E'lan's Jem Experience
The gemstone is oddly faceted... irregular in shape. You do not recognize the type, which is odd, as you thought you knew the forms of most every natural gemstone that could be found locally, and quite a few that cannot. As your hand brushes the gemstone, it feels cold and angula--
Pain again racks your body. You are confused momentarily -- again? You feel the burning sensation in your back, and you know that the wound is fatal. The have tormented you in so many ways, but this, what they are forcing from you know, as you desperately struggle against the magics which hold you in this existence, this is the greatest violation of all.
The young one, Tzila, steps before you, following carefully the steps of this ritual... one you know they must have prepared for more than a year ago. It is a clumsy working of magic, unworthy of affecting so great a one as yourself. If only their were not so many of them. What they lack in finesse, they more than make up for in raw power. How many of their followers have they sacrificed already? Do they even realize how many of those would not be needed were but a single one of their leaders to make a sacrifice of their own? But that was never likely, not with these. Oh, for just a single misstep...
She lifts her head imperiously, emboldened by the magic. But then, confidence is necessary. Hers will not be the one to waver.
"You play well, the part of the diplomat. You know the power of a soft-spoken word, well chosen. What you know, you remember. What you know, I shall know. What you know, surrender. What you know, _forget_."
You know better than to fight... you subvert. You try to steer their magic. But still, as teh magic begins shuffling around teh pieces of your mind like so many coins, seeking for what it wants, your mind does what it natural, it tenses, resists. And with tension, pain. Pain, and violation. And _pain_.
Images. Flashes. A banquet.
A smile of victory that soured the deal.
Liquors, their flavors cascading, one past the other. Shrinking back, becoming meek.
Gripping an opponents' throat in your teeth. The Rite of Forbearance. The Rite of Challenge.
Titles, long and longer still. Posture, at its most revealing. Crisp lines, fabric such an important second skin. Bending, at the waist. Bending, just the head and neck. A blade raised in salute.
Tightenings of facial muscles. The taste of amberjack. The taste of nightshade. The taste of elven flesh. "Xere domin." Smiling around one's teeth. Laughter. A shy glance. Gemstones. Precious gold wire bowed around fine mahagony. A firm handshake, or a clammy one. A lisp. A glare. A whispered word. Drawing out. Probing, testing. A cant. Step, step, turn. A promise, eternal and binding. A vow.
You are holding an unfolded scrap of empty oilcloth.
You remember it. All of it. Things that you identified as they streamed past, and many more that you did not. More than you could have learned in a lifetime. You tried to sort it as it passed, but much of it is still but a jumble. You can feel it all, more than a mind can hold. You can feel parts of it, parts of the jumble, spilling away, like an overfilled cup. But even now, there is more there. You remember it. If you could but sort one from the other... you will, you think. Eventually. If you live so long.
In the back of your mind, you see the woman, Tzila, stumbling away, but still within the steps of the ritual. She wears a ring on this hand, too. You remember thinking that curious.