LEGEND Fan Fiction
By ifrit (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Even after I fell to the ground in a half-faint, the Lord of Darkness eyed me silently and continued to come closer. When next I opened my eyes, it was to see his face close to mine. Too close. I opened my mouth in a silent cry but no words emerged. He smiled evilly at me. Panic and fear gave my deadened limbs new strength and I managed to hoist myself up on my elbows and wriggled away from him as far as I could. Then, as quickly as the strength had come, it was gone, and I was able to only sit there and gasp in horror as he arose and with slow, measured steps, came closer to me. I was unable to think, move or speak; frozen in my fear. Still, he came closer and then he spoke.
"How like you my gifts?" he said, in a deep, rich yet terrifyingly evil voice. "Does the gown not please you?" he went on.
"No!" I was finally able to sob out and bowed my head, bitterly weeping.
A gentle laugh escaped him.
"And you speak so of your bridal gown!" he contemptuously. He continued to look down at me and I shook myself, unable to wake myself from this living nightmare. I was caught in his spell; he and I both knew it.
"I have found my true mate and you know it" he said, his eyes glittering mechanically at me. I regained myself, trembling from my rage and fear, I hissed out, "Never!"
He breathed deeply, "Beneath the skin we are already one! Was it not Your sin that trapped the unicorn?"
"No," I whimpered, my conviction lost as I recalled the full magnitude of my selfish pride that had caused this, all this.
"Even now, the evil seed of what you have done, germinates within you!" he went on gleefully, with arrogance dripping from each condemning word.
No! I would fight him! Even if he killed me, I would fight him! Trembling from my rage, sadness and fear, I managed to whisper, "No. You lie!"
Here, the smile continued to play on his blood-red lips and I knew that such an accusation would not harm him, this seer of lies.
"You disgust me!"
At this, his grin disappeared and as he stared at me, rage showed, filing up his emerald-green eyes.
I continued with my new-found strength. "You are nothing but an animal!"
His laugh sounded again, and I instantly felt at a loss.
"We are all animals, milady," he spat and gave me a look that warned me never to mock him again. He turned and strode away to the end of the room.
I looked about myself helplessly. There was no place that I could run or hide. Moreover than that, I wanted to die. Die of shame of what I had done, but I could not. I had to try to stop him, somehow. How? I had no idea. But I had to try. He laughed menacingly and looked content as he spoke, "The last unicorn dies tonight! As her blood ebbs, the sun sets forever! There shall never be another dawn."
The full force of his words sank in and as I comprehended his vile plan, I dropped to my knees and could only protest, "NO!"
"Lady," he purred, "I require the solace of the shadows and the dark of the night. Sunshine is my destroyer!"
I turned away from him, weeping bitter tears for myself, for the unicorn, for Jack; my lost love and for the world. That this should be! That this was all because of that one moment of beauty when I had touched the stallion. That this was the price! I could do nothing but weep as the guilt and utter despair pounded against my being and the legacy of my sin stood affront of me, in every manifestation of evil.
Although I had not totally lost my fear of him, I followed him as he beckoned me to come with him. The world may have been all but dead, but I was mulling a plan over in my head of what I might be able to do to stop him from carrying out his evil purpose.
"All I wish", he told me, leaning lazily against a table that almost towered over me, "Is for you to sit and talk with me."
The sheer simplicity of his request took me aback and I started in amazement. "Sit?" I said, like a dim-witted child. He tilted his head, as if trying to make sense of my question.
"Here?" I said, indicating to a cold chair that had been roughly cut out of stone.
"Yes," he said smiling.
"I would rather stand!" I replied primly, deliberately goading him.
"SILENCE!" he roared, throwing back his head. I gasped in fear and backed away from him. Distant thunder rumbled and the surrounding air grew dangerous and pregnant with unbirthed tension. He bowed his head and for a moment, I was afraid that he would charge me. My eyes were automatically drawn to the protrusions that sprouted dangerously from his head.
