A Woman Scorned
The sun glinted high in the bright blue sky, occasionally blinding Lavernia for brief moments as she rushed through the village. Her emerald eyes sought out the one person she wanted to see this moment, and shone with happiness when she found him. Halting outside of a modest wooden shed, she peered around wooden frame and smiled.
"Working hard as always, I see."
A head of long, shaggy brown hair lifted. "Lavernia," greeted Bartholomew Silverthorne. He only ever addressed her by her title when they were not alone. "What brings you here so early in the day?"
The light in her eyes faded slightly. "I've been paid another visit by Lord Ivan."
Bartholomew set down his saw, which he had been using on the wooden plank before him. He crossed his arms and surveyed the woman before him. "Well, that shouldn't come as a surprise. You know ahead of time of his visits, do you not?"
His lack of concern irked her slightly, as it always did. He never seem too bothered by the threat of her marriage to Lord Ivan. She couldn't tell if it was because he was confident of her love for him, or if it was because he thought she would find a way to halt the engagement.
"I know, but with every visit the plans and preparations get more serious," she said, moving into his workplace. "Even today, he upset me terribly. He won't listen to a word I say."
"I expect he won't. He doesn't seem the type to listen to anyone," muttered Bartholomew.
"So what shall I do?" Lavernia beseeched. She set her slim hands on the edge of his worktable and looked imploringly at him. "There must be a way we can stop it."
Bartholomew took her hands gently into his own. "Sweetheart, I know how you feel, but…if I am to be honest, I don't think there is anything we can do."
"Don't say that!" insisted Lavernia. "You want to be with me, don't you?"
Bartholomew's eyes shifted ever so slightly to the right, a movement Lavernia did not notice. "Of course I do. But you know your parents will never accept me, and I suspect Lord Ivan will not be so quick as to let you be with another man, especially one in as low a social class as me."
Lavernia's eyes narrowed. "You are right. Mother and Father have spent many years working out my betrothal to Lord Ivan."
Bartholomew squeezed her hands. "You see we have little options."
"Yes, there is only one choice, then." Lavernia's eyes shone with sudden determination. She stepped away from her lover and looked intently at him. "Will you meet me here, at midnight?"
A slight smile worked across Bartholomew's face. "I do believe that can be arranged."
"Then in mere hours, my love." Lavernia beamed at him. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him briefly, enjoying the slow pulse of warmth that occurred in her chest. They lingered that way for a brief moment before parting.
"I will wait with bated breath," said Bartholomew softly.
Lavernia blushed. "I love you."
"And I you."
Lavernia left then, her heart fluttering with bliss. Though her interactions with Bartholomew were often short, especially during the day, she left him feeling happier than she ever felt. It would be horrible if any of the other villagers discovered their relationship. Though she didn't care about the consequences, Bartholomew did, and so they kept their meetings as secretive as possible.
For two years, they had succeeded. She knew when she first laid eyes on him that he was something special. He was a young woodworker, a newcomer to their humble village. She was the first to welcome him, and it was not long after that they started their affair.
But now it was going to come to an end, if she didn't do something about it. She would be wed to Lord Ivan, a man she knew very little about and spent little time with.
Her mouth set into a firm frown at the very thought. 'No, I have been patient long enough. Two years of hiding and pretending. If Mother and Father refuse to allow me to make my own choice, I will take it upon myself. Tonight is the night. Tonight is where I will run away with my beloved.'
And finally, her life would go how she wanted it to go.
She spent the rest of the day packing as few of her possessions as she could. When she would hear the footfalls of her parents, she would kick her sack underneath her bed and listen with half an ear to the new developments they had to tell her, in regards to her wedding. Though these conversations would often make her sick, they now filled her with a sense of vindication. She would be the one leaving Lord Ivan, and he didn't have an inkling.
Night soon descended, and her heart seemed like it would burst from her chest with excitement. Unable to wait any longer, she slipping her sack of items over her shoulder and departed her room. Her parents were already in for the night, leaving her escape route clear. She paused by her sister's room to bid farewell, but her brow furrowed when she discovered Rose's bed empty.
'Well, this is not the first time,' she mused, recalling the few occasions where she roused from slumber and happened to discover her sister missing. Though she was curious, she did not press. As her relationship with Bartholomew was a secret, she would let Rose keep her own secret.
