“Désirée! You're hurting them!” She cried out. "Can't you feel it?"
The other woman’s eyes reflected the blazing fire that scorched the Surface. Her face spoke of impassiveness and indifference. However, her eyes gleamed, marveling at the sound of terror.
“It’s truly magnificent, isn’t it?” the woman stated.
Esmé folded her arms over her chest. “No, it's not!"Esmé replied snappishly, "And, I find it hard to believe that you are taking pleasure in all.”
“Who says I am?” the other woman scoffed haughtily.
"Then, why are you doing this?"
“I'm merely just turning my ideas into a reality.”
Esmé blinked incredulously.“Have you no remorse?”
“Explain further this ‘remorse’ you speak of.” The woman replied, her face cold and emotionless.
“They’re suffering, Désirée.” Esmé stated. “Only a monster would enjoy watching all those innocent lives just burn to death!”
The woman, Désirée, shook her head and sighed. She had a strange look in her eyes that Esmé couldn’t quite figure out. The smoke caused Esmé’s eyes to water, however Désirée seemed to be unfazed by it.
She clicked her tongue in annoyance. “Why are you thinking of it so negatively? Think of it as rebirth. Out of the ashes, a new world will be born. A world of beauty that will remain untouched and unblemished by those... things.”
“Humans.” Esmé corrected her.
Désirée cocked one of her brows. “Pardon?”
Esmé glared. “They’re called ‘humans’, and they are your people.”
Désirée rolled her eyes. “As if I care what they are called.” She commented. “Besides," she stuck her nose up at her sister, in a rather haughty and arrogant fashion that only served to cause Esmé’s blood to pass its boiling point, "if I recall, I did not want such filth roaming about, rolling around in Avalonia’s rich soil. If I were you, I’d be thanking me.”
Esmé rolled her eyes with an indignant snort. “Thanking you?” she barked a laugh, and Désirée sneered. “What for? You ruin everything of mine. You've always been jealous of me.”
Désirée glared.“I’m the first-born! Why would I be jealous of my attention-seeking, fame-hogging, thieving little sister?”
Esmé snapped. “That’s not true! I am not a thief!”
Désirée hissed through gritted teeth.“One must not tell lies, sister dear. You’ve stolen everything from me. Ideas, our parents’ favour, my first love... I should have been the one to receive the throne, but then you became father’s perfect little pupil. All my hard work had gone in vain, because of you.”
Esmé blinked, forcing herself not to let her tears escape. Her heart felt heavy, despite its rapid pace. The lump that formed at the back of her throat made it hard to breathe and swallow.
It was obvious Esmé was trying her best to keep calm. However, despite her efforts, her attempts were fruitless. Her attempts only made her current state worse.
Esmé breathed deeply, but shortly, before speaking in hoarse whisper,“That’s not true.Everyone thought you were mad. I came to your defense, but now I'm starting to think otherwise. Father said you’d fall into corruption with such power in your hands, and look what you've become.”
“No, you were just thick-headed and close-minded like everyone else.” Désirée replied. “Soon, you’ll see things from my perspective. One cannot hope to fix something if it hasn’t been broken first. Trust me, Esmé. Avalonia will be beautiful.”
Esmé bit her lip, sighing shakily. “Enough - I’ve heard enough. Since it seems you honestly have no qualms with murdering innocents to achieve your own goals, I cannot let your actions go unpunished.”
Désirée raised an eyebrow.
Her blood red lips were set in a calm thin line. Désirée’s body was completely relaxed while the shackles on her wrists were tightened, limiting her movement. It was as if she already knew her own fate. Not a single trace of worry was visible.
After all, She had none.
Multiple other deities had gathered to witness the trial, her sisters and their children among them. Désirée could feel their gazes focusing on her lithe form, dressed in revealing garb, as she watched the Sages and Esmé silently discuss the verdict. There were murmurs flying across the chamber inside the coliseum-like building. However, Désirée didn’t mind. She seemed to thrive on it, fueling herself up with the negative energy.
“We have reached a verdict.” Esmé’s voice rung loud and clear throughout the coliseum’s Egyptian tomb-like interior.
Désirée smirked. The adrenaline that coursed through her veins was exhilarating. Her wrists tensed, and her nails seemed sharper all of a sudden. Her posture exuded self-pride, the kind of pride that sent shivers down the spines of everyone inside the chamber.
“The Council finds the defendant guilty of treason and manslaughter in the first degree .” Esmé stated.
Esmé looked straight into Désirée’s cold eyes. The eyes that used to sparkle like emeralds were dark like moss and filled with lust for blood and power. She couldn’t bring herself to look at Désirée, her beloved sister, any longer and quickly averted her eyes.
