A/N: Thanks to Gishki and scarletfireblaze for the reviews! :)
When she awoke, everything was dark, damp and smelled of burning rubber. Donna sat up and looked around. She was sitting in a stone room that was divided into square cells. The iron bars that barred her way were hot to the touch, and the Pyromancer realized how hot it was in the room. She reached up to take off her helmet- only to find that it wasn't there. She looked around her cell. It wasn't very well furnished. There was a small pile of hay in one corner and a bucket of lukewarm water in another. A small crack ran from the ceiling to a stone block just above the level of Donna's head, and if she stood on her tiptoes, she could peer outside.
Despite being a Pyromancer, the fiery inferno outside was enough to make Donna cringe. Lava poured down a slope like a burning waterfall. Instead of sunlight, firelight flickered from torches and braziers, leaving ghostly dancing shadows on the red stone floor. The walls were made up of dark brown and gray stone blocks, and gruesome pictures were painted on them. The young Pyromancer hurriedly stepped away from the crack and went back to examining her surroundings.
Aside from the hay and the bucket, there was nothing but a small wooden stool in her cell. Donna's helmet was nowhere to be found, nor were her wand and cards. She sighed, sitting down on the rickety stool and crossing her arms. She briefly considered screaming for help, but realized that if she was in a dungeon, there wasn't likely anyone to come to her rescue- rather, her captors could be nearby. With a frown, the Legendary squinted into the darkness, searching for anyone she could find- other prisoners, perhaps, or maybe someone who could tell her what was going on.
A soft moan from the far corner of the stone room, startling Donna so much that she toppled off her stool with a yelp of surprise.
"Wh- who's there?" She gasped. A growl echoed off the walls. She couldn't tell which direction it was coming from. "Where are you?" The Pyromancer shouted. A high pitched whine was the only response- and finally, Donna saw it in the next cell over.
The creature couldn't possibly be human- maybe it had been, at one point, but no longer. Its pale skin seemed nearly transparent in the dim lighting, and the faint torchlight made a pair of violet eyes glint dangerously. Black rags- once robes, perhaps- hung off the creature's emaciated frame. Long black and violet streaked hair pooled around it, and it bared a set of sharp teeth, stained yellow from lack of cleaning. The thing raised a large, almost paw- like hand and flexed its sharpened nails. A low hiss escaped its throat.
Donna couldn't help herself any longer. She let out a blood curdling scream and scrambled backwards until her spine hit the iron bars. The creature squeaked like a rusty gate, lowering her paw and inspecting the Pyromancer with wide, lamp like eyes. Donna hoped that it meant the creature didn't feel like trying to eat her. However, a moment later, a piercing whistle rang in Donna's ears, and the thing whined loudly again, rolling over on the ground and pressing its hands over its ears. The Legendary heard a cold, cruel laugh and the sound of footsteps on the ground. The laugh's owner stopped just outside the light, shrouding him- or was it a girl? - in shadows.
"I see you've met Blackbird." The voice was undoubtedly feminine.
"Who are you?" Donna whispered. "What do you want with me?"
There was that laughter again. "Unfortunately for you, I'm not as stupid as you might think. I know exactly what happens if I reveal the whole evil plot now." Her tone became sarcastic. "The second I leave this dungeon, you'd find a way to escape, probably 'liberate' my poor, harmless little pet, and then take off to find your friends and tell them every word I've told you. If that happened, I'm pretty sure the plan wouldn't succeed." Donna could almost sense the eye roll.
"Who are you?" The Pyromancer asked again, inching away from the girl.
"Oh, I'm positive that you've heard of me," she replied.
"Moira Moonchaser, the one and only." She stepped into the light, giving a mock bow as she did so. The tall girl had short, pure white hair, and her eyes were an eerie shade of red. "Do enjoy your stay here; you won't be leaving any time soon." She turned to leave.
"Wait!" Donna couldn't help but yell after her. "What is that thing?" She pointed shakily to the creature in the next cell, the one Moira had called "Blackbird." The Necromancer smirked.
"Oh, a pet of mine, that's all. I'm sure she won't touch you- if those bars hold." Her laughter echoed through the room as she climbed the stairs. Donna stared fearfully at Blackbird. The creature moaned softly, sitting back up and staring after Moira blankly.
"H-hi there, Blackbird," the Pyromancer began tentatively. "My name is Donna. I'm sev- no. I'm sixteen years old. I don't want to lie anymore, not if … if my life is almost over. I want to make up for the lies. I'm sixteen. I've pretended to be a year older than I really am since I was ten. It was all because I got burned by some of the boys from my pre-magic school, and my parents wanted me to go to Ravenwood a year early to get away from them. I have a really big scar now, and I have to use a crutch and wear a brace. It's okay with me, though; wearing the brace and using the crutch isn't so bad, now that I'm used to it." She looked around for the crutch, only to realize that she had left it on Sasha's saddle when she was rushing to Brooke's rescue. There was no telling where her tiger mount was … or Brooke, or Alexandra, or any of her friends.
