Chapters 1 – 16 can be found here.
I opened my eyes carefully and attempted to look around. But it was no use. I was engulfed in complete darkness. My eyes tried to get used to the strange surroundings, but even then, I had no clue where I was and what exactly was happening. My senses started to pick up that I was lying on a soft, cushioned bed. After enjoying the comfort of the bed for a second, the pain returned as quickly as it had at the beach. I tried to scream and shout, but my cries for help remained silent. The pain started with a throbbing headache, making every moment with my eyes open a challenge. It then moved down my spine, leaving my torso with the feeling of having been on the receiving end of a thousand tiny cuts. My legs, on the other hand, felt entirely numb, causing a totally different kind of panic in me. Soon after, I blacked out again.
I remember opening my eyes two or three times more in complete darkness. Each time, I tried to form a sound, failing every time. My eyes weren’t getting used to the darkness as they were supposed to, leaving me help- and clueless in the bed, which became a soft prison for me. But I never managed to stay awake for long periods, always dozing off or fainting again soon after opening my eyes. After all, it seemed I was completely alone and incapable of action. I wish I could remember the dreams from my unconsciousness. Often the heroes of my childhood had visions or dreams during occurrences like this. Even I had some kind of foreshadowing moment when I slept in the capital what already seemed like ages ago. But nothing of note comes to mind. Only darkness and discomfort remained all around.
The next time I awoke, it was different. First of all, it wasn’t dark anymore. A magical orb of light hung at the ceiling, showing me my humble environment. Secondly, the first thing I felt wasn’t pain, but thirst. My mouth was completely dried out, with my lips cracked. I figured this was the reason my screams and shouts hadn’t been heard before: they weren’t as loud as I had expected.
“Water.” I called, my voice not loud enough to attract any kind of attention. My room was empty bar for the bed and two stools. I could see my leather armor lying useless on the chair and noticed me almost being naked. My head was still aching as if someone was penetrating my forehead with a sledgehammer without stopping. But my upper body now felt as numb as my lower body. I had tried moving while lying in the darkness, but something had stopped me. Now I could see what. I was strapped firmly to the bed, solely able to wiggle. Panic set in once more. Where was I? The empty room was round. Was I back in the lighthouse? And where were Seraphina and Laurenar? My mind was racing. But every thought seemed to induce another round of pain.
“Water.” I whispered again before passing out again. I would get my wish.
A bucket of water splashed across my face to wake me up from my last bout of unconsciousness. Before reacting to the cool liquid with a sound, my dry lips tried to savor as much as possible. Then I opened my eyes, not knowing who or what to expect. I felt relief flowing through my whole body. Seraphina’s friendly, hazel eyes were staring at me with a warm look of concern. I tried to crack a smile for her and reached for the cup of water she was holding. After all, it would have been cruel to wake me with water while denying me a sip of the elixir of life. I emptied the cup quickly and noticed how my body had longed for hydration. Seraphina immediately handed me two more cups, which I downed just as eagerly.
The pain my body was feeling when I had woken up had vanished. Only a slight headache remained and I sincerely hoped that was one of the effects of dehydration. This meant I could feel my upper and lower body again. The straps on my bed had been taken off, which meant I was free to move. With great effort, I sat up in the bed.
Seraphina hadn’t said anything to me so far. She hadn’t taken her eyes off me, while I tried to get used to the movements of my bod. I could feel that something was wrong, but I couldn’t pinpoint it exactly. Her robes were clean and the staff she carried around to work her magic was leaning against the chair. The bags underneath her eyes indicated her crying or not getting enough sleep. Perhaps it was both.
“Where are we?” I asked slowly. My voice still was extremely quiet, but she was able to pick up my question.
“Safe for the moment.” She replied and quick, forced smile appeared on her face. Something had happened, but she didn’t want to tell me. Or maybe she couldn’t.
“What happened to me?” I drank another cup of water.
“You were poisoned.” Seraphina stood up and began to pace around the room nervously. I stared at her in disbelief.
She didn’t answer immediately, but pulled out a little bolt out of a pocket in her flowing robes. It was made from the same material we had seen on my first evening at the capitol, when Laurenar had chased the hooded figure over the rooftop. It seemed that we didn’t need to find the enemy, but the enemy had found us. She pointed to me and then to the back of her shoulder. I had noticed the bandages wrapped around my left shoulder. The bolt had hit me, when we were talking to Drake and the surviving soldiers. The memories slowly crept back into consciousness.
“Where are the others?”
“Drake and one of the sailors are standing guard.”
“And Laurenar?” I asked, increasingly worried.
She paused for a moment. “He was taken.”
Thank you very much for reading Chapter 17! Have a great weekend and please like, share and subscribe.