“You are hereby sentenced to death.” Esmé practically spat the words out of her mouth.
A malicious, silent chuckle rattled deep in the back of Désirée’s throat. Her predictions were right. The adrenaline was working its way through her bloodstream. It was pumping more and more energy into her by the second.
Then, all of a sudden, the blood flow stopped.
Désirée glanced around the room throughout the corners of her eyes, and finally stared at Esmé whose ocean-blue eyes glowed brightly. She willed herself to move, her body suddenly frozen. It was as if she had become paralyzed. Something had overcame her, like another being had taken over her body entirely.
Her body was forced backwards, impacting on a rough, hard surface. She ran her hands against it, feeling it scratch her palms, and she knew it was a rock. Though, perhaps, it was more of a boulder. Still, Désirée felt normal. She felt Esmé’s power fade and then die.
Just as Désirée was about to move, the chains suddenly dug deep into the boulder, restraining her completely. She tugged and pulled, screaming uncontrollably to be released. Her wrists ached and her limbs felt ready to burst from the tension. Her efforts to break free from the cold steel were fruitless, and her breaths were short, shallow, and deep. Désirée’s head hung low.
Esmé shook her head in disappointment. “You really are mad, just like they all said.”
“Not mad, just a perfectionist.” Désirée shrugged. “You are quite dimwitted for someone who is supposed to know all. Honestly, is making renovations such a crime? All I wanted was to restore Avalonia to what it once was. Why settle with a rough draft, when you can produce a final copy.”
Esmé laughed. “So it was necessary to murder my husband, and those of your sisters?” Esmé glared. “You nearly murdered me, and thus committing an act of treason. Death seemed like a much better punishment, as opposed to letting you just rot away in prison.”
Désirée rolled her eyes in response, scoffing.
A beam of light shone down from above, manifesting into the form of a brilliant blade. The sword levitated in the air, remaining still as it hovered right in front of Esmé. The sword onto its side and continued to hover, taunting Désirée as she continued her attempts to free herself. The sword shot forward, quicker than the light it was created by. Désirée’s eyes widened as the sword drew closer.
Her body was limp. The sword had pierced through her midriff, yet no blood was shed and the blade was still clean. The room was silent as the people watched the death of one of their kin.
“It is finished.” Esmé stated.
She turned her back, as did the rest of the Council members and attendees present in the large chamber.
Esmé and the others were suddenly frozen in their spots. Désirée’s right hand twitched, flexing her fingers. She picked her head up, grinning madly. Yanking one wrist forward, the chain and shackle shattered. She pulled tugged away on the other chain, grunting as she mustered up all her strength. Just like before, the chain and the shackle broke into a million tiny pieces. Désirée twisted her neck, producing a loud crack. Her wrists were tensed and her veins were suddenly visible beneath her bluish-gray tinted flesh. She breathed in deeply, relaxing her muscles, and exhaled slowly, tensing up again. Désirée repeated the process a few times until she was grinning again.
She chuckled, savoring the burst of energy that coursed through her body. “I’ve never felt more alive.”
The adrenaline was back. She gripped the sword tightly and quick pulled it out of her midriff, surprising the people inside the chamber. Quicker than light, Désirée lunged forward before Esmé had any time to prepare herself. Esmé, ready to avoid the attack, was struck by surprise as one of the Sages jumped into the line of fire.
Désirée sneered. “That idiot.”
The sword had pierced through his midriff, just like it had done to Désirée’s. His body shook with force, causing Désirée to feel the vibrations. In a matter of seconds, he was reduced to nothing but a pile of dust and all that remained was a robe in his place.
“Murderer!” Esmé cried out in shock and horror.
Désirée smirked. Her eyes glowed an eerie bright green. Her smirk broadened as Esmé’s eyes widened, feeling the elevation of the land underneath the prison suddenly shift. Désirée was still smirking while dark shadows swarmed around her, engulfing her form. It only took Esmé moments to understand what was happening: The prison was falling.
And, it was all Désirée’s doing.
Everyone had fled the premises.
The Sages traveled back with Esmé to the Pavilion. To their relief, it was still floating gracefully in the heavens. The white marble was still intact. Still, Esmé couldn't help but feel unease as they approached the free-standing structure.
The sounds of their footsteps echoed throughout the empty halls as they passed by the columns that supported the Pavilion. Upon hearing a crash and shattering glass, they quickly entered one of the rooms: A throne room, judging by the tasteful, regal interior décor.
Inside, Désirée sat on the red velvet cushions, resting her arms on shiny, polished gold. “Exactly ten minutes.” Désirée mused.
Esmé raised an eyebrow. “What?”