When he looked at spoke next, it was in a controlled, calmed voice. "Or stand. As you wish. It is enough that we are alone, together. Just the two of us," His speech carried him closer to me, narrowing the distance. I had to fight every primal urge within my body not to back away. I could not show him my fear, or he would sense it and play upon it. I had to be strong.
"So that we can have a simple conversation," his voice trailed off seductively.
The last thing that I wanted to do was to talk to him, but I dare not risk his anger again. Instead, I said, "I have nothing to talk about. You have stolen all my dreams away." The memory of trapped unicorn in the dungeon weighed heavily on my mind. A world without light or laughter or love? I turned away from him, and from this consideration. I helplessly felt the tears cresting within me. And what of Jack? My true love? Was he still trapped in the watery grave that I had inadvertently sent him to? A frozen corpse, his fate sealed by my impudence and heedless pride. There was no life without him for me. There was nothing. Darkness must have sensed my sadness, because when he spoke, his tone was gentle and tender, so unlike his character that for a moment, if I closed my eyes, I could hear Jack's voice speaking the words to me.
"All things change, lady. The dreams of youth are the regrets of maturity. Dreams are my specialty. Through dreams, I influence mankind. Do not turn away from the darkness, lady. There is a beauty in the night that is eclipsed by the light of day. I would seek to take you away from the garish day and show you the splendors of the night, where there is no intrusive light by which to darken my dream. My dream is of eternity with you."
His words were not without effect, and I could feel my hatred slowly melting away. I watched him in a reserved sort of horror and yet fascination as he kneeled down before me and imploringly lifted his hands to me. "I offer you this rose, princess," he said deeply. "My heart. My soul. My love."
I frowned in confusion at his words. Love? Could such a thing exist in his depthless heart of darkness pitch? "Can you even love?" I whispered. He lowered his eyes, as if sad.
There was an eternity of silence as he stood and strode away from me. When he looked at me again, it was wholly and fully; any doubt that may have been raging in his soul was evidently gone.
"Sit!" he exclaimed happily. "I value your thoughts. Share them with me."
As I stared at him, I realized that it was without fear this time, and I could dense that there was a calm in the air that had not been there before. I was aware that I was gradually falling deeper into his spell, but I did not even try to fight it.
"Sit!" I replied.
Now it was his turn to look confused. "Sit?" he questioned, his voice had the slightest edge to it, and I could tell that he was growing weary of this game. I could not go on much longer without truly refusing him or accepting him.
"Nothing more than that," I said, coyly.
"And talk with me," he said in languid tones.
The evil darkness that personified him seemed to be slipping off of him and slowly oozing towards me. I blinked hesitantly at it was then, with a deliberate toss of my head, I casually wandered to a nearby table and eyed its contents.
"Eat!" he said, but I looked away in disgust. Instead, my gaze became affixiated on a cup that was slowly filling with a thick liquid that was dark in colour and rancid in its scent. My back was turned, and I was unable to see him directly work his magic.
"Drink!" he said in a self-assured tone, even as my fingers curled themselves around the cup. I turned to face him, and narrowed my eyes as I spoke.
"I will do nothing for your pleasure!"
"NO!" he roared, "No! No! NO!"
I was no longer afraid. "Never!" I screamed, "NEVER!"
He came towards me, seething with rage. Thunder and lighting sounded with each step that he took towards me. If he meant to kill me, I will never know, but I did not care. I knew that in the end, I would die anyway. I would rather die a thousand deaths over than stay with him and be called his wife! At the last possible moment, he stopped short of me and held his rage in check.
"I hear a throat begging to be cut!" I taunted him.
His eyes rolled wildly, as an animal's will. "Are you so anxious to see blood flow?"
"As you are to drink it!" I replied, for I was certain that he had drunk the blood of countless victims throughout the eons of the ages. He was silent, save for his rampant breathing, and I waited a moment, slowly savouring the delicious sense of power that I wielded over him now. We were at an impasse, and only I could make the choice.
