"Clarity and protection is all I want from you."
he explained quietly, gazing down at the woman tied up before him. "It is not my intention to hurt you, although it may seem like it is right now. If you're a good little girl and give me what I want nothing bad will happen to you, I promise."
The woman said something, but it was lost under the thick leather strap tied around her mouth.
"I was promised help, Carrion Queen, and now you will give it to me," he went on, bending down beside the all-seer and pulling the strap off her mouth.
Although slightly better, the woman felt the thick fabric around her throat now and she wanted to scream.
"I can't help you, my lord, I can't trace those who do not want to be found," she pleaded.
"Well, you'd better learn how then, and soon, because my patience is growing short," he snapped and yanking her by her soft white hair, pushed the strap around her mouth again.
And he left her alone in the dark and she knew that was supposed to frighten her, being alone and helpless under his power - like it frightened so many others.
But unlike all those others, the all-seer knew how to be alone and she did not fear the thoughtless man who'd imprisoned her.
She would survive this, as she had so many others. She only wished those he sought would survive also.
Just before starting second grade, Tom moved across the country. He hated it. His father had thought it wise to move his seat of power far up north, but the boy found it insufferable. All his friends - not that he had many - haf stayed back in the summer keep. They'd all gathered and waved when the young prince left his home, promising never to forget him, but Tom knew young boys' promises are fickle and evaporate in the wind.
Besides, the second grade of his studies was particularly terrible. In their old home, he'd studied with the other boys, in the hope that he'd grow up to be a good ruler. And his then friends had made the studying bearable - they'd joke behind the old deaf master's back and they'd run off wild once the lessons were over.
But now, with his new master, it seemed the lessons were never over. They would spend hours upon hours bent over his books, until his back was aching and yet there was still more to do. And his father had changed his mind, arguing his son didn't need friends in order to become a good ruler.
So it was just Tom, from dawn till dusk. His mother would visit him, but she was a most unhappy woman. She hadn't always been like that, only her husband liked to enforce the same rules with her as he did with their son, so the queen spent most of her time alone, in her chambers, plotting her escape.
And she would come up in the evenings and tell her son how they would leave this place and find a new life.
Until one day, they did and the king went half mad with anger. He sought his wife and son everywhere, sending word to each city to see if they'd been spotted. But no one had seen the prince and his mother. It was almost as if they'd vanished off the face of the earth.
So, the king, as a last appeal, kidnapped the young, powerful all-seer that lived in the hills. She would tell him where his family was or she would suffer the consequences that he could not inflict on them.
' Just pretend it is not there,' the seer kept telling herself, but it was all in vain, it seemed, for she could not ignore the little light that had popped up in her head. She knew that was where the queen and her son were hiding and she tried to keep herself from seeing it with all her might, for she knew that once she saw, he would too, sooner or later.
The little light hadn't always been there. When she said she couldn't find them, she hadn't lied. But something in their resolve must've weakened now, because she could see them clearly.
They were up in the mountains, hiding in the little house on the road to the abandoned altar.
The queen had chosen it and she chose well, for no one went there anymore, not even her. The seer wondered if the queen had stopped going there with precisely this purpose in mind - it was the ideal hiding spot, should she ever wish to hide.
The seer closed her eyes, allowing two identical tears to escape. It was only matter of time now. He would find them and it would be her fault.
She could not bear it. The kind had asked for protection - of the kingdom, she supposed - but she owed her protection to the queen and to the young king to be.
By the time they found her, it was too late. They could not, try as they might bring the all-seer back to life. And all it took was one forceful blow against her left temple. She'd rammed herself into the wall without thinking twice.
She saw it was the only thing to do.
This weekend freewrite was inspired by @mariannewest's interesting prompts. Do check her out!
Thank you for reading,