Alton frees Revanth from the dungeon. After helping him upstairs, he decides to go free the other prisoners.
Revanth shrugged, shaking his head. “Why not? Where’s Topaz?”
“In the courtyard, finding earth magic not to her liking.”
Chuckling, Revanth eased his sore body into a more comfortable position. “I don’t suppose you’ve got any healing magic?”
“Not much.” He muttered a few power words and touched Revanth’s shoulder. A cascade of golden sparkles jumped from his hand. “Well, never did that before! It must be the magic here. It’s strong.”
“Go. Help the others. Then we’ll free the girls. For the moment, they should be all right.”
Alton nodded, dashing back down the stairs. Searching the cells, he found a few other prisoners, in much worse shape than Revanth. He gave each a healing touch, leaving their cell doors open. As he headed to the stairs, he saw the stronger helping the weaker.
“Why are you prisoners?” he asked one of the men.
“The blue bitch liked a bevy of men. When we failed to please, we ended up here. Are you here to kill her?”
“Only if she makes it necessary. She’s my lover’s mother.”
“Hope she’s nicer than her dame,” the man replied.
“Much. The female gnome is upstairs in the courtyard. Touch her at your peril.” With that, he scampered back up the steps.
He found Revanth still seated where he’d left him, looking the worse for his ordeal.
“Where are the girls?”
“I’ll show you.” He stood, gasping as he clutched his groin. “Gods, it hurts worse than before.”
“Nothing to take your mind off it. And the magic heals quickly, but it isn’t always gentle. I’m sorry.”
“Up the stairs, to your right, then right again, and take the staircase to the spire.”
“I’ll be back as soon as may be.”
Revanth nodded, easing into his chair. Alton ran up the steps, following his friend’s directions. He found the spire, but was greeted by blank walls. Puzzled, he turned in a slow circle.
“There’s nothing here!” he sent mentally to Revanth.
“Magic. Close your eyes and follow your nose.”
Doing so, Alton found Revanth’s room first. He discovered Rialtia huddled on the bed, wrapped in iron chains. The time had not been kind to her. Iron acts like poison on fae, and she had been chained up for nearly two days. Alton couldn’t help but strut in, cocky and self-assured. He knew it was foolish, but he hated her with a passion unequaled. Seeing her thus brought down was pleasing to him.
“Met your match, did you? Stupid cow. You shouldn’t under estimate your opponent.”
“Neither should you,” she croaked, making a magical gesture with one hand. She mumbled words of power and Alton felt a sharp pain in the back of his head. Her hand twisted and it felt as if someone had stabbed him with hot metal on the inner thigh. “You came for her,” she whispered. “But it’s too late. She doesn’t remember you.”
Alton flung his dagger at her, hitting her square in the chest. The pain in his head and leg ceased as Rialtia slid to the floor.
“Then I will win her heart again,” he declared. “I will always come for her, no matter how far. She is my life. And you, twisted, evil witch that you are—you’re dead.”
Rialtia’s death rattle shook her body as she slumped against the bed. The iron chains rattled, tangling around her. It was then he heard he screaming and felt the tremors of the building beneath him. Of course, the castle was her magical creation. With Rialtia dead, how could it stand?
“Velda!” he bellowed. “Where are you? My love!”
“Alton? We’re here! We’re chained.”
Following her voice, Alton rushed to their cell. The hidden door was visible now, since the magic was collapsing. Throwing the bolt, he ran into the room. Velda stood a few feet away, chained with bronze instead of iron. Astrid was bound by iron. Neither woman looked her best, but they hadn’t suffered like Rialtia.
“Do you truly know me?” he said, stopping a foot out of range.
“I know you. You are my Alton, the man whose perfect form enticed me away from home.”
“And you are my beautiful Velda, the love of my life.” He took her hands, kissing her.
“Not to interrupt this touching reunion,” Astrid complained. “But wouldn’t you like to leave before the place collapses around us?”
“Of course.” He grinned. “Stretch the chain across the stone there and pull,” he told the women.
They did as he told them. With several strikes of his sword, he severed the chains. It didn’t do his sword much good, but their freedom was more important. There would be other swords, there was only one Velda.
“My mother?” Velda asked as they ran past her cell.
“Dead. I’m sorry.”
She hesitated. The castle shuddered and their room fell away.
“Time for grieving later!” Astrid screamed, grabbing them by the hands.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes