**A/N: LET IT BE KNOWN FAR AND WIDE that I really hate writing fight scenes…srsly, I’d much rather write torture… Annnnnnd on that note, this chapter contains a LOT of torture…hope it was worth the wait! Srsly, there’s some pretty graphic torture in this chapter – Andre *is* The Master Torturer, after all – so consider yourself warned…**
Andre’s stone cold face let slip the barest of feral grins as BeauChamps couldn’t stop the reverberating screams from escaping…again. He slowly, meticulously, sliced off yet another layer of skin from the vampire’s lower back with the silver-bladed knife. He had heard it previously described as a fillet knife, but he called it The Screamer since that’s the delicious result it produced most effectively.
The prisoner, now strung up by his wrists from a beam in the hovel where he had been hiding, had experienced more pain in the past hour than in the entirety of his undeath, and he wasn’t done yet. His legs, cauterized with silver sludge where the missing feet and ankles had once been attached, dangled freely. Andre wasn’t even allowing him the luxury of bleeding to death.
The worst part was that Andre had made sure BeauChamps knew beyond a shadow of any doubt that any mercy the bastard might receive would be at the tall blond vampire’s hand, and that he was inclined toward none. He also wasn’t called The Master Torturer for nothing.
Less than twenty minutes after full dark, Andre, Eric, and the rest of the crew had burst into the doors of the house on the small hill. Since the structure was owned by a human, Eric’s dayman had tracked down the home’s owner during the day only to discover that the woman apparently still resided in the dwelling.
Being somewhat familiar with the political structure of the local Weres, the dayman then called upon the local Packmaster. Very quickly it was relayed that a few members of the local pack were working on a construction project about an hour away from the vampires’ location, and a deal was swiftly reached. Two members of the pack grudgingly agreed to take the rest of the day off and perform whatever service was needed to expunge one of the pack’s several debts to Eric Northman.
The two Weres chosen for the task extracted the abused and heavily glamoured human woman from the home a couple hours before sunset, and held her for Eric while tending her wounds as best they could in the field. Luckily for the woman, these Weres were former bikers and were fairly familiar with field-doctoring techniques. They didn’t know why they were told to do nothing more than secure the woman and wait, but they did know to follow orders. They simply watched when, closer to sundown, two unknown Weres so drunk that they didn’t even notice the invaders’ scents entered the house.
When Andre, Eric, and the rest of the group arrived, it was a simple matter to hear the Weres’ report and glamour the woman to invite them into her home. Much too impatient for and focused on the upcoming fight, Andre didn’t know, or really care, why Eric had one of ‘his’ Weres secure the woman in a safe location away from the house. The other Were was to keep watch over the house and nearby grounds.
All who entered were immediately taken aback by the scene and stench that met them. The odor of a recent death permeated what had once been a comfortable, mid-class home which was now a defiled wreck. The furniture and carpeting in the living area was rank with both fresh and decaying blood, cum, and sweat. Throughout the dwelling decorative objects, cheap and expensive alike, lay broken and shattered, the floors were caked with dried blood and other filth, and the newly bare walls in the main living area and at least two of the destroyed bedrooms held bloody manacles and handcuffs instead of the broken pictures now littering the floor.
Hidden from immediate view in the kitchen were the barley living bodies of five partially-drained women. All were naked, bloody, and bound together in rusty chains, and were so badly beaten and bruised that their features were barely discernable.
Even the usually silent Wybert spat what were obviously foul curse words in an ancient language.
The two Weres supposedly guarding the inside of the house were shocked from their lazy drunken dozing by the vampires’ entry, but were quickly and silently dispatched by Tony and Rupert. Disgust at such useless and malevolent members of their species clearly evident on their livid faces, they ripped them limb from limb before either had a chance to do more than involuntarily growl. Neither Tony nor Rupert had bothered to shift.
Swords, knives, and other weapons at the ready, Andre, Eric, Wybert, and Conall ignored the Weres as they took the opportunity to scent the air trying to discern the true number of vampires evidently still in their below-ground quarters. That must have been why this particular home was chosen, thought Andre. The house rested atop a small hill thus allowing the rare opportunity for a basement to be built.
Silas sniffed to detect his mate’s scent, and found it just as he knew he would. His bond with her told him that she was being held on the floor below the one where he stood. His feet were drawing him toward what he suspected was the door to the basement when said door flew open. Eight vampires in various states of dress but armed to the fangs came snarling through…but not BeauChamps.
Instantly the battle raged. With gleeful battle cries from both Eric and Wybert and snarls and hisses from the attacking band, vampire body parts quickly started hitting the walls, splattering and sliding slowly to the floor amid the sounds of clashing swords.
Andre, and Conall who seemed to read his thoughts, positioned themselves to fight their way toward the basement door. Parrying, dodging, lunging and advancing, Andre’s movements were both instinctive and automatic. For a brief moment during the fighting dance, he sensed Eric at his back, the tall Viking hacking and blocking and attacking as needed.
