Edheldur had felt Parm's mind slip beyond reality into nightmares of despair and self-pity. <BR><BR>This was now his second dreadful mistake.<BR><BR>For now, as his mind wandered in the shadows, Edheldur was able to capture him in ways that were even more horrendous and torturous than her physical assault upon him had been. <BR><BR>In the shadows of his dreams she came to him, out of the mocking voices she called to him, in the faces of his friends she appeared to him until her icy grip held him. He called for his beloved but she did not come. He cried out for help but none could reach him. All the familiar people of his dreams slowly faded, slowly twisted, replaced by the creature of shadow that he so feared. And there, in the depths of his mind, he was held in her dungeon. <BR><BR>Parm found himself standing in the midst of a stone room. He looked down and saw he was arrayed in all manner of royal robes, silks and brocades and fine linens all in blues and purples and reds. Regal robes with woven chords and embroidered collars. He ran his fingers over the expensive fabrics, wondering at how he came to be dressed in them, but even as he watched, they started to fade and tear and wear away. In the space of mere moments he was clothed in rags, hanging from his body, full of dirt and stains. And suddenly, laughter. Malicious, evil, hateful laughter filled his ears. <i>She</i> came walking up to him, her eyes burning red as fire, her lips spread into a sickening grin. <BR><BR>"Now, little wizard-friend, now you are where no one can save you!" <BR><BR>Parm lifted his head, opened his mouth as if to speak, but he found he could utter no sound, and the dark elf before him let out a sharp, piercing laugh.<BR><BR>"Your spells and sorcery will not work here!" she mocked him, "You are in <b>my</b> power now!" She grabbed him by the remnants of his tattered clothing, forced him up against the wall and shackled him there. "Now, you will see what <i>real</i> power is!"<BR><BR>She gripped his robes and in a quick motion, pulled them from his body, leaving him in the tatterd rags of a beggar, shredded linen tunic and old worn pants. The shame that filled his face only made her laugh harder. "Oh don't worry your pretty head about this," she said, holding up the remnants of his regal robes, "this is <i>nothing</i> compared to what you will face as your life lingers in this dream state! I'll rot you out from the inside! You'll be worn and shredded and faded on the inside just like on the outside!" The full force of her wrath was coming to bear on him. The full weight of her frustration at her earlier defeat, not being able to strike him dead, was now being released upon him in his mind. <BR><BR>With nowhere now to run, no ability to flee, he was utterly at the mercy of this foul being. She stood before him, her face and features the very images of loveliness yet her eyes were filled with evil, lust, hatred. He shut his eyes tightly, but he could not shut out the torture of his body. <BR><BR>She pressed herself to him, embracing him, her every curve both enticing and repulsing him. He resisted the urge to wretch as she gently stroked his chest, softly kissing his neck. Then, holding his head between her hands she forced a kiss upon his mouth, and he was too weak to resist. Long she lingered there, forcing him, violating him. Suddenly breaking off the kiss she raked her nails down the side of his face, biting, again biting his cheeks, reopening the wounds. <BR><BR>"Now, where shall we begin?" she asked, her voice smooth and almost inviting.<BR><BR>Parm made no answer. He could make no answer. His only response was the tears that ran down his face from his eyes, still tightly shut; burning, stinging. <BR><BR>Her voice was now soft, caring. "Hush now, hush. No need to fear." She gently caressed his cheek, brushing the tears from his face. Ever so gently she touched her lips to the gashes she had inflicted, whispering words of comfort in his ear. The pain lessened, the wounds closed. The tension in Parm's body finally released and he slumped into her, though his hands were still chained tightly to the wall. "There, there," she said, almost as a mother would to her son. "It's up to you, you know." She cooed. "This can be so easy, so easy for you. It's all up to you." She held him, embraced him, stroked his hair and soothed him with sickeningly sweet words. Parm could feel himself being lost in her comforting embrace, almost gave himself over to it, and Edheldur smiled. "You see, you can have so much pleasure here," she whispered. "You don't want to feel pain, do you little wizard-friend?" <BR><BR>He shook his head 'no'. "No, please, no more pain," he thought. <BR><BR>He will be so amusing to break, Edheldur thought to herself as she drew her dagger and plunged it into his arm. <BR><BR>Parm's head shot back, his mouth open in a silent scream. Pulling the dagger out, Edheldur grabbed his arm and placed her mouth over the gash. He pulled at his chains, desperately trying to reach this new wound, to hold his hand over it, stop the blood and ease the pain. Great spasms wracked his body and Edheldur stepped back and laughed, licking her lips stained by his blood, watching as agony encompassed him. <BR><BR><BR><BR><i>And back in the forest, his body shook uncontrollably. His breathing became labored and shallow, and tears flowed down his face. Nessa and Nin were unable to comfort him or rouse him. They could only look on in horror as he suffered in his dreams.</i><BR><BR><BR><BR>Then Edheldur moved to him, ran her hand over the wound, stopped the flow of blood, stopped the pain. Parm hung from his shackles, shaking, crying. She again stroked his face and hair, again held him in her embrace. "Now you understand. <i>I</i> will hurt you, and <i>I</i> will heal you." Her voice was again soft and comforting. She gently took his face in her hands and brought his gaze up to hers. "I don't want to hurt you," she whispered, her eyes full of compassion and pity, "and I won't hurt you, as long as you do what you're told." She gently kissed his face, ran her hand over his brow. Held him, pressed herself into him. And slowly, slowly, Parm's mind began to break. Edheldur smiled. No matter what he did, he would be repaid with pain. Pain to be repaid with pleasure. Pleasure to be followed by pain.<BR><BR>"We've only just begun."<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Though mere minutes had passed in his journey through the trees with Nienor-Niniel and Nessamelda, in Parm's mind, hours had gone by. Hours of torture and sweet caresses, hours of pain and gentle kisses, hours of sweet love and horrific evil. <BR><BR>He now lay on his back upon the floor, unable to make his body obey his will and move. The cold of the stone had pierced his meager coverings, numbing him, and his mouth was parched, his lips cracked. <BR><BR>Edheldur sat upon a high throne, her crimson robes draped over her. She sipped a glass of wine, casually partaking of small morsels of food. When she saw him stir, she stood, descended the many staired dais and knelt beside him. At her gentle touch upon his face, Parm's eyes flickered open and he looked up at her, the author of all he now knew. Everything came from her, pain, fulfillment, life. Everything he was was because of her. She dipped her fingers in the deep red liquid and touched them to his lips. Hungrily, he sucked the moisture from her fingers, his eyes pleading for more. The dark elf took another sip from her glass, leaned over and pressed her mouth to his, letting him drink the wine from her mouth. <BR><BR>As she rose again, he found some strength and reach out to her, to the plate of food she held. Nourishment, life, from her.<BR><BR>"Yes, my pet. Yes," she cooed. "Hungry are we, hmm?" She again knelt and gently fed him a bit of.. something.. what was it? He didn't know, he didn't care. He devoured it like a wild animal. She fed him bits from the plate, but never enough to fill him. She let him have sips of liquid, but never enough to quench the thirst. She now held him in suspended pain. Never quite gone, never quite quenched. But all his relief came from her. All his needs, she met. All his desires, she would fulfill. <BR><BR>Leaning in closely, she pressed her cheek to his, her mouth lingering by his ear. She gently stroked his other cheek as she whispered to him, "Soon now, my pet, my love, soon you will wake. But do not forget, you are mine! The others will come to you, oh yes, they will come. They will try to care for you, but only I can provide what you need. Only I can give you what you desire. I will call you and you will come to me." <BR><BR>"Remember."