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I looked down at my hands in horror. Sick realization gripped at my heart, I was going to H*ll. The man lay there in a fetal position, blood oozing from his wounds. He was moaning and whispering, whispering pleas.
“End it, My God end it if you have mercy.” My hands were shaking and I couldn’t bring myself to look at him any longer. I made my way out of the house as fast as I could, paranoia blocking my senses.
Tripping over every cobblestone I made my way down the icy street, making sure to hide my bloodied hands from the public. If someone caught sight of them, word would carry. I’d be done for before I could get my point across. I still didn’t understand the point of it really. As to why I was assigned that man, he was so inviting. So carefree. Like he had given up on dark deeds. So why was I to be rid of such an honest man? Unless his shadow held secrets, secrets that wouldn’t show in his day to day routine.
I quietly stepped into Rania’s Tea Co. Careful not to bring attention to myself; I slipped into a booth in the back. The waitress walked up to me, she wasn’t paying attention at first, but once she saw the scar on my face she backtracked and sent out a burly man to take my order.
“Now little lady, what can I get ye.” I looked up at him solemnly, not fully trusting my voice.
“I-I think I’ll have Chai, thank you.” He had to ask, everyone had to ask.
“What’s a pretty thing like you getting a scar like that, eh?” I looked at my hands under the table, thankful for the dimness of the room.
“Can’t quite remember.” But it was a beat too late. He grunted, seeing through my lie, but deciding not to pursue it.
I watched him hobble back to the kitchen to place my order, and I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. It had been months since I last thought about what happened to me. And I had good reason to wait that long too.
“Inara,” Master Orion barked from the front room, “treat to our guest immediately.” I instantly obeyed. Fumbling with the Tea tray, I stumbled into the living room and smiled faintly.
“Scrawny thing isn’t she.” The old woman pronounced, eyeing me like I was an old piece of pottery that was cracked up the sides. I quietly set the Tea tray down, turned, and headed straight for the kitchen once more. If I had said anything, even rolled my eyes, Master would beat me to a pulp.
I listened to their conversations through the vents. They talked of War and Money, nothing that particularly mattered to me right now. But then Master Orion lowered his voice.
“She’s different.” He whispered harshly, “Be careful not to provoke her. Only the Watcher knows what she’s capable of doing.” I could practically hear the old woman smile as she replied,
“Mr. Jones Orion. You think I’m that foolish?”
So it was decided I service Madame Frieda at Hollum Hill Manor. One of the most dreaded places in this tiny town. But I had no luxury of choice. It was agreed by Master Orion that I service an older lady, someone in ‘need’ of more service.
Once the carriage pulled up to the gates I noticed someone looking through the third floor window. His eyes were as black as night, and his hair as white as newly fallen snow.
“That ‘tis butler Darian. He will fill you in on your duties.” Madame Frieda said stiffly as a servant helped her down. I looked back up at the window once more, but he was gone.
I made my way into the manor, looking at all of the luxuriously colored Persian rugs, and the beautifully carved cherry oak furniture. Who was Madame Frieda? What crimes could she have committed to have such a home? Darian walked out of a dark room quietly.
“Inara Willkins. Inara Bethenny Willkins.” He crooned sarcastically, “My, whatever are you doing here?” I gulped and didn’t answer; lost for words I met his black eyes. He seemed angry, “Tell me girl.” Still, no answer. He reached out quickly and I expected a slap. But there wasn’t one. The room was silent except for the earsplitting crash of a vase on display. I was frozen where I stood. Madame Frieda rushed in from the sculpting room, holding a hot iron.
“What in the Watcher’s name-!” Her eyes found the broken vase, and calculated how close it was to me. I was just beginning to blame it on Darian, when I turned and the old man was gone. Madame Frieda’s face went all different colors at once, and then she rushed at me. The hot Iron rose about her head like an axe. Backing up to a corner I watched and waited. Saw the orange of the iron; saw her bringing it down, then darkness.
I awoke on the floor, a searing pain across my face. I reached up in horror and felt the tender laceration. But then I went numb, the only other time I had blacked out before being hit was when I was with my first master Mr. Laurence. And he ended up-
“You’re a witch…” A voice groaned from beside me. I scrambled up and looked down upon the mangled body. Madame Frieda lay there with her legs and arms broken the wrong way, and her face bloodied beyond recognition. I gasped. How, how could I have hurt someone this badly with no memory of it? Suddenly Darian walked out from the front hall and calmly came to my side.
“She’s correct. He said solemnly. Come with me.”