The Order Ch. 08bypurefire©
Pain. Weightlessness. More Pain. Screams, threats, questions... So many questions. They never stopped. She'd answered none; first from fear, then from the incredible soreness in her throat from the bloodcurdling screams he'd forced out of her. There was so much pain. Her shoulders had long ago slipped from their sockets. There was no ground, no support; only the dank humidity that enveloped her naked body. She knew she was naked because she felt the sharp edge of the knife as it tore off her clothes. She knew she was naked because she felt every shallow cut administered to the tender flesh of her skin. So many cuts. She'd tried to remain brave, to emulate the strength she'd seen in movies, but then he started using his hands. His first targets were her eyes. He'd battered her face relentlessly; she'd heard the sickening noises of her facial bones breaking. Still, she refused to speak.
He'd strangled her. Over and over again, he'd wrapped his large, cold and slimy hands around her neck and squeezed until she'd nearly fainted. When she began to go limp, he beat her awake. Still, he asked questions, countless questions about her knowledge on the demon realm. Had The Order sent him after her? Were they tying up loose ends?
He hadn't raped her; he told her humans were disgusting and that though she was pleasant to look at, she had the smell of a Belial all over her. What was a Belial?
Her eyes were swollen shut; she couldn't see anything. Not that she'd want to look at the man who'd hurt her. Too late, she'd realized that he wasn't Spencer and that she wasn't safe. She never even had a chance to run; he'd grabbed her and dared her to scream while he held a knife to her throat. There was no one on the trail, no opportunity for escape. He laughed when she struggled, encouraged her to continue. He got off on her effort.
So she stopped, determined to give him nothing. But he didn't like that. And he made it known. After the beatings came the real game. The rules were simple enough; answer his questions and he wouldn't hurt her. She didn't believe that for a second. She knew she was going to die; she'd do it with dignity.
She never knew how terrifying the sound of a blowtorch was until then. He started small, going after her fingers and toes. The more he asked, the more he burned. He became bored after he'd burned her side enough to expose the muscle; she knew because he told her what he saw. Her screams of pain did nothing to deter her. He kept on, switching his tactics. He held the knife to the fire so that it would cauterize all the cuts he made. However bad, the slow burn of the hot blade was nothing compared to the scalding water he drenched her with. How was it possible to be completely numb while at the same time, incredibly sensitive to pain?
How long had she been there? Days? How many? Torture this severe should have killed her by now; she had no sight, could not speak because he broke her jaw, and could hear nothing but her own tortured cries. How could she speak if he broke her jaw?
No food, no water. Just pain. Endless Pain.
She wasn't aware she'd passed out until she was awakened by the agonizing pain of the whipping. Dozens of lashes cutting hot lines into her. Her back, her legs... All of it on fire. He'd finally realized that she couldn't speak and had taken to toying with her, trying to find her breaking point. He wanted to see how far he could go before she abandoned all will to live. She must have been crazy to hold on, but she couldn't let go.
She didn't want to die.
"You're stronger than most," he said, "I've killed stronger demons in less time." Nyx was impressed; the lowly human was worth everything he'd put her through. It was becoming difficult to keep her alive though; her strangled sounds were boring him and even a demon as cruel as he had a sliver of mercy. The only reason he waited as because he knew the half breed would come after her. And once he did, he'd show him who the better assassin was - by murdering the human in front of him. Then he'd gain his seat at The Order. The half breed would live, if only to spend the rest of his days locked in a cage to think over his many mistakes. "But you... You've got grit. Grit... That is the term you humans like to use, am I correct?" He laughed as he looked about the makeshift torture chamber, amazed by the amount of blood he'd managed to splatter over the obscure, cave-like walls. More blood covered the dirt on the ground and had he more than candlelight to rely on, Nyx was sure that he would have seen the extent of the damage he caused. He leaned against the wooden table that held his instruments and gazed at the human. She hardly looked like anything with the severe swelling taking over her body. Her skin was blistered in dozens of areas; bruised and bloodied in others. But she'd kept on, enduring the fun he'd had with her. "I'm impressed."
Nadia groaned in response. She wanted to tell him to go to hell, but it seemed as if she was already there. She was so tired, so hungry. When would he end it?
"But let it be known, human. This is the price you pay for sticking your once pretty little nose where it doesn't belong."
"A price you'll be paying very soon."
Nyx grinned happily as he pushed himself away from the table. "Half breed. I was wondering when you would show up."
