I heard the patter of rain and came awake slowly to the rich smell of earth and the odor of decay. I had been here before, I knew the smell, and I also knew that it meant I was still in Elysea. That was good at least. What was not good was that I was tied to a chair, with thick rope that chafed my wrists, throat and ankles. That last was really not good, I could feel the damp air against my bare legs, and the soft earthen floor beneath my feet, but I was dry which meant I was not outside. I swallowed and cracked my eyelids, jerking back at his nearness, the tip of his nose nearly touching mine as he studied my face, his hands resting upon my bare knees.
I dropped my hands, my shoulders at a painful angle before and the rope pulled taught against my throat. I raised my hands back up. It was meant to make me uncomfortable and with how close he was in proximity, I wouldn’t have enough time to choke myself in order to return to my obelisk. Damn him. I took a moment to look around and felt a small surge of self satisfaction. We were, as I had thought, in one of the abandoned farm houses on Orton Farm.
Switchkin locked eyes with me, jade ice to sapphire flame. He knelt before me, hands loosely resting on my knees, swords lying neatly on the ground to either side of me, well within a quick and easy reach. He had been admiring his handiwork, and even now bent at the waist to plant a kiss where the scars began on my right knee, gentle and reverent as a lover. I shuddered in revulsion and he smiled taking it as an invitation and bent further, licking a wet line from my ankle to my knee over the macramé of scars he’d decorated my flesh with. I screamed at him in fury, an inarticulate sound and struggled against my bonds finally relenting when my body demanded air and my joints screamed in fiery protest.
He laughed at me as I stilled, and sat straighter. He knelt up higher on his knees, hands still on mine and laid a kiss on my forehead. It was revolting, his touch slimy to me, an unclean thing I wasn’t sure even a bath could remove, after all you couldn’t scrub what was inside your head, could you? He sat back on his heels and considered me.
“Good girl.” He murmured as I stilled and watched him with a baleful look that thinly disguised my malice. He sat and stared at me for so long, almost as a child does with a new toy. “You know what I want don’t you?” he asked and I nodded slowly, resigned. He smiled at me.
“You and I are going to make a lot of people hurt.” I blinked in confusion, now I didn’t have a clue what he wanted, but whatever it was, it clearly didn’t involve what I had thought seeing as I woke with no boots or greaves on. So if rape was not on his agenda… Stop it! I thought fiercely to myself. I just needed to buy myself time, not worry about his intentions. I was carefully picking at the knots that bound my wrists when he laid his head in my lap and closed his eyes lost in his own thoughts, he was mad as a hatter and I needed to use it to my advantage, I wasn’t sure how, but I needed to if I was going to make it out of this relatively unscathed.
“You don’t want to hurt me.” I said, and let the confusion tinge my voice, trying to get him talking again. He kissed my knee again and his eyes were closed as he gently ran the fingertips and palms of his calloused hands against my scars, caressing my skin. It was disturbing and perhaps rape was on the agenda for this afternoon after all, but I breathed out in a sigh and forced myself to relax continuing to bending my fingers at sharp and painful angles to tease at the knots at my wrists.
“No, I can’t hurt you; you don’t give me what I want when I hurt you… No one has been able to do that before. No one. You screamed and you cried and it was beautiful, but it wasn’t what I wanted out of you. I love you for that.” He looked up at me, his chin resting on my paired knees and even though I stared back and searched his eyes carefully I saw that there was nobody home. I swallowed hard.
“What do you want out of me now Switchkin?” I asked him, the first knot in my bonds freed, I quickly went to work on the second, Aion how many were there?
“I want you to hurt them with me Sirona. You’re a Cleric; I want you to keep them alive so I can hurt them more, make them tell me all their secrets.” He nuzzled his face against the side of my thigh like some large cat and I shuddered. It was dizzying the implication, and horrifying and sickening and I swallowed my disgust and did everything I could to make it appear as though I considered it.
Aion save me from this mad man…
“I see your point. No one could resist that much pain forever, but what about their minds? If they loose their minds what then..?” I waited and watched his face, his shoulders slumped and he wrapped his arms around my legs and cuddled against the scars, laying his head in my lap, carefully considering and just like that, my hands were free, though I did not give myself away, his swords being too close.
He knelt up suddenly, pressing his body to the front of my legs, gripping the tops of my thighs, his claws pricking my skin with the promise of violence and my stomach lurched as his body told me just how happy he was to be there. He pressed his lips to mine and though I resisted he kissed me hard. That is when I saw the potential for distraction. I parted my lips and allowed him to kiss me the way he wanted to, his jade green eyes opened in surprise and I closed my eyes and just tried to imagine that he was someone else, someone I wanted… one of the two men I loved, to keep the illusion clean.
He relaxed into the kiss and I made my move, slipping my hands before me I raised them to cup his face and kissed him back lovingly, I let my touch be gentle and so lost was he that thankfully he did not notice my hands, not at first… by the time he stiffened and I knew I’d been found out, it was too late. I gripped his face even as his claws plunged into the meat of my thighs and I bit his lower lip savagely and with a cry plunged my thumbs into his eyes, blinding him, scratching his face with my nails as he fell back and reached for his swords, shouting and angry.
Everything happened at once then; I tumbled to the side and picked up the heavy chair, holding it before me as both a makeshift shield and weapon… The rotting door to the farm house crashed in on its hinges, a hulking figure in blue plate roaring his rage, a blur of motion slipping in just behind him. Suddenly the assassin from my nightmares was engaged, Aalairius slammed his shield into Switchkin knocking him into the farthest wall, Toxemia taking up position between them, blades out crouched and ready and I screamed as Switchkin, blinking blood from his scratches out of his eyes advanced on my friend, who with a wicked grin began his lethal dance.
I scooted back and gasped at the pain that lanced through my legs, and looking down to see my own red blood I drew breath and uttered a prayer, watching the wounds seal and the flesh mend with nary a scar. Aalairius stood between me and Toxemia and as their Cleric I did what I was supposed to, I stood back and healed, cleansing their blood of the poison Switchkin had laced his blades with, keeping them fit as they beat him into submission, until finally with a roar and full bodied strike Aalairius brought his mace down and dashed the Asmodian’s head into a welter of blood and bone on the farm house dirt floor.
I stood gasping, breath heaving, and my body trembling. Switchkin was making a terrible keening noise, high and piteous like a wounded larial, and as his body dispersed into the aether, I was grateful that it would stop… but it didn’t, and as I looked at my beloved and my friend in confusion, the tears welling and spilling hot down my cheeks I realized, the sound was coming not from my aggressor, the sound, the terrible wailing and keening sound… it came from me.