02: capture

The dungeon of the Palace of Leil was dank and cold. One touch of the icy walls and the entire body would be paralyzed from the coldness. The air was like frost; breathing was harsh. Clink, clank, sounds of old, dirty cups being racked against iron bars. Loud, anguished screams of the lonely and ragged.

Khedi felt like throwing up at the terrible smell that attacked his senses; he tried his best not to gag and spit at the foulness of the dungeon. Along a particular area of the wall, deep scratch marks were indented. Tortured cries rang through the dark room, echoing off the walls like a haunting memory.

Torture chambers and dungeons. Khedi scowled — it just showed how cruel King Marl was.

Khedi's spinous gaze took everything in. At last, the guard that had his arm clasped tightly in his hand, led him into the main room, where the cells and their occupants were held. Khedi locked gazes with a particular man whose skin was practically hanging off his bones. His eyes had a sunken, dead look to them, while his lips were so thin they were almost transparent. A simple cloth covered him, but the visible skin was a sickly white which made Khedi's stomach churn unpleasantly.

"In 'ere, rebel," the guard roughly shoved Khedi into a cell beside the old man, spitting out the word "rebel" as if it was some sort of disease. Khedi gasped when he held his hands out to stop his fall; he cringed at the sharp pain that erupted from within his newly scraped hands. Just as he turned around, the guard slammed the barred door and locked it, then gave Khedi a false look of sympathy. Laughing quietly to himself, he turned and sauntered off, twirling the keys in his chubby fingers.

Khedi cursed under his breath and sat on the freezing floor, drawing his arms around himself for warmth. He glanced over at the man in the cell beside his and shivered — the man was looking right at him with eyes that told him there was no way out.

There was no way he was going to live to see the sun again.

"What are you in for?"

Khedi started and stared at the old man, puzzled. Had he just spoken? If so, he sounded rather... feminine.

"Over here, kid," the voice was coming from behind him. Awkwardly, he shifted around and met with a pair of gray eyes. A thin girl sat in the cage next to him, her gray, misty eyes glittering almost mischievously. Khedi was rather surprised at her — she didn't seem to be as broken as the others. Perhaps she was relatively new. She beckoned him to come closer, so he did. Her hair was dirty and unappealing, the coal blackness giving her a look of a dark being. She had on an almost maniacal grin, a grin that stated she knew something that the others didn't.

"What's your name?" she asked, gray eyes intent and strange. She reached out for Khedi, her thin but-not-yet-sickly-so hand grasping the air before him. Her fingernails were an unhealthy pale, matching her almost colorless skin. Obviously, the sun had not greeted her for some time.

"Khedi," Khedi replied. "And you?"

"Call me Sin."

Sin. . . a name to match her odd appearance; a name to perhaps blend in with why she was here, in the dungeons.

"You must be real young," Sin said, still attempting to grab at Khedi almost maliciously. "Real young. Let me touch you, Khedi. You're skin looks so healthy. It must feel like life."

Khedi uncertainly leaned into her touch. At the feel of her ice hold fingers, he cringed. He could almost imagine a frost collecting on his bare cheek, thawing his entire jaw.

"You are so warm, Khedi. So alive," Sin purred, an elegant glee forming around her words like moss on a tree, "Your skin. . . it crawls with a desire. My desire. The desire that calls me to it. Khedi, you are so full of passion and life. So vivid. Come closer," her fingernails gently raked down his jaw, "Let me feel your spirit."

Khedi was nervous, in the most severe yet hidden way. This girl, who looked around the age of fifteen, was clearly insane. Perhaps she had been in this dungeon far longer than she looked. Although she held an unhealthy aura, although her eyes, so hazy and bruised, showed a sign of death creeping upon her, she looked the most alive out of all the prisoners, except Khedi.

"That's... that's alright," Khedi awkwardly declined, attempting to shift away. Almost desperately, Sin clawed at his face as he retreated.

"No!" she gasped, "Let me feel your life. . . let me touch it. . ."

"You can't touch my life," Khedi said, his voice showing off just how ludicrous he thought this girl was.

