The Loneliest Traid

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  • Published: 2 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 13 May 2017
  • Status: Complete
Love and death and war and Gods and blood and magic and dancing and rest and revenge and kings and fate.
Don't worry, within these three stories you'll know yourself,
And I will put you back together again.

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27. And Where they are Born Again, I am Buried

“I will tell you again, and again you cut out my tongue,” Chene wheezed, his chest dipping in the middle where it shouldn’t, “I know nothing.”

    “It is possible that he’s been away too long to know of the other army’s moves.” one of his tortures said.

    “Shut it, will you?” the other said, pressed a weight back into Chene’s chest.  He cried out, unable to breath, unable to beg for his life.  When they lifted it again it was clear that the bone was entirely broken, now dust clogging his lungs as he struggled for any air in the crowded room.

    “What could I even know?” he screamed, thrashing against the hard stone floors.  He didn’t know how long he had been there, but he was no longer able to walk, barely able to speak or see in bright light.  He body ached to its core and he was no more alive than he was dead, although he was beginning to prefer the later.  He supposed that it must have been days since Dyrad ordered every last thing he knew to be tortured from him.

    “You too, close your mouth, rat.”

    “I know nothing, and you will hear nothing from me.  I know nothing.”

    Suddenly, Chene was lifted from the ground and dragged upright to the ties in the wall.  His bones cracked at he was stretched open to reach them, the muscles on his back rippling and the blood flowing harder from the open, infected wounds.

    “You’ll - You’ll have to kill me before I’ll speak, b-because all I know is that this war won’t die with  me, and I am not afraid to die for it,” he said, his face flat against the stone, his words a lot stronger than how he truly felt.

    “You were never afraid to die, were you?” a voice said.  Sweet and crying, a friend and not.

    “Never.”

    “Why not?  Most are terrified,” Gomez’s voice cracked.  He sounded hurt, almost.  Raw.  Chene, despite himself could not find delight in it, “I’m terrified, Chene.”

    “I would be too, if I were you.”

    “Please, answer me this, Chene.”

    Silence filled the chamber, nothing worth saying or listening to but the breathing of a standing man and a man stuttering over each breath, struggling to stay alive at all.

    Eventually, he said, “I can’t be afraid to die.  I… I came so close to it when I was young, over and over, and no one came to help me.  Like you, I had nothing and I had to watch all I loved vanish forever.  If I’m afraid to die, I-I’ll have nothing.”

    He felt the bars around his wrists unclick, and he fell the ground unceremoniously, Gomez hardly strong enough himself to support his weight.

    Chene was surprised when he saw him, but not happy as he thought he would have been.  Gomez’s eye was black and bruised, his skin paper thin and his bones protruding his skin like corners under stretched cloth.

    “You’re face…”

    Gomez laughed, his lungs almost as shattered as Chene’s, it seemed, “This?  My sister promised that she’d hit me when I got home, and so she did.”

    Chene pulled him down the floor with him, expecting the prince to avoid  the cobwebbed bones that lay scattered, but he fell heavily against him, his body a bag of cogs and screws, barely still alive for someone untouched save for a bruise.

    “What did they do to you, Gomez?”

    “Nothing,” the king stepped from the shadows, “Yet.”

    “Father, please-”

    Dyrad took ahold of Gomez’s hair, low at the scalp, throwing him onto the floor where his skull collided with a chilling crack.  For a moment, Gomez remained completely still.

“Gomez!”

“Not you too,” the king said, resting his foot on Chene’s chest where the weight had been, and pushing him up against the wall, “Where did Rilae get lost, tell me that much?”

“Let me go,” he struggled up, but it was no use.  

“When he found a friend, when he had his fortune told?  When some witch decided that my boy was meant to save the world?” the king laughed, low and cruel, “What nonsense.  He’s no more than a wizard himself I gave my life to raise.”

“You…” Gomez said, climbing to his feet.  His nose gushed blood, but he could stand and that was more than Chene could say for himself, “You’re a monster.”

