The Pillar of Dominance
"Why do they call you the Brute?" asked Nella through gritted teeth,
as the man drew another line on her forearm with the red hot metal spike. A
blistering burn trailed behind the object alongside the other fresh burns that
paralleled the one he was making. Nella pressed her lips together and
inhaled sharply through her nose, coping with the pain as best as she could.
"I will ask the questions," said the Brute, and shoved the spike back
into the flames. His face and hands were heavily scared. When he turned
away from her, his profile was ragged and lumpy. He had striking blue eyes
of a very light shade. They radiated an uncanny intensity. These were not the
washed out, watery eyes of a drunk, they were like two electric portals to
The Brute unstrapped the leather buckles that attached Nella’s ankles
attached to her chair, and began tying a rough rope around her chained
hands. The giant man looped the opposite end of the rope to the pegs of a
large wooden pinwheel. As he cranked the handle of the pinwheel, the rope
tightened, suspending Nella by her wrists. Next, the Brute walked over to a
shelf of whips. He took his time picking one out and came to stand behind
"Tell me the location of the Pillar, and your suffering will end."
"It’s kind of you to want to end my suffering," said Nella, "but I prefer
to be tortured to telling the prince where it is."
The Brute drew his thick arm back and landed his first blow. Nella felt
a sharp stinging sensation across her back. She closed her eyes. The man
continued striking her with the whip for some time before he paused . Nella
felt blood running down her back. The Brute came around to face her. His
face was unshaven and grimy with soot.
"I am puzzled," he said. His teeth were yellow and broken with
neglect. "Few men are able to take so much pain and you don't even yell.
Tell me, what is your secret? How do you take it?"
"What is my pain compared to yours?" replied Nella. He was visibly
taken aback by her words. His brow rumpled with complex emotions and his
mouth fell open slightly.
"Even while torturing me," continued Nella, "you show me more
mercy than you show yourself."
The man's face hardened and he raised his weapon to land what
appeared to be a final killing blow. Nella looked away to spare herself the