The Tarvin hills are a good walk away. It would have taken me several hours, but I managed to talk the guards into giving me a horse. As I reach the hills, I slide off of the horse’s back, and tie it to the roots of the tree.
It was easy to find the tree. The thing is massive, towering above all other trees of the forest. And below it is the hole- as promised.
It looks like a bear hole- and for a moment I wonder if I am being tricked. Then I shake it off, draw a dagger, and slip inside.
It quickly grows obvious that this is no bear cave. As I slip through, a grate slams shut behind me. I spin, turning to look at it in awe. There was no one there to lower the grate. It must have been some sort of mechanism.
Perhaps that should have warned me. But I am a Devia- one of the Queen’s most powerful agents. I fear nothing and no one.
I march forwards, calm and confident. I am not afraid of this ‘security’ that Andrus mentioned. This Kane might be brilliant, but surely he was no match for my skills.
Of course, within the first few minutes, I am nearly decapitated.
The first blade comes arcing down from the ceiling, nearly taking my head off. I spin to the side, only to be nearly impaled my another blade coming my way. I dodge this one too, and spin away, gracefully sliding between blades.
I feel a sharp pain in my ankle, and I make the mistake of pausing and looking down. Even as I see the blade sliding back into the ground, another blade slashes against my shoulder. I cry out in pain, and run forwards. My head begins to grow fuzzy, and I nearly panic. Poison or some kind of drug, I decide. Just… fight it. Keep going.
I move forwards, dodging more blades as I go. But thanks to the drug, my reaction time is slowed, and more cuts are opened on my arms. The fog in my mind grows thicker.
I stumble, and nearly fall. The irony of this moment is not lost on me. A Devia of the Queen, weak and exhausted, barely able to drag herself along. Now I understand why no one has reached Kane.
I grit my teeth, forcing myself forwards. And suddenly, I am out of the blades, and standing before a door.
The door is massive, thick, and made of metal. I look back, and see horror behind me. A storm of blades approaches, designed to finish me off. They must be powered by some mechanism. But that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that they will kill me. And I have no way through this door.
I try to push it open, but it is locked tightly shut, and refuses to budge.
I slam against it. My training is gone. My power is gone. All that is left is an animal terror and desperation.
“Please!” I scream, hitting the door in a panic. My throat and lungs burn- as if I have inhaled poison. My limbs are jelly, and they burn as well. My cuts sting painfully. I ignore all this, and keep yelling, my voice raw and terrified. “Please! Open the door! Please let me in! Don’t leave me to die out here!” I slam myself against the door, tears coming to my eyes. They burn as they run down my face. “Please!” I beg. “Please don’t let me die like this!”
The door begins to open. I look back. The blades are close behind me. Almost too close.
“Faster!” I yell. “Please, go faster!”
The door begins to grind open a little faster. The gap is barely open when I throw myself through.
I hit a clean, stone floor. I look back, and see the door slam shut behind me. Then spots begin to dance before my eyes. I cough, and the very air in my lungs turns to fire. I try to scream, but I have no strength or breath left. Now I am sure that those knives were poisoned. I am dying.
What an irony this is- dying when now- now, after all this time- I have found Kane’s workshop.
Burning tears spring from my eyes, and I sob openly. I am here, but all for nothing. My life will end, and my progress will be lost. Another will be sent out to die in vain.
And that’s when I feel him.
See would be the wrong word. I can barely see anything. But I know. I know. Kane is here. He is standing here, in the darkness, watching me die. And doing nothing.
“Kane…” I whisper. It ends in a cough, but I force myself to keep going. “Kane.. that’s your name… you’re here, aren’t you? You’re watching me here, dying. And you’re doing nothing. You’re willing to just watch, aren’t you?”
There is no answer from the shadows, and I kept going.
“Kane,” I insist. “If you don’t help me, I’m going to die.” I grit my teeth, forcing my head up- forcing myself to look into the darkness, where I know he stands. “And it will be your fault. Yours. Do you hear me? I know you have a cure for the poison! You could save my life. And you just choose not to. You’ll watch me die, and pretend that it was my fault. But you know that’s wrong. You killed me, Kane. You’re a monster. A monster.” I keep going, my voice ragged with pain. “Others must have come here. They made it to the door, didn’t they? And you let them die. And the other girls… the ones that searched for you. You knew. You knew!”
Rage fills my voice as I continue. “You killed them as surely as if you had stabbed them through the heart. You could have come out. You could have saved them! You’re a murderer, Kane! And you know what? It’s never going to end. They’re going to keep coming. Your life isn’t worth all of theirs! What will you do when they’re all dead? When you have even more deaths on your conscience. What will you do then?” My breath grows weaker. I am dying. And he will watch. So I force the words out, with as much venom as I can. “You. Are. A. MURDERER!”
Then my head hits the ground, and the world goes black.