The science fiction rollplay for members of Flight of Fancy.
Trine's jaw tightened as she dropped Chrysth's hand and straightened. "It will heal fine." She said coldly.
"Then maybe it's time he returned to his own room, wouldn't you say?" Saffire asked as he entered, his eyes glaring down on Chrysth who returned the glare just as coldly.
"That would be-" Trine began.
"He has awakened. That is good." Hebtu filled the room with his presence, his eyes taking all in with a passing glance before locking on Trine. "If I could have a word with you."
Trine appeared startled before bowing her head and moving toward the doorway.
"What is this, Hebtu?" Chrysth asked, not attempting to rise, merely capturing the beast with his commanding gaze alone.
"An incident that does not concern you, Angel." Hebtu stated and followed Trine into the hallway, closing the door on any that would follow.
"Damn!" Chrysth cursed as he struggled to rise and managed to only make feeble movements. "Damn, damn, damn, damn!"
Trine turned on her heel and faced Hebtu boldly, wondering why the creature had sought her out. A raised eyebrow was the only visible change on her face.
"I have taken one of your crew into custody," Hebtu stated as he moved past her and strode down the hall. Trine had no option but to follow quickly, at a near run.
"She calls herself Sebille," Hebtu sneered at the name as he turned a corner and Trine found herself in a broad hallway that ended abruptly at a large pair of plain double doors of wood.
"Why have you taken her?"
"For murder," Hebtu stopped and turned suddenly and Trine barely managed to halt in time. "The first day you were here a woman was murdered."
"I didn't realize you punished such acts," Trine placed her hands before her, clasping them loosely to cease the trembling.
"We do," Hebtu smiled and Trine shivered at the gruesome sight. "We do, indeed." And he turned and walked to the doors, pushing them open and allowing Trine to enter first.
Sebille stood surrounded by five burly men, large and unemotional, their eyes cold wells of emptiness. Trine knew that one could stab one of them numerous times before they acknowledged you and once you had their attention nothing would save you.
"She didn't murder the woman," Trine said as she drew her eyes from Sebille and the men and faced a tall wooden pole at the center of the room. She knew what it was for. The hand ties at three different heights, the lines of blood...it was a whipping pole. "I did."
"I find that hard to believe," Hebtu said as he took the only seat in the room, a crudely carved throne of stone.
"It is the truth," Trine nodded toward Sebille. "She was in danger when I came upon them and I acted accordingly. Self-defense."
Hebtu leaned forward and snarled. "We do not value loyalty."
"I know not what you are speaking of. I am telling you the truth. Anything she told you was to protect me. I am like a queen on INS...it is her duty to spare me judgement and pain." Trine heard Sebille shift and she glared at her. "Obey me, Summoner!"
"So...you are the one that murdered her...interesting."
"If it were the wretch there, Angel would allow the punishment to be carried out in full. But you...oh, I sense that he would destroy me just for bringing you here if he could rise from bed." Hebtu leaned back and shook. "Punishment must be meted out."
"I agree," Trine slid out of her long jacket. "I will accept whatever punishment you deem worthy."
Hebtu's eyes took on a hungry gleam. "Twenty lashes!"
Sebille cried out as Trine slid her shirt over her head and stood bare from the waist up before Hebtu's roving eyes. "So be it."
"Trine-" Sebille was freed from the circle of men at last and was at Trine's side.
"Wait for me outside, Summoner," Trine growled.
"No, don't do this! Not for me."
"Wait outside and tell no one what is happening. That is an order." Trine continued to stare at Hebtu but when Sebille lingered she turned her gaze to her best friend. "I will need your help after it's done, Sebille." She whispered and Sebille bowed her head so Trine could not see the tears.
"I will wait outside,"
As Sebille reached the doors, Hebtu stood. "Twenty lashes and if you black out we begin again."
"Understood," Trine said as she walked to the pole and allowed two of the men to lash her face first to the pole, her hands stretched so high above her head that she stood on tiptoe. "Whenever you are ready, Hebtu."
She could hear the uncoiling of the whip. Closing her eyes, Trine imagined Sebille being whipped, imagined her not having the fortitude to remain conscious, imagined her beaten to death. A small smile danced upon Trine's lips as the first kiss of the whip lanced across her bare back.
She bit her lip, knowing that she would cry out but holding back until the last possible moment, holding back until she was certain she would either cry out or black out.
By the eleventh lick of the whip she could no longer contain her cries. She screamed as her flesh was ripped open, as warm blood gushed from the wounds and soaked her green cotton pants. Soon, it was over and the lashings were removed from her raw wrists. Sagging, she remained upright by sheer will and by clinging tightly to the pole.
"If it had been Sebille that had murdered the woman the lashes would have been doubled." Hebtu spoke near her as he coiled the whip. "Let her in."
