Here is the first two-thirds of chapter 14, written today! Please feel free to leave me a comment or two, any feedback really!
Annalee shivered in her solid, stone cell and watched the water dribble down the wall and into a floor crack beside her. After what felt like hours of pounding on and screaming at the iron door the Kaqtukaqs had thrust her through, she had flopped in a corner and sent her thoughts out, in vain, to reach Innu. Even though her sluggish eyelids deceived her, still more questions stacked up in her brain: Why did Basque want the Wonderstone and to keep her hostage? Why did he want to get rid of Selome? Were Innu, Cremoe, Zidi, and Selome alive and okay? The picture of Basque’s sneering face when she slid the Wonderstone across the table increased her frustration. Tears burst from her closed eyes and sobs escaped her raw throat. Who did they want her to be or to do? She was the Moon Daughter, which was someone important, right? Everyone here saw the light within her and seemed to respect her more than she did herself.
A soft, blue glow flickered briefly across her eyelids.
What was that? she thought.
The blue beam gleamed across her blurry eyes when she opened them. She rubbed her palms flat against her eye sockets. When her eyes cleared, she realized the shining came from spots on the ends of her fingers and her hair. Though it freaked her out, it was a comfort in the darkness.
For days, she sat in that prison without a visitor or meal brought to her. She never felt hungry, but she eventually slurped and licked water from the stream on the wall. To pass the time and keep herself from thinking too much, she focused on the newfound skill literally at her fingertips. If she cleared her mind and felt the power of her heart beat and bloodlines, she discovered that she could will the light to strengthen and when she freed that power, it faded away. No heat came from it, and the push and pull of power cooled the anger that welled up whenever she allowed her present circumstances to weasel back into her mind.
As she awoke and sated her thirst the eleventh time, the iron door creaked open and two Kaqtukaqs that had once guarded her guest room door now lumbered into her cell.
“Please follow us, Moon Daughter,” said the one whose skin swirled with spirals.
“Where are we going?”
They stayed silent, the swirled storm spirit in front and his companion behind her. They trekked in a line down a steep shaft with nothing more than purple torches lining the walls. Annalee stumbled not twenty feet outside of her cell; she had hardly stood for however long she had been captive and it hurt to be reminded.
When they finally passed a series of doors, Annalee felt certain they were near the great hall, but she never saw it. They veered left at a junction of three passages, and ahead of them she saw a great archway lit purple from the room beyond. Seated in a stone pew along one wall, she spied Innu, Zidi, and Cremoe, whose paws were bound with lightning like sparking chains. At the far wall, a stalagmite chair held Basque. His form and tattoos contrasted with the white Wonderstone and bright yellow lightning band hanging over his chest. To his right, another Kaqtukaq with thick muscles marked in a starry design stood sentry. Selome knelt before them, where lashes leaked blood down his back and wing feathers. He turned slightly to see her enter the room.
“Ah, Annalee,” Basque said. “Might you stay and see Selome’s execution? We have you to thank for his betrayal since you convinced him to go with you. To kill an eternal brother, to snuff out his spirit and gifts, creates a deep hole in our existence.” The other Kaqtukaqs muttered and shifted at his words. He shook his head and nonchalantly waved his hand, casting a lighting chain around her wrists, then continued, “The cubes were right in both their answers of you. Such a shameful way to treat your hosts, young woman. Such a waste of a promise.”
Annalee expected anger to blaze inside her at his words, but instead she felt her power retreat deep into her being, whispering promise, promise, promise. The word rang through her mind and she forced the surge out to her extremities. The blue glow of her body outshone the purple glow of the surrounding torches and she heard the entire room gasp as her chains dimmed and fell to the floor.
“How dare you speak to me of promises?” she muttered, then raised her voice and her face to glare at Basque. “You, who promised us safety and healing for the stone on your chest! The only shame here rests on your shoulders for not upholding your clans honor!”