Slumber Page 24

Realising we were really, truly going to be taken I began to fight again in earnest, taking pleasure in the yelp of pain I produced when I bit what I assumed was an ear through the hood over my head.

“Blood ‘ell! Prick her!”

A sharp, short pain flared in my arm and I cried out. Heat rushed up my arm at a dizzying speed and flooded my brain in a gush of warmth and bright colours. The colours burst like fireworks in the night sky until they faded, leaving only a numbing darkness.

Chapter Eleven

A shaft of light shot up under my eyelids causing a sharp pain to ricochet through my head, eliciting a small moan through my dry lips.

“Rogan?” A familiar voice asked.

I jolted at the voice and then groaned, peeling my eyes open. I turned my head and winced at the cold stone beneath it. A tiny window was the source of the annoying light in another wise dank, cold cellar. I scrambled quickly to a sitting position, grit and dirt pinching my hands. Panic set in as I found Wolfe sitting near me, looking tired and pale; his eyes searching.

“Are you alright?” He asked softly.

I shook my head, trying to get my bearings as I looked around the large room with the low ceiling that had nothing in it but us and a changing screen in the corner. A door made of thick metal bars stood at one end. I felt like I was in a dream. I couldn’t remember how I had gotten here. Flashes of images, of unfamiliar faces, swept through me. I remembered being jostled. And someone trying to feed me. And dreams. I felt like I had been dreaming forever.

“Where are we?” I croaked. My throat felt like it hadn’t been used in a while.

Wolfe sighed and pushed a cup of water to me. I gulped it thirstily.

“Do you remember being taken in the market at Ryl?”

Instant fear shot through my body and I trembled, dropping the cup. “Where are we?” I whispered, searching frantically about now. I could still feel that clammy, dirty hand over my mouth, those hands on my body as they tried to restrain me. “You were the one that followed me?”

He nodded gravely. “We’ve been kidnapped by the Iavii.”

My jaw dropped. That was the last thing I had been expecting. Although, to be honest, I didn’t know what I’d been expecting. The last time I’d been kidnapped it was for my power and I had just assumed this was the same situation. Maybe not. “Those gypsies from Alvernia that have been causing havoc in Javinia?”

“The very ones.” He grimaced. “They drugged us. We’re in Javinia, but we’ve only been out for a few days I think, which means we must be near the border.”

My heart thudded in my chest and I felt sick. “A few days. At the mercy of those people?”

Wolfe’s jaw clenched and he turned away from me in frustration. “Well you would have to defy orders and take off on your own somewhere.”

Heat, angry heat, shot through me, waking me up. “Oh it didn’t take long for the lecture to start, did it, Stovia?!”

“I’m not the one that got us into this mess,” he hissed, gesturing around at the cell. “They have a Dravilec, Rogan. And they’re well-armed and can fight. God knows what else they’ve got!”

“A Dravilec?” I was momentarily thrown by the fact that gypsies would have a mage amongst them, considering there were so few left.

“Yes. The healer took the effects of the drugs away so we would wake up. I was then promptly told who they were and what they wanted with us.”

Feeling belittled and guilty I mumbled fearfully, “What do they want with us?”

He laughed humourlessly. “They find themselves fortunate enough to have in their hands the Handmaiden of Phaedra and the Captain of the Royal Guard. We’re bargaining chips, my Lady. They’re going to hold our safety ransom in exchange for land from Markiza Raven.”

I scoffed at the ridiculousness of it. “Are they idiots?” I made a face. “Even if they managed some temporary agreement with Novia, once we’re free we’ll just send in the entire Guard to arrest them for what they’ve done.”

Wolfe shook his head. “Not if they keep us hostage for a while. They know how much the Princezna cares about you.”

An awful understanding dawned. “You mean… they mean to keep us here… indefinitely?”

“That would be my guess.” He nodded. “They’ll promise to look after us, keep us alive. But they won’t hand us over until they’re certain of their position. If ever.”

Acid curdled in my stomach and I dragged myself along the floor so I could lean my head against the wall. The tight, fearful knot that had begun to grow in my chest since we learned of the growing crime in Phaedra enlarged painfully. “This is because of Haydyn… isn’t it? Because her power is waning?”

Wolfe sighed and followed my lead, leaning back against the wall, his light eyes hard as flint. I looked away, unnerved by him when he had that focused, ruthless look in his eye. “Yes. It is,” he replied finally.

“We have to get out of here.” I shook my head frantically and jumped up to rush at the cellar door. My legs felt wobbly after having not used them for a while but determinedly I held onto my balance.

“Rogan…”

I pulled at the door but it was worthless. Ignoring the prick of tears behind my eyes I peered through the bars. There was nothing there to see. Just a narrow, dark staircase leading upwards into the house. I whirled around, my eyes narrowing on the window. I ran at it but couldn’t reach it. I twisted around to glare at Wolfe. “Can you get your ass up for a minute to see if these bars will shift?”

He pinned me to the wall with a disgusted look. “I’m the Captain of the Royal Guard, Rogan, not an idiot. I tried the window and the door as soon as they left us in this damn cellar.”

I deflated instantly, but refused to show my fear. “Well, we have to do something.”

“The only chance we get is if they let us out of here.”

Reluctantly hearing the wisdom in his statement, I nodded and made my way back over to my spot at the wall. I slumped down to the ground and stared straight ahead. It was then I became aware of how much I needed a bath. I wrinkled my nose. Being kidnapped was not fun.

Wolfe grunted and muttered a curse under his breath.

“If you’ve got something to say, say it,” I snapped.

“Oh it’s nothing,” his words were laced in heavy sarcasm, “Just relaxing, you know, thanking my fortunate stars for being the one who was put in charge of protecting you.”

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