“She knew it would not work, Master. That is why she did it.” I heard the Black Knight’s voice drift across the room.
I kept my eyes closed, but attempted to get somewhat of my bearings. Room… Soft sheets laying on me… Bed under me… Wrists bound above my head… Ankles bound at the bottom of the bed… Fabric ended at my forearms… Still clothed… Legs closed and no warmth between them… Lucky me.
I heard an older male voice, “That is my granddaughter?”
I heard Michael near me, “Yes, sir. This is your granddaughter, the child of both Light and Dark.”
Ah, so this is the man who damned his daughter’s soul to live on Earth…
“She is an abomination to our race. You should have killed her on sight!” Raphael growled.
Thanks, grandpa… Glad to know you love me too… I sounded sarcastic to myself.
“She can be used to help us!” Michael told my grandfather.
Michael… I know what he wants. He couldn’t have mum, but I think he would settle for something lesser. I opened my eyes, “Glad to know I can be used…” There was only the three of them and I actually felt relieved that Michael was between Raphael and me.
They all looked at me and I saw the same hunger in Michael and the Black Knight. This was going to be joyful, but twas the price to be paid for revenge. “Can I at least be allowed to move my arms?” They exchanged looks, unsure. “Look, my arms hurt and after that last bit of power, I don’t think I could kill a fly, much less three strong angels.”
That must have at least convinced Michael, because he untied my wrists from the headboard, but kept them tied together. I sat up and had no desire to look around, my mind focused to one thing. I looked to Michael, “Thank you.” I laced it with my awesome powers of seduction. Ok, not really, but it had the same effect.
He looked at the white bedding and I knew where his thoughts were. I looked to Raphael and saw no family resemblance. Then again, even if there was some, he was to be hated for everything he had done to mum. However, I needed to play my part, “Grandfather, tis a pleasure to meet you.”
“You are no granddaughter of mine. I have no offspring that could have given birth to an abomination.” He growled and looked away, as disgusted with me as I was with him.
“Then you wouldn’t like to hear the reason why I convinced father and the others to leave me.” I looked to the Black Knight, “Yes, I knew that it would not work. I don’t have as much power as people put faith in. I did it because I needed to give them a show to hide my true intentions.”
Michael whipped his head up to look at me, suspicion in his eyes, “Intentions?”
“Michael, I wish to have the honor of being your wife.” I had to stop myself from spitting out the last word. “Mum didn’t have the guts or heart to give you what you wanted I read the letters grandfather wrote to her and I figured that since you couldn’t have her that maybe you would settle for less.” I spun the lie so well, there was no question who my father was.
Raphael looked at me, astounded, “You read the letters?”
I nodded solemnly, “Yes, my dear grandfather. I found them before I left for the Academy. Tragic how mum died, though. Michael did me the favor of getting rid of her, so I could meet the man who abandoned me. I had to play the part of sad daughter when he showed up.”
Michael’s face brightened, as he gently touched my cheek with his fingertips, “You would do me an honor being my wife. You are the only gray and the power you have…” I felt him shift slightly, moving closer to me.
So, you only want me because of the power… Interesting. Is that why you wanted mum in the first place? No love, just an acquisition of power?
He looked to Raphael, “May I take your granddaughter’s hand in marriage?”
Raphael nodded, “Yes, you may.” I saw the look in his eyes that screamed the social status he would gain was greater than any love for family.
I caught the Black Knight’s glare out of the corner of my eye. Oh yes… Don’t worry… You have a part to play in this… I saw the hunger in his eyes, as he walked out the door.
Michael’s possessive touch brought me back to the conversation, “When should we do it?”
I smiled sweetly, “The sooner the better. After all, you don’t want another man to try to take me away, now do you?” I brought up the sore subject, but it worked.
“You will be married tonight!” Raphael spoke loudly.
I looked to Michael, “Is that fine with you, my dear?”
He nodded, before leaning in close to my ear, “Yes, my darling… Tonight would be perfect.” I heard the door open and close, leaving Michael and I alone.
