The world is gray, cold and unforgiving. Ame learn about the world through the small holes above her cell, where on rare occasion, the sunlight will grace her with warmth. When there is no light, her world is shroud with darkness with nowhere to go as her limbs are chained. A flinch is enough to send a spark of pain throughout her numb mind but the greatest pain of all will occur once the cell is opened.
She never liked it. The world outside her cell. There are whimpers and sobbing inside those dark cells and sometimes she witness the sight of children being thrown inside. Those men will laugh before beating the poor kids up and chain them, in case they’re trying to escape.
This place will take everything away from you, including your will to live.
Ame stares at the altar before her, dreading for the pain that have yet to come. The numerous cuts on her skin is a result of the action inflicted by those men, their eyes glow with greed, hands clawing on her skin. They mumble and ramble about, on how she can bring salvation to everyone but the only way to do so is to face the pain. She never understand why, why her? Can’t there be anyone else to face the pain? Aren’t they simply mistaken and took her in on a whim?
“Please...no more...” It’s hopeless to beg, but it is more on relieving her conscience that she try to do so. Maybe one of them will have a change of heart and release her? Probably someone should have noticed that they are mistaken, perhaps she’s not the savior they’re looking for or—
Ame does not remember what occur next. The shock and the pain afterwards tells her that they have done it.
“More sacrifice! More! More! More!” The man chants while her blood flows into the awaiting bowls underneath the altar. Ame passes out on the altar, her blood spills to the edge and towards the awaiting hands. They cheers and chant with her blood in their hand, the fire flickering behind them highlights the crazed expression on their faces.
“This gift from the Gods must be shared!” They laughs, pleased with today’s offerings. Ame is one of the children with a distinct taste in their blood and the mana that she possess is limitless, causing them to ache for more. Like the breathe of an air, they only want Ame for themselves so that they too can be saved.
Later on, Ame is awake in the cell, one of her legs bend awkwardly, while her elbow too, received the same treatment. She exhales, the pain can never compare to having your life sucked out of you. The smell of blood clings onto her skin, overpowering other scent inside the cell.
She lose count of days and hours while her mind grows hazy. The fog doesn’t dissipate from her conscience yet and she never wants them to. The darkness inside her cell brings comfort to her aching body. She is waiting for salvation to come and take her too while wasting the last trickle of life she have.
A long time ago, she was happy. Living a life with her twin brother, their life full of laughter. From birth, they were orphan and somehow, a sister from the orphanage found them and took them in. Living in the streets weren’t hard but having a roof above your heads, a bed to sleep in and warm food became the source of joy in their lives.
They used to dream. While her twin desired to become a knight, Ame wanted to explore the world. She would travel across the seas and hike the mountains. To see and enjoy their cultures, the festivals and the desserts that they produced.
The life she had before sounds like a dream. Ame relishes the dream as they whisk her away from the exhaustion and the coldness of being in the present.
Her twin brother must have grown up by now. He is now a knight and will protect the weak, just like he intends to be. Too bad Ame no longer recalls how he looks like. Inside her fading memory, his features is obscured while his hand seeks her out. She does not remember his name nor his voice, but she recalls how safe and warm his hand feels.
He will call her ‘big sister’ with the cutest voice she ever hear. They will play around and laugh to their hearts content alongside others. The sisters will call them when it’s meal time and the food will always feel warm and sweet. They will thank the deities and the sisters for the food and help with washing the dishes.
Ame frowns. What’s next...? She have forgotten. She recalls her twin, frantic while holding her hand. He slips and fall and she lose her grip on his. He disappears alongside the light, and Ame wakes up in the darkness once more.
A group of armored men enters the underground cave. Swift as water, they infiltrates and take down anyone who resists capture. The men who laughed before are now bathing with the blood of their own, while those who managed to delay their own capture alerts the others and set the place on fire.
The smoke grows thicker alongside the heat. The armored men notices the children inside the cells and curses aloud. One of them who acts like their leader order his troops to take the captives out while the others try to save the children.
“Sir, they’re—” The leader grips his own sword tight at the sight of the poor children. His own men manages to get the fire under control, although it is advised that they leave as soon as possible, fearing that the underground cave will collapse. There are many of those children died from inhaling the smoke and some of them already dead to begin with.
He notices a door at the end of the hallway and take a few of his men to stand guard as he enters. With a nudge, the door swings open, revealing more gruesome scene than they’ve seen.
At first, he thought that he’s stepping on water. He hears the splash as soon as he steps into it. But when the metallic scent hits, he looks down and see the crimson liquid under the dying embers that gives light around the place. There is an altar with chains, and the blood seems to originate from it. There are wooden bowls thrown around, torn robes and a few bodies inside.
In all of his years serving as a vanguard knight, Sir Helix has never seen a sight that might turn his stomach over such as this one. He is about to turn around and leave when he notices a hidden hallway at the side of the room.
“Grab a torch.” One of the guard outside nods before jogging away. A few moments after, he enters the room with the torch in hand before his expression pales at the sight. Sir Helix himself tries to not taking too much deep breathes in case his stomach’s content will rushes to his throat as well. “Find a few knights that is not most likely to puke and have them to follow after me.” The knight hold his hand before his mouth rushes out while Sir Helix braces himself for whatever awaits beyond the hallway.
The hallway smells like a musky, suffocating room that haven’t meet fresh air in years. Stagnant suits the hallway well, and Sir Helix sees even more cells here than before. The sight here is more pitiful than the outside.
“Hello?” He calls out. His echo confirms that the hallway is vast and begin to wonder how many children met their fate here? “There are nothing but bones...” He will ensure that his men bury the bones later.
It is soft, but Sir Helix stops at his tracks when he first hears it. If he is not mistaken, is that the chains he hear?
His eyes snap open when he hears it again. Unlike before, he sprints, out of fear that whoever at the end is still alive. He can hear the footsteps following behind him as well, which relieves him a little.
At the end of the hallway, is the darkest cell, hidden away. “They don’t even bother to lock it.” He thought to himself when he push the rusty door open. When he brings forward the torch, he sees a child, unmoving, the chain swaying ever slightly.
And the blood beneath her.
His instinct jumps through, and he immediately taken off the shackles before checking the child. Her breathe is uneven, and shallow. It appears that there are cuts on her, some of them starts to heal while there are fresh cuts follow by the bruises.
She blinks, and in her hazy state of mind, she sees the man before her. “Are you here...to take it again?” Her whisper sounds loud in his ears.
“This time...will you end me?”