A Crown Of Pride And Ruin - Sloane Murphy

Chapter One


They’re going to die.

All of them. Every fucking one of them that has betrayed us. It’s the only thought that keeps me sane right now.

I keep my eyes closed upon waking to keep out the light. The light that never ceases. I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been here. Whatever they keep giving me knocks me out, and I have no idea how long for, except that my stomach hurts with hunger, and my throat feels like I’ve swallowed sand.

I try, again, to think of why. Why they would do this to me. After Nevin’s little declaration of telling me who I should and shouldn’t trust, I’ve barely seen him, and I haven’t seen Fallon at all. I fight not to think of her. It hurts my heart too much. I wish I could feel anger, but all I can think is that I deserve this. She went through so much because of me, is likely here now because of it all. I did this to her, and so I can’t find it in myself to feel anything but self-loathing at the fact she’s done what she has.

I knew something was wrong. She’d been too distant, too quiet. Even as we travelled here, I knew I shouldn’t have pushed her. What I did, I did, selfishly, so that my life could hopefully have some normality.

The thing I don’t understand is Nevin.

We have never had any issues, at least so I thought. He’s always been there to help, even when Tobin died, he didn’t hold it against me. I don’t know what changed, or even when it changed. I have no idea where he is, if he’s with my guys, spinning more lies? But whatever it is he’s given me, has made me essentially human. I’m blocked from my power.

I can feel it inside of me, but it's like it's behind a glass wall that I can’t breach, no matter how hard I try. I have no fucking clue how he’s done it, but I’m powerless and I fucking hate it.

My wrists are raw and bleeding, the salted iron chains burn against my skin. I’ve tried pulling on them more times than I care to count, but all it does is wound me further. I swear to the fates, if I get my hands on Nevin’s skinny little neck, I’m going to snap it.

Though that doesn’t feel quite like enough. Not after everything he’s put us through. It blows my mind that he’s been behind all of this, I still don’t quite believe it, but he is the Archiver. Levi and I were so quick to dismiss him, because he was our friend, neither of us thought him capable of all of the chaos and destruction.

How fucking wrong were we?

Nevin was right about one thing, I should’ve known better who to trust.

The lights cut off for the first time since I woke up here, and my heart races. Does this mean they’re gone? Have the guys found me? I know they won’t give up on me, not ever.

Whatever the fuck they’ve given me to keep my powers from me, even stops my vision in the dark. When I find out whatever this shit is, I’m burning it to the ground. Every last drop. Leaf. Flower. Whatever the fuck is it.

The lights stay off, making the silence of the room seem even eerier. I try to count inside my mind, fate knows I’ve got nothing else I can do. I’ve tried to reach Kain through our bond, but that’s behind the stupid glass wall too.

The door opens, squeaking so loud in the silence that it almost leaves my ears ringing. Two figures appear at the door.

Fallon and Nevin.

She walks in front of him, that glow dimmed, but there enough that I know it’s her. I squint against the light, my eyes having adjusted to the darkness. They move until they’re opposite me, and Fallon sits, moving like a zombie, while Nevin chains her wrists to the wall. He hands her a bottle of water which she drinks without hesitation.

“What the fuck is going on?” I seethe. I fucking hate being helpless, and I don’t remember a time when I felt as helpless as I do right now.

“You will see,” Nevin tells me flatly, and then leaves the room.

“Fallon,” my voice is almost monotone, but I’m starting to realize that the Fallon in front of me isn’t my Fallon. Whatever they’ve done to her, they’ve broken her.

How did I not see it