His arm weighed heavy across her. Tentatively, she sent a sliver of power to caress his mind. She shuddered. His was a black power, dark, deadly. Even in sleep there was no lessening of his guards.
Koren suppressed another shiver as she remembered the few heartbeats where there was the tiniest of openings. She wondered briefly if it happened every time and how many times she would have to sacrifice her body before she could take advantage of it.
It took almost two weeks for her to create the suggestion in his mind. Almost two weeks captive in the royal suite with him who made her skin crawl, but to whom she had to give herself nightly.
The thought she’d implanted combined with the fact she buried herself in every book had brought to her worked.
Unescorted, Koren made her way to the vast library. Casually browsing through rows of books, she used simple magic to send information to her father deep in the bowels of the Keep. It took more complex magic to hide her traces of sorcery running through the walls.
Her father smiled at her through her bubble of crystal as a ring appeared on her hand. She heard Darkin’s words to the Prince just out of sight, “Soon, Kael.”
She returned to her captor with an armload of books and a daemon behind her carrying more. She waved away with daemon and set down her books beside the chilled wine on the table between the matching chairs that faced the window. Touching the bottle, she looked at him with raised eyebrows.
“You know my wishes before I,” he said rising to open the window and gaze down on the devastation he had wrought. He was already making plans to conquer the neighboring kingdom in the west.
He took the goblet she offered him. He swallowed appreciatively and watched her as she chose a book and sat. He watched her begin to read and bring her wine to her lips.
“Where did you get the ring, my dear?”
She glanced from the book to admire it in the candlelight.
“I thought the owner would have no more use for it. It’s rather pretty.”
“Too large for your tiny hands and morbid. It is the jewel of death and mourning. Are you mourning the loss of your Prince and his kingdom?”
She eyed the topaz. “No, my lord. I just like shiny things.” She slipped it off with a shrug, letting it tinkle on the table beside her.
“If you wished for jewels, you had but to ask.” He flicked the fingers of his left hand and produced a band of sparkling diamonds. He slid it onto a finger of the hand she raised for him and bent to claim her lips with his.
The hand that held hers clenched it tighter, rubbed bones together. He gasped and slid to his knees.
Koren stood and twisted the hand that held hers, not letting it go as she looked down on him.
He clawed his throat with his free hand, leaving streaks of blood.
It felt like a long time before his hand finally went slack in hers. She let him go and watched him crumple to the floor.
“You are a powerful mad man. But in the end, you are just another man.”