Agony on Skorgijl

Erak Starfollower gripped Slagor's upper arm fiercely.

"If you touch one hair of his head, or the girl, I'll slaughter you like the pig you are."

Slagor couldn't help but swallow nervously. If there was one thing you could count on, it was that Jarl Erak would keep his word. With that, Erak released him roughly and left to see to repairing his ship. She hadn't suffered anything serious, no more than the journey usually inflicted on his beloved Wolfwind.

Angrily, Slagor stormed off.

"Stupid slave brat. I will have my revenge. I will." He growled under his breath. Then, a brilliantly devious idea occurred to him.

"Ha. It will kill the brat to do it, but I know he will. He'll have no choice. And Erak will never know..."

Panting, Will ran up the long, frigid beach a third time. A small, nagging voice constantly pestered him.

It's no use, you're wasting your time.

"I can't give up! For Evan- for the princess' sake."

Returning to his starting point, he spied Evanlyn coming to meet him, over a rocky bluff. She had continually come to meet him after his exercise ever since the day she'd told him her true identity; he guessed it was a sort of peace offering. Will stiffened uneasily; something wasn't right with the scene, but he couldn't pin down the feeling.

"Evanlyn, get over here quickly!"

She bristled indignantly.

"It's one thing for those seawolves to order me around, but now you Will?"

"Please, just hurr-"

His urgent plea was cut off as a large Skandian jumped out from behind the bluff, grabbing her. He clamped on meaty hand over her mouth, and the other pinned down her arms. Will recognized him as a member of Slagor's crew.

"Hey! We're under Jarl Erak's protection! Let her go!"

The Skandian grinned unpleasantly.

"Shuddup boy."

Fists clenched, Will never had a chance to find out what he might've done, because a rough hand seized him from behind, just as Evanlyn had been. He tried to call out, and kicked savagely; but to no avail. Sacks were thrown over their heads, and they were borne, jolting and thumping, to whence they knew not. Will had a sinking feeling what this was about, but dared not form the frightening thought into words in his head.

Eventually, they were tossed on the ground, hard stones digging painfully into their scarcely clothed skin. The sacks were torn from their heads, and Will took a moment to look around.

They were in a sort of depression, surrounded on all sides by rock walls but one; a treacherous path out of the clearing. They sat on a beach, the frothing waves slapping the pebbled shore.

And they were surrounded by seawolves.

Slagor stepped to the front.

"Time t' pay fer yer incilince slave." He sneered.

"Yer gonna be sorry you ever laid eyes on Skirl Slagor."

Will knew that getting angry would not help anyone; even so, he was hard put to suppress the anger he felt welling up in him, despite his belittling fear of what would happen.

"Skirl Slagor, as you know, we are under Jarl Erak's protection; harming us means breaking the Skandian law. I am sure you are smart enough to realize this."

He said evenly. But, that only served to enrage the perpetually intoxicated Skirl.

"Don't give me that ye scum! I can see right through your little ploy. We're gonna have some fun with ye."

Will subconsciously placed himself between Evanlyn and Slagor, crouching in a ready position. Seeing the defiant action, Slagor scowled nastily and dealt Will a backhanded blow to the side of his head. Reeling, Will's vision exploded into stars, vicious pain lancing through his head.

"Oh, don't ye worry about the pretty lass, my men won't harm a hair of her head." Said Slagor with a wicked leer.

"But you will."

Horrified, Will looked at Evanlyn. Her face was set in an expression of shock. Trembling, Will lifted his chin.

"And if I don't?"

Slagor sneered.

"Every time you refuse, you'll get a blow. Maybe a clout 'crost the head, maybe a lash of this whip."

He pulled a nasty leather scourge from his belt, heavy and knotted. Will couldn't hold back his gasp of fear. He turned to Evanlyn, stricken with guilt at the decision he was faced with. As if bolstering the odds against the hapless boy, Slagor gestured to a giant, burly Skandian.

"If you are holding back, Jrengar will be the one dealing the lash."

So much as he wants to play hero, the boy will choose his own well-being over hers. None would do otherwise.

He laughed ghastily. They were caught now! He knew the mental anguish would be worse than anything else. Not that Slagor would hesitate to beat him afterwards, for good measure.

Will crumpled, tormenting over his choices. If he beat Evanlyn, it would be far less injury than the terrifying seawolf could deal Will; but he couldn't betray his King's daughter.

No, he corrected. my friend.

None the less, he was no use to her beaten beyond strength, he knew. With a pleading look at Evanlyn, he stood and walked to her, facing the girl sorrowfully. He read the steely look in her eyes.

Fine. I don't blame you. You're saving your skin. Of course.

Will raised his hand, and she refused to flinch at the blow she knew was coming. Will mildly laid his hand on her shoulder. His eyes said it all. She was instantly full of remorse and shame at what she'd expected of him.

"Trust me." Was all he said, softly. He turned to the angry Skandians.

"You can't make me." He said, with a resolute air.

