“What have you done?” Her voice echoed off the walls of the bedchamber. “Do not move, or I...”
“Will what? Sound the alarm? Call for the guards? Draw, your sword?” She laughed back, the dagger still clenched in her hand as the droplets of blood landed on her cream-colored boots.
“To do so, would be treason. You know this.”
“And what I have done here, is not?” She laughed again and pointed to the lifeless corpse of her mother, laying at the end of her bed.
It was a ghastly sight, her mouth wrenched open as if to scream and her eyes like saucers.It was pathetic, really, but she was dead, it wasn’t her fault she couldn’t control herself...
“What you have done is disturbing, but well within your rights as an heir to the throne.” Marwolaeth sighed and shook her head. “But your sister will not like this...”
“She will be angry, yes, but only that it was not her blade that did the deed.” Anaxa laughed. “She would be even angrier if she thought her beloved had committed such an act.”
“Syra would never believe your lies, Anaxa, for I have never given her reason to question my loyalty.” Marwolaeth brushed a lock of her long, golden hair that had fallen from her braid, away from her face. “She is mine, and I am hers.”
“Yes, it’s revolting, isn’t it?” Anaxa rolled her eyes and placed her hands on her hips. “And you are right, she would never believe such lies. so I will just have to find another to take your place in my plans.”
“You have no plans, Anaxa, you belong to the council and they will want to question your actions.” Marwolaeth growled back, her hand on her sword. “You will accompany me to the council chamber.”
“I do not think so, like I said, I have plans.” Anaxa smiled and her red eyes began to glow. “Perhaps, you may still be useful...” She added, but something behind her, drew her attention, giving Marwolaeth an opportunity to subdue her. “Not going to happen.” Anaxa shouted, holding her hand up to block the attack, and let an orb the color of her eyes, fly from her finger tips and impact against Marwolaeth’s chest.
One moment, Marwolaeth was standing on her feet with sword drawn, then next, she was pinned against the wall and every ounce of energy was draining from her body. She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, but she could hear the words emanating from across the room.
“A child? But, from where?” Anaxa sounded so confused. “But there were to be only twelve...”
Indeed, Anaxa was confused. There was no doubt about it, the child was of royal blood, but there was something else about her that made Anaxa question her orders. Who was this child? Who was its sire? Why had The Queen Mother never mentioned she was with child? Was this the reason Syra was so adamant that the Queen Mother be left alone? Had she plans for this child?
“Put the child down, Anaxa!” Another voice entered the room, followed by a gasp as their eyes set upon Marwolaeth, slumped against the wall.
“You, dare give me orders?”
“She is special, Anaxa, untouched by the wickedness of your sire.”
“She is an abomination. There were only supposed to be twelve of us.” Anaxa shouted, which in turn caused the child to cry. “Hush now, it will all be over soon!”
“I won’t let you harm her.” The voice shouted.
“Harm her? Who said anything about harming her?” Anaxa grinned, her eyes glowing red once more. “Really, T’siphony, why would I harm my own child?”
“She is not your child.” The female let out, eyeing the unconscious Marwolaeth one last time. “Leave her alone...”
“I have no intention of harming her, or you, but someone has to take the blame for this mess...” Without another word, Anaxa’s hand rose and another orb flew from her fingers, striking T’siphony as she turned.
“She is not, your child.” T’siphony whimpered, hitting the ground hard.
“No one knows she exists and soon enough, you will face the blade for your treason...” There was no point in finishing, for T’siphony lay in a pile on the floor, unconscious and barely breathing beside her apprentice. “Pity, you both fought so bravely once.” She added, slipping the dagger into T’siphony’s hand before kneeling down beside Marwolaeth. “The child will need a protector, and you, my friend, will be perfect.”
No sooner had she spoken, but her hand passed over Marwolaeth’s forehead and her Host began to shudder. “Please, stop?” She mumbled, though she was too far gone to stop Anaxa.
“Sleep now and know that when you wake, you will be stronger than ever.” Anaxa smiled, then rose to her feet and turned to the child. “And you, my sweet, I shall name you, To’llan.” She looked down at the child and gently lifted her into her arms. “Now come, I have great plans for you.”
