I twitched at the faint sound of footsteps in the distance. I quickly shoved the blanket under the rock hard mattress and threw myself on top of it. The footsteps got louder until they stopped in front of my cell. The door flew open and the guard peered down at me. My breath caught in my throat as he stood there. Then, he removed his helmet and I sighed in relief.
“You shouldn’t act relieved to see me.” Kade mumbled, closing the door behind him as he entered. He took a spot next to me on the bed.
“Sorry, I had an unpleasant interaction with Raj earlier so honestly I’m just really glad you’re not him,” I grimaced.
Kade’s head snapped in my direction, looking me up and down checking for any wounds or injuries. He wouldn’t be able to see my bruised ribs under my oversized, dirty white tee.
“I’m fine,” I said quietly.
“Well, what did you do to **** him off?” Kade questioned accusingly.
“Nothing much,” I said. “I was hungry and he wouldn’t give me my **** food.” He rolled his eyes.
“Here,” Kade pulled something small from his coat pocket. He handed me a small piece of bread, which was surprisingly still warm. My mouth watered at the sight.
I snatched it from his hands and basically swallowed it whole.
“You really should be a little more careful with how you interact with other guards.” Kade said.
“I can’t help it.” I replied.
“I know, that’s the problem.”
“Enough about it, what’s the status? Are we closer to getting out of here?” I asked.
“Well, the Bloodrei will be leaving to oversee a project in the North sometime next week. That seems to be our best opportunity. There will be less guards since he will be taking his personal division with him plus a few of the Council.”
“Sounds good,” I say.
I stood up to stretch, momentarily forgetting my sore ribs.
I gasped and bent over in pain trying to recover my breath.
Kade was up in an instant, his eyes narrowing on me. “I thought you said you were fine?!” He growled. “You can’t get injured now, we’re close to getting out of here and you have to be able to run and fight.” His words were callous but his hands were gentle as he lifted the shirt up over my stomach. Now, his green eyes grew large as he took in the nasty bruising already settled into my pale skin. I snatched it down and rolled my eyes at him. It’s not like I wasn’t used to this already.
“I’ll bring you some medicine the next break I get.”
“Don’t be stupid,” I scoffed. “They’ll get suspicious. Don’t come back for at least two days.” Kade wanted to argue but put his hands up in resignation. “Okay. I’ll be going now.”
I didn’t mean for my tone to be as harsh as it was. He couldn’t take any more risks though. If anyone started paying too much attention we would be dead.
He left without another word and I yanked the blanket Kade gave me weeks ago out from under the mattress. I hate that this still smells like him… but I breathed the scent in deep and drifted to sleep all while cursing the man I trusted to help me escape.
The next morning, I was woken up to shouting.
“Get up!” Someone yelled.
I was on my feet, eyes still adjusting to the room. I held up my arms expecting to be searched as usual.
“She’s the one with the mark?” Someone sneered.
I blinked trying to understand what was going on. Then it hit me. It was him. It was the Bloodrei himself. In my cell. I stared up at him. He was tall and strangely thin, with long black hair pulled into a bun. Loose strands framed his pointed face. He wore a red cape around his neck. His black suit is adorned with various red rubies and jewels. His eyes were dark and sinister as he studied me.
I had never hated a man as much as him. He took everything from me and continued to hold me prisoner here. I secretly hated that Kade and I would have to escape while he was gone. I truly wanted to slit his throat and watch him choke on his own blood before I left.
“Show me her mark.” He commanded. Two of his guards came forward to hold me on display for their leader. Anger seethed through me but I did not fight. I must choose my battles carefully. They turn me around and pull the shoulder of my white sack to the side showing the Bloodrei a red X the size of an apple on my shoulder.
I felt something cold and thin touch my shoulder. I shivered, realizing the Bloodrei was touching my bare skin with his bony, sharp fingers. He traced the X a couple of times and had the guards spin me around. He was close enough I could smell his breath.
“You’re special, little Bina. No one else has the red Mark of Stanis.” He said.
“It’s Sabine.” I say pointedly. “Only people I like get the pleasure to call me Bina.” The words came out before I had time to think. So much for choosing my battles. Instead of a smack in the face as I expected, The Bloodrei smiled at me.
“My guards do tell me you have a sharp tongue. Best be careful. You say the wrong thing to me and I will cut it out completely. I don’t need you to be able to speak to devour your powers when they appear.”
“Devour my powers? What?” My face twisted in confusion and astonishment as I tried to determine if I was completely wrong about why I was being kept here.
“Anything is possible, Little Bina.” As he turned to leave he signaled for his guards to release me. They filed out of the room behind him and slammed the thick wooden door shut, locking it behind them.
I was still standing in the same place when Kade barged in moments later.
“What happened? What are you doing?”
I didn’t respond, still too afraid to think that what the Bloodrei had said could be real. Not that my powers are anything special, but, can he take it for himself?
“Sabine?” Kade hesitated standing a few feet away. “I know you said not to come back but I was a bit… worried when I noticed the Bloodrei and his guards leaving your cell. I thought they had found out our plan.”
“He has found a way to seize my powers, whenever they manifest, and absorb them.” I finally say.
Kade steps back, surprised.
“I’m sorry, what?” He looks at me incredulously.
“I don’t know how but he can. I’m not just being held prisoner. Once I’m activated he plans to take my power. He said I have the Mark of Stanis.”
“I’ve never heard of that,” Kade replied.
“Let me do some digging. I’m sure I can find something in the library.”
“You’re going to get caught and ruin everything.” I said.
“You don’t have any other choice. You can’t leave this room. Face it Bina, I’m your only hope right now.”
I glare at him, knowing he’s one hundred percent right. “My name is Sabine.”
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