I expected him to start the machine again. But instead, he simply pressed another button, and the cuffs opened, retracting back into the chair. Then he pulled out a blade and slashed through the ropes that held me. I slumped to the floor. If I hadn’t been dazed before, I definitely was now.
Karnax didn’t give me a chance to try to gather my thoughts. He dragged me upright, and pulled me towards another room. He slammed the door shut behind him, and a gold glow hovered over the door. A magic lock.
“Those machines are useless,” he spat. “I’m going to use real magic. And believe me, Sivva, I specialize in pain. Don’t try to resist, it’ll be worse. Let’s see how long it will take you to scream.”
A glow filled the air. It slowly became a winding trail of vapor, circling me, as if looking for an opening. I tried to remember what it was and how I could stop it, but I couldn’t think straight.
The vapor shot forward, straight through me, and I collapsed. The mist came in for another pass, went down my throat, and began to burn my insides.
I was mentally screaming again, but I didn’t give Karnax the satisfaction of hearing me cry out.
The mist swirled inside of me one more time, then seeped into my mind, wrapping around it.
Karnax was ready to begin questioning again.
And this time I somehow knew that he would make me answer.
“So, Sivva. Where did that homing pulse come from?”
“I don’t know!” I protested. True enough. I am not certain. But I have ideas.
“Where do you think it may have come from?” Karnax demanded.
I hesitated. The mist pulled tighter, causing my head to explode with pain. I almost blacked out, but at the last minute it retracted.
“Answer, Sivva!” Karnax said sharply.
“No!” I snapped.
The thing squeezed harder, causing more pain to fork through my skull.
“This spell will suck out the knowledge within your mind, leaving you for dead,” he hissed. “You will answer my questions, Sivva, or I will do it the messy way, and search for them myself!”
I shook my head violently. “I will not answer, no matter what form of torture you use, and no matter how many times you threaten me with death!” I answered.
Karnax laughed cruelly. “I can do many things that are much worse than death, Sivva.”
The thing tightened as well, sending pain through my head like bolts of lightning..
“Now answer,” he ordered, “where did that pulse come from?”
The thing in my mind pushed harder. Like a-
It’s looking for the answer.
The thing pushed harder, and though I struggled to put up mental defenses the pain in my head grew to almost unbearable standards. I gritted my teeth tightly, but the answer still spilled from my lips.
“It was from the other Sivvas!”
Immediately the probe retracted from my brain and vanished into nothingness.
“The other Sivvas, hm?” Karnax smirked at me.
“Yes,” I said softly. It was too late. I had already betrayed one answer. Who knew how many more I would betray?
“Not bad,” Karnax murmured. “Got you to talk fast enough. Now, let’s see how much more you know.”
The probe settled back into my mind.
Back to the interrogating.
Immediately, I attempted to block all of the information that could be dangerous if Karnax found. But then the probe squeezed at my mind again.
“No blocks, Sivva,” Karnax said sharply. “Or I’ll force my way through them.”
Despite his warning , I strengthened my mental walls. I could not allow him to drag any answers out of me. The act of betraying secrets to an enemy was unforgivable. I could feel the probe pushing at my mental defenses, trying to batter them down. I gritted my teeth, strengthening them. Then, in a sudden moment of defiance, I sent a magical attack tearing through the probe, tracing its connection back to Karnax’s mind. I felt it strike, but his mental defenses were impenetrable. Despite this, it gave me a brief satisfaction.
“Enough!” Karnax snapped.
The mist suddenly pulled out of my mind.
Karnax’s voice now had a tinge of respect in it. “Impressive. I haven’t met a Sivva yet that could withstand that. You certainly are different, Sivva. I’ll be interested to find out how. Mere training could not have blocked one of my probes so efficiently.”
I was too exhausted to reply. A dull throbbing pain had been added to the fogginess in my mind, making it harder than ever to think straight.
“Then again,” Karnax continued, “mental probes are very basic. No, we’re going to have to be a bit… unorthodox to get you to talk, don’t you think?”
I continued to ignore the older Sivva’s tauntings. Each word I said could be poison later on. I would not risk Karnax getting an advantage on me.
If he does not already have the advantage.
That thought was similar to being slammed in the face. He did. I was here, a prisoner who was free, but couldn’t think straight, completely helpless against his attack.
And yet I still fought.
Karnax held his hands out to the side and dark light began to glow in each of them.
“Pick your pain, Sivva,” Karnax mocked.
Too dazed to respond, I remained silent and motionless. My mind was becoming even more of a fog. I almost wished that I could black out, just to stop. I could not answer questions if I was unconscious. But somehow, some shred of consciousness remained. Not enough for the focus required of magic, but enough to allow me to hear and feel.
“No answer? Then maybe you would prefer both!” Karnax snapped.
He made a gesture with his hand, and both of the lights slammed into me, bringing me to the ground.
I nearly cried out at the sheer pain and power of it. Karnax truly did know what he was doing.
“Are you going to be good yet?” Karnax asked. His voice was a buzz in my ears, and I could barely make out the words.
“No.” I gasped once.
“Very well. Remember, I can do this for as long as I choose,” Karnax laughed.
The lights swirled, and I felt as if I was being torn apart. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from screaming, and I tasted blood in my mouth. And yet I remained stubbornly silent.
Then, finally, mercifully, I sank into unconsciousness.