Clara froze in horror. The marble slab she was chained to by one slim ankle resounded as something wet rebounded from its ungiving polished surface. She felt the chill of the marble supplanted by something far colder, something that was making its way up her back to the nape of her lovely neck. The flimsy veils she had been wearing would not have warded off this discomfort and they had gone as soon as she had fallen into the hands of the Hyrkanian slavers that had been delighted to add such a rare delicacy to the cargo of living suffering they had brought to these wasted lands for the misuse of its chaotic ruler.
The dripping turned into a running stream and the liquid pooled and then spread over Clara’s shapely legs. It was warm, but not warm enough to dispell the chill that gripped her. She sensed that it was more than warm, it was sticky too and she could refuse herself no longer the image that impinged itself onto her mind’s eye. At that, she forced her eyes upwards and saw what she dreaded suspended on a large butcher’s hook above the diadem. Her brother hung high beyond her reach, eyes rolled back to show the whites, wrists cut open to gaping maws, leaking life fluid copiously to the sister stationed helplessly below.
The soldiers watched with disease. Hardened by years crossing dusty deserts and hacking a path through forests filled with night fiends, they would to a man have been quick to misuse the finely formed girl displayed so temptingly before them. But even they had no taste for this sickening spectacle, no appetite for what might happen when the far-feared lord of these lands came upon his pretty little gift. They remained as motionless as the young woman though, knowing full well what would be their fate if they failed to toe the line set by their ogrish captain. Where he was presently, they did not know. He did not need to attend in person to be certain that his men would do his will. His was such a well oiled operation that the list of those skilled and vicious men wanting to join would always be greater than the number he had executed as examples of his intolerance, of his iron fist.
Their attention was yanked away from such thoughts by a sound from the diadem. It was not a sound any of them might have expected, a sound that a cat might have made but not any cat that these men had encountered in their collective two centuries of soldiering. Deep and throaty, it called to mind a creature of the wild, a beast of dark, fetid jungles. The eyes of twenty veterans rose from the toes of their boots, as they had been schooled to do by their captain when they were on a duty at an event none of their business. Those eyes lifted to see the girl on her hands and knees, head down, lapping at the blood her brother continued to bathe the marble in.
Even then, the total discipline demanded by their captain prevented them from taking a step towards the girl or, perhaps better, from the ill-lit chamber they stood guard in. The girl looked up, first at her brother and then to her captors, and smiled, blood running down the centre of her chin and then between the hills of her breasts. ‘Fools,’ she purred. ‘Why do you not flee? I carry the Curse of the Blood Moon and you have fed it!’At that, she tensed her muscles, slim as she was, and unleashed them, snapping the chain that held her as a cotton thread on a needle. Twenty heads rolled before Clara rested, twenty bodies were drained of their lifeblood.