Chapter 32: The mother
The man in the dungeon perked his ears, maybe he could not see much in the half dark gloomy surroundings he was convicted to, he could still hear enough to know something was not right.
Footsteps, four pair that walked in simultaneous pace came down the stairs. Through the small bars he could see four men coming down the stairs. In between them they held a small person. His heart skipped a beat when he saw them pass under the single torchlight that was placed at the stairs. Catching a small glimpse of the woman with the long dark hair in between the guards. The last one following holding his own torch was a tall one. His footsteps were slow, his face a grimace when he came down.
The door to a cell next to him opened with a bang. Rattling chains were used to secure hands and feet, like they had with him. The four were dismissed with a grunt from the Captain.
Captain Bloodvale kneeled down next to her. She was still wearing his cape. Lifting her chin with his hand he tried to see if she still responded or had completely given up. His expression heartbroken when she looked back at him. "I'm so sorry," it were the only words he spoke. In silence he draped his cloak around her so she would not be too exposed. With that he stood and waited.
It felt like an eternity as he stood guard in front of the open cell door, until he finally heard footsteps again. This time followed by clicking heels. The whining replies from the Whitemorn son echoing in the narrow corridor when they came closer. Lilah Whitemorn came walking in with quick footsteps, followed by a hurried guard who tried to lighten her way with a torch as she finally slowed pace and stopped in front of the Captain. She strode towards him, like the ice queen she was: A pale beautiful woman with eyes that could pierce right through the very core of your soul when she looked at you. A woman that showed no wrinkles or signs of age. She mostly seemed perfectly at ease in bitching people around in bad ways.
When Lilah Whitemorn made a gesture for the Captain to step away, she stepped into the cell.
Riselle could feel the cold presence of the woman she loathed so much close by. For a moment she stood, regal and stiff, then the woman actually kneeled in front of Riselle.
"Give me a glove," she ordered somebody in a snappy tone. She was handed a dark silk glove that matched the dress she was wearing. Slipping her fingers in the glove she smiled coldly at Riselle. "Well, let me see who we have here," she spoke directly to Riselle, chills running down her spine when she felt her face caught by a soft glove that perfectly fitted the hand that it was made for. Lady Whitemorn smelled of a flower she could not name. But it was one not found easily.
With a firm hand she locked her fingers around Riselles jaw, forcing her face up to look at her. "You damaged her!" She said coldly. the piercing green stare disapprovingly going from Riselle to her son.
"Honesty, Lohurin," the accusation directly going to her son now. Riselle was eyed over once more before she spoke to him again:"You could not leave it alone could you?" Lilah Whitemorn sneered at her son in front of everybody, humiliating the young Champion by scolding him openly.
"She taunted me, mother! I had to punish her!" He excused himself, not in the least sorry for everything he had done to Riselle during their trip home. Lilah sighed annoyed. She let her eyes roam over the woman again, noticing she was wearing the Captain's cloak. Her eyes darted in anger towards the tall Captain. He ignored her stare, merely stood there with his arms crossed in front of his chest.
Riselle's tired body flinched when Lady Whitemorn prodded her in places she knew she was bruised. When the woman had nothing more sneering to add she let her hold on Riselles jaw go.
Rustling skirts of the silk dress Lilah Whitemorn moved. The female stood up, helped by her guard as she stood tall in front of the prisoner. "Ri-sel-le," she cooed, stretching the syllables of her name out as if she needed to learn how to pronounce it. Riselle lifted her head with a painful whimper, but stared right back at Lilah Whitemorn. Riselle wanted to scream at her, instead all that came was a low painful whimper from the dark haired woman.
A small smile curved around Lilah Whitemorn's lips when she saw the angry stare from Riselle directed her way. "Still defiant," she smiled hatefully.
"It really is her, mother," she heard Lohurin claim. His triumph not so great anymore. His mother merely snorted:"It seems to be so, yet it is a miracle she's still alive, in this state!" His mother's voice was so cold that when she turned her gaze to the Captain you could see her eyes almost sparkle with anger in the dark cell.
Lohurin shrugged, keeping up the charade he planned to go with. "You know how it is mother," he said, waving his hand around as if that made sense:"The guards are sometimes rough handling a prisoners. And she was rude to me, so I had to punish her after we found her!" He stated the facts casually. "I did not damage her too badly, mother, I swear on my heart I was gentle with our Ris," he said sarcastically, cocking a smirk her way.
Riselle closed her eyes, loathing the sound of the voice of the man that sounded so confident. As if he had no idea how she came to be beaten up like this.
"LIES!" Lilah Whitemorn's hand hit him flat on his cheek with a loud clap. His face shot to the side after the impact of her hand. He did not see that coming.
