In the incandescent glow of the room was Tethys, kept confined to the shadows yet still visible. The first few things that leapt to her awareness as conciousness was regained was the feeling of being suspended in mid-air. Her liquid silver eyes opened slowly, and she froze. A group of adolescents clothed in dark colours were staring at her from across the gothic room, giving her an expression of both awe and disgust. She stared back at them, then the pain coursed through her, horrific and fast. 

As she looked down, a qrotesque moan escaped her lips with a strangled attempt to contain an anguished cry of despair. She was a blanket of wounds. Blossoming on her arms, beneath her pale skin were livid blue bruises, some turning black. Her nerves zinged with pain as she stared at them, and overlaying them were long, claw marks that still leaked blood. Along her neck she felt deep bites and scratches, and even like she'd been sliced with a delicate blade. On her wrists, above her head, were manacles connected to a long, thick metal pole with dangling chains and shackles hanging from it. The pole itself was supported by two other poles on either side; almost like the frame of a swing set only she knew well it wasn't a swing set. 

She let her head drop to examine the rest of herself; her body was clothed in a simple black tunic that was not tattered and torn, and even the velvet material was soaked with her blood. Her thighs, beneath the short length of the tunic, were bloodied and scratched, her skin torn to tatters; had she been... Oh, she dreaded to think it, raped? Tethys could have cried then - she couldn't feel anything. Then a thought, through all the others, shone like a light in her darkened mind. 

She was being tortured. Or had been; or even the horrific process wasn't yet finished. 

Tethys's vision began to waver then, as the loss of blood affected her very thoughts, her heightened senses over-ridden with intensified pain. The room became lighter, then darker, then everything took on a blue-white sheen of simple and beautiful light. Tethys looked down at the ground that was at least a meter away from her dangling feet to see a young man kneeling before her. She flustered, desperate without any apparent reason to see his face. 

''Your Highness, you are,'' he breathed over the sounds of glass cracking, ''our Goddess.'' And the world around her shattered. 

Tethys shot up from her bed, drenched in cold sweat. A dream, she though lividly, a dream. the quilt, so beautifully designed - black satin with embroidered silver dragons - had tangled around her unusually long legs, and she fumbled with shaking hands to get free. Her silken hair now thick with perspiration matted around her pale, skilled fingers as she ran her hand mindlessly through her black locks. She slung her legs over the mattress, staring around her shadowed room. The crucifix on her wooden dresser glimmered mockingly at her and the glare she sent at it could have melted the iron. 

''A nightmare,'' she was finally able to say. ''Nothing more.'' 

The End

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