Dark things go bump in the dark night

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It was a dark place in a dark land. But then what wasn't dark?

I tell you, Chasa, I was a man grown, tortured, and milked for blood before I knew sunlight. But even at first glance I knew one didn't hide in sunlight. And I had to hide.

Creatures whose race I did not know and who wore no house colors used me in dark ways. In rituals under turning skies I was probed and prodded and left as food for demons. No offense meant.

I was given food. Not regularly enough to know that some people have it every day. Nor was I told what it was. At the time it wouldn't have mattered. I was grown to be slaughtered. It never occurred to me to hope for more.

I was taught. If for no reason other then to be a more useful tool. I was taught proper speech to be able to tell them how much I hurt.

Yet I was left alone most of the time. Often I hid. They might grab one of the others like me if I hid better then them. I took to stealing books. And taking them to my hiding place. I found books they certainly did not want me to read.

At some point I passed some barrier. I do not know when but I began to change. I took on shapes I was not born with. They pushed and prodded and tormented me to take these forms but for some reason I could not achieve what they wanted. I could take the form but not the colors, not the hair, not the finger nails. They said the smallest flaw would be detected and I must try harder. I did. But there was pain and failure. They called me flawed. Broken. Limited.

After that I was left alone for so long that i thought i might have been forgotten. Then they came for me again. I was allowed to help in their tasks, though I did not enjoy that. But if I was on their side of the knife, I was not hurt. I could only witness. I was told I had value to them in many small ways and that as long as I remained valuable and did not cause them trouble I would be given permission to move around the dark land. But I would return or they would hunt me and hurt me.

When one is beaten often enough, one knows no difference.

In time I was given a fair amount of latitude. I wandered the dark land and found dark creatures and dark cities. I found many books and scrolls there and a read till they yanked my leash.

In time the leash became longer, and in time no hand held it for long. My time was my own till they needed my blood or my flesh.

They yanked my leash. I came to a dark hall and a rite of blood was in progress. I knew fear beyond what I had lived with my whole life. The hall was filled with black and silver robed creatures. The music and incense burnt spoke of high magic. The alter was coated in ocher and crimson juice and blood had flown freely over it.

My body was stretched over the stone and I knew my death had come. I had known so little of life, only enough to hate losing it. A white hot blade was brought and quickly shoved into my stomach to quench it. I knew all my pain grown long was just preparing my pain for this. till Something in me rebelled and I cursed. I know not what I said. But it was enough to keep the blade from me a second time. I lay upon the alter as the crowd gathered around the creature with the blade, now glowing a wicked icy blue. They cawed and clicked and laughed and drank. I fell to the ground and crawled to a corner and curled. I and my pain.

I and my pain. I could think of nothing else. And time passed.

I awoke in the place I had been told I would sleep. I was clean. Warm. Beside my bed was meat and cold beer. I ate till I could hold no more and drank till my head swam. I knew it was a trap. But I no longer cared...