"Now, as much as I love seeing you lie on the floor writhing in pain, I'm getting slightly bored. I will ask you once more: where can I get into the castle?" The man, dressed in red and black uniform squirmed on the floor underneath my threatening blade. "Ugh." He wasn't going to talk. He was losing consciousness anyway. I drove the blade in a couple of inches, making the red of his uniform grow dark - almost black in the moonlight - with his blood. I wiped the knife clean on my cloak and stood up, turning around, only to find another one of them at the mouth of the alley. I sighed inwardly: I was bored now. Still, another chance to find a way into the castle, I thought to myself. This one had a knife, I could see it in his belt. He was trying to hide it, but my vision could see far further and clearer than any humans'. He could clearly see the knife I was flipping in my hand: I made sure of it. He didn't run away though. This one's had a little more to drink, I thought, or it's just stupid. I waited, flipping my knife, as the guard in his bright uniform walked slowly towards me in my black cloak and fighting gear, casting a dark shadow in the moonlight. Even my hair was velvety black as night - and naturally so.
A couple of minutes passed, and the man was still walking slowly towards me. The time seemed to stretch on forever, and I was getting more bored by the second. He still hadn't run away. He was within 2 metres of me now, and still hadn't drawn his knife. Stupid man.
"I... I'm n-not afraid of you!" He called out shakily, his hand now edging for his belt. When he had drawn his knife, I looked up into his eyes. He saw the inhuman icy blue, littered with shards of silver, shining out from under my hood, and began to shake like a leaf in the wind. Okay. I'm bored enough already. Time for some fun.
I lifted my hood back and looked at the sky, letting my canines snap into place, and waiting for the pain to subside. The needle-sharp points pricked my lower lip as I looked back down towards the guard, and a thin trickle of blood slid down my chin, black against the porcelain white of my skin. I saw the guard's eyes widen in terror as his bladder loosened and his usually pristine, unmarked uniform became soiled and smelly. Frozen in place, the petrified man's eyes followed my body as I swished my hips, moving nearer to him, until I was close enough to touch. I placed one hand on the man's chest, and began slowly dragging it downwards. He watched, still unable to move.
"Oh, would you look at this?" I purred tauntingly, "Our big, strong soldier boy has gone and wet himself..." I stopped moving my hand down when I reached his abdomen. I moved closer so my mouth was next to his ear,
"You don't like that, soldier boy?" I purred in his ear, "You want me to stop?" In one movement I flicked my claws out and created four deep scratches in his groin, tearing the clothes and making him drop his knife and stumble back in pain. "Now, unless you want to end up like your friend over there," I jerked my head towards the dead guy behind me, "you will tell me how to get into the castle." He didn't reply. "I need to kill the King, see? He's been a very naughty boy, and needs to be stopped. Do you understand?" He shook his head and backed away to the wall, before sliding down it slowly, his hands pressed to the scratches. I licked my claws thoughtfully. "I remember someone telling me that pain clears the head for a while. Do you need your head clearing? Would that help you understand?" When he curled his body tighter in on himself, I took that as a sign of submission, and kicked out at his side, making him shriek in pain. Poor, stupid human. He put himself in for this when he decided to work for that monster.
"I won't speak," he rasped, "I won't, I won't!" With a deep sigh, I bloodied the knife again, watching the liquid blossom on uniform and stain it. I wiped the blade once more, this time slipping it into my belt. I stood up and surveyed the damage. The first man's blood had pooled around him and was now cooling in the crisp night air, and the second man was following suit. Looking towards the back of the shadowy alley, I saw a large pile of junk left to rot in one corner. A holey dust sheet covered part of it, which I pulled off and laid out next to the guards. I rolled them both onto it, then wrapped them up and tossed it to the back of the pile. Two more stinking bodies weren't going to make much of a difference to the alley. People went missing all the time.
It had taken a while for my senses to adjust to the smell constantly lingering in the backstreets of Ryesgarth, the control city of Deaplocesh. My senses were four times as explicit as a human's, and used to the clear, fresh scent of the Glyvehst forest - which made the transition so much harder. I had to be here though. I needed to put a stop to the King's plans before it was too late. The only problem was, I didn't know what the King's plan was, or why he was doing it, let alone how to get into the castle to put a stop to it. All I knew was that the King had banished all the legerdemain (the 'magic' of this world) through 'Haringako', a spell that translates to 'I will destroy', nine years ago. When this spell reached its tenth year of power, it would become unbreakable. I didn't know how he did it, but I knew that it left me, as well as many others without the strength and power they once had.
