Zafira was quiet. The shackles dug into her skin. She hated them and she was angered. Javier stayed close to her. Both heard the footsteps. Zafira started hyperventilating. Javier glared out the bars
"Who's there?" He growled.
"Grand Mage," I said with mock awe, "And I'm sure know who I am. I daresay I made an impression. Fancy seeing you here. I would say I'm surprised, only, you're a heathen. This is what you deserve. And Javier! How convenient. I heard you were looking to kill me." My smile faded. I fought back a wince, and took one small step backward, refusing to let the pain show. My eyes grew heavy for just a moment, and I told the pair, with sincerity, "I really wish you hadn't come here. If you make it out alive, and no, I won't kill you- not now, anyway, don't come back. Survive. Your job is to lead, inspire- not fight on the front lines. And make sure you look out for each other."
Then the sensitive was back in my head, dropping my true name so casually, as if it wasn't about to destroy us all. Don't falter, the nameless voice commanded, you know what they are. Make them fear you. Make them rue the day they turned their back on the gods. A broad, malicious grin spread itself across my face. "On the other hand, I don't think you'll be fit to lead by the time you leave here. I think you'll either join us and live, or die. And in the meantime I'll give you something to think about, shall I?"
Zafira glanced up at Niccolo the fear in her eyes. Javier wrapped an arm around her and looked Niccolo in the eyes. As Niccolo spoke Javier felt some type of pity. Then he spoke,
"Niccolo don't hurt us then. We want to help you." Zafira nodded giving Niccolo a pleading look,
"Niccolo." She said, "What is the point in hurting me? You did damage far worse then ever. But if you have to then do what you want." She bowed her head. Javier kissed her cheek and then looked back at Niccolo
"Do what my wife wants then. It must make you proud to have Grand Mage Kerias at your mercy. An honor I daresay." He said sarcastically.
I smirked at their offer of 'help'. As if I was the one who needed help. "Oh, I would be proud, if she wasn't so pathetically weak. I do hope she isn't the only one shackled because she's more dangerous than you are, because that would mean there aren't even words for how weak you are. And the way you agree with whatever she says? What, you let your own wife control you? That's low, even for a nonbeliever." With a gust of air I pushed the two away from each other and kept them pinned against opposite walls. Sure, the cells were anit-magic, but I could deal all the damage I needed without ever venturing in. I smiled even wider, knowing I was taking exactly the right course of action. "Now you get to watch each others' pain."
Zafira screamed a curse at Niccolo.
"What the hell?!" She screeched. Javier stared at her from his wall.
"Hurt me not her." Javier told him. He looked determined to not have her suffer the most. If he wore Niccolo down he wouldnt hurt Zaf as much. Zafira kept glaring at Niccolo.
"Don't worry, I won't get worn out," I assured the two, reading Javier's thoughts, "But if you're so insistent, I think I'll start with her." I tossed a knife into the cell and elevated it with air, leaving it suspended in the air in the center of the cell. Then I moved it, slowly, right up to Zafria's face, and made three long scratches ever-so-gently in her right cheek. They were superficial wounds, mainly meant to strike fear in the pair and gauge their reactions.
Javier screamed seeing his wife hurt. Zafira's cry was high pitched. She tried to flinch but the air forced her to stay put. Zafira smiled sadistically
"Niccolo so scared he won't come near me!" She laughed. She lost it.
My grin spread even wider. "Is that what you call logic?" I laughed even louder. "Trust me, if I was afraid of you, you would be dead. And if three little scratches like that hurt you..." I let my voice trail off, trusting that the knife could speak for itself. I let the tip linger, just barely touching Zafria's shoulder, and then slowly let it sink in, deeper and deeper, until only the handle was visible. Then I twisted it in one swift movement, and then twisted it the other way before pulling it out and wiping it on her hair.
Zafira screamed as it entered and she closed her eyes. I survived him once I can do it again. She thought. She stuck her tongue out at him laughing even though pain was in her voice,
"Come and have a go-oh right baby Niccolo wont even dare come near me!" She laughed more. Javier stared at his wife. She was mental but this was funny. He smiled and felt content she would survive.
"And now you don't care about pain? Hm. As long as you both survive, is that right? Fine. And no, I'm not coming near you. Obviously, it's just what you want me to do, and there's no reason for me to. Make fun of me all you want." Then I raised the knife higher so only Javier could see, pointed it down, and drove it down into her skull, my eyes gleaming more and more as the light left hers.
Zafira screamed until she didn't see anything else. Javier watched in horror. He stared speechless as he saw the light dim from Zafira's eyes. He screamed a half fright half grief cry and was crying. He couldn't believe his eyes
"What did you do to her?!" He screeched. Javier looked desperate to see some form of life in his wife.
"I've killed her. Simple as that. She's gone. Doesn't that just tear you to pieces?" I taunted, a tremor of excitement rippling through my voice. "Now, watch this," I continued, and forced Zafria's soul back into her body. But I hadn't healed her, so she just died again. And again. And again. And I just couldn't stop laughing.
Javier just kept screaming staring at the whole thing as if he was in a nightmare.
"Let Zaf live!" He pleaded fear evident. He looked ready to flip if he could. He couldn't take it seeing her die. He just wanted to see her smiling face again holding her in his arms, alive.
Javier screamed and begged to no end, but I just couldn't stop laughing. It's so pathetic. All of this, and he just wants her alive... Wow. I just can't even believe that he.... I...
Niccolo! A familiar somehow reaches my mind, and the illusion shatters like a broken mirror, each piece falling away one by one, revealing a jagged but ever-present image of the truth.
Aretha. But how on Earth had she...? Javier's scream sliced the air, distracting me. And all of a sudden I realized what I had been doing. Oh God... What the Hell is wrong with me? And then I was picking the lock on the cell, dragging Zafria out, and healing her as quickly as I could, rushing to beat that fanatical haze, terrified that it might catch up with me.
Once all her wounds had sealed up and her brain cells had fully regenerated, I brought her back into her body, and for once she actually stayed breathing. I released Javier from his invisible prison and Zafria from her handcuffs. "Run," I told them both, my voice dark and serious. "Run far, far away, and if you care for each other at all, don't come back."
Javier stared at Niccolo in shock. He watched him take Zafira and when she was awake he breathed a sigh of relief. As Niccolo freed him Javier knelt by Zafira.
"I will run. I swear Niccolo I...I can see what happened." Javier helped Zafira up.
"Shadow walk." He told her. She nodded but turned to Niccolo first.
"If I ever find your true name out I swear I'll help you, Niccolo. I promise." She closed her eyes and focused on somewhere in Ireland. Roarhaven. She shadow-walked to Roarhaven and then Javier and Zafira kissed. Passionate.
The moment they left I began searching for Aretha's mind. I would not allow myself to contemplate what I had done. I would not allow myself to recall that even after that, they had offered to help me. I would not allow myself to dwell on the fact that I was far beyond helping. I found Aretha- God knows how she got to Ireland- and teleported.