I was dragged in a large cavern filled with people. It was lit by a large iron cauldron in the center, bubbling with a dark pitch or tar. It was burning with a purple flame and from it billowed the smoke with filled my lungs with the painful odor. I coughed through my gag uncontrollably. I was dragged close to it and held upright by my captors. I could finally see who was in the room, illuminated by the flickering purple flame.
I was surrounded by a swarm of people, dressed in rough cloth garb. The men that held me wore armour made from bone and metal. They were decorative and creepy, their faces covered with masks made of animal skulls. I looked down. This has to be a dream.
Two old women approached me with sticks and straps of leather and began measuring me, muttering to themselves. They pinched and prodded my skin, then shuffled off into the crowd. The man with the gruff voice approached me again and with a flick of his wrist ordered my captors. They stripped me of my clothes, which they tossed into the crowd. There was a commotion as the crowd fought over them, and they took little interest in the rest of the proceedings. They either went back to chanting around the cauldron or wandered off to some other work. Some children flocked around and watched me silently, I felt grossly exposed, but my arms were held stiff with strong grasps.
Then a creature of some type danced it way around me. I realized it was not a creature but rather an old man, dressed in a ceremonious garb, something you might have seen in a history textbook for a pagan ritual. In his hand, he had a crystal about the size of a chalk, sharp on one edge. Then he stepped close to me, his pale eyes darting madly and examining me. He took the crystal and drove it into my skin.
I screeched into my gag as he dragged it through my tissues. He cut lines into my body with a strong grip, blood that looked black under the purple flame oozed out of the wounds. I could not stop screaming even if I tried, fear and pain hit me harder than it had been before. The terrible stench of the fire and the burning of my vomit in my mouth and nose could have been completely forgotten. He carved very specific and symmetrical patterns into my body, finally cutting a line around my neck. Only now did I notice that there was something there, attached to the back of neck. There was a strange warmth, perhaps it was the blood running from the cut skin, but it seemed uncomfortably localized on my neck. The shaman was done, handing the crystal to the man with the gruff voice. The man added the crystal to a necklace he wore around his neck. I noticed it had 3 other crystals on it already.
The shaman returned with a bowl of the dark pitch which smelled exactly like the one from the cauldron. He spread it into the wounds, following his cut lines. It stung like mad, yet it seemed to exude some kind of uneasy safety. As if it had stopped the bleeding. After he had finished this, he walked over to the cauldron and stuck a stick into the burning pitch. It was lit with a purple flame and he walked over to me. I struggled against my captors.
"Nooo! FUCK!" I screamed into my gag. He touched the stick to fluid he applied to my wounds. Suddenly my captors let go of me and I was alight with purple flame, burning wildly. I dropped to the ground, rolled and screeched miserably. The flame did not burn long but I could feel the acute ache all over my body from the burns. I was lifted to my feet again by captors.
The old women returned with armour similar to what was worn by those soldiers holding me. He quickly tied it on and secured it. I noticed deep scratches, bite marks and dried blood on the armour, but at least it made me feel safer if anything. Lastly they secured a short sword to my hip and a dagger to my leg.
These people trusted me? My mind was full of vengeful thoughts. I hatched plans and escapes, trying to hide my emotion of hope. That hope quickly faded after my captors dropped me. I was weak, the armour was heavy and my muscles were stiff and fatigued from the pain.
The man with the gruff voice approached me again and signaled me to stand, "Surge!"
I lay on the ground, fuck this guy.
He let out a deep scoff and grabbed one of the crystals on his necklace. My crystal, still dripping with blood. Then he squeezed it and suddenly pain shot throughout my body. Where the crystal had cut lines into my body the skin and muscles began to tighten. My hands clenched and my limbs moved in reflex, curling me into a fetal position. The skin around my neck tightened and I couldn't breathe, I started to black out. He let go of the crystal and the tightness subsisted. I gasped for air.
"Surge!" He commanded again. I used all the power left in my body to get back on my feet, and stood alongside the men that had held me before. The same three that had found me, now I wore the same armor. I looked out of the corner of my eyes at some of the exposed skin on their bodies. I dare not turn my head or stand any different than these other men. Thick black and knobbed scars circled their skin.
The three other crystals on the commander's necklace.
My eyes shot up to look at their masks and they were met with bloodshot eyes examining me in the same way.