Terror. Terror like nothing I have ever felt before. It seems to course through every fibre of my being like poison, a foul metallic taste clinging to the roof of my mouth and making it seem as if the world is moving faster than I could ever hope to keep up with. Melody and Lynette drop me before a pair of Light Reapers, both women. Their power is incredible, almost as tangible as that of the Triumvate. They look down on me with blind unseeing eyes, but I can feel them searching through me. One, white-haired and wrinkled with age, remains unmoved, while her steel-haired and much younger counterpart curls her lip in disgust.
"He is Capricorn's son, there is no doubt about that. And he has the blackest, dirties and most disgusting soul I have ever seen. You are right, he is indeed a beast."
I try to protest, but Melody clamps her hand over my mouth, hard. The woman tosses her head.
"She bears his mark you say? Then freeing her will be easy, any bond can be broken by the death of one party. We must kill him to free the girl."
No! I try to cry out, but Lynette twists my arm harder. Don't they see? If they kill me they'll kill Ellie too! Are they mad? Don't they see what they're doing? The lights flicker and the ground rumbles ominously in the strange pale room where I have found myself. The old woman sighs.
"We must act fast. His corruption is already spreading through her. Take him to the arena, the executioners will be waiting."
"Yes Elders." says Melody, bowing respectfully. Once again I am hauled to my feet and dragged out of the room. The girls drop me at the door, where a pair of enormous guards are waiting, enormous shackles in their hands. My eyes widen and I try to twist away from them, but they are far stronger than I am and next thing I know my wrists, ankles and throat are shackled and I'm being forcibly dragged - none too gently might I add - down a long corridoor. I try and fight for a while, but a couple of hard strikes from the guards silence me. My broken hand throbs terribly, my new injuries (I'm sure at least one of my ribs is broken and I'm bleeding from several deep cuts on my arms and forehead) are agony and the manacles dig into my skin like nothing I've ever felt.
"Why?" I whisper to myself. "Why is this happening?"
"Shut it." snaps one of the guards, clouting me around the head again. I whimper with pain, too weak and terrified to cry out any more.
Ellie's mark is blazing like hell, and I can feel her fury. But she's just as scared as I am, doubtless she knows the fate that awaits me. For the first time in my millenia of existence, I start to cry, silver tears streaming down my face, mingled with blood and sweat.
I am dragged into a large room and chained to the wall, hand wrenched painfully above my head and feet dangling a good half a foot off the floor. One of the guards gives me a final slap across the face, scoring three deep gouges in my already bruised skin. I can't even raise my head to respond, I'm too exhausted.
"An hour." one of the guards growls. "They're getting rid of this scum in an hour. Personally, I want to watch it. The draugs haven't been fed in a long while, I'm sure they'll make quick work of him. It's better than he deserves - I'd have tortured him to death myself. All those poor souls he's torn away from their lives ... death is too good for dirt like him."
The door slams shut behind them. An hour. I only have an hour left to live.
I'm going to die.