"Please," she whimpered. "Just let me touch you. . ."

Khedi tried not to look too disgusted. He had to get out of here.

Sablet's scowl sent various people into pools of silence. Whenever someone approached him, his scowl would grow, and the person would practically flee from him with their tails between their legs. Sablet, brooding as he ran a rock along his slightly longer than what was a normal length for a dagger, was thinking about Khedi. His youngest brother; his pure clone. The sweet yet fiery boy who he loved more than anything.

Sablet pressed the rock against the blade, then jerked his hand forwards. At hearing the chiming sound as he slid the rock down as fast as he could, he felt a twinge in his stomach. A twinge of glee; of satisfaction; of pure insistency. He fell in love with the sound. Cling, cling, cling. The sound of his dagger's music. The dagger that would someday kill Marl.

Until then, this dagger would be his protection for when he went to the palace to capture the youngest princess. The spawn of his enemy. Standing up with such speed that dust went flying up with him, Sablet felt the strong urge to kill. Not just anyone, of course, but King Marl. He had to resist, however. He had only one job at the palace — to kidnap Princess Carmine.

He was going to have fun breaking her until he got Khedi back. He was going to make her wish her father had never captured Khedi. He was going to shatter her emotionally and physically, he was going to make her beg for him to kill her.

Sablet started. He had never known how ruthless he could get. It scared him.

Placing the dagger where it belonged, Sablet dropped the stone and stood in the middle of his room with a frown working its way upon his pale lips. He was surprised; slightly mild at the horrible feeling that crept within his veins. The thoughts that had entered his mind had nipped at him like a relentless kitten with a hidden gleam. He wanted to hurt Princess Carmine only because he knew King Marl would hurt Khedi, continuously, endlessly. . . until he got what he wanted.

He had grown up bitter under Marl's rule, and now he had the chance to infest his daughter.

Fingering the fabric along the dagger, Sablet walked out of his room and stopped in the hall to watch Talon in his study. Talon constantly worked hard to find plans to knock Marl from the throne so his son could take his place and rule properly. . . hopefully. For gold to keep food in the house, Talon would forge weapons. At the back of the study, a bright, lethally hot fire sprouted, while various blades sat on the ledge next to it, waited to be heated. The room smelled of burning iron.

Before Talon could recognize his presence, Sablet left his view and proceeded to the closet near the door leading out to the country. He opened the closet, earning a loud creaking protest from the door, and peered inside. Not bothering to light the candle within the room — he had just enough light from theevening shining in through the window in the hall behind him—he picked out an all black attire. He slipped the baggy set of thin pants on, glad that the fabric wasn't too clingy, for if he most likely were to sweat, the smell would not linger on his clothes. The shirt was also lagged, but he fixed this with a slender elastic made of fabric that hugged around his waist so that maneuvering was easier. Sheer black gloves covered his hands; they were exceptionally tight yet flexible.

Lastly, a full hood along with a face mask that left only his eyes uncovered so that he could see. He didn't bother to tuck his dark hair in his clothes — it would most likely blend in with his appearance anyways. He didn't quite care if anyone knew he was a rebel — hell, that was obvious. However, he did not wish for anyone to know his complete identity; at least, not yet. Khedi would be tortured more if Marl knew that Khedi's brother had kidnaped his daughter.

After closing up the closet and slipping some throwing knives into his smooth yet creased boots, Sablet was out the door. Evening bathed him in a dull blue with a soft wind that would surely pick up by nightfall. By the time midnight struck, Sablet would only just be arriving at the castle grounds — and that was only if he ran as fast as he could the entire way.

As soon as he left the fort's grounds at the peak of the forest, he picked up his pace until he was sprinting. His speed was nigh unmatchable; he had trained his body for physical tasks even as a child. Talon had been harsh, but it was only obvious that he did it out of love. Although Sablet knew he had been raised to assassinate Marl (like most of the rebels), he knew Talon still loved him. He regretted training his sons for such reasons, but now he couldn't take those years away, mainly because Sablet refused to step down.

