Dana sat quietly with her hands clasped in her lap. Sitting up straight with her knees together and her ankles crossed, she tried to listen to the voices around her as she attempted to block out the emotions connected to them. She could feel the weight of it all around her like hands pressing onto her shoulders, back, and eyes. Her head began to ache with the effort to block it out.
She sat in Papa Joe’s live in room while Ed Dillard, Amelia Orrin, Joe Epps, Joseph Epps, and his wife, Lindsey, who was holding baby Elroy in her arms. They talked and argued around her as she sat like a piece of furniture.
“We can’t let that monster have her!” Amelia snapped.
“I understand, but this could be a huge opportunity,” Joseph rose his voice slightly to be heard, trying not to frighten his infant son.
“You’re actually ok with putting your sister behind enemy lines like that?” Ed pointed accusingly at Joseph.
“That’s not what I’m saying and you know it.” Joseph puffed out his chest and took a step forward.
“Joseph, please.” Lindsey looked to her husband, fearful of where the argument might lead. She clung tight to her child, bouncing him in her arms. She was a short woman with a thin frame. Her skin was a light copper with hazel eyes and wavy sun-kissed auburn hair falling at her narrow shoulders. Her yellow floral dress was stained at the shoulders with spit up from little Elroy. While the baby looked just like Joseph, he had the stunning hazel eyes inherited by his mother.
Joseph held up his hands and took a step back, relaxing his posture. “Look, I know what’s at stake, but this is how we get someone on the inside. I’m not saying she should play some spy game, I’m saying with her at the head, things could actually change.”
“So, what? Have her whisper sweet nothings of peace into Earthshatter’s ear? You think that’s a safe place for Dana?” Amelia spat a curse in her mother tongue.
Joseph wagged a finger at Amelia. “Watch your language. Besides, if she is made Drottning, you think anyone would dare harm her?”
Amelia cocked her head and glared. “And you honestly believe nothing could happen to a Drottning? What makes you think that would stop them if they find out she is part of the rebellion?”
Joseph waved his hand dismissively. “They won’t,”
“They will, and they will kill her.” Ed marched forward and snarled, standing inches from Joseph’s face.
Dana stood abruptly and shouted. “Enough!” She was done feeling like she had no say in her future.
The room went silent, save for the irritated coos of the squirming baby in Lindsey’s arms.
Dana took a deep breath to calm her own frustration, stirred by the emotions of the room. “It’s my choice, isn’t it? Or do I not get a say in my own fate?”
Joe reached out a withered hand to Dana. She reached out and gave his hand a gentle squeeze, being tender to his old joints. “If I can do something to help without violence, I’ll take it. Lives could be saved.” Dana looked to Amelia. “If there is a chance to fix things from within, I have to try.”
Amelia’s eyes watered as she quickly moved in front of Dana and took her face in her hands. “Ma donna, no. I’ve seen what the Order does to people. I’m begging you, don’t give yourself to him.”
Dana placed her hands over Amelia’s hands and gently took them away from her face. “I know you’re afraid, so am I. But I need you to trust me.”
Ed folded his arms over his chest. “Danny, we trust you. We know you can keep yourself safe with your gift and all. We just can’t leave you to fend for yourself in that.”
Joe cleared his throat. “Well, what if I go with her? If I’m there as some kind of servant, I can keep an eye on her. Besides, aren’t there hidden tunnels in the castle?”
Amelia blinked. “Yes, but you could get caught sneaking through hidden passages.”
“And your informants? Have they ever been caught?” Joe asked calmly.
Amelia looked taken aback. “Well, no. But that’s…”
“I’m an old man, who would ever look my way twice?” Joe interrupted. “I can help her. I will make sure she is safe. And if it gets bad, I’ll get her out.”
Joseph and Ed looked at each other skeptically. “Pa, no offense, but how can you keep her safe from Earthshatter?”
Joe shot his son an agitated look. “Now see here, you think you can take on a monster any better? No? Now be quiet. You have a wife and boy, think of them. And you,” He shot a glance at Ed. “You’ve stirred up to much trouble, you have eyes on you. You’re not even an option.”
Ed’s mouth opened, then closed as he thought better to simply keep his mouth shut.
Dana nodded. “Papa is the best option; he can find the tunnels easily. If your informants can give him a few places to look, he can talk to other servants and get them to spill the beans.”
Amelia let out a heavy sigh. “This is a bad idea, I hate this so much.”