I felt his breath on my neck and instinctively, I leaned my head away from his mouth. He closed his mouth on my neck, gently nibbling on the vein. He drifted away from my neck, smiling to himself. He grabbed my wrists and undid the ties, before he got off the bed. He took a long sweeping look at me and I saw the thoughts dance across his face.
He wants the power. He is even craving the body… I felt the knowledge well up in the back of my mind. I know what he is after now… He planned mum getting out and finding Lucifer. He knew they would have me… I know what he wants… With his power and mine, the child that came from that would be… I shuddered at the thought.
He looked at me, as he untied the ropes around my ankles, “Everything fine?”
I tried to calm myself, “Just… Your touches… They bring small moments of anticipation for tonight.”
He smiled, as his hand glided from my ankles, up my pant leg to my lower thigh. I shivered at the thought of him doing anything that might bring about that kind of a union. This is a dark game, you’re playing, Myst. Let’s just hope that this turns out right. I thought to myself. I knew what he wanted, but I still had no idea why.
He withdrew his hand from my pant leg and pushed me down, climbing on top of me. “I know you do not want me, just as I know you loathe me… It is fine; I do not want you either. I do want something from you and you are just the means of getting what I want. You may have thought you could turn Mirri against me to have him kill me, but I think not. Once I am done getting what I want, he can have what is left of you. I will break you of everything you are and you will be nothing more than a puppet for my plans.”
I was shocked that he knew what I was planning. “Why?” I asked the only thing that came to mind.
“The child that you will give birth to will be more powerful than any other being that ever existed. I will have Lucifer’s, Raphael’s and your mother’s powers, as they are contained in you. Then I will have your power as you give birth to the child that will help Mirri and I. I want nothing less than to destroy the Lord God to take His place and you will give me that power. Mirri wants to destroy the dark reaches of the world and with you appeasing him with your power, there will be no stopping it.”
I spat on him, “Never!”
He smiled, “You have no choice, darling. Your future has been foretold and you will complete your destiny. If you try to escape or stop me, realize, you are an abomination and I am the most loved angel. No one will believe you here, and to hold you to your destiny, if you try to miscarry, I will destroy everything you love.”
He got off me and left the room without a second thought. I sat up and shivered, What have I done?! What am I going to do?! Someone! Please help me! I forced the thoughts aside, rather than casting them out into Oblivion. I could not allow the chance that anyone heard it, especially no one I loved. I did this and now I had to pay the price for allowing myself to believe I could deceive anyone.
| _-_ |
A maid came into the room and helped me get dressed for the wedding I did not want. She was a happy woman, excited to see her master finally getting married. She helped me into the lingerie her master left out for me to wear, not seeming to notice my gloomy mood. She helped with the corset, the hoop skirt, the petticoats and then finally the shining white wedding dress. The maid started to put my hair up into a Victorian style up-do, as another did my make-up.
The maid stepped in front of me, assessing her and the apprentice girl’s work. She nodded once, “Lovely. Now, time for the final piece.” She turned away for a second to open a box the apprentice was holding. I took this chance to steal a glance in the mirror.
When the maid finished with my hair and grabbed a long white veil, with glitter and clear sparkling stones glinting in the light. The dress was white lace with silver cording running down the front, accenting the golden embellishments that scattered the dress. The whole dress and veil had the small clear crystals sewn into the fabric. The golden-laced bodice was formfitting, allowing the best of my figure to show, before the skirt flowed out from bottom of the bodice to create an elegant look. It was a beautiful dress that would have been lovely for a wedding. Except this was not a wedding, this was a battleground to destroy the one of the enemies.
I looked at my face and I could not recognize myself. Where I stood, there was a beautiful reflection of a woman getting ready for a night that should have been joyous. Her face was perfect, the make-up accenting the things that made her beautiful, her lips painted, her eyes given just the right amount of powder and a light touch of glitter to give her face a beautiful glint. Light skin tone powder hid her imperfections, the bags under her eyes, the things that made her human, the things that could be used to show everyone the truth. It was a flesh colored mask to hide what I was to them, a prisoner in a war I lost.
