|Serpent Queen Lanfen||
Posted: Dec 15 2017, 02:39 PM
LANFEN YIN LIU
"The Serpent Queen"
"A little wicked," that's what he calls me Cause that's what I am, that's what I am
No one calls you honey when you're sitting on a throne No one calls you honey when you're sitting on a throne Beware the patient woman, cause this much I know No one calls you honey when you're sitting on a throne
One of these days a-coming, I'm gonna take that boy's crown There's a serpent in these still waters lying deep down To the king, I will bow, at least for now One of these days a-coming, I'm gonna take that boy's crown
Cause I am, I am a little wicked I am, yes, I am Hands red, hands red just like he said I am a little wicked
As I lay me down to sleep I will not scream, I will not weep If he should die before he wakes I'll pray the Lord his soul to take
Cause I am, I am a little wicked
I am, yes, I am
Hands red, hands red just like he said
I am a little wicked
HEY MY NAME'S SKYLARK AND I'M 21. THIS IS LANFEN. SHE'S A MAGICAL BEING. YOU CAN CONTACT ME THROUGH PM/SKYPE/DISCORD OR WHATEVER. MY OTHER CHARACTERS ARE ADRIAN, GRETEL, DAISY, ARTHUR, EIRWEN, CAITIR, EINARR, GERDA, & CREVAN. OH, AND I LIVE IN THE GMT. OTHER THAN THAT, CISSA IS REBORN! *even more evil cackle*. SEE YA!
“Arise, Emylynn la Marche, Princess of Iriod and Duchess of the Isle of Evreux. Heir to the Iriod crown.”
The thirteen year old rises obediently and turns to the congregation, that sea of proud faces.
“Well may she carry out her duties. Well may she future reign. Long may she live.”
The princess’ eyes fall on the beaming smiles of her parents in the front row, her younger sister grinning excitedly by their side. In a few years time, it would be Idette’s turn to stand up here. To be coronated and wear her crown with all the grace and pride their parents had instilled in them
“Long may she live. Long may she live. Long may she live.”
The congregation take up the repeated chant, their voices filling the air. Emylynn straightens her posture, holds her head high and smiles down at them all. She promises herself then that she will be the best ruler she could for them. She will make her parents proud.
The same time, the same day, three years later, and Emylynn is sat on a wall in a palace garden, drawing away from the kiss of a boy she had come to love with all her heart.
“Now, because it’s your birthday, princess, I have a gift for you…I just hope you like it.”
Prince Yvain raises himself off the wall and drops to one knee. From his pocket, he pulls a ring.
“Oh, yes…YES! Yvain, yes!”
“Hold on, I didn’t even get to ask anything yet-” Emylynn stops his words by leaping at him, knocking them both back onto the grass where they embrace tightly, laughing.
“…So, should I take that as a maybe?” The princess swats Yvain playfully before kissing him.
“Queen Helaine la Marche has admitted to the crime of the practise of witchcraft, the active use of black magic and the corruption of both her daughters, the Princesses Emylynn and Idette, in her magical workings.”
The councillor glances over at the two girls huddled at the other side of the room. Idette’s expression is one of pure terror whereas Emylynn stares stoically across at her father, seated at his throne. So, their mother is a witch, a dark witch. And so a whole line of her family has been for generations. She’d allowed her two daughters to help her out sometimes with her spells, her rituals; she had wanted to pass on her witchcraft to her daughters as her mother had done. Emylynn had thought their father had known, even she hadn’t fully known what her mother was…but Queen Helaine was quite the mystery it turned out.
“On the King’s command, Helaine, you are stripped of all title and possessions and are hereby exiled from Iriod.” The councillor bows to the king, then gives the smallest bow to the princesses before taking leave of the room.
“How could you do this to me, Helaine?” King Audric is on the verge of tears. This is no state to see a king in. The rest of the audience, but for the la Marches and a select guard, are ushered immediately from the room. “How could you bring our children into this? I thought- I thought-”
They never did get to hear what he thought, for King Audric storms out before saying another word. Before the tears come.
Emylynn is rather surprised that they’d let her say goodbye to her mother. Idette has not been allowed. But here she stood, at the palace gates, wishing farewell to the woman who has now lost everything because of what she is. The woman who has lost her place in Emylynn’s heart.
“You’ll keep this close to you, won’t you?” Emylynn pockets the pendant, feeling the forbidden magic brimming within it and kisses her mother obediently on the cheek, her eyes cold.
“Please, Emylynn, you can’t hate me for this.” Her eyes are desperate, pleading.
“You are a witch, mother, you are evil.” Helaine holds her daughter’s face. This view has been instilled in her daughter since she was born, Helaine even helped to put it there. But she had tried, behind closed doors, to encourage her daughters to embrace who they truly are.
“There will come a day when you come to accept who you are also. When you will see the evil are truly better than the good…Come with me, my Emy.”
“We must stay away from your kind.” Emylynn frees herself from her mother’s touch. “Goodbye, mother.”
The witch leaves as the princess watches on, emotionless. Her mother is heartbroken, but knows her daughter will one day return to her.
Emylynn is thrown to the throne room floor beside her sister. The two immediately embrace, both weeping. This is the end. Outside the palace walls, the capital city crashes and burns. The overthrowing of the House of La Marche who have reigned peacefully for so many centuries is in full swing. And here they are, with a front row seat for its horrific climax.
“Your wife should have been executed for her crimes, Audric, and your daughters should have been imprisoned for their involvement.” The voice comes from the crowned man on her father’s throne. The new, self-coronated King Ignace, a leader ready to bring Iriod to a new age. One completely free from all magic.
“You’ve grown soft, old man…” His son, the new Prince Jacques sneers, towering over the two kneeling forms of the princesses.
