Dimitri and Lia

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The shift was too big for Lia and it kept falling down her shoulder. It was clear that she had already been given a preliminary dose of the sedative as she stumbled slightly walking into the arena. The two guards on either side of her had to support her as they neared the medical bed that had been set up in the middle of the arena. Screens were on the sides, ready to project her memories to the watchers seated at the long table near the entrance. There were less people in the arena today. Early that morning the captains had taken a decision to limit the people in the arena in case something in Lia's memory was linked to any of them and could compromise their position as captain.

Dimitri sighed. He knew that he was the main reason for the ruling to limit people in the arena. He had not slept at all. At sunset of the previous day they had laid Alexi to rest in the cemetery outside of the city. Her body had been brought down the mountain after the terrible events at the General's compound. Dimitri felt the weight of her sacrifice. He was indeed a coward as the General had alleged. A woman had died to protect him yesterday. Now in front of the surviving captains he would see how he had betrayed Lia and abandoned her to the General. Dimitri felt an unexpected peace. After the memory search he would step down as captain. Vlad would make a far better leader anyway. Dimitri could leave the city and live alone in the mountains near the General's compound.

Dimitri's attention was drawn back to the events in the arena. Lia lay now on the bed. She was already deeply sedated. The doctor had explained to the captains earlier in the morning that he would try a new technique for the memory search. In an attempt to access the most painful and secret memories that Lia had stored he would use a heavier sedation than usual. Igor had agreed. Not because he feared that Lia would die in the procedure but that she would die before he could establish what she knew. Dimitri glanced across at Vlad. Vlad gave him a weak smile of encouragement. Dimitri sat up straighter in his chair and steeled himself for what was to come.

The doctor administered the truth serum and the screens were filled with a scene. It was Dimitri and Lia. They were in the mountains near the General's compound. As they moved through the mountains the viewers immediately saw that Lia was injured. She favoured her right side and once when she stopped and lifted her shirt, the bright red of the blood was running down her side. It was also apparent that the pair were fleeing for their lives as they moved away from the imposing bulk of the General's compound.

It was evening in the next scene that flashed on the screen. Dimitri and Lia were further away from the compound now but it was obvious that Lia was struggling. Her eyes were too bright in her pale face and she could barely move. She had collapsed in a crevice in the mountain and Dimitri was trying to give her water to revive her.

'Leave me and go on alone, ' she croaked. 'You can come back for me later. You know the General won't kill me but he will kill you.'

Dimitri didn't answer her. He moved her deeper into the crevice and tried to make her comfortable. Night was falling around them.

'Leave me and go on alone', Lia tried again to persuade Dimitri. Again Dimitri refused.

'Rather we die together than I leave you to him', he said firmly.

Lia said nothing further. The fever of the infection had weakened her and she lay passed out in the crevice.

Suddenly the watchers could see soldiers on the screen. They had discovered Lia's hideout. She tried to sit up but she was too weak to. Dimitri had left her to get water and she was alone.

'Where is he', demanded a soldier to Lia.

'He left me behind a few days ago,' she replied. Her lie seemed to satisfy the guards. They picked her up roughly and carried her down to the General's compound.

In the main arena, Dimitri looked at the still form of Lia on the medical bed. So far she seemed to be managing the truth serum but he knew that the memories that still had to be uncovered would be the most painful.

The scene changed to the General's private rooms. Lia was still weak and pale. She moved with difficulty as she walked into the room. Guards were on each side of her.

'I see you have recovered,' the General commented coldly.

Turning to the guards he asked, 'Have you found Mitri yet?'

The guards shook their heads. 'No Sir,' They replied in unison.

The General looked displeased.

'Continue with the search,' he commanded.

Turning to Lia he smiled a cold smile.

'Well at least I still have you. You will be my personal servant from now on. You will protect me and ensure that my meals are ready. Your mission is to ensure my complete comfort and happiness. As of tonight you will share my bed. I want you naked. Do you understand?'

Dimitri shuddered as he watched the screen. He saw Lia move on the medical bed and the doctor administer some more sedative to her.

The scene changed. It was evening. Lia was in the General's room. She served his dinner to him and then cleared the plates and glasses. Then she undressed and got into his bed. The General stared at her with lust. Dimitri was felt the bile rise in his throat watching the scene. Almost as if she shared his revulsion, Lia moved on the medical bed.The doctor administered more sedative and serum to Lia.

'You are a whore,' the General told Lia. 'I am a merciful man to let you near me.'

'Yes my General,' Lia replied automatically.

'You know you disgust me and I will not touch you. But you will lie with me to remind you of what happens to whores. You could have been my wife Lia. If you had kept yourself pure. But you are a whore and that fact cannot be changed.'

The screen filled with scenes of Lia. Her nightly degradation as she served the General. In the days she trained with the recruits. Sometimes the General hit her if he was angry. Her face often bore bruises.

Watching the screens Dimitri felt nauseous. This was what he had abandoned Lia to. He deserved to die. Vlad looked at Dimitri and saw his horror reflected on Dimitri's face. They had had no idea what Lia had experienced as a prisoner of the General's.

On the bed Lia started to move again. The doctor indicated that it was time to stop. Igor shook his head. 

'I want to know what her purpose was with us. Why did the General send her to Dimitri?'

'She is destabilising,' the doctor said to Igor.

'I don't care,' Igor responded. 'We need to establish her role in the attack on the captains.'

Dimitri stood up. He was absolutely controlled but Vlad could see a pulse in his neck as he spoke.

'Are you trying to kill her.' He asked angrily. 'Haven't you seen enough to know that she was the General's victim and not his accomplice?'

'No,'Igor replied equally angrily, 'we have not confirmed her role as his spy.' Turning to the doctor he repeated his command.

Dimitri sat down. He watched Lia on the bed. Stay alive he willed her. Then he turned his attention to the screens again.

In the next scene the General was visibly angry. It was after his loss to the combined captains. He was storming through the room. Suddenly his eyes landed on Lia.

'Here is my secret weapon,' he stated triumphantly. 'Give her a memory block and then release her. The memory block for Dimitri can be activated with a dart. Arrange an ambush to administer it. Then release her. They will meet someday and they will remember enough of each other to connect. That is when we will strike doubt into him and get our revenge.'

The guard nearest him hesitated. 'It may take years General,' he said.

'Then so be it,' the General smiled bitterly. 'I will hurt Dimitri in a way he will wish he had died.'

The screen faded as Lia gave one final shudder. Around her the doctor and medics tried to resuscitate her.

At the table Dimitri stared ahead.  He was trapped in a nightmare. He dropped his head into his hands as Vlad moved forward to stand next to him.

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