Lord Śārk

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I didn't have to wait long before the door opened again. I was struggling against my bonds despite the sharp, burning pain that it caused, when the door opened.

Two men walked in, I recognized one as the assassin who had threatened me. He winked at me as he and his buddy rolled out a white carpet that ended right before my newly cleaned feet. The door was propped open and a tall man walked in.

He was olive skinned as all serpents were, his large eyes were grey and sent a chill down my spine. His head was shaved, leaving a shiny dome and his lips were thin. The only color on him was the extravagant purple robes, the sleeves, collar and hem were trimmed in gold and a tapestry presented itself with beautiful images in red, pale blue and pearl, showing a dance of two serpents.

His feet were bare and never left the clean white carpet as he walked toward me. His manner and appearance reminded me of a great Chinese emperor, but while I'm sure a real emperor would inspire respect and devotion, this man inspired nothing in me aside from anger and disgust.

"Who are you?" He asked in a bored voice.

I scowled. "Who are you?"

"I am Śārk Silt, head of Nīrina Clan, and lord of the City of Rivers. I have five questions for you, which you will answer, am I clear?" Lord Śārk didn't even look at me, like I was a slug he was being forced to question.

I said nothing.

"Who are you?" He repeated.

"Kendra McLane." I spat.

"Hmm, such a strange and ugly name." He remarked. "Why are you here?"

"Ask Nisvārtha Shade." I sneered.

Śārk sighed and motioned at the Assassin. The sick bastard grinned and went behind me, his hand gripping my hair and pulling my head back sharply.

I bit my lip to hold in my cries of pain.

"I don't have the time or the patience to torture the information I want out of you, Kendra McLane." Śārk said. "But I will if necessary."

"I'm here because they think I'm a serpent." I grunted through my teeth and my hair was released.

"Where did you come from?" He continued.

"They found me in that big tower next to the lake."

"I mean your clan, stupid child!" The lord snapped, visibly becoming impatient. His grey eyes finally met mine and I shuddered.

"I don't have one." I muttered.

He growled in frustration and grabbed my arm, yanking it forward and causing me pain as it strained my sore wrists. "Who are the people you came with?"

The song that rang in my head made me cringe, my heart began to pound with fear as I listened to the pounding of drums, the sinister hums of the accordion and the harsh chords from a harp. The instinctual side of me wanted to flee, it sensed danger from this man.

"I don't know!" I cried. "They found me and thought I was a serpent so they decided to bring me here."

His face grew hard and pressed close to mine, his foul breath clogged my nose and I desperately tried to banish my fear.

"If you are not a serpent," he sneered. "Then what are you?" His tone and eyes betrayed the fact that he didn't care. Whatever I was, he truly believed I was lower than him, that I wasn't worth his spit, and that regardless of my answer he would still throw me out.

I thought of Jīviyannu, her story, the strength in her voice and the fire in her hazel eyes. That fire blazed in my belly, melting the icy shards of fear and sparking my anger again.

"I am human." I said coldly.

His expression turned livid, and his hand released my arm, but flew out to slap my face. The force of the slap knocked me over onto the floor, jarring my shoulder and knocking the breath from my lungs.

"Liar!" He roared as I coughed and tried to breathe.

The fury burning in my stomach expanded with each strained breath, spreading to my limbs as Lord Śārk shouted at me. A whoosh rushed through my ears and the room lightened as a circle of flames erupted around me. My bonds burnt away and the chair disintegrated.

I rose to my feet, my hands glowing with the flames that poured from them. I could see the blood on my wrists from the ropes, blood that now fed my fires.

I met the frightened eyes of Lord Śārk, all fear gone as I looked at this man.

"You're going to let me go." I said, my voice came out strong and powerful. "My companions will be released, unharmed, and we will be safely escorted out of this city." I took a step forward and Śārk scrambled back, stepping off his precious white carpet as it burned up. "No one will follow us, and if they do..." I shoved the pathetic Lord into the corner of the room getting in his face as he had done to me. "I'll come back and cook you into a big batch of salmon hash. Do I make myself clear, Mister Silt?"

He nodded, "I'll send a servant to escort you downstairs to the lounge, your friends will join you there."

I nodded my satisfaction and backed away. The fire coming from my hands died away and Lord Śārk fled my cell with his guards.

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