Andraemalek did not look at Nadia as he stepped into the room. He knew that the second he did, all bets were off. He had to keep a level head in the underworld; there were too many enemies to keep track of. Slowly, he took a step forward, a silent telling that Nyx would have no choice but to go through him to escape. Not that he would; Andraemalek had every intention of killing the bastard before he left the underworld.
Nyx stared at the half breed in its demonic form. Though impressed, he was not intimidated. "We've been waiting for you for a long time." He turned to look at Nadia and raised a brow as he said, "Might feel like a longer wait for her, though."
"You've got a lot of mouth for a demon that's about to die." Andraemalek noticed that Nyx chose to stay in human form, the same figure he'd taken the night of their fight. "I'll be more than happy to shut you up."
"I'm so scared." Nyx laughed at the larger demon as he prepared himself for the impending battle. He wasn't scared at all; in fact, he was rather excited to go another round. This time, he wouldn't let the half breed live. "How's your side?"
Andraemalek clenched his fists into a tight ball as he said, "It itches, but it's just a scratch now. A puny reminder of how inadequate you are. Can't even kill a demon when he's down."
Nyx fought hard to control his anger as he walked to Nadia. The pure rage on the half breed's face at his first look at her made him laugh again. "Take one step forward and I'll kill her before you two get the tearful farewell," he said as he pressed his finger against the open wound in her side. The pain woke her from her unconscious state and stole an anguished cry from her that he was familiar with. "Nadia, dear, someone's come to see you."
Nadia would have brought her head up had she the energy. But she was so tired; all she wanted to do was sleep. He was hurting her again. How she wished she could move away from him. When would it stop?
"Come on, demon. Don't be shy."
Andraemalek felt the ground beneath him shake from the force of his tremors. He'd never known rage until he looked at Nadia's battered body. She'd been stripped naked before Nyx tortured her. Dark, fresh bruises covered her and on top of them were blisters and cuts. Dry blood crusted over the wounds that hadn't closed properly. He didn't have to touch her to know that the majority of her bones had been broken. Her hair hung in damp tendrils around her face. Not that he needed to see it to know that it was in as bad of a shape as the rest of her body. "Nadia," he forced out, "Everything is going to be all right."
Was that Andrae? It sounded so much like him. She wanted to call out to him, to find comfort in his arms but that could have been anyone. How would he have known where she was?
"I'm sorry I left you this morning."
It was him! How did he find her? Had he come to save her? God, she hoped so. Nadia tried to scream, but the soreness and dryness of her throat only allowed guttural groans. She was barely able to feel anything but the pain, making it impossible to do anything else.
Andraemalek felt his heart break at her tortured sounds. He wanted to go to her and even took a step forward, but Nyx stopped his advance by placing the Blade of Abraxis at her neck. "If you kill her..."
"What are you going to do, half breed?" Nyx did not turn to Nadia as he said, "I swear, just because he's part demon and part High Council, he thinks he's the shit."
He was what? Nadia listened as Nyx spoke, unsure of what to believe. This was the man who'd tortured her non stop. There was no reason to heed his words. But at the same time, all he'd been concerned with was demons and her knowledge of them. No, Andrae couldn't be anything other than a human. She'd slept with him and everything was... Normal.
"Did you even tell her what you are?" Nyx tsked when he received no reply. "We can't let her die believing a lie, now can we, half breed?"
Andraemalek ignored the tick in his jaw as he stood wand watched. He knew Nyx's game and knew that if he didn't play, Nadia would die. "No, she doesn't know."
"So tell her." Nyx waited for the larger demon to speak. He grew bored after exactly ten seconds. "What is your real name?"
"From what clan do you hail?"
Nyx smiled cruelly as he asked, "And why is sweet Nadia here?"
Andraemalek stopped. He couldn't tell her, not like this. She'd already been through too much. He stared at her battered body for long moments, frozen by the prospect of her reaction to the truth.
"Speak, half breed." Nyx gave Nadia a shallow cut to emphasize the consequences of disobedience. This was fun; never before had he seen a hunter afraid of anything. This one was terrified. "Why is she here?"
"Because she knows too much about demons."
"And there is a bounty on her head."
Nyx smiled at the lopsided answers. "And who was sent to kill her? Before I was," he added before the blame was placed solely on him.
"I was," Andraemalek whispered.
"What was that? I couldn't hear you."
