Krest dripped a bit of blood onto the petri dish and watched it roll for the edges. He was not used to working with flesh imbued with the Light; no matter how many paladins the dreadguards managed to slay on the front, their bodies were as dull of magic as a years-old corpse by the time they reached him, useless. So he wasn’t entirely sure what he expected to see in this, the few drops of blood he had managed to save from his slave’s accident. The blood acting more like liquid magnets than blood certainly didn’t seem normal to him, though.
“Dance a jig for me,” he murmured, and watched as the blood began to curl and twist into the air. That was definitely not normal.
He mused on this as he walked down to the slaves’ quarters. For his mental disability and for the fact he was still living, Evelos had been housed in his own room at the very end. Krest knocked out of habit — he insisted on treating his servants with courtesy, willing or not they were– and then entered when Evelos gave him the agreed-upon password: “Come in, Magister Fallen.”
“Heal yourself if you haven’t already, yes,” said Krest as a precaution as he crossed the room and took the elf’s arm in his claw-like fingertips. The skin was whole and seemed healthy — when Krest pinched it, it laid flat again almost immediately, and when he poked it with his thumb, the color rushed back into the space as soon as his finger left the skin.
He looked up into the elf’s eyes then. They shone now with a dim golden light, but he had sworn he had seem them turn black in the lab, just for an instant, when the voidbeast had been mauling him.
Krest winced. Lecturing the elf to be more careful would do no good, for invariably his accidents were caused when Krest was too specific, not letting the elf’s natural instincts keep him out of trouble. It was a kind of guilt he normally didn’t harbor for the other slaves, who, if they had any mind left, usually fought him with the viciousness of a pinned harpy. He couldn’t feel very sorry for them, no.
But this slave…
“How did you come to me?” Krest suddenly asked, curious if the mind-addled elf could follow through on the command.
“You are my Master. I come to you when you command,” said Evelos.
“How long have I been your Master?”
That got a rare look of hesitance out of the elf. Curious, Krest thought. Did he truly not know, or was it a crack in the enchantment’s compulsion?
“For as long as I can remember,” said Evelos after a moment had passed.
“You do not remember anything? Anything before?”
“No, Master. Nothing before. Only what you tell me to remember after that.”
That gave Krest an idea. “What if I ordered you to remember what had happened before?”
More hesitance. “I do not think I can.”
“But I am ordering you to do it, yes.”
“I do not think–” Evelos stopped.
His eyes widened, and Krest bit down on his loose tooth in excitement.
The elf’s eyes flickered out, and he let out a thin, piercing shriek. “Kill you!” he chanted, only it wasn’t the soft melodic hum that Krest associated with the elf’s Light spells, instead a harsh, discordant tone that made his tooth rattle and sting in its socket. “Death, death,” said the elf. “Betray me. You have betrayed me. You have all betrayed me!”
Krest was fascinated. “I order you to remember,” he reminded the elf.
Evelos’ dark eyes snapped onto his. “Go die,” he snarled.
“I am already dead,” said Krest calmly.
Evelos grabbed his shoulders, and Krest decided this had gone much too far. “I order you to feel pain!” he shouted over the elf’s eerie music. “You will feel this pain until you remove your hands from my person! Yes!”
Evelos’ fingers tightened, but his eyes went wild with the promised hurt. After a long, trying, prying moment, the fingers loosened, and the elf relaxed and put his head in his hands.
So the spell had held, Krest noted, but it seemed severely weakened by whatever crack he had found in it.
“I do not want you trying to remember anymore,” he told the elf.
Evelos sat for a moment, and when he looked up again, his eyes glowed gold, but it was tireder than before. Krest felt a swift pang of conscience.
“We don’t have to do that again if you don’t like it, no,” he told the elf awkwardly.
“I like what you like,” said Evelos numbly.
“I doubt that,” said Krest, and he chewed on his tooth. “Rest now,” he told the elf, and Evelos obediently settled back onto his cot. “Come see me when your head stops hurting,” he added, as he turned for the door.
“Yes, Master,” Evelos mumbled as Krest left the room, and he closed his eyes again to the insistent pinging and clattering, the sounds of the Light bouncing back and forth against the metal walls of his mind. It did not feel so soothing or natural anymore, but he could do nothing about it.