By EM Drosselmeyer
[OOC: This fiction has been posted as a ‘reward’ of the fact that the code from the Hidden Identities event was solved.]
Tavalia awoke in a dark, moldy cave. The last thing she could remember was Kendrick’s magic show and him claiming that she wouldn’t be able to believe the next trick. With a groan and a whiff of smoke from her clothes, she had brief glimpses of the moments prior to unconsciousness. Kendrick throwing wide his cloak, strange pockets inside that were too obvious to be part of a magic trick…and then bottles being thrown, fire spreading everywhere, and Morrow leaping at her like a tumbler, hitting her full in the chest and hurling her to the stone ground as her chair broke on impact. Brief glimpses of one of the castles secret passageways as she was dragged away. Only to find herself here…where ever that may be.
She strained to move, but found that her hands were tied behind her, and her ankles tied as well. She felt the tug of a chain hanging from the ceiling of the cave that led to her neck and held her in place but did not choke her. She struggled against the bonds, but to no avail, and her shouts were muffled by a gag held in place around her face. She didn’t have to wait long before a light came from a corner in the back of the cave, and the figure of Morrow in his magician’s outfit came forward. Tavalia could tell something was off…the gait, the stride, everything seemed bizarrely off…but more disconcerting was the gleaming dagger held in the figure’s offhand. With the hat pulled low, Morrow approached Tavalia and set the lantern down beside her. Tavalia gritted her teeth and glared at the figure before a gloved hand reached up to her and pulled the gag out of her mouth. Tavalia immediately screamed, to which the only reaction was a devilish grin from the figure in front of her. When no answer was heard, she stared at the unmoving, unwavering figure before she managed to speak again.
“If you think there’s even a chance that you’ll get away with this after that brazen attempt, or that you’ve anything to gain here by any action other than immediately freeing me and throwing yourself on the mercy of the crown, then yo…” Her diatribe was interrupted by a stinging pain across her cheek that flung her head to one side. Face and eyes burning with shock and shame, Tavalia fixed Morrow with her most intimidating glare. “They’ll be searching for me, and they’re going to find me and the…” Again her head snaps forcefully to the side, her other cheek burning from another slap. The figure in front of her seems to be shaking softly, before raising their chin to look at her, a wide and maniacal grin on their face.
“Oh yes…they’re definitely going to find you.”
“Then you may as well give yours…” Tavalia stops as she’s interrupted by a flash of white across her skull, and a woman’s voice screaming before she realizes it’s her own, and she looks down to see that the figure in front of her has stabbed the dagger through one of her palms. Tavalia fights back the scream and feels tears fall from her eyes as she manages to grit her teeth and bear through the worst of it. Grabbing Tavalia’s hand and slashing the bindings with the dagger, the figure drags it across the hat they’re wearing, and Tavalia jerks her hand back and knocks the hat away, blood staining it’s otherwise pristine surface. Tavalia grabs the chain at her neck but feels two rapid impacts to her chest, knocking the wind from her and causing her to gasp for breath as the strength drains from her limbs. Hanging limply from the chain, she looks up in the low lantern light as the figure draws another pristine dagger to parallel the bloodied one already in it’s hand.
As the figure comes in arm’s reach, Tavalia takes a wild swing at them, feeling her nails dig into the flesh of Morrow’s face and rip it clean off. As she pulls her hand away with a fist full of flesh, she looks in horror to the grinning, sadistic smile revealed underneath the disguise. The eyes revealed beneath the tattered remains of the false visage held no glimpse of remorse or mercy within them. “Virtues preserve…” Without another word the figure moved in a flash, almost before Tavalia could blink, and she hardly even felt the cuts…just something warm and wet as it soaked through her top, vaguely aware of a rapidly spreading sensation of cold throughout her body. She raised a trembling hand up and tried to hold the wound closed, but she already knew it wouldn’t help. As her vision blurred, she struggled to find the strength for one last retort, one last plea, one last hard glare at the still grinning figure in front of her, but she was too tired, and it was all too much. She’d always thought it was supposed to be so much worse…but it felt like slipping into a cold ocean. And then there was blackness.
Reaching down to pick up lantern and hat, the figure put the hat on and pulled it low over their exposed face. They also ripped open Tavalia’s still clenched hand, and removed what was left of the false face that the Ambassador had ripped away. With a look of disgust towards the Ambassador’s remains, the figure left the cave and ascended the rocky outcropping nearby with remarkable deftness and agility before removing a collapsible spyglass from a small pouch on the disguise’s belt. Sighting across the land, they spotted many of the Crown’s forces desperately searching for any sign. Collapsing the spyglass once more, the figure drew forth a scroll and a rune, and chanted the words ‘Kal Ort Por’, and vanished with a brief burst of magic.