Jaysen Magal had inherited all his father possessed: power, position, money...and Senna Ravensky. Senna had been enslaved to his father, a bitter, unwilling ally in Jedean's rise in the mages' ranks. Jaysen has watched her for years, his hunger rivaling her own, forbidden to touch...until now.
CONTENT ADVISORY: This is a re-release title.
Senna lay on the bed, staring into nothingness as she did most days.
It wasn't that there was nothing to look at or nothing to do. In truth, her room was comfortable. Deep red carpet offset the rosestone walls that were hung with paintings of night scenes that soothed her and golden candle sconces that Jedean's magic kept bright and clean. There were cushioned chairs and a reading desk stocked with books, a small fire nook that was cold at the moment, and even a smaller version of his mineral pool that had been added some eight years prior.
And yet, she would give nearly anything to leave the place, but that was impossible for many reasons.
She had no concept of day or night; that most basic magic had deserted her long ago, lingering only weeks longer than the rest. Even if Senna left the lower corridors and found her way to the upper reaches once more, she could be walking into agony unknowing.
But, what did it matter? She'd been bound by her stupidity and Jedean Magal's magic for the last twelve years. The locked iron doors between her and the outside world hardly mattered. It was something of an insult that Jedean bothered with them.
He hadn't always kept her behind locked doors. For the first two years Senna had been enslaved, she'd been free to wander the lower reaches of his keep. In those days, she'd had use of the main library, the steam room, mineral pool and even the smaller fire den. She'd simply been denied use of the family core of the house. Senna hadn't used her privileges often, so angry at her enslavement that she'd sulked most of the night hours away like the child she'd been at the time.
And, you have grown so much, she chided herself. You act like the eight and twenty you profess to be?
No. This wasn't sulking. This was despondency, boredom, apathy.
Now, even that shadow of true freedom was lost to her. In truth, she could request books from the library, and they would be brought to her room, but her frequent depression made that an empty joy, at best.
It wasn't just her movement that Jedean had restricted. He'd not allowed her to feed on lifeblood from the day he'd locked the doors until today. Though the mundane food she was provided with was copious and well-presented, it wasn't what she craved most.
Gone were the days when she'd been free to feed from willing servants, when Jedean might deign to share her bed himself for the pleasure her nectar gave him. Gone were the days when she might trade the right to "test" her for a powerful mouthful or two of lifeblood from the Radiants' most high. Gone were her powers with it. No longer truly a Blood Mage, she simply...existed.
Jedean hadn't passed through the doors in those ten years. He had rarely peered at her from the high balcony. There had been no reason given for the change in her imprisonment, not that a slave expected one.
Thus, a decade had passed, Senna alone save the few servants granted access to her, most notably the slight, serious house steward. She typically saw the man four times a day: bringing each of her meals and picking up the final tray, always asking if she required anything more of him. Since he could not give her the one thing she wished for, the answer was typically in the negative, and she would see him no more.
Senna had often wondered if his aim was to keep her weak, to steal her magic in retribution for some offense against him. His reasons for such a thing were impossible to guess, though. She was bound, incapable of doing Jedean harm in any way: physically, politically or emotionally. That a given, it made little sense to keep her weakened and trapped behind iron doors.
The door opened, and the house steward entered, a pewter goblet in his hands instead of a tray of food. The scent of blood assaulted her first, the essence of a powerful man, one of the higher Radiants, dizzying in its potency. Her fangs lengthened, and her mouth watered to taste it.
The question of whose blood the cup contained was dismissed almost as quickly as it appeared in her mind. It wasn't Jedean's blood. As hungry as she was, she might have refused his blood, offered in such a manner.
But, it isn't Jedean's. For that reason alone, it was a welcome gift.
"Lady Senna," the steward greeted her. It had been years since he'd addressed her so formally, but she didn't question it. Not while he holds the goblet of liquid life in his hands.
At times, she'd wished she could address the man by name to ease her loneliness, but a mage's servants were never addressed by name. If the steward had a name, and she assumed that he did, Senna doubted that Jedean even knew it. He had servants to keep abreast of such things for him.
She nodded, rising slowly, her eyes locked on the offered treat. Senna didn't typically like to drink in so mundane a manner, but the magic surrounding the goblet spoke of a freshening spell. The contents would be as warm and vital as if taken direct from the Radiant himself.
In confirmation of her belief, the goblet was heated; it seemed to pulse beneath her fingertips. Surely, it was a trick of the magic, but she was strangely touched by the effort. Jedean had never gone to such lengths to please her, yet more proof that the gift had not been commissioned by her 'owner.'
Senna didn't consider refusing the gift...or even asking who had sent it before she accepted it. She'd be a fool to do it. She raised the goblet to her lips and drank deeply, feeling her magic as she hadn't in nearly a decade, since just before Jedean locked her away completely from the world.
It was night. Mother Night called to Senna, welcomed Her daughter home.