"Grant your bride one wish on this night," I said, forcing myself to say the spiteful words. He was scared now, and I knew that he would do what I asked.
"You will have what you ask," he said, desperately, as if trying to keep me next to his side for a minute longer.
"I will stay here with you as you wish," I told him, but on one condition."
"Anything!" he swore.
I paused and glanced down at the ground. His darkness was licking at my shadow, and was slowly merging with it. I felt it finally envelop me. "I want to kill the unicorn!" I said.
For one instant, his face was a living mask of fear, but then, he smiled in relief and laughed. Because he knew that I was finally caught in his spell.
As the day drew to an end, it was finally time. Milord began. He was surrounded by fire. My eyes flew over it all and pulled in the ghastly scene. The evil host of goblins, monsters, giants, cloaked and hooded figures, and amongst them all, Darkness. There was something more terrible about him, though. He started his monody, " In the beginning, there was nothing. A cold void..."
I did not hear the rest if the words, because my thoughts were whirling, as I considered what I had to do. My fingers played along the sharp blade of the dagger that he had given to me. What if I did not have the strength, the courage? What if he was able to read my thoughts and realize my treachery before I had time to carry it out? I could not afford a mistake. I would only have one instant, and no more. What if I wasn't strong enough?Fast enough? What if I misjudged my aim? What if...What if...
Before me, the unicorn was plunging and pitching itself in a frenzied dance and the fire rose higher and higher and higher about me. I wanted reach out to it, to comfort it, to let it know of what I planned to do, but I could not. Suddenly, Darkness was beside me and was raising his hands and his voice for the second rites.
"Hear me, ye powers of the night! We offer this sacrifice, in honour of you! Sanctify with blood and with fire!"
At last he turned to me, a pointed expression on his face. "Come, lady," he said, holding out his hand to me. "The birth of a New World awaits your stroke!"
The whole company fell silent and I felt a thousand eyes on me. My heart was drumming away inside of me, as I spoke the words that I had rehearsed earlier.
"Let my offering be made of flesh and blood." Darkness looked at the unicorn one last time and then to me.
"Make me proud, lady," he murmured so softly that no one else could hear. I drew the knife that I carried with me high above my head and then closed my eyes, uttering a silent prayer. Before I had a chance to think or act otherwise, my body was moving of its own accord, and the knife came whistling down, just above the unicorn's drawn horn. The force of metal connecting with metal sent jarring shocks up my arms and my teeth clattered together. But it was not without effect, and sparks rose from the rusted chains and in the next second, I saw the unicorn breaking free! I almost burst into tears and screamed in a loud voice, "Run! Free!! Yes, Free!!"
I saw the unicorn running away and then there was chaos and confusion all about me. Running bodies, frailing voices, panic and disorder. It all became a blur. I then saw a swift motion out of the corner of my eye and then, the next thing I became aware of was the searing pain that emanated from my temple, from where Darkness had struck me. The pain spread over my mind and body like wildfire and the hard barren floor rose up to meet my spinning body. The last thing I saw was Darkness kneeling down beside me. The last thing I heard was Jack's wild, keening war cry. And the last thing I felt was the knife pressing itself deep into my skin. The rest was consumed by waves of blackness.
When I next opened my eyes, it was to see darkness all about me. My head throbbed painfully and I did not know where I was. I sat up with a start and instantly, the pain exploded in a sharp crescendo behind my eyelids. Groaning, I held my head in my hands as I waited for the pain to subside.
