Chapter Twenty: Fenris
No dreams dared interrupted him. Leto was woken up early the next morning. The apprentice, Hadriana, was the one who was supplied with the task of taking the sleeping slave out of his slumber. Her method of waking him up was to whack him with her staff. Of course, the elf's fearful response to being attacked while he was sleeping was to sit up at once, hitting blindly at his attacker. Leto ended up punching Hadriana right in her nose causing the apprentice to stumble back into the wall. She dropped her staff, causing a loud thud, and she clutched her nose, whining in pain.
After fully waking up, Leto realized who he had hit. He looked down at the staff and put his hand on his aching head. He put two and two together and got Hadriana hitting him with her staff. He was not surprised. "What did you do that for?" He demanded to know. Usually he was submissive around Hadriana, but his impulse to chew her out was overbearing. And he exasperated by the fact that this was practically the only time he had slept for week and she wanted to cut it short.
"Uppity elf, I was sent to wake you up," Hadriana snarled, shrilly, as she removed her hands from her nose. Leto looked at her hands to see that blood had spotted her pale palms. He could also see blood coming out of her nose. "I should tell Danarius about you attacking me." Leto actually laughed at that. Angered, she continued, "I could have you whipped for this you know," Hadriana shrieked as she looked for something to wipe her hands on. She settled for Leto's blanket.
This was an idle threat. Hadriana would not dare tell anyone that a slave, out of all things, bested her. So, he was not all that concerned about her telling Danarius anything. Leto yawned as he went to stretch his arms, ignoring her. He didn't speak to Hadriana nor indicated that she was still in the room. He could feel the annoyance emitting from her like a terrible stench. If he was not so exhausted from the events, he would show a smirk and tempt his luck again.
Hadriana bent down to pick up her staff and quickly straightened up. She stared at Leto in her childish infuriation. She jabbed Leto in the stomach with the staff a few times before she ordered, "Come on, slave. Get out of bed. Danarius is waiting on us." She ended her poking before she glared at him. Leto groaned as he put his hand to the hurt side. It wasn't enough to cause true pain, but it still hurt and annoyed him. He was so glad that he was not under her power. He could not stand her.
Still in a drowsy and dazed state, he followed Hadriana down the dimly lit hallway. Leto glanced over at an open window and saw that it was still dark outside. There was no indication that sunrise would come soon. Leto looked back to Hadriana and yawned once more. If he could, he would fall to his knees and curl up into a ball before falling back asleep on the wooden floor. That vision was so appealing to him. That was all he wanted to do at the moment.
After a few moments of walking, Leto saw that Hadriana was walking towards a door at the end of the hall. She reached the wooden door and pulled out a tiny key from her robes. She unlocked the door and opened it. She walked inside, beckoning Leto to follow her. "Come, hurry up you lazy slave," was the sneering command as she ushered him. Leto stepped inside. As he looked around the dark room, he saw that he was in a stairway. The stairs went down in a spiral formation. Several torches were placed down the staircase. Hadriana went down with Leto trailing after her.
The only sound on their way down the stairs was the sound of their footsteps echoing on the hard stone floor. It sounded strange, yet soothing to Leto. But then, he felt something inside him tell him something. He felt the sudden need to run out of there. As he got closer to down the stairs, he felt a chill go up his spine. His heart started to race as he felt anticipation and anxiety take control of him. This was happening, Leto realized as he felt his stomach drop. This unknown ritual was happening. He was going to get branded today. This was no longer a plan, this was a plan in action.
Finally, Hadriana stopped at the end of the stairs and opened the door at the bottom of the staircase. She walked out the door and Leto carefully followed after. She was leading him into another room. Once he saw the inside of the room, he realized why he felt the way he did. With a slow and hesitant motion, he took in the room. His eyes widened to the size of plates as he felt his fear skyrocketed. This was a foreboding room if he ever saw one.
The room was a black pit. There was no light outside the fire on a chandelier over the room. Hadriana's face became a dark and shadowed object. All Leto could see was the lines on her face. In the middle of the darkened room was a silver metal table. With no legs, the board was hovering over the stone floor. Under the floating table was a purple and black fire that did little to bring light or heat to the room. His curiosity about this object and what magic was keeping it up was cut short.
