Word count: 80,000 words
Logline: Valentine was stolen by the Pied Piper as a little girl, and her quest for revenge plunges her into the middle of the war between the Magi and the Fideli. Her fight to find the truth uncovers a much bigger conflict than anyone thought, unites the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and ushers in the End of the World.
Valentine sat in the chair listening to the delicate drip drip of her own blood as it rolled from the fresh cuts beneath her shoulder blades, down the planes of her back, into the bucket beneath her seat.
There were holes carved into the wood of the chair, its back and its arms, to facilitate this harvesting. Her wrists were strapped in, as were her ankles, and she slumped in a bra and her underpants, waiting as she did every week, for the bucket to fill, and the drip-dripping to stop, and the wounds to clot.
And there never came an explanation. Not before the first time, or thereafter. Never even an attempt.
Not that Valentine could ever think of anything Sabine might say that would justify the bleedings. She wondered if Sabine knew that, and so she never bothered. Eventually, Valentine stopped wondering what Sabine did with all of her blood, and decided that it was just a sadistic way to keep her prisoner.
She had been only eight years old the night Sabine purchased her. Though the word slave never entered into any conversation, Valentine felt it was explicit. A week later, Sabine led Valentine down into the basement. It was one large room, unfinished, windowless, crowded with canvases and easels and paint. Sabine stripped her of her clothes and strapped her to that peculiar chair. Valentine cried even before Sabine set the brass buckets beneath the arms of the chair. She cried for the duration of it, especially hard after Sabine yelled at her for flinching when the elegant little knife she used bit into the flesh of her arm. She cried until she was so weak that she passed out. It hadn’t taken long; she was eight. Now she could endure the chair for hours without any tears at all.