A lone figure sat at a table in the far back corner of the pub, draped in shadow. Had anyone bothered to look closely, they would have seen a man who looked like he was seeing ghosts before his eyes. Then again, in this place? That wasn't exactly out of the realm of possibility. As it was, however, only one other person in the room was paying any attention to the shadow-shrouded figure in the corner. Alexi Novak, the owner of the pub – and, it so happened, the haunted man's only friend and the closest thing he had to family – stood behind the polished bar, watching closely, worry creasing his brow.
The man, Dmitri by name, never even noticed the eyes on him – something that would have irritated him immensely, had he realized it. Not paying attention to your surroundings, in his world, could get you hurt, or killed, or...even worse than either of those. As he would well know.
No more than two days ago, he was still missing. He'd been gone a total of two months, though most of that time was a blur for him. It was a time barely remembered and hazy with the effects of the spells used to bind and control him, to turn him into a mindless thing devoid of will and thought, a weapon and a toy for the sorcerer who had captured and held him.
Barely remembered....but not entirely a void.
The thoughts of the things he'd done – been forced to do, Alexi kept trying to tell him, in vain – were what haunted him now, and had since he'd finally gathered the strength, the power to make his escape. His only solace in that was that he'd been able to see to it that the sorcerer would never be able to hunt down nephilim to use in her sick, twisted game. Not. Ever. Again.
Dmitri tipped his head up, resting it against the wall behind him, and allowed his haunted eyes to slip closed. Alexi was watching him, he knew he would be, even if he didn't sense it. He could let himself go, even if only for a few minutes. He could...rest. Exhaustion tugged at him, and sleep came quickly, even there in that place, but with it came dreams as his mind sought to put some order to his memories of the ordeal.
She'd caught him in a dream, the one place that his power was always most evident, but the one place that he was more vulnerable than any other, to those who knew how to take advantage of it. He'd been in a maze, racing, running from the creatures after him. And there had been no hiding from them, nor had there been any chance of hiding what he was in that place.
He'd been cornered, caught, her power reaching out to him. Though, at the time, he'd known only that something was after him, something was seeking to trap him. Something powerful enough to actually ensnare him. And then, he'd been awoken, pulled from the dream by the girl Alexi had sent down to the library to check on him. He thought he'd escaped, that she – and Lex – had saved him.
He'd been so terribly wrong.
Interacting with the girl – one of Lex's attempts to save everyone, a woman barely of legal age and probably someone who'd been touched by their world in ways that left her scarred – quickly taught him the error of his assumption. As she'd stood there teasing him for waking ready for a fight – for he had, magical blades out and ready before he was even fully awake, though he'd have given her credit for her bravery in the face of his flurry of nearly deadly activity if he'd been in a state to be able to – he'd found the world growing seemingly distant.
The girl's chattering grew dim, her very appearance fuzzy and strange. She began to look more like a threat than a saviour, and it was then that he realized his blades were still gripped tightly in his hands, so tightly that it actually made his hands ache a little. And they were shaking, he noted absently, in the back of his mind. Why in the world would his hands be shaking?
It was the last truly coherent thought he had for days. All he could remember of it was rage, and blood....so much blood. Even after he'd fought his way free, and Alexi had found him....Alexi would never tell him what happened to that poor girl. And Dmitri...well, he hadn't yet had the courage to go back down into the secret little library.
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