“So, I think my son and I shall take Iriod’s leadership from here. The people will welcome us with open arms, don’t worry-”
“Just as soon as we tell them what a danger your slack treatment of evil-doers has put them all in.” Jacques looks to Emylynn, his face filled with disgust.
“YOU CAN’T DO THIS!” Idette flinches in her arms as Emylynn yells.
“I think we just did, didn’t we, father? The La Marches have had their day, princess, and so has your witchcraft.”
Emylynn wants so much to shout at him, to hit him. Scratch his smug face to pieces. But she doesn’t have the opportunity. The new King Ignace rams a sword through her father’s chest and Emylynn’s heart shatters.
“We have successfully detained the witch, Idette, and it is only her sister, the witch Emylynn, that needs to be brought to justice. We now speak directly to Emylynn, if you are listening witch, if you choose to hand yourself in, we will drop the search for your fiancé, Prince Yvain. Understand, witch? He will be left be if you turn yourself in to us.”
“Wait, Emy, what are you doing?!” But Emylynn is too quick for him, she pulls the door to the cottage’s cellar shut and bolts it before Yvain can reach up to prevent her. Now, he is safe.
The two villagers who have been risking their lives to hide their beloved and wronged princess and her love stand by her side, the woman fighting back tears. “Is this really what you wish to do, Princess?”
Emylynn holds her hand in both of her’s. “I must. If I do not go to them, they will hurt Yvain…and I cannot let harm come to him.” The woman nods and her husband wraps a protective arm around Emylynn, pulling her and his wife into a warm embrace.
“You are very brave, your Highness.”
“Not brave, just trying to do the right thing.” Emylynn glances towards the cellar door, Yvain’s shouting and banging on the door are painful to hear. “You’ll try to keep him there, won’t you? At least until I’m definitely…you know-”
“Yes, we will. He’s safe with us….good luck, Princess.”
Emylynn breaks the embrace but holds a hand of each. “We owe you so much. I wish I had something to give in return but…I have nothing now. All I can give you is my gratitude.”
“That’s more than enough.” Emylynn nods solemnly at his words, smiles kindly and leaves them. She walks off to her fate, Yvain’s pleads for her not to leave him ringing in her ears.
“They found me, Emy!” Two guards hold Yvain down. “They killed the villagers” His screams pierce through Emylynn’s heart as she is forced to kneel in front of him, Prince Jacques holding her hair in his fist. Her scalp burns, tears scorch warm trails down her cheeks.
“Please, let him go. Please! You said you’ll spare him if- if-” Jacques tugs at her hair. The pain makes her eyes water, the sight of her love makes her weep.
“Yes, we did say that, didn’t we? …Thing is we want every little part of your witchcraft-infested family punished, Princess, and that includes your darling Yvain.” King Ignace speaks from his place on her father’s throne. Emylynn wants more than anything to rip him from his seat, to wrap her hands around his neck…
“Though, I’d love to see her beg.” Jacques taunts. His father quietens him. He gives a gesture.
They cannot do this. Not to Yvain. The man she loves with all her heart could not be ripped from her like this. They cannot.
But they do. Yvain’s throat is slit. He drops to the polished floor, his blood spilling out onto the wood. A scream rises in Emylynn’s throat.
She releases it.
It is deafening.
Never had she thought she’d ever hear despair so perfectly captured in a sound…but it is there in her very throat. It leaves her lips. Rips from her lungs. It is not screaming but wailing.
They refuse to let her go to him. Refuse to let her say goodbye.
Emylynn does not struggle as they drag her away. She wails, she deafens them…but she no longer has the heart to fight. Her heart is empty now, it is in pieces.
This is her fault. Yvain had been dragged into her family’s chaos. If he had loved any other, he would not be dead. The blame lay with her, his blood was on her hands.
Emylynn knows then, promises herself then, that she will never love another man as much as she had Yvain. She will not betray him like that.
and she does not deserve to have another love as she had with him.
“Idette and I have been imprisoned for a long time. I do not know how long we have been here.
Without Yvain, nothing matters. Without him, I have nothing. I am nothing.
I see him every time I close my eyes. I scream for him in my sleep. The sight of his body haunts me, his petrified expression, the knife slicing through his flesh. Yvain’s blood pooling on the floor we had once danced on together in each other’s arms.
My sister is all I have left.
We wait. We rot. We wallow in grief for all we have lost. It is all we can do. We wait.
Eventually, I realise something. No one is coming for us. No one is going to come and save us. The world doesn’t work that way. I am alone. I am the only one left to save us.
And so that is exactly what I do.”
The two princesses sprint from their prison, hand in hand. Their hearts thud in unison, both chests heaving. The same desperation and terror floods through the veins of both girls.
They had escaped. But they must keep running. To stop would mean certain death.
The moon shines above them, the wind pushes at them. Around Emylynn’s waist, tied with a ribbon against her flesh, her mother’s pendant burns. She had always kept it on her. The mother her kingdom had forced her to hate still held a sacred place in the tatters of Emylynn’s heart. She had used it’s magic to gain their freedom. And it had been easy, it had felt right.
They had called her a witch. Now, she really is one.
“HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? SHE WAS INNOCENT, IDETTE NEVER DID ANYTHING TO HARM ANYONE!” Emylynn cradles her sister’s body in her arms. Tears stain her cheeks, heart in ruins. She does not wish to let go. She does not wish to ever let go.
“How can you call her innocent? When she shares your witch mother. When she is one of the two witch princesses. She is a vile creature…and she deserves this fate.” Jacques sneers. Emylynn for the first time in her life feels the urge to kill a man. To murder someone with her own hands. How had she thought they would ever be able to get far before the royal guard found them? Why did she ever think they could escape?
“We never knew what we were doing when we helped mother. We thought it was some game, we didn’t know it was magic. Not witchcraft, please, we didn’t know it was black magic.” Her voice is the epitome of desperation. Desperation and grief.
