Everything was a blur when I opened my eyes. Then the light blasted me and I screamed, lurching backwards in retreat. Anything would do to hide from it, I had to get away. My skin started to boil from the inside out. I felt it starting to peel away, layer by layer. That light, it was all because of the light.

Then a deep baritone laughed. He was enjoying my pain.


I gritted my teeth and tried to think of a retort, anything to shut him up. But then, I realized it wasn't him. He annoyed me, but this voice hurt me. When he laughed again, pain flared through my body. Millions of tiny knives were slicing through my skin. Each one took its time. I screamed again and tried to writhe away, from him, from the light, from everything.

It hurt to breathe. The knives pierced my throat. I drew in a breath and they slid deeper.

Then, nothing. Everything stopped.

I gasped and shot upright. There was no one in the room with me. My cage was still in the center, encased in darkness. There was no light anywhere.

The door opened and Lucan strolled inside, a satisfied smirk on his face. Blood was on his hands, but he made no move to wipe them clean.

"What new game was that?" I rasped out.

"What game?" He lifted his head and inhaled deeply.

I caught a whiff of the blood and my stomach knotted. That was Kates' blood. I didn't want to know how that had happened, what sick game they played with each other, or even how I knew it was hers.

"What game?" he repeated and came closer to my cage.

I glanced at the door. "Do you have a new witch on your staff? One that can do that?"

I expected them to come in. They usually traipsed behind him, ready for their chanting spells. The door stayed closed today.

Lucan frowned. "What are you talking about?"

Though my Immortal powers had been stripped away, my empathic abilities were still a part of me. I felt into him and read his confusion. A dark suspicion was starting to form in him and an ugly smirk appeared again. I wanted to jerk out, but I didn't. I needed to know whatever he thought, though painful and disgusting it would be.

'It's working. The thread is starting to unravel. She's starting to inflict her own pain, delusions too. Sarach never told me this would be the first step. It has to be the beginning.'

"You will never get the thread. The sooner you realize that, maybe you can figure out a way to kill me."

His smirk vanished. "You are a mere thread holder. It will work. I've forced the thread out of others, I can do it again."

"They were thread holders. I am not. I am the Immortal."

His hands curled around my cage bars and he leaned forward. His face pressed between two bars and his smile was blinding. He looked so much like Lucas at that moment, handsome with sparkling eyes alive with life. My heart skipped a beat and pain of a different sort speared through me. It hurt to breathe again.

Lucan reveled, "If you were the Immortal, my witches couldn't touch you. You are not the Immortal. You cannot be because there is no Immortal. No human can handle that amount of power. Your body cannot endure it. You are more powerful than the others. I will give you that, but don't think that it's not because Lucas' blood is in you. You drank from him. It's the only reason you have more power than the others. That is all."

How did he know that?

He laughed. "It was written all over your faces." His voice became husky, intimate. "I know my own brother. He's always shared blood with his lovers. It gives him a connection that humans could never experience, not without vampire blood."

I swallowed back the pain. I wasn't just some lover to Roane. I knew I wasn't. "The Immortal thread has only been in humans, it has only ever been in humans. No vampire-wannabe is going to get it. And that won't be you. You're not good enough. The thread picks the person it goes to. If, by some miracle, you do get the thread out of me, it won't go to you."

"I'm the only human here."

"Besides Kates."

He moved back and raised a hand to the side of his cheek. Her blood trailed across his lips and his tongue swept out to lick her blood from the rest of his hand. "That'll be remedied soon enough. Thanks for pointing that out, Kates' best friend."

My stomach dropped again. "What a nice boyfriend you are. You get her to betray her best friend and then you kill her. No matter what she's told you, I know her. She doesn't want to be a vampire. She's a slayer. Everything inside of her wants to kill your kind. That's what she was built for."

A dark hint of amusement filled his eyes and he turned to stroll out. "Who said she was going to become a vampire?"

I rushed forward, smashing against the cage. I needed to get out. Gritting my teeth, I closed my eyes and concentrated. I needed to be free. Free. Be free. The cage never gave away. Lucan's laugh raised a notch and the door slammed shut behind him. I could still hear him as he went down the hallway. The laughter faded, but my chest still rose up and down sharply. No matter what she'd done, Kates didn't deserve to be killed at his hands. By my hands, but not his.

Gavin resisted the urge to break through the bars. He could hear her screams. Every day, every night, every hour. He heard them and he couldn't do anything about it.

"You can't help her." Gregory sat forward on the bunk bed. He watched his cell mate pacing. "And get away from those bars. I don't want a repeat from the last time."

Wren laughed huskily from across the hall. "Oh come now. Burning vampire flesh. What's a better smell than that? I know it helps me meditate. What about you, Trace?"

The tall blonde vampire glanced from her leaning stance, but didn't respond. She crossed her arms and looked back through the small window again. A bored look was on her face, but her eyes were sharp. From their basement position, their windows allowed them to see foot level of the ground above. It seemed like millions and millions of Mori moved past their dungeon.

Wren sighed and stood to stretch. Her black leather stretched with her. As she arched her back with her breasts pointed in the air, she glanced backwards.

Tracey never looked away from the window.

