Before "Cat litter" (re-loaded), an old fanfic in a new coat

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by AzureAngel2, Sep 8, 2012.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    I know she doesn’t, but her behavior still seems like it. However, like you & hubby said, that’s her culture and she still isn’t used to Lucien’s adversity to it.


    My honest plea worked and the restless souls drew back.

    Sometimes honesty is all it takes :D


    “Instead of having a history lesson, we will leave the castle unseen this way and go to places I think will interest you. Follow me.”

    That sounds much more interesting and fun anyway ;)


    “Please do not puke out your medicine again, Grianán! It is disgusting.”

    It’s kind of difficult to prevent!
    Ah, I’m glad he was able to help her.


    By human standards, he was about eight sun years, even though he was born sixteen winters ago.

    The time things just boggle me and are always tough for me to wrap my head around. I just nod like I get it and keep reading.


    My stomach clenched together and so did my hands. “You help him out?”

    It’s really not so bad that he helps.


    I may be young, but I understand what a handshake means between adults. The one that my grandfather gives me is painful and bone crushing. I cry immediately, for this was not the deal that I had in mind.

    The naivety of a child :(


    “When was the last time you went on a soul journey, sunshine? A real one, I mean. Not one into the dark hole that is Luçien´s soul.”

    That is a good question!


    “If you cannot be what you truly are around him, you will never flourish,”

    And that is a VERY good point.


    “Helygen, please believe me that there is more than anguish and hatred in him. He can be so much more than the sum of his fear and anger."

    *sigh* yeah, yeah


    “If you do not give in to my most reasonable request I will not drink the potion tonight.”

    If you don’t shut the hell up and take no for an answer, I’m going to get pissed.
    Just saying.
    Last edited by SWpants666, Oct 19, 2012
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  2. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Very good. Will she bring Lucien back to the light? At what cost?
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  3. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    You ask the right question, dear bird. I hope I can keep my tongue during your visit next weekend.



    Good question from you as well, dear Misty. The Halloween season is near. So I hurry up that I can tell that gruesome part of the story just on time. From "Wolf whelp", told by Sionnach´s point-of-view, we know that we can expect some strange stuff.




    @DarthUncle: Pst, hon, look away from "Dungeons and dragons". Here is an update to read for you.

    @Tyranus230: You might do the same.

    @Chilla: Need a break from the Japanese language? Please read on my story before it gets into troubled waters.

    @Gkilkenny: If you need a break from real life, this is the place!

    @arwen_sith: Interested?

    I see you all again next weekend with another whole chapter before I torture all of you with little bits and pieces plus cliffies!
  4. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    My issue with the ages isn't just with your fic but with any story where a person's age isn't Earth-time. I don't have the ability to keep it ordered in my head.

    My issues with Grianan grow stronger with each chapter I read, and as I know more about her. I understand that her upbringing leads to her seeing different boundary lines between people, and that she doesn't always get why another person is thinking the way they are.
    I also know that she WON'T rape Lucien.

    However, her behavior mirrors that of a rapist, of someone who is selfish (for only herself and Lucien) and who doesn't seem to care if she pushes boundaries because she believes they'll cave in the end. It's pressure and even though Lucien turns to good & to her, there are alternate ways of doing it than saying "well touch me, watch me naked, etc). Because now his behavior seems to be that of a person who was abused but who ends up caring for their abuser. His desire for her isn't his own but something she created.

    And her behavior mirrors that as well because of what he's done to her.

    It's as if the worlds revolve around them and their beliefs, and only the two of them (and some family members) should actually benefit from everything.
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  5. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    And her behavior mirrors that as well because of what he's done to her.

    It's as if the worlds revolve around them and their beliefs, and only the two of them (and some family members) should actually benefit from everything.

    That is exactly the effect that I wanted to have. Gri also makes faults, serious faults. She is not oerfect and too keen at times.
  6. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    With Halloween coming up, the bird paying me a kind visit in person and me doing a lot of oral exams at school next week, I would like to give you the next update. A longer one again, because once we caught up with the plot of "Wolf whelp" (= everybody worried for an abducted Grianán & Lucien obviously gone mad), I will do mini-updates again. It is going to be a thrilling November. I will not let my readers have the time to be bleak.

    Okay, here we go:


    Chapter 29: Trader

    Luçien´s voice was the first thing that I recognized as I swam slowly back to my senses. My eyelids were too heavy to lift. And my head hurt with splitting pain. All I could do was to lie still and listen to him. I waited in agony of suspense.

    “You are a Seeker? A tóraí na fírinne?” he roared. He stood at the edge of my bed, keeping a disturbing distance to me. “That was your secret?”

    I uttered a deep, stifled moan. My stomach turned to liquid fear.

    “And you read my memories like I am one of your father´s books? How dare you!” Tears of anger made his voice thick. He had eyes of icy steel. “I trusted you.”

    It was difficult to speak, from both the drugs and guilt. “Never... told... anyone...”

    “Oh, you better shut up.” His eyes pierced me mercilessly. A world of pain and sorrow lay in them. “I am infuriated and may shut your mouth for you.”

    I struggled free from my blanket and tried to reach out for him, but he would not let me touch him.

    “Do not wait for me tonight. Nor tomorrow. Ask Garou for your night caps. He will be more than happy to oblige.”

    Tears stung in my eyes. My voice was small and humble. “I never meant to hurt you, just was not sure how to...”

    He put his hand out. “Enough, Grianán. Enough!” He drew in a sharp breath, as if to gather his senses again. Then he gave me an intense gaze that was almost despairing. In somewhat more sombre tones, he said, “I do not want to hear your voice or see you right now. You have betrayed me.”

    “But...” I rose so quickly from the bed that I became entangled in the blanket and fell to his feet.

    Only darkness was in front of me heartbeats later.

    The thick psychology volumes in my father´s library had warned me of the four traumagenic dynamics that were identified as the core of the psychological injury inflicted by child abuse – traumatic sexualization, betrayal, stigmatization, and powerlessness. Luçien was so amazingly vulnerable in many ways. His cognitive and emotional orientation to the universe had been altered too early in life. They had created trauma by distorting his self-concept, views and affective capacities. And I had messed around with all of them, too desperate to free him from the shadows of his past.How could I have been so stupid?

    I hit my face between my hands and started to cry soundlessly, each sob more violent than the one before.

    ********************************************************************

    After breakfast I decided to pay Nanny a visit in her study. My eyes and face looked normal again and having spoken countless Force mantras had calmed my soul to a bearable level. I sat at her desk writing in my diary,while she read through her correspondence.

    After a long, enjoyable silence, we engaged ourselves in a deep conversation about Heulwen. My niece was a complicated girl and I had trouble bonding with her. No matter what I tried, she shunned me.

    As Isabeau and I talked, I stored my diary in one of the book shelves. I promised myself that I would get back to it later in the evening.

    Éleos startled me with his sudden appearance, revealing the fact that he was a teleporter too. He explained that there were some serious issues with Daná and her latest love interest, Boreas Kyrene. Isabeau went with him to the stables immediately.

    Longing for company and distraction from my pain, I decided to go down into the kitchen.

    ********************************************************************

    When I stepped outside the study, Garou was passing by the study. He frowned at my ink smeared hands, but not for very long. “Do not worry, maman. Lovers have quarrels now and then. Once papa has calmed down, he will come flying back in your arms. I promise.”

    I did not answer the boy, in fear my composure would fail me. There was so much in my mind that even the oldest Force mantras failed me.

    He reached out for my righthand and kissed it gently. “I’ll be back later for your night cap.”

    His assurances muddled my mind and I did not pay much attention to my surroundings. I ended up colliding with Caelestris.

    Lemon tea sprayed into every possible direction and pictures of dark violence flooded into my consciousness.

    Was Draň conscious of the fact how ridiculous he looked with his trousers down to his knees? His usually attractive features were mutilated by anger and pain. Some saliva ran from a corner of his mouth. It got caught in his black beard. His brown eyes were wide open in shock and his face was red.

    “You will come back and let me finish what I have started, shrew!”

    I took a deep breath, remembering my mother Arcānā. She always had been strong. I wished I could be more like her. Daná had spirit. Even little Grianán had guts. At least Isabeau had taught me well in martial arts.

    I kicked straight into my husband´s face. My right foot caught him under his chin. He staggered, hindered by his barbarian clothing. His skull collided with the marble floor.

    I started running, the scarf still clutched in my hand.

    Vicomte Ankou appeared out of nowhere. “Draň, I am getting tired of this. Look at her! Bruised and battered again. Why can´t you get intimate with your wife like a normal man? She is such a lovely person.”

    „Boli mnie glowa!” I heard Draň growl behind me.

    “You have a headache? So what?” Vicomte Ankou spat. “Look at her throat. This is appalling. I have enough of this. You will get a divorce from her before you kill her. The therapy is not working. You living at the other end of this planet will.”

    “Please give me another chance, Luçien! Just one more time!” howled Draň. “I will do as you say and double my efforts to become a better person.”

    “I told you before that there is a limit to eliminating her bad memories of you. Her brain will become damaged beyond repair if you continue.”

    I did not like this revelation. My fist swung into the stomach area of the tall Lidérc.

    “Ce, we have been here before, even though you do not remember it.” There was a lot of regret in the cat eyes of my opponent. “This will be the last time, I swear it. His bags will be packed straight away. By me!”

    Before I could say anything to Caelestris, she swept away. All this had happened this morning. Her skin still remembered what her mind was forced to forget.

    I was furious with Luçien. He dared to accuse me of betraying his trust while he played heinous mind games with my poor sister. After what he had done to Isabeau in their childhood, he should have known better than to mess with the memories of others.

    It was madness to persecute the truth any further, but I had to know. Sionnach once had lost a memory. I needed to retrieve it from her. I feared it was connected with Caelestris.

    ********************************************************************

    When I had reached the smithy, I called out my cousin´s name, but it was Malm, the bulky giant of a blacksmith, who answered me instead.

    Princessa Grianán. Sionnach is not here.”

    I turned around to playfully touch some items on his work bench. It proved to be a mistake. I made a shrill sound, startling myself as much as Malm. The poker fell out of my hand, while my mind relived past nightmares of Caelestris.