“No one is thrilled about this, but this could save everyone in Wellingstone.” Dana looked at her friend. “I know your worried about me… all of you are.” Dana glanced from person to person, making sure to look each person in the eyes. “But it’s my choice.”
Dana turned and walked to Lindsey and looked at baby Elroy chewing his fingers, drool forming at his chin. Dana cupped the soft little cheek and ran her hand up to caress the top of his fuzzy scalp. Elroy let out a happy chirp at the sensation, making Dana and Lindsey smile. For a moment, Dana pondered the idea of her own children, a sensation a yearning, despite the paternal candidate.
Dana’s smile slowly faded as she gazed into Elroy’s round hazel eyes. “I’ll make your world a better place.” She vowed.
Dana left everything she had owned in her room at Joe Epps home. She came to this country and started her life with nothing, and felt it best to do the same in this situation. She made her bed and picked out the best dress she owned. A pretty dress with a rich purple wine color. The dress with adorned with a black lace hem, and a violet sash for her waist. She put on a pair of old black heels and did her best to shine them. When she was satisfied with the results, she put them on and began to brush out her hair.
She took her time to curl her hair and put it up, soft wavy locks at the top rolled at her temple and held in place with a few bobby pins. She fixed her makeup and examined the results, admiring herself in the mirror. Her lips stood out beautifully in the matte red shade of lipstick Amelia had left for her with a note that read simply, “Long Live the Drottning.” She added a light rouge to her cheeks and filled in her brows to make them a hint darker. She finished off the look with earthy-toned eyeshadow and brown mascara.
She felt quite lovely as she pulled on her faded black gloves. With a final glance in the mirror, she twirled on the tips of her toes, the dress swirling like a flower around her. She could not help but smile, her stomach fluttering with butterflies.
Stepping out of her room, she found Papa Joe waiting in the hall dressed in his finest suit. His cane in one hand, and his hat in the other. Dana stepped up to Joe and brushed his shoulders, feeling the rough dark gray fabric under her fingers. She reached to his collar and adjusted the dark brown tie at his throat.
Joe gave his adopted daughter a forced smile and held out his right arm to Dana. “Shall we?”
Dana took Joe’s arm and put her other hand at his elbow affectionately. “It will be a long walk, are you sure you will be able to make it.”
“Sweet child,” Joe smiled and placed his hat on his head. “I’ve faced greater obstacles in my adventurous youth; I won’t even slow you down.” He said, brimming with confidence.
Dana hugged his arm and they left the house together. They had started early in the morning. The morning air was crisp from a cool evening, and the morning birds were already out and singing as a choir to wake the world. As shops began to open and people went about their day, they would take their time, peek into the windows at clothes shops, and follow their noses to the bakery for sips of coffee and flakey sweet pastries filled with sweet pureed fruit. A treat rarely afforded them.
As the walk took them up steeper paths, Dana would fain exhaustion, knowing Joe would never ask to stop. As she would complain of tired feet or the heat of the sun, Joe would insist on a short sit and some water.
As the gates of the castle came into view, Dana could feel her heart race faster. Marble white walls with gold veins rose into the air taller than the shops nearby. Three tall spires reached into the sky like fingertips caressing the underbelly of the clouds above. The windows reflected the light of the sun with spectacular colors of stained glass.
As a massive black iron gate came into view, out stepped two strange men in black uniforms, their eyes hidden behind dark glasses and wide-brimmed hats. The men moved to the center of the gate opening and stood side by side, long rifles in their arms held lazily.
Dana and Joe moved cautiously towards the guards who made no further movement until the two were only five feet from the gate. One of the two men held up his hand up, palm out to halt them. “Miss Massie, we welcome you and your guardian to the Arcane Manor.” The man waved towards the end of the black iron gate where an iron doorway stood.
The guard walked them to the doorway and opened it, taking a step outward to stand behind the door, allowing room for Dana and Joe to pass freely. As they stepped through, the man spoke, “My Kongur waits for you inside.”
Before they could respond, the man shut the iron door and walked back to his post. The brick path led them up to a massive courtyard where a statue of a gigantic white marble man and woman embraced above a fountain of sky blue marble. The man held the naked woman in his own nude embrace, her head tilted back into his shoulder with his hand pressed onto her lower stomach, their other hands held together in an elegant and intimate caress. The beauty of it made Dana gasp, she had never seen anything like it.