My hair was done up, layered on top of my head, a lovely up-do. There were silver glistening chains running through it, accenting the highlights and more of the crystals that glinted in the light. A single curl hung down the side of my face to draw attention to my eyes. Attached to the veil was a tiara that looped and spiraled and I knew it was placed in my hair to make me look more elegant, more of the woman Michael should have married, instead of me.
She turned back around and handed me a white masquerade mask with pearls and more of those clear stones sewn into it. She placed it at my eyes, when I realized she was using magic to have it stick to my face, until someone pulled it off. She smiled, thoroughly impressed with her work. “Are you ready to be married to the most powerful and handsome man in Heaven?”
I wanted desperately to shake my head, to deny that I wanted to do this, but the threat he had made was well enough to force me to keep my mouth shut. I nodded, not trusting my voice to not betray me.
She knelt down in front of me as her apprentice handed her a pair of white and clear heels. I stepped into them easily and thanked whatever God was watching that a friend of mine had shown me how to walk, run and even kick box in heels. She stood back up and walked to the door. She bowed deeply to someone outside, “The lady is ready.”
Mirri stepped into the room and I heard him give a small gasp. He bowed to me, “I am to escort you to the wedding festivities.” He held his arm out for me, a very gracious gesture.
I walked forward to him and lightly wrapped my arm in his, careful not to touch him. When the maid closed the door behind us, I dropped my arm out of his. I stood there, acting like the stubborn puppy and wished I had Dei’s problem with knowing everyone’s emotions. Mirri was something I have never encountered before and I would have given many things to know his emotions, as he stared at me. “You don’t have to be polite to me. I know that you want to use me, just as Michael does. But why?”
He spoke, his voice calm and almost sensual, “The vile Creatures of the Darkness need to be eliminated. Without them, light would shine in all of the lands and bring peace to the realms.”
“Who decides who are dark? Am I dark, because I’m gray or because I have demon blood? Is an orc healer dark because of his race, despite all of the good he does? Does Michael stay alive because he is an angel, though his intentions are dark? Who is to judge who is a creature of the dark or a being of the light?” I pleaded to him, hoping he would understand.
He took a step towards me, “I… Don’t know anymore. I never thought of it like that.”
I took a step towards him, gaining courage, “What if the ones you want to destroy are the ones who didn’t start the war? Should they be killed when they wanted nothing but peace?” Mirri looked at the ground, I took another step forward and lifted his chin to meet my gaze. “You don’t have to be his puppet, you are stronger than he is… And if he gets his way tonight, the child I will be carrying will be strong enough to take out the Lord God himself.”
He looked at me, conflict passing behind his eyes, “What child?”
I was shocked, “You do know what happens after the wedding right?”
He looked thoughtful, “The reception?”
“After that.” I pushed.
He shook his head, “I don’t know.”
I leaned forward and whispered in his ear, “After the guests are gone, the couple goes to a room to consummate the marriage. But after this one, he plans on raping me, breaking me and leaving me for fodder, until he gets a child. Once I give birth, he will take the child and raise him to destroy the Lord God.” I took a step back and let it sink in.
“What happens to you after that?”
“I go to you to be used and abused as you see fit.” I looked up at him, tears filling my eyes, “I don’t want to be broken down to a pet or a puppet. I…” I had a choice before me, I could tell him the truth or I could lie. “If you don’t initiate a war on the dark, then everyone could go back to living their lives. I could do what I could to finish the war between the elves and the orcs and peace will stay.”
“But for how long?” I saw the fierceness in his eyes, “How long until another petty war breaks out? How long until the world is destroyed because of these wars? I might annihilate the darkness!” He took a step back from me, “And you need to be married. Without the Lord God, I could ask Michael who to destroy and who to save. The Lord God has not given me answers to the questions I seek, Michael has. I am sorry that you must be sacrificed for this noble goal, but it has to be done so peace can rain down on all of the Realms.” He grabbed my hand and pulled me down the halls to another door.
