I must believe that there is a limit to how much pain one person can experience. Surely, there is an end to the merciless torture of this world.
All of me aches. And where the physical wounds are not enough, the emotional wounds tear at me like rabid dogs.
I live a series of disasters. If only I had not been cursed with this brilliance. When I was a child, I was told that this was because of ancient magic in my blood. Perhaps the blood of wizards.
I should have given these thoughts more credit. But how could I? The wizards of old are dead. The only magic that remains lives on in crafters of the high cities, not in lesser types like myself. And besides, if I was a wizard, things would be different. I would not be here now- an animal in a cage, and nothing more.
It seems that darkness shadows every aspect of my life. There was the fire that destroyed all that I knew. The soldiers that killed the ones I loved. Then the years of being hunted. Chased. Hounded. Never able to rest. Never able to stop glancing over my shoulder. And now this. That girl, and her pretty lies, that led me to slavery. And to think that I had believed her. To think that I had put my faith in that creature.
The cell door creaks open, and I look up. Ah. Here she is now. The cause of my pain. Natalia. I hate her with all of my heart- or at least, the parts of my heart that still have strength for hate.
And yet, despite the pain she’s caused, despite knowing that she is one of the demons of hell come to torment me, she is no less beautiful. I wonder where she came from. She must be a foreigner. Not many girls of this region have hair as dark as hers. Black is an odd shade for a woman’s hair, and hers is darker than anything I’ve ever see- as dark as the hair of the daughters of night themselves. Her eyes are too sharp as well, watching me like a hawk. Behind that beautiful face is an impossible amount of cruelty, though. I long to lash out at her, to hurt her in some way, but I cannot even bring myself to look her in the eyes.
“Kane?” her voice is soft. The voice of a serpent.
“What torture have you brought with you this time?” I murmur. “Haven’t you done enough?”
“I did what I had to do,” she replies. “But tell me. Why did you spite the Queen?”
I ignore her question. “You sacrificed another life for your own.”
Her temper flares, and the softness fades from her voice. Her words are sharp, like the crack of a whip. “Don’t you dare speak to me of sacrificing other’s lives! You don’t even realize what I’ve done for you. There are people in this world that could have killed you! Do what the Queen wants, and she could make you a prince. She could give you anything that you want. You don’t have to fight her. This, all of this,” she gestures at the chains, still holding my arms above my head, “wouldn’t be necessary if you’d just put aside your arrogance and behave.”
“Natalia,” I reply, forcing myself to use her name. “I hope that one day you will understand what the Queen has done to me. She has taken more than just my freedom.”
“It doesn’t have to be that way.”
“Doesn’t it, though?” I raise my eyebrows slightly. “She will never allow me to leave this palace. I am too valuable to her.”
She moves close, until she stands beside me. “I could help you. Just say you’re going to be good now. I’ll tell the Queen. We could get you out of this dungeon today.”
“Why do you care?”
She shrugs. “I care because I’m interested in you, Kane.” She says it so casually that the words almost don’t register to me. When they do, I laugh.
“Interested in me? If you cared at all- if you were interested at all- you would have stopped those other Devias. If you cared at all, I wouldn’t even be here!”
She just smiles. “I can’t disobey my orders, Kane. But I can feel however I want to feel. That’s something I choose for myself. And I’d be careful if I were you. As a Devia of the Queen, I’m very used to getting what I want.”
She turns and strides out of the cell, letting the door slam behind her. I hear a key turn, and I am locked in once again.
“Nice talking to you,” she adds. “Think about what I said.” Then she’s gone.