“It’s too late for pleading, witch.” Something about his tone causes her to finally snap. She rips the pendant from where she has worn it hidden around her waist since the day her mother left. Emylynn holds it out and as the fury sweeps through her, heat emanates from deep within the little trinket. It is so hot, it begins to burn her hand. But the princess, the witch, holds onto it tightly and presses her closed fist over her heart.
She closes her eyes. She wants to cause them pain. She wants to cause them complete agony. They need to feel her terror, her despair. They need to know how they have ruined her, broken her. They must suffer.
Emylynn’s eyes snap open as she hears screams. Prince Jacques is doubled over in agony, his screams bring a twisted smile to her lips. His eyes burn with fury and utter disgust. “You bitch!” Emylynn’s eyes flicker around the faces of his guard, each and every one in just as much crippling pain as the next. The pendant scolds her flesh. But she has power. They had tried to keep it from her her whole life, but she is a witch. She is a witch and she finally has power.
The thought of it makes her giddy. Emylynn laughs. It is cold, cruel, almost hysterical. How happy it makes her to see her sister’s murderers in such pain.
She has to run. She cannot leave Idette to them…but she owes it to her sister to at least get herself to safety.
Tying the pendant around her neck, Emylynn suddenly finds her strength again. It isn’t the same strength as before, not the one found in the love she shares, in the bonds she makes with others; this was born from black magic, born from the joy of revenge.
She runs. She will not stop.
“You cannot run forever, Princess.” Jacques chokes the words out, the witch grins to hear the pain in his voice.
No and she won’t be. For now she has to but she isn’t going to be running forever.
One day, she will be back, her heart screams. One day, she will rip them to pieces for all they have done.
The princess falls into her mother’s open arms and sinks into her warm embrace. The witch, Helaine, strokes her hair comfortingly, allowing her daughter to cry into her shoulder. Waiting patiently for the time she wishes to speak.
“They- they killed them, mother. They killed all of them. Father. Yvain…Idette.” Emylynn fights through her sobs, choking on each name. Breaking at her sister’s. “We haven’t done anything, mother. We- we-”
“I know, my child. I am sorry you had to suffer that.” Helaine is in tears too now, for the man she had loved, for her cherished daughter. Mother and daughter kneel there, holding each other closer than they ever have before, united in their loss, their grief and their future.
“I- I couldn’t save them…I couldn’t save them.” Emylynn repeats it again and again, the guilt bears down on her. “…I don’t know how I got here, mother…I just- I ran…” Her mother holds her close.
“Your blood has called you here, my child. A witch always knows where to find her sisters.” Helaine rises, bringing her daughter up to standing, eyes noticing the pendant now adorning her neck. The two other witches approach now, wrapping their arms around their friend and their new sister.
“You’ll stay with us now, Emy.” Her mother gently brushes away her tears with a finger.
Emylynn simply nods, it was all she can do. The grief chokes her, silences her.
“My child, do you finally see what I have been trying to tell you all along? Good never wins in this world, it is trodden on, eliminated. Evil always wins out, the good only devote themselves to a life of hard endurance. We must fight back. Fire with fire. Blood with blood. Evil is our only hope.”
Helaine knew her child would be back, knew she would come one day to accept who she truly was. As her daughter nods again, Helaine smiles. Emylynn is in her rightful place now. Her daughter is home.
“Neva, Lunette, Helaine and Emylynn. The four sisters of Melaine’s Circle. That was who I was now. That is who I am. My new sisters in magic are eager to teach me everything they know. Spells, potions, enchantments. Knowledge that is sacred to them, to me now. Handed down from mother to daughter for generations. The magic fills me, consumes me. It is all I am now, all I have left to live for. And with knowledge comes power. I know how to poison and plague, how to breed shadows and evil thoughts, how to curse and destroy. I can enchant. I can confuse. I can cause a man crippling agony. I can make him sleep forever.
It is all dark. I can feel it in my heart, it blackens as the magic soaks in. The evil is slowly putting it back together, piece by piece. My heart is different; no longer in shreds but now it is strong. It is darkened now but I do not care. They call me evil, they call me witch. Now, I shall be both. And they will fear me. As mother promises, they will tremble at my feet.
Light has its little victories. It has its moments of glory.
But it is eventually extinguished by darkness. Darkness shall always triumph in the end.”
Emylynn stares at herself in the mirror. Her hair is white and straw-like. Her face wrinkled and weathered. The young woman no longer stands before them. “I look…old.” She states with a laugh.
“Old and ugly.” Neva stands on her left, her mother on her right.
“But surely it’s more use to be young and beautiful, mother. Isn’t that what you said?” Emy turns her head to her mother, eyes betraying her confusion. She had been beautiful, beauty was power. Beauty drew people in, made them favour you. A pretty face could manipulate so much easier than an ugly one.
“Yes, it is true that beauty is a very powerful weapon to yield…but the lack of it also holds a great power.” Neva nods solemnly at her mother’s sage words. “We each can look both young and beautiful, old and ugly. This can hide you. It is a cloak, Emy.”
“She just needs a name now, Helaine.” Lunette joins them. She hands Emylynn the potion to take her back to her pretty young self.
“How about Hilde?” Lunette suggests and the sisterhood laugh.
Emylynn smiles. It is a smile that foretells an evil to come. An evil that is growing rapidly inside the heart of Iriod’s once beloved, then witch, now fallen Princess Emylynn la Marche.
“Yes, mother, I am ready now. I am ready to make them pay for their wrongs.”
“Good, my child, you know what you must do, don’t you?”
“Yes, mother, I must bring Iriod to its knees.”
“Yes, my Emylynn, because if our family cannot have their rightful kingdom…”
“…no one can, mother. They shall pay for all they have done, mother, they shall pay dearly.”
