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Bad Blood

By Susan Polley All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Other

Dreams of Blood

“Arianna.” my mother's voice floated up from the darkness, soft and sweet.

I froze on the stairs, clinging to the damp stone walls of the narrow stairwell. My mother was many things but soft and sweet was not one of them. Below me the darkness waited like a giant black maw ready to swallow me whole. I knew the darkness was a glamour my mother created to keep the servants of my fathers castle from finding her secret room. I hated the room the darkness hid, hated what my mother did in that room, hated what she told me in that room.

For a moment I thought of turning around, to return to the brightly lit rooms of the castle above. I would run to the safety of my fathers arms and tell him about that horrible room and the evil things my mother did in that room. If I was brave I would run, if I thought any one would believe me I would run, but fear kept me there on the stairs and the knowledge that no one would believe the stories of a seven year old girl.

“Arianna!” My mother voice came again but gone was the fake sweetness and in its is place was the cold hardness I was use to.

Pushing back the fear of the darkness below I stumbled down the rest of the stairs and through the darkness. On the other side of the darkness I found myself in the room that haunted my dreams. Thousands of candles were lit through out it, casting the room in a flickering light that only added creepy feeling the room gave off. On the walls were rows of jars filled with potions that my mother had made through out the years and from the walls hung herbs and flowers for those potions. in the middle was a white stone alter, stained with the rusty color of blood.

Beside the alter stood my mother. To everyone else she looked like the perfect Martivian Queen. Strawberry blonde hair hung in flowing waves down to her waist, bewitching blue eyes sparkled against tan skin. Tall with soft curves, she was the picture of beauty if any of it was true. Ever since I was little I could see through the glamour my mother wrapped herself in. her tall frame lacked the softness of her glamour, drab brown hair pulled back harshly into a tight bun emphasized the harsh lines of her face. Against her pale skin, her black eyes drilled into me leaving me cold inside.

Disappointment filled her face as she looked me over, it was a look I was accustomed to. To all of the court she was the perfect mother, lavishing me with attention and admiration, but as soon as we were alone it was a different story. My mother was the last of a people that worshipped the blood god, Ragnarish. She clung to every custom she was raised with, including the one where half breeds were looked down upon. The only reason she had me was because while she was pouring through books trying to elevate her own power she came across a prophecy saying that the people of Ragnarish will be reborn through the blood of a halfbreed. Glamouring herself into the perfect martvian woman, she bewitched my father, making herself a Queen, and into a spot of ultimate power.

“A child at the age of the seventh year must make a sacrifice to Ragnarish. To be anointed in the way of the blood.” Her voice was as dispassionate as her eyes as she walked towards me.

Cold fingers gripped my chin as she forced me to look up at her.

“Being a half breed you are not worthy of following Ragnarish, but your birth was prophesized and your sacrifice will bring about the rebirth of our people.” she reached into a pocket of her skirt and pulled out a small knife.

Fear chilled my as I stared at the knife. Did she mean to sacrifice me to Ragnarish, to bring her people back? Was that part of the prophecy? I struggled against her iron grip but she was to strong. She pulled me towards the alter and I could smell the blood of sacrifices before me. Once we were next to the alter she released me and grabbed a bag that had been laying next to it. Placing the bag onto the alter she opened it to reveal a small white baby goat.

“You will make a sacrifice to Ragnarish in hopes he will accept it and you as our savior.” She offered me the knife.

Relief filled me when I realized I wasn’t the sacrifice but the thought of killing another creature turned my stomach.

“Father would not like this.” I whispered as I took a step back from the alter and the offered knife.

“your father.” she spat as she loomed over me ” Is a witless oaf, who is probably so far into his cup right now he wouldn’t know who you are.”

she grabbed me by my hair and pulled me towards the stone.

“My daughter will not be a coward. You will do your duty to Ragnarish.” She curled my fingers around the handle of knife.

My screams filled the small room as she pulled my arm towards the goat.

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1. Dreams of Blood
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