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When Bres returned once more, Fern had to shield his eyes from the torchlight.

“I’ve got a job for you,” Bres told him.

By the time Fern’s eyes had grown accustomed to the light, they were no longer in a dungeon. Instead, they stood in the palace hall, the same place Fern had first appeared in Eligor. The red curtains on the east wall were still ripped and there was a single drop of Fern’s dried blood staining the crystal floor. They only difference was the absence of Fern’s wooden left resting upon the chandelier.

“What do you want me to do?” Fern asked, well aware that it was best just to do what Bres told him, at least until he could find a way to kill him. He must find out where he hid his sword.

“I need you to clean up the mess you’ve made.” Bres made a beckoning gesture to the curtains and they slowly floated down from their perch and onto the floor. He handed Fern a spool of red thread.

“How am I supposed to fix this without a needle?” Fern asked.

“Well you could try to be creative” Bres mumbled. With a sigh, he produced a silver needle and handed it to the boy. “Be careful with that,” he warned. “I wouldn’t want any more of your blood on this floor.” A thought occurred to Fern.

“Why can’t you just use your magic to fix them?” Fern asked. “You have all this power, surely fixing a few tears in fabric would be easy for you.”

“Magic. What an excellent idea,” he exclaimed. He raised his left hand and a pain shot through the boy’s left arm. Fern glanced down to see that the large scar on his arm had not healed as he had hoped. Instead it had turned as black as the darkness of his cell. The cut was only a single line, but the darkness branched out like tree roots. It was growing. In a few more days, it would probably cover his entire arm. It hadn’t started hurting until Bres raised his hand, so he must be causing it.

All of a sudden, the pain stopped. His whole arm felt numb. He poked his palm, but he couldn’t feel it. Then he realized that he couldn’t eve move it his arm was no longer his own. Someone else controlled it now.

Bres grinned and Fern’s left hand reached for the thread and began attaching it to the needle, which was hard work for one hand. It poked his right hand with the needle gently as if to say Hey, get with the program buddy. We’ve got a job to do.

Fern had no choice. His left hand wouldn’t stop until the job was done. Frustrated, he helped his left hand thread the needle and began to work on the curtains.

Satisfied, Lord Bres slowly walked out of the room, raising his hand to close the door behind him.

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