"I was." Andraemalek said again, "I was sent by The Order of Zebulon to kill her." The small sound in the back of her throat cut through him like a knife. The sharp scent of her devastation hung heavily in the air, tearing him apart inside.
"That's right, sweet Nadia," Nyx added, "The most feared half breed in the demon realm was paid to kill you... And you let him fuck you." As he turned to Andraemalek, he asked, "Tell me, was sleeping with her part of your master plan to gain information? No, don't answer that. Nadia knows way too much now."
Nadia felt sick. Andrae was a demon. And he'd been sent to kill her. Disgust washed over her. She'd cared for him, befriended him, fell in - no, she wouldn't think of that. Suddenly, realization dawned; Andrae was a half breed hunter... Whose last name was Royce... Which was short for Roycelyn, one of the members of the High Council. She'd read about him, his past. There was no mention of his name, but everything fit. Oh, God, he was sent to kill her. And she'd allowed herself to fall for him.
No matter what, she was going to die.
Nyx stepped away from Nadia as he tucked his blade within its hidden sheath in his pants. "Now that the truth's out, we can get to business."
"Finally, the part where I get to kill you."
"You dream big, half breed."
"Dreams are for the weak, precisely why you're continuously lost in yours." Andraemalek threw down his weapons as he said, "You're worse than a human child; you talk big, but when it comes time to prove yourself, you cower. No wonder you're always second best."
Anger rolled through Nyx as he attacked. He shoved the table out of his way a scant second before he delivered a punch that would have broken the necks of weaker demons. He did not stop there, throwing a sharp uppercut that had the half breed flying backward. "No weapons this time. I'm going to kill you with my bare hands." Nyx moved to administer a sharp kick to Andraemalek's side but ended up roaring in pain when the move was countered with a fierce blow that shattered his kneecap. He fell backward but quickly gained his feet when the larger demon did the same. He wasn't prepared for the series of blows that were centered on his midsection. He heard the crack of every rib with each punch. Nyx lashed out, determined to deliver another blow to Andraemalek's head but found his arm enclosed in a fierce hold that had him leaning backward to alleviate the pressure.
Andraemalek growled as he gave Nyx a hard head-butt that would have brought the smaller demon down had he not been held in place. Showing no mercy, he bent the arm back until he heard the familiar crunch associated with a break. Nyx's cry of pain only egged him on; Andraemalek raised his arm high and brought his fist down hard on Nyx's chest. As much as he wanted to prolong the beating, to do to him what was done to Nadia, there wasn't time to spare. She'd emitted not one sound, nor had she moved. Enraged by the prospect of her death, he punched hard into Nyx's chest, forcing his fist through one side and out the other. The smaller demon's strangled cry did nothing to sate him; he wanted the bastard to suffer for what he did. "Like I said; you'll always be second," he said as he pulled his blood soaked arm out of Nyx's chest. The thick, dark green liquid dripped onto the ground from his fingertips. Nyx wasn't quite dead and Andraemalek was more than happy to pull the Blade of Abraxis out of its hiding place and impale the smaller demon the way he'd been. Immediately, the skin covering Nyx's body began to bubble and erode, a sure sign that the death wouldn't be easy. Andraemalek let the body drop to the ground and watched as Nyx virtually melted before his eyes. He used a tattered rag that he realized was once Nadia's tank top to wipe his hand clean.
Nyx was dead. He'd done what he'd set out to do. As Andraemalek looked at Nadia's limp body, a tremor of fear rolled through him. She knew what he was and no doubt despised him. She'd want nothing to do with him anymore. Somehow, that thought terrified him more than the prospect of her death. No, she would not die, not as long as he drew breath. Andraemalek walked to her and used the blade he still held to cut her down. He was grateful that she was unconscious; she wouldn't feel anything as he moved her. But there was nothing he could do about her nudity; he only wore a fitted vest with his pants and her clothes had been shredded. He had to act quickly; he felt the life slowly draining out of her and knew it was a matter of time before he'd lost her forever.
Andraemalek quickly shimmered into her apartment and wrapped her in the blanket they'd covered with just hours before. So many hours. In human time, she'd been at Nyx's mercy for nearly twelve hours. The torture she must have endured...
There was only one place he could take her. Hospitals would take too long. She'd suffered enough. Yes, he'd go there, get her the help she needed, and formulate a plan that did not result in her death. She would not leave him.
He was too stubborn to let her die.