There wasn’t a decision made when Seti found himself moving towards the temple, careful to listen for guards. It resulted in a somewhat unorthodox route, but they got there. The trouble was, and he realized this on opening the door, he didn’t know the priestess’s name. Or anything about her that would tell him she would be willing to help. She would probably turn them out if nothing else.
Seti waved down a servant who was walking by and instructed them to wait with Kahina and Junaid. Then he started running through the temple like a madman. He was pretty sure there were even screams–was it wrong that it made him smile? Probably.
He also received dirty looks from every person who’s room he abruptly entered. It was almost as if people didn’t like that–go figure? None of which were the woman he was looking for, and he was running out floors. Seti moved down a hallway, pointedly ignoring the stitch in his side, and tried the next door. A woman sat in an armed chair, curled up with a book balanced on her knees. Said book tumbled to the floor at his entering, and startled, crystal blue eyes stared back at him. This time, they were the same eyes he has seen earlier that day.
And they looked terrified of him.
In retrospect, barging into a woman’s room in the evening, when you’ve only seen her earlier that day, was probably not the best way to ask a stranger for a favour. Especially since she had all but ran away from him when he had tried to introduce himself, murmuring something about a headache before rushing back into the Temple. But hey, he was under stress. In his defence, she wasn’t any stranger– she was a Sizzler, which meant that, if anyone could help him, she was probably the best he was going to get.
“Greetings,” he said. “I understand that, given the current circumstances, you might think that I am a crazy person. But I assure you, beautiful lady, that, given that I am also the owner of one of your more deadly secrets, regardless of my mental stability, you should probably take a deep breath and hear me out.”
In normal circumstances, this would never work. Given that Seti would not give her any more time to think about it, it worked fine. Oh stress, sometimes you make life easier.
She nodded, eyes still wide with fright. She looked behind Seti, probably to see if there was anyone else with him. As if he couldn’t handle himself.
“It would appear that my fiance’s brother has a unique ability, much like your own,” Seti said. “Unfortunately, this means that many people in this city would like to kill him. I don’t particularly care one way or the other. Still, it would put a damper on my engagement, so I ask you, in the most humble way I can, to let this boy stay in your care, in sanctuary preferably, until I can come to some arrangement that will not result in his immediate and public death.”
Something behind the woman’s eyes shifted. “And what, pray tell, ability do you think I possess?”
“Please, young miss. I can pretend that that banister melted itself or, while I am in prison for helping out someone who can use magic, I may let slip there was a wonderful woman at the temple who could do something exactly like this to-be-dead boy.”
He hated blackmailing people; he did, but again desperate measures. It didn’t help that her eyes seemed to be piercing ice into his soul. Or that his magic was starting to burn a hole into his gut. He used some of it back at the house to get rid of some of the junk blocking the door, but it wasn’t enough to get rid of all of the strain within him. If he didn’t do something about it, it was going to burn right out of him. So it was probably best to make this fast.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I am. Think of this as a favour that I promise I will repay someday.”
He didn’t wait for a response before running back out the door to the lobby where they were waiting for him.
His fiance and her brother.
And a host of city guards.
It was one thing to have this magic burning up inside of him when he had felt the calm safety, but it was another when directly threatened with harm. He could feel the burning inside of him, and as he struggled to control it, he could feel power starting to leak out of his skin.
He met Kahina’s frightened eyes, and he hated himself for what he was about to do. He thought that they would kill her, was pretty sure they would kill her, but what would happen if he stayed here and killed everyone in the immediate area? He had to give her up.
It broke his heart.
He ran back down the hallway. He ran down to the hall’s back wall that led back into the streets and placed his hand against it. He pulled the heat down in his stomach, pulling it threw up his arm and out of his palm. It didn’t take a lot of concentration; there was so much fear inside of him. The magic forced itself out, and the wall burst out into the street before him. There was a bit more power to it than he had expected, but he was under pressure.
He ignored frightened screeches and yells of alarm for the people both inside and outside the building and started running. It was vital for him to get somewhere where there weren’t any people, and the way he could do that without getting stuck at one of the gates was to head towards the docks. He didn’t love the idea of wrecking one of the most profitable parts of the city, but it was the best he could get from inside of the town, where he was less likely to get anyone killed.
There wasn’t time to think any further through his plan. It was a bad plan, a terrible plan. Luckily, the guards seemed far less interested in him than Junaid. He would have to find a way to rescue them later if he could save them later. Right now, he needed to get as far away from people as possible. He blocked everything else out of his mind and ran, put everything he had into moving his legs and suppressing the heat within him.
Moving through the streets was too clumsy. There are too many people to get around to make any real-time. Still running, he saw one of the houses that had terraces on the side. Oh, excellent, another stupid plan. Without letting himself think any more about it, he made a beeline for the building. The tips of his fingers managed to get around the railing, and he bit his lip as it creaked under his weight. With a primal yell, he pulled himself up on to the first terrace.
It wasn’t the most fun thing he had ever done. It was painful. Physical activity had never been something he was particularly good at or spent any time doing, so this wasn’t the best day for him. Oh, and his fiance’s brother was about to be brutally murdered by a government power that believes he was some danger to society. And probably try to kill him too. But running and climbing things was still difficult.
Up on the rooftop, he had to figure out how he would make this work. It seemed like a logical decision a few minutes ago, but now it was crazy. There were stories about people running around rooftops. The legends or roguish Heroes but not aristocrats. Credibly unfit aristocrats if his last climb was any indication of his current health. He assumed a running start would be the best. At least that was how it went down in all the stories. Also, he was 100% sure that he would not be able to make that jump without some propulsion. It was one of those times when he wondered whether or not he could indeed die. He had a chance to test this but considering that he had exploded a few times, and he had come back, he assumed his chances of surviving were higher than the average person. Plus, falling a few stories to the streets below seemed unpleasant.
Taking a few deep, somewhat panicking breaths, he ran for the edge. He didn’t give himself any time to think about it. Instead, he let his body take over. Seti put all of his strength into his legs and pushed off.
He would like to claim he landed gracefully, but he did land–limbs all over the place. Completely uncoordinated. But he had made it. He had to keep making it until he got to the docks. His stomach sank as he looked North to where the river was. It wasn’t going to be a comfortable journey, but he had to do it.
On the streets below, he heard the yells of the guards. They’d spotted him up on the roof. Time to make a heroic escape. Yeah, right, hero, by running away. No time to think of the fiance he had left behind or her scared brother’s eyes that stared at him. He would run because that was the decision he had made.
He was like the claim that eventually, he got the hang of this whole roof jumping thing, but he spent most of the time falling. Some of the guards climbed up onto the roots, but they seemed as inept as he was. It didn’t stop them from pointing their blades at him.
His whole body burned. It burned from the effort of running, his muscles screaming at him to stop. The magic burned in his blood, begging to be let loose. He ignored both and trained his eyes on the water before him.
He was so close.
He placed his hand on a ledge and released some of his magic as he jumped over it. It was partly to control what was inside him and partially slow down the people behind him. He kept hoping no one was close enough to see what he was doing, that it was magic, but he was pretty sure that they could see. Even if he managed to make it to the water, it was looking more and more likely that he would die anyway. This would be bad because, when threatened with death, he tended to explode. If he were chained up again… There would be no way for him to get away from all people, and executions tended to be public.
Seti’s blood was boiling inside him. The water seemed a world away. Seti let out a feral roar as his skin began to crackle. He ran.
He almost made it to the river before his body ripped itself apart.