Part X – Account by Penny Kearney
The more I searched for a solution, the more hopeless the situation appeared. I paced the length and breadth of my cell.
Trapped. Cut off completely. Helpless, useless, alone.
No! There has to be something!
I slammed my uninjured fist against the stone wall in pure frustration. I would not give up! My brothers, Dana…. The Order itself. If for nothing else, then just to keep from allowing Set to win. The memory of his smug expression turned my stomach, and the fear tugged me again. Fear that Set had already won. I just hadn’t accepted it yet.
I lowered to my knees in the center of the cell.
No. There must be something.
Dana, please. Just…
I opened my eyes with a start. I thought for sure I’d said that out loud, but…I hadn’t. My mouth was closed, no voice echoed in the silence.
My pulse skipped, and for a long moment I stared at the ground. Then, I tried it again, venturing cautiously, conjuring the same sensation in my mind as before.
“Dana…? Can you hear me?”
The feeling in my mind strengthened. This was no dream; something was happening. But I received no response. I rose to my feet, pressing my mouth into a line and focusing with every ounce of will I had. This was my last chance.
A sound, like the whisper of leaves on a fall day, trickled through my mind, then a faint, familiar voice replied. “Pen?”
I forced my thoughts not to wander, lest I should lose whatever I’d just found. “Dana, where are you?”
His voice came stronger now, though it did not echo; more as if he were talking softly next to me. “In the catacombs, below the dungeons. But…how….what are…”
“Just never mind that for now.” I replied, ignoring the confusion in his tone. “Listen to me, you have to stop. Don’t go—er, come any further.”
The confusion in his tone intensified. “What? What do you mean? If I can free you and the others, we can escape and meet up with the other force.”
“Set is waiting for you.”
“I know.” He said. “It’s the only way I can make it in without getting trapped; my path leads to him. At least, I’m pretty sure it does…”
My patience threatened to fray. I knew he needed to be brought up to date on a number of things, but I didn’t know how long I could hold this connection.
“Have you stopped walking yet?”
“Then do it.”
“Give me one good reason.”
“Please…” I whispered, both in my mind and with my mouth.
Silence. Then, “Alright. I stopped walking. Now what?”
I let out my breath in relief. “Now listen to me.”
“I was already doing that, but go ahead.”
“You can’t kill Set.” I said, emphasizing each word. “If you kill him, you will die, as well. You cannot kill him.”
This time the silence stretched for a long moment. I frowned. “Dana?”
He sighed. “You spoke to him.”
“You… knew that already?”
“Yes. Ever since he came into existence; he will only be gone when I am.”
Seating myself again, I shook my head. “Why? Dana, why didn’t you say so? Do you know how many times we’ve almost killed him?”
“My point is that in doing so we almost killed you!” My thoughts shouted. “Why didn’t you tell us?”
“What was I supposed to say? ’Oh, sorry, but you can’t kill that genius captain the enemy has because it might affect my health?’”
“Look, I appreciate your concern, but I can’t consider it that way. If he’s gone, Ross loses a valuable ally, and one of our strongest enemies is defeated. Besides….” He paused. “It’s my fault he’s here, and you’re all there.”
I ran my hands over my hair. Everyone accused me of being the stubborn one…
Blast you, Dana!
“Dana, don’t you dare take another step. As Head of the Order, I forbid it!”I stood again, and glared down at the stones, towards the catacombs; the closest I could come to giving him that expression in person. “There has to be another way; you’re always saying so yourself, there’s always a way.”
“And this isn’t the way?”
“It can’t be the only way!”
Once again, he replied with silence. My pulse pounded in my ears. If he decided to ignore me, I wouldn’t be able to stop him.
“Maybe…” He began. “All right, we’ll do it your way, but you have to trust me. You understand?”
Normally, his unusually firm tone would have made me defensive, but right now I didn’t care. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I closed my eyes.
“And that has to be the first time I’ve seen you pull your rank before.”
To this I gave a mirthless laugh, not knowing if he could hear it or not. “I swear I’ll do it again if I have to.”
Footsteps in the hall slammed shut whatever mental doorway I’d found, sending a brief spurt of pain through my head. Wincing, I moved to the center of the cell again as Set came into view. A terrible expression of wrath contorted his features. He inserted the key, unlocked the door, and yanked it open, drawing his sword with a savage flash.
“You…. What have you done!”
I pulled back, clamping my mouth shut and meeting his gaze.
“You have forced me to advance my plans beyond my normal accustomed speed.” He pointed his sword at me. “I was even going to spare you! But how….” He narrowed his eyes. Suddenly, his expression cleared, and he lowered his sword. “Oh well. It matters little anyway. Whatever gift you’ve found, you’re about to lose it, as well as your head.
I fought to bring back the mental connection with Dana, steeling myself for Set’s blow.