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Thorns: Ch 6

Thorns: Ch 6

Something is wrong, Something has always been wrong.

As soon as dinner ended, I excused myself quickly. I needed to be alone or with Aqua. The pestering feeling deepened and I felt guilty, though I had no clue why. I did something wrong, something felt horribly wrong.

I made it safely to the stables. The rain stopped, but fog heavily shrouded the area surrounding the manor. I contemplated taking Aqua and riding out under the cover of night and fog. I wanted to get as far away from this forsaken place, as I possibly could.

I hustled to snatch the saddle, saddle blanket, stirrups and muzzle. I quickly brushed my lovely horse. Before leading her out of the stall, I made sure she ate well. I bumped into something tall and solid that wasn't standing there earlier.

"A little late to go riding tonight, don’t you think my dear?" Lord Onyx smirked. He towered over me, as I froze in place. My mind went through several ideas for excuses for this situation, but I crossed each off my list.

I decided to go with something random and nonchalantly explained, "You see I usually walk around late at night. I think that going for a ride around the manor would give me some fresh air and stretch Aqua’s legs."

"So it would seem," he callously replied. He turned away. I let out a breath of relief. I hadn't thought I would get away with it. I hitched the saddle and let Aqua out in a brisk trot. Sir Onyx suddenly rode up behind me.

"What kind of man would I be if I let my new fiancé ride out alone at night?"

I let out a peeved grumble. My heart raced, a dark feeling shrouded me, suffocating me, making me alert. Danger was near, a danger I couldn't see. Eyes followed me, staring at my back.

My eyes always seemed to land on my choker, now a bracelet, on Onyx’s wrist. It bothered me it’s mine, not his! I cursed Mrs. Myrlyn for giving it away so carelessly. I treasured it so much. It was my one clue as to who Maple and I were. She had no right.

"Who had no right?" Onyx asked. I must have spoken the last part of my thoughts aloud by accident.

"None of your business," I snapped in response. He was no different from the village boys, only a wealthy upbringing and taught to be ruthlessly cold. Careless eyes, flimsy promises, loose tongues, they were the true enemy of all womankind.

"That was such a harsh tone from a girl who looked like no more than a lovely flower." I rolled my eyes. His enticing tone held no effect on me. He probably lured many poor girls with such a deceiving voice. I saw past it however, indifference taught, a lesson well learned.

"Those that are most vibrant are more often than not the most poisonous," I stated from forgotten words from long ago, lessons long buried in memories. His look of disdain counted as a victory to me.

"The most feared creature is often the most caring as well." The words sounded hollow, almost covering a slight edge.

"Are you telling me that you are caring?" I didn't bother being courteous, I wanted him to call off this engagement. I heard him grit his teeth, then stirred his horse over quickly and snatched the reins from my hands.

"Don’t think for a second that I agreed to this arrangement either. It is out of both our hands. We are just going to learn how to deal with each other." He coldly sneered.

Calmly, I held his gaze and yanked the reins back from his hands. "Careful, Lord Onyx, I know the game. They are watching. Don’t let them see you lose your head so easily." I remained expressionless and he soon remained so as well.

"Cold as ice you are, a bittersweet frost, deadly as you are beautiful. A face of a fair stone statue, do you not have any warmth to give?" he nearly mocked.

"Not to you." Our eyes locked with terrifying and deadly intentions. I was not a puppet in anyone’s game. I would not submit willingly to this man. He intended to break me. I would break him long before he succeeded.

A single snowflake drifted into sight. My subconscious fear sprung back to life because the conversation with Onyx was merely a distraction.

What if I never recovered my memories?

Then we shall find you.

The snow began to fall, signifying the start of deep winter.

"The first snow of the year," Onyx mused, as he held his hand out to catch some lightly. "It is a tad early, I heard it signified the Ice Giants, who made the terrible snow storms are displeased and this year shall be a rough winter."

My throat went dry, displeased? Why would they be displeased? Is it because of me? My mind raced with panic building up inside of me.

"It is merely an old tale told by generations though. Ice giants are merely rumors, no one has seen one in years. Well, seen one and lived to talk about it." He kept talking, "their domain is said to be so cold, that once you leave you’ll never feel the cold again."

There isn't a technique to defend against the cold, dear Hydra. You will find that there is no colder place then the castle of frozen fire at the top of the mountain. You’ll never feel cold once you leave either.

I suddenly found it hard to breathe. I heard these before. I couldn't remember, but why couldn't I remember?

Next thing I knew, I had no strength to hold myself up on Aqua.

Brook, I need you to be strong, for your sister okay. Now I know she’s not the best of creatures to be stuck with but bear with me.

We suppressed your memories and experiences. Time and the right stimulation will shatter the loose veil and eventually you will remember. Things will seep through, like your personality and you will always subconsciously know something is wrong, but you won’t be able to identify with it.

I fell off my horse the voices were too much. Faintly, I heard someone shout my name in shock and concern, but the darkness that followed drowned it out.

Flames rose higher than me, I ran. Something chased me, but I couldn't see what. Hallway after hallway, I ran through the flames and ran out to a balcony. It was pitch black outside. Five knights in black and silver armor with bolas cornered me.

I backed as far away as I could. I even stood on the railing, in order to jump before they captured me.

"You do whatever is necessary to protect the kingdom. Never let yourself be caught, getting caught means death. Do you understand?"

"Mother?" I searched for her, but it was only the knights and me. They lowered their bolas, ready to snatch me. A rumble shook beneath us, nearly knocking me off the railing into the dark abyss.

A low bass sound, much like a thundering drum, quickly grew louder and something large ascended to the balcony. With a loud swoosh, jet-black wings spread out above me. A creature strangely familiar flew high in the air. It breathed fire at the knights, the sheer heat of the flames knocked me off balance and I fell into the darkness.

I landed on my bed where I suddenly awoke. My heart pounded wildly within my chest. I stopped to get my bearings first, before I decided to freak out.

The room was stone and cold, despite the welcoming fire in the fireplace. The silky emerald comforters were the only source of color in the whole room. I was still at the Bloodhounds manor, well that was just great. I hoped that it was merely a part of my nightmare sequence.

I heard people approaching and I didn't want to deal with anyone anymore and pretended to be asleep still. I mastered this form of eavesdropping when I pretended to be asleep long enough that Maple was actually asleep and Mrs. Myrlyn was careless with what she said to "father."

"The poor thing must have been overwhelmed with tonight's events," Mrs. Myrlyn's mental fantasies portrayed me as a weak and pathetic creature. I never thought there would be a day that I would encourage her to talk about me. The Bloodhounds loathed weakness. Maybe they would call off the arrangement if they thought me unworthy.

"Madam, do not do your daughter a disservice by saying such things. A girl like her has her head square on her shoulders. I doubt she would succumb to such fleeting things like a small dinner party." Maybe I shouldn't have acted so headstrong during dinner. I meant to fail to meet their expectations. Instead, I passed with flying colors.

"Well, then," Mrs. Myrlyn replied hastily. "I suppose we have to wait until dawn, before this storm clears and dear Brook will be well enough to travel."

I cursed myself for fainting.
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