Book 3 - All Darkness Met

Book 3 - All Darkness Met by Glen Cook

Book: Book 3 - All Darkness Met by Glen Cook Read Free Book Online
Authors: Glen Cook
Tags: Fiction, Science-Fiction, Fantasy
onto his belly and bound his wrists behind him. Then they pulled his elbows together. He groaned, writhed, sank his teeth into a bare ankle.
    The blood taste was pure pleasure.
    He tasted his own when a boot smashed into his mouth. He wouldn't learn. Resistance just meant more pain.
    They attached a rope at his elbows and hoisted him.
    It was an old torture, primitive and passive. When first Mocker had arrived he had been fifty pounds overweight. His weight had yanked his shoulder bones from their sockets.
    After he had screamed awhile, and had lost consciousness, someone would doctor him so they could hoist him up again.
    Back then there had been no night whispers, just the pain, and the unending effort to break him.
    Why?
    For whose benefit?
    What would the program be this time? Five or ten days on the hook? Or straight to the point for once?
    One thing was certain. There would be nothing to eat for a while. Food was strictly for convalescents.
    When he was fed at all he got pumpkin soup. Two bowls a day.
    One week they had given him cabbage soup. But that petty change had been enough to revive his morale. So it was pumpkin soup or nothing.
    The remnants of his most recent meal splashed the floor. Bile befilthed his mouth. He spat.
    "Day will come," he promised in a whisper. "Is in balance of eternity, on great mandala. Reverse of fortunes will come."
    His torturers spun him. Around and around and around, till he was drunk with dizziness and pain. Then they hoisted him to the ceiling, brought him down in a series of jerks. He heaved again, but there was nothing left in his stomach.
    One of them washed his mouth.
    This time was different, he realized. Radically different. This was new.
    He paid attention.
    The Man in the Mask moved.
    He peered into Mocker's eyes, pulling each lid back as would a physician. Mocker saw eyes as dark as his own behind slits from which the jewels had been removed. No. Wait. This mask wasn't the one he usually saw. Instead of traceries of black on gold, this bore traceries of gold on black. A different man? He didn't think so. The feeling was the same.
    There was no emotion, no mercy in those eyes. They were the eyes of a technician, the bored eyes of a peasant halfway through a day's hoeing midway through planting season.
    That mask, though.... The changes were slight, yet, somehow, the alienness was gone. He began searching the burning attic of his mind.
    The mask, the black robes, and the hands forever encased in the most finely wrought gauntlets he had ever seen, those were things he knew....
    Tervola. Shinsan. He remembered them so well he was sure this wasn't a genuine Tervola.
    Trickery was the way he would have programmed this had their roles been reversed.
    That mask.... He remembered it now. He had seen it at Baxendala. It had lain abandoned on the battlefield after O Shing had begun his retreat. Gold lines on black, ruby fangs, thecat-gargoyle. That one, Mist had said, belonged to a man called Chin, one of the chieftains of the Tervola.
    They had assumed, then, that Chin had perished.
    Maybe he hadn't, though the eye-crystals had been removed from the mask....
    "Chin. Old friend to rescue," Mocker gasped, straining for a sarcastic smile.
    The man's only response was a slight hesitation before he said, "There will be more pain, fat one. Forever, if need be. I can wait. Or you can listen. And learn."
    "Self, am all ears. Head to toe, two big ears."
    "Yes. You will be. The time of crudeness has ended. Now you begin listening and answering." He straightened, faced the door.
    Two men pushed a wheeled cart through. Mocker ground his teeth though he didn't understand what he saw on the cart.
    The Man in the Mask made him understand those sorcerer's tools.
    The pain was worse than any he had known before. This agony was scientifically applied, to one purpose. To drive him mad.
    Mocker never had been very stable. It took just two days to crack him completely.
    They let him rave in darkness for a

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