The town's high building rose to greet me as I ran towards any opening I could find. Jumping off the walls, I leaped onto the high viaduct that ran round the outside of the square. Hundreds of men were running after me, unable to jump or climb as I high as I could. They climbed the steps and ran bellow.
A bridge overhanging the square opened in front of me and I ran along its length. A few men jumped and clung to the sides in an attempt to get at me. Some fell, others propelled themselves forward; they all missed.
Reaching the roof of the small building at the other end of the bridge, I slid down the slope that led away from the open space and into the cramped area of the town. A stone arch stood there and it led to a square junction. Straight ahead, a narrow street with high-rise houses was my destination. On the left and right were entrances to the buildings and back allies that surrounded the town centre.
Diving through the arch and into the small enclosed area, I leapt over more figures running from every direction. Then I saw him.
He stood with his right arm raised and red eyes glowing. In his hand was his famous silver whip.
Quicker than I could move, the whip lashed out and touched my shoulder. I could feel each tiny silver razor cutting my skin. My shoulder started to burn with the allergic reaction and I fell to the ground. I slid across the marble flooring and collided with one of the pillars. Through my tears I could see the black-clad groups of me running into each of the four arches; away from me, to find my brother.
As the small square beneath the four-way entrance cleared, I could see him walking slowly towards me, raising the whip as he did so. I tried to pull away, I tried to get up, but he flicked his wrist and the silver teeth wrapped round and cut into my neck. Choking, burning, bleeding. He laughed.
Releasing me, he bent down over me and his sickly smell filled my nostrils. "Not so powerful and mighty now! You do look pathetic."
He leaned back and raised the whip again.
Each stroke opened a fresh wound in my leg, my thigh, my chest. The burning sensation rippled across my skin each time the precious metal lashed my body. A hard lash across my windpipe halted my breathing for what felt like an eternity. I finally drew another breath and it felt like I was sucking lava down my throat. I shuddered and my eyesight failed me a few times.
All the while, he kept on lashing and laughing at his power over me. Until he gagged.
Something brown was wrapped around his neck and his eyes bulged. I knew he didn't need to breathe but it must have hurt. His head jerked to the side and I heard a cracking sound. Then the tip of something wooden burst through his chest.
My vision failed again. I could still hear him screaming and someone growling menacingly.
Finally, everything went silent. I could heard the sound of hundreds of feet echoing round the corridors on either side of me. Something warm touched my eyelids and I flinched; my vision returned. Tears fell like waterfalls when I tried to look up at whoever had saved my life.
All I could see was a pair of bare feet and strong looking legs that were knelt down on the stone floor. A large hand appeared in my view and I whimpered in fear. It didn't hit me, or raise a whip; my bleeding face was cupped in the hand and another stroked my cheek. I was too afraid to move.
Gently, the person turned my head. I cried out and he gasped as he saw the mess of my neck. The growl I'd heard before came from somewhere above me; it wasn't menacing. His fingers caressed my neck and, although it still hurt, I could breathe more easily.
This time, I turned my head to look up. Seeing a pair of blue eyes was not what I expected. They were filled with worry and his pupils kept dilating and contracting which gave him the appearance of a camera turning on and off. His forehead furrowed and a whine escaped his lips. Then his face relaxed and he smiled a little.
"Can you move?" He sounded truly concerned about me which also surprised me. "Can I carry you?"
His voice was almost hypnotic to me and, while I looked into those gem-like eyes, I felt comfortably numb. I nodded slightly and he started to pick me up.
My scream was painful to even my ears.
He murmured soothing words to me as he held my bleeding body close to his bare chest. He grew suddenly warmer and I could feel soft fur against my right cheek. Holding me to him with one massive arm, he bounded down the narrow street, out of the square junction.