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Torture of the Mind
Markessa enjoyed torturing the little halfling. He made such funny noises when she poked and prodded him here and there. The rod she was using was connected with the negative material plane, the source of all evil magic. When it was touched to the tied up thief, it drained his very life essence. Needless to say, this was very painful to Snagin. When she grew bored of prodding him with her death rod, as it was called, Markessa would use her snake-headed whip instead. The whip had three reptiles attached to its end which all seemed to delight in sinking their razor sharp fangs into the halfling's body. Sometimes they would poison him, and sometimes they just would inflict as much pain as possible. In any case, Markessa revered in the halfling's suffering. When it looked as if the thief was dying, she would simply magically heal him enough so that he could take some more. She went on with this torture for hours. The effect it was having on Snagins sanity was beginning to show. He became unaware of his surroundings, and he even began calling Markessa his mother.
Being a Drow Priestess, and a powerful one at that, Markessa was always this cruel. Her kind had to be, as they were the ruling class of the Drow. Drow elves resided deep under the earth. Long ago, they used to live on the surface in the forest with their cousins, the wood elves. They lived in harmony together until the dark elves began worshipping evil gods and started to use the malign forces of black magic. When the wood elves, who naturally used the good forces of magic granted from nature, objected to the use of the evil power, a long war resulted which lasted for centuries. The result was that the Drow were driven underground far from the surface. For millennia they lived there, growing even more powerful and more evil. The curse of their exile was that they now could not handle the sunlight for extended periods of time. On occasion, Drow elven raiding parties would make the long trek to the surface and ravage any peaceful wood elven communities they could find. Most of the time they would attack at night.
On some occasions, Drow elves would form alliances with other evil creatures of the surface. Markessa, at the request of her elder priestesses, had made a pact with the tribe of giants in the Firedrake Mountains. Her instructions were to gain the trust of the tribe so the Drow could use them as slaves. In order to do this, she provided them with a new "god" in the form of a young red dragon which she had raised from birth. Before she came to the giants, Markessa ordered her pet to make the giants' lives miserable for a long time. The giants had no hope of defeating such a beast, and they were desperate for any help. It was then that she contacted them. She then proceeded to win them over by "taming" the dragon. So long as they provided weekly sacrifices to it, she said, it would leave them alone. This was nothing new to the mountain giants. Their religion required sacrifices of giants anyway. As a result of the taming of the dragon, Markessa was hailed as a savior by the giants. She had complete control over them - until very recently, that is. The two meddling thieves had ruined everything. Now she would have to find another way to win over the giants. Despite their stupidity, sooner or later the giants would realize that they didn't need her or her warriors anymore. The thought infuriated her.
"Warrior! Bring me the other one! I tire of toying with this weakling halfling!" she yelled at one of her subordinates.
A male dark elf appeared promptly before her. Two others came in the room and picked up the limp form of the now unconscious halfling and carried him out of the room. The remaining male dark elf looked to her with his head down.
"Priestess, we are having a problem with the other one," he said timidly, obviously terrified.
Markessa screamed in rage.
"What problem, you fool!?" she spat, knocking the male to his knees with a blow from her death rod.
The male fell to the ground, screaming in agony and struggling to speak.
"We cannot keep him conscious, priestess! We must keep him asleep, as he keeps attempting to chew threw the bars of his cage to get at us!" he said, writhing in pain on the floor. "He is of no use to you to torture. I fear that should we bring him in here and keep him conscious, he would kill us all!"
Markessa laughed wickedly at the weakling male before her. How could a mere wood elf be so terrifying? Thinking this, she reached for her whip.
"You will pay for your insolence!" she yelled.
With that, she struck him with her whip. All three snake heads bit at his neck viciously. The male screamed in agony and was soon no more.
"Perhaps there is a special way I can deal with this wood elf," said Markessa to herself.
She then laughed evilly and walked out of the room.
