The Fae didn’t have such limited views of right and wrong, but even they didn’t make it a habit to torture their peers without at least gaining some entertainment from it. Had anyone known beforehand, how creative, deadly and vindictive that gaunt boy would get one day, they would never have schooled him in the arts of war, but thoughts like that were now moot. What had been done, was done, and in two more days the house guard known as Niro would be dead.
The pain came quickly, following the thinning blood supply to his arms. Pin pricks and needle stings soon became dull, painful throbbing, and only after an hour of pain-filled restlessness his arms finally went numb. The chains on his arms were keeping him upright, another chain was attached to the steel collar around his neck, pulling his head down. The posture made it hard to breathe, but the pain following the constant tension in his limbs was worse than anything else.
Alone in the dark, the young man finally could admit his defeat. Pain had always been a revelation to him, an epiphany that opened his mind to the universe, the connection of things living and dead. He had been about twelve years old when the Ailill captured him, nothing but a little spud overwhelmed with the power, the force, the charisma his Fae teachers had exuded. Back then, pain had been something he revered, something that had made him shiver with fear, sweat with adrenaline, made him feel alive and strong. When he had been in pain, he had forgotten all about the things he had seen in the war, forgotten about his dead parents, the way his cousin slammed into the stone streets from more than a hundred feet height, forgotten that he was all alone in a city full of Fae. The pain of the whip, the cane and the paddle had set his world right, calmed him down, filled him with euphoria.
Unfortunately, he had been willful enough to warrant many, many punishments, and those responsible for his behavior seemed to think that a lowly beast such as him needed some additional discipline. The beatings weren’t so much designed with intent or comprehension for his reactions to it, they were nothing more than beatings executed by brutes for every small infraction. The feeling of weightlessness, the reverence and the euphoria following Niro’s will to submit were beaten out of him just as quick as his respect, demureness and his instinct of self preservation. To those wielding the whip, it didn’t matter if he begged, screamed, laughed or kept quiet, as long as the lash count was met.
In the end, all that he had learned from those punishments was the cold certainty that it didn’t matter what reasoning he had, or if he repented for his sins and misconducts. The pain had dulled to an unpleasant but inevitable side-effect of life with every beating he received, and at the end of his apprenticeship he had been jaded enough to meet the mind-set of his punishers with his indifference.
There were only few things left in his life he felt any kind of emotion other than rage for. He regretted the loss of his father, who had never come back for him and was presumed dead just like the rest of his family, and he regretted having never tried to run away, to flee the city. He didn’t regret being a virgin though, as he had never understood how anyone would want to get in such close proximity to another being. His body was a thing to behold, but it was also a thing of terror. Niro had never braved the insecurity of showing himself to anyone he might have a romantic interest in, and he had never accepted any advances from those who had seen him bare. The fear of their reactions to the multitude of scars he wore on his skin had always been too dominant to overcome, and since he had never experienced love, romance or the eroticism of another being’s touch, he didn’t miss it.
Tomorrow at sunset, all his regrets would be forever lost. The path he had chosen would end with his death, and he would be judged by the gods of Humanity.
With a harsh sigh, Niro Ravenkin, nephew twice removed to the dead king of Tetharion, sagged into his chains. One more day, then I’ll be home.