The two blond fighting machines were soon increased by a third after Wybert deflected a rusty mace thrown at the two then joined to make a circle of three slowly fighting outward.
Conall took a jab to his thigh but before he could hit the ground a tiger larger than would ever be found in nature removed the attacking vampire’s head. He was then joined by a large brindle Were in wolf form who protected Conall until he could bind his freely bleeding wound and rejoin the mêlée.
Suddenly, after much clanging and scraping, hissing, snarling, and growling, silence reigned. Andre paused but for a mere moment before speeding down the narrow flight of stairs toward the dimly lit room below with Silas, Eric, and a limping Conall following closely behind him. Wybert, Eric, and Conall were heartily disappointed that the now-ended vampires had been so easily dispatched; they had been looking forward to more of a real fight.
As they descended the steps, the stench of recent death increased. Wybert, Rupert, with Tony and the Wolf shifting back to their human forms, remained to secure the top floor and tend to the prisoners now being freed.
Once at the bottom of the stairs, urgency overcame Silas’ innate caution and he rushed forward to free his mate whose ankles were bound in silver shackles attached to the wall.
Andre, his leathers barely splattered with the remains of the vampire he’d so quickly ended upstairs, held his fist up to silence the group, and intently focused his hearing. A moment later he sneered, then looked over at Eric and knew by the identical sneer on the other vampire’s face that he’d heard the same thing. At vamp speed they quickly left the room and within seconds entered a third room. While the stench of recent decay sickened the air, BeauChamps own odor was still delectable. All knew the coward was hiding somewhere in the room.
Catching Conall’s eye, Andre directed his attention to a large, flat piece of wood on the dank basement’s broken concrete floor next to a woman’s body tossed carelessly toward a back wall. He then silently indicated for the younger vampire to lift it up as he and Eric readied their swords. Conall quickly approached the plank, and no one was surprised that, when lifted, a layer of concrete was attached to the wood…a layer that exactly matched a man-sized hole found directly beneath the false top.
Motioning for Conall to toss the wood and concrete affair to the side and arm himself, Andre approached the hole, reached down, and with a disgusted glare he pulled a cursing, screeching BeauChamps up by his hair.
“Sheriff Northman,” he calmly spoke over the male’s ranting, “what do you suppose we have here?” Although his words were playful, Andre’s tone was cold as ice as his hand fisted even tighter into the captured vampire’s hair. The foolish man squirmed and kicked thereby abusing his own scalp even further, and was shoved knees first onto the concrete before Eric.
“Second of Louisiana and future King of Arkansas, it appears this house is infested with a cowardly sort of vermin,” replied the tall blond Viking as he donned a pair of gloves. He then removed a pouch containing a pair of silver handcuffs from his pocket and secured the male’s wrists behind his back.
His quarry in hand, Andre drug the struggling, dirty, half-dressed prisoner up the stairs. Now his fun could begin.
Once they reached the main floor of the house, Andre surveyed the ceiling of the main living area, then ordered the Weres to uncover a proper load-bearing beam in the ceiling.
The Weres finished releasing the barely-coherent women from their chains and in short order had uncovered a beam perfect for Andre’s intentions. Passing Silas as he carried his mate from the house, Andre sped outside, grabbed a large black bag, and returned.
In seconds he and Eric had BeauChamps strung up to the beam with silver chains attached to the silver cuffs arund his wrists. Rather than taking the cuffs off to position him properly, Andre had simply jerked his cuffed hands straight up over his head. His cold face remained emotionless as the bones in BeauChamps’ shoulders popped and crunched, the only sign revealing he had heard it at all was a very slight tilt of his firm lips.
“Grab a glass,” he ordered Wybert as he ignored the hissing and sputtering from Beauchamps, then finished securing the prisoner now swinging freely, his entire weight balanced on his broken and displaced shoulders.
Wybert stood waiting, requested glass in hand, as Andre retrieved his sword and swiftly, wordlessly, cut off the captive’s feet.
Finally he instructed Wybert, “Fill the glass with this worthless bastard’s blood, then feed it to these females to heal their wounds,” he pointed to the abused women still on the floor, “and the one outside. Let him finally be of some use. After they’re healed, glamour all of this from them. These are not memories they should suffer keeping.” He ignored Eric’s raised brow knowing full well that the slightly older vampire had previously had the same intentions in mind for the poor soul still outside the destroyed house.
Wybert nodded, then began tending the women with Conall’s help.
When BeauChamp’s cries reached an even higher pitch, Andre sighed in frustration, then looked back at his Sheriff. “Why do I always forget the ball gags?”
Eric snickered as he shrugged, even though he knew the Master Torturer wasn’t joking, then turned to face the prisoner. He couldn’t stop a grimace from crossing his face when he saw Andre don a pair of gloves and begin slathering some sort of silver-based poultice onto the bleeding stumps of BeauChamps’ legs.