"This is your doing! I can smell you all over her! By the Sunwell, I will deal with you later! I needed her alive, not half dead!" His mother screamed at him. Her tone swooped from the cold anger to a strange excessively high pitched tone when she spoke. Lohurin rubbed his cheek, seemingly surprised by his mothers open hostility. Lilah Whitemorn stroked her finger alongside Riselle's cheek when she leaned forwards again in the same place she just palmed Lohurin.
"You and I, we still have a lot to talk about," The promise in her voice not a good one. "And I will gladly break you with my own hands," there, the cold tone returned with the angry gaze, Riselle almost cried in pain when she felt Lilah Whitemorn's finger prod her jaw where Lohurin had multiple times stumped his fist against her face a day earlier.
"In pain, are you?" Riselle winced with the woman's piercing cold eyes on her.
"Give me some light," she ordered the guard with the torch as the man moved closer. The shadows casted around the cell made it an even more unpleasant scenery.
"This will be nothing when I am done with you, my dear, as a matter of fact, we have not even started yet. I'll personally will show you exactly how much pain you inflicted on me when Asathar...- she stopped halfway when she pronounced his name. Her hands moved to Riselles neck suddenly, squeezing as she clenched her teeth together, A shock went through Riselle when the finger clamped around her windpipe. The knee kicking her in the stomach made her almost haul over and vomit. Gasping for air and gagging to keep the content of her stomach in as Lilah watches when Riselle rolled her eyes. "This is only a mild reminder," she said, a smile appeared on Lilah Whitemorn's lips. A nasty ice cold smile."Next time I will have the Captain help me when I am busying myself with you," the words making Ris wish she could vanish into thin air.
"Let me try something out first," she heard Lilah muse in amusement. A silver chain around her neck moved from behind the fabric of her dress when she leaned closer. The pointed object was a shard with red glowing contents that was clearly visible in the light of the torch held by the guard. She let the necklace falling from her hand, the immense heat it produced almost sickening when she held it close to Riselle. Its swirling content producing far more light then the torch did.
The inside of the shard seemed to rise in activity when Lilah moved it closer to Riselle. The swirling liquid almost angry in its movement. "I see," said Lady Whitemorn in surprise, pressing the shard against Riselles bruised cheek.
The younger blood elf shrieked, a dry cracked noise coming from her throat when she felt the shard burn into her flesh. It's anger more avid as it circled around in endless movement.
"Do you know what this is?" Lilah Whitemorn asked her mockingly.
"Asathar...," Riselle spoke, her voice dry a painful whisper. "Correct, little bitch. This is all that is left of him, only his soul remains. This is all I have left of him, thanks to you!" she spat out in aggression. Lilah gritted her teeth together as she showed her teeth for a moment. Lady Whitemorn watched the soul shard, then leaned closer to Riselle.
"Do you feel it?" She asked in a snarky way. Riselle could only gasp. The intense anger of the captured soul within the fragment forced the whole content to burn brightly, almost overwhelming. Her flesh burned with it. Incinerated.
A sizzling sensation that suddenly echoed through her head, burning her skin, carving in her very soul. "YOUR FAULT!" it echoed in her head. "Your fault! Your fault!" It screamed at her. The words formed in her head. Accusations. "YOU OWE ME A DEBT!" Angry, the locked soul hissed more at her, spilling the content of various horrible accusation. The burden it spilled, licking like hot flames fed by newly added coals to a fire. She knew it was his soul. Guessing his mother had robbed him of it at the very last and final granted peace. Knowing exactly what the mother had done to restrain it. Drained it from his very body when he was about to pass over.
It was Asathars's voice she heard in her head. And it was darker than ever. Dangerous with a touchy edge to it, spiced with frustration and rage. In her head more accusations formed by his presence. It burned her eyes, left her skin stinging.
Then the feeling stopped, as the mother ripped the soul shard away from Riselles cheek. Burn marks remained on her skin, blistered by an angry fell green pattern that spread out across the side of her face.
For a moment Lilah Whitemorn stared at Riselle, who let her head hang. "This is an exquisite torture device, but he seems to be exceedingly feisty when it comes to you, my dear," Lady Whitemorn said, liking its effect.
"I will enjoy haunting you into insanity with this," she huffed cheerfully. Observed again what was left over after the encounter with the shard on skin. Riselle did not answer her.
"I wonder." A soft laughter escaped from Lilah's lips when she draped the chain around Riselles neck with care.
The pour woman screamed in sudden agony when the crystal came in contact with her skin again. Asathar's soul raged once more, expressing himself in a new visibly angry burn pattern that zigzagged Riselles skin from her neck down her shoulders. The young woman shocked, her limbs spasmed in response, eyes rolling in their sockets as she cried out in a dry painful rasp while rattling the chains with her hands and feet. And Lilah Whitemorn stared at the result of it all, seemingly entertained.
