Orderly objective or chaotic coincidence—to what extent are we in control of our fate?
Lifeless eyelids trembled weakly against the blinding rays of sunlight that poured through the crisscrossed wired windows of the van doors. The captive Human dared not open her eyes. Vitane had been kidnapped and thrown into the vehicle some time ago and had absolutely no recollection of where she had been or how much time had passed since she had been stolen away. Her memories were foggy. Was this the result of being pricked with an Oblitus thorn? She had trouble recalling where she had been at the time of her abduction. She groaned in distaste, holding up her slender arm to hide at least her eyes from the unrelenting ball of light.
The vehicle came to a stop. The van doors flung open and the Human was tugged forcefully out of her sitting position. In an instant, she hit the asphalt hard. Her eyes tightened, yielding the only agony she felt from the sudden drop. She was picked up swiftly and her legs could barely hold her. She still felt weak from whatever drug or potion they had given her. She wiggled some on her unstable limbs as she managed to finally grow accustomed to the shining daylight. Two built Supernatural men in matching uniforms—a Werewolf and a Lacerta, a type of Aquaric Lizard—held either arm and guided her towards an unimaginably huge manor. Her eyes widened at the mass of the exterior. It was an architectural masterpiece made with dark grey stones. They crossed a drawbridge over a moat that seemed to extend around the entirety of the property. Behind them was a rising metal gate with spikes that were buried in the ground.
“Where in Terra am I?” she questioned aloud as she examined the gate with worried curiosity. The guard to her left tugged on her arm as if signalling her to not ask questions.
“Watch who you’re jerking around!” Her voice rose and her slim brows lowered angrily. She attempted to break the hold on her left forearm, but she was weak in comparison to these Supernaturals.
The Werewolf on her right came close to her ear. “Please don’t make this any harder than it needs to be, miss.”
Thereafter, the pair became silent and continued towards the fortress. Vitane rolled her eyes but decided to comply. She was too frail to fight back, and she couldn’t manage enough energy to run. But out here, there was nowhere to run, and at the end of the day, she figured this was the fate she had always deserved.
Her memories were becoming clearer. She’d barely tried to fight back when the bag had gone over her head, but with measly Human genetics, she didn’t stand a chance against any Supernatural.
Vitane swallowed any existing moisture from her now-dry mouth as they led her into the foyer. Three giant gothic chandeliers hung low from a very high ceiling that was at least fifty feet overhead. She could almost reach up and touch the centerpieces of the room, but she was carried away from them. The walls were covered in exotic, expensive-looking paintings. Two black flags hung side by side, taking up the majority of the back wall—one with a red scorpion sigil stamped in the center and the other with a grey Kitsune skull.
Were there Immortals here?
She was guided to an archway to the right into a small living room. It had a fireplace covering almost the entire wall. It would need full tree trunks to fill its space. There was a single chair in front of it. From where she stood, it was hard to tell if there was someone sitting in it or not.
The room across from the one she left housed shelves that reached the high ceiling and expanded along either side of the wall. One of the men closed the door behind them silently—as not to disturb anyone, she assumed. She took in the incredible grandfather clock and sitting area lavished with leather seats and couches and a glass table with detailed engravings.
“This way,” the Lacerta gruffed, pulling her along again. They headed to a winding staircase that went…down? How much ground did this place cover? Miles? It was hard to tell how far back it went from just the front door.
It began to grow much darker as the group descended the spiralling steps. The stench of sewer and the scurrying of rats were the first thing the Human identified. It took a lot for her to get scared, but she was getting creeped out as she began to realize where she was. After travelling down a hallway, Vitane found herself in a legitimate dungeon with iron crisscrossed bars and cold stone floors. She found this odd, however—technology was lacking throughout the home, and it seemed old-fashioned. Dungeons and gates were common facets in Immortuos, to confine Vampires, or in Silva, where Dark Elves were oppressively imprisoned.
She was led past an occupied cell where a woman with bright red hair hung upside down from the bars, and Vitane stifled a chuckle. They stopped at the next cage door. Hay littered the ground, and a wooden bench with a stained pillow seemed to be the only place that looked decent enough to touch.
“What is this?” she huffed in an annoyed voice.