When he was finished, he wiped the excess goop from his hands onto the swinging vampire’s stomach. He removed the gloves, then, quick as lightening, reached up and removed of the vampire’s fangs, and tucked them into his pocket.
The Viking was…impressed. He knew exactly how difficult it was to remove someone’s fangs even with pliers, but to somehow be able to remove them barehanded? This was the stuff of legends.
He was confused when Andre went to the kitchen, placed a pan onto the stove, searched the cabinets for a minute, then turned the apparatus on, but held back his questions for the moment.
“You just couldn’t leave my Emma be, could you,” Andre stated coldly as he picked up then planted his sword into the filthy carpet at his feet.
The screaming, flailing vampire tried to hiss but only managed to drool blood down his chin.
Face and demeanor still cold and with a cruel light in his eyes, Andre stated flatly, “My Emma asked me to do unto you as you would have done unto her, but I just don’t want to give you all that much of time. Therefore, I will give you the same mercy as you would have shown her, just…quicker.”
The fool spat out a mouthful of blood, then accused condescendingly, “She’s got your balls in the palm of her hand.”
“Damn right she does,” Andre announced as he stared BeauChamps straight in the eyes, “and she’s got damn fine hands.”
For the next hour, the prisoner was truly shown no mercy.
With a couple of strokes of his sword, the dangling prisoner lost his pants. Andre donned another pair of gloves from his large black bag. This time, however, the palms of these gloves were shot with silver.
“You would have raped my woman if you had caught her.”
He reached out, grabbed BeauChamps’ penis, and slowly but firmly tore it from the male’s body. Blood sprayed everywhere but it didn’t deter Andre who simply reached out, grabbed the struggling, crying vampire’s testicles, and slowly, steadily, detached them from his body as well. The other males present cringed as BeauChamps’ renewed screams of pain flooded the room. The rapidly healing women applauded then went back to dressing in the odd assortment of clothing the Were had found for them in one of the bedrooms.
The Master Torturer then returned to the kitchen, turned the stove off, grabbed the pan and strode back to the prisoner with an evil light in his eyes. With one upward flick of his wrist, the bleeding wounds in the male’s groin were cooked closed with the boiling hot oil that had been heating on high.
Andre tossed the pan to the floor then surveyed the room, then briefly returned to the kitchen. A second later he appeared behind the prisoner and growled quite clearly, “I know exactly what sort of kindness you would have shown my Mate. You would have violated her in ways she could not imagine.”
With that, he shoved a large wooden rolling pin up BeauChamps’ ass…three times…and left it there.
“You would have shoved that pathetic excuse for a cock down her throat if you could have,” he said with a snarl, then shoved a large metal tube down BeauChamps’ throat.
“And if given the chance, you would have raped the skin off her back and her knees.”
Andre placed his sword by his bag and withdrew his favorite knife, another pair of gloves, and the jar of silver-based poultice.
Every few minutes he would take a break from skinning the vampire who dared come after his Mate. He would stab his knife into BeauChamps’ thigh “to keep it off that filthy floor”, don his gloves, and slather the burning but cauterizing silver-based poultice over the raw muscle and sinew his favorite knife revealed. He couldn’t have his victim bleeding out too freely… Then he would carefully remove the gloves, jerk the knife out of its temporary resting place, and resume slowly slicing BeauChamps’ skin in pieces sometimes long and thin, other times he would use a wider section of the blade for a different, broader, effect.
When Eric suggested using a paintbrush to apply the poultice, Andre had stopped for a moment to think, then agreed that it was an excellent idea. After a nod of thanks, he had given BeauChamps’ raw, bleeding back a couple of hearty thumps to express his enthusiasm. Then he removed the gloves once again, and picked his knife back up.
By the time he was finished, all the skin was gone from BeauChamps’ back, chest, neck, inner thighs, and knees. Finally, after a quick glance at his watch, he surveyed his handiwork with a cool eye, then strode over to his black bag. He cleaned The Screamer and placed it back into its sheath, and withdrew a wooden stake.
Without further ado, he plunged the stake into BeauChamps’ almost-visible heart, grabbed his bag, and called the Weres to attention. After instructing the Weres to burn the place down, he turned to Wybert and received confirmation that all the women had been appropriately glamoured, even though what Eric heard sounded much more like “dem been fixed”. He hoped the still-limping Conall had been the one actually speaking to the women.
Andre exited the house, then turned back to gaze through the door at the pile of goo that used to be BeauChamps.
With a smile, he ordered, “Let’s go home.”
**A/N: Yep, Andre *is* The Master Torturer… So, what’d you think? Just right? Too graphic in the “damn but that writer needs help” sort of way? What? Also, I’m pretty sure I picked up the idea of using a paintbrush to apply the silver poultice from Kittyinaz, except my “silver medium” is goopier.**