A Punishment Exacted

“Then let us begin.”

I rose from the bed and helped Pandora into it, then place a simple sleep spell over her.  Once she was fully out I began working at the stitches.

One by one I removed each patch from her frail body, exposing the bone-white skin beneath.  In some places the patches had been attached for so long that they were the skin itself.  With each one I pulled from her body, I could feel the threads of her magic leaving her body and entering my own.  And with each stitch, her life force seemed to sap away, as well.

When I pulled the last loop from her Tailor’s Touch and stitched it onto my right hand, I stepped back and gazed upon Pandora.  I was likely the first person to see her skin since her own master stitched many of  these patches himself.  The creases that had folded into her patches over time were now replaced with the wrinkles and blemishes covering her ancient frame.  Where once were soft satins, silks, and cottons were now thin, pale skin stretched tight over weak, brittle bones.  Her chest was barely rising and falling with her shallow breaths, and I could see her pulse was slowly weakening; the beat of her heart was getting further and further apart.  The patches had carried so much of her strength, and now that they were gone, her body couldn’t keep up.

Fianna rushed into the room, clearly distressed.  “The other apprentices just disappeared!  What’s going on?”  Her sight turned toward Pandora on the bed and she gasped. “What are you doing!?”

I gave Fianna a tremulous smile.  “I’ve executed Pandora’s final punishment, and now it’s time for me to repay her for her teaching in full.  Would you mind giving me a hand?”

Fianna flashed me an incredulous look, then sighed.  “Fine, but promise me she won’t die.”

“I promise.”

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