Michael was standing there waiting for us, darkness in his eyes, “What took you so long?” His temper was flaring when he looked at me. “And why is she tearing up?” He moved forward to me, carefully wiping away the tears, “My bride is supposed to look happy today. Do not screw up this illusion or you know what I will do.” He looked to Mirri, “Well?”
Mirri bowed, “My Master, she wanted to talk to me.”
Michael’s eyes snapped to me, “About what?”
I looked to Mirri, fear filling me up. He spoke to Michael, not looking at me, “She wanted to know what I would do to her after you have used her for your purposes.” He lied to Michael!
Michael looked to the both of us, before shrugging, “Let us get this over with.” He grabbed my hand tightly, not out of protectiveness but ownership, “This is going to start off with a dance, where you are expected to share the dance with everyone. At the end of it, you will be escorted to another room while the wedding is being set up. Then you will walk back in for a traditional wedding, from there we will kindly accept all of the good graces at the reception. After that…” He smiled maliciously to me, “After that, you belong to me.”
I suppressed a whimper, as the door opened to a grand ballroom. It had high ceilings of painted cherubs and forests. The walls were a lightwood arches painted gold and silver to represent the purity of the Angelic race. The tile was white granite, further adding to the analogy of their light.
I looked ahead to see people already dancing court dances from long ago. I watched their movements, memorizing the steps for the women as the dance started to pick up pace. Michael dragged me into to the fray, pulling me close to him. He looked down on me, as I looked over his shoulder, “Smile. They would like to believe that you are doing this out of love.”
I tried to smile, but even I knew it was a terrified, sad smile. The dance ended and the dancers stopped to clap to the musicians. Another dance started, a waltz and I knew where to find my feet. I had always enjoyed dancing, so I at least took this moment to do something I enjoyed. I watched Mirri tap Michael on the shoulder. Michael nodded and bowed out, allowing me to dance with the soon to be Black Knight.
Mirri and I danced around, the heat of his passion for me driving the other dancers off the floor. All eyes were on us, as I actually enjoyed myself, despite the circumstances. We twirled about until the musicians stopped playing their music, but Mirri did not seem to want to stop. I planted my feet to the ground, not taking another step, lest he start a fight with Michael. He pulled me off my feet and used his power to keep us dancing. The musicians started to play again, another waltz and the other dancers joined in, creating rings of people around us.
“Please, stop or you’ll get in trouble with Michael…” I begged him.
He looked down at me, “I do not care. He wants to use you for a child… I want you for a lover and a partner.” I could see the truth in his eyes.
“Then let me go. If Michael learns of your intent… I’ll be his puppet forever. Please, help me escape and I promise I’ll come back to you.” I spun my lie and false hope around my voice. “If we defeat Michael, then I’ll give you the answers you seek.”
That stopped him from dancing, “How could you give me what I seek?”
“I know a lot of things, and if I can leave, then I can learn more. Come with me and you can learn them too.” I told him, but instantly regretted it. If he saw me with Keres, he would know I lied.
He shook his head, “I cannot leave here; I am Michael’s pet. But I will help you.” He agreed.
Michael stepped up to us, flushed with rage, “What do you call that?”
Mirri bowed to him, “A lovely dance with a lovely woman. I apologize for getting carried away, my Master.”
“I will deal with your punishment later, Mirri.” He glanced to me, “Dances are over. Mirri, take her to the room as we discussed.”
“Yes, my Master.” He bowed again and offered his arm to me. I took it without a second thought and I was led out of the grand ballroom into the hallway. The door shut behind us, as I saw a familiar face.
“Cit-” Mirri put his hand over my lips and shook his head. I shouted mentally, Cittrite! I’m over here! Stay where you are!
“Your friends are here.” He started to lead me to where I saw Cittrite, letting go of my mouth.
I nodded, “I know. I think they knew where I was.”
“Seeing as you have their names, I would not doubt it.” He looked down at me and smiled. “You would make a good queen.”
