The Pillar of Dominance
Tigorious slowed his pace. Nella lifted her head from his back,
wearily taking in her surroundings. The soldiers who had assisted in her
capture were not far behind. They wore red uniforms and wielded sparkling
glass spears. Tigorious and his captive were the first to arrive at the glossy
gates behind which towered the shapes of a vast cityscape. Shrouded in
darkness the odd structures gleamed in the moonlight like smoke trails
smearing in the wind. Two guards also armed with gleaming spears bowed
low to the giant cat.
"Welcome Tigorious," said one of them. "Shall we alert his Majesty
Prince Coonan Malden of your arrival?"
"Yes," said Tigorious. "Tell him I have brought him the Seer.
A look of awe passed across the guard's face and he glanced at his
companion to see his reaction. The other guard hastily closed his mouth,
which had fallen open at the news.
"So it is true?" said the first guard, his brows knitting together in
The soldiers cut Nella free from the harness on the cat’s back. The
ropes slacked at once and the men pulled her to her feet. She nearly
collapsed, but the soldiers supported her on either side. Her wrists were still
bound. The ropes had burned visible red welts into her pale skin. Tigorious
shot her a sideways glance. She looked at him, searching his eyes. His violet
ir ises enlarged and shrank more fiercely than usual.
“Why is the seer bound?” asked one of the guards.
“She refused to come willingly,” explained Tigorious. “She does not
yet understand why she is here. I will let the prince explain," said the cat
looking away from the girl. Nella’s hands were untied. Tigorious peered into
the forest behind them where the trees stood as a wall of jagged teeth on the
horizon. “Send soldiers into the forest,” he said darkly. “We saw a group of
rebels on our way here. There are two of them, an old man and his student.
Kill them on sight, they are more dangerous than they appear.”
“We will do as you instruct,” said the guards with a bow.
Nella felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach. She swallowed
hard. Her throat was dry, and tasted of metal. The guards wordlessly opened
the gates and the cat and his hostage stepped into the city. A crystalline
coach was waiting, drawn by two creatures Nella had never seen before.
They reminded her of the snow leopards she had once seen in a zoo on