0 | Prologue
The woman sat in darkness, shadows wrapping around her hand as she waited. Beyond her chair, the hooded man was watching her as if it was him who had her tied up, not the other way around. She was an assassin, trained in killing, and it took every inch of her not to get up and wipe the calm look of his face with one of her blades.
“Where is the medallion.” It wasn’t a question. She didn’t ask if he had what she was after. She knew the medallion was in his possession but the slippery man had hidden it somewhere - somewhere Sophie wasn’t keen on waiting around for him to name. Metal flashed between her fingers as she spun her blade.
He stayed silent, his head lowered as if in prayer. She snorted and kicked his seat. “Where is the medallion.” She hissed again. Time was running out. Her time was running out. Any moment now the door would burst open and the Alchemists would come in. They wouldn’t be so tidy when it came to interrogating him.
A laugh came from his freshly split lips. He could have avoided the injury if he’d simply told her where.
Her fingers tightened on the blade, drawing the shadows in around her. They tightened so much that she felt as if she was going to suffocate. Frustration had caused the sudden snap of the darkness. She could hardly relax enough to make them sink back to the floor.
Ticktock. The watch on her wrist flashed blue.
“Tell me,” She kept her voice levelled despite the rage welling up inside of her. All she needed was one word. One word would give her another chance, give her what she needed to stay alive and keep living her miserable life.
Just one word.
The hooded man raised his head. One word, she almost begged him for it. Almost got down on her knees and pleaded. She would have too if she hadn’t known how much pleasure it would have brought him to see her lower herself before him.
Blood welled up on his lip, ran down his face and on to his robes. The sound of it dripping off his chin was the only thing that gave her satisfaction.
One word, the flashing of her watch reminded her. One word that would keep her breathing for a while longer.
Behind Sophie, the door was pushed open by an invading Alchemist. Light flooded into the chamber, stealing her shadows and letting her see the man before her. He straightened his back in the chair she’d chained him to. The knife in her hand had never felt so warm.
“Time is up,” A male voice said. “Your time is over.”
Sophie stared at the hooded man, mouth dry. What she had done to deserve this, she didn’t know. Perhaps she had been born cursed, born under the wrong star or facing West towards the sun.
One word could have saved her - would have saved her. But he had said nothing, so she had nothing to tell the Alchemist that pulled her from her chair, slammed her against the wall and clamped iron to her wrist.
Funny how it was the smallest things that could shatter entire worlds.