“You know,” you say, rolling the throwing knife over your fingers, “I think I’ve played this game before.”
“You’re just standing right there, practically begging me to put a knife into your throat,” you say quietly. “I’ll wager there’s a good chance something bad will happen if I do. Isn’t there?”
Siona shivers and closes her eyes, as if in relief. The expression looks so like Lucan that it hurts.
“Very clever, Countess,” says Croanna. “Very clever, indeed.” She draws a dagger from her belt. “But in case you do get the idea of putting a blade through my heart…let me show you just what will happen if you do.”
She cuts her palm with the dagger, blood welling over the steel blade. Then the platinum bracelet on her left wrist flashes with green light, and the cut vanishes, the skin whole and unmarked.
The identical bracelet flashes on Siona’s wrist, and the girl staggers with a muffled shriek. A gash appears on her palm, red and dripping, and Siona stares at Croanna with rage and utter hatred.
The platinum bracelets, you realize. Somehow it transferred Croanna’s wound to Siona. If you had put that knife into Croanna’s throat…
Croanna sighs and taps her platinum bracelet. “The bloodsieve was my most useful creation by far. It would have been marvelous if I could have made Lucan Maraeus watch the woman he loves kill his daughter. A worthy vengeance for all the trouble he has caused me.”
Rycurgus smirks. “Let me kill her now. I’ll make her scream for death, before I’m done. Or better yet, put a mindreaver on her. Then we’ll have some fun.”
“No,” says Croanna. “She’s much too dangerous for that. And her death will serve a very useful purpose. My lord Lucan!”
Boots click against the marble floor, and Lucan Maraeus comes into sight.
You didn’t think your mouth could get any drier, but it does.
He is unharmed, so far as you can tell. Yet a mindreaver rests on his left wrist, and his expression is blank, his eyes glassy. His ghostsilver longsword, mate to the dagger you took from Anacepheon’s tomb a few months ago, rests in his right. He’s wearing his leather armor and weapons belt, and you see three small clay flasks near his scabbard.
“Well, Countess?” says Rycurgus. “Any last words? Anything clever you want to say?”
You say nothing, staring hard at Lucan’s belt.
“Lucan Maraeus. Kill her in front of me,” says Croanna.
Lucan raises the ghostsilver sword, stepping forward, and plans flash through your mind.
You’re on your own. The others won’t wake up from that stunning spell for at least another hour.
You suspect that the wound transference ability of the bloodsieve goes both ways. Sorcery always has a price, after all. Croanna knows that you will not touch her, fearing to wound Lucan’s daughter. But what if you simply cut Siona’s throat? The mortal wound will transfer to Croanna, she’ll bleed to death, and your problems will be solved.
If you can bring yourself to cut the throat of Lucan’s nine-year-old daughter.
There’s another way. Croanna made a mistake. Those flasks on Lucan’s belt hold a chemical concoction of his own design. When exposed to air, it burns with a brilliant white flame, enough to temporarily blind anyone looking at it. And everyone in the room is looking at you.
But what then? Lucan wanted you to save his daughter. You could snatch the girl and run for help. If Croanna has control of the Emperor and all the Empire’s high officials, you’ll need help to stop her – someone who will listen to you. Someone who will help you defeat Croanna, and rescue the Emperor, Lucan, Ark, Moresti, Rhazion, Tylas, and all the others in her power.
Croanna watches Lucan walk towards you, her eyes glittering with delighted malice, and you prepare to move…
How should Caina fight Croanna?
- Use one of the flasks from Lucan’s belt, and then use your ghostsilver dagger to remove the mindreaver from his wrist. (56%, 5 Votes)
- Cut Siona’s throat. (22%, 2 Votes)
- Use one of the flasks from Lucan’s belt. Take Siona, try to escape the Imperial Citadel, and contact the rest of the Ghost circle in Malarae. (22%, 2 Votes)
- Use one of the flasks from Lucan’s belt. Take Siona and run for the Imperial Guards’ barracks within the Citadel. (0%, 0 Votes)
- Use one of the flasks from Lucan’s belt. Take Siona, try to escape the Imperial Citadel, and contact the Magisterium. (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 9