“I am Lady Amorette Harcourt. A dainty and elegant young thing. Newly arrived at court, my protective father finally deeming me old enough to do my duty to him, to settle down, to carry on the Harcourt legacy.
I am blonde now. Long hair reaching down my back in straight locks. Pale blue eyes that twinkle when I laugh; eyes that draw you in, eyes that speak of gentleness and good-nature. Short in height, petite in build.
Every part of me screams delicate now. Weak. A pretty little thing, begging to be protected. To be doted on. To be looked after. To be adored. Just in need of a man to support me. Amorette is compassionate; she is innocent; she is sickeningly sweet.
Her beauty, her kindness, her grace, take the Iriod Court by storm.
And Prince Jacques could not resist.
Soon, I am married. Soon, Lady becomes Princess. Soon, Princess shall be Queen.
The Witch Princess is slowly sneaking her way back into power…and no one has the faintest idea.”
“His blood’s on my hands, Amor. How can I be a King when I went about it in this way?” Oh, Jacques. If only he knew who stood by his side now. The famous Emylynn, the woman he had caused so much pain. The newly-coronated King means his father, of course; the blood relative, mentor, and everything important, he had slain with his own hands. But to Emylynn, his words cut so much deeper.
Indeed, there was blood on his hands. They are soaked in it. Dripping with it.
Amorette pulls him into a tight embrace, kissing his lips to quieten his worries. “You were made to be King, Jacques. We both know that…you will rule Iriod so much better than your father did. And I will never leave your side.”His doting wife smiles gently. Though, it was she who pushed him to this, who artfully persuaded him to take his father’s life and his crown in the process. But she had manipulated him so beautifully, so perfectly Jacques would never blame her.
He would not lift a finger, not raise a harsh word, to his precious Queen.
Amorette held his heart in her hands…and Emylynn would rip it to pieces like he had her’s.
Jacques nods, his confident smile back in place. “Of course, you’re right, Amor. And I will rule this kingdom better than it ever has been before.”
But not just yet. Emylynn had all the patience in the world. She had all the time in the world. Justice would be done, her revenge would be perfect. The time it took to reach it did not matter to her at all.
“I know you will, my love.” Queen Amorette embraces him. Embraces her darling murderer; her dear assassin; her beloved King whose hands drip with blood.
Queen Amorette pulls away from the kiss and giggles. Duke Armel holds her against his chest. Her king’s general and right hand man smiles lovingly down at her.
Her features contort into an expression of terror. “But- but, Armel, I’m worried…what if- what if Jacques finds out?” What if the king found his best friend with his wife? Oh, she could only imagine.
And soon they would all find out.
“Don’t worry, Amor. I will protect you. I love you, I will not let him lay a finger on you.” Amorette smiles at him and snuggles into his chest.
On cue, the King of Iriod, her husband, enters Armel’s chambers.
“Armel, there’s a problem downstairs and I need-” He stops as he sees the scene before him.
Jacques takes a moment to process it. His wife, his Queen, his beloved and darling Amorette cuddled up to his general, his right hand man, his best friend.
The affair drops on him like a bomb.
Armel acts first. He shoves Amorette behind him and stands straight, hand on the hilt of his sword. “Don’t you dare touch her!”
It takes a moment for the King to snap into action. Amorette can see the heartbreak in his eyes. Can see his world crumbling to pieces.
“Her? Her? I love her, Armel. You know I do. I would never hurt her!” There is a fire raging in his eyes, Amorette can see the deep hurt behind it. Jacques suddenly grabs the front of his friend’s shirt in both fists. Amorette squeals and backs away.
“You on the other hand? I don’t care how much I hurt you. This is your fault, you’ve tempted her, forced her into this. Amorette would never do this to me!” Amorette edges towards the door, tears streaming down her flawless skin.
“I didn’t do anything like that, Jacques! She loves me! More than she loves you!”
Jacques punches Armel in the jaw. Armel hits back.
Amorette slyly leaves Armel’s chambers, silently shutting the door behind her. She leans back against it, listening to the shouting, to the sound of punches. She hears a smashing. Hears the sound of someone crashing to the floor.
Her cheeks still wet, Amorette grins maliciously.
She had done it. And her two men had fallen straight into her plan. They would play their parts in her game perfectly.
The sweet, darling Queen had turned the two most powerful men in Iriod against one another.
She walks away, beaming. Civil war, here we come. Iriod’s fall is just around the corner. Soon, her revenge would be complete.
The shouting behind that closed door floods her senses. The evil in her heart blooms.
“Amor?” He stumbles on the word. Many things flash in his eyes as his mind recognises the short, blonde, beautiful figure stood in the doorway. Relief, love, hurt. He runs to her, embraces her tightly. Amorette feels it so strongly; he does not want to ever let go, he does not want her to leave him again.
Iriod’s fallen king was in hiding. Duke Armel had been slain by his own hand, the general’s angered younger brother had taken up his mantle. The Court had collapsed, the aristocracy had lost all power. Iriod was run by soldiers now. By armies, armed to the teeth, and unafraid to use any power they had.
Jacques had been hidden away. To show his face now would mean certain death.
“Amorette. Is it- is that really you? Have you returned to me? They said you’d been killed…they said Armel had murdered you just to get one over on me.” Of course they had. Amorette had been the one to construct the story. Now, she walks back into Jacques’ life unscathed.
Ready for her revenge.
“I killed him…because of what I thought he did to you…” But he had not done anything. Now, Armel was dead. And Jacques’ life had crumbled completely all around him. Amorette had played them all so well…and Jacques had played his part in her little game beautifully.
A fire lights up in Amorette’s usually kind eyes. She pushes Jacques backwards, shoves him against the wall.
