**This was my submission to the Characterization Contest hosted by Maddox. The prompt was to write a short scene that perfectly described a character's personality, motivation, etc. Sadly, this did not win any awards, but I did thoroughly enjoy writing it and am still proud of the end results.**61Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡhnH8LZyY2q
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Putting his hand on the cracked open door, he hesitated. A lump that he couldn’t seem to swallow filled his throat. In the corridor were two men whose blood had pooled from clean slits in their necks. Their faces were familiar to him. His breath shuddered as he fought the urge to turn away. Turn away from the truth that his suspicions were correct. He pressed in. The thick prison door groaned.
There she stood, back facing him, but he knew it was her. Bronze skin tattooed by mesmerizing magical patterns of amethyst. Pure-white hair pulled up high with ballooning sections reaching past her waist. In her hands, a long, curved, and cruel sword, bearing identical markings to her skin. There was no doubt. It was Nyhee.
Four fallen sentries lay between them in the cold, concrete cell.
More recognizable faces.
Nyhee pivoted towards him and froze. Her eyes widened, the fierce red in them fading to their original violet. Her sword, which had been ready to strike, drooped to her side. The tip clinked on the floor. She took a couple of steps back, speaking out in soft horror, “Jake…”
“She must have escaped…” Jake choked on his words as he glanced at the center of the cell room. The prisoner Vahla remained bound to the pole, secured by chains snaking around her body. Her head slanted backward against her shoulder, grotesquely. A slice akin to the necks of the other victims split her neck open. Already, the crystallization process had begun encapsulating her. Beautiful colors that seemed unbefitting to her wickedness. The sign of death for their kind. It was the first time that he had seen her without that unnerving grin, but it brought him no relief.
Nyhee’s voice came in strained agony. “Why are you here?”
“Nyhee,” Jake said, voice barely audible. “What have you done?”
Nyhee’s lips quivered. “You weren’t supposed to be here. I never wanted you to see this.”
“Why, Nyhee? These were good men.”
“I only meant it to be her, but she alerted them before… You know I can’t control it when…” Nyhee’s voice trailed off. Moisture welled up in her eyes, but Jake refused to look at her. He only continued to gaze at the gruesome scene before him.
“I… I don’t…”
“She had to die, Jake. I know you don’t understand. I know you all thought that you could use her against him, but none of you knew her as I did. She would have only brought death. Her loyalties to the Unknown King were unbreakable.”
Jake finally looked up at her. His face was pale. “You know Liam will count you as a traitor. He’ll execute you for this.”
Nyhee closed her eyes. A pair of tears rolled down her cheeks. “I know. The moment I decided, I knew. I never had plans to return.” Her eyes opened, and she looked into Jake’s. “I’m ending everything tonight.”
Jake paused for a long moment. The realization of her words saturated his heart with a sinking dread. “What are you saying?”
“None of you are ready for what’s about to be unleashed once you march on his kingdom. You think you’re prepared, but you have no idea. He has haunted my life since I was a little girl. I know how wicked and powerful the Unknown King is. I have to end this now before you all make the greatest mistake of your lives.”
Jake ran to her and clasped her arms in his hands. His eyes were pleading. “No. Don’t do this. What you’re saying is suicide.”
Nyhee tried to constrain herself, but her sorrow kept flowing. “My story was already written, Jake. Once I was sold under his service, my fate was sealed. There was never going to be a happy ending for me. This is the only way. His influence still holds strong sway over my mind. As long as he and I are still alive, I will only be a threat to you and everyone else. It’s only a matter of time before what I have done tonight happens again. That is a fear I cannot live with anymore. The only hope I have to redeem everything I’ve done is if I put a stop to it all.”
“No. There has to be another way.”
“There is no other way.”
“Then… then I’m coming with you. I can’t let you do this, knowing that I will never see you again.”
“You foolish man. How can you even say that after what I have done?”
“It wasn’t you. You said so yourself. You don’t have control when it happens. If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s the Unknown King’s. He’s poisoned your mind. Forces you to do things you can’t resist.”
“Stop trying to make excuses for me, Jake. I’m not this innocent person you’ve envisioned in your mind. I am just as guilty as he is.”
“I don’t believe that. I refuse to believe that.”
Nyhee’s body shook with violent sobs. “I don’t understand why. Why do you keep putting your hope in me?”
“Surely, you must know by now. How I feel.”
“Don’t.” It came out harshly as Nyhee backed away, diverting her eyes to the floor. “Please. Please don’t make this any harder for me to bear. I can’t offer you what you want, Jake. I know you believe you can save me, but it's too late. I’m already broken.”
Jake could no longer hold in his emotions. His body convulsed as his eyes wept with hers. “Say what you will, but you can’t change how I feel. I can’t live without you. If you go, I go with you.” He approached her, lifting her chin up with a tender hand. He gazed longingly at her, but she pulled away.
“You’re a good man, Jake Solomon… but… I’m not the one you should love. I would only snuff out that beautiful light of yours. I can’t bring myself to do that. I won’t.”
Jake clenched his fists, firming his stance. “You can’t stop me, Nyhee. My mind is made.”
“I know.” Before Jake could react, his body was already toppling to the sharp blow to his temple. Nyhee caught him. Her sword, whose hilt had struck the blow, clanged on the floor. With gentle care, she laid his body down.
“Forgive me,” she said. “I didn’t deserve your kindness, and for that, I will forever be grateful to you. I do love you, but it could never have been.” She leaned down, placed her hands around his cheeks, and kissed his forehead. “Goodbye, Jake Soloman. Perhaps… you will be able to forget me and live a more peaceful life.” She reached for her sword and stood up. With haste, she fled out of the cell door and escaped into the night.61Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ6UnO0gPIVFns184.108.40.206da2