Cast in Blood

Chapter Three

Kaylin sat up and went for the door, intending to open it, only to find it locked.

After endless pacing, and hearing endless heartbreaking screeches, Nightshade walked into her room as the cries died down.

"What is going on?" She demanded as she saw that there was blood on his hands.

"I came to tell you that everything is fine, and that you should rest now." He told her, skillfully avoiding her question.

"Nightshade." She said. "What was that?" She asked quite seriously.

The two almost stared the other down, looking at one another so hard. But, despite that she was indeed afraid of Nightshade, she would not back down.

For nearly a lifetime he looked at her, before sighing uncharacteristically. "You will get your answer in the morning, Kaylin." He told her, looking as though all the world were crumbling around him.

Kaylin, needless to say was shocked. Nighshade was drastically different than she had known him to be, backing down to her (although not in an actual sense, that would have frightened her beyond belief) he was also looking haggard, far from the rather aloof Barani Lord that she knew him to be.

"Alright then." She said, barely hearing herself, her words were so soft.

He nodded, and left Kaylin in the room alone with her thought, listening to the screams down the hall get softer and less frequent as the night went on.

When Kaylin woke the next morning it was to Nightshade sitting on the foot of her bed.

They both looked at each other for a few minutes before either spoke.

"If you would get dressed, Andra would like to see you." He told her before standing and exiting the room.

Kaylin found a pair of pants and a tunic laid out on a chair beside the bed and wondered if Nightshade was alright, for all the times she had been here before there had been gowns and dresses.

The two walked in silence, and Nightshade made an abrupt left. "She has been moved, she was not safe within her room."

Kaylin looked at him oddly, but did not complain.

Grey stone virtually invaded Kaylin's mind, she saw so much of it while walking beside Nightshade. And before long they reached a rather long hall with only one door, all the way at the end.

"I must warn you, she may not appreciate your aide should you see fit to offer it. but considering that she is the one who asked to speak to you, I do not think that she herself will act rashly." He told her. "Should you wish to leave, you may either call for me, or allow her to lead you, I need not tell you to avoid certain places within this castle." Then he stormed down the hall from whence they came, and she stood there until the sounds of his footfalls had faded.

Kaylin opened the door slowly, preparing for the worst. But what she got, she did not expect.

It was a room. With a simple bed in the middle, dressed up in black bedding, but, sleeping within the covers, was Andra, her bare back open to the night air, tinged red with newly spilt blood, wide welts ripped her flesh, creating a mountainous landscape of her skin.

Kaylin ran to her side, but Andra was not within the hold of Morpheus as she had previously thought. "Do not touch them." She said coldly.

"Andr-"

"No." Andra told her heaving her upper body off the bed through pure determination, gritting her teeth. "I did not ask you here so that you could pity me."

"I do not pity you." Kaylin told her. "Who did this to you?"

"Nobody." Andra said as she levered herself up so that she was sitting on her shins on the mattress, sheet gathered in her lap.

It was the first times that Kaylin saw most of Andra's markings. They wound about her body, spiraling and twisting here and there as if they were running from their shadows. The dark black made her skin look pale and unhealthy.

"It's a mark of possession, of course it goes all the way around my body." Andra told her.

But it was then that Kaylin noticed that there was a different pattern on Andra's back. The mark that began on her cheek and wound around, was not part of it, and there was a good inch between the two black writings. "The mark on your back is not Nightshade's." She said, sure of it as the words left her mouth. Kaylin tried to focus on the other black lines, to discern a pattern, but could not.

Andra froze. "No, It's not." She said before getting up and walking away, giving Kaylin a view of her naked body, and the scarring present between her slim thighs.

Kaylin's eyes went wide. "Andra?" She said quietly, shock permeating her voice.

"It is nothing that can be undone." Was all that Andra said.

"You say that a lot, don't you?" Kaylin asked.

"Because it is the truth. You cannot undo the past. You can only move forward." Andra told her, slipping a pair of pants on. When she got to the shirt she hesitated.

"Andra?" Kaylin asked as she saw the girl sit on a well worn chair.

"Huh?" Andra looked up, confusion in her eyes, clearing as she stared at Kaylin.

"Would you mind helping me into my shirt?" Andra asked after a tense moment.

Keylin nodded, but paused. "You should clean them first." She said.

Andra nodded absentmindedly, walking towards a door that Kaylin had no noticed when she had come in. Andra opened it and ran water into a basin, though she hesitated picking it up.

Kaylin walked forward, motioning Andra into a chair, grasping the basin herself and a soft cloth.

Carefully, Kaylin washed and tended Andra's wounds, before helping her into the rest of her clothes.

"Thank you." Andra said so quietly that Kaylin almost didn't catch it.

"You're welcome." She replied. "I would like to know who did this to you." She said after another tense moment.

"I told you that no one did it."

"Andra I saw-"

"It's a remnant of my time in the High Halls." Andra said, cutting Kaylin off. "No one here harms me, no hand is lifted against me."

"The other mark."

Andra nodded.

Kaylin stared at the wall for a few moments. "Will you tell me of your time in the High Halls?"

"No." Andra replied coldly. "It would not be worth it, as I have already said, it is nothing that can be undone."

Kaylin thought for a moment.

"Would you like me to call for my Lord, or would you rather that I led you somewhere?" Andra asked. "Breakfast should be served soon." She added quietly.

"No need to get Nightshade, I would prefer your company to his in leading me to the dining hall." Kaylin told her.

And then Andra did something that Kaylin had not yet seen her do, she smiled, a small one, but a smile nonetheless.

[A/N: Forgive me that this is so late, but I cranked it out just to show that I was still here and still working on it. I get caught up in school and I still have reading to do this summer so these update will be few and far between, but I just wanted to say that they are not forgotten. Thank you for sticking with me. ~melonkitty]