

"Liar," Denna snapped. She slammed the agiel into his stomach. Walter's vision swam as the agony tore through him. He couldn't pull away from the agiel, though he struggled against the chains. He screamed but to no avail, and then he was choking. Vomit flew from his mouth, splattering onto the floor, his chest - and onto Denna's pristine leather.

Denna stepped away in horror. "Look at this! What a mess you've made!" she shrieked. In her rage, she backhanded him across the face.

Now she'd gone too far and they both knew it. His hands and face were on show to the public, essential for the deception he carried out, portraying Lord Rahl. She ought not to have risked bruising him. But she refused to admit this openly. She simply glowered and said, "You will be punished for this."

She stalked out of the door, braid swinging fiercely. No matter, Walter thought, that it was her punishment that had caused his transgression. It was just one more excuse to hurt him, not that she needed any. He hung weakly from the chains, the scent of his own vomit in his nostrils, his skin covered in sweat and tears and bruises from her ill-treatment.

The door opened again and Malray entered, a worried frown creasing his brow. Two young women - not Mord'Sith, but servants, Creator be praised - were just behind him, carrying supplies, and a D'Haran soldier brought up the rear.

"Walter," Malray said sympathetically. He moved to help free Walter from the restraints. Despite the stench, he held Walter close to him so that when the manacles were removed by the guard, Walter didn't collapse to the stone floor, but into Malray's strong embrace. The guard then left, wrinkling his nose in distaste.

"She really worked you over again, didn't she," Malray said, easing Walter gently to the floor. He knelt down and beckoned to the girls. With their help, Malray soon had Walter's head in his lap. One of the girls began wiping Walter's face with a damp cloth while the other girl cleaned his body. Malray gently tucked a stray lock of hair back behind Walter's ear. Unfortunately Walter was in no condition to enjoy the tender ministrations, though he certainly appreciated them.

"She hates me," Walter croaked, his throat dry and sore, the taste of bile still in his mouth. Malray snapped his fingers and the girl who'd been wiping Walter's face now reached into the wicker basket she'd been carrying and drew out a goblet and a jug of ale. She poured the ale and held the goblet to Walter's lips, tipping it just enough so the liquid dribbled into his mouth. Walter swallowed, and while it hurt to do so, the cool liquid was a welcome relief for his gullet.

"It's not always hate with the Mord'Sith," Malray said. "Their notions of love and hate are not like those of normal women."

Walter closed his eyes as the second woman rubbed a soothing ointment onto his abused torso. "But why does she always pick on me?" he asked plaintively.

"Isn't it obvious?" Malray asked softly, stroking at Walter's hair. "You look just like Lord Rahl."