She was knocked out of her thoughts when Blackbird made a strange sound, almost like a cross between a chirp and a bark. The creature titled its head sideways and stared at her, and Donna took the motion to mean continue. "My best friend's name is Brooke. I've known her since I started school. She's really nice and really good at listening and loves the water, just like I do. She's very serious and quiet all the time. Brooke has always been there if I need her …" Donna's voice caught in her throat, and she felt a tear escape her eye. "I might never see Brooke again." For a long, long time, the Pyromancer cried softly, and the Blackbird listened silently.
Four days later, Donna's situation changed. She had been talking to the Blackbird more and more over the days, and soon she dropped the word "the," thinking of the strange creature simply as "Blackbird."
"It's more of a name, and you're not a thing. You can listen, and so you deserve to have a name," Donna told Blackbird one day as she tightened the straps on her brace. She'd been thankful that the brace had been brought along; it would have made life very difficult if she had not had the brace.
"That thing is an animal. It deserves nothing more than to be locked in a cage. IT should feel lucky to be alive," a cold voice proclaimed. Donna looked up sharply. Moira was leaning up against the wall just outside the Pyromancer's cell. For the past four days, Donna had seen nothing of the Necromancer. A boy with pale blond hair and pure white robes had tiptoed down, silent as a mouse, to bring food to the two prisoners, but aside from him there had been no sign of other human beings.
"What do you want, Moira?" The venom in her own voice surprised Donna; the cheerful Legendary was rarely able to make herself sound angry.
"I've decided that there's going to be a little … mix up in sleeping arrangements. We'll call it that," the Necromancer chuckled. "Since you and the animal have become such good friends lately, I'm sure you won't mind sharing a cell with her. After all, we've got some new prisoners coming in soon, and there has to be room for everyone."
"Fine. Blackbird won't hurt me; she knows who I am. She knows I don't hate her or think she's stupid." Donna kept her head high and glared defiantly at Moira, who merely smirked and jingled a key ring. She sauntered over to Blackbird's cell and pulled a wand from her pocket.
"Can't have you rebelling while I move you, pet," she said, pointing it at the creature inside the cell. Blackbird howled in pain, throwing herself against the floor and rolling, almost as though she was trying to shake off an attacking animal. Moira quickly unlocked the door and stepped inside, latching an enormously thick chain to a collar around Blackbird's neck. The Necromancer dragged the protesting creature out of the cell and over to Donna's.
"Stop it! You're hurting her!" Donna yelled, standing in anger.
"Don't make me use the spell on you, too. Back up and sit down," Moira instructed. Reluctantly, the Pyromancer did as she'd been told, and Moira unlocked the gate, tossing Blackbird inside and fastening the chain to the door. "There. Now you won't be in quite so much danger. Trust me," she added, "I don't care if you live or die. I just don't feel like cleaning blood off my floor." With a sharp laugh, the Necromancer slammed the door shut and locked it once more.
Blackbird screeched, launching herself against the door and clawing at the bars. She howled loud enough to wake the dead as Moira headed towards the stairs.
"Blackbird! Blackbird, it's okay! Hey, look! It's me, Donna!" The creature turned slowly towards her. Donna smiled what she hoped was an encouraging smile. "Remember me? You used to be in the cell right next to me, but now we're in the same place. It's okay. She's going."For a short moment, Blackbird seemed to have calmed- and then Moira laughed.
The girl's laughter seemed to drive the creature over the edge, because Blackbird shrieked once again, and this time she barreled towards Donna.
"Blackbird!" The Pyromancer screamed, pressing herself flat against the hot stone wall. The creature didn't listen. Within seconds, Blackbird was upon her, and her wide hands were encircling Donna's throat.
Donna suddenly found herself gasping for air, struggling against Blackbird's ever tightening grip. The creature stared back at her with enraged eyes- maybe she had mistaken the Pyromancer for Moira? Donna could faintly hear Moira's protests, but her senses were dulling. Black spots appeared at the corners of her vision. They grew and shrank as she fought for air, but seconds later, there was nothing left but the spots. Colors danced in front of her eyes, and then blurred into pure white. The sounds around her had become nothing more than dim mumbling, and she reached out a hand to touch the wall, as though the searing heat would tie her to consciousness. The white faded away to black- warm, comforting, inviting black- and Donna willingly gave in to it. She let the warmth of the darkness steal her away, and with a sigh, Donna Dragonflame died.
A/N: T_T *Is sad* We've still got one more chapter after this one. It will hopefully be considerably less of a downer than this one; I don't know about you guys, but at the moment I'm just feeling rather depressed.