The Lacerta laughed evilly and the Werewolf almost looked sad for her. “I’m sorry, miss. This is where you will be staying until the Masters retrieve you. You will meet the Masters on your own time.”
“You mean their own time.” The other guard guffawed, and the first guard hit him across the head.
“At least try to be a little sympathetic, Lizard!” the guard yelled in a hushed whisper.
“What are you people even talking about? What is this? Why am I here anyway and who in Divine Dazielle are these ‘Masters’ you Goblins can’t stop obsessing over?”
The Werewolf opened his mouth to speak but stopped when he received a silent stare from the Lacerta. “I’m sorry, ma’am,” he apologized, appearing to be sincere. He unlatched the door with an oversized iron key and lightly nudged her to go inside, then closed and locked the door behind her. They both left in a hurry and shut the door behind them. Another large clunk confirmed that they locked that door too.
Vitane groaned and turned around on the ball of her foot to face the opposing wall of the small structure she was now held in. She went to the rock wall in the back and knocked on it. It was too thick to dig through, even if she had the best tools. Despite the lack of technology, this place was reinforced.
“Brilliant,” she muttered, slumping down, causing her black rose locket to dangle. She leaned her head against the bench-like bed and realized she could see into the cell next to hers. It had the same crisscross metal as the door did, but the space between the bars was a little wider, so nearly a whole hand could go through with spread fingers. She sighed and clenched her jaw to keep it from quivering. She wasn’t about to lose it now.
The blood was rushing to her head, but Lola didn’t mind the faintness that accompanied it. The freckled redhead had been hanging upside down with her petite legs hooked through the jail bars for quite some time now, bored and groggy. She combed her fingers through her luscious hair and grimaced at the coarse texture. Oh, how she longed to shower and sleep.
The voices inside her head were particularly irritable today over her imbecility. Overlapping one another, they scolded the redhead for having been kidnapped. In an effort to tune them out, she hummed over their criticisms.
It had been hours since two uniformed guards had dragged her into this wretched place. To her, the stench was refreshingly nauseating. Beyond these lifeless stone walls, she had no idea where she actually was. She had been knocked out after several minutes of physical violence, attempted hexes, and insults.
How dare these ostensibly Ordoic Krakens treat her with such insolence? It had been wonderfully aggressive.
One of the guards had stifled a laugh at her manic attempts but had emphasized caution to his comrade. If the rumors were true, then this capture would bring them a world of fortune. Their Master would be elated. She cursed at her narcolepsy—the lack of sleep from her night of partying impeded her ability to turn them into toads.
The men involved in her kidnapping hadn’t been threatening at first, more so insistent on her cooperation. How dull! Of course, she’d refused. As a result, they had taken her by force and seized her possessions, which was rather intriguing. Their boss was a man of power, no doubt—one who refused to take no for an answer. Perhaps he was a Demon? How delightful! He was obviously desperate to meet her. But she had a busy schedule. Couldn’t this wait until next week? She had more pressing priorities than entertaining some Kraken. They’d never mentioned a name, and the car ride had felt long. She was most certainly on the outskirts of the city of Domum of the Realm of Terra to the west in the city of Eskye. She knew all the residents—most of whom were Immortals—had she unintentionally insulted one while inebriated to end up in such a predicament? Had she turned one into a Gubydal, or had they been enchanted by her Allure? Unfortunately, with her hyper chaotic tendencies, remembering such an altercation was unlikely.
Lola never disappeared without reason these days, and this many hours off the radar was concerning. She needed to get home. Her best friend, Tien Amara, would certainly be frantic. Physically, she was in a fragile state in her life, and for the last few years, he had been exceedingly tenacious—with the exception of the last few days. He was on a business trip but still checked in every so often. Surely at this hour, she had already missed his call to her via holoband.
Thirty minutes. Unproductive conversations between the various voices inside her head continued, and Lola nearly fell into unconsciousness from hanging upside down—her brown eyes growing evermore drowsy. She was becoming antsy and sang out loud with her melodious voice. Perhaps it would serve as a reminder, since someone had clearly forgotten her here.
From above, she heard creaking and became silent and stiff. Footsteps stomped in synchronization down the staircase—the Ordoic simultaneity made her groan. She swung herself up and sat on the bars, watching carefully as a thin girl was led past her. She analyzed the trio curiously, listening intently to their exchange of words, and giggled when the woman spat in hysteria.
