Ashes from the burning chantry remains dance their way across the courtyard, ticking off the seconds, minutes of silence, before it is finally broken by a small, choked voice that can wait in silence no more.
"You hate me right now, don't you? You want to make me hurt, make me suffer; pay for what I've done. And yet, somehow, I'm under your skin. Unbidden, I have crept into the deepest parts of you until
until you cannot conceive of a world without me in it. And you hate me all the more for it."
The dagger at the speaker's back pauses. The hand holding it shakes.
"Ask me how I know."
Cortland Hawke bites down hard on his lower lip as his fingers twitch on the knife's hilt. Is it to stop his mouth from answering the question? As blood is drawn from the wounds his teeth inflict he realises that, no, he just needed to feel
something. Slight though it is, the pain is something different. It's not here. It's not
The blond head in front of him is dipped. Long, white, sha