Below Ground

Bonus Content

Written June 12, 2016 by Jon Verrall

“Waking up is one of those simple pleasures, isn’t it?”

Three Fates Shadow didn’t answer. She hadn’t woken up in four days: she hadn’t slept.

“I love feeling refreshed in the morning. Would it be the evening for you? I’m afraid I don’t know enough about you to tell.” A pause. “Where is the manse?”

Going that long without sleep was beginning to take its toll: the dim outline of Three Fates Shadow’s caste mark flickered on her forehead, the sensation of blood ran down dangerously close to her eyes. Her eyes focused, but she could only see the stone ceiling.

“Where is the manse?”

She tried not to focus on her skin bloating from constant immersion in water. Her Essence tried to push away the punishing chill that surrounded her, to keep her mind as sharp as she could manage. Three Fates Shadow’s immaculate features twisted, and in her mind she groaned as her face pulled itself into a scowl.

“I don’t understand why you’re angry with me. We could help each other in so many ways.”

Three Fates Shadow could tell that there were more people in the room–three?–but it was incredibly difficult to concentrate. If she gave in, told them anything, maybe they’d let her sleep. She was disgusted in herself for thinking so.

“You owe them no loyalty.”

Some small, logical corner of they Abyssal’s mind recognized surrender as a potential legitimate tactic. They could remove her from this tank, allow more than her lips and nose and eyes above the surface of the water.

“We could be sisters, you and I, but I need you to take the first step.”

Tepet Exquisite Tide leaned forward, her nostrils flaring as she breathed in the frigid air directly in front of Three Fates Shadow’s face.

“Where is the manse?”

The next six seconds were thick with silence. The Day caste resolved to make no sound.

“I’m so sorry, my dear.”

As Exquisite Tide left the room, Three Fates Shadow heard the sinister promise of jade scraping against stone and felt one of her legs pulled roughly out of the water and felt the infinite needles of warm air attacking her chilled skin and she promised herself that she wouldn’t scream as the others in the room approached the pool.

She didn’t scream, but she desperately wanted to. In that moment, she was more tempted to give in, to cry out in pain and humiliation and suffering, than she had ever been in her life. She kept her promise.

On the fifth day, Three Fates Shadow would break it.

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