"Master Danarius," Hadriana said as she curtsied respectfully, "I have brought the slave." She kept her eyes to the floor and stayed in the position. Leto looked for Danarius and finally found the magister standing by the wall. Staff in hand, the man looked more powerful than usual. With his eyes closed, he appeared to be in deep meditation. To see him there actually calmed Leto down a great deal. Even though Danarius scared him, it was nice to see a familiar face. Even though that face terrified him. Realizing in that moment that he would probably never see Master Carso, his mother, or Varania again, he felt something clench around his heart. No, he shouldn't think about that. He was nervous enough without the memory of his previous life plowing its way into his brain.
Suddenly, the eyes opened. Danarius looked to Leto and smiled at him, "Ah, good. Thank you for bringing him to me, Hadriana. Now, be a good girl and stay out of my way." He raised his hand and at once, Hadriana was pushed back into the wall behind her. With a cry, the young woman hit headfirst. She crumpled to the floor like a rag doll. She made no movement for a moment. After a minute past, Leto watched as she moved her arms and attempted to pull herself up.
"Leto," Danarius called, causing the slave to look away from Hadriana. Leto blinked his eyes before he bowed, awaiting whatever order he would be given. "Remove yourself of your clothing." Not expecting this, Leto stood there for a moment. Danarius sent a sharp glare to him and at once, Leto grabbed the bottom of his shirt and pulled it over his head. Unsure of what to do about it, he just threw his shirt to the ground before he went to remove his trousers. Now he was only clad in his small clothes, Leto looked at Danarius, wondering if he should take these off as well. Danarius nodded as if he knew the question Leto wanted to ask. With hesitance, Leto finished the job. He was fully exposed now. The temperature of the room attacked him at once. He started to shake as the cold took over his body.
"Lay down on the table," was the second order given to him. With that, Danarius turned from him and went into the darkness that was the other side of the room. Hesitant and uncertain at first, Leto straightened himself up before he walked over to the table. He looked over it, inquisitive about the magic that kept it up. He slid onto the table. It was freezing to the touch. He shivered violently before he slowly lied down on the table. Goosebumps began to cover his body.
"Hadriana!" Leto heard Danarius call out. There was a silence before Danarius yelled again, "Lazy girl, get up and come here." Leto began to think that Hadriana would be wise to hurry herself and go to him.
There was a sound of groaning and something scrapping against the floor. Leto then heard a flight of running footsteps. He looked and he saw Hadriana approaching her master.
Danarius said, a roughness in his voice, "You desire to help. Fine, you shall. Attention is key to this. One wrong move could ruin him. I invested too much time and money into that slave to have you mess it up." Unnerved by the tone in Danarius's voice, Leto tried to ignore the dialogue between the two. He was unsuccesful in this.
The sneer and sarcasm in Hadriana's voice was apparent. "Then why not have a fellow magister assist you? Not your bumbling apprentice." She sounded like she was still cross over what he did to her earlier. Even Leto knew that tone of voice would not be good for her in the long run. Danarius did not tolerate cynicism.
The next thing Leto heard was something hard, like a palm, hitting something soft, like a cheek. Hadriana was just not having a good day in the slightest. "Don't disrespect me," Danarius snapped. After a moment, Danarius continued, "I have my reasons, Hadriana. One being, I know that each one would kill to get their hands on what Leto will become." Another pause entered the room.
After the silence was over, she finally spoke. "I ask forgiveness for my disrespect, ser," Hadriana said, lowly. There was an uncharacteristic submission in her voice.
"Apology accepted," was Danarius's quick reply, "Now, come, we do not have much time." Leto heard them walk over towards the table. Hadriana was the first to reach the table. A rosiness came over her face as she took a quick glance at Leto's nude form. Her eyes widened before she looked away from his manhood. Leto felt heat in his own cheeks rise as he looked away from her.
With the awkward situation over, Leto suddenly felt his muscles tense. He let out a short gasp as he tried to move his body. Unable to, Leto realized that he could not move at all. He had been paralyzed. Unused to having a spell cast on him, Leto felt his anxiety shoot through his system. However, after a moment he realized that it was not his entire body that was paralyzed. His chest still moved with his breathing. And he could turn his head and twitch his fingers.
"Fetch the lyrium," Danarius commanded as he sent Hadriana away from the table. The girl nodded as she turned and walked away. Danarius then stepped back and pointed his staff to the fire underneath the table. He waved it slightly before he closed his eyes, focusing his magic on the dark flames under the table.
