In Their Hands

Warning: Some content in this story may not be suitable for all readers due to implied unpleasantness.


Meliantha awoke, slowly dragging herself back from the edge. She was still naked, but the arm chains were detached from the wall and in manacles instead, letting her lay on the floor. Her legs were still chained to the wall, keeping her imprisoned. Her body ached, and she felt her own blood from her wounds dried on her skin. She raised herself up on her elbows, and looked around.

Norvin was sitting in a chair, watching her. “Very good. You’ve got strength, and we need to destroy that. You have willpower, and that needs to be broken. You have faith, and that also needs to be broken.”

She grimaced in pain as she came up to her knees, then sat back, and said, “My lord Helm protects me as he protects all in danger.” Reopened wounds dripped blood, but she ignored the sensation of it trickling down her limbs.

He stood, then picked up the whip studded with nails he’d been using, and smiled darkly. “Let us see that protection in action, my dear.”

* * *

When she woke again, she was again not alone. This time it was Felgar, who was crouched down and smiling, having lifted her head off the floor. “You thought I was undisciplined. You beat me. No one saw what kind of corruption you are. But oh, they fell to your whining, and you disgraced me, and I was banished from the temple. But then Norvin found me again and showed me the truth of the Black Sun.” He grinned savagely. “You will be broken, shattered, and left crying and begging for death before we sacrifice your soul to Cyric.” He grabbed her chin, and pulled her head up. “I can’t wait for you to start begging.” He squeezed her jaw, then twisted his wrist. “And one of the best ways to break a woman is to take what she cares about most.”

As she rolled over, Norvin’s voice came from the corridor that led into the cell. “No, Felgar. Not that.” The priest looked down at her. “She doesn’t care about that – or so she thinks. It’s the same thing, she’s forced herself to not care about that. You gain nothing but your own release.”

“So?” Felgar said sulkily. “It’s still going to hurt her when I’m done, if I do it the way I did that to that other girl.” He looked down at her, now rolled over onto her back. “And it would be fun.”

“No. We need to get information from her – who else she’s working with besides that roasted halfling.” He turned to her. “And for that we will need more time – and torture.” He looked at Felgar. “We have some things to take care of. We’ll take care of her in the morning, once my spells are recovered and you are prepared.”

Felgar released her chin, leaving her on her back and rose. “Fine. But tomorrow I want her as mine. She won’t be as fun as the others, but it’s so much fun when they cry.” He toed one of her legs. “And she will cry.” He followed Norvin out, pulling the door closed.

She curled up, taking a deep, painful breath, and tried to think. She was alone and awake, and so she thought she might have the chance to undo the locks. With that done –

Or you could ask me, Chainbreaker’s voice came into her mind. We are connected, after all.

With a soft sigh of relief, Meliantha curved her right hand, and imagined the feel of Chainbreaker in her hand… and then he was there. She tapped the green stone that was his pommel to the left manacle, and then the right, freeing her hands. Freeing her feet was the work of moment, and then she staggered to her feet.

We must escape. You’re too hurt to take them both.

“I know,” she said, “I know.” She took a deep breath, again, and then staggered to the door. “Can’t go naked.” She pulled on it, and when it didn’t open, applied Chainbreaker’s pommel without prompting. She eased the door open, ignoring the reopening wounds, and tried to move as quietly as she could. The area turned out to be a disused part of a disused inn’s basement, and the room she’d been in had once been a wine room. The place was cold, and she clenched her jaw as the cold and the blood loss tried to set her teeth chattering. A quick search didn’t find anything else of hers, but it did find a long tunic and a pair of ratty sandals. She crept up the stair on all fours as best she could with Chainbreaker, and managed to get out of the inn. She was surprised at neither of them being on guard, but then realized something.

“They didn’t know about you, did they?” She said to Chainbreaker.

They recognized I was a magical weapon, but no, I don’t think they knew more than that. Which is good – I would not wish to serve them, and they could, I suppose, destroy me if they knew what I could do.

“Right,” she said, staggering and leaning against a wall. “Need to get back to the others.” She tried to pull herself together, not seeing the stains of blood seeping through the back of the tunic, but feeling it stick. “Don’t know where I am.” She felt herself falling, landing on hands and knees, and she pulled herself up again, using Chainbreaker as a cane. The blade did not object.

She heard voices, and feet running towards her, and somehow she knew this was help. She heard a man’s voice pitched low saying, “Help is here, sister.” She looked up, to see Ravenbrow and a man she didn’t know, both of whom moved to hold her up. “Let’s get you to the shrine,” Ravenbrow said, and Meliantha, too weak, passed out.

* * *

She woke, weak but in much less pain than she remembered being. She tried to sit up, only to have a hand on her forehead push her back down.

“You need to rest, Meliantha.” Ravenbrow said. “You almost came before your god.” She rose, and pulled open the drapes. “Thankfully, the priests of Helm were happy to help us and heal you.” Sunlight poured in, even as her bed lay in a shadowed alcove. “And your friend is spending coin like water to find you. We didn’t find Zalan, either. What happened?”

Experience had taught Meliantha to give a quick, concise report, and none of the things she told Ravenbrow made her thunderously dark eyebrows move in any pleased manner.

“Cyricists? Are you sure? Of course you are, that’s a stupid question. Why would he pose as a Banite priest? That’s a dangerous game to play.”

“Did he ever really claim to be one? Or was it just what he said leading you to believe he was a Banite? After all, wouldn’t a Cyricist love to cause that kind of havoc?”

Ravenbrow grimaced. “He preached something akin to Banite doctrine, but never actually wore the vestments or spoke it directly. That would be deliberately misleading people, a perfect plan for a Cyricist – causing trouble between members of the faiths. If he wanted to cause trouble, that would – what’s that?”

A loud pounding came in through the window. “Open up the name of the king!”

Meliantha sat up, and then tried to get up. “I did break into an inn. I’ll bet he reported that to the guard.” She pushed herself to half-rising, then collapsed again onto the bed. “Don’t even know where I am…” she wheezed.

“Shrine of Helm,” Ravenbrow said. “I came here for help, and apparently someone sent a note to them just in case. A couple of them were happy to join in the rescue. They’ll protect you, as will I.”

“I don’t want others suffering for me,” was the reply, as Meliantha tried to rise again, only to fall again, this time off the bed. Below and through the window, the sounds of yelling could be heard, then quieted as one voice overpowered it all:

“STAND DOWN, ALL OF YOU!” And they did, with the yelling dulling to conversation.

One of the priests of Helm, in shining armor and wearing a truly magnificent moustache, knocked, then entered. “Ladies, a gentleman of Cormyr wishes to speak with you both. May he enter?” The two looked at each other, Meliantha sprawled on the floor,

Ravenbrow nodded. “Please give us a moment to compose ourselves. Does the gentleman have a name he wishes to give us?” As she asked, she helped wrestle Meliantha back into bed, pulling covers over her.

The priest nodded. “Dutharr, he gave his name as. Oversword Dutharr,” he continued, dryly, “and he requests time to converse.”

They looked at each other again, surprised this time. Durtharr was the leader of the city garrison, and he had the authority to arrest them, but for some reason was being polite.

“Our regards to the Oversword,” Meliantha said, “And if he doesn’t mind that I cannot rise, we will gladly speak with him.”

The priest bowed, stepped out, and a large man in the armor and eponymously-colored cloak of a Purple Dragon stepped in. He removed his helmet, and the two women stared in shock. The man they’d known as Big Loran smiled, and sketched a half-bow.

“So,” Oversword Loran Dutharr began, “how bad was it?”

Posted by Meliantha Demonblood

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