To find life when death could have so easily taken hold again was a sweet relief for the Special Assistant. She was tired of her hand bringing an end to the lives of so many. It weighed heavily on her soul.
But to-trial, for the first time in a very long while, people lived. The moment that the Defier spoke the words. “Understood Blackwood”
Sephira felt just a bit of weight lift from her soldiers. So many times everything had gone wrong, and mistakes had been made, but not this time.
So together, with the Tunawa riding on her shoulder, Alora being carried as they went and the criminals all around her the soldier went with them through the long ascent to the surface. The men and women led by the other mage were better disciplined and skilled in combat than half the Elements Sephira had seen. Who were they and why were they down here?
Sephira didn’t know, but neither did she press them for answers. Their truce was delicate as it was and she didn’t wish to endanger it. Instead she found it easy enough to fall in beside them as if they were fellow comrades in arms. Together they fought off any threats that approached them during the long climb. Confrontations with other prisoners were rare, but more than once she and the convicts were forced to defend themselves and the other members of their group.
The long walk itself was grueling and more than once the mage was faced with how this had been for Maxine. She must have been terrified and desperate.
Sephira should have never let them put her down here. But she hadn’t known then what she knew now. Still, that excuse did nothing to dissuade the shame she felt. Elias had been right all along. Maybe she wasn't a mindless tool, but she had certainly let the military and the council use her as they pleased. It was easy to claim that terrible things were acceptable when done in the name of the greater good. Especially when you were making decisions for people who had no voice of their own. Something had to change, and maybe she would have to make that happen.
After what seemed like hours upon hours of ceaseless climbing, the light of the final gate gleamed in the distance. A weighty pit grew in the Element’s stomach. So many had already escaped, whatever had caused the prison to open had clearly allowed an untold number of convicts out and back into Scalvoris. She was too late to stop any of it or even blunt the damage. All she had achieved was ensuring that the group of ex-soldiers didn’t hurt anyone once they left Slags.
The Defier turned to Sephira just before heading through the shattered gateway, and met her onyx hued eyes. He would keep his promise.
The Special Assistant replied heavily with a mixture of relief and weariness. She meant those words, them keeping their deal was only a small victory, but it was a victory all the same.
The ex-convicts slipped through the exit, leaving she, Thysbae, and the treeman alone on the stair. Without warning the dark shape of a door suddenly emerged from the fabric of the stairs themselves. The door was quite large and wooden, with a large iron knocker at its center.
All of the strangeness was starting to make some very odd sense to Sephira. First she had heard the Call, then she had been teleported into that chamber full of mages. Now she was here, at the summit of Slags Deep where a door had suddenly appeared.
Something was happened. Something she didn’t understand, but equally something that she knew was important.
Carefully the mage delicately pulled her right glove off, taking her time as she examined the Door of Life with a steady gaze.
“I think we are meant to go through.”
she whispered somberly before glancing back at Thysbae then looking over her soldier at the Tunawa.
Gingerly Sephira set her bare hand on the rung of the knocker and lifted it before releasing it. The metal clanging against the wooden surface of the door and almost instantly the Door opened revealing an unexpected face made from metal and gold.
“Welcome do come in, I hope you are here to help.”
He said all too cheerfully.
“Apparently I am.”
Sephira replied with a twitch of a smile as she headed through the Door.