See Part one here.
There was no time to worry about Kaya or her mother that day, or the next, or the next. Thirsty, she couldn’t but help drinking the metallic tasting drink. She could tell the first day that it was making her compliant. She fought anyway.
The first day was the hardest. She tried making fireballs and sticking them to her tormenters when they neared. They responded with fireballs of their own. Soon her arms and legs were covered with burns. What of her long, black hair they didn’t tear out, they finally shaved off. She had to endure the humiliation of her bowels releasing after so many hours on the table. They made especial remarks about that.
By day three she had to resist quietly, reserving her strength for that only. There had been no food at all and just the tainted water. She pulled strength from inside, strength she’d built up all of her childhood as a slave. She was quiet, obedient but still, despite the drugs, her thoughts were her own.
Day four, Iyunno came to see her. He stood at the end of the table, staring. She realized as his eyebrow twitched that she must be a sight. Ravaged head, arms and legs, blood stained hands and wrists and what skirt remained. Gaunt, she suspected, after no food.
She’d been using her magical sight since the beginning. In this lull, she realized that the fire was bending toward Iyunno. When she looked at Ceinno and Nethene, the same was happening with them to a lesser degree. Were they feeding on the energy of fire? Why hadn’t she seen that before?
“You’re not as pretty as you once were, neice.”
She didn’t answer. What was the point?
“My nephews seem to think you’re more compliant.” He stroked his chin, then shook his head. “No, you’re not. You’re waiting.” He sighed. “Much stronger than I thought.”
On either side of her the two elves began to object. Iyunno raised his hand to stop the protestations. “No. She’s still stronger than you.” He turned and left.
The day was particularly trying after that. When they finally left, Delia rested as best she could. Today’s terror was a beating by invisible forces from face to feet. Everything hurt even more than before. Hunger woke her after a while. They’d forgotten to take the torches! They were getting confident in her weakness.
Could she draw strength from the flame? She studied the flame nearest her. Would the protection field over her allow energy in like it did air? Delia did her best to push all thought of her pain away and concentrate on the fire. Feel it, she thought to herself. Look at it, coax it to you like a shy kitten. Delia trembled with the effort, but she could see a tiny arm of flame move toward her.
Come little flame, come. Don’t be shy. You and I will be great friends. It seemed to take forever but she shoved that kind of thought away and concentrated. “Come,” she whispered.
The barest thread of flame tickled the protection field. “Come,” she whispered again. In it flowed through the field’s mesh. It touched her arm, but it wasn’t hot. A warmth spread through her making her dizzy. The aches and pains began to ease away. Ribs she hadn’t realized were broken, eased and her breathing became easier. Stronger, she called more of the flame’s energy to her. When that torch burned out, she called on the next.
She could feel the space around her, as she grew stronger. It felt as though she was the owner of the universe. Delia moved her sight outside the walls of the dungeon. It was nearly daybreak. Servants in the castle were beginning to stir, making the fires in the kitchen, preparing food. Her sight ranged through the castle. She could see Ceinno, a human female huddled, naked at the foot of his bed. Nethene slept alone but in the corner, a wretch of a boy, wrapped in a ragged blanket, whimpered in his sleep. Iyunno was in a tower room, already up and at the window, staring out at the brightening eastern sky.
Kaya was in the dungeon, a quarter of the way around the castle, chained to a wall, asleep on a pile of straw.
As the last of the torches gave up the last of its power, Delia gave a heave and the protection spell broke along with the heavy leather straps holding her down. She surprised herself by stepping lightly from the table and to the door. They hadn’t bothered to put a protection spell on it, so she opened it and headed for Kaya.
Iyunno was sure to have felt her punch through the protection spell. She hurried along the corridor, more than surprised that there were no guards. Delia smiled. They’re mistake, she thought. She broke the spell on Kaya’s door and scurried across the dark room. Startled awake, Kaya cried out.
“Hush, it’s me.” Delia took the cuffs in her hands and at the elemental level, broke them from Kaya’s wrists. “Hurry, we don’t have much time.”
Kaya moved quickly, falling behind Delia. “How’d you escape? They told me you were done.”
“They’re mistake. Later though. Iyunno must already know we’re about.”
With her sight, Delia led the most direct route to the back of the castle where the servants already had doors open to the morning air.
She could hear Iyunno calling out. “They know. Hurry.”
Along the way, any torch she found she drained quickly, though they were few and far between. They burst into the kitchens. Servants ran out of the way, screaming.
Delia said, “Hurry, the black elves are on their way.”
“How…” Kaya started.
They ran out into a small courtyard. Delia spied the small gate to the outside, a sleepy elf standing guard. “Come!”
Thank You! Come back next week for Part 35.
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