The once queen holds a potion in her left hand, a dagger adorns her right. Jacques’ face falls. The girl drinks the potion hurriedly, throwing the empty vial to the floor.
Her goal, what she is about to do, will work in either body; as noble queen or witch princess. But it felt right that Emylynn should deal the death blows. It needed to be the one who he had caused so much pain that returned the favour tenfold.
This way, she could break his heart. Once he discovers just who his beloved Amorette had truly been this whole time. This way, she could tear his heart to pieces like he’d shattered her’s.
Emylynn laughs. It is harsh, cruel. “It was me all along, my love.” Jacques shakes his head furiously, tears spilling down his cheeks. But he knows it is the truth…and Emylynn can see his heart shatter as his mind catches up to just how far her revenge has spread.
“You destroyed everything I held dear, Jacques. You shattered my heart.” There was a darkness, an evil in her stare. “Now, I have returned the favour. I have taken down your kingdom, I have brought Iriod to it’s knees…And I have crushed your little heart.”
Emylynn’s heart had been patched up by magic, it’s darkness wove the pieces back together. It tarnished it completely, made evil her desire. But evil is her only hope.
He tries to escape, to move around her…but there is no escaping Emylynn’s revenge. Darkness always wins out. And now she would extinguish the evil before her with her own. Her heart had been repaired by this evil. His would not get a chance to.
She stabs him. She stabs again. She stabs him repeatedly.
For her father, for her sister, for Yvain.
She stabs until she finally lets him fall.
Emylynn grins wickedly down at him. Loving the sight of the heartbreak and pain in his eyes. Jacques, with his dying breaths, tries to speak but it is too faint to hear. She lays the knife down on the ground and kneels beside him. Reaching down, she gently holds his head in both of her bloodied hands.
“Amor…” He whispers.
“Amorette Harcourt never existed, Jacques. It was only ever me, Emylynn la Marche. I never loved you. Amorette never loved you. I do not see how anyone could love someone like you.” Emylynn lets his head drop to the floor. She remains by his side for a moment. Watching him bleed out, seeing the life leave his eyes. Emylynn is glad to see just how crushed, just how broken, she made him in the end.
The light leaves his eyes. His chest stills.
From her belt she takes another potion and drinks it quickly.
A crone stands where a witch princess once stood.
Hilde cackles at the sight of her ultimate revenge.
A wisened, old woman trudges her way up the hillside. A pack is on her back, a staff in hand. She blends in perfectly with the others. Those evacuating, those fleeing. Those who have lost so much, their only belongings left can be carried on their backs. Those who have lost so much, they have nothing left to lose.
The monarchy has crumbled to nothing. The army has ripped itself to pieces. With no leadership, no trade, no society left, Iriod is in ruins. Lady Amorette had brought chaos and Old Woman Hilde grins.
Iriod had turned its back on her. On her family.
Slowly, slowly, it becomes a wasteland. Everything is abandoned. Everyone is leaving. The settlements become ghost towns. Even the hardy, even the stubborn now migrate to somewhere that still lives, to a kingdom whose beating heart has not been torn to shreds.
Old Woman Hilde stands atop a hill on Evreux’s fair Isle. This had once been her’s to govern. Now, it is no one’s. Now, it’s only duchess is chaos itself. Suffering is Iriod’s only ruler.
Slowly, slowly, Hilde’s happiness grows. Feeding off the evil in her heart, on the havoc and tragedy she has caused.
Slowly, slowly, her revenge had been wrought.
Hilde smiles as she looks over her perfect mess. She smiles for it is done.
She said she would make them all pay. And oh, how they have paid.
“No. NO! You can’t leave me, mother. You can’t leave me. You can’t leave me. You’re all I have left, you can’t leave me.” Hilde cradles Helaine in her arms. Blood pours from a wound to her chest, a wound that will soon be her end.
Her revenge had been done. Amorette had been laid to rest. Hilde had returned.
Returned to find the world had taken everything that remained from her.
“It’s okay, my child, it’s alright…” Helaine reaches up and strokes her daughter’s cheek. Her daughter’s tears fall onto her. Hilde’s eyes flicker about the scene. Her heart is broken once more, shattered at the sight of this carnage.
It had been just ordinary citizens. Scared. Magic-fearing. Ignorant. Like their rulers had wanted them to be for generations.
“Neva? …Lunette?” Her voice chokes on their names.
“They are dead, my child. And I will be soon too.”
“You can’t leave me. You can’t leave me alone in this world.” She is desperate now. “I- I don’t want to be alone.”
“This is what you need, my darling. My Emy. Without us, there is no one left that you love. There is no one now to hold you back.”
“You can’t go. I can’t be alone.” Hilde holds her mother closer. Clings to the last person on this earth that she cares for. The woman who will leave her alone in this world.
“Can I see her again, Emy? Can I see my daughter one last time?” Hilde nods, weeping, and fumbles for the right potion in her bag. She drinks it hurriedly…
“There she is!” Her mother’s smile is weak but tells of her endless devotion. “Remember this always, my child, they hurt you and you hurt them back harder. Fire with fire, blood with blood. Let my death make you stronger.”
Emylynn has no idea how she can ever be strong again after this. But she nods anyway. She does not want to disappoint her mother.
“Oh, my Emy. You have done so well…and I know you will go on to do great things. You do not realise how proud I am of you.” Helaine closes her eyes.
“No. No! Don’t leave me! You can't leave me alone, mother. Mother, please!”
“You have made me ever so happy, my Emy. My dear Emy-”
The strength leaves her body. Her head falls back.
Emylynn sits with her for a long time. She weeps. She wails. She cannot bring herself to move.
She has no one left now who she cares for. The world has taken everything.
And with it her strength. Her heart.
“For a long while, I am lost. I am a wanderer. I have no place to go, no destination and no home. I have no one. All the ropes that bind me to something, anything, in this world have been severed. And now I drift with no tethers.