Trine was aware of her jacket being placed over her shoulders and Sebille's arms sliding the shirt around Trine's front. All Trine felt was pain, intense and raw, a burning on her back that she would willingly jump into a fire to quench. Every step brought pain as she and Sebille walked to the double doors.
"Tell Angel that I was fair. Tell him I was gentle." Hebtu said gruffly.
"I will tell Chrysth nothing, Hebtu. The punishment was meted out." Trine hissed as Sebille kept her moving at a steady, albeit slow, pace. Through the doors and to the wide hallway. "Take me to your room, Sebille. Then, go to my room and get the ointment I used on Chrysth's wound. You must care for me. Do not tell them what has happened. Return quickly, Sebille..."
Trine spoke merely to stay awake so that her friend would not have to carry her full weight. At last they reached the room Sebille had been assigned and Trine was placed on the bed face down.
"I will return, Trine," Sebille whispered but Trine had already slipped into the comforting black arms of unconsciousness.
Standing outside the guarded door of Trine's room, Sebille drew her knife and slashed her leg, biting her lip to keep from crying out at the sudden pain. Red blood bloomed out of the wound on her right thigh, quickly absorbed by the thick fabric of her white pants.
The guards looked at one another before stepping aside to let her enter. Chrysth had drifted back into a fitful sleep while Saffire lounged against the wall, glaring angrily. Sebille knew why. Hebtu had set guards on the room to prevent anyone from attempting to disrupt the trial and the punishment. The punishment she deserved yet her friend had suffered. Sebille bit her lip once more, this time to keep the tears at bay.
Zalla was nowhere to be seen and Sebille couldn't figure out how the girl had managed to leave while Saffire and Syn were obviously forced to remain. Saffire answered her unspoken question.
"Where have you been? The guards are obviously allowing you females to come and go as you please while keeping us under lock and key. What has happened? Have you seen Trine?"
"I saw her a few moments ago." Sebille walked to the bedside table and took hold of the tube of ointment. "I sliced my leg on a piece of metal."
Saffire stood straight and looked at her leg. "It doesn't appear deep."
"It hurts like hell, though," Sebille said truthfully. "I just came in here for this." She said as she held the tube up. Syn's eyebrows lowered thoughtfully but she ignored him. "I'm going to go clean it up."
"Clean it up here," Syn said, standing slowly.
"No!" Sebille frowned and looked at Saffire out of the corner of her eye. He was moving closer and she knew that time was running out. "No. Not here. Not in front of you." She glared accusingly at Syn.
"I'll turn my back,"
"Ha!" Sebille moved swiftly to the door, throwing it open and stepping outside before either could react. "Like I'd take you at your word." She closed the door and ran down the hall, ignoring the sharp pain in her leg.
"What do you think?" Zalla leaned closer as Mystic removed the jacket slowly as to not start the bleeding anew.
"I think you need to give me some space, Zalla," Mystic said tartly as the jacket finally came off completely. Trine moaned and Mystic stared in horror at the criss-crossed stripes upon her back. "Holy..."
"What are you doing in here?" Sebille asked in shock as she stood in the open doorway.
"Hebtu is removing the guard now so I recommend that you shut the door and bar it, Sebille, unless you want all this secrecy to be for naught." Mystic tossed the jacket aside and reached for the bowl Zalla held in her hands. "First, they need to be cleaned. Then we can put the ointment on." Mystic turned and looked at Sebille as the bar was slid into place. "You did get the ointment, yes?"
"Of course," Sebille snapped as she turned and faced the sisters. "How did you know?"
"You should have realized by now that I know everything." Mystic said as she looked at the still bleeding wound on Sebille's thigh.
"It's her talent," Zalla quipped as she handed Mystic the torn cloth to be used to clean the wounds.
"Yes. You best tend your cut as well, Sebille." Mystic turned back to Trine and began the long task of cleaning the wounds.
Trine had nightmares, long and dark and so frightening that she longed to wake but instead would fall from one into another. Most of the dreams involved her and Chrysth and Hebtu, all tumbling together in white flames and snaps of whips.
Her body was in pain but the pain seemed duller. She knew that she needed to wake, that she was far from safe, but she felt as though she were as safe as she could be at the moment. How safe that was, however, there was no way for her subconscious to tell.
The ointment worked, mending flesh quickly, limiting scarring. The ointment was made to heal quickly and so Trine would be able to move about painlessly in a matter of days. The hard task of explaining her absence fell on Mystic, who handled matters deftly, leaving all that asked frustrated to no end and no closer to discovering the truth.
But the day that Trine would have risen and the truth would have been forever hidden was the day that Chrysth regained his full strength and not even Mystic could keep him from Trine.
"Hebtu," Chrysth stood in the room where Trine had been whipped and stared at the pole as Hebtu entered.
"Angel," Hebtu closed the double doors. Punishment was always meted, always fair. Except when Angel was involved...something Hebtu had learned the hard way and would again, it seemed.