The Torture Chamber at the Castello
di Amorosa by David Ball
She was frightened, more frightened than she ever remembered being. Learning to fight in the provincial feuds in her youth, gliding through the gorge for the first time, seeing the Kevutians arrive on her planet: these were all terrible events in her life but none were like this moment because she knew she was about to be subjected to pain beyond anything she had ever known, pain so intense so would beg to be killed or, worse, she would reveal all she knew to the curious Kevutian now before her.
What was even worse than pain, of course, was the anticipation of receiving it. Up until this moment she had been handled roughly and was the subject of ridicule from arrogant Kevutian guards like the rest of the Myshkan prisoners, but nothing more. But now she was in the bowels of the detention center itself, in an interrogation room, and placed in the care of their lead questioner–the one in charge of the facility. It was no wonder her imagination ran rampant with fear.
What seemed like cycles of time had passed while she sat there strapped to a chair in the middle of the room. The room was all stone with a single window slit up above. Chains and restraints were set about the room in various places. She could have been strapped and stretched into uncomfortable standing
positions but, instead, she had been forced into a cold hard chair and restrained. The man in front of her had been doing nothing but pacing: no words, no questions, just pacing. In one hand he carried a single shock wand and tapped its end into the ground with a rhythmic click that echoed throughout the room like the ticking of a timepiece counting away the final moments of life.
“What will happen during the Days of Darkness?” the man muttered between floor crossings.
“Come now. Let’s not pretend like all the others that nothing is in preparation,”
Riahn said without stopping to look at her.
A tinge of something strange broke through the sea of fear roiling inside her. The man’s persistent strides allowed her to calm down. She worked to slow her breath and let go of her
fear but it was not so easy. The dread within her was like the honey of the kova vine: so thick, so sticky that, once it covered you, it was difficult be free of it. Fear is not a solid substance like a stone or a wall, it is viscous like wax and has to be patiently and conscientiously melted away. Ony’a was working to ignite a psychic crucible and something had come through. This man before her was known for his cruelty, his ability to break the will of his victims without remorse or regret and, yet, he appeared to be acting with… what? Caution?
“Look!” The man before her broke her concentration and stood directly before her. “This is all pointless, really. You will tell me what I want to know or I will be forced to hurt you to the point where you will eventually want to tell me every detail about your life from your earliest recollection. Why not just tell me before we have to go through all that ridiculous torment and agony?”
Still, Ony’a said nothing. She felt small tendrils of fear crawling into her consciousness.