The unfairness of it all bears down on me. The evil festers in my heart.
As Princess Emylynn, I’d only ever tried to be a good person. I’d only ever tried to be kind, to be helpful, and to be good. And where had that got me? Homeless, penniless, exiled. Stripped of title, possessions and identity. I had a warrant on my head for no reason.
Everyone I had ever cared about has been slaughtered in front of me. Everyone I loved lies dead, strewn at my feet. Their blood is all that covers my vision now, it is all I see. Day or night. Unlike them, I am still alive. I have survived…and to what purpose? I know exactly why.
On their murderers, it has been wrought. But the world still needs to pay. It needs to hurt and suffer and bleed for all the pain it has caused me.
I used to be good to the world and its creatures. I had tried, truly, but the world has had its final chance. I have run out of patience for its cruel games now, it is time to fight back with all I have. With all the power it blessed me with.
Don’t worry, mother, they will soon come to regret all they have done to me. They’ll learn never to mess with us again. The world will soon come to tremble at my feet. There is no mercy left in me…so when it does I will crush it.
The night is thick. The moon is full.
Deep in the forest, an old crone chants.
Three graves lay nearby.
The old woman dug them on her own.
Her heart is buried down there with the three bodies that now rot away beneath the earth.
She watches the blood drip from her closed fists into the bowl of water below. It should hurt, but the fire inside makes her numb to it. The darkness closes in. She calls out to it, chanting endlessly. She asks it to take over, to make her stronger than the light and kindness ever could.
Evil takes her as its own. And she is glad. She is strong.
She has nothing now. Nothing but this power, nothing but her evil.
She erases the good left within her. Now, nothing shall hold her back.
His guards close the doors but the gales raging outside seem to want to stop them shutting. Do they know? Could the winds possibly know the evil they have blown to Veroma’s fair isle?
Narcissa looks flustered, traumatised even. She steps forwards gingerly. Some men take her cloak, lead her to see the Good King of Veroma. As she enters his throne room, she looks up at him with frightened eyes. New eyes to her, new eyes to everyone. Her whole appearance is new. New and beautiful. For there is great power in beauty.
“Your Majesty, the Princess Narcissa Bellona.” They announce her. This King looks on her clearly shaken form with compassionate eyes. Her attendants enter behind her, looking as distressed as their royal charge. Indeed, they act their part very well.
“I- I am terribly sorry to burden you, your Majesty. But, you see, my kingdom…it is in ruins.” Not a lie. “And I have been forced to flee.” Not exactly a lie either. “We have- We have travelled for a while now, your Majesty and-”
“Oh, my dear, what tragedy you must have been through. It is okay, you are safe here.” The King gestures to some of his men. “Prepare the princess a set of chambers. You look tired, my lady. Have you eaten recently…or do you simply wish to rest?”
“We have not eaten properly for days, your Majesty.”
“I shall have the kitchens prepare us some food then. You may all eat at my table…and then, princess, when you are ready, you can tell me the whole story.” Narcissa nods timidly and walks with the King, his arm already wrapped protectively around her shoulders.
Honestly, it was almost too easy.
Narcissa kisses her new husband’s cheek, runs her fingers through his hair.
“You make me feel stronger again, Cissa.” He leans forwards and kisses her. Narcissa sees guards gesturing them forward from the corner of her eye.
“We make each other strong.” She smiles warmly, takes his hand. “Shall we greet our subjects?”
Both smiling adoringly at the other, the King of Veroma and his new Queen Narcissa Bellona White, cross the threshold and walk out, hand in hand, onto the palace balcony. A large crowd of Veroma’s subjects stand below. They cheer as they see their King and Queen.
But do they do not know yet just who they are cheering for.
The Queen leads them to the front of the balcony and gives the audience what it wants.
The kiss is tender. Sweet.
A wild applause breaks out from below them.
“I love you, Cissa.” She strokes his cheek and kisses him once more. A raucous cheer sounds from below the balcony.
“Not as much as I love you.”
Maybe. Maybe, in another world, she might still have a heart left to love.
Narcissa watches the boar before her seamlessly shift into a man. “It is done?”
The assassin smiles. “It is, my queen. The king is dead, gored by a boar…and no one will ever know the full truth. Except for you and I, of course.”
“Of course.” But that will never do, not for Narcissa. Two keeping a secret, now that was a danger. One with a secret…then it will be purely her’s to hide. The queen gives a wicked smile. One the assassin returns, unknowing of what is about to come.
Narcissa approaches him and puts a hand on his shoulder, standing by his side. “Thank you.” She slips something from her sleeve.
“Oh, there’s no need to thank me, your majesty. I am honoured-”
“Nonsense. I appreciate your services.” At her final word, she plunges the dagger into his back. Rams it deep into his rib cage.
“Truly, I thank you.”
Narcissa smiles maliciously and steps delicately over his dying body, heading off into the shadows of the forest. Heading off with her perfect crime.
“The royal household of Veroma is in full mourning. But no one mourns the King’s tragic death more than his dear wife. Not even his daughter.
I am inconsolable. I am not myself without my love. I am heartbroken.
But I have no heart left that can be broken anymore. The grief is an act, a show.
But it is ever so perfectly performed…”
No one has seen her go. No one sees her as she heads to the General’s chambers. She is playing him and no one knows, not even the General himself. Narcissa enters, he is stood there with two goblets of wine.
“My Queen!” Narcissa smiles. She takes one. “Here’s to an army at your every beck and call.” He raises his drink.
“You have done it, my love? They will follow my every command now?”
“They will follow you through hell if you asked them to, Cissa. Without question.” Narcissa smirks. It is an action that her General returns.
She raises her glass to his. The brims touch and there is an evil twinkle in her eyes. “Here’s to our army! Here’s to a council under my thumb!”
