Ivory Palace, The Central City Lavene, Kingdom of Antioch.


Moonlight filtered through the window high on the wall, the only source of light in the pitch dark cell. In a corner atop a bed anchored to the wall, slept a lump of flesh... a cold unmoving lump.

Adriana had watched transfixed atop her bed, her legs folded back against her chest, watching how the man's bare chest rose and fell, a rhythm that she had subconsciously set into her breathing pattern.Until that chest rose no more and Adriana knew after holding her breath for a considerable amount of time, that the man who had shared his dinner with her some hours back had succumbed to death's call...

A peaceful death. Adriana thought, She had seen her fair share of death and was almost envious of this type of death. Death that stole one away whilst asleep, She wouldn't be blessed with such ease, because her crimes were too 'grievous and could not be forgiven'.

The council members had said so. Adriana recalled being brought to her knees before the king and his court. The bald lot watching her nervously atop their cushioned seats, as if she could break free from the metal chains that restrained her. She smirked at them.


"What do we do with her?" One had said as suggestions were raised.

"Execute her, of course," Councilor Han said, his large nose flaring as he spat his words.

"Death's too good for her, I suggest we torture her. A public humiliation. Placing her in the mud like her people did us." Councilor Xian said.

"No! A public humiliation would raise suspicion. Especially without a hearing," Another council member refuted strongly.

"A hearing? She has committed crimes against the crown for god's sake," Someone cried out.

" Evidence is of utmost importance before we sentence her. If not what is the point of the judicial system?" King Damianos said.


"Judicial system be damned. She and her Brotherhood have caused us troubles," Councilor Midas added continuing.

"There is no more brotherhood," Another cut in harshly.

" Her presence says otherwise, and besides, what's to say there aren't others?"Councilor Xian countered.

"I assure you, Councilor Xian, they have all been taken care of." The king had said in a placating tone.

That was then... Some three years ago.

It didn't pass Adriana as odd when their suggestions lurched towards her death, such was the might of the Uprising. Their reputation was known far and wide all over Antioch and other neighboring nations.

Nobody dared rebel against them, the name sent terror into the hearts of every treacherous ruler in Antioch and that was its objective; ridding Antioch of greedy leaders, and causing them troubles;even long before Adriana was born.

 When she was ten years old, she was recruited as an orphan on the streets of Lavene, where she had no home and could barely afford a meal. Adriana stole to survive, and it was on one of these numerous heists that she met them. She owed them her life, and trained with them for five years. She learned after rigorous physical and mental exercise that the Uprising was an organization to fear, what with its continuous functioning and its secret base that had never been found... at least not until that day.

Adriana thought wistfully, the memory stirring. The screams and cries of help that plagued that day came unbidden. Fire burning down the Nest, her friends writhing, as if in seizures. Their fighting prowess futile against a supernatural assault. The smell of scorching skin seemed to waft into Adriana's nostrils and she felt vaguely sick.

The fire had consumed everything it touched, wood, glass, metal, concrete, bones, until all that was left of her home and friends were ash and smoke blown into the sky. While she watched held down by the guards who were under specific orders to capture one of them. She was caught.

She stood there on her knees, held to the ground, her heart pounding furiously in her chest, anger and fear brimming in her veins. She was angry at herself for being helpless while fearful of the inhumane being that was burning her home and family.

Watching a preternatural being tear down her home, a being that existed in tales and folklores... A demon.

Adriana sighed inwardly at the memory, willing herself to focus on her present situation and the likely future. She had been trained not to linger on the past and its mistakes. Instead she was to mold herself into a better version that would be able to scale over mistakes of the past or evade them.

How was one to evade forces beyond comprehension? Powers that she hadn't combated in all her five years of training.

Footsteps echoed in the distance, stopping her line of thoughts. She quirked her head to the side listening for the sound.

Feet dragged against the cemented floors, passing by rows of iron-barred cells. The other prisoners jerked awake, stringing a line of colorful curses down the person's way.

Adriana knew only one person elicited such a response, and she also had a good idea who he was coming to visit.

The approaching footsteps grounded to a halt in front of her cell. The scent of perfume made with tropic flowers momentarily purged the cell room of its waft of rot. With a considerable amount of self-control, Adriana willed herself to remain calm–like she had done for the past three years–as the known intruder stood outside her door, ostensibly watching her, his presence taunting her.

The same presence that stood above her fallen form when the Nest was burnt down, controlling the supernatural force, the moonlight shone towards the cell bars, bringing his face into view, exposing some of his features.

Pale skin–a milky white under the moon's ray. Blonde flaxen curls atop his head trimmed in a manly cut. Eyes that could be mistaken for black but were a dull grey, his bulbous nose framed his face bringing his thin lips to a ubiquitous curl.