'Shame I can't say goodbye in person,' she thought. 'I am sure she will understand.'
With two prepared letters, she set them on the kitchen table. She was sure her father would deliver the letter to Lord Ivan, and as such the details to her sudden departure would be explained. She wished she would be able to see the look on his face when he read she would be living her life with Bartholomew, but she supposed her imagination would do.
She knew she was an hour early, but she didn't mind waiting. She walked through the dark, quiet village and towards the wooden shop. Her eyes lit up when she saw a dim glow of light coming from the interior of the shed.
'I suppose he couldn't wait either!'
She reached the entrance-and froze.
Her lover, the man she was intending to run away with, had his lips firmly locked with those of a raven-haired woman. The woman had her hands woven through his brunette strands, and soft sighs of pleasure escaped her.
She couldn't move. She couldn't breathe. It felt as if time had completely stopped and her vision blurred. She could feel her heart shattering in her chest. Shaking from head to foot, she could only stare numbly, unable to do anything.
But then the woman's head turned slightly, her face flushed, and Lavernia was suddenly filled with unexplainable anger and betrayal.
Jolting violently, Rose instinctively shoved Bartholomew away from her. She whirled around, eyes growing wide at the sight of her sister. Bartholomew paled significantly, mouth going dry. "Lavernia!" exclaimed Rose, the panic on her face diminishing slightly. "What are you doing here?"
"I should be asking you the same thing," she returned, her voice trembling. "What are you doing with my lover?"
Bewildered, Rose turned to Bartholomew. "Lover?"
"I don't know where she's getting that from," claimed Bartholomew. "We have a professional relationship."
"Bartholomew," breathed Lavernia, tears prickling her eyes. "Why? We were going to run away tonight!"
The surprise on Bartholomew's face was genuine. "I know nothing about that."
Rose crossed her arms, a sympathetic expression crossing her face. "I think her views are a bit skewed. It doesn't help that she's not at all happy with her betrothal to Lord Ivan."
Lavernia's hands tightened on the strap of her sack. She couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"That makes sense," agreed Bartholomew, refusing to make eye contact with the older Arderne sibling. "Perhaps she thought there was more to our relationship, and wanted me to run away with her?"
Rose moved forwards and set a hand on her sister's shoulder. "I'm not quite sure where this all came from, but I think you should just go back home. You're not thinking things through. You won't last a day on your own. I'm sure the marriage won't be as bad as you imagine."
Lavernia stared. She was suddenly realizing where her sister went on those nights she disappeared. She was getting intimate with Bartholomew, and Bartholomew had not given a single clue that he was cheating on her.
"You!" she snarled, shoving Rose aside to storm up to Bartholomew. "How could you?! You and I, I thought we loved each other!"
"I'm afraid you've been taking my kindness the wrong way," he said calmly, still refusing to look at her. "It would be best if you left now."
"We'd like to be left in private," added Rose pointedly. "We can talk later."
Eyes narrowing into slits, Lavernia could no longer retain a hold on her anger, which consumed her with full power. Her one salvation, the one person she thought had understood and loved her wholly, was choosing her sister over her. And Rose had a disgustingly pitying look on her face, and Lavernia was overcome with the urge to harm the both of them.
Lunging forwards, she grabbed hold of a hammer laying on the worktable and thrust it at Bartholomew. Good reflexes stood between him and a grisly end. Eyes wide with fear, he took several step backwards, whereas a horrified and furious Rose tried to restrain her currently psychotic sister.
"Stop it this instant!" she hissed.
"You've no idea what you're doing," growled Lavernia. "He is mine."
"Even if that were true, he chose me," retorted Rose. "I'm afraid you're out of luck!"
The words were a stab to her gut, and Lavernia screamed in rage. "And I'm afraid you're out of time!"
She managed to wrench her way out of Rose's grip. Her hands immediately flew to the eighteen-year-old's neck and her hold tightened. As Rose gasped and thrashed, her nails biting into Lavernia's wrist, Bartholomew was terrified by the feral, murderous look in the once warm emerald eyes. He fled, and Rose choked out his name.
"I suppose he didn't chose you after all," snarled Lavernia. "But don't worry. He won't be getting away with this so easily."