Leto did not feel it at first. When he started to feel it, it was a very slight uncomfortable, hot feeling. It was like when you walked outside on a hot summer day. And then it hit him like a ton of bricks. The fire roared under him, heating up the metal table. A white pain over took his senses. Only a second passed before he started to cry out. He didn't even notice Hadriana's arrival until he saw the cases of lyrium she was carrying. She set the boxes down beside Danarius. She opened one box. Leto could see the glow coming from the case.
"Hadriana," Danarius began, "I need you to sustain the fire. If his temperature drops, his body will reject the lyrium. He will be useless to me." He then made it clear, "If you ruin him, I will make sure you never become anything more than a 'bumbling apprentice'. Do you understand?" Unlike Hadriana, his threats were never idle.
"Yes, ser," Hadriana said. The fear of losing her hard earned position and of disappointing her ambitions was clear. She took out her staff and pointed it at the flames. Leto hissed as he felt the fever rise.
Seeing that his apprentice was taking care of the fire, Danarius lowered his staff. He rummaged in his robes and pulled out a peculiar looking black instrument. Leto took a quick look at it. It was long and thing with a strange tip. Danarius lowered the instrument into the box and into the lyrium. Leto watched, still whimpering in pain, as the magister then put the tip of the instrument on to Leto's chest. Leto winced, feeling the sharp and pointed tip. And then….
It did not happen slowly. Unlike the situation with the fire, this pain happened right at once. The lyrium was more than boiling hot. It was just painful. A hot and sharp, thick liquid was being injected under his skin. Leto thought he heard someone screaming. It took a moment before he realized it was him. He was the one screaming. The pure agony of the practice was too awful for words.
Danarius was heavily concentrated into his work, only stopping to dip the instrument back into the lyrium. He paid no attention to Leto's screaming. Hadriana, on the other hand, kept sneaking looks to the elven slave. There was something in her eyes. It was a stew of pity, disgust, and wanting. What did she want?
Leto began to realize why Danarius had paralyzed him. This pain was excruciating. Leto could not even begin to tolerate it. If he could move of his own free will, he would have sat up and ran away from that room the minute he could. Without even thinking, he would have abandoned them and the entire process. He would have don anything to stop the pain.
This is for Mother and Varania…This is for Mother and Varania….
That was Leto's mantra as Danarius ran the instrument long, thin designs over his body. After a while, Leto could not scream anymore. Something in his voice choked and cracked. A whine left his lips before Leto fell silent. His mouth was still open, his vocal cords straining as he expressed his pain. As some of the tender parts of his body were branded, like his face and hands, Leto felt a wetness blur his vision. The tears escaped his eyes, rolling down his face.
After many hours, Danarius pulled the instrument away. After the extensive pain, Leto was almost giddy with relief. He looked down and he saw white lyrium branded into his skin. Blood was trickling out of the thin line between skin and lyrium. He was so relieved, he did not even feel the ever present pain.
It's done, it's done...
Before Leto could even smile, he felt himself being turned over on the table. He was rolled on to his stomach. Leto moaned in pain as he felt his new markings hit the metal under him. His black hair fell in front of his eyes, causing his view to be obstructed. This didn't matter. He screwed his eyes shut and tried to keep his mind blank.
He could feel the instrument bite into him. He bit his lower lip, forcing himself not to cry out again. He could feel the salty, hot tears escaping out of his eyes as the pain became more and more unbearable. He didn't know how long the process had been going on. To him, it felt like years had passed. The slow hours began to climb into the double digits as the tormentor continued his work on his back.
Suddenly, he felt something happen. He felt a part of his mind stretch out. He envisioned the situation as if a white hot knife was being pressed into his brain. He opened his eyes and let out a long scream. All he saw was whiteness before him. All he could think about was what was happening at that precise moment. There was nothing else.
That one word was his only thought as he felt the instrument finally leave his body. The blood actually felt cool to him compared to the hotness of the torture he experienced. He let out more of his cries as he was rolled over on to his back. His vision, cloudy and dark, told him nothing of the situation at hand.
Is it over? Please, tell me it's over...
Suddenly, he heard a thunderous snapping noise by his left ear. He felt the left ear twitch as it registered the painful sound. He heard another snapping noise by his right ear and felt that ear twitch.
"Hearing seems to be intact," a female voice said.
