Alda-Xeri enjoyed her life in her small town, helping those who needed surcease from pain during surgery or the last moments of life. When she is taken to the court to attend the duke’s final days, her life is altered forever and her talent twists in a way she never could have imagined.
The Sector Guard helps her leave her home for a life in the stars, helping more than the wealthy. She agrees to an assignment she cannot remember and soon finds herself in the clutches of Raiders, taking pain from victims of experimentation and wondering how she is going to find the freedom promised her when all hell breaks loose and she leads the charge.
Alda-Xeri stared out the window and watched the people below going about their lives. Bright colours, chatting to loved ones and laughing and crying in equal measure. She envied them in every way. They had freedoms that they didn’t even know existed—freedom to live, love and enjoy companionship as they saw fit.
She heard thunder in the distance and raised her head, staring at the incoming clouds. The moment she heard movement at the door, her back tensed.
“Are you ready?” Inor-Thak, the high chancellor was in her doorway.
She nodded and turned. The glittering chains on her wrists and ankles clashed. “I am ready.”
She moved as gracefully as she could in the chains. It was a learned skill that she had never anticipated acquiring. Head high, stomach in and her makeup precisely in place, she walked as if she were equal to the courtiers and stellar visitors in the throne room.
The balcony walk was heavily guarded for her daily stroll to the royal chambers. No one was going to lay hands on the Pain Taker if they valued their lives. The Duke of Olsted was lying on his deathbed, and he needed her to enable him to get through his day.
She couldn’t ask how much longer he would take to die. He was degrading steadily, but her help was extending his life far beyond what he should have lived. Five months of taking his agony into her body was enabling him to make sweeping changes for his people, and for that, she respected him. The chains that the high chancellor insisted on turned her efforts from the gift one would give to a service that was taken.
The doors to the royal chambers opened at her approach, she stepped inside, crossed the huge expanse of the room and sat next to her patient. “Good morning, Duke Ralen-Croth.”
His eyes rolled as the agony of his body consuming itself twisted him into a foetal curl.
Alda-Xeri reached out and touched his temples, finding the parts of his mind that were lit with agony and soothing them into normalcy. Once his brain was calm, she stroked his limbs, placing a block between his nerve endings and the pain he was in. The procedure took five minutes and was hampered by her chains, but when she was done, the duke lay there panting.
“It will not be long now.” The duke took her hand and kissed it.
“I know. I will be here as long as you need me.” She raised her cuffs. “I have no choice.”
“I wish Inor-Thak was not forcing you into those chains, but when the pain takes me, he runs our world.”