Tale: Deep Space Diary Entry 3

Dear Diary,

Today has been horrible.

The Raptesses locked me in a room with two of their members, their leader Neraida and a younger one called Troma. They administered some kind of drug that let them look into parts of my mind. I don’t know what they saw, or even if they saw anything, but I’ve definitely been compromised in some way. There was feedback though. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but I also saw into the minds of my captors. Neraida was practically born into this life, but Troma wasn’t. She never wanted it and serves the Holy Cycle almost reluctantly. I think she and I are walking down a similar path.

After the mind-reading session, they gave me something else then left the room, leaving me locked inside. At first, nothing happened, but the world started to… decay around me, like it was all dying, like time had been sped up.

Then she appeared.

Death. I didn’t expect to see her again so soon.

I couldn’t actually move. It felt like I was frozen. She seemed busy with something, I could hear something screaming behind her, but I couldn’t see anything. Death didn’t appreciate me being there, apparently, as the first thing she said was incredibly grumpy. I told her the Raptesses had sent me here and she grinned.

I said to her that I just wanted to go home, that I didn’t understand why she had saved me, that I just wanted to die. Her response? She growled at me. She told me I should shut up and put up with it, as she doesn’t have many Theoktons around and that I was more useful serving the Temthan empire than I was being a Dessaron at home. I asked her why I couldn’t just die and go to sleep and again, she growled and said I was more useful here, alive, among the Temthans.

Then I asked her one more question. I asked if I’d ever be able to go home.

“Probably not.”

I wanted to cry and scream at her, perhaps make her angry so she’d strike me down, but I couldn’t. She began to laugh, and I felt a sharp, tingling sensation through my body.

I woke up in bed, hot and sweaty. Someone had secured me to the bed, so I couldn’t leave. My body was exposed, one of the Raptesses had apparently had her way with me while I slept. They could have asked at least.

The first thing the Temthans asked was “what did you see?” They all said it at once. So I told them. Not everything. Not the bit about me being more useful here than anywhere else. But I told them about Death saying I probably won’t ever make it back home and I was more useful alive than dead. That will at least stop them from wanting to kill me and eat me.

They were all shocked. All the Temthans started muttering about what they should do with me. I requested that they leave me alone, give me some space and let me absorb what happened. I was surprised that they agreed and left me in the room, as well as leaving me plenty of food and actual things. They also brought me my diary, like I asked.

At first I thought they were all supposed to do that, some way of convincing me that what I saw was real, not a hallucination, but then I saw that everyone was talking about it. Even the Raptesses. I heard some of them say that they’d never seen Death herself. It felt so real. I asked Lokra, who had been looking for me all day and didn’t know where I was, and he too was shocked. And he is one of the few Temthans who don’t seem totally enthralled by their Holy Cycle religion.

That’s why they gave me everything I asked for.

So here I am now, writing all this stuff down.

I feel so awful. But I also feel guilty. I spent a while crying but got over it. The thing is, Death is right, I might be more useful here than at home. There are Deitics wandering around the Temthans and the Temthans are none the wiser. I’ve also forgotten something else since I’ve been here, I’ve forgotten that I should be thankful to be alive. Otherwise I would have died in the cold depths of space and no one would have found me.

The only problem with all of this is that it means giving in to them. The Raptesses will try and condition me. But I can’t complain about what they’ve given me. I’m a complete stranger they had no reason to pick up, and the Temthans have been treating me like a lifelong friend. The sex can be a little too much but there’s good food, lots to drink, so much good…

I’ve been brainwashed.

It’s just hit me.

But Death WANTS me brainwashed. She has a plan and she needs me here. They don’t have Theoktons or silverbloods or anything like that. The Temthans said so themselves, they’ve always had problems with Deitics.

I don’t like what’s going on. I don’t. I want to go home, but that’s out of the question now. If there’s some underlying threat to harm the Temthans, an empire with a population of billions, the Rethans and everything else I care about stand no chance at all.

I have to do this. I have to go down the Vohra tunnel and see how far this goes.

– Arkay