ashes and snow

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thirty-two


Snow. There was so much snow that fell from high up in the sky, landing on every roof and surface it could reach. Her heart was beating heavy as she stared into the kingdom, her kingdom.

She swallowed against the lump in her throat. It had been a day since she had had the potion, but her powers had still not fully gotten back to her. She ground her teeth. Even her eyesight had gotten worse. Everything outside of this castle seemed a bit blurred, almost like she looked through broken glass.

She hadn’t even been able to focus.

She lifted her hands and rubbed over her eyes, wishing that it would somehow help. But there was nothing she could do.

This would take time. The patience she didn’t have.

She blinked against the light again. And still, everything had a slight blur.

She shook her head and leaned back into the armchair. Her magic crawled through her veins, leaving a wave of heat. She swallowed again and stroked over her arms. At least, she wouldn’t be affected by the cold in her condition. A sadistic chuckle left her lips, and she could feel the frustration in the smile that blossomed on her lips.

There was anger. So much of it that it could fill the entirety of this room and might even the castle.

But if she would be trapped in here for longer than another week, it would only grow. She could feel it in her veins and in her stone heart that she wouldn’t make it through more days in this room.

She folded her hands in her lap to stop them from trembling. She wouldn’t cast herself that. She wouldn’t go against herself like that.

She had been trapped for far longer than a few weeks.

Back when she was younger, people had trapped her in an iron coffin far under the earth after they’d discovered that she couldn’t be killed. She had been so weak back then... and she had been stuck for far longer than a year until another unlucky soul had found her. The light had blinded her so bad that she couldn’t help herself. Her magic had stricken before she could’ve even reacted.

There had only been ashes left on the snow-covered ground.

And her magic had sent an end to it all.

She could still feel the dust on her skin, the dryness of her mouth. She had felt so empty after all of this.

Her magic had been drained. And there had been nothing left around her. She had stood there for hours, days until she had felt like she could continue on. Though everything had been taken from her before, she hadn’t felt as bad as she did now.

It all came back to the potion. And to Hedwig. He had been the one to fill her up until she was left empty of her powers.

Her hands clenched around themselves, and she felt the nails of her hands dug into their backs. She didn’t even flinch. There was no way she was drawing blood, but the pain still helped against the anger.

Everyone around her was lucky that she wasn’t raging yet. With her powers, she would have left a trail of broken bones and blood. There wouldn’t be a body left behind. There’d only ashes and the snow she loved so much.

She could already taste the metal on her tongue. The flesh between her teeth and the sound of their breaking bones were already engraved in her mind. Her heartbeat quickened. The monster inside her was awakening.

She licked over her lips. She needed to be careful. There was already more heat rushing through her veins, a reminder of what was trapped inside.

As long as she was bound to this weakness, she couldn’t do anything. If anything happened, the magic was inside of her. At this point, it could only cause her damage.

And that was not was she was going for.

She winced when she heard the door fall shut behind her. These human senses were damned. She hadn’t heard the footsteps approach.

She turned in her seat and looked at the person that had entered. The man had grey, curly hair and eyes that were almost as dark as his skin. Hedwig. Undeniably the one she had wanted to see at the moment. She breathed in deeply.

No one had told her that he was coming. Why wouldn’t Arkyn warn her? Hadn’t she told him about the potion? About her worries?

These questions would need to wait.

She would have to deal with him first.

He walked further into the room, and then she saw the cup he was holding. A crease formed between her brows. Something was going on.

She could feel it.

“Hello, Eira,” was the first thing he said to her. She watched his every move and could feel the anger forming again. It didn’t go unnoticed that he wasn’t using her title. He wasn’t giving her the respect her position gave her.

She lifted her head up high, staring at him. “Hello, Hedwig.”

He made his way towards her, sitting down in the armchair that stood next to her. She straightened in her seat and watched as he placed the steaming cup onto the round, small table to stood between them.

Its smell of lavender made her feel nauseous in only a matter of seconds. She felt that lump in her throat again. Breathing in deeply, she had to refrain herself from trying to get away.

She lifted her eyes from the cup and looked up again. Brown irises were the first thing she looked into.

“I’ve brought you another potion today,” his lips formed his lies without fault, almost like he believed that she would trust him. His head tilted to the side as he looked at her. He gestured to the cup. “I think it’s time for you to take it. I mean, it’s been a day without any medicine.”

Eira didn’t move, staring into the abyss that was his eyes. He seemed different. She didn’t know what was going on, and she certainly wouldn’t do what he told her. She needed to talk to Arkyn. Had he been the one that had sent Hedwig again?

She couldn’t find a reason for that, though.

“Has my husband talked to you?” she rasped out, almost like a whisper. She folded her hands on her lap. Maybe she could distract him until someone would come.

Hadn’t Arkyn promised to return?

She swallowed.

“You can’t go without your potion, Eira. Do you not understand that?” They were staring at each other, lost in an unseen battle. He seemed desperate, but she knew there was something else. She could see it behind his eyes.

There were caution, reservation, and even fear.

If only her body hadn’t been so weak... She would have been able to smell it on him. Savored it.

But there was nothing she could do.

“I’ve spoken to Arkyn about this. If he were here, we could all just talk this through.” She hated all this degradation. She wasn’t this poor woman everyone saw in her.

She was almighty and endless.

She was a goddess.

But no one knew.

He shook his head at her. “Eira-”

She hissed in anger, “Hedwig, what is this about?”

The man stayed silent for a few seconds. He wasn’t moving.

But she saw something forming in his eyes. Something dangerous.

His head lifted as he straightened in his seat, almost like he was preparing for war. His body seemed stiff with anger. “Did you know that I was degraded to work in the cells?”

Her body stilled as she stared at him. She didn’t answer him.

Hedwig’s head tilted to the side. “I had to look after Zandro, had to scrape pieces of his tongue from the drywalls.”

There was nothing but silence.

For once, coldness ran through her body, her veins. Her magic had gone silent, satisfied.

“The things I have heard and seen...” he shook his head and sighed.

There was silence and then, “What have you done to him?”


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