Black Mage Cursed (Tournament of Mages Book 3), стр. 2

have you done?” She pushed herself up from the pallid water and tried in vain to attack Thessa, but her legs gave way, and she stumbled. Thessa stepped out of Sarren’s way and let her fall to her hands and knees.

“You are bound to me now, Sarren. I am your master.” She didn’t know where the words came from, but she believed them as they reverberated inside her head. She knew as her energy changed within her that the words were exact.

“I… I won’t let you,” She began to search around the milky water splashing back and forth.

Thessa lifted her hand, and the ruby-handled dagger appeared. Sarren stopped splashing when she saw the dagger. She lurched toward Thessa with determination and took the dagger from Thessa’s hand before she knew what was happening and plunged the blade into her own chest. It did nothing. Shocked, she looked at Thessa and then plunged it into her repeatedly, but nothing happened. Frustrated, she threw the dagger into the water. Thessa opened her hand, and the dagger reappeared. She tucked it inside her belt.

“What… I mean, why did you bring me back?”

Thessa met her gaze. “Because it was a mistake for you to die. I made a mistake. You need to live to regret what you have done.”

Sarren laughed. “I regret nothing!”

“You think this is all a joke?” Thessa asked.

“Yes, and I think it’s funny. You have no idea the curse you have brought upon yourself. You think, no, you believe I had free will! Do you believe that I willingly flitted around at my behest? The goddess ruling the Black Mage is ruthless. If you take up the mantle, you will do as I did, possibly even worse. You can’t wipe your hands clean from it. You are the Black Mage now. You freed me from it.” She clenched her fists, “I was freed from it. I would rather be forced to serve you than to serve Cassany. Your goddess will demand you make horrible sacrifices in her name. Even while serving you, I am free from it. I am free of her at long last.”

“I feel no sympathy for you. You will serve me and help me get rid of this.”

Sarren’s face went somber, “Oh, you poor girl. You don’t understand. I may not have a choice whether to serve you, but I can take comfort in knowing that you will serve her! You will never get rid of this curse barring your death. As long as you serve her, she will make sure no one harms you.”

“I killed you!”

“I failed her once too often, or maybe she saw more power in you. I can’t know the goddess’ reasoning, but I think maybe she let you kill me.”

“I don’t want to be the Black Mage! Take it back!”

“Tsk, Tsk, too bad, isn’t it? You can try to fight it until one day you realize the futility of it, and then, slowly, you will give in to it as I once did. Do you think I began my journey as a ruthless, heartless woman?”

“We’ll see about that. I’ll find a way to get out of this.”

Sarren grinned, “Oh, what’s your plan? We travel around looking for someone to kill you and take your place? You can’t stay among the living and transfer the mantle of the Black Mage to somebody else; you know. Someone must kill you, and as I stated, the goddess must have chosen you for a reason.” She carefully righted herself onto her wobbly legs. “I can’t wait to see how you handle the sacrifices.”

“You mentioned sacrifices before. What Sacrifices?”

“You will feel the terrible pull and urge soon enough. It will happen innocently at first. Something small will set you off and then you will be on your way. Cassany will demand blood. She hates the creations of her siblings and seeks to twist and pervert them. It’s the reason you can raise dead to do your bidding. She also wants her servant, you, to kill them. Of course, not so many as to alert the other gods, but at least one per day, or two every other day.”

“I don’t believe you. You are trying to rattle me.”

“She will play mind games with you and torture you, especially if you fight her will.”

“I won’t do it! I hated killing when I hungered as a blood feeder, and I will not kill for the goddess.”

“You will. The urge is too strong.”

“I will create a couple of blood feeders as you made me, and I will let them kill for food.”

Sarren shook her head. “That won’t work. Your blood feeders kill separately. You will be demanded to make a sacrifice in addition to those your blood feeders kill. Besides, killing is killing whether you do it or have your minions do it, your hands will be just as stained with blood.”

“You’re lying!”

“No.”

“If it is demanded of me, I will make you do it.”

“No, it will not count. She will demand you do it by your own hand.”

“I won’t!”

“This is pointless,” Sarren said. “I have told you what you need to know. Release me!”

“I will never release you,” Thessa said in almost a whisper. “You will suffer alongside me.”

“No, I will not let you.” She raised a dagger and Thessa recognized it as the Red Mage dagger. She felt for the dagger inside her belt, but the dagger disappeared.

“How did you steal that from me?”

Sarren plunged the dagger into her own chest and then twisted horribly, much more forcibly than before. This time the dagger dug in and Sarren fell to her death once more.

Thessa took the ruby handled dagger and willed it to disappear. It popped out of her hand and was gone. She then reached down and resurrected Sarren again. The former Black Mage writhed and kicked as she came back from the realm of the dead. The woman looked around horrified, “What have you done to me? This is impossible! You can’t raise me twice. I couldn’t even do