When the pain had at last faded, I looked about myself. I was surrounded by mountains of soft pillows and their smooth luxury deceived my senses for only a minute ~ leading me to believe that I was safe at home, in my own bed and had only had a terrible nightmare about fire, demons, blood and death. But then, intruding into my thoughts was the nightmarish voice of the Lord of Darkness and I realized that it was not a dream, though it was still, indeed a nightmare. My thoughts moved backwards to recall the last things I could remember. The release of the unicorn, Jack's wild cry, Darkness hitting me...at that thought, my hands flew to my temple, expecting to feel a bruise, a swollen lump. But beneath my sensitive fingers lay nothing! I pressed harder and the only pain I felt was the faint throb of a distant headache. I wonderingly ran my fingertips over the rest of my head, but there were no other injuries evident. The voice in the next room was rising and falling, and carefully and cautiously, I eased myself off the pillows and onto the desert floor of cold stone. I felt a curious coldness pressing against my thigh and I automatically felt for the knife. It was still there, its cold presence and unfamiliar weight strangely comforting against my body. Again, I heard his voice and was instantly drawn to it. I crept quietly but swiftly across the floor, and then, holding my breath, I parted the curtains that separated the two rooms. My heart plunged with re-born fear as I beheld him. But now, his stance - one of defeat as he slumped in a chair, holding his head in his hands, revealed a different aspect of him to me. I saw him; weakened and weary. It was also evident in his voice when he spoke to someone. Something? I could see no one else in the room.
"Father, though the world is free of light, I still suffer from a sense of loss. I feel the bitter sting of her betrayal, Father. Yet, I also feel curious forgiveness! These emotions are too alien, too foreign. What shall I do? Tell me. Help me."
Although I could not see the other speaker, I could hear the voice; different from his, but hauntingly the same.
"You have been poisoned by her love. It is a fatal sting, and now, you must charm the asp, in order to control it. Do what you know is in your heart. Lay another on her. One more powerful, deeper." The last word was hissed and then it faded, and Darkness was left sitting alone on the throne, holding his head as he obviously considered the words. My own thoughts were racing away inside of me. Another one? Another what? What did that mean? I looked about myself, thinking that I might hide somewhere. All around me lay his dark night, whose shadows would give me away to their master. I shuddered visibly. What was I to do? Why was I still alive? Had the unicorn been killed? And what of Jack? Darkness had not obviously been destroyed. Did that mean that Jack had been defeated? Did that mean that he was dead?
I might have broken down into tears then and there if at that moment Darkness had not arose from his seat and walked towards the curtain, his head down. I let the curtain drop and ran to where I had been before and lay down amongst the sickly-sweet smelling pillows. Through the narrowed slits of my eyes, I saw him come into the room and approach me. My heart beat faster until it was the only sound that I could hear. Then, kneeling down, he gathered my limp body up into his arms and carried me for a considerable distance. I dared not open my eyes and give up the charade. Pretending to be unconscious felt like the safest thing that I could do. All the same, I felt terrified, and wondered what he had in store for me. What would he do?
After what seemed to be an eternity of time, I felt him stop and then he laid me down on a high, uncomfortable surface. Rearranging my hands at my sides, he then began to chant. The words were fast and hurried and were not any that I had heard before. My thoughts were becoming as fluid as water and again, I felt myself slipping into a faint.
When I next recovered, I was still on the high rock. Darkness was not far off, sitting on the floor. His eyes were closed and I guessed that he was sleeping. Although I had the chance to consider escape, I did not have the time to act upon it before he opened his eyes and looked over at me. The old smile was in place as he spoke to me.
"Are you feeling better, lady?" he said in a very sculpted voice.
"Yes, I am. My thanks to you, milord," I heard my voice say. I was surprised by my words, but he did not seem so. I alighted to the ground with the aid of his hand, which though I loathed to touch him, I did all the same.
"Come, lady," he said and I followed him. I wanted to run away...hide! But I could not. Some force kept me from doing so. He led me into a different room that was hung with rich tapestries and as I surveyed the room, I saw that the corners and pillars were decorated
with ornate carvings and friezes. He released my captive hand and motioned to a wide table that was filled with mead and wine.