Her cheeks grew hot as she turned her eyes away from the sensual image. She looked over at Joe who seemed to see right through the marble statue to the blood-red double doors at the front of the mansion. The whole outside was of a pale gray river stone and smoky gray marble trim, the roof the color of a dark red fall leaf with charcoal black frames around the edges and window frames. While the manor itself only stood three floors tall, the towers came to stand five floors high. The sides of the manor stretched out like the wings of a stone angel, giving the feeling as if it might wrap itself around you.
They slowly walked toward the entrance, a blood-red path of brick through the lushness of the green and cared for yard and garden. Vines of ivy crawled over fences and hid them almost entirely. Flowers and trees were in bloom and the vibrant colors around them looked like splotches of paint dripped all over a canvas of deep greens.
Even in her own anxiousness, Dana could feel Joe’s hands tremble slightly. She knew very well that it was not exhaustion that did this, but fear. While beautiful, this place held darkness and secrets like a haunted house.
They reached the door and before they could knock, the door opened from within, where two more black-clad guards held the doors open. The floor was a smoky black marble with gold veins that shined like a mirror. The walls were an eggshell white with black iron and more black marble adorning the lower walls in sections. Two curving staircases swung out to the far sides of the first room with black iron railings and blood-red carpet on the black marble staircase, reminding Dana of raven wings on fire.
At the top of the steps stood Colin Devlin, wearing his own three-piece suit of a charcoal black, a deep red tie, and a red handkerchief in the left breast pocket being the only color to his ensemble. His silvery blue eyes stood out like distant stars in the night sky as he smiled widely at his guests.
“My gods, how far you’ve walked to be here.” He leaned onto the black iron railing; the pattern twisted and swirled like wisps of smoke. “Had I known, I would have sent a car. Please forgive me.”
Joe Epps straightened himself and took off his hat politely. “The day was fair. We enjoyed the walk and time together.”
Colin chuckled and began to walk down the long staircase. “I’m sure it was a fine walk, but I do feel inhospitable for not providing my services.” He lightly skipped off the last step in a youthful manner. “You must both be famished. Could I offer a drink in the dining hall?” He waved to a doorway at the left.
Dana dipped her head in gratitude. “That would be greatly appreciated.” She spoke as politely as she could.
Colin dipped his own head in response, a stray wisp of golden hair falling into his face. “Of course. Shall we?” He held out a hand and Dana carefully placed her hand in his, Joe still at her side.
Colin led the two through a red door and into a long hall lined with beautiful paintings of strange landscapes and strange creatures. Paintings of tropical forests with snake people that carried bowls of food in human-like arms, some in armor with weapons slung over their backs as they slithered along together. Another painting of brightly colored harpy women flying together like dancers over a desert oasis. Another of a massive black griffin taking down a striped horse in an endless grassy plane. There were so many that Dana was unable to glimpse them all.
The long hall of paintings led to a massive dining space with a long red-stained wood table with several chairs of the same stained wood lining it. Colin walked then to the far corner of the table and pulled a chair out for Dana beside the head of the table. He waved for Joe to sit at her side while he took the head of the table.
Without a word, an older woman in a very modest black gown walked out with a silver tray with three crystal wine goblets and a dark bottle with an unknown liquid sloshing inside. She carefully set the glasses in front of the three and soundlessly poured a burgundy liquid. Leaving the bottle, she tucked the silver tray under her arm and quickly left, slipping behind a massive tapestry at the wall furthest from the table.
The tapestry reached from the tall ceiling to the floor and depicted a pack of hunting hounds perusing a frightened stag with the feathers of a peacock down its back. There were clear marks on the stag from the teeth of the hounds, leaving torn bloody wounds on its haunches and chest, the bright yellow eyes of the poor beast full of wild panic. Dana suspected that the poor beast was always meant to parish.
She reached for her cup of wine and took a small sip, the wine was surprisingly sweet and smooth on her tongue. She delicately set the glass down and looked to Colin. “You have such a lavish home.”
Colin brought the cup to his lips and smiled. “It’s far more than just my home. This is the Arcane Order’s Capitol in Awica. Did you know that?”
Dana shook her head slightly.
Colin took a long swallow of the wine and set the glass down. “We have many of the best scientists working here. Along with frequent visits from political heads and of course, many, many lavish parties.” Colin smiled slyly. “But most of all, this will be our home together.”
