Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Barraccus: Scars

"I don't remember all of what they did to me," Barraccus said. "But what I do remember is more than enough." He stared into space for a little bit, until Quae's hand on his arm broke his reverie. "They didn't torture me just for fun," he continued. "I have no idea why he didn't just kill me outright and then raise me, but he seemed determined to break my spirit first. I don't know if I'll ever understand why.

"They had some healers among them, though calling them 'healers' may be a bit of a stretch. They could mend the body, but often they left the pain behind, so that after they slit your stomach open, then closed the wound, you still felt as though your guts were hanging outside your body. They did that to me often enough." He had removed his armor before, now he pulled his shirt off over his head. Across his stomach was a pale line, looking like a crease in his skin. He twisted around in his chair then, letting them see the raised line that zigzagged crazily across his back, just under his shoulder blades. It almost resembled some kind of ritualized tattoo. "They used a sharpened hot poker, piercing the skin and stabbing it underneath just a few inches. It cauterized the wound right away so there was little blood. I think that was the first one to get infected; they didn't bother much with cleanliness. Also, they didn't go the whole way across at once; it took them several days." He rubbed at his shoulder, where there were other scars; for some of them it was easy to guess how they had happened. He made no mention of them, though, and no one wanted to ask him.

He sat back in his chair, playing with the shirt in his hands. After a bit he pulled it back on. "There are others of course. They whipped me bloody, I don't remember how many times. There are things they did that left no scars, not on the outside, at least. Potions that they forced into me, that felt like fire crawling through my veins. They also had a rack, if you can believe it, and they knew how to use it. But with everything they did, they were always careful not to cripple me in any way. My hands, for example; they did nothing to my hands, or my arms. They broke no bones, although at times it felt like they did. My guess is that he wanted his 'pet' to be as perfect as possible; after all, he already knew what a fighter I was."

He blew out a breath. Quae reached out and took his hand, and he smiled at her. "I was a little surprised, our first night, when you didn't seem to mind the scars. I had thought they might frighten you." Quae gave him a look that clearly said he was being silly. "If you think a few scars would put me off, after I had spent all that time trying to get you to notice me..." She trailed off, then looked at the others and blushed. He grinned, raising her hand to his lips and kissing her fingers. Then he turned back to the group, sobering. "So, on to the mental part of the torture.

"I have one great comfort regarding my family. None of them were raised as undead; there just wasn't enough left of them to raise. That was little comfort at the time, however, as I was forced to see them torn to pieces in front of me, again and again. Closing my eyes never helped, since the images would keep playing behind my eyelids. I thought I would go mad from that alone.” He paused then, his eyes looking someplace far away. “He…. He gets in your head,” he continued softly. “He finds what hurts you the most- crushes any hope you might have- until you will do anything he asks, no matter how terrible, just to make it stop.” Quae, with a worried look on her face, started to reach toward him, but stopped as Alanon shook his head at her. Let him finish, he mouthed at her, and she sat back, though she continued to watch him worriedly.

“I have no idea how I broke free of him. One minute he was there in my head, as strong as ever, then suddenly he was like a faint whisper. I know now that he simply relaxed his hold on us all; after all, he thought we were all about to be destroyed. How could even he have known the paladins would spare us?"

The others jumped slightly as Alanon’s voice broke into the spell that Barraccus’ words had woven. “So you have no idea how you broke away?” he asked, just as quietly as the death knight. “Nothing you can tell us?” Barraccus hadn’t jumped; he still sat as if in a trance. He blinked a few times as he thought. “I…I’m not sure. I know that I was tired of the killing, the wanton waste of life. When I realized that we were losing, I felt like it must end. I can’t remember anything, though, except thinking to myself, ‘Enough!’ It just…happened…” He gave a weak half-shrug as he trailed off. Quae looked at Alanon almost desperately, and finally he gave her a slight nod. She got up and went to the death knight, putting her arms around his shoulders as she began murmuring to him. He seemed to come back to himself, though his eyes still looked haunted. He looked around the room at the others as if surprised that they were all still there.

Alanon cleared his throat. “I think we’ll need to think on this,” he said. “Thank you, Barraccus. I know it was hard to talk about it.” He gave the death knight a wry grin. “Why don’t you take a break? I know Quae has been itching to drag you off somewhere.” Quae shot her brother an indignant look as she blushed. But she wasted no time in taking Barraccus’ hand and pulling him out toward the door.

Got a few ideas running around in my head, so the next post may or may not be the next chapter in this story. We shall see. :)

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