    Blood ran down my legs.

    “No!” I withered, realizing that I just had lost my child prematurely. There was no strength left in me. I only wanted to die and be re-united with my son.

    Vicomte Ankou began yelling, “Draň, what goes on in that sick head of yours? I can´t believe we are in such a situation again! What makes it even worse this time is that you killed your own child.”

    “Forgive me, I did not know what I was doing before it was too late!” my husband whimpered somewhere in the background. “I want to be good but then I lose control.”

    I tried to hold on to the working bench, where Malm had laid down one of his smaller hammers. My gift unfolded again, unasked for and with startling precision.

    The splintered bones pierced through my skin, but it was not my husband who held me lovingly and stroked my hair.

    “If you skip your therapy session one more time, Draň, I will use that hammer to crack you open,” Vicomte Ankou promised. “Make no mistake of that!”

    Healing powers eased my pain and I stopped crying.

    Struggling with my conflicting emotions I attempted to make a mudra, one of the religious hand gestures from the Holy Isle. Actually the one of wisdom against anger, but my fingers brushed a branding iron.

    My cousin was a vision of beauty and goodness. “Sionnach, I am so happy to see you!” I told her.

    “Did you wake up with that dreadful back pain of yours?”

    It amazed me that she could sense the very spot the pain came from by just standing in the door way. Sending for her had been a good idea. “Draň was already gone and I hardly could move,” I explained to her. “It was fortunate that Garou was passing by in the corridor. I am not very good with long-distance telepathy. If one of my siblings touches me directly it is easier for me to express myself with thoughts. It has always been that way for me.”

    My agony intensified when she pulled the curtains open. The light was scorching me. Drops of cold sweat tickled over my brow.

    “Let me have a look now,” Sionnach ordered sternly.

    “Oh please take this dreadful pain away, cousin! I would hate for Draň to find me this way. He might think that he is married to an old woman, not able to enjoy intimacy with him without breaking apart.”

    Her hands clutched my night gown. She shivered like a leave in the autumn windwhen she lifted it and stared at my bare back. “Right...!” she breathed.

    “Sionnach? What is wrong?”

    “That is a very good question. Perhaps you can tell me how you managed to hurt your back.”

    I blushed. “I think that I must have twisted it somehow, when Draň and I... you know. He is a bit wild in bed.”

    “Wild,” grunted Sionnach behind me.

    Then everything happened very quickly. The door opened and Sionnach leaped off the mattress. “I am not here!” she told me with a lowered voice.

    Draň marched in with Vicomte Ankou in tow. They both looked grief-stricken and guilty.

    “Caelestris, my dear.” I could clearly see now that Draň hadbeen crying. His voice was shaky. “I thought you looked a bit ill this morning and so I brought Luçien with me to check on you.”

    My gaze wandered towards Vicomte Ankou, who had equally swollen eyes. Uncertainly, I said, “How thoughtful of you, milord, but I rather have Sionnach to check on me later.”

    He inclined his veiled head to me. “I am a master of healing. She is just my disciple.”

    Suddenly it occurred to me that I had brought Sionnach into a situation that was perpetually dangerous. Even though I could detect no evil intentions in her master, my Midi-chlorians were alert. “I find her to bevery skilled.”

    The look that Vicomte Ankou gave me reminded me of my belated mother. My stomach cramped in knots. She used to have that flicker of guilt in her eyes each time after somebody had died due to one of her fits. “There is no need to alarm Sionnach. Please let me see what pains You, Your Royal Highness! I will be as gentle as her, I promise.”

    ********************************************************************

    I was hoarse when I finished screaming. It did not seem to benefit a person to be good and play by the rules. The universe was an evil place. Only the strong and ruthless ones survived. I would feed Luçien and Draň their own venom.

    I gathered my pieces of evidence and ran out of the smithy. My anger would grant me the power to strike them both down in one go. And I did not mind the consequences for my own soul. The girls did though. They came out of nowhere and blocked my path.

    “Where do you think you are going?” Aranea asked me telepathically.

    The Mora’s pupils were contracted like the ones of a poisonous jungle snake. She did not use her voice either. “Do you think at all? Is there one clear thought left in your overheated brain?”

    “If I need to, I will strike you down with Force lightening!” Luna promised me grimly, speaking into my mind as well. “You will remain with us until we know it is safe to let you free.”

    They closed in around me like rancor mare on their prey.

    “Stay away!” I hissed. If they stepped between me and my revenge, I would not be able to spare them.

    “Never!” they sent me in unison.

    “But they hurt her!” I shouted aloud, my face streaming with tears. “I cannot allow this! She will go mad if I do not stop them!”

    Luna reached out for my cheeks and I let it happen. “Easy now! Who has hurt whom, and why?”

    “Luçien and Draň!” My throat felt tight with shame. I pointed towards the wing of the castle in which the family quarters were. “Caelestris!”

    Aranea was the practical one, as usual. “Do you have any evidence?”

    “I am a Seeker!” I shrieked. “Get me a team of psychics and they will testify to what I have to say.”

    “We would like to see your evidence first!” Mora pleaded. “If a crown princess is subject of a crime, then the ordeal is a state affair.”

    Once more my index finger pointed towards the bedroom of Caelestris. “Then follow me up there! We might even catch them in the act.”

    “No,” Luna insisted, “We would rather stay here in the open and have a peek into your little world, Grianán. That is healthier for everyone, believe me. We must consider our actions.”

    “There is no time!” I protested.

    “We will make time!” Aranea whispered aloud.

    Before I could stop them, they made me part of their circle. Their arms were interwoven with one another and around my neck. I pressed the smithy tools against my chest while my head sank against theirs automatically. It was not easy fighting settled habits.

    “Please leave me alone!” I nearly sobbed, not willing to share my darkness.

    Their loving grip intensified. “Your mother made us your guardians a long time ago. We will not have her Force ghost haunting us for our failure in this life or the next. If you have something that you need to get off your chest, do it here among friends!”

    “No, no, no!” I winced.

    They had created a mental wall. “To get angry is only part of being sentient. Luna’s voice cut through my protests. But today you were almost falling off the edge, Grianán. With those yellow eyes you will win no beauty contest.”

    “I cannot show you!” Their gentleness hurt me.

    “There is nothing that we cannot face together, Grianán. We even had the stomach to torture you, when you begged us for it. Back then, you wanted answers from us. Now it is the other way around.”

    “It is too horrible!” The tears would not stop flowing.

    “Let us decide that!”

    The temptation to refuse grew strong and then reason kicked in. I had to break the circle of secrecy. And so I lifted all my mental barriers and shared what I had seen.


    [IMG]

    ********************************************************************

    Luna was the first to break the circle because she was close to getting sick. She feared for my well-being. Mora held her, while Aranea concentrated on me.

    “We can go straight to war if you want us to. Against the House of Ankou and against the clan of your brother-in-law.”

    I felt drained and empty. It was Mora, not Aranea, who focused my mind.

    “Grianán, you can give in to the darkness and we will follow you without questioning. But you can also force Luçien to look into his bright mirror. You. All that you need is one final confrontation. You have the freedom to choose when, where and how. That is more than your mother had.”

    With my inner eye, I saw Luçien laughing with his children, playing chess with Father in harmonious silence and teaching Sionnach how to heal broken bones. And I remembered the common history we shared.

    “If there is one being in the entire universe that can affect him drastically,it is you, Grianán.”

    I searched inside me. My childhood dreams were still within my heart, untouched by my recent trials. “Yes,” I breathed finally.

    Mora came close, her hands forming the mudra for bestowing fearlessness. “Then go and conquer,” she said via telepathy.

    The others fell in. Their right hands, with all fingers extended, were held in front of their trembling chests.

    “It is a fine day to die!” I whispered with a shaky smile. Then I gave Aranea the blasted tools that still were in my possession and ran off.
  7. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    Some situations are dangerous. Sometimes intervening helps and other times it makes the situation worse.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  8. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Yes Grianan can you save Lucien.
    Nice artwork again
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  9. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    “You are a Seeker? A tóraí na fírinne?” he roared. He stood at the edge of my bed, keeping a disturbing distance to me. “That was your secret?”

    Well…
    I really can’t blame him for his anger.
    Granted, I don’t think he has much right to be so angry, but he has feelings too. And he felt she was the only one he could trust.

    After a long, enjoyable silence, we engaged ourselves in a deep conversation about Heulwen. My niece was a complicated girl and I had trouble bonding with her. No matter what I tried, she shunned me.

    That’s because she’s crazy :p

    Was Draň conscious of the fact how ridiculous he looked with his trousers down to his knees?

    No, no one ever does.


    Before I could say anything to Caelestris, she swept away. All this had happened this morning. Her skin still remembered what her mind was forced to forget.

    Many, many hugs for Caelestris.
    And a middle finger to Lucien.

    “Forgive me, I did not know what I was doing before it was too late!” my husband whimpered somewhere in the background. “I want to be good but then I lose control.”

    It’s quite nauseating and very, very sad.

    He inclined his veiled head to me. “I am a master of healing. She is just my disciple.”
    Suddenly it occurred to me that I had brought Sionnach into a situation that was perpetually dangerous.

    Yeah, Lucien creates quite a chilling presence.


    I would feed Luçien and Draň their own venom.

    If only!!!


    “We would like to see your evidence first!” Mora pleaded. “If a crown princess is subject of a crime, then the ordeal is a state affair.”

    *sigh* Really, really can’t blame her.


    “We can go straight to war if you want us to. Against the House of Ankou and against the clan of your brother-in-law.”

    Yeah….if only it was that simple…
    Last edited by SWpants666, Oct 26, 2012
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  10. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Well, Gri is a stubborn thing.


    Is this a question or an exclamation of hope?



    ... of it because I have guests to attend to, NaNo words to produce & a husband to keep happy while he is working hard today. There are also still 72 tests waiting for me to be corrected. See you all next weekend, hoping you had a happy Halloween despite the fact that Disney owns us now.

    [IMG]

    Enjoy my update anyway!!!




    Chapter 30: Heat of the moment

    Thoughtfully, I stood in front of the kitchen entrance. The staff at Dún Barr was a loyal group of Udalers, Ophidea from the Holy Isle and Elves of various backgrounds that had pledged themselves to the Draconian crown generations ago. I regarded them as family members. They had my absolute trust.

