King of Sword and Sky

Page 16


"Bel, take Marissya to safety," Gaelen commanded. "I will tend the Feyreisa."
"Nei, I am her lu'tan. I will not leave her any more than you." Bel dropped to his knees beside Ellysetta's rigid body, careful not to touch her as he sent a questing filament of Spirit into her mind. He backed out again just as quickly when the wild, enraged power of her tairen sensed his intrusion and responded with a scream of fury and a flare of searing magic. Whatever was attacking her, he couldn't get close enough to examine it. «Rain? Where are you?»
"I am here." Rain shot over the edge of the terrace and slid down a column of Air just as Ellysetta's body flung itself into a fresh series of violent convulsions. Gaelen and Bel both leapt to catch and hold him when he lunged for Ellysetta.
"Do not," Bel hissed. "You are truemates. Touch her, and even without a completed bond, you'll feel it as strongly as she does."
A tortured scream tore from her throat, ending on a groaning rattle as the convulsions worsened, then blessedly tapered off. Ellysetta collapsed against the flagstones, trembling and gasping for air. Rain broke free of Bel's and Gaelen's grips and dropped to his knees beside her, scooping her limp body up in his arms. "Shei'tani."
Her head rolled back in the crook of his arm. Her eyes opened, the pupils lengthened to catlike slits, the green irises radiant and glowing. "Rain." Her hand clutched his arm and then began to shove at him in frantic desperation as she tried to wriggle free of his hold. "Let me go. Quickly, before it starts again."
"I won't. Whatever this is, I won't just stand here while it tortures you." He would not release her, and no matter how hard she tried to break free, her slender body was no match for his strength.
"Teska, Rain! Please." Already the pain was back, another brutal lash of it. Her body went rigid. Her jaw flexed, and her neck strained so hard each breath was a victory. This was going to be as bad as any seizure she'd ever had. And with Rain touching her skin to skin, he would feel her shattered emotions as if they were his own.
Rain's jaw clenched like an iron vise, the tendons in his neck standing out. "Tairen's scorching fire!" The backlash of his pain redoubled her own, and she screamed.
Gaelen and Bel dove towards them in a desperate effort to pull them apart.
"Let go, Rain, scorch you!" Gaelen snarled as Rain fought him off. "You're only making it worse—can't you see that? She's feeling your pain too. You're building a harmonic. Marissya!"
His sister spun a compulsion weave and thrust it into Rain's mind while Gaelen and Bel worked to pry Ellysetta free of Rain's arms. The weave reached enough of him that his grip loosened for an instant. Bel yanked Ellysetta free, and Gaelen wrestled Rain to the ground, pinning him there until some measure of sanity returned to his wild eyes.
The moment it did, Rain shoved Gaelen away and scrambled to his knees, crawling to Ellysetta's side. Her eyes were wide and frightened, her body shaking violently.
"Get…Papa." Each word was a hard-won fight. "He knows…what… to … do … ahhh!" The last word died in a wail as fire ripped through her and the world dissolved once more into shrieking agony.
Eld ~ Boura Fell
Muscles bulged in the burly Eld guard's back and thick arms as he swung the heavy sel'dor war hammer he called Boraz, the Bone Grinder. The hammer strike landed with a meaty thud and the loud crack of breaking bone.
Hanging from chains attached to the barbed sel'dor shackles clamped around his wrists, Shannisorran v'En Celay gave a guttural roar of pain as his right hip shattered. His body writhed, and the tremors sent arrows of fire shooting through him as splinters of bone tore through bruised muscle. The pain was devastating. Already it had gone far beyond his ability to contain. He'd felt great, searing arrows of it blast down the link the Mage's evil magic had unwittingly forged between Shan and Ellysetta Baristani, the daughter he'd not seen since her birth.
"How did you do it?" Across the room, High Mage Vadim Maur watched Shan's torture with icy eyes. "How did you and our lovely Elfeya manage to hide your daughter's magic from me?"
Shan sucked air into his lungs as he struggled to separate himself from the agony engulfing his body. He coughed and groaned as a fresh bout of pain racked him. His torture had begun with a simple but brutal pummeling before advancing to the hammer blows. Several of his ribs were broken, and with every breath, blood pooled in his mouth. He spat a mouthful of it on the ground.
"I know you engineered her escape, and I know you somehow bound her magic so I would not detect it."
Shan tossed back the strands of matted black hair covering his eyes. The guard had shattered Shan's ankles first, then his kneecaps, and now the first of his hips. He still had seven major joints to go, and he knew Maur wouldn't leave one of them whole whether he answered or not. He lifted his chin in a gesture that Elfeya had always bemoaned as a sure sign of his intractability and fixed unblinking eyes—a predator's stare—on the High Mage.
Maur's teeth clenched for a moment. Then he gave a cold smile. "Lord Death." He sneered the nickname Shan had earned many centuries ago, before finding his truemate, when he'd been the deadliest Fey warrior ever to walk the Fading Lands. "So arrogant, even now. I have not forgotten how the pair of you tried to help her escape my Mark in the Solarus. You failed, you know—I Marked her again—but you'll still spend the next thousand years begging me for death as a reward for your efforts. You and Elfeya both." He gave a short nod.