Helpless, Rose opened and closed her mouth, trying to form words as her face turned a dark shade of blue. She was unable to make a sound, and she soon slumped lifeless in Lavernia's hold. She carelessly dropped the limp body of her sister, her face an icy mask. She could not feel anything, and she doubted she ever would again. But she would get her revenge-it was just a matter of how.
She stormed out of the wooden shed and squinted into the night. She could the shadow of the forest looming at the bottom of the hill, and she strode for it, thinking that Bartholomew might have tried to hide in the dense foliage.
'I'll kill him. I'll burn him. I'll make him feel the pain he put me through, but a hundred times more!'
She stormed over roots and fallen branches. Her mouth was formed in a permanent scowl and her eyes glinted with cold fire. There was no longer anything left to lose. She would not hold back. She would not let Bartholomew get away.
She stumbled through a section of trees and halted, head tilting slightly as she surveyed a rundown cabin before her. The windows were broken and some boards from the roof were hanging by a nail. It seemed to be abandoned.
'Perhaps he is in there…'
This thought propelled her forwards, climbing the creaky wooden steps. She nudged the door open, expecting a desolate, dusty interior. Her emerald eyes widened slightly at the cluttered space. Shelves were lined with old, leather-bound books. An open pantry displayed vials of oddly coloured liquids, and a collection of cloth dolls and disturbing ingredients were piled atop a table. In the middle of the room, sitting over a poorly constructed fire pit, was a large cauldron.
She had heard rumours of such beings who roamed about. But she had never encountered one, and suspected that the women who lived here had either been chased off or taken for dead. Either way, she was alone in a witch's cabin, a prospect that would send most running straight for the door.
But she was drawn to the books. She moved slowly across the floor, eyes not leaving the worn titles written across the spines. She picked one off of the shelf and flipped through it, intent. Though she had difficulty grasping some of the language, she could pick up the purpose of what each spell, chant and curse written in a messy scrawl meant.
A wicked grin crossed her face, and for a moment, her eyes seemed to glow a sinister green. This was it-this was how she would get revenge against Bartholomew, and even her parents and that accursed Lord Ivan, who only ever made her life miserable.
'You shall pay-all of you!'
After all, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Gravity Falls, Present Day
"…it is said that the severe emotional trauma Lavernia Arderne had experienced caused her to lose all sanity. After killing her sister in a jealous rage and discovering the abandoned witch's cabin, she used her newfound tools to gain the ultimate power. The ritual she performed is not quite certain, for there are varying details that contradict each other, the end result is the same across all interpretations of this tale. She sold her soul and mortality to transform herself into a demon of fire.
"She used her new abilities to first burn down the honoured house of her parents, and then proceeded to burn down the treasured estate of Lord Ivan. She then hunted down Bartholomew Silverthorne and burned him to death, in front of the eyes of horrified villagers. She then went on a reign of terror, destroying the village that she had once called home.
"Desperate to stop her, a small collection of villagers formed and hunted down the outcast witches, the ones who managed to escape death. After striking an agreement, the witches returned to the village and together, performed a spell that entrapped the fire demon into the very Earth. Deep within the ground below Myrefall, she lived an existence of nothingness. She could not harm anyone, bound by the magic of the witches.
"But magic, it seems, is a very complicated matter. Though a spell could be created to trap Lavernia, a spell was created to free her. Even if the witches did not want to do so, there seemed to be an internal force that drove them to it. The witches did not speak the spell aloud-they simply wrote it. The villagers did not receive this spell, and no one knows what it was or where it ended up.
"If we are to believe this tale holds any truth, then I pray that the spell to release Lavernia Arderne is never found. Because then, those poor souls will know the true meaning of fear, and the impending shadow of Death itself."
Heinz trailed off, his lips pursing into a thin line. He gingerly set the archive pages down on the table and folded his hands tightly together. "Well. That's quite the backstory, huh?"
Perry stared blankly at the scientist before him before letting a drawn-out chatter. "So…you're telling me that what you unleashed a woman-turned-into-fire-demon who wants to destroy whatever she sees, especially the place of her emotional trauma, because she got cheated on and then dumped?"
Heinz got the gist of what the platypus was asking through his chatter. "Yeah…uh…I mean…I think this is what we're dealing with."
It was so bizarre that it couldn't be true, but Perry knew that it probably was. As fantastical as the story sounded, it correlated too well with what had occurred in those caves.
'Well…guess I'm fighting against a scorned immortal female demon with fire abilities.'