“Marena, what do you think?” Anaxa inquired, sitting on the throne as she awaited a reply.
“I think she is perfect, my lady!” Marena replied, unpinning her long, dark curls from atop her head as she circled the podium upon which the blonde female lay. “But, what of the others?” She turned quickly, eyeing the small gathering of females who huddled to one side.
“What do you think we should do with them, child?” Anaxa grinned, bringing her drink to her lips.
Marena bowed her head, knowing it was not she that the Queen spoke to, but the Host inside her. Marena was but a vessel for the creature within.
“Our protector will need energy if she is to reach her prime.” The voices escaped Marena’s lips as her body drew closer to the females in question, but it was To’llan who answered and Marena felt her hands rise up. “We would offer theirs in exchange for her promise of allegiance.”
No sooner had the Queen nodded, but Marena felt the cool chill run through her and watched as her Host collected their life essence with the dark lanterns at her sides. A dismal sight, as the cries turned to whimpers and then nothing at all, their bodies now scattered about her feet. She hated what she had become, but there was no escape for her. It had been so long, she hardly remembered her people, or how she came to serve the darkness...
‘Hush now’ To’llan spoke so only Marena could hear. ‘It will all be over soon.’ To’llan assured her. ‘And with a vessel such as this...’ Marena found herself before the blonde female, tracing her lips with her fingers. ‘...this, Valkyrie...’
It was erotic, sinful, the way To’llan seemed to caress the female ‘What was her name?’ Marena asked her Host.
‘Her name, was Marwolaeth.’ To’llan replied.
‘No, the Hosted, what was her name?’
‘Her people called her Malice, but we shall call her our love!’ To’llan grinned, setting the lanterns down on either side of the Valkyrie.
“She will be our love!” To’llan spoke up for her Queen to hear.
“Of course, my child.” Anaxa replied, eyeing Pathen across the room.
Who was she to deny her Host, or her Queen? Marena was but a vessel....
Within the darkest corner hidden,giving nothing away was a tiny spy it listened with big ears and small eyes. For it was the spy of a Goddess one who loved owls and cats. When the room was empty except for the woman who had been taken the little spy headed for the ear of the goddess.
After listening to the spy the goddess turned toward a land far away from the Valkyries.
Her eyes fell on one of the last of her own lineage. One of the last of her kind a spinlet orphan separated from her twin at birth. The young child was determined to learn the ways of men in battle. A priest was about to curse the girl...the goddess stepped in stopping the curse but trapping the girl as a cat.
Then she whispered into the child’s ear you are her conscience, you are her freedom. Find her Saleah many times and many places tell her not your name till it’s time. I cannot intervene but you can you are my little bit of chaos to fix what is being screwed with.
The goddess smiled at her cosmic kitty sphinx and turned to her looking glass . She had sent her spy back and was now watching through his eyes.
A rough sound startled the goddess. She turned to see the one eyed God and his ravens frowning at her.
“I know I am not supposed to interfere but she is special should I not protect her a little ”
He tilted his head at her then nodded. ” Only One more thing can I ignore ”
She pulled mist into the room around her spy and the Valkyrie gave it a brain and ability to take form or possess another one. Then she whispered life into the creature.
You are a mist hound you protect the Valkyrie you give the cat clues and you stay true to me. You are not to be seen by anyone but the Valkyrie and your victims. You may only speak to me and the cat.
The goddess thought for a moment, as the mist hound bounded around the room jumping the bodies.
You can talk to the Valkyrie too but you are forbidden to mention me or the cat.
You have many gifts for death, hound but only use it to protect the valkyrie. Anyone who she has you go after...well they can disappear perhaps you can save them from her by removing them and causing them temporarily to forget who they were. We shall see...she ended tapping her chin . Then watched the mist hound dissipate to wait for the Valkyrie to wake
As she lay there on the altar her spirit wandered amongst the endless stars. Knowing nothing but peace. Then something changed, calling her to come to a particular light, she felt a pull, as if someone had said her name.
