With the older man gone, Métius drew closer to Zarrek. The chains scraped along the floor once again, but the sound did not rouse him.
“Sasha,” the Dark One’s voice intoned. “Lilith.”
“My beloved,” a female voice replied.
Then another came. “Yes, my lord?”
Two figures appeared, the first slinking out of the shadows to take Métius’s arm, the second following her snakes from another corner of the room. They looked down at Zarrek and the shadow beast that laid beside him.
“He is weak in so many ways,” Sasha noted, her crimson lips frowning in disappointment. She looked up at her lord, her solid black eyes eager to understand. “Are you certain that we must have him, my love?”
“He will become stronger,” he assured her, “in time. He has the bloodline we need.”
Sasha shifted as she looked back to the prince. She had seen him on a few other occasions, most of them when he was young and she was more interested in his father. He would have recognized her, from her porcelain-like skin and the ebon sigils that adorned it, to the long strips of cloth that wrapped around her body (though they served poorly as coverings).
“Do you plan to chain him, my lord?” Lilith asked as she stepped closer, eying the chains that Métius carried.
The Dark One nodded. “He has brought this upon himself, It is time that we teach him that obedience to me is supreme above all else.”
“His blood sacrifices are not enough,” Sasha reminded her sister. “He defies us even as he uses our powers.”
Lilith nodded, petting one of her snakes as its head caressed her cheek.
“Cut open his shirt,” Métius ordered, holding out his knife, a long curved blade with a handle of bone, “and reveal to me his rings.”
“Of course, Mighty One,” Lilith cooed. She took the knife and walked over to the prince, then knelt beside him. “A gullible child… He took the rings and let us pierce his skin, believing that he would have power in return and that nothing more would come of it. Let us see if he is still so defiant after all of this.”
On the other side of the room, Elezar had opened the cage and pulled out his son, who now clung to him for dear life. He was trying to comfort the child when he heard the sound of ripping cloth, and he turned around to see Lilith cutting open the back of the prince’s shirt. Frowning, he gazed up at his k’haarana.
“I wish you did not have to hear him scream.”
“He is really going to chain him,” Sallah’s trembling voice replied, “isn’t he?”
Elezar gave a mournful nod. “This should all be over soon.”