This pain is like nothing he has ever felt.
He cannot remember the burning stripe of the lash falling across his shoulders, the dull ache of old bruises layered atop one another, the hollow grinding emptiness of hunger sitting in his belly like a stone.
All memory of pain is being crushed out of him, fire tipped blades sliding through his flesh, carving a path for the searing touch of magic to bury straight into his bones. The lyrium continues to burn where it is pressed into his skin, and he strains against the chains that hold him down, gasps around the taste of blood as he screams himself hoarse.
There are voices all around him, murmurs that he cannot make out over the bubbling hiss of his own skin dying beneath the white hot press of raw lyrium. He tries to understand, clings to the voices even as he feels something inside his mind start to slip. It's easy, the slow but steadily growing slide down, everything splintering apart behind his eyes, so much easier to break apart beneath the pain than endure it.
Time passes in skips and starts, but the agony is constant, never abating, swelling beneath his skin until every breath is wrapped in a scream. His head is held down when the lyrium is laid against his throat and then breathing is impossible, his jaw trapped in a vise as the pain slides up over his chin.
It's too much, the terror and the burning, searing pain pressing down on all the cracked, fragile parts of him, not even given enough breath to scream.
There's rage, and blue light shining amidst cracked, bleeding skin. Pain that twists and bends beneath the fury, chain snapping with sharp shrieks of metal. More screams, but not his, and that's what matters, lips pulling back from his teeth, the taste of blood and something metallic that's not copper.
He shouldn't be moving, is going to pull his already fragile body apart, a mess of bubbling skin and blood, glowing blue lines amidst it all. But he wants them to pay, the ones who are doing this, their voices ignoring his screams, their hands holding him down to endure more when he's already shattered.
His hand is glowing when he lunges for the closest, his broken mind expecting the solid hit of flesh on flesh. Is sent reeling when his hand passes through blood stained robes, into heat that's almost cold when compared to the way his skin is boiling and then there's pulsing flesh beneath his fingers. Its slick and soft, and he thinks in a far off way that this is wrong, a violation, and that if he weren't being burned inside out he would stop.
Instead he closes his fingers tight and watches the man's face spasm, turn white as old milk, eyes bulging almost out of their sockets as he opens his mouth in a gasping scream. It's weak, a thin thread of sound, but it still infuriates him. This man is not allowed to scream, not when his own screams, his pleas for mercy or death, were ignored.
With a snarl he wrenches back, everything pain and burning and a fury so deep it's split apart inside him, and in his hand comes the man's still beating heart. It's mesmerizing, the muscle pulsing thick and heavy between his fingers before it grows still a few unsteady breaths later. By the time he closes his fingers tight and reduces it to pulp the former owner has already slumped down to the floor, wide dead eyes staring blindly.
The others cower back, except one. Dark hair and cold, bright eyes, this one is not afraid, approaches with slow steps that speak more to fascination than any fear. The man is familiar, in a way that slides around the edges of his mind.
"No more," he snarls, his voice guttural from the screaming.
"I'll admit that I was impressed you managed to retain some sense of consciousness during the procedure. But this," the man gestures at his dead comrade, the body bearing no visible sign of his gruesome death beyond the mask of fear his face has assumed, "is something else entirely." Bright eyes narrow, backed by a curiosity that won't be satisfied until it has a chance to turn the source of mystery inside out. "It should be impossible for you to activate the lyrium while it is still in its raw state. Fascinating."
This man, a face he recognizes in patches of gut instinct and fear, is the source of his pain. The one who ordered this, had him chained down, let him scream himself hoarse. The one responsible.
He lunges with a snarl, and this time the blue spreads up his arm and out of sight across his shoulders. It hurts, which is strange since the pain never left, has been a constant burning agony, a disorienting sense that his skin has been constantly splitting apart with every breath. What came before was thick and suffocating, stealing the breath from his lungs like a knife driven between his ribs, an overpowering presence that crushed him to pieces. This is dagger sharp and almost cold, shocking against the boiling heat that still lives in his cracked and bleeding skin.
An invisible force smashes him back against the wall before he can take three steps, and he feels it all over, like a gritty wind that crackles in the air around him. Magic, he knows, without understanding how. It sparks across the web of pain the lyrium has left across his body, blue flaring weakly around the edges of the spots that fill his vision. He falls to his knees, too stunned to manage even a choked groan as raw, blistered legs hit cold stone.
"Yes, quite fascinating. You have proven to be a much better choice than I had originally thought." A hand threads through his hair, forces his head back. He meets the narrowed eyes, a sharp jerk shaking the snarl out of him. It doesn't matter, the strange burst of rage being replaced with something too encompassing to be exhaustion, his strength fading until every breath shakes out of him, bloody and raw.
He looks up at the man, sharp cheekbones and eyes that pierce right through him. "Who...why - why me?"
The eyes widen before narrowing even further. "You don't remember?"
It's the hand in his hair keeping him upright now. He grabs at the pristine robes before him, his bloody hand leaving thick smears behind. It hurts, rough against already raw fingers, but at least the world is not spinning quite as hard. "I..." he tries and all he finds is pain, broken fragments of sun streaming through bright green leaves, interspersed with the weight of a sword in his hand, the phantom taste of blood that is half memory, half reality.
"Interesting." There's delight in the man's slow smile as he looks down at him. "The potion, not to mention the pain, seems to have wiped your memory. How fortuitous." A sharp twist of fingers in his hair forces his head further back. "I am Danarius. Your master."
"Master?" He tastes the word on his tongue, mixed with blood and fire and the strange cold of the lyrium as it fades back into a state of dormancy.
"Yes." The sharp hold on his hair releases, and he folds over, slumps against the cold stone. The dead man whose heart he seized is almost close enough to touch, a still lump of cloth that the man - Danarius - doesn't seem to notice. "After all, what good is a wolf without a master."
He rests his cheek against the floor, takes deep breaths. He thinks he should be panicking, but there's nothing. A yawning emptiness in the back of his skull.
"Do you remember your name?" He tries to remember his name, but its lost, seared away by the fiery blue glow beneath all the blood. He shakes his head. "My wolf," the man muses, "should have a name. I shall call you Fenris."
Fenris closes his eyes to the sound of his master's chuckle, and prays that he doesn't wake up.