“Gaaaah!” I’ve never understood Mare’s love of the irons. The screams, the blood, none of it ever bothered me. Maybe that’s what made me so good at killing. It’s the smell, the char of the flesh as it bubbles to the iron blazing white, it always makes my stomach turn. Mare just stares, the look of an artisan putting the final touches on their latest work. He’s always been this way, and it seems this time is no different, even if it is his own brother.

“Tell me Ryke, where did you send her?” He leaned closer, his voice barely audible over the Ryke’s still sizzling face. “You know better than anyone that I always get my answers, all it takes is time.” Just tell him Ryke, save yourself the pain and me the indigestion. Mare stood, carefully laying his iron back over the furnace and grabbing another. “Not talking are you? If you insist.”

Mare dragged his iron across Ryke’s chest, his writhing only spreading the burn as it made its way from one side the other. I want to puke. “This can be over brother. All you need to do is tell me. You and her are traitors to this country now so there’s—“ “A traitor?” Ryke spoke, his voice a mix of fear and torment as it fought through the pain. “No Mare...I’m saving this country…saving it from you…” “Me? I’ve brought peace brother, no one fights anymore, they’re happy.” “They’re scared, not happy…scared of you and your witch…but seems like you’ve lost her now too…” “Ooooh she may be deadly Ryke, but trust me, you should fear me more. Now where?” “Go to hell.”

“You’ve always been strong Ryke. Still defiant even while burning. So let’s try something else, how’s my nephew doing?” Ryke gazed up, the fear now starting to set in passed the pain. “He has nothing to do with this Mare.” “True, but I always get what I want. If your own torment means nothing then maybe his will. I’ll let you decide.” Ryke’s head dropped, defeated and torn. “Westville….we sent her to Westville…” “See, that wasn’t so hard.” Mare stood, looking at me with his soulless gaze. “Go, hunt down the traitor.” “Yes sir.” “And Grim…” a a vicious grin began to spread across his face “bring her back to me alive.”

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