Dana felt herself flush with color as she fumbled with her dress under the table. “Yes, I suppose it will be.” She took a deep breath, finding her courage, and puffed out her chest for good measure. “Before we move further, I have to place my own stipulations on this arrangement.”
Colin rose a brow and lifted his glass to his lips again, pulling the last of his wine before smiling wolfishly at Dana. “Aren’t you a bold one? Very well, what are your demands?”
Dana took another deep breath, feeling Joe place a hand on her elbow to help her remain brave and remind her she had support. “First, my father,” She looked to Joe and smiled at him.
“Father?” Colin chuckled, the word coming out like a mockery.
Dana blinked at Colin, shocked by the rudeness. “Yes. My father. He raised me as such and so he is.”
Colin waved away her hurt tone. “Apologies, as you say.”
Dana cleared her throat. “As I was saying, I require that my father remain a part of my daily life even here. If it would be convenient for you, I would prefer he work here as my caregiver and confidant. I trust him and his wisdom and feel he would be a great asset to me.”
Colin looked at Joe and nodded. “That’s a fair request, anything else?”
Confidently, she continued. “I want my family to receive any aid they may need in the future, including assistance with food, money, housing, or anything else they might need. Times are hard, and I couldn’t live like this,” She gestured to the room. “Knowing they would still be suffering.”
Colin nodded thoughtfully. “We can arrange that. Your family will not go wanting, I can promise you that.”
Dana nodded, relief washing over her as her body began to relax.
Colin leaned forward and lowered his tone. “Since we are asking for things, I do have my own requirements for this arrangement. My first is that I do expect children from our marriage. But I’m sure you wouldn’t argue with such a thing.”
Dana felt her heart race. She had already come to terms that children would come with a marriage, but to hear it from his lips made her feel like a shy child. She smiled shyly, her eyes downcast. “Y-yes, I had thought that would be expected.”
Colin smiled wolfishly, his voice going horse. “I had a feeling you might be willing to put in the effort.” He chuckled as he watched Dana’s face redden even more.
Colin leaned back, making himself more comfortable. “Now, I also have a very serious requirement of you. The scientists of the Arcane Order have worked years to perfect the enhancements of our kind. With the use of science and magic, we are able to make ourselves truly godlike in power. And what I want is for you to go through the process as I and others like us have done. To bring you to your full potential.”
Dana looked to Joe, who looked back at her with wide onyx eyes. “What would that mean for her?” He asked, voice shaking slightly.
Colin spoke gently. “Your daughter will be meeting with my scientists. They have a powerful Völva in their service who helps with the creation of a serum that will be given to Dana. The serum will enhance her Transcendent abilities, bringing her to her full potential. Her lifespan will become even longer because of this.” Colin tried to give his most assuring smile to Joe.
Joe swallowed hard. “And this was done to you and others like you?”
Colin nodded. “It is quite safe, I assure you. After that, we will be wed the next day.”
Dana could feel the fear from Joe. Taking his hand, she looked at him and smiled. “It will be fine, Papa. I promise.”
Joe looked at her with watery eyes, trying not to tear over. “I can’t help but be afraid for you, my sweet child. You’re my little angel, and I love you like any of my own.” He let out a shuttering sigh. “I will never stop worrying over you, but I won’t stop you. I trust you, I always will.” He leaned forward and kissed her forehead, stroking her hair lovingly.
“I love you, too, Papa.” She whispered.
Colin stood, the chair pushing back with ease, a look of mild amusement on his face. “I will take you to your room; your father may stay with your tonight. Tomorrow we will perform the ritual, and the next day we will be wed.”
Colin led them out of the dining hall and through a maze of halls until they, at last, came to a spiraling staircase of one of the three towers. The room at the top of the tower was massive. It was nearly the size of Joe’s house, with a single huge room filling the majority of the space. An empty bookcase covered the entire wall closest to the window with a wide balcony overlooking the city and the sea beyond. A red door at the other end of the massive room led to a large bathroom with a cherry wood vanity and large shower made with river stones and its own separate claw-foot porcelain bath. The marble floors here were white with gold veins. A large couch carved from cedar wood with clay red leather cushions and a queen-sized bed with a wood canopy were all that were in the room.
As Dana and Joe walked in, eyes wide with wonder, Colin spoke up, smiling at them. “Don’t worry about it being so empty. In the morning I will have new clothes brought up for you both, and we will find some nice things for you to decorate.”
