The dim orange light reflected off the crystalline body shapes which still highlighted the mounted shackles, some which seemed alive but had no physical form. Some of the crystalline bodies still displayed eyes and mouths, but there were mere holes in their would-be abdomens whereas the . . . how could she describe them? They moved around like steam from a kettle spout, yet they seemed like thick air. She got lost in thought, completely forgetting about her wounds as she was dragged to the middle of the room.
“Welcome to the torture chamber” Pralekai suddenly announced in a mischievous, loud voice which started Perry, making Pralekai grin like a smiling cat in the night.” Fascinated about these creatures?” he smiled as he jerked her head to forcibly make her look at what seemed like a fresh body. “That one is a Vorgoth.” He pointed to where he was making her gawk at, then turned her head to another pair of shackles. “Those are mists, soulless embodiments of Vorgoths who were cursed, exiled and killed. All these are the children of Vixoniac, the Damned. Except for those over there, those are the Sirathine. Water-like demons created by Sirakith the Drowned.“
Perry was consumed with fear but paralyzed by the unknown, making it nearly impossible to stop looking at their torture. “What are you doing to them” she finally managed to mumble “The same the devil is tasked with” he smirked as he sat down on the top of a stone altar stained in colours of blue, red, green and black, as some of those colours still seemed to flow down into the crevices of the stone floor, between the thousands upon thousands of crystalline shards still piercing her skin.
“Are you the Devil?”
Pralekai just sat there with a disturbing grin, his burning eyes filling her with terror.
“So, if you’re not the devil, what do you have in common with him then?”
“Everything I am about to tell you.” Pralekai giggled. “I have a sister and a brother, not that I would call them that by choice. My sister, Lillathriel, and my brother, Asatune, both live amongst the Vixoniac in the ethereal realm”
“Hopefully, they are not as horrible as you.”
“Oh, on the contrary.” Pralekai smirked. “Do you believe in good and evil?”
“Yeah” she said, wondering what the point of it all was and when she might find a way to escape from the stench.
“Well, Lillathriel is the good in the world and I, the bad.”
“If you are like the devil, you punish people for doing wrong things?” Perry feared that she might have gone too far and that Pralekai might be setting a bear trap.
“Not people per sé, but...”
“That’s enough Pralekai!” Lillathriel shouted from outside the room. “Ah, little sister, why don’t you come join us here by the fire.” He laughed.
Perry stared at Lillathriel, completely frozen with fear. Her long, elegantly curled white hair shimmered in the glowing aura that surrounded her. Her eyes glowed purple and her lips shimmered with a soft pink colour. She wore a sleek white gown with gold and blue detail which caressed her hourglass figure perfectly. Her skin strayed slightly to almost greyish.
“Can you not see the little one is paralyzed with fear?” When she spoke, her voice trilled like a violin concerto at the onset of spring. “Little sister, have you forgotten what my purpose is in this world?” Pralekai snarled
“Your purpose is to deliver punishment to those of our kind that deserve it - not to the mortals”
“And who said she is mortal?” Pralekai sneered and walked closer to Lillathriel “Have you not smelled it on her yet?”
Perry looked at the two ancients speaking in a language she could somewhat understand. Not completely, but she caught a few words. She thought of what Pralekai had told her of good and evil as she looked around, trying not to make eye contact with the prisoners . . . until she did.
It was a woman. She still looked relatively like a human but there was something off-key, something that made Perry wonder. Perry got up and tried to walk silently to the woman.
“Who are you,” she asked. The woman looked at her with broken green eyes. There was something familiar about the look she gave Perry, something almost motherly. The woman was slowly turning crystalline from her legs upwards. Some parts of her abdomen were ripped out to leave gaping holes with sharp edges. Her upper body was still human, but her eyes completely shuttered. Perry knew she could see because she was looking straight at her.
“Little one, no!” Lillathriel shouted and Perry spun around. Pralekai sped towards Perry and grabbed her by the hair, pulling her off her feet towards Lillathriel, his face engulfed in rage. “Next time she wanders off; you are getting her!” Pralekai barked. Perry whimpered with pain from Pralekai’s grip on her hair.
“Can you stand?” Lillathriel asked her as Pralekai let go of her hair. Perry was too scared to answer and just stood up. She looked at Perry’s bleeding legs “You will kill her before she realizes anything,” Lillathriel snapped at Pralekai. He laughed “That will be a good thing, right?”
“No, it is not!” Perry shouted at them “I am being held prisoner here and no one bothers to tell me why!”
Pralekai began to laugh “Well, well it seems you are who I thought you were.”
“Pralekai, let it be. I’m sorry dear, I cannot save half-born,” Lillathriel said and vanished in a flash of white light.
Lillathriel’s words echoed through Perry’s mind. ‘Half-born?’ She turned her eyes to Pralekai who was closely watching the woman who she had tried to speak to. Their eyes meshed. “Come little rat, enough of this!” He grabbed Perry by the arm and marched her out of what she now believed was hell.
“What am I a half-born of?” Perry demanded. Pralekai laughed a wicked laugh.
“If Lillathriel didn’t tell you, what makes you think that I will?” He grinned. “If you value this that you call a life, stop asking questions to the dead and decaying,” he snarled and stormed off into the darkness.
“Half-born!” Perry whispered in her room while she rummaged through the bookshelf trying to find something that would make sense.
