"But you aren't going to bleed," the voice behind the knife continued.
I whimpered in reply, my mind cursing that I hadn't worked harder in my studies, hadn't seen the dire necessity of learning to cast without symbols, without a flourish.
"It will hurt you though." Cold. Harsh. Terrible. "More than any wound should."
I could imagine the maligned smile crawling across my oppressor's face, the crazed twinkle dancing in his otherwise dead eyes. I shivered.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to weep . I wanted to beg for mercy; but my mouth wouldn't move. It was trapped in a horrified frown, and my throat was too tight to allow me to breath but for a rasp, a far cry from a shout.
I heard the laugh behind me just before the quick whiz of the dagger echoed above my head. I cringed, groaned, and fixed my eyes shut.
I turned slowly, hearing only the muffled mumbles of the masses permeating the thick walls. No sharp words. No mad laughs. No slow bursts of hot breath. Deja vu greeted me.
Save for one detail, one small sign that everything hadn't been a dream, a terrible musing. A dagger lay on the bare ground; I hadn't even heard it drop. I reached to pick it up, slowly, carefully.
The hilt was warm, obviously clutched tight mere moments ago. The blade, though, was cold steel, icy to the touch with the exception of it's edge.
Blood? My blood?
I quickly reached a hand to where the dagger had pointed into my back, but it came back clean, dry.
The sound of footsteps drumming from the darkness broke my thought, stole me back to the situation, and the dagger, at hand. I was useless with weapons, though I held the blade still, so reached with my other into the air, faint wisps of magic coalescing in my palm.
"Come to me, Alexia," I whispered, a soft call.
But the trails died in my hands, the spell dissipated. I tried again, frantic, but remained unrewarded for my efforts.
The knife's cruel words spoke in my mind: It will hurt you... more than any wound should.
Realization was bitter, a blow to my heart that left me sobbing on the ground.
The footfalls grew closer.