The Blood King

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Chapter 15


I jolt awake, looking around. I sit up, holding my head trying to dampen the pounding in my skull. I look around to see that I’m back in my room. The light is shining in from the morning sunrise, casting a soft glow across the room.

A room that I don’t recognize.

“You’re awake.” I jump, looking in the corner to see Cassian watching me with a steady gaze and an emotionless expression. I immediately think back to the dreams I was having, but as I try and recall them, nothing comes to mind. They were so real though. I flinch from the sudden throbbing in my head.

“What happened?” I ask. I look at Cassian in confusion, and he leans back in his seat, taking a deep breath, and blows steam from between his teeth. I watch mesmerized as it rises but doesn’t dissipate like normal fog usually does. He stands walking to the window and opening it so that the steam wafts out.

“You took in too much of my hedon.” He says. The word sounds familiar. I then remember Xavien using it. All my memories come back to me and I recall the night we went together to the swimming hole. I was in the water with him, and then there was a fog, and we kissed and... I narrow my gaze at him.

“I didn’t take it in. You surrounded me with it.” I say. I see the corner of his mouth twitch.

“True.” He says. He finally stands from the seat across the room and sits on the edge of the bed. My heart speeds up from the close proximity of his body. My eyes fall to his lips. Lips that were on mine only a few hours ago. He looks straight into my eyes.

“I wanted to test you. I wanted to see how much you could take. I might have over done it a bit.” He says. I try and see if there is any hint of amusement in his gaze, but there is none. He is completely serious.

I blink in confusion.

“W... why?” I ask. I can feel the fear of him creeping back into my soul.

“In the past, the Ikniri were known to adapt and create. My hedon is used to weaken my enemies. Or pleasure those if I wish it. But the Ikniri have always been able to sense the threat, and counter it, leaving them unaffected.”

He reaches out, and I have to fight myself to sit still as he touches my cheek. My eyes widen as I look deep into those bright red orbs and see something entirely evil.

“But you have no counter or awareness. And that makes my plans very easy.” He says. I can barely breathe from my nerves. He smiles, but it’s not at all kind.

“Don’t worry. I won’t use it to harm you. Now that I see you are not a threat to me.” He says. He places a quick kiss on my lips and stands to leave the room.

“We will be leaving soon.” He says with his back to me. He makes his way to the door.

We’ve been on the road for a few days, but we have finally reached our last stop before we make it back to the kingdom that Cassian has kept occupied. It’s as if Cassian has completely changed since that night in the water. He’s closed off, cold, and doesn’t even speak to me.

In a way, I’m glad. The man that I saw in those moments was terrifying. I look around the makeshift camp for a familiar face and feel a sense of relief when I see Caius. He’s sitting by the flames, sharpening his sword with a stone.

I have barely spoken to him since that night he and Ulric switched places. I make my way over to him as quick as I can before he can see me coming. All the while I look around for Cassian to make sure he isn’t here. To my advantage he is nowhere in sight.

I reach Caius, and he doesn’t even look up.

“You’ve been avoiding me.” I say. He doesn’t respond. He keeps his head down.

“Is it Cassian? Did he tell you to avoid me like this?” I ask. Still no response. I feel tears welling up in my eyes.

“Please... don’t shut me out Caius. You’re my only friend here.” I say. He pauses what he’s doing and looks up at me. His face is blank of any emotion. His eyes are cold.

“Go away little girl.” He says. He stands up, brushing past me, leaving me in complete and utter shock. I turn and watch him as he walks away. What the hell was that?

“Hey.” I say, but he’s still walking away from me.

“Hey! Wait!” I shout, but he’s still walking away from me. I take note that the other men are looking my direction but I don’t care. I feel irritation bubbling up inside of me.

“I said wait!” I shout. I take one step, and ice comes pouring from my veins in a long trail heading straight for Caius. He turns just in time to see the mountain of frozen water coming at him. His eyes widen in fear as he puts his hands up in defense, but the water hits him hard, and pushes around him, pushing him off the ground and freezing mid-air.

My fingers are tingling from the power, and I feel a rush of adrenaline. My anger slowly dies down, and I look around to see that I’m surrounded by Cassian’s men. They have their swords drawn, aiming at me. I look up to see Caius looking at me in horror.

I look down at my feet in horror and confusion. I hadn’t meant to. It was an accident.

“I knew bringing an ikniri would be dangerous.”

“She could kill us all in our sleep.”

“It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t remember. The savage instinct is still there.”

I can hear the murmurs around me. I take a step back but feel a blade in my back.

“Don’t move Ikniri.” Someone hisses.

“Lower your weapons.” We all tense when the voice of the blood king splits the night air. I look over to see Cassian stepping through his men, and they all visibly relax as he steps through. He’s looking at me with a new look on his face. Disgust. His gaze travels from me to where Caius is frozen ten feet above us.

“You attack my men?” He says. I feel a chill ripple down my spine from his tone. My eyes widen and I shake my head.

“No... I would never... it was an accident...” I say. He scoffs, walking past me to the giant sheet of ice. He places his palm on it, and I take note that he does it slowly. He then emits heat from his palm, melting the ice cap. Caius comes down landing on his knees, holding his chest. Cassian looks down at Caius and back to me.

“You could have killed him.” He says. His gaze is locked to mine and I see anger in his eyes. He holds up his palm, and a flame emits from it. He begins walking towards me. I see malice in his gaze. My heart is beating fast, and I take a step back.

He takes two quick strides and is on me in an instant. He grabs a fistful of my clothing and drags me out of the circle.

Bound. I haven’t been bound since the villagers turned on me. Cassian brought me away from his camp and has tied me to a tree. My arms are bound together around the front of the tree, my back facing Cassian.

He hasn’t spoken to me since I almost killed Caius, and I haven’t stopped crying since. He’s standing directly behind me, and I feel his hands on the fabric of my dress. He rips it off in one swift tug exposing my back to him. I can feel the cool breeze caressing my skin.

I’m shaking from fear. He walks around so that he is facing me. He emits a flame from his palm, holding it to his face. I see no pity. Only hatred.

“I guess no matter where you grow up, the savage ways of your people will always follow you.” He growls. The flame grows brighter, and he stands up.

“Please... I didn’t mean to. I don’t know how it even happened.” I sob. He ignores me, walking behind me placing his palm on my back. His touch sends fear through my veins. I can see his shadow as the flame in his palm casts a glow in front of me.

Searing pain rips through my flesh, and I let out a scream. He is pushing his palm with the flame into my upper back, right under my shoulder. And he doesn’t let go either. He continues. I squeeze my eyes shut as searing pain rips through me. I can’t breathe. Fuck it hurts.

He finally let’s go, and the pain is still searing through my body, searing my nerves. I drop my head, moans and sobs leaving my lips. The night is quiet, except for my pained sobs. There is sweat sticking to my flesh, and my back is on fire. Cassian walks back around until he is standing in front of me. He kneels looking me straight in the eyes, and I’ve never feared him as much as I do now.

“There will not be a next time.” He growls out. I can’t stop sobbing long enough to respond. He stands, looking over my shoulder.

“Ulric. Have her bound.” He looks back to me as he speaks his next sentence, and I shudder from his tone.

“You won’t be leaving my sight.” He says. He walks away from me without so much as a backward glance. I squeeze my eyes shut, having no energy left to hold my head up. He looked at me with so much hatred in his eyes. But before the hatred came a look that will haunt me forever. Betrayal.

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