The rough rolling of the cart was what awoke Shey de Luna. She blearily opened her eyes, groaning as her head pounded and throbbed mercilessly. She groaned again, blinking against the bright light of the sun.
She was in the back of what looked to be a pig cart, the crude walls built high above her. Her wrists and ankles were shackled, the chains attached to an iron ring attached to the bottom. She glanced around, unsurprised to find three more people staring at her, their eyes wide in either fear or surprise. Maybe both.
There were two men, and one woman. One of the men and the woman looked to be siblings, somewhere around Shey’s age. They had greasy yellow hair, and the layers of dirt and dried blood stopped her from being able to see their skin color. Their eyes were the color of the sky on a clear day, turned red from countless nights of crying.
The other man had brown hair and brown eyes. He wore a ragged tunic and trousers, and he had no shoes. There was a hard look in his eyes, and Shey decided to keep a close eye on him.
She looked out past the walls of the cart. It must be dusk now. She glanced at the sky, but it was cloudy, the light over the earth too gray to determine a time. A light rain drizzled down from the sky, slowly soaking her to the bone. The other three prisoners were shivering, but thanks to her abilities with water and ice, Shey could not feel the biting cold like others.
Shey took a deep breath, closing her eyes. She forced herself to breathe slowly for several moments, in order to avoid panic. Think, she told herself. Find out what the time is. Then find out where you are. Most importantly, see if you can find Lyssa…
She took another deep breath, allowing her senses to fall away. Her sharper, stronger elf senses suddenly became overwhelmed—she smelled rain, pine, wet earth, fear, pain, a clear sky, the crackling energy of a coming storm…
There. On the very edge of her mind, she could feel her Wolf, prowling along the end tether of their bond. Shey forced herself to relax, the wild beast within her longing to burst forth. Once every single muscle was calm and fluid, she reached out farther, her mind softly brushing against Lyssa’s. From far away, she could feel Lyssa stumble as the sudden appearance of Shey’s mind surprised her.
Shey! Lyssa exclaimed, regaining her pace.
Thank the goddess, Shey grumbled.
What happened? Lyssa asked.
Shey frowned, struggling to summon the memories to the front of her mind for Lyssa to see. She remembered killing Nirnasha, and commanding the ghosts to kill him. She remembered them pulling him into a deep chasm, then her racing to the throne room. She remembered confronting Marjhen, and proclaiming to the king, Asher, and everyone else that was left in the ballroom who she was. Then a wall of fire backing her onto the balcony. She remembered jumping, landing in the river, climbing ashore, her left ankle twisting underneath her weight. Then Rashid…
Where am I? Shey asked.
We don’t know, Lyssa replied. Just that you’re heading south.
Myself, Ronin, Gavin, and Fallon, Lyssa replied.
Shey felt a surge of warmth spread through her chest. She was glad her two friends from the Ranger’s Order were coming for her. But Fallon? She hadn’t seen the elf since she left Shey’s apartments, only two days before the attack.
How long have I been gone? Shey asked.
Nearly a week, Lyssa replied.
Is everyone else safe? Quinn? Asher?
Yes, Lyssa answered. For now. Quinn is alive, and so is Asher. However… he’s not waking up.
Shey frowned. The last time she had seen him, through the fire Marjhen had sent after her, he looked terrified. For her. Guilt twisted around in her gut, until she felt like she was about to vomit.
Lyssa pulled away, until only the whisper of her presence remained. For that, Shey was grateful. She couldn’t bear to be left to her thoughts alone. She thought back to her time unconscious, remembering the cool, soft words of the god, Borryn, as he spoke and whispered to her. Promising that he’d always be there for her. All she had to do was call for him. She shivered.
Shey shook her head, turning to look at the driver. Rashid. A wave of hatred and anger roiled in her chest, and she longed to rip his throat out with her teeth.
She jerked, banishing the images as quickly as they came—images of her losing control of her inner beast, of giving in to the wild, Ferren side of her.
No, she thought fiercely. I won’t let that happen. She’d never let herself lose control again.
Her head was throbbing furiously. Deciding there was nothing she could do for the time being, Shey leaned back against the wall of the cart and drifted off to sleep.