Friday, October 15, 2004


Day 23

I didn't want to get onto that padded table again, but eventually I was naked on it, lying on my front again, with Mistress Indigo massaging some oil into my back, and Memree watching silently, standing close by. I gripped her hand in mine... but my grip loosened as I fell into the damned dream again.

My last sight of Flavion saw him bruised and blooded, his shirt torn off and his hands tied, gripped tightly by two of Lord Gillaird's men. Not so handsome now, nor so cocksure of himself. I think he saw me, but I'm not sure that I really registered - he was terrified, shaking and pale, you could almost see the shadow of the gallows across his face

"So, two amateur thieves were out to make a fool of me, eh? I expect I'd have been drugged, robbed, and you'd have laughed all your way to Spektros!" Gillaird's voice was harsh and angry.

"N-no, m'lord, it was--"

"Well I'm nobody's fool - and I'm not soft, either!" He turned to one of his men, the big bodyguard I think it was. "Have his... left hand chopped off, and dump him in a ditch well outside town."

"At once, Lord" It sounded to me as if it wasn't the first time Gillaird had given such an order, and his man sounded eager to carry it out.

"If he's seen in this town again, remove his other hand, too."

"And his woman, Ser...?"

Flavion didn't shout, or plead, I don't think he had any voice for it... they led him away. Well, they more carried him, really, his legs didn't seem to want to work, and I'm sure he peed himself. To this day I don't know if he bled to death, died of exposure, or is still alive somewhere, maimed and probably blaming me for the whole thing.

"Get me a horsewhip, a heavy one", Lord Gillaird said. "I'm not going to maim her, but I'll give the whore something to remember us by - for the rest of her miserable life!"

I moaned in my sleep - I knew it was a dream, a true dream, but I couldn't wake up. Mistress Indigo's hands soothed me, I was clutching Memree's hand so hard it hurt, but the dream went on, and I cringed, I wept... Mistress Indigo was murmuring something to Memree, and her hand left mine, I tried to keep hold of it, my lifeline to wakefulness...

"Stop, you brute!" The words echoed in the basement dungeon, and Gillaird let the whipping cease, let the whip's bloody strands fall to the floor. I turned my head, and a glowing, armoured angelic figure, a warrior angel fierce and sure, was standing there. The two remaining servants - well, one fell to his knees, the other ran away. The blonde-haired angel looked furious; she had a sword on her hip, but she hadn't yet drawn it.

"What sorcery is this?" Gillaird was not easily cowed. "Guards!"

This had never happened. The whipping had continued until I fainted, and in the morning I'd been thrown out...luckily Flavion and I had paid for a few days more at our inn, and we had some belongings there, including rather more money than Flavion had said we'd got, so I'd staggered back there, and lived to fight another day...

The angel was Memree, I realised, bigger than life, in glowing armour. She picked up the cowering servant, threw it at the guards who came running, bowling them all over, and turned to Lord Gillaird, drawing her sword. "I think you've done enough, don't you?"

"Stop! I didn't mean... I didn't know..."

The angel unlocked my shackles. My back was on fire; I bent, picked up a short sword someone must have dropped, and turned to Lord Gillaird. "Your hospitality is... rather overwhelming, Lord..."

"Please... don't kill me." His voice wasn't so harsh now.

Memree turned to me with a smile. "This is your dream, Charol - you decide what we must do."

"I'd cheerfully slit the fool's throat", I told her, "But I don't think that would prove anything. We could just leave hanging around...?"

"Poetic, Sister", was the comment, but it was rather indistinct, as at last I was emerging from the dream. The angel Memree grasped my hand, just as the real Memree grasped my hand again as I opened my eyes and started to sit up. My back was raw and blee-- oh no it wasn't, Mistress Indigo held a mirror up to show me a pale, pure, unmarked back, her face alight with triumph.

"It was hard for you, I know, but there was no other way, Charolia", she said, putting the mirror back on the wall. "The scars were deep, but we dug them out. If you have any ointment left, use it tonight, and then, you two can get on with your lives, free of the past."

Look, I'm just reporting what happened today, I don't claim to understand it. I wonder if, somewhere, Lord Gillaird is having some strange dreams too, maybe of hanging in chains in that torture room? I'm still a bit fuzzy from it all, so I hope you'll excuse me if this makes no more sense to you than it does to me, but my back is healed, and that is certainly a dream come true!

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