.The World We Come Back To.
.Cages.
Characters; Various mentions
Warnings; None
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He stands there, on the edge between sanity and the unknown. Though his paws may seem steady upon the ground on
which he stands, a single word or breathe out of place would be all it would take to topple him. His paws have grown weary,
his thoughts have been captured in an endless loop, and he's no more free now than he was before. The cage may be
gone, but he still finds himself in a binding of turmoil.

It wraps around him, more deadly than any words She had ever spoken. More damning than anything He had ever done.
These scars of today, and the tomorrows to come, would leave deep gashes on an already worried psyche. The
experiments have taken their toll.

He finds it hard to breathe, the first time the walls of a Seal are dropped, and she appears in a flurry of blood-stained sands.

You are not my master. Are the first, and only, words that interrupt the stalemate he is caught within. She stands there in a
body-less form, head, skull, and mask the only thing whole.

The smell of blood is thick, and it rings through the room like a thunderous bell. He has smelled bloodshed in this place
everyday, but now is the first time the blood has been Theirs. He should take enjoyment, thrill in the scent of Their defeat,
but he can barely concentrate. There are shackles still tied to his paws; chains still digging into the flesh of his back.

The walls may be gone. The jailor may be gone. But the bindings still hold firm.

She lingers in the Seal rich environment, called there by a blood-connection that such a creature cannot understand. He
knows her; she is one of the first his brother fell. But to her, he is nothing more than a flickering visage seen through a
blood-splattered skull.

You are not my master. The words are firm, certain; she turns away from him, intent to hunt and kill them all. For those
orders are all she knows in the haze of a Warrior's mind, and she leaves without any hesitation reserved for him. He is not
her master. She will not save him from his fate.

His eyes roam upward, across the console of Seals and to the decimated doors beyond. He can sense the fading life of
those within the area, but he knows already that those who have died in her path will not stay gone long. For the ones who
fall in such a place are meant to die; placed there as sacrifices for her, as they study her within a contained environment.
She may think she is killing them, but secretly, they are killing her; tearing her apart piece by piece until they can
understand it all.

The fact his room has been entered, destroyed, and the walls of his cage fallen is only another part of their experiment. To
see if such servants would be willing to attempt a rescue.

They don't know that the minds of a Warrior aren't complex enough for that. They don't know that a Warrior is incapable of
saving anyone not their master.

So although his cage is broken, the chains still rattle with his every breath, and he knows he is no more free today than he
has ever been.

"The damnation of this world is soon at hand."

The voice is startling, cutting through the veil of pain the Seal has left in his mind as he quickly looks up; peering through a
curtain of deep blue mane at the presence in the room. He half expects it to be the Warrior, brought to him once more by
her confusion.

Instead it is something else. Something that wears a mask so much like a Warrior, yet blackened and burned into a mocking
imitation.

She glides across the space between the room's entrance to the broken glass of his cage. Like a damned angel she tilts
her head in a mockery of curiosity.
"And you are to have a pivotal role in it."

His lips are pulling back, revealing broken fangs and a bruised tongue. "A puppet for your cause."

Her paws are raised, soul threads hanging from her odd adornments, and twisted violet energy burrowing beneath her
flesh. Her expression is impassive, though her eyes hold a predator's gleam.
"A puppet does not have reason to be useful.
Anyone can pull their strings."

She tugs on the chain links nearest her, the blessed metals melting at her touch. "And no one is meant to pull your strings;
or twist your fate."

The metal begins to burn away his skin, the blessings peeling away with whispered words from long-forgotten Purifiers as
his body seizes and falters. He finds himself seeing nothing but the blindness of pain until long after the chains are gone,
until long after the female has left.

He lies there, on the floor of his cage, staring at the world.

At this offer of freedom.

He closes his eyes, blocks out the enticing sight, and when They return the next day with stronger shackles, he tells himself
there was a reason for staying.