He winced at the noisy voice. Why was she so loud? Why was everything so loud? He looked up to see something skinny, small and flesh colored in his peripheral vision. He followed after the blurred and fuzzy image as it move to the left and to the right and to the left again. It then disapeared from his view.
"Sight is slow," the female said.
"He should recover within the day," a male voice replied, "Check his vocals." He was happy to hear this voice. It was the only thing that sounded quiet to him.
"Speak, elf," was what the female said, snapping. Her voice was more commanding than before.
Believing that the voice was referring to him and was ordering him to speak, he swallowed the dryness in his parched and scarred throat before he tried to obey the command. "Please...please," he croaked out, "Is it over? Tell me it's over." He winced as he felt his throat close in tighter. It hurt him so much to talk.
The female outright ignored his question as she said, "Scratchy voice. His vocals have deepened significantly." He whimpered again, frustrated with the situation.
"A few hours of silence and some water should cure the croak. Good work, Hadriana," the male said. The voice then cleared his throat before he gave an order, "Sit up, boy."
He blinked his eyes before he tried to follow the command. He tried out the muscles, seeing that they were strained, but otherwise working properly. He forced himself to sit up, ignoring the tired feeling in his body. He put his fingers to his eyes and tried to rub them. As he did this, he noted the glow coming from his hands. He looked down to see that the lines on his body were glowing.
"What do you remember?" the male voice asked. There was a softness in his voice.
What a strange question to ask was his thought as he went to remember something. But...he frowned as he bit his bruised lower lip. All he could see was a black blankness in his mind. "Nothing," he finally got out of his mouth.
"What about your name?" The male voice asked.
Thinking he was displeasing the voice by not giving him a memory, he quickly ran through his mind. He searched around for a name. A name, a name. Something, there had to be something. There had to be something that he was called. All he could see around him was black walls of nothingness. The only memory he had was the pain and the voices around him. There was nothing. There was no name to give to the voice that asked for it. And forget a name, there was nothing he could think of.
"No," he finally answered. He frowned as he saw that his vision was still on borderline blindness. Maybe if he found the owner to this voice, he would be able to gauge his reaction and give him an answer.
A small chuckle came from the male's voice. He stilled suddenly, trying to figure out the motive behind the laugh. He started to tense up as he felt a warm hand on his head. He slowly began to calm down as he felt the soothing touch of long, skinny fingers running through his hair. It was a nice feeling. He felt secure.
"Then I shall give you a name, my little wolf," the voice said, sounding pleased. The voice mulled over in thought before it said, "Ah, little wolf. Fenris, of course...A perfect name for my tamed pet."
"Fenris," he repeated as he let the name roll of the tongue. It seemed to fit him naturally. He leaned into the petting touch of the hand. He heard a chuckle as he did so. Seeing that his action caused approval, he felt himself smile. The smile was weak, though. The pain was still lingering in his body. The soreness was overwhelming.
He then asked, timidly, "May I ask your name?"
"Yes you may, Fenris," the voice said. It sounded like he was speaking to a young child, "My name is Danarius. However, since you are my slave, you will call me Master."
Fenris nodded at this. He blinked his eyes, seeing that his vision had started to improve. He turned to look up. He finally was able to match the voice to a person. He looked to see the tall, thin human that was petting him. Fenris looked over the details of his master with curiosity. Master was wearing blue robes that appeared to be well made out of flawless material. Fenris took note of how Master's skin looked lighter than his own and that they were decorated with faint wrinkles. His hair, a dark black, had a few lines of gray in it.
His observation was cut short by the sudden sharp pain of his markings. Fenris winced as he put a finger to one of the hot lines. Noting the blood, he whimpered as he tried to find something to stop the pain. He looked to Master, wondering if this man would take pity on him and do something about the agony he was suffering.
Noting his slave's whimpering, Master told him, "Pain makes you stronger, Fenris. Weak slaves are useless to me."
Hearing this, Fenris was put into a panic as he tried to keep himself quiet and ignore the pain. Once again biting the bruised lip, he tried to keep in his cries.
Laughing at his expression, Master removed his hand from Fenris's head before he told him, "Ah, yes, you are a success, my little wolf. Welcome to your new life..."
By the Maker, thank Andraste I am done with this chapter! I must have rewrote it six times! Ah! And the whole ritual scene. I had a hard time with that one.
But, thanks a lot for reading and please review. This completes "Book Of Leto" so which means that "Book Of Little Wolf" is next. Yippee!