"Witness, my princess" he said, happily. "Your wedding repast! Sit with me!" he said, and against my own will, I was seated.
"Eat!" he commanded and I picked up for an unidentified morsel and felt it pass between my teeth. He smiled at me and then began to eat ravenously. I ate no more and slowly, a renegade tear trickled down my cheek and then another. I was finally aware of what he had down. He had cast another spell on me. Except this one was more powerful than the last. Now he controlled my speech and my actions. I wondered if he also knew my thoughts. Suddenly, he looked over to me and said, "Are you tired?"
"Yes, I am," he had me answer.
He finished eating and looked sadly at me. He said, almost regretfully, "It must be so, my dear. There is not other way." And that answered my thought.
Once again, I lay on the cushions and stared into the dark. He had led me into the room and had watched as I lay down. He had "matters to attend to", or so he told me, and would return when I awoke. I did not feel in the least bit tired, but all the same I felt my eyes slipping shut but it was not of my own violation. He was forcing the sleep upon me, and I could not fight it. It was too strong, and my weary mind was calling out rest. My last conscious thought was of Jack. Oh, Jack. Was he dead? Where was he? What would my future hold, here, with this monster that used me, as a mere puppet with a guided will? To these troubling thoughts, I fell asleep. I dreamed horrible dreams. I saw Darkness repeatedly slaughtering the unicorn and laughing in glee. I saw Jack, falling into an abyss of darkness and I, forced to watch, and was unable to help him. When I finally was able to wrench myself free from the guilt-ridden dreams, it was to see that finally I was alone. Sensing that this was finally my chance, I decided that I had to try and escape. I fairly flew to the opposite end of the room, where I had earlier seen 2 ancient old oak doors. I felt sure that they led somewhere. Hope infused my soul as I got closer. But when I got there I saw, to my utter despair, that they were heavily barred. I stood before them, for a moment, willing them to magically open, but they remained firmly shut. I slumped to the ground and felt tears coursing down my cheeks.
"Surely you are not leaving me already, now are you?" came his icy voice from directly behind me. I spun around as abject terror crested within me. He stood, half-draped in the shadows with his arms crossed across his bared chest as he lazily stared down at me.
"Of course not, milord," I replied through gritted teeth.
"The world is dead, milady," he said, with a triumphant smile on his face.
"You must come to accept this. Let your love for it die, and rejoice in this New World of which you shall be mistress of." I could not reply, but I gave a furious shake of my head, though that took considerable effort. His expression hardened as I remembered the force of his earlier anger. I winced, expecting the worst. However, nothing of the sort came and instead, I felt his hand gently brush my cheek.
"Such spirit! Such courage! No wonder you fascinate me so!"
Then, he roughly grabbed my hand and propelled me towards the other end of room. I tried to fight, to protest, but he was too strong, too powerful. There was nothing that I could do. It was all dead. All of it. All about me lay miles of death and despair. From our vantage point, high atop a cliff, I saw the land of lost dreams as a stark reality. Darkness released my arm and threw his arms out, as if to embrace the very air itself. I backed away from him and the world, in horror. His expression was one of wonder and contentment. He turned burning eyes upon me.
"Behold your kingdom! Wonder and rejoice in this Brave New World! It is so beautiful! Can you not sense death and destruction? My lodestars! At brilliant play!" His words were lost in the icy, howling wind. I felt the strong wind tearing away at me, as if it knew that I was responsible for all this. Tears sprang from my eyes and seemed to freeze on my cheeks. I looked about, desperately, for any sign of life but saw none. His back turned to me; I started to inch towards the cliff. It seemed to be the only way.
"Come and see my lodestars at play! It is glorious, glorious!"
