Filtered moonlight ran down the length of the room, casting the floors in an eerie silvery glow; making them seem to shimmer and ripple like a disturbed pond. At first glance, one could easily dismiss the room as plain. There was nothing seemingly distinguished about it; it was completely stripped of anything. Then as one took a much closer look, the entire room would lose its deceptive purity. Carvings decorated the whole of the walls, depicting what seemed to be various wars of primeval history. Upon closer inspection, however, one would notice the carvings were constantly changing; the moldings repeatedly flattening out or rising in little bumps to form gruesome images. Some said it showed you your greatest fear; others said it simply drove you mad.

A figured swathed in crimson robes stood before the east section of the wall, seemingly unfazed by the clay terror which lay beyond her. She lifted a hand; finger poised, and gently brushed it along the length of the wall. Loud screams persued as the wall changed to form the image of twitching people, all engulfed in flames, all crawling and trampling over each other. The figure emitted a low, throaty laugh.

"Bellencia," A small voice squeaked. The laughter immediately died out, replaced by a sharp snarl. Vree remained motionless, her hand still clutching the crimson robes. Only the sudden paleness of her face exposed her fear.

"What?" The figure ripped her hood back. Her hair immediately cascaded out from the folds, gently gliding well below her ankles as it piled in a small, glossy heap on the floor.

Vree stiffened, quietly letting her hand drop to her sides. "I have … news."

"Speak and hurry out of my quarters," Bellencia snapped, slowly turning away from the wall. The screaming immediately quietened, as if comforted by the leave of her eyes.

Vree nodded and took a nervous gulp. "It's about the boy."

"Putrid-hearted one," Bellencia growled threateningly. Vree immediately took a step back, her curls bouncing. Valencia could see smoky red tendrils form, slowly weaving themselves into the girl's mind. Vree let out a small whimper, sensing the sudden intrusion. "Spit your filth out, you wrench, or would you rather –" Vree gasped noticeably, eyes widening as the tendrils constricted around her mind. Valencia smiled, licking her lips. "— Would you rather I teach you how?"

"Dominus," Vree gasped. "Please, leave my mind. The – the thoughts."

Grudgingly, Valencia removed the tendrils of her power from the girl's mind, allowing them to hover just at the edges – a small reminder wouldn't hurt. Vree relaxed slightly, the anxiety in her eyes momentarily gone.

"The boy," Vree continued, flinching at a flick from Valencia's wrists. "The Maiesta, the one that escaped."

"Escaped?" Bellencia hissed, tendrils immediately plunging themselves back into Vree's mind. "He was dead."

"D – Dominus," Vree wailed, clutching the sides of her head. "We thought he was –"

"Thought? You filth of the ground, you should've known."

"He looked dead!" The girl was screaming now. "The stranger – his fault."

"I thought," Bellencia twirled her fingers together, watching the vines compress tightly. "This Stranger, as you call him, was completely harmless. I thought that he was a blind fool."

"He is, he is! We think – we think –" Vree let out a cry, hands desperately shielding her eyes from her mental torment. The walls echoed her screams. "We think he rescued Maeista."

"How?" Bellencia crouched down, grabbing Vree's curls in her fist. They tumbled around her enclosed fist, looking oddly like the top of a carrot.

"We don't know," Vree whimpered. "Dominus, please."

Bellencia spat at her before roughly yanking her up by the hair. "Was Maiesta a success?"

Vree simply moaned, letting herself be fully supported by Valencia's grip on her hair. Valencia unwillingly forced the twines of red smoke to edge farther away. The distress progressively left Vree, her body slowly relaxing into something akin to normality again.

"He's strong. He bypassed Nacruse and Ruben," Vree panted, nervously fingering the ends of her dress. "He and the blind one, and an apprentice we believed to be a failed captive."

"Another failed captive?" Bellencia's voice dropped into a dangerous whisper.

"Dominus," Vree sobbed. "It wasn't mine – it was Ruben's."

"Ruben," Bellencia spat, letting go of Vree's curls. Vree's head made a low thump against the floor before she scurried to sit upright. "Is an ancient. Respect him."

Vree bit her lip, wanting to further strengthen her accusation. Finally, thinking better of it, she succumbed and made a low bow, her lips grazing the hem of Bellencia's robes. Bellencia immediately recoiled, elegantly sweeping her robes away. She turned back to face her wall, which had remained oddly quiet throughout the remainder of the conversation.

"Filth, do not touch me," She snarled. "Listen closely, for should you moronic simpletons fail to achieve such a simple task as this …" Bellencia let her tendrils roam the expanse of Vree's mind. The girl shuddered. "I want you to hunt them down, all three of them, and bring them back here."

"They will most likely go to either Ammu or Destria, I have a feeling the blind one knows more than we should be comfortable with. Send a party of twenty to follow the roads until they branch out, then separate. Half will take Ammu, the other, Destria, and they will survey the areas until backup is made."

"Am I clear, idiot?" Bellencia murmured. Vree nodded as she picked up her skirts.

"Dominus, thank you."

"Leave." Bellencia ordered, but Vree had already scurried out the door.

Sighing, she turned to face her wall. The screams renewed themselves without delay, followed by the recurring images of burning bodies. However, this time there was only one face on the dozen of burning bodies – Maiesta.