“Well, I don’t have the ambition for it.” I told him as we turned the corner and I saw Dei, Keres and Cittrite standing there.
Keres looked from me to Mirri then to our arms. I dropped Mirri’s arm and sighed, Please don’t start, Keres. I’ll explain later.
He nodded to me, before turning to Mirri, “We can take her from here.”
“And how do you plan on getting to the Gate unnoticed?” Mirri asked, crossing his arms.
“Dei found another one close by.” Cittrite said to the masked man.
I looked to Mirri, “Trust me, if Dei found it, it’s safe.” I smiled to him, “Thank you for everything. But how are you going to explain this to Michael?”
He grinned and pulled the Mortalitas from his vest, “The maid apprentice gave you back the Mortalitas and you attacked me when I was not looking. You friends were here and they stole you to the Gate.” He turned away from me, “Do it.”
Keres took one of the swords and slashed Mirri’s back. He then dropped the Mortalitas from his hand, as if he was burned. Mirri winced as blood started to soak through his shirt and vest. He turned back towards me, “Get going, my queen.”
“I aint your queen.” I growled but still smiled. “Good luck, Mirri. Please make sure that you aren’t going to get killed for this.”
He shrugged it off, “Michael needs his pets, which is why he went after your mother and you.”
I watched Dei knock him out, as I saw Michael turn the corner from the ballroom. “Dei, where’s the Gate?”
Dei nodded and bolted off away from Michael. I picked up the front of the dress and ran behind him, followed by Keres and Cittrite. We reached a door to a very small room and all climbed into the room as Michael turned the corner and saw me go in with Keres.
Keres spoke, his words clear to my ears, “Gate from the ancient times, hidden by those who rule here. Open to the Academy of Anima!”
The wall blossomed with the spiral, revealing the bottom levels of the library and they pushed me through first, followed by Keres, Dei and Cittrite. I saw the door on the other side start to open. “Close it!”
“Gate take your final rest and close forever!” Keres shouted as Michael launched himself towards the Gate, but it shut before he could get across the room.
Everyone stood up and brushed themselves off before helping me up. I looked to my friends who were all staring at me. “What?!”
Keres pulled the mask off my eyes and smiled to me, “You should dress up like this all of the time. What was the occasion?”
“I was getting married to a homicidal maniac who wanted to have a kid with me, so he could take the place of the Lord God.” I scowled.
Keres looked at me, “I told you it would not work.”
“I know that now. I was planning on getting Michael and Mirri to fight over me.”
“Mirri?” Cittrite asked quietly.
“The Horned Black Knight. Mirri is his name and he apparently loves me.” I looked to Keres, “And yes, I played into the fantasy a little. I told him that I would come back for him.”
“Did you promise?” Keres asked me, his eyes starting to become hard.
“Yes, but technically, I could go back for him to free him from Michael.” I leaned up to Keres’s lips. “I love you and no other. I would never betray you like that. If I had ended up marrying Michael and becoming pregnant with his child, it would have just been a union of bodies. I gave you my soul, Keres… That should mean something to you…” I turned away, unsure whether to be sad or terrified.
Keres shooed Cittrite and Dei out of the room, before turning back to me. He stepped in front of me and lifted my chin to meet his eyes. “I know you gave your heart and soul to me, just as it means a lot to me.” I saw something change in his eyes, “Next time you want to get married, can it be to me?”
I smiled, “If you allow me to, but only after the war has ended.”
He put his hand out for mine and I gave it to him, without a second thought. He slid a ring on my left ring finger, a promise of love. I felt myself tear up as I looked at the simple ring that had a white gold, rose gold and yellow gold leaves centered below a tiny spiral. “It’s beautiful…”
“Your father gave it to me, while we talked in the cemetery… It was the ring your mother wore during their engagement.” He started to tint a little pink as I recognized that kind of heat. He was blushing!
I stood on my tiptoes and kissed him lightly, a sweet kiss, a promise for later. He grabbed me around the waist and as his lips touched mine, I lost all sense of everything but him.