In the Shadow of the Mask

The Demon Servant

Sparrow stepped back. Aja’s young face sneered back at her with anger. Her eyes were no longer the deep hazel brown as they were once before. They were burning… they were burning like Jack’s. They stared straight into her and deep in into her soul. They flashed and flickered like there was a real fire burning in each one.

“You fool…,” she growled again, “Why are you here? I warned you before,” she gritted her teeth, “Not to face him if his servant stood by his side. Leave this place before it’s too late,” she began to cough and wheeze.

With every cough, blood spattered to the ground. The wound in her chest started to bleed and turn her shirt the most awful shade of red.

“I’m getting you out of here,” Sparrow ignored her warning.

“Don’t!” Aja pulled away from her, “Leave! Now! Before I kill you!”

“Kill me?” Sparrow didn’t understand, “Why would you…?”

“There’s not enough time,” she sighed, “Leave while I’ll let you… please… I don’t want your blood on my hands…,” she turned away from her, “Please Sparrow…”

“Aja,” Sparrow started to approach her, “I won’t leave you. I’m going to get you out of here.”

“I’m not Aja!” she hissed, “… not anymore. That old explorer died in the ruins of the Witchwood Arena… I’m lost to this place…,” a tear started to roll down her face, “Please Sparrow… Jack won’t attack you if you leave… Will you Jack?”

Jack thought for a moment, “I don’t know… that is up to you… my dear…”

Aja growled, “Up to me? Up to me!? You have made it quite clear that I have no will! That… that I have no choice…,” she fell limp, only held up by the chains.

“Aja!” Sparrow came to her side, “I’m getting you out of here,” she started to loosen the chains.

“NO!” Aja swung her arm around.

Sparrow ducked down as flesh, iron and stone flew over her head. The chain whipped around so quickly they were just flashed of silver. Their links scrapped across the mausoleum wall, leaving deep scars. The pillar that once held the chain crumbled into pebbles and dust as it fell to the floor. Aja hand landed into the other and went deep into the grey stone.

Sparrow stumbled back. She couldn’t understand what was going on. She looked like Aja, though younger in appearance. She sounded like Aja. She had the same wound that was inflicted upon her in the underground arena. But her eyes… her actions… they were not the Aja she knew.

“Surely it has sunk in now,” Jack laughed as he walked passed her, “Your precious Aja… as you call her… is trying to kill you,” he came up to the heavy breathing Aja, “Her feeling for you and the rest of your companions… her feelings for humanity is fading by the moment… a disease that has plagued her body for centuries,” he ran his hand through Aja’ hair.

She shied away and tried to shrink as small as she could. The single chain that still held her prevented her from moving any farther.

“Now, now my dear,” he hushed her, “This is for your own good.”

“No… please… please don’t do this to,” she grabbed his red hooded cape, “Please…,” she begged him, “Please don’t make me give up everything… Please… Master…,” she looked up at him with teary eyes.

He looked down at her and gently stoked her face, “It is good to hear you say that again… It makes me nostalgic about our past… However,” his hand wandered down to her chest, “You will not suffer from your past any longer.”

It was one swift movement. His armored covered finger thrust deep into her chest; right where he has pierced through her with his blade. She opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. Her face contorted and her body twisted in pain. He, however, remained emotionless. He just buried his finger deeper and deeper until he felt like he had hit the right spot.

She went limp.

“There… much better,” he gently lifted her head, “Though… you still hide yourself in this weak body you have adopted over the long years. Let the fire that once burned inside of you burn this diseased body away,” he pulled his finger from her chest, “Come back to me my dear Sephire...” he whispered into her ear.

Sparrow just sat there and watched the scene play out. It was like she was an audience to the strangest play ever written. It was a delicate performance between a reluctant woman and a demonic man of her past. She wanted to forget it all, but he kept pulling her back. She wanted to be free from him, but he would not release the chains that bonded her. She wanted to see an end to it all. He wanted it to continue. She had lost… he had won and now Sparrow was going to see it all unfold before her.

The once limb body of the defeat woman began to stiffen. She gripped at the man that just stared at her. He took her into his arms. She twisted and contorted in pain, but nothing came from her gapping mouth. The chains around her wrists clicked and clanked. From around her came a glow. It wasn’t soft or yellow like a candle. It was dark and red… it suffocated the place with feelings that lie in the deepest, darkest places of the soul. The glow turned from a faint hue to a black and red flame that engulfed the woman and the man. Their clothing fluttered and twisted in the flames. The flame did not consume them. It did not reduce them to ask and cinders. No… the flame made them stronger.

Lines formed along her face and exposed parts of her body. They were not like the blues ones of pure energy from before. They streaked and formed cracks of red. They flashed and flittered like the flame that surrounded her. Her once tan skin faded and grayed to point where she looked dead. Her black flowing hair turned red with strips gray running through it. The spines of her vertebra erupted from back and peaked to a razor point. Her shirt ripped as her muscles tightened and grew. Her fingers stretched and her fingernails sharpened. Bumps formed on her forehead and grew into curled horns that encircled her young, gray face. She opened her mouth and released a shrill cry; her eye teeth elongated into jagged fangs. The dark flames settled and withdrew back inside of her. They had done what they were meant to do.

The woman… once known as Aja… was now a creature of unknown origin.

“That’s much better,” Jack seemed pleased with her new appearance, “I always loved the way your horns twisted around your face,” he traced his finger along her horn, “They highlight your most appealing feature,” his face drew close to her’s, “Now, I need you to do something for me… I need you kill this girl and the heroes that lie outside this place… can you do this for me my dear Sephire?” he ran his hand through her hair.

She purred and gently rubbed her face into his.

“That’s my girl,” he was pleased, “Now,” he pushed her face in Sparrow’s direction, “I want you to start with her and then move to the others. Do you understand?”

Her eyes shot open to reveal not the burning eyes of before, but crystal blue pools.

She opened her mouth and released shriek that pierced the ears and cracked the stone walls. Sparrow could only stare as the beastly creature as it growled and stared down at her.

Could she really be the woman that had given her life to save her’s? Could she have been the explorer that had been anywhere and everywhere that Albion had to offer? Could she really been the woman that had lead Sparrow through the dark times… the dark thoughts… and brought her back from the brink? Could this creature that Jack had created be the woman that he was so obsessed with?

“Aja?” is all she could ask.

The gray skinned creature hissed once more before disappearing.

“Grr…,” she appeared right in front of her.

“Aja?” she asked once more to the creature’s face.

Her blue eyes stared deep into her’s. Her lips were curled back in a growl.

“Sephire,” Jack ordered, “Kill the girl…”

Bringing back her hand, the creature pointed her claws straight at Sparrow’s heart.


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