Peregrine Varga is deep under Finn Storm’s spell. The mysterious monks of Temple Bratuns have never combated the influence of a siren before. They will need to dive deep into Peregrine’s psyche and open the shrouded passage of his subconscious if there is any hope for the enchanted roughneck to ever regain control of his senses.
“Release the supplicant from the bondage bench,” Brother Mateus ordered.
“Do you think that’s a good idea?” Iker inquired. “He tried to run last time you did that. My knees are still shaking after the pounding that Brother Saiful here just gave me. I’m not sure that I’d be able to subdue him if he decides to bolt.”
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“I think he has been subdued by the masterful probing he just received from the delightful Ohannes,” Brother Mateus reasoned. “I believe that he is ready for me to begin a different kind of probing. Brother Peregrine, we will begin by shining a luz into the hidden passages of your mind before my staff stretches your back passage to its outer limits. What do you say, meu caro amigo1? Would you care to join me for um pingo?”
“Yes, I’d like that,” Peregrine replied, a docile smile on his face.
“Esplêndido! Oh, we have tapped into something here. It is as though a própria vida2 has simply drained from your strong body. Such a segredo terrível3 you must be holding onto! Well, amigo, there is no secret that can maintain its power when exposed to a luz. Fear not, we will draw this shadow out, at first gently, then we shall hit it with everything we have in our arsenal. No more will it plague you, and if I am correct, you will be free from the clutches of a sirene du mer. Brothers, release your supplicants! It is time now to relax and enjoy um pingo and easy conversation.”
“Perry, you look terrible,” Iker noted, hurrying to his friend’s side. “Are you sure this is the right time for a coffee break, Brother Mateus? He looks like he needs a hospital!”
“A hospital has no medicine that can heal him, meu amigo,” Brother Mateus cautioned. “This is a sickness of spirit, not of body. This shadow has had its hold over your friend’s mind long before a sirene du mer cast his spell. The harder he fights, the stronger its grip becomes. We must draw it out slowly if we are to have any hope for o triunfo.4 Amigos old and new, sit down, relax, enjoy um pingo! We grow os grãos de café5 here in our own gardens and the milk comes from os grãos of the prized Gakels bush. I have been told that os grãos de Gakels produce the creamiest milk.”
A battle raged in Peregrine’s mind, but he was too defeated to rage or attempt to run. He wrapped himself in the comfortable robe presented to him by one Brother Parry Anish Balodis, a tall, sinewy young fellow with flaxen hair and sparkling blue eyes the color of the skies in pictures that Peregrine had seen from Homeworld Earth.
“If you cannot save me, Brother Mateus, release me to the ocean to live out the remainder of my cruel life,” Peregrine murmured as he sipped the coffee beverage the high priest placed in his hands. “Either that or kill me. Death would be preferable to this war raging in my soul.”
“I know you are unhappy, meu caro amigo, but give your cares to me for tonight,” Brother Mateus implored. “I truly believe that we can heal this wound from which bleeds your happiness.”
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