I awake. I know nothing. Then hunger. Then I see her, and I know who the master is.
She smiles, and I feel good. She touches my face, and murmurs words I know, but I do not understand what they mean. "Welcome back." I have not been anywhere. I have not been at all.
She reaches down with her thin arms, pale pink and dusted with freckles. They look delicious, but I know I cannot have them, they are the master's. She lifts me with some difficulty, her flesh is warm against mine, and I find my feet.
She brushes me down with her long, delicate fingers, and tells me my name. I am Uric. Something about this feels wrong and I grow upset, I hear myself begin to moan in disturbed rhythm, but she calms me, touches my face again. I know her name now. Ylleck. I do not wonder how I know, it is simply true.
The master tells me to wait. I wait.
The light comes and goes two times. I am surrounded mostly by stone, but there is a way out, and trees. I see a rat, and I must catch it and eat it. I do, and feel better, the hunger goes away a little.
The master comes again, and she says some words over me that I do not understand. I feel strange, like she is in my head, but it is alright, she can be there.
She tells me to follow, and I follow her down a passage to a chamber. I cannot see the trees, but there is a fire burning. She tells me to stand facing it, and I do. I feel the warmth soaking into my flesh, it is good. She leaves again, but returns every so often to touch me.
Finally the master is happy, and she lays me down on the cold stone floor, and picks at the cloth around my body. I do not know what it is for. She pulls it away and runs her hand over my chest. "Ah, nice and warm," she says, and smiles. I feel good when she smiles. She says some more words I do not understand, but I understand they are words of power, and then she climbs onto me and sits down slowly.
She is doing something strange to me. She is warm, and I feel her skin touching mine, feel her fingers run up my side, looking for something.
When she finds it, I know what it is, a hole beneath my arm, small and clean, that goes all the way inside my body. I remember something making it, remember pain, but it does not hurt now. She puts her fingers in it and starts to move. Strange sounds come from her mouth, and I do not understand. Before long it is over. She stands up and fixes her cloth parts, tells me to stand up and fixes mine. As she does, she chuckles softly, and I hear her say, "If only you turned me on that much when you were alive." I do not understand, so I look around for rats.
The master is not patient. She yells at me, and I am afraid. I stand still, and she tells me of an object. It is long, straight, with yellow metal and red stones. She shows me yellow, and red, so that I understand. It is heavy like a stone, but this does not bother me, I am strong. It is as long as her arm. I look at her arm again and wish it were not the master's arm--the hunger is great.
I feel my tongue suddenly, and realize it has been growing, swelling and getting longer. I open my mouth and let it hang out, wish there were something fresh and dead to lick. The master sees me do this, but says nothing.
She tells me, then, how to get to the object. It is away down the tunnel, and deep underground. There is danger, and I must be careful. I struggle to understand careful, and danger.
Then she tells me to go, and I go. My steps are unsteady and irregular, but I do not grow tired and I wish to please the master, so I hurry.
Down. Into darkness, but I can still see. I go, following the way the master described to me. Some times there are rats, and the hunger overtakes me, but I find my path again when I have eaten. A few times I am attacked by things I do not know, but I turn on them and claw the face and bite the hands, and they stop moving as if frozen. The hunger takes over then and I eat all the most delicious parts, before moving on again. I am strong, I will serve the master well, and she will smile.
I do not know time, but after much walking, I find the master's object. I take it to a room of burning stone that I passed on my way, and in the light I see that it is yellow and red, like she said. It is a good thing, and I mutter to myself happily.
It is not easy to find my way back to the master, she did not tell me it would be so different. I get lost many times, but I find the tunnel eventually, and I follow it up to where the master is.
But when I reach the top, she is not there. I go and look outside, see the trees, but there is light and it hurts my eyes, so I do not go outside. I do not know where she went, and I grow upset, and begin to moan and howl. I go inside eventually, and sit near the remains of her fire, and wait.
The light comes and goes many times, maybe six, and the master finally comes. I am happy to see her, but she scowls and yells, "Useless! I ran out of food waiting for you! Did you at least get the rod?" I understand a little of what she says, and feel badly, but I step back and let her see what she wanted.
Her face goes blank and she groans a little. At first I feel something is wrong, but she rushes forward and grabs it, holding it up and gazing intently at it. I hear her breathing grow a little heavier, and a smile spreads across her face. Her hand slides down between her legs and she squirms oddly for a moment. Then she looks at me, and pushes me down, tugging at her cloth covers and cutting mine open with a small blade, cutting me a little in the process. It doesn't hurt, but I am no longer surprised.
She gives me the thing which I found for her, orders me to hold it up as if I am offering it to her. I do and she gasps quietly. She murmurs her words of power and slides her fingers into the hole under my arm again, and I see her sit down slowly.
It feels as if she has put a part of me into herself, but I do not understand how that could be possible, and I cannot see. She puts her other hand on herself, on the wrinkles between her legs, and plays with them, and begins to move.
She cries out loudly, saying things that make no sense, but I remember when she did this before, and I am not so worried. At length she grows bored and stands up, finally taking the object I have been holding out for her.
She moves over to lean against the wall of the chamber and presses the small end of the object against the flesh she was playing with moments before. Her eyes close and she begins to cry out again, growing louder until she finally seems to accomplish something I cannot understand. Breathing heavily, she opens her eyes and considers me, where I lay on the floor, waiting for her to give me another order.
Her voice trembles a little as she speaks, and I listen fruitlessly. "Nothing makes me horny like power does. I guess that's why I never thought much of you, Ulric, you tool. You thought this was a mere trinket to sell for gold."
She considers me for another few moments, then speaks again. "You may have been pathetic, but you were the fool I needed while you were alive, and the man I needed in death. Go now to your final rest, you've earned it."
She begins to speak her words of power, and somehow I see that the thing I have brought her is helping her. Suddenly, I know fear. I stare helplessly into her face, see it for the first time, all narrow, sharp angles, green eyes, pale freckled skin, hollow cheeks. I suddenly feel that she is beautiful, and that I know her from somewhere.
She finishes her spell, and I know nothing.