I looked past his shoulder, but saw nothing. I could hear faint screams and moans though. Was it just the wind, or was it the voices of innocent people meeting their fate in the icy blackness? I shuddered. Darkness' back was turned to me and I uttered a silent prayer that he would not turn, would not see what I was doing. I felt the strong wind tearing away at me, as if it knew that I was responsible for all this. Tears sprang from my eyes and seemed to freeze on my cheeks. I looked about, desperately, for any sign of life but saw none. His back turned to me; I started towards the edge of the cliff. It seemed to be the only way. Inch by sure inch, I made my way to the edge of the cliff. At the edge, I peered down, momentarily hypnotized by the darkness that lay below. I dizzily pulled my gaze away from it and moved still closer. The wind moaned and whispered. I thought that I heard the voices of those that were so dear to me in it. I could hear Nell's laughing voice, my father's deep authoritative one and the one that hurt the most; Jack's. I closed my eyes.
They were gone. All of them. There was nothing left. I turned a loathing eye on Darkness and beyond that, the world of pitch and eternal night. I could not be apart f it. I belonged with those that were undoubtedly dead. I could not contemplate my life without them. I closed my eyes. There was nothing left. I screwed up my courage, and prepared to jump when all of a sudden, I heard Jack's voice say to me, "Don't do it, Lili."
My eyes flew open at the sound of it, desperately hoping that he was still alive, but as I turned around, it was only to see that it was Darkness repeating the same words to me, holding out his hand, his look beseeching me.
"Don't make me force you," he growled.
I turned, with every intention to jump, but faster than a striking snake, Darkness lunged forward and caught my arm in an iron grip and pulled me backwards. The force with which he pulled and the equal force of the wind pushing against our bodies caused us both to tumble to earth and in the event, the knife that I had kept hidden, fell to the ground. I recovered faster than he and grabbed for it. I held it out, with a shaking hand between us. He stared at me, a mocking smile on his lips.
"You think to threaten me, with that toy? Put it down, before you hurt yourself with it."
When I refused to, he narrowed his eyes and hissed out, "I said, 'put it down'!" and I felt an unseen pressure on my arm, forcing me to lower the knife.
NO!! I screamed both inwardly and out and was fighting him, as hard as I could; closing my eyes and willing my arm to stay where it was. He fought back, and I fought harder. After a terrible moment, I felt his power waning and then disappear, totally. I opened my eyes, and saw him panting before me - his spell broken and his power gone. I rejoiced in the freedom only for a moment before I confronted him.
"Return light to the world now!" I demanded.
He continued to stand where he was, as he panted out, "Never! Nothing shall make me return it!"
"Do it!" I screamed, brandishing the little knife on him.
Laughingly, he pushed it aside. "Do you think to threaten me, lady? The world is dead! There is nothing for you but me! Only I can keep you alive; clothe you, feed you...Even if you could escape me, where would you go that I could not find you? All the world's a circle. It all comes back to me! You will come to learn this and love it!"
I still had one thing to bargain with. "What if I promised to stay with you for all eternity and love you the way you wish me to...of my own free will? Then would you return light to world?" I asked him. His eyes widened at my words, and then he threw his head back, roaring with laughter.
"I shall have both; my New World and your love, all in due time!" He said gleefully.
He must not win.
He would not win.
I still held the knife. I slowly raised it to eye level. He watched me, smiling still, as he knew that there was no way that I could harm him.
The smile fell from his face, however when he saw me put it to my own throat. He moved carefully, as if not to spur me on. In a frightened voice, he spoke the disbelieving words, "What are you doing?"
I smiled at him. "You shall not have both. Only one, milord. Take your pick!" I adjusted the knife tighter to my throat. He was in MY power now and we both knew it.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I felt the warm kiss of the sun on my cheeks. I closed my eyes and drank in the golden sunlight with my other senses. The strained burden that had rested on my conscience for so long lifted for glorious moments as I watched the sun rise in the Eastern sky.
A dark shadow tugged on my arm, drawing me down into the earth. I did not resist it and let it draw me into the nocturnal embrace of his Night. Behind me, the iron doors clapped shut with a resounding clash, as if to mark the day.