Fire was everywhere. Everywhere Sid looked, all he could see was death and misery. The wood elven village he once knew as home was before him. How could this be? This was hundreds of years ago. The village was long ago destroyed. Sid walked among the ruined and burning huts in the trees as a ghost. He noticed he could not touch anything, and also that no one could see him. The renewed sight of his old village's destruction made Sid burn with anger. At the same time he felt lost and hopeless, unable to do anything about this. Memories began flooding back to the elf.
Sid remembered growing up in the small village as an outcast. Being illegitimate, he was often ostracized by other elves his age, and most of his elders. A bastard was a rare thing in elven society, as it was either as a result of a rape and death or an otherwise illegitimate paring between two elves. Elves rarely if ever had children out of wedlock. In Sid's case, a rape was to blame for his being illegitimate. Sid's "father" had been a rampaging Drow elf on a raid that had hunted down Sid's mother and raped her. She had died in childbirth. Needless to say, Sid's birth was taken as a very bad omen by the village. Sid's mixed heritage resulted in several strange marks on his body. The most noticeable one was a black stripe across his face like that of a raccoon. His hair was also ghost white, just as that of a dark elf. A couple other places on his body had black splotches as well. One was on his stomach, and the other was on his right forearm.
The only reason Sid was not killed at birth was that he was claimed by one of the most recluse elders in the village. His name was Herald. Herald had lived in a shack by himself far away from the elven village, and he only rarely ventured there. On the day Sid was born, he happened to be present at the council meeting, which was to decide Sid's fate. None of the other elders would adopt Sid as their own. Herald could not let such a travesty as the ordered death of a newborn to occur, and he adopted the young elf.
Herald was not highly thought of in the village. He was a hermit, and many rumors spread among the elves of the village about him. Many believed he was not right in the head. Some believed he was dark and evil, and they were thus afraid of him. In reality, Herald was an elven wizard. He spent most of his time working on new experiments and magical research. As a result, he was quite strict with Sid, and often treated the young elf as a detriment to his magical research. Several times, Sid sneaked into Herald's experimentation room and tried his own experiments. The result was always disastrous, as he would ruin Herald's research every time. Each time that happened, Herald would throw Sid out to fend for himself. After a time, the old wizard would reluctantly allow him to come back.
Sid learned to steal at a very young age, as he had to get food when Herald threw him out. He also learned how to fight well too. Many of the other elves in the village often set upon Sid and beat him up when he was young. Sid's mixed heritage caused all other elves in the village to despise him. His life was a source of constant ridicule - years and years of it. The life spans of elves could be in the thousands of years. An elf didn't reach adolescence until he was at least three hundred years old. For Sid, much of this was spent being ridiculed and beaten by his own kind. Amazingly enough, Sid never fully began to resent his fellow elves. He always accepted his dark elven ancestry as a good thing. Herald often taught the young elf that forgiveness was better then hate. This is what kept Sid going as he grew up. He also had two or three friends here and there. His best friends were a mated pair of elfin cats who had made a den in the woods nearby to Herald's hut. They're names were Mae and Zak. Elfin cats were extremely intelligent bobcats, which had their own language. Sid spent so much time with them that he even learned how to speak that language. On many occasions, the elf would go hunting with them. As a result, he learned how to be very stealthy and silent.
When he reached adolescence, Sid was trained in the arts of fighting. The elven masters were reluctant to teach him anything, and they often ignored him during instruction with the other young elven warriors. Despite lack of training, Sid became one of the best young warriors in the village. He seemingly had an unnatural agility owing to his Drow elven half. He prided himself on using an unorthodox two-weapon style of fighting, usually with a long sword and a dagger. The masters scoffed at this, and often chastised him for it. However, individual fighting styles were encouraged, and Sid won many tournaments using his. It looked as if everything would finally work out for the young elf. Then something terrible happened one dark and evil night.
