Summary: Deceived, Lianne has lost control. The demise of Jonathan of Conte ushers in a chaotic series of events that will complete the shadow's legacy.
Warning: This fic contains death, insanity and incest. Is there anything else you would like to request?
Author's Note: Sorry this has been slow coming. I hope it has been worth the wait. Thanks to Rosie for her comments back in…January? Oops. According to my plans, I have two chapters planned until the end of this fic- Chapter 4 ('Ending Fate') and then the Epilogue.
The stones were cold. Death reverberated from all sides. Deep below the palace, in the chambers of the deceased, Lianne glided through a silent maze. Her feet barely touched the ground. A gentle breeze puffed long strands of wispy black hair from her pale face. No emotion played across her set features. Red mouth, lips now chapped and dry, whispered words lost long ago.
"Nurse, Jasson's wooden soldiers have taken my doll captive. He won't give Rosyn back until I pay the ransom!"
"The Ambassador's wife looks like a hag, don't you feel pretty now?"
"Only if you kiss me again."
Blue eyes stared, unblinking, at the endless stretch of stone corridor before her. By now, she lacked the ability to see the stark greyness around her. A separate entity led her to the unknown destination.
She felt ghostly lips at her ear. Soft puffs of breath tickled the lobe as he spoke.
"Just a bit further, my dear; I am closer than ever."
Her pace quickened. Shadows became elongated and disproportioned by the glow from the small torch she carried. Her silhouette was thrown back like debris along the stones passed over.
Curved, the blade tip was fatally sharp. Instead of the ornately engraved show knife she owned, Lianne had chosen a plain, sturdy dagger for her elaborate work. The paradox seemed appropriate. Briefly she admired the flash of silver in the yellowed light.
The blade hovered above her finger. Lianne took a breath. Slowly, carefully, she dragged the silver point across a delicate fingertip. Since she was highly sensitive, the cut stung, yet she ignored any feeling. One in her position became quickly accustomed to pain. Scarlet drops spilled from the opening. A mute gasp escaped her lips. She still despised the sight of blood. Harshly, the thought was forced from her mind. Lianne was compelled to continue.
Picking up the blade again, she deepened the cut in her finger. A curve was then added to the wound, crossing through the already existing line. When Lianne was finished, a symbol she didn't recognise was carved into her fingertip. Blood flowed freely now, trickling down her finger. Discarding the blade to one side, she stood shakily. Lianne did not notice the flecks of blood on her flimsy white nightdress. Shuffling forward towards the centre of the great chamber, she stopped. Her breathing was shallow, concentrating on the image in her mind. She kneeled, whispering as she dragged her finger a short way across the stone floor. She ran it back the other way, crossing over. A dot to the left completed the central symbol.
Blood! Her mind screeched. Lianne was stunned momentarily. Was she hurt? How did that happen? Only part of her knew the answer.
She reached for the blade, but could not bring herself to touch it. Her vision swam. Lianne buckled, reaching out to steady herself. She wanted to stop. Struggling, her will was fleeting. There was a short struggle for dominance. One voice, young and clearly frightened, wanted to cease the madness. As always, it was overpowered by a greater influence. Intense and cunning, the second voice taunted Lianne. Instinctively, she reached for her conscience. It was just out of her ability, shrouded in darkness and contained by the unknown force. It was a part of her, yet somehow it wasn't.
Finish what we've started.
Hunched over, she began the initial arc of the second symbol.
"By blood, by birth, by name; bound in harmony"
It was complete. She felt accomplished for once. The gate was now laid. She would have smiled in satisfaction, had her face not been frozen in mutinous fear. His melodious voice resonated though her awareness, clearer than it had ever been. It prompted her along.
"Shrouded in darkness beyond reach"
Crimson symbols covered the floor. The ring was strangely appealing. Not to her mind; she had already lost any grasp on that. Instead, it fascinated her soul. Lianne's very core felt drawn to it. Recognising her ignorant longing, the original centre mark peeled itself off the floor. The symbol solidified as it slowly rose.
"Weary souls, long departed"
Ever so carefully, the mark rotated. As it turned, other symbols began to follow its lead. Flaking from the stones, other marks rose to join the centre. Lianne stood, transfixed, as her blood joined the upward swirl. The symbols still resembled something of the gate, except they now twirled and shimmered with increasing speed.
"I summon the magic passed"
The last parts of the labyrinth-like design became airborne, thickening into multidimensional smears. Picking up speed, the turbulent plan began to rearrange itself. Symbols expanded and aligned themselves. The first mark darkened. It dropped to the floor, smooth and sinister. Lianne's hair and nightdress wavered, disturbed by the stale air that was being sucked by the current.
"Dormant residue, awaken"
Lianne felt the chill of the catacombs for the first time. The atmosphere grew colder still, as the gate became tinged with colour. She could see sparks of a musty orange woven amongst the twirling characters. A rich green flickered as it passed her. Tearing her eyes from the spinning vortex, she realised that the colour did not originate from the gateway.
"Weaving and binding, opened and restored"
Around her were the tombs that held rulers of the past. They had once been sealed with large stone slabs. Now slowly dissipating, these blocks were being eaten away by an acidic blue magic. It was the rich blue she knew; the most common and distinctive manifestation of the Conté Gift. Cracks had already formed in the slabs and from them leaked the coloured magic. Growing amounts poured out to join the vivid weave.
"The spilt blood contained"
It went far beyond her comprehension. Blood and magic spun before her, thickening to accommodate its ever expanding core. It began to pulsate. Lianne took a tentative step backwards. Her lips continued to move without her consent, finishing the spell.
"Your golden chalice waits."
A piercing light flared. The centre of the vortex exploded. Magic and blood gushed forth, leaving a frothing molten trail.
Lianne was thrown back against the unmarked stone wall. Her lifeblood had been spent.
Replies for the prologue and chapters one and two:
Rosie: I like your nitpicky moods, they're very productive :p Thanks for the corrections and suggestions throughout.
DarkDracon0: Ahaha, no I didn't make Jonathan a paedophile (this time).
Lan: NO! Not the horrors of a clichéd plot:hides:
AthenaArtemis: Thanks for that, genealogy isn't my strong point. I just knew that there was an incestuous trend in there somewhere.
Dancing Amethyst: Amethyst, you always manage to give me lovely thoughtful reviews full of both praise and constructive criticism - thank-you :) You're also picking up all my loose ends, but too early! All the things you brought up will be tied back together in the last chapter.
Fell4adeadguy: Thank-you for your enduring reviewing! I appreciate your comments.
Marisa1: I'm trying to write it elusively, so don't think that you're necessarily wrong when reading into things :wink:
Kirsty: Thank-you very much :blushes:
Selena: You love me? As you should!
Lea: Argh, I'm really disappointed that FanFiction has robbed me of one of your reviews :( I'd still really appreciate the CC though.
Winna: Yes, I think Lianne is pretty cool, mainly because she has not been explored in canon and is yet to morph into a fandom-Sue.
Thanks to everyone else who took the time to read and review! Gold Stars for all.
Big thanks also to Rosie, Puma, Lan and Amethyst who picked up my doubling up of "his Champion" in Chapter 2. (It was intentional, I swear! I was seeing how many of you were on the ball)