Pain ripped through me as I heard the crack of the whip. Again and again and again. I could feel my blood oozing from my slashes, hot and wet. I fought against my restraints, my wrists burning as the metal cuffs chafed them. Then Mordecai, the traitor, came around to face me, and ask me questions. Once I didn’t know the answer to. So he tortured me.
After I burned the ice away from Aquaia, and passed out from exhaustion, I woke up to find myself here. And at the mercy of Mordecai Gregori, one of the most trusted council members.
I couldn’t escape using my powers either since, I guess, I burnt out. I can’t feel it anymore. It’s like I had no power to begin with. At least that’s how it was when I first got here but now I can feel creeping back in everyday.
And today I think I could use it. That I could escape. So I let Mordecai think I was still weak, that I didn’t have my power yet. But I was waiting for the perfect moment to get out of these chain, and kill him. Because he would help the enemy. And he had probably injured many more before me. The sadistic bastard.
So today, I was trying to escape. And when Mordecai came to caress me, as he usually does which was extremely weird and creepy, I grabbed his arm and let the fire free. He was ash on the wind in no time. Then I burned through the cuffs, the hot metal burning into me. I peels off the hot metal, and rubbed my raw, bleeding wrists, trying to soothe them. It didn’t help.
I took two daggers from the assortment of knives, and daggers. They were about the same size, and light enough for my weak body to wield. I hadn’t had a proper meal in weeks, maybe months. And I was so hungry. I was starving. I had been fed a small meal everyday. And it wasn’t enough to feed me, as well as keep my strength, my power. Finally I had enough strength to escape.
I went out the door, having to route around in Mordecai’s pocket for a key to unlock, the door. Gross. Once the door was unlocked I walked out to see that there were guards lining the hallways, and when they saw me all of them unsheathed their weapons, most of the weapons two handed swords. Not as efficient as my dagger, but that’s why I was able to keep my stamina and agility up. After that long time chained up all of the muscle had disappeared and it was a wonder that I could even walk or hold the daggers in my hand.
They attacked, and I slashed. I had killed maybe five guards, most of them different kinds of dark creatures. Then ones of them slashed my leg. I hissed in pain, and hurried to get this fight over with. I…
What Works: The hook; captured and tortured hero has to escape a formerly trusted bad guy. I like that we start on action and betrayal. This is a really compelling way to introduce readers to an unfamiliar character; put them in utter peril and let them fight their way out.
What Needs Work: This is a lot of tell, not show, there are some grammatical and spelling errors, and certain things don’t make sense, like burning Mordecai to ash and then going through his pockets. Also, there is a random switching between past and present tense, so I’ll have to choose one.
Obviously, I don’t know the entire story, so I’ll have to fill in the blanks myself and maybe my changes wouldn’t work for the overall story. For instance, I would have Mordecai burn to ash, including his clothes, but have the MC dig through the pile of ashes to find the key. If this is a world in which the MC can burn through flesh but not clothing, that wouldn’t work.
The whip cracks. Pain rips through me again. And again and again. Blood oozes from my slashes, hot and wet. I fight against my restraints.
It’s the silence that tells me that Mordecai has stopped. My back feels no less ablaze as his boots echo against cement. The whip slithers against the floor, trailing streaks of blood. He turns to face me.
“Tell me where to find the crystal,” he demands.
I glare up at him through eyes streaming with tears. It’s not just the pain in my back or my wrists, or my knees, which have been kneeling on concrete for weeks. It’s the betrayal.
“We trusted you,” is the only answer that my cracked and bleeding lips have to give.
When I burned out my power saving Aquaia, I had blacked out and woken up here. Weeks of torture have broken my body, but given my magic a chance to replenish itself. I feel it rise as I glare at Mordecai’s blurry figure.
I flinch back as Mordecai steps toward me. He reaches forward and tenderly sweeps a greasy, sweaty hank of hair out of my face, pushing it behind my ear. It’s a gesture as familiar and natural as my own mother’s touch. My stomach clenches as I wonder where she is, if she’s okay, or if Mordecai killed her like —
I let the fire free.
Mordecai’s mouth opens in surprise as he screams in pain. His clothes are the first to burn to ash, then his skin and his hair. The last thing I see of him are the eyes that had gleamed with pride with my first step, my first word, my first fireball.
The metal that binds my wrists heats as I concentrate my magic on them. The locks melt and the chains fall free. I slump forward. My thighs hit the cold ground, and then my belly, my chest, my face. The cement is cool against my skin, and I revel in the relief of being able to lie down properly for the first time in too long. The slashes in my back shriek in agony with every breath, so I try not to breathe, try not to think.
Distant shouts make their way through my foggy brain. Claws scrabble in the passageway outside. Mordecai’s minions must have heard his shouts, felt his death. They won’t last long without him, but they’ll certainly last long enough to tear me to shreds if I don’t get up. Now.
I push myself up and groan. I might let them rip me to shreds. It can’t hurt any worse than scrambling over to Mordecai’s ashes on bleeding knees. I plunge my hands into the dust he left behind, and pull out a key. It’s one of the only artifacts in any of the worlds that can withstand my fire and it’s the key — to everything.
I stumble to the door and melt the lock. It swings open, just as one of Mordecai’s minions leaps at me. It’s an over-sized black cat with bat wings and glowing green eyes.
I burn it to ash in mid-air.