In his ghost-like state, Sid was reliving the entire thing. The village was in chaos. The black devil elves had returned. It had been many years since their last raid. That had been when Sid was conceived. All over the village, the warriors were mustered to arms to defend against the evil elves. Sid was with a couple other warriors defending the nurseries. For a time, the wood elves seemed to be holding off the Drow raiders. Then the fires came. The huts, being up in trees for the most part, were extremely vulnerable to flame. The black elves had set fire to the bases of the trees, forcing warriors to descend to the forest surface to fight to put them out. In addition, Drow elves had the ability to levitate at will, so the normal defense of being high in the trees was ineffective. It was living hell. All around him, Sid could see elves dying in vain trying to defend their homes. He felt so hopeless and enraged as he looked around now, not being able to help. The Drow had come in very great numbers, and the elven warriors were no match for their fighting skills. Sid saw several of the masters run through by the dark elves' wicked black blades.
Then Sid saw something that had terrified and infuriate him for all of his life. It was huge, about four feet tall at the shoulder, and it had eight legs. Drow often used giant spiders to aid them in attacks. There were swarms of them all around all of the sudden, jumping out of the tree canopies from above. One of them dropped right through the roof into the nursery. Sid saw himself scream in terror and flee for the door. The other two warriors with him did the same. At the time, running in blind terror, Sid didn't notice the dark elf warrior running toward him. He had weakly brought up his blade in defense. The dark elf had laughed at him, easily parrying his blow and backhanding the young elf to the ground. Sid had known he was finished. As Sid watched what happened next, his mind did a back flip. He screamed and ran toward the dark elf, trying to tackle him and tear him to shreds with his bare hands. It was all to no avail, as he just ran right through the Drow. He was forced to relive what had happened in its entirety. Sid watched in dismay as he saw himself sit there with his hands over his head, unable to defend himself due to his terror and lack of skills. The dark elf scoffed at him.
"Young fool half-breed. I wouldn't have expected my son to turn out to be such a coward!" he said as he kicked Sid in the ribs on the ground.
Sid screamed in pain, sobbing.
"You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to destroy this entire village and everyone in it, and I'm going to make you watch. Then I'll decide whether or not to kill you," the dark elf spat.
Sid began sobbing in his ghost like form as he watched his father drag him by the hair and lead him to the nursery. As they got there, the giant spider had just finished draining the corpses of the two young elven warriors of all fluid in their bodies. Nothing was left of them but lifeless husks. Then the spider looked eagerly to its dark elven master, thinking Sid was to be his next morsel. Instead, the dark elf spoke out a short order in the Drow tongue. Sid then was forced to watch as the giant spider proceeded to kill each and every baby elf in the nursery slowly one by one. There were approximately twenty young. The ghostly Sid was screaming in agony at being forced to relive such a horrible moment doubly. One as seeing it again, and the other as seeing himself go through it.
After a short while, the Drow had killed all the warriors in the village. His father, Sid learned, was the leader of the raiding party. He ordered all elderly, women, and children to be rounded at the big center tree of the village. Sid was then forced to watch as each and every one of them was slowly put to the sword. They were not quick deaths either. Some were run through the stomach. Others had their limbs cut off as the surrounding Drow laughed at them as they were screaming in agony, begging to be killed. The spiders killed some others. Sid's mind had snapped at that point, just as it was again as he watched as a ghost, not being able to help. He tried to close his eyes, but he could still see even if he did. Sid saw himself begin babbling incoherently, seeming oblivious to what was going on.
A loud thunderclap interrupted the scene. A line of twelve or so dark elven warriors were engulfed in electricity and fire. They burned to ashes and instantly ceased to exist. The lightning had come from the darkness of the trees. Sid then heard more chanting. His father quickly ordered another group of warriors into the woods to find what was there. They didn't have to look for long. Out of the woods walked Herald, glowing with an unearthly power. He pointed his finger at Sid's father, and a green beam of light shot out to hit the dark elf. Two or three Drow around him were completely incinerated in a flash of green light. Sid's father just laughed, as it seemed to have no affect on him at all. The ghostly Sid watched in horror from afar as the seven warriors who were sent to the woods ran out behind Herald. Sid screamed and screamed in warning but to no one could hear him. The warriors ran up behind Herald and cut him to pieces with their black blades. Herald didn't have a chance. Sid's father laughed. The warriors laughed as well and a couple even urinated on the corpse. Sid had been hopeless. He had wanted nothing more then to die back then after he saw that. The ghostly Sid began jumping up and down screaming for his father to kill him.