Reaching the light it engulfed her sucking her into a maelstrom of light and power. A thousand sensations ran through her as she traversed the vortex. Then it stopped as suddenly as it started before she gasped as she breathed sucking in the sweet air when she felt life return to her body.
As her consciousness returned she heard voices. Then she groaned more of a croak from a dry throat that came out barely more than a whisper.
“Who am I ?”
Then she opened her eyes and looked at the dark haired woman beside the podium or altar that she lay on. Her silver/blue eyes regarded those who stood around her then her eyes drifted to the floor.
At the sight of the bodies a chill went through her she sensed no life remaining in them, a chill like that of the grave.
Thinking she was next the pale blonde woman grabbed the dark haired woman by the throat as she moved behind her foe, hiding her face in the other woman’s dark hair. She snarled in the woman’s ear as she used her for a shield.
“Did you bring me here? Where am I? Speak damn you or I’ll”. Mal gave a squeeze to drive her point home.
The pale haired woman didn’t wait for a reply as she looked at the others and keeping the woman in front of her started backing toward the only door she saw in the room.
As she kept moving her right hand came up, there was a tremendous rush of warmth then a flash of violet power as she destroyed the altar she had been on.
“What is all this..what do you want? Answer me or your next.” She whispered.
Nothing but silence filled the room as she was forced towards the door, the fingers about her throat growing tighter with each step she took. This female was indeed powerful, the orb she’d unleashed, incredible; but creating a thing was easy, controlling it was a whole other story.
“I said speak!” Her voice grew louder, her lips so close to Marena’s ear she could feel the warmth of her breath sweep over her.
“What can I say to calm the chaos in your mind?” She replied, closing her eyes for but a moment, inhaling deep, the scent of one so magnificent.
“You can start with your name.” The female growled, sending tingles down Marena’s spine.
“Yes, your name. Who are you and why have you brought me here?” The female inquired as they stepped out into the hall and proceeded towards an arched doorway, from which the rays of light escaped.
Marena stopped for a moment, clearly aggravating her captor, and received a sudden jolt as a pulse of energy escaped the orb that surrounded them. Such fire inside her new friend, so much life...
“Your name?” The female hissed, pinning Marena to the nearby wall. “You will, tell me your name...” The orb grew brighter, bigger, and the air around them began to sizzle and spark. “...or I will bleed you dry.”
“You may try!” Marena smiled and closed her eyes, listening as the female roared and tightened her grip.
“You would mock me?” She hissed, her eyes shimmering like the stars above.
“I would see you rise!” Marena’s smile turned to a grin, then laughter broke out in the small hallway as she vanished from sight.
The female stumbled back with confusion written all over her face; but it was soon replaced by anger as she turned her orb on the walls. Stone and splintered wood exploded all around her, but it did not seem to stop her. Standing her ground, her eyes still aglow and her breath, heavy, she formed another orb and waited for whatever came next.
“I will have your name, if it’s the last thing I do!” She shouted into the sky above, her long, blonde hair, blowing in the wind that whipped through the small clearing of rubble.
“If a name is all you seek, then you should seek the villages to the east. There, you will find a name, and perhaps a place to rest your head...” Marena’s voice echoed through the trees and the female spun about in circles trying to find her.
“Show yourself and speak what you mean, or do not speak at all!”
“We, want more than a name!” She sighed and the waters began to rise from beneath the female’s feet.
More and more, as if the ground had opened up and brought forth a lake, forcing the female to abandon her orb and make for what she hoped was the shore. It took quite some time, but she made it to the new shore, as Marena suspected she would.
“What, do you want, with me?” The female choked out, soaked to the bone and tried to catch her breath.
“We want, what only you can give us.” Marena’s voice began to change and the surface of the lake began to ripple, as if something stirred within it.
“What can I give you...” The female paused, rising from her belly to her knees. “...that you, do not already have?”
“Life. Loyalty. Love...” The voices of many, seemed to fade off into whisper, carried off by the winds.
“Find yourself a man to love you...” The female started to rise to her feet, a little off balance, but none the worse for wear.
“We had a male, once.” The voices returned, and with them, the figure of a dark haired beauty, emerged from the lake in a long, tattered gown. “But we learned our lessons and will not make the same mistake again.”