    Caelestris should be kept in the nursery when her body went into hibernation. I also needed cover when I snug into her chambers in the first place. There was nothing that I could do against Luçien seeking me out. But at least I could make sure I wouldn’t be disturbed by my brother-in-law.

    I smiled when I opened the door to a bustle of activity. Everyone was in the vast kitchen, accept Malm Mössa, the Shesha and the paladins. My smile widened. The Force was with me.

    I let my gaze glide over the gathered company, happy to have them around. I had known most of them since my early childhood. The rest have become familiar to me over the past sun weeks.

    Norn noticed me at once. “Komdu rétt sem snöggvast til mín!” she commanded me lovingly. Come quickly to me!

    I made my way towards her, eyeing her raised cooking spoon.

    “Barnið dó úr hungri. Hvernig fórstu aðþessu?” With mild disapproval the chef cook poked the clean end of the spoon against my ribs. The child is starved. How did you manage that?

    I was given a place of honour next to the enormous stove. The first bowl of vanilla custard was placed in front of me, while I was explaining how essential it was to keep Draň out of his chambers for the rest of the sun day.

    Over the course of the second bowl, I asked if a bed could be set up in the nursery for my sister Caelestris. It would be meant as a surprise for her.

    Norn raised an eyebrow, holding on to the third bowl for me. “Stop beating around the bush! Say what is on your mind. You know that we will never break your trust.”

    I rose gracefully from the kitchen bench, knowing that they were all in love with me in some way. I could have demanded everything from them: lies, murder, mutilation, the thrown of Cunabula, but I did not. There were better things to say.

    “There is cause for alarm in the marriage of Caelestris. I am the Main Seeker of the Holy Inquisition and found traces of misdeeds.”

    The faces around me grew grave and concerned, but not hostile. I had given them nothing but the truth without the dirty details.

    “My family lost loved members over the past few sun years. It is hard to determine what will happen when this comes to their ears. I do not wish a second Polysýndeton to happen. Nor do I wish anybody else to be tempted to use the dark side.”

    More than one person wiped a tear away.

    “I am not afraid of the darkness that Luçien and Draň carry inside them. But I am afraid of the darkness that they could bring over my family. Please support me! I cannot do this alone!”

    One by one they bowed to me, determined and grim. Aranea moved forward as if to pull me back, but Mora stopped her. We needed allies, conspirators that were noble and loyal, who would not even betray me in their thoughts.

    Then another important detail came into my mind. “It might be very likely that Commander Taran Cú Síth will come looking for me at one point. If I should not be around to answer his call, I want him to be treated with kindness and gratitude. He is my beloved godfather and...”

    Suddenly Luna ran in, taking us all by surprise. She was out of breath and would not accept a seat, but remained hunched over until the words came pouring out between gasps for air. “Heulwen... has stolen the urn... of Narthex... and the star cruiser... of Agathos. Flight control... tells us... that her course... is set... for Amnion.”

    ********************************************************************

    While I had been busy with my own feelings, time had slipped by me. I did not even know that my young niece could fly a space ship. “Where is Isa?” I wanted to know, pushing my bowl away from me. All the comfort that the custard had given me was gone.

    “Already in the library with the flight control agents and the emergency landing team. She will not let me. My own people were ordered to shoot me down if I disturb the briefing. The surveillance cameras in the library are turned off.”

    “Then it is extremely serious!” I concluded.

    It was possible that Heulwen would have an involuntary burial at sea with Grandfather Narthex. I was sure that nobody had ever bothered to explain the tense political situation between Draconis and Amnion to the girl.

    It was one thing to permit the Ambassador of Sapuhru clearance for a landing in Despondent. But to allow a member of the Tjiehenet family entry into the orbit of the water planet was something completely different.

    ********************************************************************

    Sionnach was standing in front of the library, not daring to enter. Her head was bent and her shoulders were scrunched. She looked miserable.

    “I have a bad feeling about this,” she confided in me when I stepped up to her.

    “Me, too,” I said back as softly as possible.

    Waiting was not an option for me. I clasped the hand of my cousin and left our bodies behind. Physical boundaries like a door did not exist for my spirit.

    Sionnach, bless her, held on to me, lending me some of her energy.

    ********************************************************************

    Isabeau looked like a general commanding an army. Her composure was erect and proud. She had clasped her hands behind her back. Her voice was sharp and direct. “They fired at her, Felicitas? Simply for ignoring the sovereign airspace?”

    “The major himself willed it.”

    Isabeau spoke in a low voice. “Finally I understand why Arcānā wanted to get rid of that little bugger in the first place. That makes the entire incident an intended murder case.”

    “We are to inform you that Aconite Kyrene never wishes to see any member of the House Tjiehenet on his home world ever again.”

    “His homeworld!” Isabeau made an aggressive gesture with her hand. “Oh yes, he can be glad that Heulwen is my priority at present.”


    [IMG]

    I moved closer to the desk, while the fovea centralis agent in question said, “Insofar there is no report of a crash on Amnion. The radars declare that the ship flew on to Sapuhru. But it suffered a bad hit.”

    “How bad?” An uncomfortable silence followed until Isabeau struck her fist down, repeating the question even fiercer. “How bad was it, Felicitas?”

    “Probably the ion drive, Holy Consort. A reconnaissance speeder from Polysýndeton found clear evidence of engine damage.”

    Another agent added, “One of our spies there informed us about a curious sighting above Fort Grand. Something passed the city at night time, burning like a little sun.”

    “Shall we prepare the troops for a surface attack, Holy Consort?”

    Isabeau rose an eyebrow. “Attacking the dune sea for swallowing Heulwen? Why would we do that, Espada? I rather comb the district for the little one. That makes more sense.”

    “Then we will prepare the emergency response team.”

    “That will not be necessary, Espada. It is a matter for the boss.”

    “No comprendo.” The dark skinned agent swallowed hard. I do not understand.

    “Yes, you do, Espada.” Isabeau stood motionless. “I will take the cruiser of my dearly beloved step-brother, and your team will keep him off my back as long as possible. Deny him access to off-world transports. Arrest him if you have to. He is an enemy of the state now!”

    “¡Créeme por favor! ¡Ni hablar!” The agent shook her head in horror. I am sorry. That is out of question.

    Now the stoic composure of Isabeau was over. She threw her head back and roared like a tigress. It was a deep, frightening sound, even for me. “I will be obeyed!”

    It dawned on me why Aranea, Mora, Luna nor I had been asked into this room. We would have begged Isabeau on our knees not to participate in that suicidal rescue mission. At the age of fourteen she had been send into exile by the ducal House of Ankou. If she ever defied that banishment, her life would be forfeit.

    There was only one way to save my old nanny. I needed to distract Luçien by all means possible.

    ********************************************************************

    When my spirit reunited with my body, I found that it had not cooled down. It still functioned normally, thanks to Sionnach´s efforts. She was a fine Force healer.
    Thank you!” I whispered, my vocal functions still recovering.

    “I hope it was worth the price that you paid,” Sionnach answered. She did not nag me for details and granted me time to restore muscle functions.

    “It is a nightmare,” I finally told her. “The flight control of Amnion has shot at the ship. Heulwen vanished from their radars, only to show up with burning engines above Fort Grand for a brief moment.”

    Her azure Elfin eyes flew wide open. “You mean she eventually crashed on Sapuhru?”

    The double doors of the library creaked.

    Immediately, I cloaked myself in the Force and fled the scene. Isabeau had her rescue mission and I had my own. And it was not eavesdropping where I wasn’t supposed to be.

    ********************************************************************

    Caelestris was in our nursery in the West Tower, having tea and cookies on her own. Her hazy eyes ran over the colourful glass windows. I loved the fairy tale scenes on them as much as she did. They were beautiful, filled with such graceful creatures of purity.

    I waited until Caelestris turned to me before paralysing her with a bolt of Force lightening. It hit her at the root of her nose.

    I scrambled on top of herto the easy access I had of the pineal gland. It was not difficult to dive into her brain. I just followed the numbed train of thought to her frontal lobe.

    At least the girls would know it was not a coma. Hopefully, they would even call for Sionnach and ask for her medical assistance.

    I rose and looked down on Caelestris. She was so pale, almost colourless. I should have recognized the signs sooner. My love for Luçien blinded me to the obvious in a daunting way.

    ********************************************************************

    The last person that I had expected to seein the round staircase of the West Tower was Father. His brows were drawn together and he was frowning. “Do you know that security cameras have been installed in the nursery after the death of Areté?”

    Modern technology was a thing that I always underestimated. I did not feel machines, technical equipment or robots in the Force. “No,” I confessed.

    “Isabeau and I like to watch Heulwen and Sionnach´s boys from time to time. They do wonderful stage plays, self-written. But of late the nursery is occupied by an adult visitor. Caelestris sits there for hours, drinking tea and staring ahead of her. Today she was not alone.”

    I pressed my lips together.

    Father grabbed shoulders almost forcefully. “Are you a Darksider now?“

    I did my best to tell him the essence of my plan. “You must trust me, Father,” I begged when his grip lessened with my words. “There are medical issues and even more at stake. Please trust me and be discreet when telling the girls. I need to tear the shroud of the dark side into pieces before it suffocates us all.”

    “You are not done plotting yet?” A spark of humour lay in this open accusation.

    “Not for today, no,” I confessed.

    Father placed a kiss on my brow. “Be careful then! The love of a male Lidérc can be an unhealthy matter for a young, inexperienced woman like you.”

    Sighing, I pressed myself against him, nestling my head against his throat.

    His hands rubbed my back, soothing me. “The corruption of the dark side is like a disease. It makes a being rot from within. Morals, emotions, thinking patterns...”

    “I can handle it,” I assured him.

    His heart was reflected in his eyes. “If your siblings and Sionnach rally against you, you will be completely lost.”

    “I will take care of myself, my thoughts and action.”

    “That will not be enough!” There was darkness in his gaze. “You need to use every dirty trick possible for your survival. Just as Isabeau must while on Sapuhru. I will pray for the two of you. Luçien can be a dreadful foe to his enemies. Don´t be any under delusions of grandeur. He might maim you once more. Be prepared, Grianán! Be prepared!”

