Fabienne S. pressed her back against the cold marble pillar, forcing herself to breathe calmly and quietly. Her pulse was about twice it's usual speed, but she was slowly forcing it back to normal.
Her options were few. She could try to fight, but she didn't sense any metal she could use. There was the silent tug of an ore deposit to her left, just out of manipulating range, but there was no way she could get close enough to snag it for armor or weapons.
Anyway, what chance would she have against an infamous sorcerer who had cheated death? Any young magelet with half an education knew that Mevolent had been killed in the war, and yet here he was. There was no doubt about that. Even if someone dared usurp his name, she doubted that Serpine's own daughter would follow a fake.
Fabi looked at Death Rose with a strange expression on her face. The two were good friends, in peacetime. Now though, Fabi wasn't sure. Death was on Mevolent's side, through and through. Mevolent gestured to her and a man with a twisted face, and said that they were generals. Death pumped her fist in the air and grinned, as though she was eager to go out and kill. Fabi just watched.
Nice situation you've gotten yourself into, she thought, mentally cursing herself. You were supposed to just come and find nothing here, the rumors weren't supposed to be true!
An anonymous tip had told her that Mevolent's army was making its headquarters here, in the hidden castle, but Fabi hadn't taken it seriously. After all, Mevolent was dead, or supposed to be. She frowned at him, giving his allies a pep talk of sorts. He didn't look like a zombie, nor did he smell like one. How then, was he standing there?
"It would be best to start with the Sanctuary," Mevolent was now telling his army of villains. "Not just a Sanctuary, but all of them simaltaneously!" A roar of applause that made the entire room shake.
Fabi grimaced. Although she wasn't on particularly good terms with the Sanctuary itself (some of the minor officials were unnerved by the complexity of her traps), almost all of her friends worked there. The various methods Mevolent suggested for destroying Sanctuaries were all massively destructive, not the type of plan that left any survivors.
Fabi tried to pay attention, she really did, but within a few seconds she couldn't remember which Sanctuary Mevolent was going to swallow with a giant crevasse, which was going to be exploded, which was going to be the red herring, an intentional failure to make people think that one Sanctuary was still safe. Instead Fabi found herself wondering how effective it would be if she bent her sword into an atlatl and jumped out from the pillar projecting long, pointed darts.
Not very, she decided. There were too many of them, the villains, some faces Fabi recognized from the Sanctuary.
"God, he's got moles! The two-faced, double-crossing louts! The lily-livered maggots! The beetle-brained barley-breathed fustilarians! The knavish..." Fabi trailed off, realizing that she'd spoken out loud. She saw a motion out of the corner of her right eye, and before she could so much as brandish her sword, she was pinned to the wall by two burly thugs. She heard a clatter, her sword hitting the tiled floor.
Mevolent himself strode over, picked up her fallen sword and positioned it with the point inches from Fabi's throat. "Yes, isn't it horrible?" he asked, a bland expression on his face. "Sadly for you, you're about to become one."