When Saetan couldn't find Jaenelle, he started to worry. He worried until he went to her study and saw the note there, and read through it twice. It was short. High Lord, it said, I have some business to take care of. The debt must be paid. I am at the Keep.
The debt. That meant one thing. Saetan almost shivered and turned to go to his daughter at once, to take her place. A formal execution…he stopped. And looked at the letter again. 'High Lord', it said. Formal. She was taking this seriously. Very seriously. And that meant one thing.
He sat down to wait. Just this once, he would let Jaenelle take care of this. Because he suspected it was a little more than personal.
When he opened his eyes, he wasn't initially sure how he'd gotten there. The room seemed filled with mist, and he lay on his back on a cold table. It came back quickly, though – blue eyes regarding him from across the room. Then nothing.
"I'm glad you're awake. I want you to be aware for this." The voice purred like thunder, reverberating in the small room. Underground? There wasn't any light, except for a curious blue glow. He searched for the source of the voice.
"You've made a mistake. I'm not the one you're looking for," he said, feeling a shiver crawl down his spine.
"No. You are." Female. It sounded older. Who did it remind him of? She paused. "You knew Arabella."
He scrambled for the name. Arabella…it sounded vaguely familiar. "I don't…recognize the name," he said carefully, and then knew it was the wrong answer. The air chilled. He shivered and tried to sit up, but an invisible weight held him down. He could only turn his head.
"No?" The voice intoned. "Let me remind you. Ten years ago, you laid eyes on a Yellow-Jeweled witch. You liked what you saw. The witch in question was ten years old. Through bribes, you took her from the school and brought her to a quiet alleyway, where you raped her. When she tried to scream, you hit her. You liked the way it felt, so you hit her again. And again. She was dead before you were done." The voice paused. "You buried her in Marsten Gardens. No one ever asked. You had enough money that they didn't."
He swallowed, hard. It had been years. He'd forgotten about the little whore. "I didn't kill her," he said, but found himself choking on the words.
"Don't lie to me. I already know what you have done. All that remains is the punishment. You will pay the debt that is owed."
He fought again, to sit up. "To who? Her family is dead. She has no living relatives. I can pay you if you like-"
"You will," the voice said, too softly, and it cut him off like an axe cutting through a neck. "She doesn't need living relatives. She has me."
Something in the voice chilled him to the core. "Who are you?" He demanded to know.
She emerged from the mist, and he nearly laughed. It was a young girl – she could hardly have been older than the little whelp had been, small as she was – blonde, her eyes a striking blue. She wore no Jewel.
Then she smiled, and he noticed her eyes. Deep, fathomless, midnight. His breath caught. "I am vengeance," she said, far too softly, and only then, only then did he realize…
He screamed. It was a long time before he stopped screaming. A very, very long time.
Saetan knocked on the door to the Keep and wasn't surprised to find it open. Jaenelle must have expected him. He followed the stairs down, past Lorn, to a black door, Black-locked, that was the workroom, and waited.
The door opened. His daughter was across the room, washing her hands. Other than that, the room was empty.
He paused. No. Not quite empty. Red splatters covered the floor and walls. The table and Jaenelle were the only things that were clean.
Witch turned and looked at him, her sapphire eyes cold. "High Lord," she said, quietly.
He didn't let himself hesitate. Didn't let himself wait. "The debt is paid," he said, just as quietly. She just nodded, but a moment later his daughter was back. He crossed the room to her, ignoring the blood and other…bits.
"Come, witch-child," he said, softly. "Let's go home."