    “S' agapo!” I cried out, blinded by tears. I love you!

    He wiped away one of my tears, looking at it. “Love is the greatest gift in this universe. Cling on to it, like I always did with your mother. But keep in mind that he is nothing like your mother. Their histories are very different. So are their personalities.”

    When I was already walking away I heard him opening a book. I came to a stop when he spoke again.

    “Remember these words from our ancestors from Terra: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    With a dim smile I started walking again and left the tower.

    ********************************************************************

    Isabeau was about to enter Luçien´s star cruiser, but I held her back. “Let me handle this. I know ways to circuit the security protocol for this ship.”

    She looked very impressed. “Then by all means, take charge. I want to be with Heulwen as quick as possible.”

    My fingers moved over the security lock, simply typing in the code that I had seen in Sionnach’s mind.

    “I did not know that you could do something like that,” Isabeau commented, keeping a respectful distance.

    “Found it out recently,” I lied and added emphatically, “Let me also check the cockpit. You need to be able to fly that thing as well.”
    Not much later I sank down in the pilot’s chair, the palm of my hand pressed against my face. Heulwen had learned how to fly with this vessel. Her childish enthusiasm was echoing from everywhere in the cabin. I was able to one of the latest incidents simply by leaning back in the high leather chair.

    Luçien patted my head. “You are very gifted!”

    “More than Éibhear and Garou?”

    His hands wrapped around the back of the chair. “They are not interested in flying. Or space travels.”

    I made a face. “But space has so much to offer. One day I will fly away and explore other star systems.”

    “Don't try to grow up too fast!” he replied in a near-whisper.

    “You could come with me when I am as old as Sionnach is now. Éibhear and Garou will have their own families then.”

    He laughed heartily at my suggestion. “Do not tempt me, little one!”

    A smile split from one side of my face to the other one. “Imagine, all the new worlds we could see! Black holes and clouds and even stars being born! We could be like nomads, travelling from planet to planet. Instead of banthas and eopies we would just have us to take care for.”

    Suddenly he became very serious. “I am not much of a wanderer, Heulwen.”

    You could at least try to see if it suits you.”

    He bent down to kiss my hair in a fatherly gesture. “We will see. For now you have other concerns. The cloud cover is heavier than it was in the morning.”

    My cheeks flared in protest. “I can feel the castle and the landing platform! I do not need to see any of it. It is all there in the Force.”

    He chuckled. “You better try to get us down in one piece. Otherwise the staff of Dún Barr may start believing that I have a drinking problem.

    “You?” I gazed at him and found him grinning. “Never!”

    His only problem was my aunt Grianán who was an evil Force witch. If he did not kill her at some point soon, I would do it for him. Even if this meant that I had to land this ship right on her ugly body.
    Last edited by AzureAngel2, Jan 5, 2013
  11. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    Looks like she sort of had her hand caught in the cookie jar.

    I hope that in the end that it is all worth it (I can't remember all of Wolf Whelp and the POVs have changed so there could be more to the story).


    Not completely happy with the fact that Disney owns LucasFilm. I think too many fans are all hyped by the fact that Episode Seven is in the words to care.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  12. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    Oh, Disney's released some more mature films. A middle finger won't get me in trouble ;)

    Over the course of the second bowl, I asked if a bed could be set up in the nursery for my sister Caelestris. It would be meant as a surprise for her.

    :) That's so nice!


    “I am not afraid of the darkness that Luçien and Draň carry inside them. But I am afraid of the darkness that they could bring over my family.
    That is smart of her.


    “They fired at her, Felicitas? Simply for ignoring the sovereign airspace?”

    Some beings are rude and have no patience.


    There was only one way to save my old nanny. I needed to distract Luçien by all means possible.

    Yeah....and she'd be the one who could do it too.


    And it was not eavesdropping where I wasn’t supposed to be.

    *snerk*


    My love for Luçien blinded me to the obvious in a daunting way.

    And is stupid in many ways!


    “You need to use every dirty trick possible for your survival. Just as Isabeau must while on Sapuhru. I will pray for the two of you. Luçien can be a dreadful foe to his enemies. Don´t be any under delusions of grandeur. He might maim you once more. Be prepared, Grianán! Be prepared!”

    Darn straight!


    Luçien patted my head. “You are very gifted!”

    That's a light way of putting it ;)


    :( Gri!
    Last edited by SWpants666, Nov 2, 2012
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  13. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Giranan is very gifted and love? Lucien is nice looking;)
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  14. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6



    Dear people, I have a busy weekend ahead, but right now I have time to grant you the first part of a new chapter, also by the courtesy of pants.



    Things will break apart slowly.



    Chapter 31: The plan

    When I finally walked down the ship´s gangway, dizzy from the strong hatred that my niece had in stock for me, I croaked, “I can come with you.”

    Isabeau just looked at me. It was the same aloof look that she had preserved for martial art training sessions.

    “May the Force be with you. Always.” It was the only thing that I could say.

    I received a good-bye kiss in return and then she reached out for her wooden spear. She turned it around in her hands, her thoughts already focused on the rescue mission.

    While she gathered her things, Éleos appeared in our midst. “Isa, you do not need to do this on your own.”

    “But it is my call and duty to go about this, and I will not drag you behind.”

    Éleos had a very good argument. “But you are banished.”

    “Then it will be the more fun for me to return and have a vendetta with Luçien about this errant of mine.”

    A hot surge of oppressed violence undermined my brother’s voice. “I will not allow him to harm you in any way.”

    Isabeau had her back turned to him. “Éleos, Luçien has every right to anticipate a duel to the death with me and I will not run from him. Especially not after your mother put me in charge of Draconis and your family. My life has not been my own since then, but this decision is. Have faith in me.”

    ********************************************************************

    The ship engines started roaring the very moment Daná sprinted towards the platform. “Get out of there, you lousy old cat! This is suicide!”

    She flew into an unbelievable tantrum that was drowned out by the engines. When Boreas got close enough to hold her, I decided to leave the flight platform.

    I gave Éleos a curt nod and walked off. That was a mistake. He immediately became an emotional uproar, causing me to stumble slightly.

    “Where do you think you´re going, Grianán? How did you crack the security protocol of the ship? Since when are you good with machines?”

    “Since you improved your hide and seek skills,” I suggested coolly. It made me sad that we had to depart this way, but I had no choice. Time was of the essence. I did not want Éleos to end up killed by the man I loved.

    The three embarrassed Force knights stepped out of my way when I glowered at them.

    “Grianán, I will not be ignored!” Éleos ran after me. His embrace was hard and solid. “What has been wrong with you since you came back?”

    “I fear that I am tempted by the dark side.” I made myself as stiff as a wooden plank. “And we both know that you cannot interfere here. This is my call, my call only. You have your own struggles.”

    His breath was warm and pleasant. “Just let me hold you and let us just pretend for a while. Pretend that you are a sweet, innocent woman. Pretend that you just consist of light and love.”

    A soft rain shower sprayed down on us, making our clothing damp. I could not have cared less.

    When Éleos was ready to let go of me he breathed, “Remember what Father always says; The Force may not have a light or dark side—but we do... and we must choose.”

    ********************************************************************

    The entire staff of Dún Barr was gathered at the base of the staircase of the East Tower when I left the platform. My invisible army had gathered to pay me their tribute. They looked at me with hope and love. Luçien and Draň would be spared their scorn because I wished it so.

    “I meant to say this to you earlier, princess, but there was no time,” the Grand Master of the Hunt Supreme said. “At dusk the Vicomte had asked me to arrange a fox hunt for him and the prince consort. They left the castle with just Mark and Harrison in tow. None of them are back yet.”

    I smiled. “So there is no way that any of them know that Heulwen is missing. Or that Isa is on her way to Sapuhru.”

    He returned my smile. “Actually the hunting party is not expected to be back before dinner.”

    “Thank you, George.” I clasped his hand.

    The Premier Marshal of the Household bowed to me. “I took care of bringing a spare canopy bed to the nursery. Caelestris is already tucked in bed. Your father is with her.”

    I kissed his cheek. “Lucas, that was very thoughtful of you.”

    The Grand Chamberlain bent his greying head towards me. “It seems that your brother-in-law’s suitcase is packed for a very long journey. The Vicomte could come for the luggage any time.”

    His twin-brother added, “Valiant waits for you in the West Tower. The path will be clear.”

    My hands briefly brushed their bearded faces. I was not able to talk any longer, but there was no need.

    Carrie, the housekeeper of Dún Barr, and her daughter Nathalie curtsied. “I suppose you had no opportunity to inform your godfather Taran of your plans.”

    I shook my head in denial.

    Nathalie winked at me. “We can dull the senses of the Force knights so that they cannot feel his presence on the premises.”

    My mouth flew open as Carrie continued. “You do not need to know the details. Just let us say that Norn and her minions know the local fauna well.”

    ********************************************************************

    Valiant made no attempt to mask his feelings when we met up. “Take at least my scimitar to defend yourself!” he begged and held the weapon in front of him.

    “That will not be necessary!”

    “They say that Ischáh, the Great Snake, has sacrificed parts of herself to create Draconis. In her wake, your ancestors practised humanoid sacrifice, believing it necessary for the world to continue.”

    “I am ready. There will not be another chance like this. The fox hunt was just a manoeuvre of his to get Draň away from here.”

    “Why do you still want to be the teacher of his heart? It is a greater waste land than the erg.”

    “The desert is more alive than the people give it credit for.”

    “Go on then,” he said in a sorrowful voice. “Perhaps your madness can protect you. The desert can be generous with a lost wanderer.”

    [IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]

    ********************************************************************

    A lonely basket-hilted sword hung above the bedroom door like a trophy. I gave the heavy military weapon a thoughtful look. It was definitely of Elfin origin. “I wonder where you came from and who had the honour to own you last,” I muttered to myself, looking up to it. The fleeing afternoon light stroked lazily over the steel surface.

    In the end I decided that it was a cold case, not worth my limited time. There was other evidence I was looking for.

    My palms and fingertips glided over surfaces, touching various objects to learn secrets no one in my family was aware of.