The guards shuffled back up the steps, and Lola shrugged uncaringly then dropped upside down again and resumed humming. She had no interest in conversing with the being who now shared her fate.
Vitane slammed her fist against the stone wall. What did these people want with her? With them? She brushed her blue hair back behind her ear, her fingers grazing her many piercings. She was vulnerable here, stuck in a cage. She hated it. In frustration, she snatched a familiar box from her right pocket. Inside it was a blue lighter and seven sticks of Terrian Tobacco. This was the only thing the guards had allowed her to keep. She analyzed the amount and sighed; this many would be gone by tonight. She huffed and grabbed a slender roll of Terrian Tobacco, placing it between her lips and igniting it.
The redhead blew on her lips in exasperation. Her cerebral companions now berated her for being captured alongside a Human—her voice of rage led the riot and insults. How weak of her to end up here. Lola groaned again and gently thumped her head repeatedly against the cell bars. “Can we talk about something else?” she moaned.
“Um...” Vitane cocked her head as she stuffed the box back into her pocket and took a long drag from the stick. “I wasn’t talking?”
“No matter how many times my companions repeat it, I know. I should have stayed with Voyus, but I got distracted. I had been mesmerized by the colors of the Terrian sunrise. The hues reminded me of Chaos, and I grew longing! In my intoxicated state, I hadn’t realized how far I had wandered. Do you think if I had enough bow ties, I could adequately entertain a crowd of grasshoppers for the purpose of determining the size of an average apple?”
“Alrighty then,” she muttered and shook her head. Not only was she now a prisoner, but her adjacent cellmate was a loon. Though she didn’t anticipate a sensible response, Vitane asked, “How long have you been in here?”
“Based on my sobriety,” the redhead started, clicking her tongue several times, “and the ripple effect a swarm of Orcs would cause in Naturae over a pair of shoelaces…hours. I assume.”
Although the redhead had answered her inquiry, Vitane was left with even more questions. What did Orcs or shoelaces have to do with anything? Had she seen their captors yet? And did she have access to more drugs? But the Human refrained from asking any, as she would likely receive more gibberish and a vague or partial answer.
“I wonder if we’ll be slaves,” Lola thought out loud, then chortled. “Slaves to Demons,” she said in a tone filled with awe. “Gods, if only I had mastered my Tolerantia potion before having been captured. Being Human is bloody wretched—such a weak and useless class of species. I long for the days of Coralyn’s fiery whips, Dragik’s teeth sinking into my skin, and Syxx’s grip suffocating me.”
“W-what?! Why in Terra would you want that for yourself?!”
“Torment is exhilarating!”
“I guess it’s all a matter of perspective,” she laughed, stupefied by this woman’s curious nature, yet intrigued by her peculiarity. “My name is Vitane, what’s yours?”
“Veh-tawn-e,” Lola sounded out. “You have an uncommon name that is somehow familiar to me,” she stated. “Then again, maybe a pig facing a mirror would eat itself.” She blew on her lips for a few seconds, then said, “Depends who you ask: Chaos, Lola, Lorelei, Red, Lo, Schizo, Psycho, Darling. Whatever you feel suits me best. Chaos and Lola are the most popular on the list.”
Vitane inwardly chuckled at the admission of two of her nicknames. They seemed appropriate but also could have been deemed insults. “Hmm.” She played with the ends of her hair, interlacing her fingers between the strands. “Lola is a lovely name.”
“If you think so. It’s just an alias I created during Ordoic torture. Say, do you think they’ll drain us of our blood and sell it for profit?” Lola segued. “Or use it for Alchemy? Gods. As much as I hate this skin, being the one percent of the Omne’s population sure is thrilling!”
“Divine Dazielle, if you say so,” Vitane groaned and moved her hands to hold her head. “This is my third time being confined this year, but it’s never happened in Eskye before. I’m rarely on the rich side of this island, so getting away should be interesting this time around.”
The redhead chortled, but her laugh abruptly ceased upon the door creaking again. Both women looked now to the entryway in anticipation. Concurrently, their hearts pulsed and sweat formed within their palms, but no amount of readiness could prepare them for the Carson brothers.