Nine years ago, I was 14, and it was exactly a month before my proving ceremony, on my 15th Birthday. When the night fell, I remember hearing hooves thundering down the street before all the light - created by legerdemain - went out. A feeling of being drained swept over me and every other soul with the power of legerdemain in the city I had grown up in, Thelathas, leaving us vulnerable and lost. Non-legerdemain fire-torches were lit, and the adults went out to see who was responsible. The King was there, on his horse, with a ring surrounded by blue sparks on his finger. He seemed bigger than ever before that night. He opened his mouth, and a rumbling, deafening voice roared,
"Now you will get what you deserve when I turn your magic against you! You will feel yourself burn in your own fire or freeze in your own ice!" At the mention of legerdemain being called 'magic', the adults rushed at the King, trying to use their legerdemain, before remembering it really had gone, and stopping in their tracks, their feeble fire-torches their only weapon. A magnificently terrifying boom of laughter echoed round the court, and the ring on the King's finger grew blindingly bright before shards of silver and blue shot out, forcing the captured legerdemain to turn on its owners and kill them. Most children stayed and watched; I could see them staring through the windows, tears coursing down their cheeks as their parents died in front of them. I laid flat on the floor. I then heard screams as young children left their homes to try and run away or to go to their parents, but were killed instantly by the King. The guards on their horses, protecting their ruler, asked him what he was going to do about the children. Many were still staring out of the windows at their parents. I had started sliding along the floor towards the wall, which held the trapdoor, saved only for emergencies. Pulling the tapestry aside, I slipped the door open and went down the steps, still able to hear the King's booming voice.
"We'll blast the houses! The children will die! Any that are left or have escaped will die of starvation sooner or later." I heard our own legerdemain being used by this monster once more as the walls of all the houses buckled and collapsed, turning the whole of the village into rubble. I started running. He was getting closer to the walls around me. Finally, I reached the trapdoor in the floor, and had hauled it open when a blast hit, on the walls above my head. I heard the rubble falling down, and leaped down, just as the onslaught of debris began raining down. I ran down the passageway, stumbling, to get away from it. Soon it had stopped. I was trapped, and I didn't know where the escape route lead to. I spotted some weaponry on a shelf, and thought I had better arm myself even though I had never used a knife. I had been trained in legerdemain. I sat on a cold stone bench and tried to sort my head out. Within two minutes of me sitting there, I heard a noise in the passage beyond. Breathing. My heart quickened as I held the knife's hilt more tightly. Even though I had never used one, it was comforting to know I had something to protect myself with.
"I knew you'd be here," a voice whispered from the passage, "I've been waiting for you." In books, the heroine would call out "Who's there?" before kicking the baddie to the ground and killing him with her hair looking fabulous the whole time. But I was no heroine. I knew my face was covered in dirt, my hair was a straggly mess and my clothes were torn and raggedy by now. I also knew I was vulnerable and pretty useless at protecting myself, now that my legerdemain was gone. So I waited, my heart in my throat. A flicker of light from a torch crept round the corner, and a saw a hooded figure with a torch glinting in their hand. In a flash, I was on my feet and the figure was by my side. Instinctively, I stook my foot out and kicked their groin, before jerking my knee up into their face when they bent over in pain. Because of my senses, I saw the knife before it hit me and I had just enough time to duck out of the way before it killed me. Adrenaline coursed through my veins. I hit out with the blade in my hand, and it caught the stranger's shoulder. Blood darkened the black fabric. I saw eyes staring out at me from under the hood, and backed away. The knife shot out again, and I ducked, this time bringing mine up and sinking it into their chest. The eyes flew open and the figure slumped down to the floor. I pulled the knife back. I didn't know if they were dead or not, but they seemed very weak, and I wasn't going to wait around to find out. I still gripped the slippery, bloody knife tightly, as I hurried along the passage and found myself at the edge of the immense forest separating the land of legerdemain from the human land. The Glyvehst forest.
I will be strong. I will be the heroine from my books. I will get him back. I will stop him. For I am Silvia Lockwood, daughter of Theuros and Celrulea Lockwood, King and Queen of the lands of legerdemain.