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Chapter 4

The air near the entrance to the cave was incredibly hot and humid, almost like a bonfire was lit nearby. Aurora swept her hand over us, and I was stunned to see we were now clad in black hooded cloaks, the only thing I could see from Aurora was her violet eyes, similar to the ones I desired so much. The fabric was thin and cool, and I felt anxiety in the put of my stomach as Aurora came close to me.

‘Follow me. Speak only when spoken to. Answer honestly. Try not to be afraid. I will protect you.’

My heart hammered in my chest, as I cried out, ‘Why can’t Aro come with us?’

She smiled sadly then.

‘He is too powerful. If he was to come with us, I fear he would never return.’

I was utterly confused, my mind was a chamber of chaos. I followed Aurora, the heat burning my flesh as we walked closer into the dark cave. Aurora beckoned me to stand on beside her on a raised slab on the floor as she pulled a wrought iron cage around us from the wall. Suddenly the slab moved downwards, the heat almost unbearable. I watched as the light disappeared and we were plunged into darkness, as our soundless descent continued. I can’t say for how long we traveled, but it felt like hours, my breathing became more labored, my throat feeling parched of air. I felt Auroras hand grip mine, and suddenly I felt my airways begin to expand once again, my terror however, heightened. I was aware that we had stopped, as Aurora moved the cage open. How she did this in the dark, I do not know, for I could see nothing. We were hit by a gust of hot air, and I felt sweat dripping down my back.

Aurora mumbled something, and silently the path in front of us was dimly lit by candles that sat on rocks that jutted out from the wall of the cave unevenly. She walked ahead of me, and I followed her, as I began to cough with the stench that began to invade my nostrils, causing me to gag. I pulled my arm to my face instinctively, yet this did not mask it at all. I hurried behind Aurora until we reached a large door made from a dark wood. It had writing carved on it, but I had never seen it before, so I could not tell you what it said. Aurora knocked twice on the door, and slowly it slid open, and I heard screams of anguish and horror, cackles of deep laughter and scurrying of claws on brick. I clung to Aurora now, my body physically shaking as I tried to take in the scene before me.

Bodies writhed on the floor, forming a walkway through a pool of flames. Aurora walked on the bodies, the sound of their flesh singeing as they were pushed further into the fire. I stood, unable to follow her as my eyes searched for another way, but there was not one. Aurora turned the corner ahead of me, out of sight, giving me no option but to follow her. I felt bile rising in my throat as I followed in her footsteps, trying to skip and be as light on my feet as I could, to no avail. The screams were deafening, the stench of burned flesh will be something I can never forget. I hurried around the corner to see a large beast like creature scaling the wall, my eyes following him as he scurried out of sight like a spider into a corner. I shuddered and walked directly into Aurora as I cried out in fear, as she stood facing a lake of lava. Scenes of debauchery surrounded me, naked women licked each others breasts as men roughly entered them from behind, crying out in ecstasy. A creature walked a human on a lead, which was horrifying as it was, but more so when I realised the human had holes where the eyes used to be, blood pouring from where the sockets had once been. A beautiful hoard of women were eating from the floor hungrily, ripping limbs from another poor soul as they gnawed like the bloodthirsty animals they clearly were. I realised Aurora and I were being circled by what I would probably describe as beasts, demons and hybrids of all kinds, like vultures surrounding their prey. Aurora didn’t falter as I closed my eyes, feeling faint.

‘Lighthoarder.’

A voice boomed through the darkness, causing the creatures around us to scuttle away in terror, and I wondered whether to scurry with them, for if they were afraid, I didn’t want to see the owner of the voice.

‘Lord of Lleh.’

Aurora lowered her head respectfully as my eyes darted around in terror. There was nothing to see, the lava waves lapping onto the black rocky shore, the screams of the bodies still echoing through the cave.

‘Did you bring me a gift?’ The voice was like velvet, sensual and deep. I knew then the voice was referring to me and my head swam in fear.

‘You must not be afraid.’ Aro’s words came back to me as I opened my eyes, trying to remain calm.

‘I am afraid not. We have come to ask for assistance from Azer.’

There was the sound of wings flapping, and a deep thud of heavy feet hitting the floor. My eyes desperately searched for him, knowing he was close. Suddenly I felt hot breath on the skin of my neck as warm lips brushed against it. My body instantly betrayed me as I allowed strong arms to lace around my waist, an intoxicating scent causing me to relax and close my eyes. I was span around, my eyes focusing on emerald green eyes, encased by black sclera instead of white. He had shoulder length black curls, and full plump lips. He tilted his head slowly as he closed his eyes, as if inhaling me like I was oxygen. I found fear had totally left me, and I was at the mercy of whoever this man was.

‘Jewel.’ He growled.

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