    After gathering blueprints in the Force for a while, I felt sorry for Draň. Two persons existed in his chest. They acted independently from one another and both loved my sister; one tenderly and one violently.

    At least Luçien and I shared the same belief. We both believed in the healing power of love. He just had a very skewed view of it.

    I shook in worried anticipation as I stood in front of the martial bed. It was a canopied, curtained one, typical for the period in which Dún Barr had been conquered by my ancestors.

    My hands cupped around the polished wood and I closed my eyes for better concentration. I was almost immediately assaulted by the echoes of the past.

    The nervousness of Caelestris washed over me. I could not block it out while I lay helplessly under the bed.

    Under no circumstances was my master to find me right now. I tried hard to cloak myself, to be invisible for Luçien. There was no way of telling how far he would go to hide his actions here.

    Caelestris yawned. It was a heartbreaking sound.

    An uncomfortable silence followed, which was broken by the flustered voice of Luçien. “I cannot believe that you did it again, Draň! Control yourself! First you need me on your wedding night and now this!”

    “But I love being artistic on her perfect skin.”

    I clutched my left hand against my trembling mouth. Luçien had manipulated poor Caelestris into marrying a sadist, just to restore his honour for the death of Gwenynen and Sereno. I felt like screaming in agony at him. What was he thinking?

    ********************************************************************

    Aunt Adamah screamed like a banshee, forcing me back into the present. Her warning from the spirit world saved me. Before Luçien´s scimitar could wound me, I lunged for the wall opposite to me in a series of acrobatic moves. My hands clasped around the only available weapon for me: the trophy broadsword.

    Luçien screamed, and his blue cat eyes turned into an abyss of dark side fire. “You should have just accepted that death blow! It would have been painless and swift. Think of the battle you have instead forced us into!”

    He flew at me like one of the mythical sword fighters. I struck extremely hard without raising the broadsword much at the exact moment I knew our weapons would clash. My legs, my hand and the rest of my body formed a combined force. Sparks flew through the room.

    For somebody focused on grace and precision in combat, Luçien resorted to physical contact with astonishing regularity. He attempted to knock me in the face with his scimitar hilt just before kicking into the lower zones of my body.

    Every feint of his, every dodge and every block would have been a trap to somebody unwary. Luckily, the snake style techniquesIsabeau had taught brought fluidity into my movements. They were useful in bending just outside Luçien’s reach.

    “Are we finished yet?” I got out with clenched teeth right after a very malicious attack of his.

    A terrible tenderness was in his rich, husky voice. “Draň is still one of my best friends. No matter how split his personality is, I owe him. I owe your sister as well. I was forced to witness much of her suffering. It darkened my soul.”

    His entire being was burning with the rage of the dark side. The luminous, sulphuric yellow of his eyes was split by blood vessels that had expended.

    Luçien,” I argued carefully, “Caelestris will suffer again when you kill me. She loves me dearly.”

    “So do I.” His eyes briefly softened. “Believe me, I do love you. But if I have to choose between you and millions of beings, you lose. Your family will certainly go to war with Sapuhru and Draň´s tribe, if they know of my actions.

    How much he knew me; how little he knew any of us. He still failed to see why I had such a vendetta with him. I put as much serenity in my voice as I could spare. “You couldn´t bring yourself to kill me before and I don´t believe you´ll destroy me now.”

    His laugh was hollow. “My little dreamer! Your faith is incurable.”

    My arms grew tired despite the Force, and I could not have him talking any longer. I dropped to my knees. “I have always believed in you, Luçien!”

    He walked slowly to me, his steps heavy.

    I raised my face to him. While I did so my throat was exposed to him in absolute surrender. It was the Lidérc way when a battle was lost. “Will you grant me a dying wish?”


    “Of course.” Tears ran over his cheeks and his eyes were still blue.

    “As you move on, remember me, and all we could have been.”

    He bent over to kiss me lightly on the mouth. “Good-bye, Grianán. I love you more than you ever will know."

    “Then show me!”

    “I already am.”

    The last thing that I felt as he cut my throat was his panic, when my blood splattered through the room.


    ****************************************************************************************************

    To be continued!!!
    Last edited by AzureAngel2, Jan 13, 2013
  15. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    Grianan has guts. I'll give that that.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  16. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    She sure has guts to fight against Lucien and declare her love for him

    Cliffie[face_devil]
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  17. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    No tissues are needed. I just get very sad.


    Éleos had a very good argument. “But you are banished.”

    “Then it will be the more fun for me to return and have a vendetta with Luçien about this errant of mine.”


    BAHA I love her line of thinking.


    “Since you improved your hide and seek skills,” I suggested coolly. It made me sad that we had to depart this way, but I had no choice. Time was of the essence. I did not want Éleos to end up killed by the man I loved.

    They keep having this problem!


    His breath was warm and pleasant. “Just let me hold you and let us just pretend for a while. Pretend that you are a sweet, innocent woman. Pretend that you just consist of light and love.”

    It’s so sweet and loving.


    They left the castle with just Mark and Harrison in tow.

    [face_laugh]


    Valiant made no attempt to mask his feelings when we met up. “Take at least my scimitar to defend yourself!”

    He’s not alone!


    After gathering blueprints in the Force for a while, I felt sorry for Draň. Two persons existed in his chest. They acted independently from one another and both loved my sister; one tenderly and one violently.

    That’s when it’s scary, when they’re independent of each other.


    “But I love being artistic on her perfect skin.”

    Kriffing creepy, is what it is.


    His entire being was burning with the rage of the dark side. The luminous, sulphuric yellow of his eyes was split by blood vessels that had expended.

    It’s so sad. The Dark Side is scary but it is also sad to read of.


    He bent over to kiss me lightly on the mouth. “Good-bye, Grianán. I love you more than you ever will know."

    *boughbullcough*
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  18. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    @Lady_Misty, @earlybird-obi-wan:

    Dear Misty & dear bird, Gri is desperate to make Lucien see sense. Even though the danger is that she might lose her own sense and sensibility already.


    @SWpants666: I love reading your comments. I am glad that you did notice my wee Mark & Harrison joke in the middle of all dramatic action. And I am sorry to put your emotions & thoughts on such a roller coaster with Gri & Lucien. You are not the only person being exhausted by them. The rat pack is, the royal family is. Feel hugged and cared for. I am not writing all of this to annoy you. Life is complicated & so can be relationships!!!

    Okay, let us go on, but I must warn you, a witch hunter at work is not nice to read. I am temped to call PG here. Not everybody loves the HBO series "True Blood" & "Game of Thrones" as much as I do. Or Quentin Tarantino movies...

    It will be "white torture", but it will be harsh. Lucien is under the impression that Gri is taken over by her evil ancestors. For cleansing her and restore her innocence he is prepared to go... very, very far.

    By the way, the exorcism prayer that I use is inspired by a prayer that the Vatican has in stock for ages. I also read the Old Testament rather intense for three terms at university, then I did quit with Catholic Education and did Art Education instead. I had my personal reasons.

    Anywhere, here we go:


    ********************************************************************

    When I returned to consciousness, I was lying on my stomach. Somebody had bound my hands and feet with tight ropes. My back ached from the position I was in. The taste of mandrake root was in my mouth. I had been force fed the witch hunt potion of the beanmna feasa order.

    The efforts Luçien took in creating my bonds terrified me. He had implemented methods that I had seen at legal proceedings for prisoners of the Holy Inquisition.

    “I will not hurt you, Grianán. You will do that yourself by moving. The only solution that I see for you is to do your best to keep as still as possible.”

    The sound of his voice from behind me made me shriek, causing myriads of pain to race through my battered body. It was only then that I realized I was unable to sense him in the Force and that my face was tight from the torture mask stretched over it.

    “It cost me a lot of energy to restore you and your blood loss,” he continued. “But it was worth the sacrifice.”

    He ran a finger over my neck, still not making eye contact.

    “Do not think that I enjoyed myself. There is no pleasure in treating you this way. You brought this on yourself, Grianán.”

    How typical that I was to blame. A Darksider always pushed the guilt on to somebody else´s shoulder.

    When Luçien continued, he sounded less tender, more aloof and stern. “A powerful Force user like you cannot be allowed to operate on her own terms.”

    He was the one working on his own terms, breaking my dreams into pieces and tainting my happiest childhood memories of him. He had also destroyed the semblance of a relationship we had created.

    “I have underestimated you before. It will not happen again. Your entire body is a lethal weapon. I have no other choice but to keep you grounded like this.”

    I would not let him succeed in breaking me. He would give up eventually, like my ancestors had. Like Mórag had.

    ********************************************************************

    As time wore on, painfully slow like my blood stream, Luçien said many cruel things to me. I did not believe any of them, knowing the procedure of cognitive distortions too well. I had been present when Mórag had broken people.

    Luçien used his best skills to turn my world upside down. When he noticed that he was not getting anywhere, he rolled up the torture mask a bit so that my mouth could be free.

    “Luçien, please!” I gasped. “Enough. Let us end it here.”

    Before I could say anything else, he forced more mandrake potion between my lips with a large wooden spoon. “I gave you no permission to speak to me, Grianán,” he commented coldly, but his eyes told me that my voice affected him.

    The mask was rolled down again. It immediately tightened around my face, making my jaw hurt.
    "You are doing this to yourself, Grianán! You brought us to this very dark place where we do not want to be. If you had listened to me in the past, had obeyed me, we would not be here."

    Luçien turned away from me and strode towards the window. His hands were folded behind his back while he waited for the drug to fully take effect. He stared outside, his poise showing me that he was nervous and devastated. This was the first time a loved one was at his mercy.

    “Well, I will help you to repent your sins. All of them! You need an exorcism, Grianán.”

    I saw mighty black wings unfolding from Luçien´s back, trembling violently in the fading afternoon twilight. He turned into an avenging angel with a flame-bladed sword, ready to cut me into pieces. When the transformation was complete, he swung around, his eyes yellow.

    I cringed at the onslaught of pain.

    “Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus
    omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio
    infernalis adversarii, omnis legio,
    omnis congregatio et secta diabolica.
    Ergo draco maledicte
    et omnis legio diabolica adjuramus te.
    cessa decipere humanas creaturas,
    eisque aeternae Perditionis venenum propinare.”

