The last thing Talas remembered was Jace O'Maley charging her with the francisca, then an ear piercing screech as the ground below her feet began to rattle. And now she was lying here in a haze, it didn't add up. Her eyelids were heavy, and her eyes refused to open just yet.
Talas groaned. So this was death. What a humiliating way to go. Jace had killed her with her own weapon. Now she was worm meal or...
Her eyes began to flutter open. Standing before her was a man with light wispy transparent wings growing out of his spine.
Moths. Talas hated moths or any sort of bugs with overgrown wings, that chewed holes through things for a pastime. Her vision hadn't focused yet, but it was enough that Talas could make out the vague features of the guard. He had a particularly large mouth, and his teeth...
Her mouth was dry, her voice horse she may have already been dead, but even so it was worth a plea. “Pray, don't...eat me.”
Talas felt something heavy besides her; something soft and rough at the same time. It grazed the top of her head. She angled her head to see what it was. Besides her The prince of Thieves began to stir. His head was just above hers and the rough subtle of his beard was scratching up against her hair.
He wasn't real she told herself, it was a mirage, a cruel trick of this hell she had landed in. Yes, that was a reassuring thought. She was in hell, so Jace couldn't be alive. If she was wrong that would mean she was cozying up to to the real Prince himself. She shuddered. What a horrifying thought. “Please let me be in hell,” she spoke to no person in particular.
Jace grunted and forced himself to sit up. His eyes adjusted to his surroundings. Talas lay before him, alive and breathing, though muttering deliriously. He pushed himself to his feet and reached for one of the wooden poles of their entrapment. They were confined in a large pen. Armed men with wings observed them from the outside of the cage.
What were these creatures? Angels, perhaps? Only that didn't add up. The angels in the stories his mother told him were often nude or cloaked in white robes. These men and women were self indulgent in their dresses of silk and suits of regal upholding. Their expressions weren't cruel, but hard and calculating. Jace set his Jaw and defiantly reached for his sword, only to find the sheath empty. His zweihander, it was gone.
Jace knelt besides Talas. She batted at him, pushing him away. Jace took hold of her wrists with one hand and ignored her protests as he reached the sheaths she wore encircled around her hip. They were empty too. Jace released her and stood up. He kicked at the hard sandy ground, sending a dust cloud her way. Talas began to cough but it was enough to get off her arse. She blinked a couple times, coming to her own realization. She was on her feet in no time.
Jace narrowed his eyes at her and kept his voice low “They took our weapons.”
Talas glanced at the men and women crowding outside of the cage, then back towards Jace. “The moth people?”
Jace sighed, exasperated. “Er...I don't think these are moth people.”
Talas slammed her fist against one of the wooden steaks. “Then what are they?”
“How in the hell should I know?!” Jace spat back.
Talas wiped sand from her chain mail. “This is your doing Prince. I don't know how but I am sure of it. Your people are thieves who play dirty and break the rules to get their own way. Now if you think for one second that you can kill me on these grounds against the word of the prophets-
“No princess!” Jace interrupted. “This is not my doing, and I wouldn't kill you for sport, lest you continue to ramble incoherently and belittle my kingdom, then I may be tempted to strangle you.” He shot Talas a dark look, but she was sure he was jesting. He wouldn't really leave her body to rot in this strange land, would he?
The crowd began to part and a tall winged man walked down the aisle they provided him. He wore no crown, no headdress, but his mere appearance made these people bow respectfully. He was someone of high stature.
Talas tilted her chin upwards, she would not be intimidated by these giant...er...moth men.
“Who are you?” Jace asked pressing his face against two wooden poles.
“I am Catacus. Leader of the Fae in the Narlock.”
Jace leveled his gaze with the man's. “The Whatlock?”
Catacus's gaze skimmed over Jace and went on to Talas. “The both of you are a great asset to the Narlock now. You will be marked as belonging to me. If either of you should escape my army you will be unprotected and will suffer a fate worse than any you could possibly suffer at my hands.”
Talas shot the man a skeptical look. “Surely you jest.”
Catacus shook his head. “Fae do not jest.” He whistled. Instantly two fae guards opened the doors to the pen. They each seized Talas and Jace. For brittle looking moth people they possessed uncanny strength.
“It's magic Prince Jace, there is no use trying to struggle against it.” Catacus informed.
Jace kicked and flailed his limbs regardless. Another guard was called in to help restrain him. “I don't believe a word you say! What do you want with us? Where are you taking us?” He raged on in fury.
Catacus's face was unreadable as he spoke slowly.“First thing is first. We brand and then we shall talk.”