Red blood spreading across white tiles.

A lifeless body slowly cooling into meat.

A favoured servant awaiting her master's reward.

A rite fulfilled.

A power untold.

An ending arises.

***

"Come with me," she said, green eyes flashing in the moonlight. "Come with me. Be saved."

Katherine backed away from the woman. Words failed her. Her legs buckled and yet, somehow, the grimy bricks that caught her felt warmer than her very own skin. "S-saved? Saved from what?" Katherine just about managed to force the syllables out through her fear-fettered throat.

She had never been more scared in her life, yet she could not identify what it was about the woman that unnerved her so.

The woman knelt, leaning over Katherine's shaking form. Her red hair, heavy and lank with grease, fell forwards, and through shining, elongated teeth, she whispered, "Wouldn't you like to know."

***

Wreathing mist in the comfortable darkness. Lulled and content, Katherine floated through the inner layers of her mind, unaware of the waiting danger.

Lights popped in her vision and her eyelids fluttered. She winced as consciousness returned with a sickening jolt.

Everything in her body felt cold and stretched. Katherine focused her eyes, taking in her surroundings.

Dirtied stone walls. Smeared with dirt, or blood, or both. Katherine shuddered. She was lying on a table of stone. Blood and dirt surrounded her figure, like a silhouette; it contrasted with the white linen she had been clothed in. The material felt alien on her skin. A heavy locket rested on her chest; the chain scratched at the sensitive skin on her neck.

Blood encrusted the manacles around her wrists and ankles, too.

Katherine felt the scream rising in her throat. Pure and icy panic rushed through her body.

The woman watched her with a predator's grin.

***

"You have done well, little one. I am pleased."

Green eyes glowed with pride. "I live only to serve, Master. It pleases me to please you."

"She seems... lifeless on that slab. Bring her to me. Let me see the gift you have offered. Let me see if you have brought me what I need."

"As you wish, my lord."

The woman strode to the sacrifice she had chosen, breaking the shackles with a wave of her hand and lifting the frail human from her soon-to-be tomb.

Katherine whimpered, a fragile sound in the echoing hall. The woman's master leaned forwards in his chair at the noise. He could taste her fear: sickly sweet and icy cold.

It tasted good.

***

The knife descended. Katherine emitted one long, drawn out scream that ended in a gurgle... then she was still.

Blood bubbled and pooled at the corner of her mouth as her breathing stuttered and failed.

Blood spread through the thin linen of her dress. It seeped and leaked and dripped and sank to the floor.

She didn't understand. She couldn't understand. Why had this happened?

Her blood glowed and sparked where it touched the heavy locket around her neck. She barely felt the force welling, but she knew it was there.

The green eyed woman fell to her knees in sheer joy as her master's power rose. She would do well from this: she had fulfilled his wishes; she had surpassed his demands. Oh, she would do very well indeed.

The light in Katherine's eyes faded as the spell reached its climax.