The blue glow of the crystal sword was dampened by Lydia's blood.
It cast a dawn pinkness onto her narrow and dirty face as she tied the leather straps -which had crudely bound her hands a moment ago- firmly onto the guard of the sword that was her
only hope of escape.
Blood was caked down her arm, but enough of it had still been wet, to make slipping her bindings a simple affair. Now it dripped along the blade, and she hoped it wasn't a sign of things to come.
Her left hand ached, probably broken, so she had to tie the leather cord with her dexterous right hand and pull it tight with her teeth.
Most of her body was injured in one way or another from the rough time she had been having since a few hours ago she'd decided to jump to her death from the roof of her apartment,
to escape the impending police that had been after her.
Instead of a nasty quick death on the concrete five stories below, she'd found herself in this place, but she was starting to wonder if she'd been saved, or damned.
So far she'd traveled a strange stone maze, incredibly narrow, but hundreds of feet tall; shot and killed a rat person lunging at her in a writhing group,
with a gun she'd stolen from a cop; been dragged into a fortress, to await her sentencing; and now met a prince, whose sword she had stolen in an attempt to secure her escape,
in a scheme that could only be called insane, if only by the kinder sort of critic, none of which currently took up space in her head.
Her final knot secured, she tugged on the rope that Prince Rymond had proffered through the slit in her cell wall and pressed the sword against the cold stone.
Though he professed himself chivalrous, Lydia could tell that the prince would have preferred to snatch back his weapon and be on his way, but she had it now,
and only would let it out of her grip if it broke or her plan worked.
"I've got it tied." She shouted above the wind to the handsome and dark skinned prince eyeballing her knot.
"Are you sure that's not going to snap my blade?" He asked, fingers twitching as if ready to dart in and grab it.
"Yes." Lydia smiled at him through the bluish facets of the crystal, though she had no idea if this was true. His peternatural grin had finally faded as she'd explained her plan.
"Besides," she said, "you don't have any other choice. Now go throw that rope."
He sighed, but climbed the way down from her window slit to the end of one of the wildly spinning windmills that jutted out all over this side of the great wall that she was trapped in.
He clambered to the end and held the bundle of rope, wool, and wood that he'd cobbled together from his cloak and a few struts he'd ripped from the windmill's frame.
As he reached the end of his crawl, over the drop of hundreds of feet to the rat city below, he threw back his arm and heaved the bundle into the spinning blades of wood.
Lydia let out a small prayer, to whatever god might know this place: Let this work.
The bundle was caught by the rotating blades and the rope instantly tightened as it was pulled into the round wheel of the mechanism.
At the same moment, blue light flashed through every part of the crystal sword she was clutching, blinding Lydia and making her release it as she stepped back.
Her knot held on the sword and the terrific strain on the rope suspended the blade horizontally on the wall, unable to get through the thin vertical window.
All the kinetic energy that had been running through the windmill was transferred instantaneously by the rope, through the sword, and into the stone of her cell's cracked wall.
For an instant the rope pulled tighter, twanging with a pitch that could be heard growing higher even over the wind, but the wall still held.
The light from the sword flickered out, the subtle sapphire gleam it had held before flashing totally departing for the first time Lydia had seen.
Had she broken it? Then, with a crack like nearby thunder the wall broke away.
For half a heartbeat Lydia was ecstatic, pumping her fists as the wind rushed in, blowing back her hair, but then she realized that the wall hadn't crumbled, but broken cleanly in a giant slab.
Like a startled deer leaping up and away into the woods, the wall piece shot up, pulled forward by the windmill.
Its arc carried it into the air, above a ducking Rymond, who looked rather surprised.
The windmill continued to spin, and the rope, which Lydia had feared would break before the wall, held tight and pulled the slab into the open air like a fisherman casting a line.
But as the slab reached its end the rope still didn't break and it continued on its way swinging back toward the wall directly underneath the windmill.
Fifteen feet or so below the gaping hole that had been Lydia's cell the projectile crashed into the wall sending head sized chunks of stone careening out in every direction before they fell
away toward the dark city of the rats far below.