The rattling of chains could be heard as the heavy door swung open, a thin trail of light leaked into the black room. A small, lone figure was pulled inside, and the room went dark once more. When the rattling came to an end, a raspy voice broke the silence, and rang through the hall.
"We have been searching for you for some time, Ilithyia Rhea Malva. You are quite the sneaky one." He said, blind eyes staring down at the prisoner.
"It's a specialty of mine." She said, smirking at the ground. It had taken them long enough to find her. In fact, she was starting to think that they'd given up on their search efforts.
"A skill you acquired because of us." Came the sharp tone of his female companion. It was true she was taught all she knew here, but it was of her own doing that she excelled in the skill set she had. "You know why you are here." She said, voice a tad lighter, but still saturated with malice.
She knew very well why The Fravashi had hunted her down. It was the only reason they ever brought someone to their chambers. They were perhaps the only beings left on Olympus that Ilithyia still respected. They were cruel and remorseless, but they were never wrong and acted only on facts. Their process of gaining their knowledge was a tiring and sometimes painful one. Taking a deep breath, she looked up at the strange pair, her eyes meeting their clouded ones. It was only a moment before she was dragged back in time, memories she'd buried long ago bubbling to the surface as they forced their way into her mind.
The marketplace roared with the sounds of angry men, all shouting at the small clearing that lie in the center of Athens. Soldiers stand arm in arm, pushing back against the mob, barking orders at the townspeople. This scene is what greeted me that hazy morning.
I stepped out into the tight street, narrowly avoiding being trampled by an Athenian commander as he pushed his alabaster horse into the growing crowd. In his wake, he left civilians strewn across the stone path. Some clutched an arm or a leg, a mother cradled a lifeless child in her arms while others gripped brooms or pitchforks. Still others stood by silently, awe struck.
I followed the massive horse, using the rapidly closing gap behind it to make my way nearer the circle. What I saw there was the last thing I'd expected. A cry escaped me as Theron, my father, came into view. He was bound to a post and guards stood around him, keeping an eye out for any particularly rebellions citizens. Not far from him was my mother Alexandria. She was not tied as he was, but she'd been restrained by another soldier. A second, much louder scream came from me as I felt my arms being grabbed and pulled behind my back. I twisted my head around to see that my captor was yet another soldier.
"What are you doing!?" I cried, trying to pull away from his harsh grip.
"Just following orders." The man said, looking down at me with an almost pained expression on his face. He dragged me into the circle, pushing me towards my mother and her escorts. Before I could right myself, another pair of hands were around me. The guards positioned me within arm's reach of my mother, who simply stared at me with teary eyes. I could see her mouth moving, but her words never reached my ears.
What I did here though were the calls from some of the people who were trying to breach the human barricade that kept us separate from the town.
"Let the girl go!" One woman called.
"Hang them all!" Was heard several times, from men and women alike. When I closed my eyes, I could even hear the mutters from wives huddled together.
"Her father ought to have looked out for his family better." One said in a disapproving tone.
"Poor things. Getting caught up in politics like this." Said another.
The crowd became quiet then, and when I looked up to see what had captivated them all, I saw that the commander from before now stood in front of us, sitting tall on his horse. When he spoke, it was as if he were the only one in the square that day.
"Theron Malva, for the crime of treason against the state, you and your family are hereby sentenced to death." The moment the commander was finished speaking, the crowd roared to life once more. The shouts of approval drowned out any signs of anger at the ruling by far.
Once the words of the commander sunk in, I began to panic. My breath came fast, and my struggles intensified. I knew very little about my father's involvement in the state. All I did know was that he was once very powerful, and had most of Athens behind him. Though that fact seemed nothing more than a myth now.
Suddenly, my mother and I were pushed forward, towards a small table that stood in the distance. On that table were two tiny viles, each containing a clear liquid. The commander dismounted his horse, his icy eyes on us as he slowly marched to us.
His hand trailed the length of the little table, grabbing the viles as it did so. He stood in front of us, and unlike many of those under his command, he bore no sympathetic look. In fact, he seemed excited about what was to come. The man pulled the cork out of one of the bottles, and thrust it into my mother's hand, which was forced forward by the soldier holding her.
She held her death in her hand, and her entire body began to shake as she came to understand what she would have to do. My mother then did something that I'd never once seen her do; Alexandria looked the commander in the eye and spat on his shoe, earning her a sickening smack against her cheek from the offended party.
The commander unsheathed his sword and pressed it against her throat.
"The choice is yours." He said, glaring down at her. I was in too much of a shock to fight; my struggles would have been easily subdued anyway. All I could do was watch, knowing that this too would soon be my choice to make.
My mother did what any sane person would do; she took the small bottle and held it to her mouth. With a disdainful glare at the commander she tipped the vile up, allowing the deadly cocktail to slip past her lips. Once she'd drank the poison, her head rolled to the side to look at me.
The commander was now standing before me, holding out my vile. His sword was still drawn, inching forward as a silent incentive to drink the poison. I let out another shaky breath as I took the bottle from him, and with quivering hands lifted it to my mouth. I didn't hesitate as my mother had done. What was the point?
Alexandria had been placed on the ground, her eyes wide and unfocused. Her breathing was erratic, and it looked as if she was struggling to hold her head up. Eyes rolled upward, almost as if she were trying to look at my father, but she was already far too weak to do so.
I was not far behind. My body was still being held up by a guard, and I could just barely see my father from the corner of my eye. He too had been shouting this entire time, but as the poison took effect, the voices of everyone around me pooled together, and became nothing more than a dull buzzing sound. The last thing I saw before I lost consciousness was a soldier walking towards my father, torch in hand.
"And then what?" The Fravashi asked in unison. Ilithyia had begun pulling at her chains as the memory progressed, and the composure she held had vanished. She didn't bother answering them; they knew what came next, and if they didn't, it was only a matter of looking into her mind again.