I awoke back in the iron cell. The drug had worn off, luckily, so I could think straight. However, strangely, I felt no pain, dizziness, or any other effects from Karnax’s magic.
I rolled over the side of the cot, sitting upright. I gingerly touched the side of my head, knowing that mental probes could usually cause massive pains in the head.
Fortunately, I felt no exploding pains, so I knew that I had not suffered any damage.
Incredible, I thought, that I recovered so quickly. I would have expected to still be dazed, but my mind is crystal clear again.
If I had had more time, I would have spent much longer thinking about my rapid recovery. But I brushed it away.
Until I remembered one small detail.
The brands. Those should have left burn marks across my arms. And the electricity had burned as well.
I rolled up my long sleeves, and found that my arms were untouched, unmarked. The material was undamaged. It was as if the interrogation had never happened.
There is some form of magic at work here. I thought. Then I reasoned, I cannot answer questions if I am dead, and I would imagine that Karnax intends to keep me undamaged so that it will be all the more painful.
I was very accepting of the entire thing. I knew that he would torture me again. And I accepted it. The only thing that I could do was prepare for it. I could not change anything around me, so all I would do was attempt resistance.
I sighed, dropping my head into my hands. I had not been afraid before. Even the machines of the Hâfléngs had held no fear for me.
But this was different.
Karnax was a dangerous Sivva, of high power, and black magic. He would not spare me because of value. He would torture me to death if he wished to. And he did wish to. The Hâfléngs might stop him… for a time… But they would step back if I refused to answer questions.
Then I knew that Karnax would kill me.
My only hope was in escape.
But how? My most powerful weapon was useless here, and I was probably a long ways underground, surrounded by Hâfléngs. How could I escape?
This is not the first time that I have had to rely on my natural cunning to escape a place. Even when my magic fails me, I still have my mind.
But can I even trust that anymore? I may not even be able to rely on my own instincts. Each thought I have may not even be my own.
I cursed. Things had been much simpler before magic was brought into the picture. There was no relic that could access my mind, but now that I had experienced Karnax’s mental probes… I doubted that I would be able to withstand that again.
No. I must stay strong. I cannot succumb to weakness so easily.
I sighed. Each day my life was at risk. But I could not allow them to win.
I must face them somehow. I do not know exactly how, but I know that there must be a way. I will find some way to escape, or at least find out what they are up to. I can’t fail.
I forced myself to stand. I would not sit idle. That could not be allowed. That would mean weakness. And wasted time. Time that I could spend preparing for an eventual escape.
Because I would escape. I had to. There was something large at work here. Something dangerous. Something that I had to warn the other Sivvas about.
If the Hâfléngs are in league with Karnax now, the Sivvas need to know this. It could be potentially dangerous. Even-
My eyes widened. The Hâfléngs must want Karnax to let them into Simar! And even to Shivax itself!
I paced in circles, amazed. That must be it! Karnax could possibly disable the boundaries that keep the Hâfléngs out. They could take over, catch the Sivvas off guard…
That’s it. I’ve been a fool this entire time! How could I not have realized this before?! It’s the perfect plan. Flawless. And they need me to know how ready they would be. The weaknesses. How to get in. Possibly even the spellwork of the border. Or how to unravel that. Ever since the border was placed, we have been taught how it was formed. That would have been after Karnax’s time. But I know. And that’s what he must want from me. Now it is even more critical that I hold my tongue!
My pacing grew more and more frantic. How? How can I stop them? What power do I have here, but as a prisoner?
I sighed, as my mind continued to whirl with possibilities. I am their information. The knowledge that could allow them victory. It is my job to stop them.
But what could I do? I may have been powerful, but I was only a Sivva of four years. Karnax had many more years of magic. I knew little, compared to him.
I will do what I can.
That thought was somehow calming. I could not change circumstances. I simply had to work with what I had. And somehow, that seemed to be encouraging because at least I had trained for situations where I could not control the circumstances at all.
I will find a way.
I sighed again, and sat back on the bed. Things were complicated, many times over.
I whirled, surprised, as the door rocked back on its hinges.
Something is wrong.
I knew it immediately; Karnax stormed in, cursing as he touched the iron.
“Sivva!” he barked.
“Yes?” I replied evenly.
“Do not bandy words with me, you fool girl!” Karnax snapped. He was beside me in an instant, and dragged me up and out of the room. The instant we had left the room, I pulled away from him.
Karnax’s eyes narrowed, and I doubled over, gasping, feeling as I had been struck in the chest.
Karnax was enraged as he invoked another spell.
My head exploded with pain as the magical attacks continued.
Desperately I thought, banish… Forming spells into understandable words made them easier to comprehend, and easier to focus on.
The magic that took my breath away dispersed, allowing me to breathe again.
Unknown to most, breathing was an important part of magic. It allowed for more focus, and therefore, improved spell casting.
I invoked a second spell, and Karnax staggered momentarily, as his second spell shattered. I pulled myself to my feet.
For a moment, I thought I had the upper hand. Then all of a sudden, he laughed.
“You fool! You believe that you could beat me?! I am a thousand times stronger than you!”
The air around me hummed with solid energy. I gritted my teeth, as I attempted to erect a defense of my own. But even as I attempted it, there was a howling noise and I lost focus. I was thrown backwards several feet down the hallway, slamming roughly into the ground.
Ah… I let out a soft gasp.
Karnax strode over to me. “Ha. Weak.”
I desperately attempted to heal myself with magic. But I could not think straight to even utter the words of magic.
Then there was a popping sound, and a group of figures appeared in a circle around me. Before I could ask what was going on, the world twisted around us into nothingness.