21. U - Necessity (OCs)
Prompt - U like unsavoury urges in Umbar
Ten years. He had known they would catch him eventually and he would die a painful and humiliating death, but he had not been able to stop. The fetters cut into his skin, dragging his wrists up and back. Every breath gasped as his chest strained against the weight of his body to drag in one more lungful of air.
"No more." The strangled syllables took three of his precious breaths.
"Come. Confess," the relentless voice cajoled, "and we will let you die. Did you steal the children?"
Death no longer frightened him. "Yes."
Through crusted and blurred eyes, he saw the inquisitor come near and tap the handle of the lash into his other hand. "Yes," he repeated. "You took the children from their families and led them out into the desert?"
"You took the children out into the desert and mutilated them?"
"Yes." By the end, there had been many pretty babies who had screamed and whimpered under his knives. And he was skilled, oh yes. He knew how to make the cuts so they would scar. But he had listened to the voice and it had to be done. He had no regrets. No. His knife had slipped once, at the beginning, and blinded a dainty slip of girl. He sometimes saw her groping her way down the street and he did regret that, though not the jagged slash that disfigured her face.
"Why?" The handle of the lash poked into his shoulder and he had not breath enough even to groan.
"Answer. You will be dead by morning." The voice sounded matter-of-fact.
He knew that. He too was skilled in the application of torture, and had stood where the inquisitor stood now, judging to a nicety how and where to inflict pain to elicit truth. For most of his life he had gloried in the righteousness of his job. Blood was the life and the sacrifice. It had all gone wrong.
Why had he ever listened to that northern barbarian? Why had he been granted a vision of peace and how the world was meant to be? The insistent voice of god filled his mind.
A stool kicked under his feet woke a different layer of pain from his broken bones, but it granted him enough breath to answer.
"Why? Only unblemished children are sacrificed to Annatar, and he is not god. I deny him."
A/N – this is a companion quadrabble to the "S – like sordid Sauron" prompt.
"No mind can, however, be closed against Eru, either against His inspection or against His message. The latter it may not heed, but it cannot say it did not receive it".
Ósanwe-kenta - JRR Tolkien
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