"What do you want Anlai?" Adriana asked coldly.

"No greetings? Always straight to the point, my dear Adi." He said using her pet name. The pet name irritated her. But he continued anyway.

"I am not here for the usual, as you can see," He continued grinning, showing her his bare hands.

Whenever Anlai visited the cell, he came along with some guards who would bring along instruments of torture that would leave the cell room bloodied or, at times broken depending on the material of such instrument, leaving Adriana a bloody mess on the floor.

At times, Anlai was accompanied by his fiancee, Emily, who took inexplicable pleasure in seeing Adriana in pain and would join in the gruesome exercise and 'instill' discipline on her. With the guards always gossiping about the orange-haired prisoner, Emily hated Adriana for no reason more than the attention Adriana received from everyone, even in the cell.

Society's Dump, Adriana had called her once. That had earned her a punch in the face but the look on Emily's face was worth it, and Adriana said it again and again until her face was swollen and the cell guard had complained of busted fists.

Her cheeks still hurt, along with the other scars and wounds that had yet to heal from the torture and injuries.

" No need to look disappointed, there's always next time," Anlai said with a smile before continuing. " To matters at hand, I come bearing good news."

Misunderstanding Adriana's silence for assent, Anlai continued.

"Recently our neighboring nation reached out to us for military aid. Unfortunately, their nation has been caught in the threshold of paranormal activity."

"How unfortunate indeed!" Adriana thought grimly as she looked back on her last discussion with Anlai.

Some weeks back, Anlai had visited the cell. In a boisterous spirit, he had disclosed how he had summoned a preternatural being into the neighboring nation because they refused to hand over the Crown Prince of Antioch. The Crown Prince of Antioch had been imprisoned for the alleged murder of the crown princess– who had 'vehemently' refused to marry him– so he killed her in cold blood.

Desperate fellow.

He had then revealed how he predicted them seeking aid from Antioch because Anlai said–while thumping his skinny chest–was the only living soul that practiced the Unseen Arts.

"We agreed of course, but at what cost? The prince for peace, we told them," Anlai cackled

"But alas! I didn't expect them striking a counter bargain " Anlai cursed then ran his hands through his hair. His elaborate kimono flapping at the folds.

"They offered to release the prince if we could find the person who was causing them problems." Anlai paused looking calmly at Adriana. "Impossible feat has given that I am the cause." 

"A damper on your plans I suppose," Adriana said drily.

"On the contrary my dear," He began. "It has given me an idea, one that has already been set into motion, but pray! Don't interrupt me now or I shall be cross, so do listen." He said excitedly, his voice rose to a shrill pitch; one of his fingers was raised indignantly. It was raised in such a way that Adriana was sorely tempted to bite off.

Leaving the confines of her bed, Adriana walked around the vast space, stretching her limbs, avoiding the still lump at the corner of the room. She moved closer to the iron bars, watching as Anlai drew back.

"Good.So where was I? Oh yes, I spoke with one of our spies over there to tell the prince to denounce his former statements and say that he was ready to confess his sin– no need to look so confused, there's little you can do, the deed has been done."

"He is to say that you were his betrothed. You killed the princess in jealousy but he took the blame for you— his love" Anlai cackled like a Macbeth witch.

"Wait–What? " Adriana cried confused, her head was spinning. What was going on? Betrothed...Love...

" Yes, Adriana! You would play a most convincing role. The best part is that you are the one that summoned the Unseen on them in retaliation for imprisoning the prince."

"No!No one would believe you," Adriana whispered incredulously. "They know you dabble in dark arts. It won't work."

"I think they will believe anything. They are a desperate bunch at the moment and besides, I have sworn by the Anons."

Adriana raised her eyebrows in confusion.


"Exactly, there's nothing like that. I made it up and did a little bit of magic, and they believe that I am not the cause of their problems.You on the other hand..." Anlai said rubbing his hands diabolically.

"I'll expose you," Her voice was calm because she couldn't approach this with anger. Adriana had found a way to escape this death sentence. She hadn't persevered three gruesome years for nothing.

Without warning, Adriana lunged for the bars and seized Anlai. Her hands grasped his cloth only to be thrown back by a strong gust of magic. She hit her back on the wall opposite the cell bars, knocking the breath out of her.

"I'm always prepared Adi, Too bad..." He pauses dusting his ornate-designed robes."...this secret goes with you to the grave."

 Her lungs gasped for air while her hands turned white clenched in a fist. "When is it happening?"

"Tomorrow," Anlai turned his back and walked away, his footsteps receding until Adriana could hear his footsteps no more.

This couldn't be it. Adriana exhaled deep. She pulled her hands open to reveal a pair of cufflinks.

She would get out of this jail cell...Magic be damned.

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