Dana walked over to Colin and bowed politely. “Thank you, for everything. I don’t know how to thank you.”
Colin chuckled hoarsely and smirked, taking her chin in his hands. He tilted her face up and kissed her deeply, savoring her soft lips, the taste of sweet wine shared between them. “Your very welcome, my love.” He gave her a bow, and left, closing the door behind him.
Dana stood speechless, her fingers lightly touching her lips, her face hot.
She turned to see Joe frowning deeply. Embarrassed, she looked at the floor and walked to the bathroom, mumbling, “We really should get some sleep.”
Dana stood cold and stiffly near the stone wall in the lower working of the manor as the people around her began their preparations. The room was dimly lit and cold, the walls made of dark stone that made the room look like a cave. The walls had the water stains to make it appear more like a dank cavern.
As she stood holding herself and trying not to shiver, she stared at the steel bed with a thin white cloth draped over to offer comfort. Stainless steel tables were placed near the bed, some with candles burning, others with syringes and leather restraints. She felt her skin crawl as she watched men and women in white coats scramble to ready the ritual.
Joe had been asked to wait in the tower until the ritual was over, presumably for his safety. Dana hoped that was the only reason. As she watched, wide-eyed, a hand fell onto her shoulder, startling her. She jumped and turned defensively, only slightly relieved that it was only Colin putting his hand onto her shoulder to get her attention.
He smiled down on her reassuringly. “Don’t be afraid, my love. I will be with you the whole time.”
Dana forced a smile and nodded. “Thank you. It just seems so…strange.”
Colin chuckled. “Of course it would, only a handful in this whole world have been through this. But I assure you, you are in the best hands.” Colin put a hand at the center of her back and steered her towards an older man and woman conversing beside the steel bed.
The man was a small lanky creature with thick glasses that magnified his wide, bloodshot brown eyes. He wore a loose-fitting lab coat with a gray wool suit underneath. His hair was completely gone at the top, leaving a halo of gray from ear to ear. As Colin steered Dana towards the man, he grinned wildly, revealing a set of false teeth that were far too perfect and far too white for his age.
Colin reached a hand out and shook the other man’s hand. “A pleasure to have you returned, Doctor. I want to introduce you to my soon-to-be wife.”
The man nodded to Dana, his large eyes examining her all the while. “A pleasure, miss. I look forward to seeing what kind of results may come of this. I believe you may be an extraordinary find.” He spoke with an accent similar to Colin’s Zecroybian accent, but with a soft slur.
The woman beside the man stepped forward. She was older as well, her eyes narrow and dark from a lack of rest. Her hair was a wild salt and pepper, strands of curls struggling to break free of the bun she pulled her hair into. Her white coat covering a dark robe underneath that reached the floor, hiding her feet. She was taller than the man only by a few inches, but her posture making her seem larger and somehow younger.
She smiled down on Dana kindly and spoke in a strange accent. “Forgive doctor Vlach. He tends to blind himself in his pursuit of knowledge that he forgets his manners.”
The doctor flushed with color from his round chin to the top of his round head and nodded. “Ah, apologies.”
Colin gave Dana a tender squeeze, tugging her close, his arm over her shoulders. “This is Doctor Isidore Vlach; he will be overseeing the ritual.”
Vlach grumbled. “Procedure,”
Colin nodded. “As you say.” He said dismissively before waving to the woman. “This is our most honored Sonia Havel. She is one of the last known Völva. She was once dubbed the Witch of the Silver Grove.”
Sonia nodded, a strangely sad feeling emanating around her. “In the old country, but that was many years ago. I am here with the Arcane Order now.”
Dana looked at the woman curiously. Sonia gave her a similar look as she examined Dana. The woman waved a hand in front of Dana’s face, startling her. A strange dark smoke seemed to puff from the woman’s fingertips. After a long moment of eerie silence, Sonia smiled. “You have a powerful destiny. Let’s see if you are able to follow the right path.”
She flashed a crooked smile to the men, walked away to the side of the steel bed, and waited.
The doctor scoffed, his face contorted in disgust. “Damned Völva. Dramatic to a fault. You can never make sense of them.”
Colin chuckled. “Truer words have never been spoken.” He looked down at Dana. “Take your place, my love. We are about to begin.”