Wren sighed again, but this time in disgust. "Give it up, Gavin. You can't help Davy. None of us can and unless you have magic in that tight ass of yours, there's no way we're breaking out of here."

"Why do the Mori have magic? Why can't we?"

Gregory's bunk groaned in protest when he pushed down to stand, but when he stepped forward a deep thud came from the ground.

"Stop." Tracey looked now. "The Mori didn't build this place for vampires of your size. They're light footed and slender in build."

"Yeah," Wren bit out. "You could help us escape, make the bars crumble. Let's not do that."

Tracey shot her a look. "He could bring the entire building down and who knows who he might kill in the process."

The dark haired dominatrix bared her fangs at her cellmate.

"You are being immature, Arwena."

"Shut up, you two," Gavin snapped and started to pace again. "It's been three months and you two have been at each other's throat the whole time. I thought you were lovers, you used to love each other."

"'Used to' is the operative phrase." Wren sat on her bunk bed. Her shoulders slumped forward. All fight seemed to have left her in that moment.

A strand of golden hair fell over her shoulder and as she moved it back in place, Tracey flashed her deep blue eyes at her lover. A small frown appeared, but she didn't allow it to last long. Wren seemed to be losing her fight every day they remained in captivity. And the regal Roane warrior knew one thing; they would all need to keep their rest for when they would fight free. They would fight free. They had to. She glanced back out the window. If anything, she'd get free to find Talia's daughter. She knew Lucan had taken her a year ago. She would have to be there, somewhere. She would find her sister's child and take back what was left of her family.

Gavin had been watching the blonde. He saw the thoughts fly through her head and then he saw when she dismissed Wren's emotions. His own eyes hardened. He growled, "It doesn't matter, Wren. Maybe you're better off."

Tracey's chin tightened, but she never looked away from the window.

Gregory's jaw clenched as well and he sat back down. His bunk shifted underneath his weight once more.

Gavin turned back and saw how his friend's shoulders drooped. A sad expression came over him and he knew the blonde Viking was missing the scatter brained witch, for not the first time.

He stopped pacing and stood there, in front of the bars. They hummed with electricity, but though his fingers itched to tear them apart he knew he couldn't. That wasn't electricity humming around their cages, above them, on the windows, below them.

Then he heard her scream again and he gritted his teeth. One of these days he would find a way. He would help Davy. He had to.

When her last scream left her, her body collapsed on the ground. The witches had been chanting again. This time, with each of their chants, her body was lifted off the floor and raised in the air. She had fought it at first, rallying the Immortal inside of her to fight back. Nothing worked. No magic could leave her body. So now she let them try. She let them fling her body back and forth, up and down, upside down at times. She no longer cared.

It never worked. They never won.

They left again, quieted and confused.

Davy rolled over and tried to lift herself up. Her arms fell underneath her weight and her face slammed back down. Her nose hit the bottom cage with force and she groaned, but the pain was almost welcoming. It was nothing compared to what she'd endured and when she pushed herself to a sitting position, she felt the blood that came from her nose. She touched it with gentle fingers and found that it still remained intact. She hadn't broken her own face, yet.

A soft laugh escaped her at that thought, but she groaned instantly from the pain.

"You have hurt yourself."

Her head whipped up, but no one was there. There was no Lucan to taunt her.

"What is this?" she asked. It'd been a long time since she had a voice speak to her in her own head.

He laughed. "I am not the Immortal speaking to you."

Her shoulders sagged forward. "That'd be more helpful."

He laughed again, softly. "They have been trying hard, have they not? The thread must be buried deep inside of you."

"Can you help me?"

There was silence.

Davy heard her own breathing. In and out. Inhale, exhale. They were shallow breaths. They grew shallower by the second.

Then she heard his response. "I cannot."

"You're powerful enough to speak to me, to see what they are doing, but not enough to free me? What kind of a sorcerer are you?" Her tone was loathsome.

There was a sharp intake of air and a powerful explosion immediately after. The force of it threw her against the far wall of her cage. For the first time, she didn't feel the impact. As soon as her body fell down to the metal bars, she lifted her head once more and gazed around. He had gone. She knew that, but her eyes quickly searched for anything. And then she saw it. A small amount of smoke still floated in the air, near the top corner of the room. He had been watching from there and next time he came, and she knew he would, she wanted to know. She had to know.

The door crashed open and Lucan raced inside. "What was that?"

She frowned. She would've expected him to be angry, but as she searched his face, there was no rage. When she felt into him, there was concern, but no anger. She murmured softly, "It was nothing."

"Don't lie to me!" He grabbed the cage and lifted it, shaking it.

Davy's eyes grew wide. Her cage was big enough to encase an entire bedroom and he lifted it without breaking a sweat. There was no resistance, as if he lifted a bag of books.

Lucan set her cage back down immediately and backed away. His eyes caught and held onto hers.

"You are not a normal human." Davy rushed to the end of the cage beside him. "What are you? What have you done?"

He was quiet, staring back at her. Then he left, just as quiet.

When the door closed behind him, she sat back, shocked. Then something else started to spread inside of her. He wasn't human. He was more. She didn't know what that meant, but it meant something. She felt it in her bones. She could use that to help her escape. She just had to figure out how first.