Thief of Bone and Blood

Something important has been stolen from Kara. Something she desperately needs to get back. Now she must travel to the Realm of Monsters, and pray that she makes it out alive.

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4. Chapter 3

They were seated on opposite sides of the room, neither one willing to sleep while the other was awake, despite dawn only being hours away. But sleep was calling Kara, demanding that she give in to her exhaustion. She hadn’t slept in three days, and she knew she wouldn’t last much longer.
“What’s up with you?”
She met Fyn’s golden orbs, their unnatural hue sending a sense of unease skittering through her body. To the untrained eye, Fyn would appear completely at ease. But Kara knew better. She could tell that just under the surface, he was completely tense, ready to defend himself in an instant should she become a threat. And she knew he had the power to put up quite a fight. Ignoring her uneasiness, she flashed him a smile. “What do you mean exactly?”
He gestured to her whole body. “You look like you’re about to pass out, and yet you refuse to sleep. Why? I’m not going to try anything if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Sleep. The word stuck in her mind, swelling and shrinking with every breath. What she wouldn’t give to just sleep? She shook the thoughts away. “I could say the same about you. You’re not exactly in the land of dreams either, pal.”
He sighed and got up, making his way towards the door that would lead to the kitchen. At the last moment he stopped and looked back at her. “Do you want a drink?” The moment she shook her head he was gone, and the room suddenly felt empty without him.

She loosed a long breath. Her eyes were burning with the effort it was taking to keep them open. She knew she had to sleep. When the Order came to take back the Amulet, and they would come, there was no way she’d able to defend herself in this state.
Her hand came up and wrapped around the Amulet at her neck, her fingers tracing over the curves of the intricate carving. It pulsed slightly under her fingers, it’s beat in match with her heart.
Please protect me. She willed the Amulet to understand; prayed that for once the command would follow her once she’d fallen under, and not abandon her the second her mind was no longer active.
But that was a fool’s wish.
She closed her eyes. And her soul wandered.

***

The whiskey burned Fyn’s throat, and he grimaced slightly. He didn’t want to return to that room. His muscles ached from being tensed for the past few hours, and his mind felt heavy with the questions he wanted to ask and knew wouldn’t be answered.
What the hell had this girl gotten herself into? No mortal in their right mind would willingly go to Cotronus, and yet here she was, demanding he take her.
“What possible reason could you have to want to go to the Realm of Monsters?”
“Because something has been stolen from me, and I need to get it back.”
He frowned as he recalled her words. Something had been stolen from her? But what? What was important enough to risk her life to get back?
He groaned in frustration. All of these questions were driving him insane. He had half a mind to go back in there and demand that she tell him everything, but he knew he’d only be met with that infuriating smirk. Gods, she could get under his skin so easily.
Drawing on his power, he once again dipped into her mind.
And met a wall.

“What the hell?” Fyn was back in the room and crouched before her in an instant. She was passed out in her chair, her eyes closed, looking for all the world as though she were just sleeping. Except she wasn’t breathing.
He grabbed her wrist, feeling for a pulse, refusing to believe that she’d somehow managed to die in the time it took him to get a drink. The answering throb of her heartbeat gave him momentary relief, and then new questions assaulted him. What was happening? How could she not be breathing, but not be dead?
Grabbing her shoulders, he shook her. She was limp, her head tossing back and forth with the motion. Letting go, he tried to enter her mind once more, only to again be met with that wall of darkness. He tried pushing against it, willing it to budge even a little, but it was impenetrable.
“Kara? Can you hear me?”
His power alerted him to a change a second before her arms began gushing blood.

***

Kara’s eyes flew open and she gulped air, her lungs desperate to be filled. She looked down and her vision swam as she took in the blood staining her and the chair she sat in. Drawing on the Amulet’s power, she willed the wounds on her arms to heal, tears streaming down her cheeks at the pain that spiked through her and her skin knit itself back together.
There were seven deep cuts sliced up both of her arms, and she didn’t have the energy to heal them completely. Once they’d healed to less threatening depths, she stopped, her head throbbing from the effort of using the Amulet’s power.

She closed her eyes for a moment, desperately trying to regulate her breathing. When she finally opened them again, Fyn was centimetres from her, his eyes boring into hers.  
She swallowed nervously as he reached forward and gently took one of her arms, pulling back her blood-soaked sleeve to reveal the mess of her forearm underneath.
Fyn’s eyes were pained as he studied the cuts, still emitting small trickles of blood. He swallowed, and his words were quiet when he spoke. “What in Hellsia’s name was that?”
Kara was frozen. No one had ever been with her when she left her body. No one else had ever witnessed the horror of what happened to her the moment she fell asleep.
She opened her mouth, her mind straining to find an excuse, and coming up empty. What excuse could she possibly give? She let out a humourless laugh. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
His finger lightly traced one of the cuts and she winced, pulling back slightly. Fyn frowned up at her. “Why haven’t you healed them completely?”
“I’m too weak, okay?” She didn’t even attempt to conceal her bitterness.

There was a moment of silence, where Fyn studied her once more. She could almost see his brain spinning over with all the questions he must be harbouring.
“Pull back your other sleeve.”
His words took a moment to get through to her. “What? Why?”
He motioned for her to do as he said. “I can help you.”
Her bloody sleeve felt heavy as she pulled it up, revealing another crimson-stained arm. As with the others, the partly healed cuts were dotted with beads of blood, stinging as they met the fresh air.
After flashing her a reassuring smile, Fyn took both of her hands in his. The Amulet sensed his power a just before the shadows began twining their way up her arms.

She watched in awe as the shadows wove themselves together, forming semi-translucent bandages, until both her arms were fully encased.
He let go and she studied what he’d done. She ran her fingers over one of them, and a small gasp escaped her; it felt like there was nothing there. She would be able to maneuver as easily as if they were uncovered.
“I couldn’t heal them completely. My powers just don’t work that way. But the shadows will speed up the healing process.”
“Thank you.” The words weren’t enough, but they were all she had. No one had shown her kindness in a long time.
He flashed her a playful smile and gestured to the Amulet around her neck. “Well, I’ve got to protect my investment.”

She let out a small laugh, and then her entire body stilled. The Amulet sent a warning pulse through her, suddenly alerting her to danger, and Fyn’s head whipped round. Both of them were on their feet a second before the explosion rocked the building.     

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