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The crypt I

I curled up in the corner of my cell, holding onto my knees as if they were the only thing keeping me from losing my mind in this dreadful place. The cold wrapped its icy fingers around me, and I shivered involuntarily. I refused to succumb to the vile conditions around me, the putrid stench and decaying walls that threatened to break my spirit.

A relentless drip echoed like a mocking laugh, each drop a hammer blow against my sanity. The sounds of anguished cries and lamentations from other prisoners reverberated through the damp, oppressive air.

No windows. Darkness, absolute and suffocating, was my only companion. No sliver of moon, no hint of dawn – just an endless night that mirrored the one yawning within me. No glimpse of the outside world to offer even a glimmer of hope. I had lost all sense of time, trapped in a never-ending nightmare.

My emotions rage inside me like a tempestuous sea, crashing against the walls of my mind. Fear, sorrow, and uncertainty swirl in the stormy depths, threatening to devour me whole. Will I ever see my family again? My sister Brylla’s laughter echoes hauntingly in my thoughts. My dear friends, faces I hold dear, haunt my mind like fading memories. Galadel, his gentle touch a phantom warmth on my skin. I close my eyes, longing for the comfort of his presence. His warm smile and supportive words now replaced by the cold walls of my prison. And Gareth, once a pillar of strength and unwavering support, now reduced to a distant memory as I sit trapped in this desolate place.  Are they safe? With a heavy heart, I squeeze my eyes shut, grasping at the fleeting memories of happier times.

And then there was Rohan. The name alone sends shivers down my spine, and not just because of the icy coldness in his gaze. Aerin, you naive fool! How could I ever believe that someone like me, a lowly half-blood faerie bastard, could ever capture the heart of someone like him – powerful, untouchable. It was a stupid dream, one that I should have never entertained. And now I’m left with nothing but regret for my foolishness.

My eyes landed on the inky black symbols painted on my arms by the witch. The meaning behind them remained elusive, like a riddle with no answer. All I knew was that they were part of the final ritual, a dark dance leading to an uncertain end.

As the water continues its relentless drip-drop and the distant cries persist, I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever escape this grim fate.

Still, a flicker of defiance sparked within me. They could steal my light, they could strip me bare, but they couldn’t break me. Not yet. I squeezed my eyes shut, the sting of tears a welcome reminder that I was still alive. The past, a bittersweet poison, flooded my senses – the laughter, the love, the feeling of belonging. But even as the pain threatened to drown me, a single, primal instinct clawed its way to the surface: survive. And in that primal urge, I found a twisted kind of hope, a dark ember glowing in the desolate wasteland of my soul.

I refused to surrender. Not now, not ever.



Shadows, like inky fingers, reached through the crack beneath the heavy cell door. They sprawled and writhed across the cold, damp stone walls,casting a haunting dance in the flickering candlelight.

The candle flames sputtered in protest, trembling as if afraid of the dark. They seemed to shrink with every flicker until they were barely a whisper of light.

At first, I recoiled in fear, my breath caught in my throat.

The darkness morphed, took shape, and there he stood—Rohan. His usually calm and composed face now bore marks of concern. His striking blue-gray eyes were dimmed to a muted gray, a sign of exhaustion and weariness.

My heart nearly stopped when I saw him standing in front of me. “Rohan,” I gasped, my voice frozen with shock and disbelief. I rose unsteadily, my limbs numb, the thin fabric of my dress doing little to shield me from the cold. “What… what are you doing here?”

His response was a sudden, firm grasp of my hand, his calloused fingers were a warm and welcome contrast against my cold skin. His voice was laced with urgency as he spoke,”There’s no time for explanations, Aerin,” he rasped, his grip tightening on my hand as if to emphasize his words. “We need to get you out of here. Now.”

My mind was a tangled mess. “How? Where?” My voice cracked, the words tumbling out in a desperate rush.

“The crypt,” he growled, his gray eyes flashing with urgency. “It’s the only safe place I found. Sylvenna is there, and she has something important to tell us.”

The word “crypt” sent an icy tremor coursing through me, evoking haunting visions of dark, dank chambers filled with rotting corpses. My stomach clenched in revulsion as I asked “But how do we get there?” My voice trembling with fear and doubt.

A faint smile tugged at the corners of his lips, brief but sincere. “The same way I got in here.” He murmured, giving my hand a comforting squeeze. “Teleporting. But you have to trust me, Aerin. This is our only chance.”

