Chapter XVII: Echos of Resilience

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**everybody knows—Sigrid**

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**everybody knows—Sigrid**

Cornelia had been left there in the dark cold stone room for days. Her legs were cased in a protective layer of dust and filth. Her hair hopelessly knotted and tangled in fits of screaming and struggling. The only light allowed into in her solitary confinement came with the minimal meal she was allotted once a day, or at least she thinks it was once a day. Her arms and legs ached from their leather binding.

Yet despite all of Gastonus' efforts, this prison of impenetrable solitude was not what tormented her. It was not what kept rousing her from sparing and fitful bouts of sleep. No, it was not Gastonus, he was not worth it. 

It was that holographic image. The image of a man empowered by lightning as he destroyed the S.S. Inferis and stranded the crew of the S.S. Olympus here. Her mind and heart argued ad infinitum as to the culprit. She knew the obvious answer; but, her heart would not accept it. For all of his anger, impetuosity, and power; Hades had never once done anything that would endanger himself of the crew. He was too calculated. She always assumed his careful nature was the result of the night he lost his brother.

He never once did something without thinking it through unless it had to do with defending the crew. In her solitary confinement, it continued to become obvious to her that the culprit was not Hades. It was another who had sabotaged the ship. As he had said, "If my people can control electricity then there are others who can as well." Cornelia had to find a way to save herself and Hades from incarceration.

Her stomach rolled eagerly as the sound of footsteps approached her door.  The sludge they had been serving her on a daily basis had been her only form of sustenance for weeks. While she originally turned her nose up at it, now each and every bite hit her stomach like a fanciful Saturnalian feast. Cornelia had even become immune to the laughter of the guards as they spilled her feast onto the marble floor of her 'prison.' Her ears perked as heavy boots kicked the door. "Breakfast for Domina Cornelia'." The sarcasm in the tone was unmistakable and she could feel the snake-like grin on her nape. The same feeling she always got whenever Gastonus entered the room.

An obstinate fire-brewed in her veins. The heavy door opened, spreading a blinding and unfamiliar light wide across her barren room. The hard stone room had become her fortress. While its' only ornamentation a straw cot she found strength in its silence and simplicity. While the cot was uncomfortable and full of fleas it was a vantage point and an escape. It gave her shelter when she had none.

This was the first time Gastonus had come to see her since the first day of her imprisonment when she had torn the flesh from his arm. Cornelia had vainly hoped that the injury would have kept him away from her in perpetuity; but, it seems she was not so lucky. Her hope and her luck had finally run out and she was stuck facing the dark eyes of her captor.

She knew Gastonus gained some sort of rotten satisfaction out of making her squirm. It fed into his sick fantasy manipulation and control. So it was the one thing she refused to give him, no matter what.

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