    The words echoed in my head in pure Basic.

    “We exorcise you, every impure spirit,
    every satanic power, every incursion
    of the infernal adversary, every legion,
    every congregation and diabolical sect.

    Thus, cursed demon
    and every diabolical legion, we adjure you.
    Cease to deceive human creatures,
    and to give to them the Poison of Eternal Perdition.”

    I passed out.




    Chapter 32: The point of no return

    I had no idea how long I had been unconscious, but the shadows that framed Luçien’s eyes when I came to gave me the impression that it had been too long. I was wearing fresh clothing and my bonds had been readjusted. They were tighter than before. I was also in a totally different stress position.

    “Tu vas me détruire!” he sighed in his mother tongue. Sheer desperation laced his voice, and it was not acted. “You will destroy me. I have a proposal for you, Grianán. You must consider my words before saying anything.”

    It would not be his hand in marriage straight away. Of that I was certain. He had not dragged me up into a sitting position to be nice and feed me a cinnamon cookie. The torture mask would stay on and so would my restraints.

    “The magic of your ancestors is evil and manipulative. My heart was blinded by you from the moment I set eyes on you. In no time, you made me bare myself to you, kneel at your feet.”

    It was not fair blaming his choices on me. He had made them on his own, including forcing me to drink the mandrake potion.

    “You know my thoughts and feelings like nobody else, using them against me all the time. But I have news for you, Grianán.” Tears of anger glistened in his eyes. “I know your fears as well. All of them.”


    He would not make it easy, for either of us. We would both end up broken and scarred.

    “In the end, like it or not, I will have the higher ground. It is you who will pledge yourself to me. I will gladly accept your offered heart in return. And your soul with it.”

    He could not demand what he already possessed. His logic was slipping, and I braced myself for the worse.

    “With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to this sun system. You would be an asset in the fight against the encroaching powers of evil. I can redeem you and turn you into a better person.”

    His delusions terrified me.

    “What is your answer to that, my love?”

    I shook my head defiantly.

    He sighed. “Since you are in bed already, let me tell you a bed time story. Like in the old days, when you were nothing but a sweet and innocent child.”

    Luçien sat next to me, playing with some of my fingers that met with my toes behind my back. I barely felt his touch. His indifference at my poor circulation angered and scared me.

    “Once upon a time your ancestors held some special Elves in captivity, hoping that they would bend under their magical powers. But they were proud folk from the mountains who refused to submit. Those who did not cooperate were bound just as you are, until their limbs mortified and were bloodlessly amputated. You will survive my ministrations. I have, after all, tested the procedure on the father of Éibhear, Laird Dian O´Gradaigh.”

    He meant it. He really meant it. Tears gathered in my own eyes, hot and burning with panic.

    “You have a choice, Grianán. You will join me or...”, Luçien mockingly patted my head, “... make some little sacrifices.”

    With immense effort I rocked myself to the side and fell off the bed, almost choking on the restraints. Bile shot into my mouth.

    ”You must unlearn what you have learned.” he scolded me, when he picked me up.

    Then he rolled the mask up until my nose was free and let me puke into a nearby bowl that he had summoned with the Force.

    “I can be generous and you know that, Grianán,” Luçien gowned. ”Search your feelings, you know it to be true.”

    I went on throwing up, even though the bowl could not contain it any longer, while my lungs – and heart – burned.

    “You must learn to master self-control. I am very, very upset with you.”

    It was hard to stay focused on anything with the suffocating mask on, but I had many doors in my mind, most supplying me with bright memories. After several sun hours though, even those began to succumb to the lies Luçien would have me believe. The talking was even worse than the pain I felt. He betrayed all that I had ever believed in, all that I had ever wanted, and all that had ever existed between us.

    Occasionally, I would spasm in an effort to shift away from him. He did not touch me again, just took care that I did not fall from the bed. He stabilized me with the Force, ignoring the mess I was creating of myself and the linen.

    His mental warfare burrowed under my skin, making me crumble from the inside. “You are a foul and vile creature, Grianán. Simply disgusting. That I keep up with you amazes me.”


    [IMG]

    ********************************************************************

    When I surfaced from another blackout, I had enough wits left to recognize the luggage compartment of Father´s ship, the Paraceus. Luçien knelt in front of me, his eyes a deep yellow.

    “During our flight to Sapuhru you can meditate about your unbelievable incapability to work with me. I try to improve this galaxy. You owe me your help, your obedience and your love.”

    Love. This was a word we interpreted in different ways.

    “Don´t give me that look, Grianán. I will save you from yourself, no matter what. Even if this means breaking my earlier promises to you.”

    He was as mad as my elder sister Adamah, when she had fried half of Polysýndeton. A flicker of his yellowish eyes was the last thing I saw before he left the compartment.

    After a few moments, the ship engines roared. I wished for the ability to blast us out of the sky.

    ********************************************************************

    The ship’s gravity was hard on me, and for the first time in my life I was freezing. I never had imagined that space could be that bitter cold. By now I also had found out that I needed a better plan for the redemption of Luçien.

    Arrogance was the worst sin of all. If I had my diary with me, I would have written that self-awareness down with red ink. Hundred of times, perhaps even thousands of times.

    “Agapi mou!” Those two words brought tears into my eyes. My darling.

    That Father was down here in the luggage compartment meant only one thing: he had died to keep me company. I did not deserve that sacrifice.

    “It was quick!” he assured me, interpreting my sorrow correctly. “I was sitting in my favourite chair in the library when he came from behind me. Within two heartbeats, I was gone.”

    My father glided closer towards me.

    “Grianán, you cannot afford to die! Not under these circumstances! You are Luçien’s only hope.”

    Hope was overestimated. The dark side always won in the end. All lights in the universe would go out at one point. Even suns died.

    Father did his best to calm my fears, but it was hopeless. A weakness, beginning inwardly, had seized the core of my being. I abhorred myself. My self-respect was gone.

    ********************************************************************

    When Luçien finally came back, he gasped in horror and ran towards me. His voice was wrought with anguish. “Grianán? Oh no! What have I done?”

    He quickly tore off the torture mask, but I did not even twitch. It made no difference any longer whether I wore it or not.

    “Please speak to me!”

    I continued to stay lost in my thoughts while Luçien set me free from my bonds and examined my wounds and limbs. I could feel nothing and knew that he would need to amputate after all.

    He carried me to the passenger compartment and gently placed me on a large seat. Tears were streaming down his face, but as far as I was concerned he could cry rivers. I did not listen to his apologies. I did not care.

    Mother hovered above us, her eyes aflame with irritation. “I have watched this one a long time. He never cried for another being like this.”

    I closed my eyes, but she would not cease talking to me.

    “Too much pain, or too much vanity, Grianán?” she asked. “Yes, you mind the tattoos and you miss your hair. You cannot even stand looking at yourself at times. But Luçien can. This is why he is crying. You are his mirror and he now finally sees his own madness. Isn’t this what you wanted?”

    Right now I wanted to be dead to the universe and to be left alone by everybody.

    “Your heart´s desire came true. You should fight to witness it instead of sinking into the arms of depression. He will heal you if you let him.”

    I stopped listening to Mother, recalling too clearly how I had fallen ill in the first place. The terrible thing about my gift was that I knew Luçien´s side of the story, too. My weak state prevented me from shielding against the mental bombardment he rained down on me.

    I place Grianán´s limp body on her sister´s bed and I breathe life back into her. Under my healing touch, her throat wound closes. Her heart starts beating again, faint but noticeable.

    I sink down on the mattress and lie next to her. Under all the blood she manages to look innocent and young, unlike an evil Force witch.

    “Why, Grianán? Why?” I sigh and lightly cup her chin.

    She does not wake up. This near-death experience has almost destroyed her already weak body.

    “What am I to do with you?” Only silence answers.

    Normally, I kill the women that I have found to be guilty of witchcraft; some of them even beg me for their death. Grianán never keeps to the rules. The superiors of the Brotherhood can be forgiving, but not that forgiving. And yet she has somehow manipulated me into keeping her alive.

    “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” I mutter in the silence.

    While I continue gazing at her, I mentally review the Holy Scriptures. They were ancient texts from Terra, that gave my people the strength to end their civil war and, in the end, to bring back peace and order into their midst.

    My lips form the words automatically. “I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute him or herself by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.”

    I kept my feelings for Grianán secret for many years. My family on Sapuhru is still unaware of them. I even managed to fool Isabeau and Sionnach.

    “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads,” I whisper. “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”

    I think of what I will do to expose the sins of my old friends Agathos and Narthex. And then I think of how she will suffer more because of it.

    “What have you done to me? Curse you, Grianán, damn you!”

    I sink off the bed to my knees and sob hysterically. She brings forth emotions that I thought to be dead within me.

    Suddenly the sky outside clears up and sends a sunbeam through the window, bathing Grianán in light. I blink at her. Could that be the answer? Would we both be able to be restored to the light side of the Force? I knew I had to purify my own soul, which she has tarnished.

    ********************************************************************

    I was fading in and out of consciousness while I was carried through the dark streets of Fort Grand. Obviously, Luçien did not dare to apparate with me in this state. I felt every step that he made like a mighty earthquake. My throbbing head lolled against his shoulders, while I listened to his curses. We came to an abrupt halt. He knocked urgently against a massive door.

    Light side energies washed over me. An ancient woman with a walking stick stood in the door frame. “Luçien?” she asked surprised.

    “I am incapable of healing this woman!” His breath was haggard and irregular. “I beseech you to do better than me.”

    Even with my blurred vision, I could tell that her kind gaze was troubled. “Will you stay?”

    He shook his head. His voice was solemn. “I am not worthy of her. It is better when we do not meet again.”

    My hostess sounded unconvinced. “If you do not return for her, then I will make it known that you have no honour. How could you write such rude words on her skin? What ailed you?”

    “I thought her to be an evil Force witch when I did that to her,” he explained heatedly. “I also failed to recognize her as my soul partner.”

    “Soul partner?” the crone shrieked. “You did something like this to a soul partner? How distorted are you?”

    “Blame the holocron that I had to destroy!” he yelled. “Blame my mother´s education! Grandfather´s torture methods! The Brotherhood!”

