I’d awoken in a scarlet pool of my own blood, abandoned in the arena, screaming from the most malicious pain imaginable, with the executioner’s saber knife in my red and white hand. I didn’t know if I’d taken it or if it was given to me. I ran. The ground rumbled under my feet, and the blistering heat told me that despite every last desperate prayer I’d made, my nightmare was reality. I threw the door open. Columns of smoke rolled up through the great spiral staircase, in through the windows, and encased people in dark poison. Men grabbed buckets of water from the spouting fountains, but it made little difference. The fire was outside, coming in. Flames already crept up the stairs, sending people screaming in every direction.
A Guard crashed into the wall next to me and grabbed the emergency phone, shouting, “Fire on level five! Fire on level five! Evacuate immediately! No, sir, we can’t stop it! Something is working against us here!” He paused as he realized whom he was looking at. As I sprinted up the clearest passage, I heard his yells follow me, telling the soldiers to stop the Sorceress.
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