He leans in and kisses her. “You’re so evil, Cissa…but that’s why I love you.”
Oh, bless him. Her General didn’t know the half of it. He is infatuated with her, thinks himself special. But he is like all the rest. Narcissa will ‘love’ him until she has no more use of him.
“I shall not fail you, mother. I shall not fail our sisters. I am the last of Melaine’s Circle but I will keep it alive. For what they have done, for what they believe of us, I will bring them pain and suffering and tragedy.
I know what I am now, and I am unafraid of it. The evil are better than the good, I understand that now. And I am sorry it took me so long to realise. Evil is our only hope.
I will wreak chaos wherever I step. Just like you wanted. They shall know evil when I am through.”
Today, I exist as ashes.
Tomorrow, I shall be born again.
Born from fires rekindled, a whole new form, a whole new face. And with it a new mind, a new life. A new ladder to climb; to climb and to burn.
For now, I travel alone, though this time I do not wander for I already know my destination. Elysia; the land of kings. And to Hyperborea, the northern realm where they live like gods. My new king awaits me there and he has already promised me as his Queen.
Today, I am dead, but tomorrow, I shall live.”
There in the forest, do you see her? She has not reached her destination yet, she cannot. She can’t show up to her new home, her new kingdom, looking like this. Not in the true form she despised.
For Hyperborea, for her serpent King, she would need a whole new persona. Another character, another act, to control and devise with meticulous detail. Another cloak to hide behind.
The teenage girl busies herself, collecting the right ingredients. Setting the small fire ablaze. Barefoot, her long, knotted waves of dark hair spill down her back. There are dark circles beneath her eyes. The skin of her hands and lips cracked from the cold and the force of the wind. Her appearance though in one sense rugged, aged beyond her years, containing a wisdom which spanned centuries, in another sense embodies her physical youth. Her green eyes shine with so many secrets, with so much darkness.
There is a confidence, a decisiveness to her movements. A purpose. A grace. Well beyond the years her true form gives her. There is a wildness to her, but also an intense and striking beauty. A creature of the woods, a child borne of the darkness.
Soon, those little details wouldn’t matter. Soon, the body she had fixed in her mind would be made real.
The girl stands over the fire, a bloodied dagger at her feet. As she holds her outstretched fists over the flickering flames, the blood pours from the two slits across her palms. Trickling down her skin and splashing onto the fire. The flames rage higher, drunk on the power this witch is feeding it. They reach up towards her hands, the heat scorching her skin.
The girl doesn’t feel her flesh burning, just continues her chant. Her voice rising up like the flames towards the night sky. Reaching up towards the darkness that fed her like she fed the fire. She works into the night.
But this time she is not alone, like so many other times before. This time, some other soul has seen her true form, has helped her here. A faery who watches and waits for her love just a little further into the forest. A silent shadow; too far from the flickering flames, she is bathed in darkness. Stood against the backdrop of the darkened trees, she waits. Watching her lover’s rebirth.
Narcissa Bellona White. Her entire act, her beautiful game, had been so carefully planned and so perfectly executed. But there had been one surprise amongst its turns, the arrival of a new player. A banished princess; a changeling.
Maleficent Carabosse. Her student. A creature whose soul reflected her own.
The one twist in the tale Emylynn hadn’t been expecting. The girl who had walked alone for so long, wreaking destruction in her wake, the girl with a blackened heart who’d sacrificed her body and soul to become a vessel for the darkest gifts this earth could offer, was no longer by herself.
She sheds bodies like a serpent sheds its skin. The pain of each transformation a torture she had gotten used to. Just as her mother had taught her, she dons appearances as disguises, constructs personalities as masks. (All for that witch princess to hide within.)
Under the cover of darkness, Emylynn creates a new identity for herself again. A new face, a new form, with a nature and a future she could craft herself. For the first time in forever, this new creature is not alone in birth. Maleficent is there to pick her up off the ground and quieten her worries.
She begs to be taken to the water, where new eyes see a new face in the rippling pond. It was strange, to not see the beauty of Narcissa staring back at her, but a new kind of beauty altogether. She could see even now the secrets in these eyes, not of Narcissa’s fires but of the still water where the snakes hid in wait. Not the glory of gold, but the cold heart of silver; no longer of hellfire but of shadows in the densest woods.
The Serpent Queen.
And she needed a name. Lanfen Yin Liu. A name that spoke of sweet-smelling flowers, and of the cruelest silver, and of the destruction she brought in her wake.
Unlike so many times before, her destination and her target were not strangers to her. Her next king was a figure of her past, of Emylynn’s past; a history she would sooner forget. He had found her at the end of it all, at her new beginning. Stripped of all she once had, left alone in this world, lost in this power and this life that had no direction, whilst her home smouldered in fires she had caused.
They shared a darkness. A lostness. And that girl’s eyes had been turned to the glory of what a power like hers was capable of. Now she was no longer chained by the ignorance of her people. He had arrived just when she had been most alone. He had freed her, and set her on a path she now followed with utter certainty.
It was half a millennia ago, and it felt just like yesterday. To the blackened heart he had once whispered strength into.
She visited him many times over the years. In his overgrown palaces, when she had the odd need of someone under his rule. Sometimes there were merely days between her visits, sometimes decades. Nearly always she arrived wearing a different face, it seemed only the old druid Hilde was a regular in their kingdom.
It was only their king who knew that all these women were truly one and the same.
They are an ancient race. A race of sorcerers and witches and faeries. Bloodthirsty and power hungry, their culture had for thousands of years been a cut-throat one. Above all else they honoured power, and those who wielded it. To gain entrance to their hallowed order required a test of strength, a display of enough power to prove their worth.
