QI’RA: Chapter Forty-Five

In Captivity

Nienye woke with a start. Enclosing him were dark walls and his ears were filled with the sound of a ship’s motor. His head pounded and it felt like his face was swollen. As he tried to reach up and touch his face he soon learned that chains were wrapped around his wrists, preventing him from moving his wrists but a few inches in every direction.

He struggled against the chains for nearly a minute until he realized that his struggling was futile. He rested back against the cold wall, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. And then he heard footsteps.

A bright light turned on in the cell and he closed his eyes in pain from the sudden contrast of blackness to light. The door to his cell slid open and before him stood Qi’ra. He couldn’t read her hackneyed expression. He stared back, unwavering from her silent challenge.

“You betrayed me?” she finally said.

“You betrayed Dryden Vos,” he replied.

“But I didn’t die.”

“Lucky.”

Her nose curled into a snarl and her hands clenched into fists. He smiled as he broke her concentration to not convey any emotion.

“So everything that happened last night? It was all just to have me killed.”

He finally averted his gaze. “Not all of it.”

“Why? What did you think would happen if I was killed?”

He knew he should keep that information to himself but what was the point? He was chained up to a wall at the mercy of a very angry woman who he had betrayed. All because he had decided to take a chance and that chance didn’t turn out so well.

“Maul was afraid of your power,” he finally obliged. “He thought that getting rid of you was the better option because you were becoming a threat to him in Crimson Dawn. And if I successfully got rid of you he would make me the new face of Crimson Dawn.”

“And if you didn’t?” she seethed.

He looked her directly in the eyes. “You know how Maul is.”

She stepped forward. “He threatened you?”

“Maul always delivers an ultimatum. You know this.”

Her jaw clenched as she turned away from him as if to leave.

“I know my words can’t change the past,” he quickly called, “but…I am very sorry.”

She stopped in her tracks for a small moment before leaving the cell, the door sliding shut behind her. As the lights turned off, thrusting him back into darkness, his head bowed sorrowfully.

In his solitude, he let the tears that he had been containing finally fall.

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