Enraged, Slagor socked him mightily in the eye, giving him what would be a heck of a black eye. Will actually flew off the ground, landing a meter away; he groaned and clutched his eye.

"Get the whelp off his feet!" Bellowed Slagor. Two men came and stripped off his cloak. Then they dragged him, each gripping an arm in a hefty fist, and carried him to Jrengar. By sheer force, they ripped the back of his shirt open, exposing his scrawny shoulders to the elements. Jrengar flexed and snapped the whip, before swinging it swiftly, the leather slapping against Will's skin.

"Ahh!" Will yelled in agony. The strokes felt like lashes of fire laid across his back, searing with pain. Then a second blow came. It felt as bad as the first, fire replacing the icy chill of the wind.

Evanlyn looked on, helpless to help her selfless friend. His tortured expression was killing her.

They dropped Will to the ground, shivering and sore. He groped painfully on the stones, gritting against the unbelievable pain.

"Now will ye beat her?" Sneered Slagor.

Fighting off the suffering, Will stood slowly, wincing as the lash marks formed painful welts. He once again faced the big man, shaking his head "No".

Smiling evilly, Slagor nodded to Jrengar, who pushed Will down on his face and lashed him three heavy handed strokes this time. Will cried out at each one, his face contorting in misery. The leather thongs finally tore his flesh, pulling bits of skin with it, and sending blood trickling down his back. Will writhed on the ground, striving to get on his feet again. Jrengar shove his booted foot into the small of Will's back, wrenching an agonized yell from the boy. Tears ran down his face.

Evanlyn watched in horror, frustration boiling in her. Was there nothing she could do?

"Will!" She called.

The Skandian restraining her tried to silence her.

"Shuddup girl!"

But Slagor waved him off, gesturing for her to continue. He'd been waiting for this...

"Will, just do what they say. Stop being a hero, it's alright! I can take it."

Dragging himself up after Jrengar removed his foot, Will wiped blood from his cheek where a sharp stone had dug into it. He stubbornly shook his head.

"I won't do it; I refuse to harm you. Don't you see, that's exactly what they want."

Truth be told, Will wanted nothing more than to do it, just to get out of this pain! He'd thought he knew what pain was, but now that he truly encountered it in all it's cruelty and agony, he never wanted to feel it again. But he thought of Halt. He imagined how Halt wouldn't, perhaps, downright disapprove, and he'd be enraged at this maltreatment, but he also knew there'd be a silent disappointment: disappointment that Will hadn't been able to hold up to an important principle, no matter what the circumstances. No matter who told him it was alright. Halt didn't expect him to be a hero, unbeatable; but to act like a hero, selfless. To do what is right.

He remembered that day, after he killed the Kalkara (how long ago it seemed!), when he had that reflection about what it meant to be a true hero; how afterwards he learned that not only had he been right in guessing how his father died, but the man being saved was Halt himself!

All this passed through his head in a moment, and he knew he could not, would not, harm Evanlyn.

Evanlyn read that stubbornness in his face.

"You don't need to be the hero Will!" She said again. Still, he only shook his head.

Slagor was furious! This whelp, this mere boy dared defy him! Enraged, he hauled Will up by the collar, and slammed him up against the sharp rock walls. Will yelled between his teeth. The sharp stone dug into his wounds, splitting them open excruciatingly. Were they even human? Throwing him down in disgust, Slagor stormed off to their impromptu camp, snarling a command behind him.

"Jrengar! Ten lashes on him! Do not spare your arm!"

Jrengar may have been one of Slagor's crew, but he wasn't totally heartless.

"That sounds like much Skirl. That'll kill 'im."

Furiously, Slagor snatched the scourge himself.

"Give it 'ere!"

He beat savagely on Will, who covered his head with his arms, cowering in abject misery. After ten lashes, Slagor left at last, the rest of the seawolves following eventually. As soon as she was free, Evanlyn ran to Will. He lay moaning and sobbing. Gasping, she gingerly reached out to his back. It was oozing pus and blood, the skin hanging in strips. He could barely move. Clinging desperately to her skirt, Will sobbed over and over.

"Don't go, don't go. It hurts so bad. Halt, why don't you come?"

Gently, she got Will to stand, and helped him hobble, wincingly, to the relative shelter of the rock wall. She took off the blanket she'd wrapped around herself that morning, and made Will lie on it. She carefully pulled the soaked edges of his shirt away from the lacerations, a tear rolling down her cheek.

How could I have doubted him for a second?

A/N Hmm, more Will angst! I've been wanting to do something like this for a while, to go more into what Will and Evanlyn experienced as slaves; in the book it's too lightly handled. Will would've been changed a lot after that, but he goes on as normal! So, this is what I came up with. I wanted it to be a oneshot, but it's too darn long! I'll make it a threeshot! For rizzles this time! Three chaps tops. Just something I wanted to get out.

P.S Microsoft-idiot still isn't working, so pardon my typos and spilling airers. :P Oh yeah, I very loosely based this off of a reference from Phineas McCheeser's story, Scarred. Enjoy! (if one can call angst enjoyable...)