Excerpt from a Fantasy Novel

June 2018

            I shivered. The air here was damp and cold, like all the warmth had been sucked away. 

            I glanced over my shoulder to watch the guards swinging the heavy metal door closed. "Just knock three times when you're done." The man smiled, exposing a missing front tooth, and shut the door. There was an electronic beep and I was locked in. 

            I pushed myself forward, looking into cell blocks on my way to the one on the end. None of the other cells were occupied. 

            I walked a little faster towards the final one, lit only by artificial light. 

            Alexander Fiero, I thought to myself, heir to the throne after me. The Son of Fire. 

            Elliot had told me that he had been the most powerful of our kind before we had returned, and apparently he wasn't happy about his lower status. 

            I came to a stop in front of his cell and felt my jaw drop. 

            For some reason, I had pictured an older man, with hard, knowing eyes and shaggy hair. 

Alexander Fiero was none of these. Instead, he was barely older than me- a boy- who was lounging on his stripped bed as though he belonged there, an arm flung across his face. 

            "Yes?" He asked, casually sitting up and dragging the arm away. 

            I sucked in a breath. 

            The only thing I got right were the eyes. 

            They were deep and blue and wise and knowing well beyond physical years, leading me to doubt my earlier assessment of age. 

            He quirked an eyebrow and I realized I'd been staring. 

            "I-I'm sorry," I stammered, "it's just... I expected someone a bit older."

            "And yet, here I am. Much more dashing and handsome than you ever imagined."

            Yes, I almost said, but stopped myself when I saw his smirk. 

            "No," I said, narrowing my eyes. "Makes sense, actually. I was wondering how any of the older men in this world could have wreaked such horrible damage to my family's ego. But a teenage boy bursting with hormones and with a vendetta? Seems about right."

            He smiled. "How much havoc did I wreak? Some? A little? All? I'm guessing all. It better be all."

            "Oh yes," I said sarcastically, "you wreaked all the havoc."

            He looked satisfied. 

            "So, Alexander, why'd you do it?" I still doubted he'd speak to me. 

            "Uh uh uh. That's not fair. You want answers, you must first promise me answers. It'll benefit you greatly."

            My face heated. "And it would benefit you greatly if you remembered that you are in a prison cell and in no condition to negotiate."

            He tsked. "They're not going to do anything to me. They need me and my answers too badly. And they can have them... for a price." He smirked at my expression. 

            I ignored him and forced myself to look calm, crossing my arms over my chest in a show of not caring. 

            "And what kind of 'price' are we talking?" I asked nonchalantly. 

            He shrugged. "Nothing too bad. Just an eye for an eye: I answer one question, you answer one of mine."

            I thought about it. There wasn't really anything I could think of that I explicitly didn't want Alexander to know of. 

            "Very well," I said.