Désirée smirked. “It took you ten minutes, exactly, to find me. Quite a shame, I know. I would’ve thought you’d learn your way around the Pavilion, my dear sister. What kind of queen are you, if you don’t even know your own castle?”
“This is not a game, Désirée.” Esmé stated. “I am begging you: Please stop, or else I’ll have no other choice but to stop you myself.”
Désirée gasped mockingly. “You mean, put an end to my amusement? ...I think not.”
Esmé settled on a glare. “Then I guess I really do have no other choice.”
Esmé’s eyes glowed and her mumbled words in an ancient tongue that Désirée hadn’t heard in a long time, "Corrumpebant... defaeco... Eluo de eam potestatem..."
The color of Esmé's eyes intensified. Désirée could feel all that energy she had once felt draining out of her. In a moment of sudden weakness, a feeling of loss and longing settled deep within Desiree. Longing for something that was missing- But, what was it?
Watching the glow in Esmé's eyes, and finally making sense of those words, Désirée knew just what was occurring. She observed her own appearance in the reflection of the smooth gold of the throne. Then, she saw it.
The light that emanated from Désirée's skin was fading. The same light that symbolized her power and authoritative position. It was dying.
She looked back at her sister, who's divine light was still in tact, with livid eyes. Désirée snarled and glared at Esmé, practically clawing at her younger sister. Esmé blinked in surprise as the glow faded from her eyes, returning them to normal.
"You bitch!" Désirée screamed madly.
Désirée still felt weak, but not entirely. She could feel a tiny quarter of energy still intact, but her light was very dim. However, Désirée wasn't pleased at all.
Her breaths came in short, deep, erratic puffs. Coincidentally, as Désirée inhaled deeply, strong gusts of wind stirred up.
Esmé could feel the powerful, cold wind piercing her skin. The winds grew stronger and she grew numb as the coldness spread throughout her entire body. Esmé’s face was frozen in an expression of shock by the time her body was completely encased in ice.
Désirée would have been satisfied with the result, but she did not feel satisfaction. Even though she had enough energy to last her awhile, Désirée wasn't satisfied. Instead, her eyes widened in shock as the winds picked up.
Objects were being sucked up into a dark black hole in the sky like a vacuum. Désirée struggled to keep herself planted, however she could feel herself slipping.
She looked back behind her, and found herself in the company of the Sages. Désirée snarled. Then, the ground started shaking, and their ears were practically deafened by the loud, roaring thunders.
Then, the ground started shaking. The roaring thunders were loud and deafening.
Désirée watched the masked men, as cold, rough stone slowly crept over their bodies. At that point, she could only wonder whether or not her sisters were turned into ice sculptures like Esmé or became stone columns like the Sages.
She looked around the throne-room, which was covered in a thick layer of both stone and ice.
Finally feeling content, Désirée ceased her struggling and allowed the wind to carry her off her feet. She was sucked up to the sky and fell through the vortex. The vortex was sealed after her, and the Sages were suddenly still.
Fire was her friend. It was the only thing that kept her alive in the cold, dark, damp land that became her permanent dwelling. Beautiful, yet dangerous, it very much reflected her in every aspect.
Despite the horrible conditions of the land, it was durable. However, the terrain was barren and the soil infertile. Nothing could be grown. Everything just died. Yet, the fire never died after Esmé’s “death”. It only grew.
The throne was up for grabs. Anyone could just take it and reign over Avalonia. The thought of it reeked with power, and power was Désirée’s motivation. Power was everything. Power was the very fire that kept Désirée warm in the cold, desolated plain.
Each passing day seemed like an eternity, but Désirée could feel her power growing more, which seemed like an eternity. Then again, it is possible that it could have been an eternity. It was so hard to keep track of time in the Abyss. The lack of time was the only explanation for the tally marks that were drawn into the dirt.
Désirée inhaled, the flame in the pit rising with her breath intake. She wrapped her arms around herself, smirking despite the cold. Her teeth were chattering, and her body was shivering.
“Soon we will be free.” She murmured over and over to herself. “If she refuses to let Avalonia be beautiful, then we'll just have to do it ourselves.”
The fire seemed to have responded back, roaring and crackling, as it stretched, nearly touching the sky. The dancing flames had ensnared her senses, bewitching Désirée’s very mind. Entranced by the warm glow, she stuck her hand into the fire pit.
The fire crackled and sizzled, but Désirée didn’t even wince as she scooped up a small portion of the flames in the palm of her hands It was warm. She relished the way it fluttered like the steady pace of an actual, beating heart. Like the heart of a children, it was precious.
“Beautiful.” Désirée breathed in awe. “Like Avalonia will be once I’ve taken back my rightful place on the throne.”