What The Mind Holds

crystak“Wake now.”

The voice cut through the fog of his mind. Memories slowly trickling back from where they had been pushed aside like rubbish littering the paved roads of cities. An eye opened, then another… And Sarkhan looked into eyes devoid of caring. Eyes which had seen the afterlife and come back.

The eyes of Va’lis.

“How…How long has it been…” Sarkhans voice came out strangled, still not in full control of his body.

Smiling, his sire took a seat directly in front of him. Steepling his fingers, words almost inaudible drifted from the mans mouth.

“Quite some time Sarkhan, quite some time. This will be our ninth day together.”

“Nine…Nine days?”
“Indeed. Time flies does it not?” Va’lis stood slowly again, circling the chained vampire. “And we’ve only begun.”

Gritting his teeth, Sarkhan strained against his bonds. Muscles stood out from his form with each passing moment. The idea of spending another night down here, wherever he was, was driving him crazy. Add to that the need to feed… He could almost feel the madness growing.

“It wasn-…” A hand around his throat cut his next words off. Va’lis now eye to eye with him.

“The next words you were about to say… Had better not have been that it was not your fault…”

He looked away… And Va’lis snorted with disgust at such a weak display. “So lost without your brother. I honestly do not know what I was thinking with your creations.”

Sarkhan wisely remained silent.

“Well… enough idle chatter Sarkhan. I think it is time for us to get back to work, don’t you?”

“…Does my answer really matter?”

Va’lis smiled once more, devoid of all humour. “Not really.”

Fingers pressed to the side of Sarkhans head, pressing just enough to be noticeable. Va’lis’ voice took on a melodic tone, words blending together as his captives eyes began to unfocus. He could no longer fight it, the lack of blood in addition to the constant assaults on his mind already had done that. It was only a moment before his mind was spread wide open for his sire to look through.

Each day Va’lis did this. Looked through Sarkhans mind and, with the merest thought… wiped a memory away. He would bring up the most painful memories imaginable, amplify the emotions from them… Tormenting his childe with his own past.

He would also, add his own ideas. With a smile, Va’lis added the perfect memory to cause pain…

Sarkhans screams echoed throughout the room. His anguish clear and pure. With a show of surprising strength, the chains shattered. Rather than fight his captor… he fell to the ground and openly wept.

“Venser… No no..no…” Fingers raked down his face, blood flowing freely as the madness took hold. “I didn’t mean to…forgive me…brother…”

“He is dead Sarkhan. Dead and gone.” The cruel smirk returned, his eyes flashing as he drank deep of the vampires pain. “And…You did it.”

For that was the memory Va’lis had implanted. Not Pandora destroying his brother, but his own hand.

Reaching out into the mind again, he just had to experience his own creation… Just once more…

Venser and Sarkhan stood in the ruined tower, that much was the same. However this time, Va’lis entered without backup. Venser shot, missing in his haste. Sarkhan urged his wolves forward as Va’lis brought his hand down…and the room darkened instantly.

A loud crash reached his ears and he reacted instantly. Throwing a hidden blade forward towards the sound. A cry rang out, and the darkness lifted. He had indeed hit someone, just not Va’lis as intended.

Venser was skewered through the heart, grasping weakly at the blade. Bolting forward, he reached to his fallen brother…who always seemed to remain just out of reach. For as long as he ran, the longer the torment carried on.

Sarkhan ran for a long time.

It was several hours before he stopped, falling over again as spasms wracked his body.

“So weak. You couldn’t save him. And now he is dead… If only you were stronger.”

Gradually his body calmed, sanity trickling back. Though he looked upon his sire, he barely recognized the man anymore. Va’lis had never been like this in the years they knew one another.

He had been a man ruled entirely by emotions. The wrong word would set him off into a rage. But this? No… This was a different beast entirely.

His features set as if in stone, eyes colder than any frozen wasteland seemed to look right through his soul. And maybe they could. For once, Sarkhan knew fear.

“Just… end this…please.”

With a snap of his finger and a whisper, Va’lis’ spell took hold. Paralyzing Sarkhan, he took one step closer…and then another. Each perfectly placed and timed apart, to cause the maximum effect on the captive.

“It will Sarkhan, it will.” A hand was placed to his cheek. With faint amusement , Va’lis noted a single tear sliding down the cheek of the man. “You will be released from this, I swear.”

Sarkhan was shocked however, when he felt Va’lis embrace him.

“But there will be no release in the way you think.”

Shock, quickly turned to panic as he felt the elder vampires fangs pierce into his throat. He struggled as best he could, but his strength no match against Va’lis’ and the magic he employed. Eventually it came to the point, as he felt the last of his strength slipping away, that had any seen what was going on… They could have mistaken it for an intimate moment between two lovers.

He couldn’t support himself now, his body leaned heavily forward as the darkness slowly came across his eyes. When it was nearly done, he was laid upon an altar. Eyes looking up , yet seeing nothing.

“In the end… You betrayed me. Your brother escaped a fitting punishment, but you shall not. No… Yours will be unending. So long as I survive, you will never know peace.”

Barely conscious, he did not feel Va’lis slice open his chest. Reached his hands into it, he took hold of the ribs covering Sarkhans heart and ripped them away. Placing a crystal against the organ, he began to chant.

A moment. An hour. An eternity. All these and longer it seemed to Sarkhan. He felt as if he was shrinking, sensations in his limbs dulling each second. Going from his head and feet, to meet at his heart. Accepting of his death, he closed his eyes and waited.

For a moment that never came.

Va’lis stepped back from the lifeless body, turning the crystal over and over in his hands. Yes, he would have to feed heavily to restore himself after using that magic but, it was worth it.

“Blood Magic… Sarkhan, that is what you have been cursed with.” A smile returned as he looking into the now blood red crystal. “I did release you from the pain. But now you get to suffer as long as I want. In as many ways as I see fit.”

Shaking his head slowly, he gestured almost lazily. The now useless body going up in a pillar of flame. The crystal went into a pocket as he walked up the stairs and out into the moonlit glade. Another gesture, and a great shudder went through the ground. A nearby lake suddenly finding a portion of its waters redirected to flood the chambers beneath. Forever sealing away, and destroying what transpired there.

Looking skyward, Va’lis felt relief at it all finally being done with.

“Who knows Sarkhan. Perhaps when I am through with you… Pandora might be thrilled to have her time with your soul.” He laughed, walking away into the shadows.

“After all… Vengeance is a bitch.”

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