Goal: Not even keeping track...Written: 1,247 Story: The Burning City Approximate Chapter: Chapter 4
Hannah laid on the ground until she heard the bloodless girl run off. Malisyn's words stung her more than the fall had. She closed her eyes and let a few angry, hot tears slide down her face.
“Are you going to lay there all day?” A girl asked. Hannah's head snapped to the side, searching. She hadn't heard Taelor's voice in a long time.
“What do you want? Did you come out here to rescue your bloodless friend?” Hannah pushed herself up from the ground and brushed dirt from her clothes.
“I'm not friends with Malisyn or you--” Taelor began. She took a step closer. There was something about Taelor's eyes that made Hannah suck in a breath.
“What's wrong with you?” Hannah asked. Her voice cracked; fear had stolen the bitterness from her voice.
“It's nothing,” Taelor said as she scrubbed at a line of black running from her eyes. She blinked it away and took another step. “I heard what Malisyn said. About your blood magic.”
“You didn't hear anything, and if you did—you heard wrong.” Hannah's hand curled in to a fist with her words. Taelor was close to her now, and blackness still seeped from the corner of her eyes. Hannah couldn't seem to look away.
“Malisyn took something from me, too.” Taelor's hand touched her wrist, fingers running across a delicate silver chain bracelet with purple blood relics. A thin layer of dust clouded the surface of the relics.
“She said that my blood magic was weak. How could she know?” Hannah asked. The words seem to fall from her lips without effort. She felt weak and Taelor reached out a hand to steady her.
“I can give you what you seek but you must give me something in return.”
Taelor's eyes were black now, and Hannah couldn't look away. She felt frozen in place by Taelor's gaze—and her words.
“What?” Hannah asked, as the fear in her voice rose again. “What do I have to give you in return?”
“Everything.” The word sounded strange, and Hannah could no longer focus. Taelor blurred in her vision and she felt herself falling.
That last word was all it took—Hannah's eyes rolled to the back of her head and she fell forward. Taelor caught the other girl with ease. Taelor looked around and made sure they were still alone. Far across the Training Grounds, she could hear Master Caenis shouting and another voice—a woman—Taelor thought the voice sounded familiar. Malisyn was there, too. Taelor had watched her run in that direction after escaping from Hannah. If only she could just talk to her—
Hurry. A voice whispered in Taelor's mind and she pulled attention back to the girl in her arms. She felt herself move against her will, dragging Hannah's limp body out of sight. She moved towards a cluster of trees, slipping from shadow to shadow until she approached a door against the outside wall. She hadn't ever noticed the door before, as though her eyes saw it and then looked away.
She felt tears streaming down her cheeks but couldn't move her hands enough to wipe them away. He was there, no, and she had no choice but to obey.
You're certain no one followed you? The voice asked; Taelor nodded and grunted with the effort of leaning Hannah against the wall. The door shuttered and opened slowly. Taelor dragged Hannah inside and the door was closed quickly behind her.
When Hannah awoke, her head was pounding like she'd stolen too much wine from Master Eskaro's kitchen cabinet. Her neck was sore, and she moved to touch her shoulder and found that her hands were bound. She was sitting in an uncomfortable wooden chair and her muscles ached as if she had been there for hours. Her head whipped around from side to side, eyes searching for the person who was going to be punished for such behavior.,
The last thing she could remember was Taelor, and then a set of bright, shining eyes filling her vision. She thought she had fallen.
Her eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness; she began to see the blurred gray outline of walls, and a sturdy stone floor in front of her. A dark recess in the middle looked to be a drain of some kind. And sitting over top of the drain was a heavy, dark colored wooden table. She saw the remains of shackles pounded in to the four corners. It seemed familiar, like an old class room, forgotten by the Citadel.
“Who tied me up? How dare you, I'll have you beaten and thrown out of the Citadel by the Grand Master himself--”
A shape like liquid darkness rolled forward, bringing with it a chill that forced Hannah's mouth closed. Her teeth clacked together loudly and her words evaporated from her lips.
I would like to see him try. A voice sounded near Hannah's ear. The strange darkness didn't move, but suddenly it was inches away from her face, leaning forward. Inky blackness seemed to drip around and boil and hiss upon the ground. The cold dug deep beneath Hannah's skin. She turned her face away.
“What is this, one of Malisyn's tricks? Casting magic to scare me? Isn't it bad enough that you can, and I can't?” Hannah laughed, a mix of hysteria and anger. Her hands balled in to angry fists. If it was Malisyn playing a trick on her, she'd beat the girl until even the Grand Master couldn't recognize her.
“I wouldn't call him a trick. I think you might make him angry.” Taelor's voice sounded from a darkened corner of the room. As she stepped forward, the black figure seemed to step back as if giving her the floor. Hannah turned her head back and looked at Taelor.
“Did you tie me up then?” She asked, moving her wrists to emphasis her situation. She regretted it; the ropes rubbed against her skin and itched.
“No—well, yes. I tied you up, but he made me.” Taelor seemed to frown at her words as if she had a headache. Hannah didn't think she wanted to know who “he” was. The patch of darkness seemed to slither back in to the corner of the room. All she could see now were the beginnings of faint outlines where two eyes would be.
“Can't you just untie me?” Hannah asked, careful not to move her arms with the question. The ropes were already going to leave a mark she didn't want to have to explain.
“No, I don't think so.” Taelor turned to look sideways at the figure standing in the corner. “He has some questions for you. I can't—I can't help you until you answer them.”
“Do you want to help me?” Hannah asked without thinking. The look in Taelor's face said she wanted to say something—but remained silent.