    Mais non, Luçien. It was you. Not any holocron. And certainly not Fleur or her deceased father! Your Hands painted those tattoos. Your Hands put restrains on her.” She bent down to smell my breath. “Your Hands administered a dangerous substance to her bloodstream. A part of you wanted her to walk the edge of madness. Do not dare to tell me otherwise! Stop finding excuses!”

    A Lidérc women came for me and carried me away from the argument and into a beautiful chamber that was full of tiles. She carefully undressed me and sponge-bathed me. I couldn’t feel her tender squeezes on my fingers and toes.

    Then she wrapped me in a towel and brought me to another room with precious massage oils.

    I was had almost fallen unconscious under her skilled when a mighty voice boomed through the room. “Leave her to me! Parhelion, I also not not wish you around. Everybody out.”

    *******************************************************************************

    The mantle of grace that settled all around me was unbelievable. Light and love were everywhere.

    “I thought attachment to even my own children would be wrong. That it would make them candidates to the dark side of the Force. I let others be their teachers. I have failed as a parent, for Parhelion, Mórag and Luçien have brought evil to this sun system.”

    Blue light soaked my body cells, expanding them. There was no danger of thrombosis any longer. Feeling was returning to my arms and legs.

    “Is it not ironic? The more we fight the dark side, Grianán, the more we lose ourselves in it. Fear is worse than all the other agents. Let go!”

    The surface of my skin started to tickle in uncomfortable, but not unwelcome ways.

    “Sleep now. Your body and soul crave for rest!”

    I was too weak to say anything.

    “I will set you into a healing trance now. Your Midi-chlorians will finish my work.”
    Last edited by AzureAngel2, Jan 13, 2013
    earlybird-obi-wan likes this.
  19. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    What a dark Lucien in this. What will he accomplish.

    Poor Grianan
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  20. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    Life is complicated & so can be relationships

    So very true!



    “It cost me a lot of energy to restore you and your blood loss,” he continued. “But it was worth the sacrifice.”

    He ran a finger over my neck, still not making eye contact.


    *shudders* creepy


    I would not let him succeed in breaking me. He would give up eventually, like my ancestors had. Like Mórag had.

    I love the confidence that she has in herself!



    Chapter 32: The point of no return

    I think I mentioned this in one of the HH chapters, but splitting up the chapters isn’t bad. They’re long and need to be split. But having the end of one and only the beginning of the next breaks up the flow and makes the reading a bit choppy.

    Also, when you do that, it’s about the same length as one original chapter, rendering the split chapters pointless.


    I have a proposal for you, Grianán. You must consider my words before saying anything.”

    As if she has a choice. Butt munch.


    He would not make it easy, for either of us. We would both end up broken and scarred.

    That’s for sure! [face_plain]

    His delusions terrified me.

    They terrify us all.



    “You have a choice, Grianán. You will join me or...”, Luçien mockingly patted my head, “... make some little sacrifices.”

    Her response to that is great. Because he’s creepy and I want to run away from him.


    Love. This was a word we interpreted in different ways.

    Definitely!!


    Arrogance was the worst sin of all.

    Arrogance and pride. The two combined lead to terror.


    When Luçien finally came back, he gasped in horror and ran towards me. His voice was wrought with anguish. “Grianán? Oh no! What have I done?”

    I’m going to punch him in the face, kick him in the groin, and gouge out his eyes. He’s a fracking monster. “What did I do?” Imbocile

    I seriously hate him.


    “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire

    He’s one to talk.


    “I am incapable of healing this woman!” His breath was haggard and irregular. “I beseech you to do better than me.”

    You’re incapable of much of anything.
    “Soul partner?” the crone shrieked. “You did something like this to a soul partner? How distorted are you?”

    Seriously. And “distorted” is an apt description.


    I have failed as a parent, for Parhelion, Mórag and Luçien have brought evil to this sun system.”

    No. They failed HER.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  21. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    As I said, hon, he tries an exorcism to cleanse her immortal soul.

    Now that Star Wars is taken over by Walt Disney let me give you these quotes from "Notre Dame de Paris":

    Clopin:
    Judge Claude Frollo longed
    to purge the world
    Of vice and sin

    Chorus:
    Kyrie Eleison (= Lord have mercy)

    Clopin:
    And he saw corruption
    ev´rywhere
    Except within

    ...


    Clopin:
    And for one time in his life
    Of power and control

    Chorus:
    Kyrie Eleison (= Lord have mercy)

    Clopin:
    Frollo felt a twinge of fear for his immortal soul


    In this case Lucien fears for Grianán´s soul who seems to be corrupted by the souls of her undead ancestors. As any true Tjiehenet Force witch!

    We know that he is utterly wrong with his assumption, but he has a... sort of nervous breakdown... melt-down... okay, he goes crazy like Anakin on Mustafar when yelling at Padmé & thinking that she betrayed him with Obi-Wan.

    Lucien is a broken and twisted man. Gri´s habit to tell him not always the truth, as it was the case with her gift of psychometry, her grooming of him/ flirting with him, his guilt about the tattoos he gave her back at the monastery WITHOUT recognizing her, the state of Dran´s marriage, Caelestris fragile mental health due to too many memories being deleted... all this leads to a major crisis. And in his hour of need, he turns to the only thing that kept him going since he is three years old: the faith of his people, which is harsh. As harsh as the desert planet on which his ancestors got exiled.

    A witch hunter always runs danger to judge a situation wrong and, trust me, the dark side twists Lucien´s bleeding heart even stronger...
  22. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    @SWpants666
    Forgiveness, that I updated it this way, but I was ill when I came back from school yesterday, one of those murderous migraines. Today I am still weakish, but we had to shop for groceries and also had to bring something dear to the shop for an uncertain reparation (see, we could not find the original sale slip and the company still can say ´no repair´ or ´no compensation, guys!´ to us!).

    My husband also just remarked that I was too desperate to update, too desperate to read the reactions of my loyal readers. Well, he is the one to talk. It is either "Dungeons and dragons" with @Tyranus230 & his twin. Or "Formula One". So yes, instead of being wise with this update, I did it this way. Try to keep myself together next time.

    But with @Chilla being busy with her Japanese study year and @Gkilkenny having important family matters to deal with, I miss comments at times.

    And next week I will hardly have any time for updating and NaNo writing, because I have to teach 21 lessons at the job training college and 2x4 lessons at the homework help institute. So I sort of panicked and kicked all the wise advice of you and my husband out of the window...

    Won´t happen again!

    [face_blush]

    Better smaller updates then none at all.

    But the point also is I am not @earlybird-obi-wan. I cannot torture folk with cliffies... simply cannot.


    Hope now that I have not failed you of choosing an unorthodox way to update... [face_nail_biting]
  23. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    Sometimes someone needs to hit rock bottom for them to admit that they need help.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  24. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Mora also does counseling for couples... but Lucien certainly would not like to know about that one right now!
  25. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Okay, update time again...

    @earlybird-obi-wan, @Lady_Misty, @SWpants666, @DarthUncle, @Chilla, @Gkilkenny, @Tyranus230

    Busy times due to my college being sick after his operation and me teaching 23 lessons plus 2x4 lessons elsewhere. When I come home my husband luckily has dinner ready and I fall onto the sofa for some DVD or straight into my bed. But I like my three different jobs at three different locations.

    Just try to do my NaNo duty somehow.

    I wanted to post half of the chapter first, but then I realized that I will be visiting friends with my husband! So I do not know for sure if I find the time to update at all. So I better post the entire Chapter 33.



    Chapter 33: Shattered

    I did not only awake to the smell of spiced chai tea in my nose, but to hair tickling my shoulders. My own hair. It was back. As my hands flew towards my skull with joy, I noticed that there was another difference. The ghastly tattoos were gone. So was my pain. I cried with gratitude.

    Smiling Lidérc women were all around me. They helped me to get up and bathe, rubbing a generous amount of fragrant oil into my skin again. I smelled as intoxicating as a desert rose.

    But this time, the moon priestesses, for that was who they all were, did more. They brushed my hair with adoration and painted my eyelids with kohl. I could not remember Isabeau ever doing that. The moist jungle air did not mix well to any kind of make-up, forcing tattoos to become the fashion.

    Before I could protest, the women donned me in a sari. It was as red as the dune sea and had gold threads. The fabric was soft, like the buds of an orchid. I also was adorned with jewellery, feeling like the midwinter tree at Dún Barr. Gold bangles covered my wrists and my ankles. A filigree headpiece was woven into my hair.

    Finally, I was lead to a bronze mirror and I blinked at my reflection for a few moments before realization hit me. I was wearing a Lidérc wedding dress. There was no mistake about that. Yelping, I clung on to the mirror.

    My greatest wish, getting married to Luçien, had become a very frightening prospect.

    Before I could sink to the ground in sheer exhaustion, and worry, the door opened. An older woman dressed in an orange sari and with the bindu of a high priestess walked towards me slowly, with a smile.

    “I am Minou Yeotenn, the patron of the House of Healing. It is good to see you alive and well, child.”

    Before she could say anything else, the door of my chamber flew open once more. Luçien stood there, glassy-eyed. A limp form was hanging over his left shoulder.

    “You bring death itself to the House of Healing?” shrieked the elderly lady.

    “I am death,” he said hollowly. “And my work follows me everywhere. It did not disturb you before, did it now, Minou?”

    I rose from the bed, hesitantly walking towards him.

    While I had been struggling with my own life, Isabeau had lost hers. My trembling hands reached out for her dead body. Luçien did not stop me.

    My eyes water, but the tears did not fall, as I took in her last moments.

    Luçien took his leather gloves off, throwing them on the ground. He looked at his hands and stretched his fingers.

    I felt my lungs collapsing. If he continued, I would drown from the inside.

    It was ironic. It would be the very death that I once had dreamt of, but never expected to happen like this. It was not a lake or the ocean that would kill me but my own blood. There was no dignity in it.

    Luçien came towards me very, very slowly. His voice was hoarse. “I did warn you, Isabeau, did I not?”

    I noticed something unexpected. He carried Grianán´s scent. That was impossible.

    I sniffed again, slowly and carefully.

