Series: Melting Ice
Preceding: The Secret
Succeeding: The Assassin
|Ariella, just as she discovers love with Ash, is kidnapped, abducted, and tortured by one she would have trusted with all her heart. Prince Ash desperately searches for his beloved along with a new friend. Can Ariella finally learn the truth - the whole truth - and survive?|
In the dead of night, many thousands of years ago, an unnaturally tall man stalked into the night of Arcadia, moving through the thick forests without a sound. He wore a long brown coat, which was particulary peculiar, for this night was warm. His dark curls fell to his shoulder and he scaled over logs and wove his wave through the woods like a sewing needle through a quilt.
He had amazing violet eyes that gleamed with a crazy glint, and the face of a Greek god.
He was not man, not mortal, not human.
The man smiled to himself, remembering how tonight he had seduced that silly Summer fey, which, he had to admit, was the most beautiful he'd ever seen. He was a player, and he knew it.
That the sidhe fell for him every time, he mused, was a very amusing face in and by itself.
Chapter I - AshEdit
I woke up this morning feeling like a mortal marshmallow - soft and squishy on the inside, burning on the outside.
My eyes open because they feel that next to me, where there used to be a warmth, was now cold.
Ariella is gone. I can just feel her absence. Rubbing my eyes, I push myself up and find that indeed my love is gone. Her bow is a few feet away, laying on the snow, and I don't see Awentia's hoofprints marked, either.
Instantly, I'm up on my feet, grabbing my sword. "Ariella?" I call. My voice is hoarse. "Coueur?" I don't even feel humiliated as I call her my heart. Look what this girl has done to me. I nearly disgust myself.
Then I see her boot prints, the white ones she always wears. They start from where we slept to the edge of the forest. I unsheath my sword and warily splay it in front of me. The trees form a path, and then I see it. I see what happened, by how the tracks are.
Ariella's footprints stop. The snow is suddenly shallow. There are tracks leading a few feet, and then they stop.
Ariella's walking. She's knocked down. Someone drags her away.
Chapter II - AriellaEditI wake up feeling like total crap. I'd like to say worse, but I'm in no position.
Okay, so far, I know four things:
(1) I'm chained to a wall at my wrists.
(2) I'm a dark, dingy, disgusting cell that reeks.
(3) I'm not alone.
(4) Somehow, I'm not in my hunting clothes anymore - I'm wearing a tight green wrap-around, jewlery, and a skirt that barely covers anything below my waist.
My eyes adjust to the darkness and I chase the blackness entering my vision away. I see forms by the cell door, arguing loudly in another lanuage. As soon as I give a barley audible moan of pain and shake my head to fling the blood trickling down to my eyes, the men fall silent and a flame is lit.
Six men are sitting at a table in the corner, watching me with strong smirks on their beautiful faces. They're leaning back in their chairs, smoking. They all wear expensive Italian suits. Reminds me of the freaking Mafia.
"Sleeping Beauty wakes up, eh?" A man chuckles with a strong Irish accent. The others roar in laughter like he just said something hilarious.
I tilt my chin up and growl, "What am I doing here? Who the hell are you?" I'm proud that my voice doesn't waver and I sound ice-cold and furious.
The tallest man, with dark curls that fall to his shoulder, stood up and strides toward me before putting a cold palm on my cheek. He wasn't a lot older then me.
I glare at him codly and spat, "Get your filthly hands off me." Then I do a very lady-like thing, which includes spitting at him in the face, since I can't slap him, due to the metal cuffs biting into my wrist. My arms feel like the first time I used a bow: tired, worn, and just ready to fall. But it's the only thing holding me above my head.
The dark-curled man wipes away my spit with the back of his hand with a cold, malicious smile.
"My dear, that's no way to treat your father."
Chapter III - AshEdit
My heart fails and I drop to the snow, clutching my face. I will find whoever took her. Ariella is the love of my life, ever since I saved her as a baby and watched her grow, even if she didn't know me.
I welcome the cold that seeps through my coat. The world should be bare without Ariella in it. Suddenly, the leaves rustle above my head and I leap up, drawing my sword.
I hear a jeering laugh, and then an upside down face drops from the tree. Bright green eyes, red hair, a face that screams Do not trust!
My best friend, Puck. Ariella doesn't know about him.
I look up at him with a look of helplessness on my face. Puck swings down and collapses on the snow with a chuckle. "Stone Prince looks... no, it can't be... are you sad? No, not sad... grieving!" He actually looks shocked, and I clock him in the jaw.
It wasn't a hard punch, but Puck reels backward and laughs like the nutcase he is. "Holy shit, Ash, what happened to you? Did Mab put your testicles in a iceblock?"
Snarling, I whirl on him and spit, "It's not funny. She's gone! Someone took her!" My voice cracks. Puck's eyes turn wide and he puts a hand on my shoulder. "What's going on? Her... oh! You mean Ariella? The total hottie from the Winter Court? The one Oberon wants to... wait, nevermind. I shouldn't include details."