Then she remembered those odd words he had said to her: “What I destroy, you create.”
“What the hell does that mean?” she screamed in her thoughts. This time she was determined to find out why she was being held prisoner here, and why that woman looked so familiar. Perry took a book off the shelf and tossed it across the room out of frustration. Shortly after the book landed with a thud on the floor, she collapsed crying. She wanted answers, but no one could answer her!
She barely understood anything that Pralekai had told her and now all the questions were buzzing in the beehive that seemed to be her mind. Somehow part of her was still holding on to the idea of it being a dream, and yet she knew that it was childish to do so. It wasn’t a dream; dreams don’t feel this real – the cuts and scratches on her legs would’ve woken her up. But it didn’t; she had to endure everything. Every single sharp edge she felt, every single drop of blood leaking out of her body she felt, every time Pralekai’s claws dug into her flesh she felt it!
Something inside her overwhelmingly felt like snapping; exactly like Pralekai wanted her to snap. But she wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of doing so; she wanted to lash out at him, she wanted to claw him like he clawed her, she wanted to see him bleed like she did!
The fear, the rage, the hate; all of this drove Perry to stand up and continue searching through the titles of the books on the bookshelf.
She pulled out book after book, opening them and tossing them aside in frustration. There were no words, just markings and letters of an alphabet she had never seen before. The last book she opened contained a photo of a human body with crystals piercing its skin on the shoulders, elbows and knees. The agony on the face of the man in the picture was so haunting that she could almost feel it herself. As she paged through the book, the faces of the men and women were contorted in complete torment as the different coloured crystals pierced and sliced through their skin. She shut the book twice as fast as she had opened it and tossed it aside.
She wondered what the next book would hold as she warily slid it out of the bookshelf. The book had a burnt texture to it and was filled with red stains and dust.
“Do not open that book!” Pralekai suddenly shouted from behind her in a fit of rage. He stormed towards her and grabbed the book from her hands, his eyes burning with the fury of a blazing inferno.
“I have had enough with your inquisitive behaviour!” he hissed at her as he conjured a ball of fire and shot it at the pile of books on the ground.
“Now you’ll never find it!” She heard laughter exploding from the shadows. “You haven’t changed brother; you still think you can burn everything away with those hands of yours.”
Pralekai sneered at Asatune as he stood casually at the door when Perry turned around. He was dressed in a grey pinstripe suit with the same silver hair as Lillathriel & Pralekai and with the same glowing purple eyes.
Entranced by the presence of the two deities, she stood motionless in the room as its atmosphere flooded with a hateful silence. Perry took in Asatune’s facial features, pleasantly frightened at a face she thought could ensure her safety but there was an underlying tone in the glare of his eyes that frightened her.
“Get out of my realm, Asatune. NOW!” Pralekai yelled.
“Now, now brother. I am here to do my duty.”
“What duty? You have no duty here!”
“With the little half-born.” He pointed to Perry
“No, no, you will not have the privilege to do that. Not while she is damned to my realm.”
“Excuse me. Remember I am also right here!” Perry shouted in disgust.
“Indeed, you are. Do you wish to still have the use of your tongue?” Pralekai sneered.
“... I suppose” she muttered.
“Then shut up!”
“Pralekai, the clock is ticking, you need to tell her why she is forever ensnared by your filth,” Asatune demanded.
“For the love of ... Very well.”
Pralekai looked straight into Perry’s eyes, their purple flames burning endlessly. His gaze was uninterrupted as he spoke. “Period”
“What?” Perry muttered.
“That is your name, half-born – Period.”
“That’s not true, my name is just Perry. Nothing else”
Pralekai flipped open the book he had grabbed from her hand’s moments earlier. “Who is that?” he asked pointing to a woman with black hair and a pale complexion holding her as a baby. “That is my mother... Where did you get that photo,” Perry asked, completely confused by what she just saw.
“That is indeed your mother. And you also saw your mother today, she was the one you tried to communicate with.” Asatune said
“That cannot be true” Perry muttered, drying a single tear from her eye.
“You were born onto the secondary leader of the Shadow Council, Roxanne. Your mother died as a traitor to her kind by the hands of the leader and is now rotting away in my little playground. You are one of the first half borns in a very... very long time” Pralekai laughed and shut the book with a loud thud.
“So, I am a half-born of what?” Perry asked
“That is something you are not destined to know,” Asatune said and followed Pralekai out of the room.
“Hold on tight” he laughed and suddenly the room started shifting and contorting as the Kaleidoscope changed again.
Perry tried to grab hold of something to steady her but simply couldn’t and found herself with a head wound, bleeding onto a pink carpet.
She got up and tried to focus on walking to the door. Her left leg had a large laceration on her upper thigh which, together with the internal pain in her ribs and the pounding head wound were tell-tale signs that she wouldn’t be able to handle another shift. She limped out of the room towards Pralekai’s throne room, determined to escape, but she needed to know what was true.
She pressed the stone wall, trying to figure out which one opened the door.
Finally, with a loud crack the wall opened and Perry slipped in, too eager to wait for the door to open fully.
Limping and bleeding she made her way to Roxanne when a glittering set of keys caught her eye.
She made the decision and as quickly as her injured body could carry her, she ran to carry out her quickly devised plan.