He wanted to kill Marl as much as Talon. Now that he had the skills, he wouldn't back down.

As Sablet darted, the trees rushed by him like rushing water; the birds had ceased their chirping only so the owls could hoot their lonely songs. Ducking and jumping around branches and roots, Sablet's stamina was slowly diminishing. After he broke from the forest's lounge, he would bolt across a rocky terrain until he came to the smooth hills just outside of the Royal City, where the Palace of Leil resided. On the right side of the castle, sixth largest window down, Princess Carmine would be sleeping peacefully in her bedchambers, under piles of silk.

Carmine's elegant slippers made of the softest fur gently brushed against the marble floors of the halls. Following her father, along with her siblings, Carmine felt almost as if she were being pulled by an invisible string behind him, forced to follow. Her legs moved absently while conversation flew past her head like falling rain. Marissa and Marl were engaged in a discussion about how to torture the newest installment of the dungeons — Talon's youngest son, Khedi.

Slyd and Carmine stayed silent, pausing rarely to look at each other nearly uncertainly. Neither knew what to make out of the situation.

The four of them walked down to the dungeons, where the air grew frosty and lonely; a feeling of emptiness rested within the cold walls of the dungeon. The sun had never knew this place.

In the main room, King Marl turned to the cell where a young boy sat, shivering. Khedi sat, not looking at the royal family, but instead at the girl in the cell beside him. Carmine knew this girl, who was named Sin, only because she had had a personal encounter with her two months ago. Sin, once the daughter of a respected noble, had tried to poison Carmine's goblet because Carmine had caught the attention of a young man named Disic, who happened to be Sin's lover.

Even now, Carmine and Disic were on more than friendly terms. Often, they would flirt and take walks alone in the gardens. Occasionally, they would kiss and touch, but that was basically all. If Marl had found out, he would have been furious.

To Carmine, Disic was used more to quench her curiosity, for she did not love him. Disic had the same intentions for Carmine.

Tucking a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear, Carmine peered down at Khedi with a knot of pity in her stomach. The boy finally tore his gaze away from Sin and rested it on Marl. Carmine almost cringed — the pure hatred in the boy's eyes was enough to tell her that he had grown up as a bitter boy filled with complete hatred and rage. He seemed to be struggling to control his composure; his hands shook slightly. His eyes, green and harsh and burning, pierced into Marl intently; ferally. His teeth were clenched together tightly, eyes narrowed darkly behind messy black hair that fell over them.

"He is like a little beast, is he not?" King Marl commented loftily, a mocking tint to his normally dark voice.

Marissa smirked and folded her arms over the light blue fabric of her dress. "Perhaps, a wolf?"

Khedi let out a breath that trembled with unstableness. His amount of rage was unnatural for an eight-year-old. It was rather alarming.

Carmine turned away, unable to look in those fiery orbs any longer. "I'm going to bed," she said, then left them to taunt the prisoner. She knew he deserved to be locked in the cell, but that did not mean she had to watch him be tortured.

Back in the warmth of the hall, Carmine headed towards her rooms, her energy much more depleted than earlier. After seeing Khedi's anger, she had become shaken up, and now she was exhausted. She wanted to forget that she had even saw the boy. Rebels were savage and under intelligent; but to see an eight-year-old with the look of a rebel tittered at her.

It was upsetting.

"With eyes as raging as the disturbed sea in the midst of a storm, the prisoner, so influenced by darkness at such a young, passionate age. . ." she trailed off, shaking her head. She wasn't sure why she often spoke so strangely; perhaps it was a habit. She liked to analyze situations with poetic words, more so to inflict confusion. People often thought she was odd.

As she continued to walk to her chambers, she abruptly met up with Disic, who was just coming out of the library. His blond hair was wavy and tasteful, falling to his shoulders. His eyes were a bright, soft blue. He had a sweet yet mischievous smile; normally, this was the kind of man Carmine hated. Unfaithful, arrogant, charming, intelligent — but she happened to like Disic. And she still couldn't figure out why.

