SCARS OF THE SEA / book two /// chapter 54 - cyrille
Posted August 6th, 2017 by Garrett
in a city drinking coffee
a/n: I'm actually being productive /knock on wood/ maybe i can finish this book before the end of the year??? we'll seeeee
| 54 |
Kailen had been in the hay-strewn, musty dungeon cell for four meals. Two a day, she figured. Breakfast and dinner. Well, what the guards considered meals. Scraps of the most leftover leftovers, the skin of a grilled chicken or the dried out crust of a stale slice of bread. That’s all she had to look forward to in the dank darkness. The guards didn’t speak to her. The Witchen guards. Her old friends. They’d come down the stairs, deliver her food, and not even shed a glance at her with their boiling red eyes. When Kailen saw those eyes her insides flared—as if she were revisiting the power the eyes of Saoirse had evoked in her.
Chill bumps rose on her arms just thinking about the memory. The overwhelming surge of fire—so strong she was sure if she hadn’t released it, it would’ve built up and exploded her from within, exploded the entire forest. Maybe even the castle. If a more powerful Witch had soaked in Saoirse’s energy like she had, Kailen wondered if Berea would even exist. Just a scorch mark in a desert, the final fragment of Raoul Hadar’s country turned to dust. Once again by the Witches.
“Witch,” a small voice hissed.
Kailen perked. Was it in her head? She hadn’t heard a voice in ages, stuck in the dark with her only company her own thoughts.
“You—yes you,” the voice said again. Kailen recognized it, remembered it. The small girl, the princess. Leon Hadar’s daughter. Kailen looked up for maybe the first time in days, her neck aching. A pair of green eyes peered through a small grate connecting the two cells. It wasn’t too high up, just low enough for the girl to see through.
“Cyrille, right?” Kailen asked, her own voice hoarse and foreign. Silence was normal now—the smallest sound like a earthquake in her ears.
“I suppose that’s my name,” the girl said. “I forget. The waves turn my thoughts.”
“Don’t you hear them?” Cyrille asked, her voice drifting as if she turned away. “They crash against the cliffs. The walls don’t forget.”
“Forget?” For the first time in days, Kailen stood. She stumbled to the wall, pressing her face into the grate connecting their cells. “Forget what?”
“These stones should be red,” the small princess murmured. “From all the blood that has painted them.”
Kailen kept quiet, let the girl speak.
“So much horror in this castle, in this city. All of Euanthe knows. Every grain of sand in the desert knows the songs of the silenced. The dead cannot tell for their mouths are sewn shut.”
“What would the dead tell if they could?”
Cyrille’s eyes, like a fresh blanket of moss, shot to Kailen. “What would any person tell?”
Kailen frowned and stepped back. “What do you know?”
A few moments of quiet passed, although Kailen felt as if she could hear Cyrille’s mind thinking. Not the words that passed through her head, but a current, a stream of murmurs. Maybe the girl’s head was one big river and the bits of thought she managed to snag in her net of words were what came out.
“I know of the sun and the wind and the snow. I know of the mountain, surrounded by trees. Trees as thick as a tapestry.”
Kailen kept urging her on, even though she had no clue what point the princess was trying to get to. “Which mountain?”
“The mountain. The mountain where he sleeps, where he’s slept for ages. He’s called out to me from his sleep. He’s spoken to me. Told me things.”
“Who has? Another prisoner? Do you have a visitor?”
Cyrille let out a rattly breath. “A visitor of my dreams.”
“What does he look like?”
Even through the small opening of bars, even through the dark, Kailen saw her shudder. It was not cold in the deep dungeons of Berea.
“I am afraid to look. After the first time I am scared.”
“What did you see the first time.”
“I do not want to say.”
“I promise it will be okay if you tell me,” Kailen said, softening her voice in a way she hadn’t done in years.
The girl seemed to ease. “Robes like night pouring off a skeletal figure. He is pale. He cannot speak. Cannot smell. Cannot hear. But he sees all with—”
Her voice broke, stopping as if someone had squeezed her throat shut. But her exhale told Kailen otherwise. Maybe she was crying. Were these hallucinations—these fever dreams so vivid that Cyrille had let them seep into her reality. Kailen considered the days she’d been stuck in this cell, feeling as if she were on the verge of going insane.
Six months. Cyrille had endured that for six entire months. If Kailen had done that she would be far past insane. Her only remains would be a bloody smear on the wall where she’d smashed her own head in.
Kailen’s skull ached just thinking about that.
“I can let you out if you want,” Cyrille said, her voice like a small drop in the pool of silence. Kailen perked up, wondering if she’d heard her right. “The Witch came by but left my cell door unlocked, drunk on her own power.”
“When? Why haven’t you left?” Kailen was already standing, edging toward the metal door.
“They forget to lock it turn of the clock almost. And I have not ran because I have nowhere to run to.”
Kailen considered Cyrille’s statement. There was nowhere for either of them to go. But Kailen had to get out.
Cyrille’s door squealed open, worrying Kailen that a Witch would hear the commotion and come down. No such thing happened. The tiny girl pattered out, her dress a stained plain thing, torn around her ankles to accommodate her short legs. Her golden hair bounced as she unlocked Kailen’s door. The keys were hung on a rack on the opposite wall. To tease the prisoners, apparently. Kailen didn’t find it humorous.
When the door opened, just a sliver of an opening, Kailen flew out, stumbling into the dark hall. Immediately she moved forward, following the torchlight out of the dungeons. When she came to a corner she turned. The princess was still lurking, halfway in her cell.
“You’re not coming?” Kailen asked.
“I have nowhere to go.”
“You can come with me. I’ll…” She hesitated. This girl was a murderer—an assassin. She was insane. Truly, Kailen didn’t want to stay around her any longer. “I’ll help you.”
The girl blinked once in consideration. “No.”
She decided not to force anything else out of the princess. Let her go insane. She deserved to slip into madness. The girl was an assassin—a murderer—and now she was a prisoner. A prisoner of this castle, and a prisoner of her own mind. Kailen nodded at her before she slipped around the corner and fled the dark depths of the dungeon.
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