26. He Cannot Regret It

Hands trembling, Inglorion unfolds the second slip of paper and reads:

He looks forward to seeing her and finds their relations gratifying, though he knows that she loathes him, and that the sight and sound and smell of him sickens her. He relishes forcing himself on her, though he doesn’t find her attractive as a woman. He’s surprised to discover that he cares less about her face and figure and willingness than he does about license — the bare fact that he can do what he likes without repercussions. 

He sees this in himself at times, and hopes that he’ll be able to stop — that this isn’t the beginning of an uncontrolled slide into — what? 

Everything that he sees around him encourages him in the view that he has extraordinary power over the lives of his troops, and of the Drow. The can accelerate the chaos, bitterness and bloodshed of war. He cannot moderate his behavior, or that of his opponents.

He hurts her and he fucks her, sometimes separately, sometimes at the same time. On occasion, he pretends to have a reason or a system; most of the time, he delights in being arbitrary and unpredictable. He controls her body — masters and overwhelms it with his own. In the brushfire of that terrible year, it’s all that he controls. For long stretches, it’s his only pleasure and release. 

Once he’s certain she’s with child, he treats that circumstance like he has anything else. For a time, he makes a very deliberate effort to fuck her or beat her so hard that she loses it. This is surprisingly difficult. As cruel as he’s become, he lacks the resolve to do it. 

He’s fascinated with the changes in her body, much as an idle child might become fascinated with an anthill or a dead bird. Lavinia was ashamed of the natural changes of pregnancy, and she barred him from her bedchamber remorselessly during both pregnancies, until she regained her figure. He has a boyish fascination with his captive’s belly and breasts, and he indulges it without shame or hesitation. His desire for her increases during her pregnancy, just as it did with Lavinia. He couldn’t satisfy himself then, so he does now. 

He knows that he’s doing wrong. At times, he feels sick with terror. He’s terrified of what he’s becoming, terrified he’ll get caught.

He tends her injuries tenderly, tries to tempt her appetite, and genuinely worries over the signs that her health is declining. 

If someone were to ask him about the anguish she suffers, he would say coldly that she knows the score, and would do the same if she had him in her power. It doesn’t matter if this is true. He needs this, no matter what the cost. He immerses himself in her body without permission or compunction, without being required to give pleasure or feign sympathy. He takes what he pleases. Her body is a liberating, happy playground. He’s left a part of himself there.

These thoughts are criminal and demented. He knows that. He cannot bear to stop, and he never really tries. The idea of being caught is unbearable. He continues anyway, though he knows his crime will inevitably be exposed. In the chaos of that year, it feels like the world is ending and nothing matters. 

When he looks back decades later, he regrets the outcome, but knows that he was incapable of acting differently. This bounds his regret. As with so many other things, once he started, it was impossible to stop, though he had every reason to do so.

For the most part, he refrains from recalling that incredible erotic draw. He adores a hefty pair of tits — will, at the very least, cross the street and strike up a conversation in pursuit of them — but that’s nothing compared to the pure, narcotic thrill of using the body of a woman however he wishes. He enjoys unleashing the full force of his brutality on her. She gives him ample reason. She never stops resisting him, and occasionally causes him real pain, though not lasting injury. His revenge is swift and disproportionate. He often thinks she provokes his attacks as a way of proving to herself that she doesn’t fear him. He alternates between hoping that she’ll provoke him until he goes too far and murders her, and wishing to preserve the sweet privilege that her incarceration represents. 

When he looks back and recalls that time, it’s like a fairy tale or a story from Ovid: Baroque, grotesque, beautiful. It feels inevitable and fated, and therefore he cannot regret it.

For a linked table of contents, listing all of the Shelawn family adventures, click here.

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