    It was indeed her scent. Underlining it I smelled tears, urine and blood. All relatively fresh and tinged with fear. I looked at Luçien in horror. What had he done to her?

    “I ordered you to never come back home. You chose to disobey me.” He opened his arms. “You were aware of the consequences.”

    Judging from the clean state of his boots, he just had come out of his ship, knowing nothing of his belated father´s decision.

    Breathing became more painful and my thoughts were muddled. But I could still grasp that Grianán was here with him, here on Sapuhru. And even though she was badly hurt, she was alive. Death carried a different scent.

    While Luçien ranted on, I moved one of my blood smeared hands away from my belly and towards my throat. After what felt like ages, my fingers cramped around the amulet that I was wearing.

    Fleur sprinted towards us. I smelled her blind panic. My smile was genuine.

    Luçien turned towards his mother.

    I used all the strength that was left in me and tore the leather band from my neck. It hurt, but the leather violently burst, leaving a deep cut in my neck.

    “Luçien! Alezan forgave her!”

    My hand sank to my side.

    Luçien leapt towards me. The very moment that he closed his arms around me the light in my eyes broke.

    “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

    I still heard him howling in pain and frustration when I was in-between worlds. But I ignored him and moved on.

    I left it all behind me, including my precious message for Grianán. A message only she would be able to read.

    Revenge would be mine after all.

    ********************************************************************

    Once the echoes of Isabeau´s death stopped, I returned to the present. My eyes locked with Luçien´s.

    I could have crushed his wind pipe. I could have made his body explode. I could have burned him into ashes with Force lightning. But I stared at him in sorry.

    Finally, Luçien reached out for me in a begging gesture. He did not want to put Isabeau to rest in the dune sea all by himself.

    I placed one of my hands directly into the offered glove. He enclosed his fingers around mine. There was a new carefulness in his touch.

    There were eopies waiting for us in the stables of the House of Healing. I accepted the travel cloak he offered me.

    We rode out of the city under the watchful eyes of its inhabitants. I was sure that they could smell the dead Isabeau, who rested in the front of Luçien´s saddle.

    Flowers and handkerchiefs were thrown in our wake. It was their way of saying a last good-bye to a warrior woman.

    Outside the city walls, the desert lay before us in its divine beauty. I had seen the erg in holocron projections and Isabeau’s memory, but in reality it was even more stunning.

    Dawn turned the landscape into a sea of blood.

    The sky did not mourn for Isabeau. Out here, a single life did not mean very much to anybody, but no dead body was wasted. It was the holy circle of life that I knew from the Mother Jungle of Cunabula, even though I found that to be less spectacular.

    We rode through the night until we reached the area in which the House Riwalan had been slaughtered decades ago.

    “May I place her in the sand?” Luçien asked, not daring to speak out Isabeau´s name.

    “If you care to wait until I have found the exact spot her father and brother died.”

    Please, go ahead.”

    I slowly slid out of the saddle, concentrating hard. The traces of Isabeau’s family were buried deep and scattered. After some time, my skin finally prickled when I mentally touched the exact place under the stars.

    An embrace was all that I could offer my son. Together we would die and be re-born in a better world. The soldiers of the House Ankou had already showed their deadly efficiency. Heads rolled through the sand.

    I saw my wife being imprisoned after a savage fight. I knew that she would never surrender to Comte Alezan Ankou.

    Soon, I would be reunited with my daughter Isabeau, my little desert rose. Eternity would be ours.

    I sank down, not minding the tears that I shed. “Right here, Luçien! Right here!”

    Together, we freed Isabeau from the bandages that he had rolled her in. She looked like a deadly beauty, willing to sacrifice her life for Heulwen – just the way I remembered her.

    “Do you want to say a prayer, Grianán?”

    I shook my head. “Religion meant nothing to Isa after she came to Draconis. And I do not do religion around you.”

    His voice was hoarse. “Can I speak a prayer at least?”

    ”Do it for yourself then,” I barked. “But silently. Your words have the power to scar my soul.”

    He hung his head, ashamed.


    [IMG]

    ********************************************************************

    Isabeau´s Force ghost kissed me when I turned my back on her corpse and Luçien. “You could still kill him on your wedding night, you know.”

    I was not a black widow and we both knew that.

    “I put all my efforts and emotions in leaving you a message. You never found my necklace did you? The one your mother gave me the day you were born?”

    I shook my head. There had been no necklace with the corpse.

    “Ah well, you are here, Heulwen is alive and Luçien suffers for his heinous acts. What else could I want?”

    A word formed soundlessly on my lips. “Holidays?”

    “I love you, Grianán! You were always my favourite. Just do not give in to the dark side any further, okay? You are too clever to fall for its dirty tricks.”

    “I will try my best,” I whispered.

    “Do, or do not. There is no try. Have a life again.” Isabeau danced away, laughing and enjoying her reunion with the dune sea.

    Luçien interrupted my thoughts. “Shall I bring you home, Grianán?”

    “To my father’s funeral? Yes!” Even through his desert robes, I could see him gulp. “It was not I who broke his heart. Look closer to home.”

    The misery in his blue eyes was genuine.

    “I would not mind staying in the desert tonight,” I admitted.

    Luçien’s guilt granted him swiftness. He had prepared for this possibility, and had a tent and other useful equipment his saddle bags. “How can I be of further service to you?” he wanted to know once he had finished setting up.

    I blushed due to my wedding dress, and said a bit sharply, “Stay out of my way tonight! Do not, I repeat, do not come any closer than within a yard of me.”

    “As you wish, Grianán.”

    He stepped out into the desert night again, a pondering shape. At present, I was not prepared to share his loneliness. I just wanted to slide out the foreboding dress and skip into a dreamless sleep.

    ********************************************************************

    The bottle is where I left it. Adding just a little bit of potion will do Grianán no harm. She will only get sick, but it will not be fatal. I will see to it that she survives the procedure of her eternal salvation. It will be our greatest triumph, and we will save our people together!

    While I close the kitchen cupboard again, another old verse comes to mind. I speak it aloud.

    “The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
    and at our door is every delicacy,
    both new and old,
    that I have stored up for you, my lover.”

    My ungloved hand still held the bottle. While I carefully plan each step for her redemption, I go for my toolbox that always contains a couple of jute robes. Iron shackles are too crude for the bonds that I have in mind for her. It will also be a healthier way of focusing my mind.

    I need Grianán´s absolute cooperation. There will be no maiming and no acts of real torture. She is too precious to me for that. Unfortunately, there will have to be many tears before she accepts her fate. I know her too well to expect anything else.

    I open the chest in the hall. There they were, the gruesome, but effective tools of my trade. Since Grianán´s early childhood, when she first found out about them, she has been fearful of them. That will make them more effective.

    My free hand grasps for the torture mask that I took from my half-sister ages ago. The same mask I had to wear myself as a youth, when she threw me into her dungeon for a couple of hours.

    “I will catch you when you fall, Grianán,” I promise myself. “It will be like a bad dream. But I have the power to end it for you. I can be strong enough for the two of us. You will heal after I break you, trust me.”

    From my own history I know it is possible. With a bit of effort from my side, I will perform a true Force miracle. But first I need to wear her out physically and emotionally.

    ********************************************************************

    I returned into the present, screaming. Not even the thickness of the desert night could hide the truth. My blanket was wet. A deadly chill hung around me like a misty cloud.

    Luçien kept his distance, knowing all too well that his physical closeness would make it worse for me. “Can I get you something? Tea?” he asked with a shaky voice. “Fresh clothing? A sponge to clean yourself? A new blanket?”

    “My life,” I whispered. “All has trickled away like water. You did a good job. Tell me, how many Force witches have you redeemed?”

    “I never left any of them alive, Grianán,” he answered roughly. “That was not part of their redemption.”

    “Strange that I am the odd one out.” I hid my face between my knees, not caring that my nightgown was soaked in my own filth.

    He came a bit closer. “I hurt you in unspeakable ways. So many wounds in your soul. I can feel them. It was me exposing you to the dark side. Not the other way around. I understand that now.”

    “I will be fine,” I grunted.

    “Eventually you might be, but I better make sure of it. There are some wounds that never might heal. I wish I hadn’t been so thorough.” He sat down next to my pillow, which caused me to shiver even more. “Easy, Grianán! I will not touch you, but allow me to freshen up your bed. I also would like to watch over you while you sleep.”

    “I do not like being monitored by you, Luçien. Not after...” I broke off,
    gasping for air.

    “By the ashes of your grandfather – please trust me to keep my word to you.”

    “Strange that you would bring him up,” I mused. “I feel like a pile of ashes myself.”

    “Grianán, please? You will get ill if you sleep in your own filth.”

    Reluctantly, I did his bidding. I drew back into a corner of the tent hidden by shadows and cleaned myself.

    Luçien went into the night with my dirty clothes, as promised. When he walked back in handed me some spare pants of his and an equally clean robe.

    “This is all that I can offer you at present.”

    I bit my tongue to stop myself from thanking him.

    I lay back down, with my back to him.

    “Try to get back to sleep. I just will sit here to keep you save from your inner demons.” While speaking he bent his head a little towards me, as if he was about to kiss me.

    I flinched away and my right arm shot protectively over my head. “Do not come any closer!”

    “I won´t,” he got out. “I gave you a promise. Please be assured that I will honour it.”

    “Like the ones before?”

    He grumbled something incomprehensible.

    I could not help myself asking, “Are you going to hit me?”

    “Hit you? Why should I want to do that?” Luçien sounded confused.

    “Because I anger you.”

    Luçien thought hard on what to say next. Then the words came, slow, gentle and emphatic. “Let me explain how much I dislike to hurt others. My sons followed me to work one night. Even though the Holy Scriptures demanded a full whipping, I simply used a bamboo cane and made the punishment as short as possible. Three strokes for each on their bare backsides. I felt rotten for even that.”

    I curled into a foetal position.

    “But to have tortured you, Grianán, feels worse. Much worse. And I do not mean just the physical harm. It is the mental anguish.”

    I felt small and vulnerable. “I want no more speeches, Luçien. You gave me too many. For now let me just sleep!”
    Last edited by AzureAngel2, Jan 5, 2013
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