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[I hammered out this piece a little while ago in order to exorcise the feelings in my mind. You see, my mind has the incredible ability to force me to remember any embarassing or stupid moments in my life with startling clarity. Yeah, this is really a bit self-serving. Still, I'd like to know what you guys think of it.]
"Repent! Repent! Repent!" came the voices. They were everywhere. In this maddening hell of a dungeon, he was subjected to every kind of painful stimulus imaginable - soul shriving, flagellation, all the hellish torments the Imperium could devise. Daily, he was seared by fire. Daily he was frozen in the thickest ice, drowned in water and smothered under rocks. Words could not describe the agonies he had endured and would continue to endure as long as he stayed here, and stay here he would, for as long as he lived. But Rellnar was a warrior and the Blood Wind gave him the strength to resist all pain. In fact, he felt none of it, for he had been a blessed warrior in life.
"We are the keepers of the Emperor's divine word and will. It is our duty to make you repent your sins and by the endless radiance of the Golden Throne, we shall", it was a statement of fact, not a vow or oath made in frustration as Rellnar had seen on the field of battle. Such words were meaningless and empty and spoke of nothing but weakness, but these words were different. Each word was not a threat but a promise. Clearly, these men (if they were even men at all and not disembodied voices) thought they could achieve their stated objectives and they showed no signs of abating. Thus, the torture had continued for days or even weeks without any signs of stopping. Rellnar simply smiled as they had no way of knowing he felt none of it and when he finally did die, he would go to join his Lord beyond the Four Winds and live there in the eternal paradise that had been prepared for the greatest of Warriors.
"We have been tasked with saving your soul. Why do you not hearken to our words?" The voices resounded. The noise reverberated off the walls, echoing a thousand times a thousand times. Still Rellnar felt nothing as he had learned to focus to the point where he could screen out any but the greatest distractions. He stoically ignored the voices and continued to withstand everything they threw at him. Sounds that would split a man's skull and shatter glass were fed into the chamber but they failed to achieve the desired effect - the foolish, misguided heretic would not utter a word. If lashes and brands could not produce the intended response and the ministrations of the conscious mind did nothing, then what could be used? Better that he be granted the death he so richly deserved, for it would not be oblivion that waited for him in death but an eternity of service to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. This alone was a fate more cruel than any that could have been prescribed for him.
It was then that another entered the chamber, a Tech Priest clad in the deep crimson vestments of his order and sporting a variety of implants and mechanical appendages. They worked furiously as the servitors accompanying the Priest handed him various tools and devices designed to calibrate and configure the harness that was being affixed to the prisoner's head. The voices watched on in curious confusion; of course they could not fathom the complexity of the work that was being done here. They were not part of the Cult Mechanicus. They could not hope to comprehend. Then, as swiftly as he had entered, he was gone and the torture began anew, but it was different this time.
All was darkness at first, and then the images began to appear. Rellnar, as a child, running through the hills with his peers playing at being a great warrior. The scene held nothing for him now but contempt - he had been a fool back then. Rellnar, wrestling with his brother but slipping and falling face first in the mud. Rellnar, trying to prove his bravery, hurting anyone who dared cross his path. Faster and faster, the images began to swirl around. From the most embarassing or absurd moments of his life, the whirlwind became darker and darker, showing him the most depraved moments of his life. Rellnar standing, glorying over the death of his entire family. Rellnar, slaying and destroying in the name of the Chaos Gods. Rellnar, putting innocents to the torch amidst the screams and pleas of their friends, their family...
It was not the images that were important but the feelings associated with them. Pain. Hate. Guilt. Suffering. Misery. Piecemeal, they are inconsequential and easily brushed aside, but as the old expression goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A wave, though made of fleeting water crashes down with the force of a hammerblow. So it was for Rellnar, whose unfortunate mind broke under the strain of emotion, which the Blood Wind had ordered him to deny. At last his mouth opened and he uttered a strangled cry, thrashing against his chains like a bound animal, reduced to a helpless wreck by the force of his own failings and foolishness. The voices looked on reflectively, then turned and faded from sight - the new tool was showing most impressive results.