Sami gasped, as if she had forgotten Silas was a cat and that cats always play by their own rules. Somethings do not change whether one is above or below, in our world or the Other Side.
I wasn’t angry or surprised. Silas had more than one apprentice to worry about and more than one world to mind. I would see him again, if the Sisterhood was willing. If not, well, best not to dwell on such things.
“Stand up,” I said, pulling Sami up next to me.
She resisted, or rather, she didn’t help and it was like lifting a bunch of overly heavy potatoes only not in a useful carrying sack. There were many emotions in the face of almost certain death or at least dismemberment that I could stand. Fear made sense. Only fools weren’t afraid of a painful death. Panic made sense for those who had less experience than I with such things. But hopelessness, giving in, not fighting until the end, I couldn’t fathom and it kindled something raw, something deep within my soul that I had forgotten until that moment.
“You will stand with me or you will fall.” I released her arm and Sami stumbled, but rose next to me. She placed both hands on the hilt of her sword and though she trembled she stood.
The he was before us and laughing. Sami shrank back, but to her undying credit remained facing him. Perhaps some of my teaching had sunk into her after all.
“Here we are again,” he said turning his hand so the mud rose in front of him and formed a circle. “The wheel turns and you’re to lose yet another yearling to me.” He reached out and Sami screamed as he flicked his hand, using the air to pull her to him.
“Enough!” I slashed my sword in the air between them and both jerked back. “She is not yours to take. She is of the Sisterhood.”
His eyes flashed. “I see no mark of a Sister on her.” Then a vial appeared in his hand stoppered so as to not lose the blood inside it. “And her blood binds her to me. Blood is thicker than anything, isn’t it, Sister?”
I stepped in front of Sami as she moaned, “He’s inside my head…” She grabbed my arm and pulled me to face her. Her eyes were not her own and her lips parted in a falsehood of a smile. “He is good.” Then she tried to stumble toward him.
I didn’t have the power over mind, nor a blood binding with Sami. Blood was thick, but it was never just about blood.
I pulled Sami back, even as she screamed, ducking her attempt to slice me with my own sword. I knocked the sword out of her hand and managed, barely, to reclaim it before he could. I didn’t take my eyes off him and he merely smiled his smile that promised painful death and the end.
“She is not yours.” Then I launched myself at him wielding the swords he’d once had fashioned for me, long ago.