Alexia Masy
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A Cold Heart

A Short Story

Entering Obsidian with Mirabel and Tatiana in tow had been a chance. Nym had heard Ophelia's call and had arrived in Dead City, but she had not expected the pull to her former home to be so strong. The castle was as it was, although Dark was now in torpor. What had happened after her departure, she wasn't quite sure, but she was amazed that Ophelia had even allowed her to walk through the doors again after what she had done. It couldn't have been a secret, right?

The dungeon in Obsidian was empty at that moment except for a single vampire who was shackled to the wall in fortified silver chains. He was nude except for a pair of underwear that was a couple of sizes too small for him, and his pale flesh was covered in scars and various other injuries, some of which were still oozing.

Nymira descended the steps with her daughter and sister close behind her. Tati was reluctant to hurt the male, although he was a devious vampire who had mercilessly killed humans and left their bodies for anyone to find. Mirabel and Nym, however, had no such reservations. But Tatiana, ever the obedient daughter, did as her mother asked and accompanied her to watch. If she was going to be Amethyst, she was going to watch how her mother handled things.

Mirabel settled in next to her niece, ready to pounce the vampire when her sister asked. In the last sixteen years, she had become compliant to Nym. She was the end result of Nym's accidental blood magic cast years ago, and although they were biological sisters, Mirabel had come to be somewhat of a servant because of the magical link between them.

Nymira's expression was emotionless as she approached the vampire. He didn't cower in fear, instead merely glanced at her with emptiness in his cold eyes. Perhaps whoever had been in charge of extraction before hadn't been successful, but the witch knew she would be. It wasn't cockiness, but confidence. She had done this before, but she had always held back. At first, she had been a lot like Tati: hesitant to hurt another being. But becoming an assassin had changed that.

Losing her empathy had worsened it.

"I assume you know why you are here?" The vampire didn't respond. Blackness enveloped Nym's entire irises, and the shackles that held the vampire began to glow a fiery orange. He screamed in agony, but she didn't stop raising the temperature. Mirabel laughed behind her, and Tati cringed, but Nym paid them no mind at that moment. 

"I asked you a question and I will not repeat myself, bloodsucker. Are you, or are you not, aware of the circumstances in which you were brought here for?"

"Yes!" The vampire cried out, his body writhing on the floor as he struggled against his constraints.

The shackles returned to their normal silver colour, and the vampire heaved a breath, sweat dripping from every pore. "We already know that you are working under orders. What we want to know is who hired you and why." It was obvious the vampire was still in pain, but he just glared at her and kept his mouth shut tightly. 

"I advise you to answer, or what just happened to you will become much, much worse."

Nothing.

From her waistband, she pulled out a stake of wood. She used her magic to heat it up, and while she herself did not feel the burn, the vampire would. Crouching down, she pressed the tip of it into his ribcage below the heart. He whimpered in pain, but he continued to remain silent otherwise. "Very well, then." The stake was plunged into him, and the combination of both wood and fire caused his scream to be even more piercing than before. Surely the entire city below could hear it.

"Fine!" The vampire gasped out, struggling to speak through the pain. Nym waited a heartbeat before yanking the stake out. The wound closed up, but there was still an angry red mark that she knew was painful. 

"Speak."

"Ash sent me to kill them," the vampire said, breathless.

The day in the city's square flashed in her mind, and she had a feeling it had to do with the Nights angering him during the Beltane festival. But she wanted to hear it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak, and she'd make this little horse neigh away. "Why?"

The vampire was still stubborn, refusing to answer her questions. It didn't annoy the witch, because she knew she was going to get the information out of him sooner or later. Nym pulled out her amethyst and sapphire encrusted athame and sliced her hand. Blood dripping from the long, thin wound, and he stared at it hungrily. But instead of putting it to his mouth, she placed it over his unbeating heart. Latin words were murmured, and the vampire once again pulled at his chains. At that moment, it would feel like a wooden stake was being forced into his heart, but he would not die.

"NIGHTS!" His scream made her pull her bloodied hand away, and she wrapped a kerchief around it to stop the bleeding. But her eyes remained focused on him. "H-he wants to send the Nights a message!"

"And what would that message be, pray tell?"

"Night will fall again, and there's nothing that can be done to stop it."

Silence stretched throughout the dungeon, and the only sound that could be heard was the clinking of metal against brick and the vampire's heaving breaths. Despite not needing to for survival, the pain had brought the desire to him. She could even see fear in his eyes that had not been there before she had begun her "interrogation."

And then Nym's lips pulled into a smile that was chilling.

"I would tell you to tell your master that he's full of shit on both accounts, but I'm afraid you won't be able to do so." The expression that formed on his face asked, 'why?' but she did not oblige him with an explanation. By the time he realised what was happening, it would be over for him, for good.

The stake was shoved into his heart this time, and he had just enough time to open his mouth, but make no words. His body disintegrated into dust, and the stake clattered to the floor. A yelp of surprise sounded behind her, and she turned to see Tatiana staring at her with wide eyes, her hand across her mouth.

"Mum, you didn't need to kill him!"

Nym sighed and straightened, her expression softening slightly at her daughter. "Tatiana, I'm an assassin. It's my job to kill the wicked." She replaced her athame in her waistband, her iris-less eyes returning to normal.

Tatiana wrapped her arms around her body, rocking back and forth on her heels. "There are other ways..."

"No, Tati," she cut her off before the girl could finish. "There are not. Especially not with vampires. And if you want to be a part of Amethyst, then you are going to have to learn that killing them will be a part of your job description. If they've broken the rules, they must pay."

"We could hold trials! The humans do it!" Despite her harsh words to her daughter, she couldn't help a small smile from passing over her face. But it also quickly disappeared.

"This is not the human world, Tatiana. I love you, you know that. But you need to stop believing the world is just and fair. It's not.

The young witch frowned, glanced at her aunt, then back to her mother. "But the Nights... They're all vampires too right? And you wouldn't do this to them." Tatiana reminded Nym so much of herself before she was corrupted. She hated to take that away from her, but it was imperative for her to open her eyes; this fanciful view she had was going to do nothing but disappoint her.

"Yes, a good number of the Night family are vampires. And no I would not assassinate them. However, the Nights are honourable. Those they allow in the coven are honourable. And if any of them broke that honour code, I would be first in line to stake them. And you'd do well to remember this." The woman put a hand on her daughter's shoulder. Nym had never been the coddling type, but she was also very soft where Tati was concerned. Just because she saw Zayne Burkes in her every time she looked at her didn't mean she loved her any less.

"I'm sorry the world is how it is, Tati. But we must adapt to it." Taking a step back from her child, she headed for the steps. It was time to inform Ophelia, Valentine, and Isabella of what she had learned...

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