She had once said, "Lies and disloyalty are what I hold in low regard, while sweetness and honesty are what I hold in high regard." But yet, Disic ruined her logic.

"Princess Carmine," he said in his smooth, polished voice. He was the son of the Baron, giving him a high rank and a place in the palace. He held out his hand to Carmine. She took it with a smile and he pressed his lips to the back of her hand.

"We haven't spoken for such a long time," he said, straightening but not releasing Carmine's hand.

"I have been slightly busy. The rebels have been distracting me," she glanced at her slippers, feeling slightly embarrassed to be caught by Disic while wearing unfit clothes. She had decided to change into a soft dress that she often wore as a nightgown because it was so comfortable. Her hair was down and showing off its full length. She wore all her jewelry, however, for she hardly took them off, not even to sleep.

"Ah, yes," Disic let Carmine's hand fall, "Those rebels have become more. . . aggressive lately, have they not?"

Princess Carmine nodded, then said, "I had better be off to bed. I'm rather exhausted."

With a nod and a polite good-bye, Disic was off. Carmine entered her chambers and fell to her bed. She was glad the maids had already changed her and had taken out her hair; she was too tired to stay awake any longer. Cuddling into her bed, she closed her eyes and waited.

Opening her eyes fifteen minutes later, Carmine shifted so she was on her back and stared up at the ceiling, unable to sleep. Something worried her, yet she couldn't place what it was. She was unable to sleep; a feeling of anxiety prickled at her chest. The darkened ceiling suddenly looked menacing, as if it was threatening to close in on her.

She started when she heard a scratching sound. It was a sharp, alarming sound that made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Sitting up, she sucked in a breath and held it, scared. Perhaps she should jump out of bed and run. . .

Just as she was complempating this, the window flew open accompanied by the sound of the strong winds rushing into the room. Terrified, she peaked at the window, yet saw no one there. The black sky greeted her eyes; no stars could be seen. Navy clouds brushed over the moon; a full moon that almost mocked her. Heart beating, Carmine swung the lavender silk sheets off of herself and ran for the door. As she did this, she caught sight of something appearing in the window frame.

With a new burst of fear, she reached the door just as she heard footsteps racing towards her. Before she could pull the door open, the being — creature or human, Carmine wasn't sure — slammed into the door, closing it with it's weight. It ripped Carmine's hand off the door and locked it, then whirled around, giving Carmine a full look at it's appearance.

He was a human. Although Carmine could not tell whether he was a male or female, she assumed he was a male. He was cloaked entirely in black, even his face held over it a mask covering his nose and lips. Only a pair of green eyes greeted her. The same green eyes that Khedi shared.

Spooked, Carmine took a step away. "W-who are you?" she whispered; no time for a poetic speech about how terrified she was. The intruder took a step towards her; then, with speed like lightning, he snatched her wrist and pulled her towards him.

"Scream," he hissed, and now Carmine was aware of the cold feel of steel against her throat. "and I'll spill your blood all over this pretty little carpet of yours."

Carmine's breathing became more harsh and more hurried. Trembling, she backed up with the unknown man until they reached the window.

"Who are you?" she repeated as he glanced out the window, downwards. He placed his hand over the ledge, pulling out a rope.

"Call me what you wish," he grunted, "Call me the creator of leverage." He slid back, onto the windowsill, keeping the dagger to her throat. "Call me the creater of chaos. Call me Sablet, son of Talon. . . the one who will make you wish your father wasn't such a sick ruler."

"So you are a rebel?" she whispered.

"Yes, I am," he sighed, "Now shut your lips or I'll slice them off."

Carmine stiffened and obeyed. She felt the knife ease at her throat, and then an arm slipped around her waist. He was just as tense as she. Tightening his hold on her, he let himself slip down the ledge;also tighteninghishold of the rope. Carmine tried not to cry out in fear as he took her down with her; and slowly, with controlled strength but great difficulty, the rebel took her down to flat grounds.

Carmine knew exactly what was in store for her.

A/N: Thank-you: iglooey, trijinkijapan27, Drowning in Darkness, Essence of Reality, horror.