The mist rolled in about her as she walked across the surface, the air around her electrified and glowing with an eerie green aura. It would have sent the most noble of men running, to see a sight such as this, for with her, came five females with hair as white as snow and adorned in armor, the likes she’d never seen.
“So, you prefer females?” The blonde beauty snickered, eyeing the entourage with head bowed and hands on their swords.
“We, prefer you!”
“Enough with the we, and tell me your names!” The female growled, and in her hand appeared not an orb as before, but a sword to rival those in front of her.
“You must first, tell us yours!”
That seemed to stop her in her tracks, her head tilted to one side as if she were analyzing the lot of them. None of them knew how the next few moments would play out, but there was hope in witnessing the female’s pause.
“I asked first.” The blonde female raised her sword, her eyes narrowing as she stared at them down.
“Very well!” Came the reply. “This is Wa’linh, Lo’rell, Ge’nah, Pi’lara and En’vala.” The words were spoken and each of the five nodded once, but did not look her way. “Though you must never speak their names.”
“Huh! And your name?”
“We are, To’llan.”
“We? As in, all of you?”
“We, as in, the thousands of minds that share mine own.” To’llan smiled back at her. “We are To’llan, our Hosted is called Marena. I am hers, she is mine, and we are one.”
“That makes no sense.” The female stood back and shook her head. “Enough of these games...”
“We do not play games.” The one called Wa’linh looked up and the ice blue eyes dug deep into the female’s soul. “We serve, and we serve well.”
“Who do you serve?”
Wa’linh looked to To’llan, who simply bowed her head and smiled, then she turned back to the blonde female and grinned. “We serve you.”
That sent a ripple of shock through the blonde beauty. “You, serve me?”
“As it has always been!” En’vala spoke up. “We are the Shak’Morikai gen Marwolaeth, and you, have been sleeping for far too long.”
“How, can you serve me...” The female started back. “...when I know not my name?” She closed her eyes and hung her head. “Nor where I come from.” She added with a sigh, only to be greeted by warm arms embracing her.
“We know the struggle you face!” The voices swarmed in her mind, the warmth enveloping her like a security blanket. “We know that once you pass this time of forgetting, you will see that what we say is true.”
“Who am I?”
“Your name is Malice, and the host that dwells inside you has been greatly missed.” En’vala smiled and the female felt her embrace as well.
“Malice? My name is Malice?”
“Yes, your name is Malice, and she who shares your body, is called Marwolaeth. ”
“Then, I am like you?”
“No, my friend, you are far more than I could ever hope to be. That is why we chose you.” The voices of a thousand souls collided into one, sweet symphony that seems to call to Malice in a way that sent her senses into overdrive.
“I don’t understand.” Malice rubbed at her eyes, if only to stop the tears from falling.
“You will, in time. Your bond has just begun, but soon enough you will remember and you will rise.” Marena smiled and held her close. “We will help you.”
One by one, the Shak’Morikai fell to their knees, their swords in front of them for her to claim if she so wished. “Forever, and always, your sins will be dealt by our hands.”
“You see? There is nothing to be afraid of.” Marena told her and left a kiss upon her forehead as she took Malice’s hand. “Now come, let us meet our beloved, and our Queen, from which all of this was made possible.”
The goddess watching through her little spies eyes and ears grumble quietly to herself about lies and cheats.
While her mist hound wafted about the ground waiting for a moment to solidify and meet this Malice woman he was to protect.
Malice let the dark haired woman lead her by the hand as To’llan’s companions formed a protective circle around her with Wa’linh walked beside them opposite the dark haired beauty.
She felt an immediate bond with all of her companions, especially the female gestalt named Marena/To’llan.
The blonde young woman’s mind was filled with a thousand questions. Mal decided it was time for a few answers.
“So who is Marolweath and how long have I or we been asleep?”
Marena smiled at her like the sun appearing from behind a cloud.
“That depends on how you measure time. By the way that mortals do uncounted centuries, by the ways of the verse a blink of an eye.”
Malice chuckled, shaking her head. She had asked for an answer and she had gotten it as cryptic as it was.
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