All was still and black. In the darkness of the closed space, Karigan breathed shallowly in a vain attempt not to waste the already thin air. She had been trapped in the small space for what seemed like days but judging by the existence of breathable air it could have only been a matter of hours. She was calm now, resigned to her fate.
She had given up fighting; her fists ached from pounding on the immoveable stone above, her voice hoarse from desperately shouting for help. Clearly wherever she was, there was no one around to hear her lame attempts of escape from her tomb. In her despair she had tried to use both her sabre and the Bonewood staff despite the lack of space to manoeuvre either of them, all she had ended up doing was finding more uncomfortable positions to lay in.
Her entire body ached, yet the intense pain had that she had earned from pulling the shattered glass of the mirror from her legs had subsided in the past hours. The cold was numbing her body and although it made it harder for her to move she was thankful for the effect it was having on her sore body.
Closing her eyes she moved her fingers along the sharp contours of the mirror that had been embedded in her leg. Questions assailed her, what had happened to Yates? Was Mornhavon gone or just wounded? Where were the others in the party; Lynx, Telagioth, Ealdaen and Lhean? She would never know.
She could only hope she had done enough to at least slow Mornhavon down or perhaps she had managed to get rid of him for good. She could not feel his presence close by, but she could not be sure if that meant anything. She could be anywhere. She hoped that the rest of the party had gotten away safely and that she had not abandoned them in the darkness of Blackveil forest.
I am going to die, she thought lying on the smooth stone, her cut hand roughly bandaged by a length of cloth she had torn from her shirt. The revelation brought an unexpected calmness.
Alone in the dark with just her thoughts she sighed. Zachary, she regretted not being able to see him one last time. At least, she thought, he will get my letter. He would be married soon, or maybe he was already- she had no grasp of when or where she was. Sacoridia would have a good and fair queen in Estora. Here in the darkness she felt no ill for the couple nor was she angry at what could never be.
If only I could see him, she sighed, I would have liked that, to see him one last time.
Her thoughts shifted to Condor. Although she missed him she was glad he was safe in the encampment not stuck here with her. He has outlasted two Riders now. Was he being treated well by the men in the camp? As she thought of the encampment at the D'Yer Wall guilt washed over her.
Alton. I felt so betrayed by you. She groaned, it all seemed so silly now. Will you miss me when I'm gone? Will you and Estral forgive me?
She grimaced as she remembered her treatment of her friend, yet at the time she had felt so lost, so confused. It felt like everyone who had ever wanted her had turned their backs, that somehow she was no longer desirable. That loneliness on the eve of her journey in to the dark forest had ripped in to her and she had defended herself in the only way she felt she could – by pushing everyone away and protecting them from her inevitable death. She had known all along that she would not survive this.
Not only had she pushed Alton away but she had also run from the man she knew cared for her. She had put him on a pedestal as her monarch and refused to acknowledge the man that lie beneath, nothing would come of pursuing an engaged man. And yet she could not forget the man and despite her insistence on treating him only as the King he did not treat her only as a senior Green Rider but as a woman. She smiled softly she remembered standing with Zachary on the top of the tower on that night long ago. She remembered the darkness around them, the slight wind in his hair, and his loving words to her ... Zachary, I loved you. I never told you, there is no hope for us now.
Still she knew in her body, soul and heart he loved me too.
Rider Sir G'ladheon sighed happily as the darkness whisked her away.