Biting her lip, Dana stepped forward in bare feet and slowly moved to the table laid out before her. She carefully lay on the bed, careful to keep her robe from bunching. She put her fingers over the cloth and felt the chill of the cold steel underneath. She shivered and turned her attention to Sonia. “What did you mean by a powerful destiny?”
Sonia gazed into Dana’s eyes, and Dana could have sworn her dark eyes turned to a solid black. She felt a strength and energy she had never known, something reaching out and taking hold of her mind like dark claws in the night. “You will be the end of it all. The ancient song is calling. Can you hear it in the distance of your soul?”
Dana could not speak, she felt frozen in time as the woman held her in her gaze. Afraid, Dana made an effort to respond through the magic that held her. “I hear nothing.”
Sonia lifted her chin. “You will. A voice in the dark cries out for freedom and dead sing of revenge.”
Dana looked confused. Before she respond with questions, Sonia brought a finger to her lips and then used the same hand to wave over Dana’s head.
“Now lay back and relax,” The voice of Isidore Vlach pulled Dana out of the strange trance, and she reluctantly obeyed.
Dana laid back onto the table with a shiver and struggled to relax while Isidore Vlach took her arm and prepared an IV line. The thick needle made Dana whimper in pain and the doctor smiled sympathetically at her. “I know it’s uncomfortable, but this will make the process easier.”
The cold saline solution ran into Dana’s veins and made her feel like she had been dropped into the icy sea. She bit her lip and watched the doctor pick up a syringe full of a thick pinkish liquid. “Doctor, would you tell me what’s in that?”
Isidore Vlach’s eyes lit up, seeming to grow larger as he grinned from ear to ear with excitement. “This! This is the key to our evolution. With the combined works of science and magic, we were able to use the blood of the most powerful creatures in the world to make your kind stronger in every sense.”
Dana looked at the IV in her arm. “Blood from what kind of creatures?”
He sat at her side holding the syringe like a pencil, tapping the covered needle on the table. “Well, Colin was given a serum with dragon’s blood. This made him stronger and, as far as we can tell, invincible. The magic in the dragon’s blood seemed to bond with the magic of his own blood. It’s quite fascinating!”
Dana glanced from Sonia to Isidore Vlach. “And the blood in mine, is that dragon’s blood?”
The doctor frowned. “Tragically, Colin was the last to receive any with dragon’s blood. The rest was destroyed in the war. However, there is a creature that is related to the common wolf, the warg, with near-human intelligence and a strong connection to the magical realm. Wargs were easier to find, they tended to live in the same places as their wolf cousins.”
“How can you distinguish the two?” Dana asked.
“Wargs are huge beasts, they have strong bodies, and their shape has a very human appearance. Long fingerlike paws, muscular upper bodies, shorter tails. The Völva used to tell stories that the warg were once men who learned dark magic and became wolves. But it’s more likely that the warg are just large wolves with magic in their blood.”
Dana swallowed. “Will it change anything… physically I mean?”
“No, in fact, this was used before. Not as great an impact as dragon’s blood, but it does the trick.”
Dana looked to Sonia, her eyes narrow as she looked into the candlelight and quietly chanted in a strange tongue. Dana began to breathe faster. Her head began to spin in a sudden panic. “I don’t think I can do this, something isn’t right.”
Dr. Isidore Vlach looked at Dana, surprised by her change in demeanor. “I assure you, you’re perfectly safe.”
Dana shook her head wildly as Sonia’s chanting filled her mind. “No, it’s wrong…”
As Dana watched Sonia, she tried to sit up in the steel bed, only to have herself restrained by two men. Her eyes never left Sonia who chanted faster and louder as she turned to look at Dana. Sonia stood and walked to Dana and placed three fingers on her forehead and three fingers at the center of her chest.
The sudden feeling of molten liquid running into her vines made Dana surge. She felt the fluid spread into her head and chest where the witch touched her. The burning was filling all of her, growing much worse in her mind and her heart. She screamed in pain and writhed, pulling so hard at the restraints, she was sure she broke her right hand trying to free herself.
In her mind, she could still hear Sonia, speaking in a strange language. And yet, the words seemed to draw a feeling in her mind. It felt like loathing, horror, and vengeance. Dana pushed back at the feelings, trying to think of her loved ones, and yet, the images of them seemed to burn to ash.
Dana pushed back as hard as she could, using everything in her. A burst of energy erupted from her body, pushing everyone away from her. Dana felt her last ounce of strength leave her as her breath slowed and she slipped into darkness.