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She woke with a gasp, air rushing into her lungs, filling them to bursting as she choked back to life. The air surrounding her was cold, chilled. Night had fallen and the dark was filled with silence.
Her mind was fuzzy, blocked. Yet a knowing nudged at her mind, tickling the edges of her memory.
Sorenti’s eyes adjusted in the moonlight and she felt something dry and tacky upon her skin. She raised a hand in the lowering night. Dark stains marred her flesh, the white of her dress, the crown of flowers crushed at her feet.
Images flashed through her mind, hard and brutal, slamming back into her consciousness.
Her mother’s gown. Her father’s goodbye. Her sisters twisting her hair upon her head, Jarrah.
He killed her.
She looked down once more to the blood stained dress, then to the body of the priest in a pool of blood a short way off and back to the stains upon her hands.
He killed her.
I love you, he had said. Right before he slid the blade between her ribs and left her. Her fingers slid beneath the slit in the fabric, not a scratch remained from whence the blade had sunk into her flesh.
How? She was dead, he killed her. She remembered taking her last shuddering breath.
Sorenti gazed about, her eyes alighting on the shimmering blade.
Anger swelled in her chest and icy rage flooded her veins. Fury like she had never felt before boiled inside her as she snatched up the blade and got to her feet.
I love you.
She stalked through the streets having snatched a heavy cloak from a neighbours washing line, donning it to cover the blood-soaked dress, ignoring how the chill in her blood refused to fade.
Passing through the Merchant Quarter, Sorenti did not stop until she reached her destination.
She stared up at the grand manor, stretching across a vast expanse of manicured lawns.
There was a light in his window.
She blended into the darkness, silent, knowing all the secret ins and outs. In through the cellar and up through the kitchens. No one noticed her.
Being Jarrah’s dirty little secret had one upside.
She had become very good at being invisible in plain sight.
Not a soul noticed her steal into their young lord’s room.
She found him asleep on his bed. A bed they had lain in together.
How could he bare to sleep on their memories? How could he bare to sleep at all after what he had done?
Sorenti came to stand by the bed, standing over him, the blade twisting in her grip.
She’d always loved watching him sleep in the stolen moments before he woke to bid her goodbye. Now only rage consumed her.
She gripped the blade tight, a layer of frost spread out from her fingers, slowly encasing the hilt.
She ignored it.
“Get up.” Sorenti tore the blankets back.
He sat abruptly, blinking blearily through red and swollen eyes, the green and gold flecks dulled, lacking their usual gleam.
“Sorenti! How…” He crushed her to him. “Never mind. I care not. You are alive.” He buried his face in her hair, sobbing into her neck. Muffled apologies and whispered endearments that came too late and held meaning no longer.
Jarrah pulled back, surveying her face, tears streaming down his face. He brushed her tangled hair from her face. “I am sorry Sorenti.”
She felt nothing. Her mind and body completely void and numb.
Without feeling or mercy, she plunged the blade into his gut.
Jarrah’s eyes widened as he stumbled back, his hands going to his stomach. “Sorenti…”
She struck again, and again and again. Fresh blood coated her and pooled around him, soaking into his bed.
He lay choking, drowning in his own blood. The icy rage spread through her still, the chill on her skin and the ice in her blood a thing she could no longer ignore.
She was changing.
And she did not care.
She waited, watching while he took his last gurgled breath, dropped the knife and walk away.
She did not look back.
Jarrah woke, choking on the air suddenly filling his lungs and blinking rapidly at the ceiling. A nightmare, this past day and night had been a nightmare, a bad dream. Yet the wetness soaking his sheets told him otherwise.
He brought a shaking hand within his eye line. Blood coated his palms and fingers. His stomach roiled and he lurched forward, vomiting up the content of his stomach. Tears stung his eyes as he retched for several agonising moments before standing, his vision gone in one eye. His bare feet hot against the cool stone of the floor.
Had Sorenti carved his eye out after she was done watching the life choke from him?
Because he had died. That he knew for certain. Just as he knew, somehow, Sorenti has risen.
He moved to the mirror, swallowing down his fear and expecting to see an empty space where his eye should be, where it burned.
Jarrah braced his hands either side of the basin, taking in deep breaths. This was insanity, people did not rise from the dead. The calm that had settled in his bones unnerved him. Inhaling, Jarrah raised his face to the mirror.
Fear like no other gripped him tight and he stumbled back.
A raging inferno of red-gold flame burned within, an unholy flame and he knew the fire of the hell-pits had marked him, Tor had marked him.
“No, no, no, no, no.” back and back he stepped, his fingers clawing at his face, at the pit of flame within. Back and back until he collided with the floor to ceiling window of his room.
And crashed through it, still clawing at his own eyes.
He fell, his neck snapping and skull cracking as he hit the stone courtyard.
He awoke again –– his body surging back to life ––to the sounds of screaming and lying in a still warm pool of his own blood.