Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories
Rana in Hell(Notes: this was written as background material for the Whitewall wiki. It is set during the Lunar siege of Whitewall. See The Lovers, Old Age - a Story and The Tactical Importance of Soup for more on Rana and her great love Roganvarth).
The prison was nearly bare. Other than a small table covered with a cloth the only thing that adorned its bare stones walls was an unconscious woman. She hung from chains set in the ceiling and the slackness of her body and the bruises that covered her from head to toe clearly marked what she had gone through. Only someone who had known her before would know of the true loss she had suffered. For the long, uncut hair that had once been her crowning glory was gone. And with it had gone much of her magical power. She had been deep within the Tor at Whitewall with the noncombatants when the Shargashi had attacked.
Somehow they had entered through a magical tunnel and began slaying all they found. The women, the elderly and children of all ages. The massive warriors in their red and black body paint had wielded their heavy maces to deadly effect. Many had fallen at their feet before a band of Humakti had arrived and attacked them. Rana had been there using her water magics to distract or attack the warriors when she sensed something odd happening. She looked around for the source of the oddness and noticed that all the blood spilled on the floor of the tunnel seemed to be turning into water. She paused in her efforts to reach down and touch it. Salt water? She looked around and saw that the walls of the cavern were now running with water also. Or was it blood? The water was quickly getting deeper and everyone was now forced to wade. The water was rising faster still and Rana shouted for the surviving non-combatants to retreat back up into the Tor. The noncombatants were too scared to respond but the disciplined Humakti heard her and started herding people out. The Shargashi were trying to ignore the water in their efforts to reach the Humakti but they were having some trouble moving since it was already waist deep. The Humakti were suffering heavy casualties from the crazed Shargashi. Rana held back rather than retreat to help delay the Shargashi using undines plucked from her hair. When the undines touched the salt water they were transformed somehow and became stronger and more deadly. The Shargashi seemed to be having problems dealing with them in the now chest-deep water. Rana looked around her and saw that the non-combatants had all fled back up the tunnel. The Shargashi were attemtping to follow them but the Humakti were trying to hold them back. The Humakti were not having any more success in the deep water than the Shargashi. It was looking grim for the defenders. One of the Humakti waved his iron sword around his head before pointing it down the tunnel. He shouted something and there was a cracking sound at the far end of the tunnel. Suddenly all the water began rapidly running back that way and despite her best efforts Rana was swept off her feet and dragged alone with the rest. Along the way she struck her head and knew no more.
When she awoke she found herself shackled to a wall and all her hair shorn. The Shargashi told her that she was in Alkoth. The nameless Humakti had opened some sort of tunnel into Hell and the salt water pourly from the tunnel into Hell had washed the surviving Humakti and Shargashi down with it into Hell. There they had fought again but after a brief bloody fight the few remaining Humakti had retreated off into the darkness. Rana had been found by the Shargashi and taken to their city of Alkoth. There they had shorn her hair and ritually burnt it to deprive her of her magic and daimones. They questioned and beat her dispassionately taking great care to deny her all water. They wished to learn the secrets of Whitewall but those were not hers to share. The questioning went on for what seemed like days but she would and could tell them nothing. So now she hung from her chains dozing waiting for the next session of torture. She had searched deep within her for any trace of magic but could find nothing, not a trace. She tried calling on Tarena but she could not reach her. None of her common or special magic was left to her. She bowed her head and would have wept but she had no tears to shed.
Suddenly she heard the door open and in came the head torturer. His body was painted in red, black and green to show where his loyalties lay and he strode briskly over to Rana. "Today we start removing pieces of you if you do not tell us what we want to know." Rana lifted her head weakly and tried to spit at him. She was so dehydrated though that she couldn't create any spit. The torturer casually backhanded her in the face and turned to go to the table to prepare his tools. Rana vision was bleary at first but then she saw that a drop of blood was trickling from her nose. She smiled remembering the water in the tunnels under the Tor and hummed a little song to the drop. The drop stopped and quivered in response. She smiled. The drop slid down her nose, across her lips and into her mouth. The torturer turned from his preparations and advanced. When he was close enough she spat in his eye. He started as the drop of blood struck him and then stopped and laughed at her feeble assault. He stopped laughing when the drop tore his first eye out. He started screaming when it tore his second eye out and didn't stop until he was a quivering pile of remains on the floor. Rana smiled. She sang again to the blood and it rose up before her. It was much bigger now. "Now free me."
If there was anything the guards in the hallway were expecting it wasn't a naked, gore splattered woman riding a wave of blood. Their confusion rendered them easy prey.
Last updated April 03, 2017
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