“And you are the son of one, and the son of a whore.”

“You-”

    The king pulled a thin sword from his belt, angling it at Gomez’s neck.  He pressed until even Chene could feel it’s hot touch, and the jinn moved himself until he was on his hands and knees, but he knew he could go no further.

    Dyrad saw this, and laughed, pushing him back onto his side with the heel of his boot against his ribs.

    “You’re brave, soldier, I’ll give you that.”

    Chene looked up at Gomez, who had already been watching in horror.  In his eyes, Chene saw a glimpse of the future that Gomez knew, and felt his fear prick at his soul.

    Dyrad watched them look to each other, and cooed, mocked pity in his words, “Oh, you are more than enemies, aren’t you?”

    They looked away, their fates twisting into an ugly tale of pain and death on the floor that many had known before now, but this time, together as one.

    “You’re brothers,” he laughed, “Tell me, jinn, do you love my son?”

    “I-” Chene looked at Gomez, who’s face contorted in pain, and in the knowledge that he had no say in what was to come.

    “You do, I think,” he said, taking the riding crop from the wall.  The leather was now worn and patchy from overuse, and he handed it to Gomez who looked at it as if he had never seen one before in his life.  Perhaps he hadn’t.

    “Torture him,” the king said simply.

    Gomez looked at his friend that writhed on the floor, his body twisted in ungodly ways, in a pain beyond any masochist’s nightmare.

    “No.”

    “You will find out what he knows, or else you will pay.”

    “I won’t hurt him.”

    “And you will die for that?  For an orphan, wicca boy?”

    Gomez looked to the weapon and for once, his lips quirked up, “Us orphan, wicca boys - we stick together.”

    And with that, Gomez turned and with all his strength hit Dyrad with the riding crop, flat against his ear.  In another life, Gomez was not as small as he was, or as weak, and he had time to help Chene to his feet, or he was evil enough in his heart to beat the king to death.  But he was not in this story, and Dyrad took him by the loop of his earring, ripping it from his skin as he threw him to the ground.

    He took the crop and beat Gomez down.  It seemed never ending, the ticking of a nearby clock, his body twisting and flailing as each sting ran across his skin like live wire.  Sores opened all over his body, across his bare arms and neck.  The king kicked his chin until he turned onto his back, each blow aimed to his face, his throat, his chest, until he spoke no more.  He simply whimpered and allowed himself to die, his hand drifting towards Chene’s on the deathly cold stone floor.

    There were no windows in that room, and the Gods even did see it there was little they could do.  This evil was more than what even they could control.

    Gomez’s hand recoiled to protect his ribs from the kicks of his father, blood spilling forward in its wake, coating Chene’s fingers.

    The devil had taken that room already.

    It erupted from Chene’s chest, a beast strong even whilst its master died.  A black shadow, ripples and sequins that came in the form of a storm.  It coated Dyrad’s skin, and he dropped the crop as he fell back, smashing his own skull against the table of torture weapons, and yet still managing to stay alive as the monster of night clawed his face as he did his own.  Chene could see it, something he  never had before.  It lurched forward, burning and bubbling the king’s skin, leaving him marks in the same pattern that was learned on Chene’s body from long ago.  And where blisters grew, the king scratched, his body shedding each layer and blood as if the animal was now inside him, as if he could pull the growing darkness from his body with his nails alone.  Like the walls, he pulled to hard and something unbreakable, and they snapped from his skin like thorns from stems.  He was a monster himself, but now, he could see what his reflection was made to be.

    “Chene,” Gomez whispered, either to not rouse him or as it was all he could manage with his bones splintering his lungs.

    “Yes?”

    “That’s enough, Chene.”

    And with that and the caring touch to his shoulder, the monster was gone, back inside Chene’s heart which gave out afterwards with the sight of the father in a pool of his own blood for once, and Gomez’s light smile.

    “You are amazing, Chene, I always knew it.”

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