They existed in near secrecy, in the heart of a forest with a life of its own. It was not just the residents here who wielded power, but the very land itself. Those who sought aid from the greedy hearts within its borders, first had to brave the viscous nature of the forest which guarded their home; a true test of strength. For the trees were said to prey on those who lacked magic running in their veins. The earth said to swallow whole those who were unworthy.
Their homes, their manors, their palaces, grew of tile and stone but bent to the will of the earth and its creatures. Great trunks rose high through the ceilings, leaves sprouting between the floor tiles. Vines climbed the walls and bright flowers bowed their heads by the entrance ways. To the few who survived to see this fabled land, it appeared as if abandoned by a people long ago dead. But the opposite was true. The land here was alive and it was its own ruler. The people did not try to fight it; it was a battle they could never win.
Their very leader was changeable, a crown and throne and sceptre gifted to whichever one proved the strongest of them all. A leader followed without question. Right until the moment another managed to prove them weak. The Serpent King had ruled them for centuries, none having more power than he, or else not daring to risk their lives in declaring that they did.
They had an odd custom too, in granting the position of consort to their monarch. They first had to prove a close enough match to their monarch, their partner-to-be. And if they proved themselves more than one, well, they would claim the throne themselves, and whether to marry or slaughter the old king or queen would be at their discretion.
“I have been waiting for you.”
(She does not know that this was the land which reared her beloved mother. She does not know that she is returning home, to the kingdom whose ways her mother despised so greatly, she left to create a whole new world of her own.)
It felt freeing. To play a role this time around that did not need to hide her true strength. To be able to unleash her power at its rawest.
Her eyes glint with a wildness her previous creation had lacked, a feral energy that found a strength in pushing her gifts to their limit.
The crowd about them had long ago fallen silent in witness to this. And Lanfen finds a joy in proving them wrong, these people who had not expected her to last so long against their King. Who had come to see death and instead felt their hearts in their mouths.
She laps up the wonder, the fear, in their eyes and fuels her fight. Her eyes do not leave him. Every time she is down, she is up again in an instant. Her magic pouring from her in violent waves, easily capable of drowning a weaker mind than her opponent’s.
Her thudding heart beats his venom around her bloodstream. But it could not harm her. Not a witch who had been weaned on poisons, a child who had filled herself to the brim with all that was toxic. Her poison spreads through him too but it will not touch him either.
Here they were; the deathless and the forsaken soul. Both immune to each other’s greatest strengths.
“Stop.” He calls an end to it. A raised hand as he stands up straight.
She unarches her back, heart racing, chest heaving breath after breath. She waits for him to speak.
(A lost girl inside her is grinning. Proud to have had this chance to prove to her past just how far she had come. The power she had gained over these centuries, the devastation that followed her like a shadow.)
He reaches a hand out and she takes it. With delicate fingers which tasted like iron.
“I present to you, Lanfen, your new Queen.”
Today, I usher in a whole new era.”
They did not waste time. Within minutes, a crown sits comfortably on her dark hair.
She had felt over the years that he had no desire truly to rule, what he wished for was chaos. For something to feed him. He cared not for the tedium of managing his people’s lives from above. His new queen on the other hand, did not mind.
Emylynn finds a newfound capacity for patience in Lanfen that Narcissa had lacked. But she also loses that sadistic glee Veroma’s Evil Queen found in causing suffering. She has exchanged it for Lanfen’s analytical treatment of her subjects, for the enjoyment she takes in the interesting, not the broken.
Word spreads of her arrival. They fall on their knees before her throne, they beg for the aid she was rumoured to give. Unlike her past incarnation, she no longer plays with them. She tests them instead. Feeling for their breaking point, pushing them to their very farthest sacrifice. Testing the limits of desire and will.
“Please, you must save them, I beg you, anything, I will do anything for my children.” The man is on his hands and knees. He is battered and bleeding, their forest has not been kind to him.
“Anything?” Her fingers twitch on the arm of her throne. A snake curls up past her elbow, tongue hissing close to her ear.
“Then consider it done.” The Serpent Queen rises from her seat. Two steps closer and his throat is slit. Scarlet pools on the marble, wetting the earth below. “Find his children and bring them here. We shall raise them as our own.”
She disappears amongst the raucous ascent of the courtiers of this world of beautiful savagery.
Four. Four winds. Four seasons. Four elements. Four parts of a being. Four, four. What was it about four? What was it that was so beautiful?
She names them.
Oak and Ash and Birch and Aspen.
Black and Green and White and Red.
Her pets. Her servants.
She drapes herself in feathers, in the finest of silks and velvets. Jewels glint across her skin, silver tracing her figure. Jade and garnet. Poison and blood.
(Gone is Narcissa’s gold.)
“There are many legends of the Serpent Queen. They spread around the kingdoms and to the four winds. Tales of a sorceress of immense ability, the wife of a serpent king, and their army of the most gifted, the most skilled wielders of magic at their behest.
They say she will come to your aid if you promise her a favour in return, but you must be careful just what you wish for. They say her gifts can solve even the most dire of situations. But there are horror stories too, of just what she will do if you choose to show her any disrespect. Of slit throats and tortured screams and those forced to shed their skin for bark. Tales of the poison which drips from her lips and the blood which paints her skin.
They say she is beautiful as well as powerful. Clothed in the finest fabric and adorned in jewellery. A woman of silver and jade. With four serpents which shadowed her everywhere. Some say she speaks with the wisdom of the ancients. Others that she is ancient herself.
There are so many stories, Mother, and it is only we who know which ones are true.”
|Serpent Queen Lanfen||
Posted: Yesterday at 05:11 am
Forgot to put this on yesterday, but SQ's all done and raring to go! <3
Posted: Yesterday at 03:11 pm
WELCOME TO FIND THE RABBIT HOLE
So excited for this new chapter for Emylynn! Great read as usual <3 Don't forget your claims! <3
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