I stared back at him, trying to read his intentions. “I trust you, Rohan,” I whispered. “But what about the cell? What if someone discovers I’m gone?”

A flicker of a smile played on his lips, a single ray of sunshine cutting through the storm clouds in his eyes. His hand lingered on mine, a reassuring warmth spreading through my body.”You’re strong, Aerin. You’re more than you know. All you need to do is focus, picture yourself here, in this cell. I’ll guide you, but the power lies within you.”

Worry crept into my mind as I noticed Rohan’s tired and pale appearance.

“Fine,” I sighed reluctantly, my concern growing. “But what about you? You look exhausted.” My eyes scanned his tired form, my initial concern turned into alarm. The dark circles under his eyes and the slump of his shoulders spoke volumes of the exhaustion he must have been feeling. Something was wrong.

“I’m perfectly fine, darling. Don’t worry,” he assured, his fatigue hidden behind a casual shrug. “She doesn’t trust me anymore and drained more energy from me.” He confessed with a weary sigh, “My power is weakened, but I can still use it. Now, let’s go. The guards make their rounds every hour.” Rohan murmured. “We don’t have much time.”

He’s hiding something, I realized, a pang of worry twisting in my chest. But I can’t dwell on it now. Not now.

Rohan held me close, his power a palpable force that surged around us like a crackling storm, both invigorating and terrifying. His hands, warm and strong, gripped mine tightly from behind, grounding me in the present. His worry was a mirror to my own, but beneath it, I saw a steely resolve.  A resolve I desperately needed to cling to.

“Aerin,” he murmured, his voice rough against my ear. “Close your eyes. We need to create an illusion.”

His hands tightened around mine, his thumbs stroking the back of my hands in a gesture that felt oddly soothing amidst the chaos.

I obeyed, closing my eyes tightly, feeling the energy swirling around us, and focusing on the image of myself, a perfect replica, curled up in the corner. Every detail – from the way my hair fell across my face, to the rhythm of my breathing.

I grasped for control. You can do this, Aerin, I reassured myself.

Panic threatened to choke me when nothing happened. Then, Rohan’s warm voice washed over me like a calming wave.  “Aerin, listen,” he murmured, “Close your eyes again. I know you can do this. Imagine yourself in the cell, asleep. Every detail. Your face, your hair, the ragged fabric of your dress. How you breathe. Picture it all. You’re strong, Aerin. Special. I’m here. Focus on that feeling, and I’ll help push it through.”

We had one more shot at this. If the illusion failed, the guards would find my cell empty.

His guidance was like a lifeline, anchoring me in the midst of my own storm of uncertainty. Our power intertwined. Mine, raw and volatile, flowed out of me, drawn towards him like a moth to a flame. He received it seamlessly, channeling it into the cell, solidifying the illusion. Relief flooded me… then died in my throat as I felt the strain on Rohan – his breathing became shallower and a tremor ran through his body. My gaze flickered down. His knuckles were pale against mine , his grip a desperate mirror to the fear clawing at my heart.

This power… it was taking a toll on him.

I turned in his grasp, and I saw the cost carved upon his face, paler than moonlight. Beads of sweat clung to his forehead.

“Rohan,” I choked, my voice thick with fear. “Stop, please.You don’t have to do this.”

He ignored me, his jaw set in a stubborn line. “I have to,” he grunted, the strain visible in his tight posture and quivering tone.

Glancing at the cell, I saw my perfect replica, peacefully asleep in the corner. Relief washed over me, momentarily eclipsing my worry. But the sight of Rohan, pale and trembling, brought the terror rushing back. My grip tightened on his hand. He’s pushing himself to the limit, I realized, my worry intensifying. Is he about to collapse?

I felt the tremors coursing through him, my fingers digging into his arm, my heart pounding.

Can he handle teleporting us?

His breaths came in shallow gasps, each one a tremor against my skin. The tension surrounding him was tangible. A silent prayer escaped my lips as I begged for his strength to hold out just a little longer.

The guards’ footsteps echoed down the hall, urging us to move quickly.

We have to make it, I reminded myself, gathering my courage. For Rohan, for me and for our chance at freedom.

“We’re going, Aerin,” he said through gritted teeth. “Hold on tight.”

With one last worried look at Rohan, I closed my eyes and tightened my hold, willing my own strength to flow into him. We vanished from the cell, leaving behind the illusion that would deceive the guards, if only for a fleeting moment.

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