"Lady Whitemorn," The Captain snapped Lilah out of her mesmerized trance. His hands snatched the necklace from Riselles neck, pulling it from her skin in one hard yank. He held the broken necklace in his hand, dangling it in front of the Whitemorn matriarch. She shot him a very dangerous glare.
"You want her alive," he reminded her in a stern tone of voice, not saying anything more than that. Lilah exhaled, then nodded. "You are correct, Captain. How thoughtful of you to remind me," she said with a voice dripping with irony, snatching the necklace from his hand. Whatever the Captain was thinking, he did not give away anything, he did not even look at Riselle. His gaze was transfixed on the soul shard dangling from the silver chain necklace Lilah Whitemorn held in her hand before she took a step back.
"I shall leave it until tomorrow," she said, glancing up at the tall Captain:"I want you in my chambers for a more detailed report," she ordered, he inclined his head in a short movement in response. With that Lilah Whitemorn gathered her skirts, held her head high as she beckoned Lohurin and the guards to follow her as she stepped out of the cell. The click clack of her heeled slippers echoed along the hallway as she moved out, followed by her entourage.
Riselle skin looked a ghostly white, her hands cramped around the chains, fingers stretching out in pain. No longer pulling wildly on the shackles that restrained her.
The Captain looked at her one more time now he was alone again before he too stepped out and closed the door, leaving her in the dark confinement of her cell.
Thalen Shadownborn heard the quiet footsteps of the Captain vanish, like he had listened to the ones of Lilah Whitemorn and her guards leave.
His expression was worried when he heard a low choke coming from the cell next to his. She gagged, something spilled on the ground. It sounded like something gooey when the content hit the floor. She coughed, inhaled sharply and then things went quiet. The rattle of the chains only heard briefly before the sound fainted.
"Ris?" He asked softly, he could not see her, but he wished he could comfort her. No answer came. He would have to wait. Knowing she would be shocked to find him here.
His breathing was uneven when he realised that with Riselles capture everything had been for naught.
"Tell me, Captain Bloodvale, exactly what happened on that ship?" She seemed amused for a moment. The tall Captain stepped into the candle lit chamber where Lilah Whitemorn sat in a large comfortable chair holding a glass in her hands.
"I have not much to say on the subject, my lady. Only that it was as you already suspected, Lady Whitemorn, Lohurin damaged the woman," He stated in short unamused tone. She looked him over, he was a good looking man. "I see, I should have given you full authority instead of my son," she said regretfully. He only nodded in a short manner. She did not need to know the details of what had occurred.
"Will you not join me? Captain? She asked, nodding in the direction of another large comfortable looking chair as she held up her glass to him. "After all, we have something to celebrate," she said, sipping her drink.
"Thank you, I am humbled. I need to decline, Lady Whitemorn," the man answered sternly. "Such a shame," she shrugged, letting her gaze go over him once more when she let her drink twirl in its glass.
"Did you know the ritual has twice as much potential to succeed when I perform it with an infant vessel?" Lilah Whitemorn looked at him, wondering if the stern man would feel shocked. "I would have liked to have had access to the mothers mana though. If I could have linked them together then the boys manapool would have been larger to tap from." She felt almost sorry that she had made permanent damage to Riselle's mana pool the first time she had her chained in her dungeon. If she had known this up front. The girl would have been of greater use as a light wielder then without her divine touch, she realised. A little to late unfortunately. She could not mend the damage anymore. Or had not found a way so far.
"Perhaps I should not have used my incinerating spell to separate the mana flow within her," she murmured. It had left Riselle powerless, her mana no longer usable. It had also cut her off performing any spells. It was Lilah's 'gift' because Riselle had refused to cooperate back then and hand her the child over. It did not matter anymore. Now she still got her hands on her grandson Riselle had tried to keep from her. That she caught the mother in the process was merely a bonus.
"Is there more to your report, Captain?" She asked as she glanced his way. He shook his head. "No, my lady," he answered. "A man of little words," she said softly. "Then do not let me hold you any longer, Captain Bloodvale," she addressed him as he dipped his head quickly and was about to walk out of the room.
"Captain, before you prepare our 'guest' for questioning tomorrow, I would like you to make sure the house alchemist makes a healing potion. I want her to be fully awake when she sees him," Lilah Whitemorn ordered, a cruel smile curving her lips once more. The Captain only nodded, taking off without a single word as he closed the door behind him.
Author's Note: Hello, I made a small adjustment to the chapter. When I re-read this chapter after so many years I was still a little bit heartbroken to write her into this situation. But let me not linger on the why, but what is to come. Now will be a challenging part to try and catch what I still have in my head for such a long time. Thank you Ikyrio-Maki and Ishan for sparking my imagination once more and relighting the fires to a story I had left for such a long time. I shall finish it ^^