"The fae have no desire for earthly treasure. They trade only in their binding word and honor. For, a promise made by a fae is worth far more than gold."
SETH WATCHED IT ALL unfold in disbelief. The way she had moved was like nothing he had ever seen before. When the human had pinned her, Seth's blood had raged, and his magic threatened to lash out. Seth's feet were moving towards her on their own. He knelt beside her. Blood, from the human, freckled her face and arms. There were so many puzzle pieces to who this girl was.
Watching her fight had explained why she warranted an execution. He was surprised they had not killed her sooner. She had moved with such grace and strength, but no sign of magic. With her petite size and lack of magic use, he would have thought her a low born fae. His instincts told him differently. Even with the smell of iron masking her scent, he could smell her magic. It was strong and wild. With every bit of information he gathered, more questions were added. Who was she? Where was she from? Where did she learn to fight?
Seth had not missed the fear in the human's eyes when the man realized who he was fighting. His reaction was not one that Seth would have expected from a man who just shot a woman with an iron arrow. The human made a living off of imprisoning, torturing, and killing faeries. Yet, when he saw her, he had nearly fainted from fear.
"What happened?" Cassius, one of Seth's faithful crew members, stood behind him. Cassius, not considered a low born fae, but also not considered high born. That was one of the reasons he had befriended the twins. The blond-haired male stared down at the female. His green eyes narrowing as he inspected her and the human atop her.
Seth did not ask for help as he shoved the human off of her. The iron of his uniform bit into Seth's palms. He hissed in pain. Cassius grabbed the man by the feet and pulled while Seth gently pulled the female into his lap. The human groaned in pain. Seth cocked an eyebrow in surprise. He had been so focused on the strange female, he had not even noticed the human was still alive.
Chapter 7.1 Continued
"Seth?" Cassius hissed, dropping the human's legs. A look of disgust marred the male's tan face as he stared down at the human.
"Who is she?" Cassius asked, not taking his emerald green eyes off of the human archer. It was the same question Seth asked himself when he found her in that cell. The groan of the human drew Seth's attention. The worthless man might still be of some use before they killed him. He had seemed to recognize her when they fought.
The archer's breathing was labored. His hands pressed against the wound in his neck that slowly leaked blood. Seth saw the irony in it. The arrow the female had lodged in his neck to kill him was the only thing stopping him from dying.
The human looked between Seth and Cassius with wide eyes. Cassius knelt beside Seth and leaned over the human. He sniffed at him like a wolf and sucked on his fangs. Seth smirked. The human was trying to scoot away from Cassius.
"What did she mean by 15?" Seth blurted out the question. It was the only thing the female had said since Seth found her. He knew by the way she said it that the number had been a taunt. It had meaning. The human shut his eyes and locked his jaw. Unwilling to give them any information at all.
"This arrow," Cassius drawled. The male touched the end of it just enough to make the human wince in pain.
"Is the only thing keeping you alive," Cassius smile was truly feral.
"Painful way to die," Cassius rose to his feet and began circling the human. The human narrowed his eyes at Cassius and then at Seth.
"Let's make a deal, shall we?" Seth smiled, purposely showing both of his elongated canines in the process.
"Swear it," the human rasped, "swear on your name that you won't kill me and I'll talk," He looked between Cassius and Seth. His gaze landed on the Captain, deeming him the most trustworthy of the two.
"I swear on my name, Captain Seth Rivers, that if you answer our questions, I won't pull this arrow out of your neck," Seth smiled wide enough to show his fangs. Human's knew of the fae culture. To break a vow or promise was taboo in the worst of ways. It was to invite the wrath of the old gods on yourself. Though most humans mistakenly believed that fae physically could not break a vow.
"Swear you won't kill me," the human hissed. Seth let out a merciless laugh. The human was good.
"Very well then. I swear that I won't kill you if you answer all my questions,"
"Deal," The human rasped. His body relaxed.
"Now, my friend asked a question. What did she mean when she said 15?" Cassius snapped. Seth bit back his smile.
Once the human started talking, it felt like he would never stop. Seth and Cassius just listened with disbelief as the human told them of how he had come to capture Lady Railynn Tal. Cassius let out a low whistle as he leaned back on his heels, shoving his thumbs into his belt loops. Seth looked down at the female curled up in his lap. She looked more like an innocent child than a ruthless killer.
Seth had only seen the legendary Lady Railynn once before, and only in her beast form. He had only been a century or so old back then and was an offer in Ameron's army. Their companies had passed in the mountains west of Echad. He and her commanding officer, at the time, had agreed to set up camp together. He had seen the giant black leopard stalking through the camp. No one had even questioned who it was. The warriors whispered her name as she passed. He had heard of her ability to fight, using partial shifts to produce claws on her hands. She was two decades his junior and just as powerful as a fae twice her age.
"Seth, I don't think the human will be of much more use," Cassius mused as he flicked the arrow in the side of the human's neck.
"You swore!" he coughed.
"And how do we know you are not lying?" Seth countered.
"I swear it on my life," the human pleaded.
"Your life is not worth much," Cassius sneered before yanking the arrow from the human's neck in one jerk. The human cried out in pain, coughing up more blood.
"He has to be lying?" Cassius said, walking away from the quickly dying human to follow Seth. Who had picked up the female from the ground, and was once more carrying her in his arms.
"Railynn," Seth whispered, looking down at the unconscious female he held. It was impossible. Railynn was dead. If this girl was who the human claimed, it would mean she had been held captive for seven months and lived.
A shudder ran through Seth's body at the mere thought of what she must have endured. Seth wondered just how much was left of her. How much would be left of anyone, after enduring so much? He had to force himself to not think about Ellinna. His Princess had died in a similar camp to this. Alone and afraid, driven mad by iron. She was the reason he did these raids.
"So the human lied?" Cassius crossed his arms over his chest. He stared at Railynn like she would wake up and attack them at any minute. Seth shook his head. He would have agreed with his friend. But the few freed prisoners remaining in the courtyard were pointing and whispering a name, "Lady Death,"