As my time is taken up by school, marketing of Fall of Zona Nox and the distractions of the internet, I have found that Warpmancer is dredging along way slower than ideal. I tend to write myself into corners sometimes and refuse to back track. I find that allowing people to read my work and receiving a little feedback gets my mind back on track. So here it is, a preview of the first chapter of Warpmancer.
Stones hurt, they always did. Again and again the assorted smooth and jagged pebbles pelted the girl as she gritted her teeth and tried in vain to ignore the searing gashes opening on her exposed flesh. They had strapped her down, as usual. Maybe it was more entertaining to harm one who could not do anything to defend herself? Perhaps it gave them a sense of dominance, a belief that they were not the lowliest beings in their existence, that there were a few that even they could tread on.
Regardless, the torment continued. All she could be thankful for was that they had at least used rope this time. She could tolerate the hot fibres tearing her flesh much more than the alternate metal clamps which, on a good day, would only flay her knuckles, leaving hot searing wounds which even the Preacher’s herbs could not help to dull the pain.
Another rock was hurled and she could barely contain herself from crying out in pain. Luckily, she managed to restrain any indication of weakness – showing pain would only invite more. Any suggestion of fear would only reward her attackers and give them even more incentive. She didn’t want to give them any more pleasure than they already had.
Sometimes she pondered the justification for the pain she experienced every day. Sometimes she could even come to agree with those that tortured her. She had done much to harm them, even if she may not even have been the one doing the harming. Accused of blasphemy and demon-harbouring was a serious offence on Xerl after all. It could be ignored in polite company if one had the right ancestry, but no one could leave her be outside the safety of her house. That was the very reason her parents, if they could still be called that, forced her out at least once a day – to receive punishment for her supposed thoughts.
She remembered happier times; days when she had friends and was more likely to be greeted with a congenial smile than a beating. Those days ended as seemingly as quickly as they had started. From warm camaraderie, her peer’s attitudes turned to cold hatred. She was hated.
Was there any real justification for her pain? Often, she would say not, but could thousands of Imperial preachers really be all wrong? Maybe what they said was true – maybe she deserved the pain?
It had been eight years since her sister disappeared – eight long years of pain as she was punished for the famine that her sister had wrought. The Martyr himself had declared her a manifestation of heresy. All the off-spring of House Lien were declared demons. Her parents begged for permission to redeem themselves – to be allowed to kill her. The Martyr forbade them. Their punishment was to allow her to live. Their only daughter allowed to live as a testament to the sins of their other offspring.
The famines had ended, but old habits die hard. She was punished every day. Old friends whipped her, relatives stoned her. No one spared her a glance of sympathy. All she could do was keep on living, hoping for an end that would never come, as they would never let that day come. Her people lived a long time, and with medicine, her lacerations and illnesses were healed. Any person would have dreamed for the care she was given, but she only wished it would stop. A small part of her longed to succumb to infection. It would mean death – yes, but it would also mean an end to the pain, the misery. She wanted an end.