Promise Me

This was a short story I did almost a year ago. I wrote this up, a very specific scene that actually got played out in my game. It was between myself and a character from Texas, known as Cadence. We had decided to each write up the scene. I was going to wait to publish this til both were written (he was going to write the other side). But, life got in the way. Not at all upset with him but I still want to share this. So I’m sharing it now. lol. So, this is a scene that actually happened in the game and it was absolutely wonderful and full of emotion. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

**********

Her mind raced as she lay, stretched out across his knees. Jeanie stared up into the trees, trying to figure out what had brought her to this, her end. She couldn’t look at him, though it was hard to ignore the axe he held to her throat.

She was going to die.

This was it. He was going to send her to the Gravemind. Within a few minutes, the life of Jeanie Thomas would be over. She would live through the horror that is the Gravemind and then join the horde. She would be put down after attacking her friends. Everything would be finished.

Not even an hour ago, Jeanie believed she had longer than this. He knew right away. Cadence figured out very quickly the idea that she had come up with. Even threatened to tell everyone when she didn’t want to. Though, a quick reminder as to the lie that was his faith as a Hedonist shut him up real quick. Even when she tried hunting out Glitter to apologize, she had no idea that her death was so near.

Or that Cadence would be the one to do it.

Slavers? If she could evolve enough to fight back, they’d kill her. Raiders, they had killed her before. The Inquisition would love to see her dead. Then, there was always the possibility that one of her experiments or evolutionary acts could kill her. That was just a part of life as a Darwinist and a Scientist.

But Cadence?

Even when he motioned for her to follow him, asking her to talk, she would not have guessed it.

Though, Jeanie should have known better.

The first clue was turning to walk toward the Near Grave.

It was the first time she had seen Cadence discussing Hedonism. She should have known that something was up. Back in “that town,” he realized that his Hedonism was a lie. He was no longer a Hedonist. He worshipped the Gravemind. Cadence had explained all of this when he had Terlet hooch coursing through him. Cadence, a Hedonist? It was all a lie.

Yet, here he was discussing the seven sins and the importance of balance between them. How you couldn’t be just wrath or just greed.

Why did he pull his axe out?

Now it was obvious. Cadence was going to kill Jeanie. He would attack her with the axe until she fell. Not that it would take long. Her good armor was busted from the vaults and safely hidden away. She had put on her crappy armor this morning, but it wasn’t hard to bust up the reinforced jacket at all. A few well placed hits and she would drop to the mud at their feet.

And that was entirely okay.

The Iron knew she was going to die. She knew she should turn and run, but she didn’t. Death would be a blessing right now. It would be better than the life she was currently living. It would be better than the Gravemind continually torturing her with Caleb. Okay, so Sliphox would freak out over her being gone. But, everything would finally be over. No more suffering. Nothing.

But even the thought that Cadence would finally end her suffering did not prepare Jeanie for the sadistic power trip he had now.

He turned and shot flame from his hands. He swung at her, slicing into her scorched shoulders. Her body could not handle it. She dropped into the mud.

Cadence swiftly came up behind her and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close to his body, stretching her back across his knees. His other arm brought his axe up and brought the blade to her neck.

Jeanie couldn’t look at him.

She could see his face. He had made sure of it. But she couldn’t look at him. She was stretched out, her skin charred and blistering, her shoulders bleeding heavily and covering him and the mud around them in her blood. With his axe at her throat and his knee in her back, this wasn’t just her death.

Cadence wanted power over her.

Instead of just killing her, Cadence wanted to make it clear what Jeanie was: an Iron Slave. Not a free mason or any of the other names that Irons used to show they were free. No, Jeanie was an Iron Slave and right now, Cadence was making that very clear. The lecture he was giving, she was going to die a slave. There was no freedom in this position.

Jeanie didn’t hear half of what he whispered into her ear. Her eyes refused to look at him, at the master. That is what he wanted to be, apparently. Maybe that’s the deal he made. By enslaving himself to the Gravemind, he would get power over others. He would be the master as long as he followed the orders of that Bitch.

Cadence roughly brought the sharpened edge of axe closer to her throat. “If you ever feed her, I will drag you to her in chains. Do you understand?”

Jeanie’s eyes glanced over to a different tree. She would not answer him. If he wanted to be the master while she died, then fine. She would do as he wished. She would be the slave. Slaves are quiet. They don’t look others in the eyes. They listen and obey the orders they are given.

“Promise me!” he ordered jerking the axe closer to her throat once again. This time she could feel the sharp edge pushing against her skin. If she moved, if he moved, she’d be dead.

“Promise me that you will never make a deal with her!” he raised his voice. Despite owning a slave of his own, he did not quite understand. Jeanie had already made the promise. The minute he gave the order, she had made that promise. Apparently, he wanted an answer. He wanted the Iron Slave to verbalize her answer.

“Fine,” she grunted, trying to keep her body steady despite the mud threatening to pull her out of his arms. She had to keep steady. Death may be a welcome blessing to the sadistic shit he was pulling right now, but it would not be by her choice. She still had to find Big Sis and Emily. She still had to finish her research. As much as she wished for death, there was still work to be done. If she was going to die right now, it would be by Cadence’s hand. In looking for her to promise, it had become clear, that death was not his intent.

Though, if he didn’t do something quickly, death would happen anyway.

Jeanie was starting to have trouble seeing the trees. Things were getting fuzzy. She wasn’t sure if she could lift her head off his shoulder anymore.

“I will be back in a few months. If I see any red dots around your eyes, I promise you, I will kill you.” Finally, Cadence removed the axe from her neck. He started shifting around, reaching for something. His knee kept moving in her back. The pain was starting to get to Jeanie. She knew not to cry out but she was reaching the point of wanting to just close her eyes and let the pain knock her out.

He brought a metal flask up and with one hand, quickly unscrewed the lid. He brought it to the Iron’s lips and issued another order.

“Drink.”

Jeanie opened her lips as he tried to force the contents of the flask into her mouth. She immediately recognized the taste. It had saved her before. Snake oil. She finished and took a deep breath, letting the snake oil help steady her head and start clearing up her vision.

Cadence shoved her off his lap. She turned her head to look at him finally, but he didn’t even glance at her as he grabbed his axe and walked off. Jeanie knelt there in the mud as the gravity of everything finally started to sink in.

Somehow, Jeanie was still alive.

And the only thing she wanted to do right now, was cry.

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