"My son," laughed Sid's father mockingly.
He then backhanded Sid to the ground. Sid had not resisted at all. He just sobbed. Sid begged for a merciful death.
"Death? Oh no…. You will not die. I want you to remember this for the rest of your life to remind you of your better dark elven half," his father said sinisterly.
Suddenly, a rage had built up within Sid. With all remaining strength he could muster, he had leapt at his father.
"I'll kill you! I'll kill all of you!" he had screamed.
Sid's father sidestepped him and slapped him in the back of the head with a force enough to knock him to the ground. All the remaining Drow laughed at Sid. A couple walked up and kicked him on the ground. Sid didn't care. He slipped into unconsciousness. When he awoke, it was morning. Carnage was all about him. He would never get over what had happened. The ghostly form of Sid did nothing but scream in agony and sob.
Sid was forced to relive this experience in his dreams for at least one hundred times.
Markessa laughed as she watched the half-breed wood elf writhe in agony in his sleep to her evilly induced dream. How proud she was that it was her own kind which was the source of this elf's agony. She would have to find this elf's father some day and congratulate him on his good work. Males as thorough as that were hard to find. Oh well, she thought. It's time to torture the halfling again.
Gruzzuk was bored. Being a sentry was not very much fun. He wanted to be in one of the raiding parties with his other fellow giants so he could bonk some heads. Now THAT was fun. Guarding the mountain pass all by himself with a pile of rocks to throw at invaders before he ran off to warn the tribe was just SO boring.
It had been different before the black elves had come. Before, he used to have two companions with him when he guarded. Since the dark elves had taken so many giants off to their home to use as soldiers, there weren't nearly as many giants left, so cuts had to be made to the number of guards on sentry.
Grazzuk was brought out of his musing by a hooting sound behind him. Startled, he quickly turned to see that an owl had landed in a tree behind but above him. The owl looked at him quizzically, blinking its eyes. How BORING this was! An owl was the only thing that had appeared for the last several hours. He wanted to go home to his wives and have some real fun. Sighing, he ignored the owl and continued to watch the pass. His heart leaped in delight. Walking up the path was a lone small figure wearing a robe of green. He walked with the aid of a staff. Slowly but surely, the figure was making his way toward Grazzuk. The owl hooted again from behind him. Grazzuk began to pick up the rocks he had to throw them at the intruder, but then he stopped. As the figure got closer, the giant realized it was merely an elf - and a wood elf at that! He decided that he would have some fun with this insolent elf that decided he could walk through Grazzuk's pass.
As the green cloaked elf neared Grazzuk he stopped and looked up to him.
"Who you, weakling elf, that you try pass me?" said Grazzuk defensively.
The elf just yawned and rolled his eyes. This infuriated Grazzuk.
"I said, WHO YOU?!" yelled Grazzuk.
The elf sighed and looked upward to Grazzuk.
"I am Lormar," the elf answered curtly, gazing evilly at the giant.
With that, the elf tapped the staff on the ground and said a strange word. His eyes began to glow a fiery red. Grazzuk met his gaze and suddenly wished he hadn't. A burning began to build in his stomach that was intensely painful. The giant tried to raise his club to hit the elf, but to his horror, he couldn't move. Looking at his hand holding the club, Grazzuck saw it suddenly char and erupt in flames. He dropped his club. His stomach then charred and erupted in flames, along with his other arm. Grazzuk screamed in agony as he fell to the ground and both of his legs and his chest charred erupted fire as well. He was already dead when flames shout out of his eyes and his head exploded.
The elf grinned at the charred form of the giant and walked on up the path. The owl hooted and flew away.
To be continued...