Reposting. Reason is that it needed major editing. /blushes/
One day, when the world of man was finally ruled but a just and noble queen, a heart weary of guilt decided to alter the past. With the help the a Heartstone called the Silver Crystal, Queen Serenity, reincarnated daughter of the Lunar Titan Selene, it came to be that the Loom of Life was destroyed and a new one woven in it's place.
Only those who were God-Born were allowed to remember what was.
The mortals that were originally the heroes of the old tales were given new lives. Including the man that Serenity loved for three life spans, the High King Endymion. And always she said to herself that she did not regret this choice.
But Love, one of the First Born stirred at this betrayal. Many a times it was Love that helped Serenity in her greatest battles. And with Chaos still living deep in the Forgotten Queen's heart, Love found Itself an ally to return everything to its rightful place.
Love will never be denied. Not even by the one they once called Sailor Moon.
Theme: Canon Storyline Sailor Moon (Manga and anime by Naoko Takeuchi) with an AU twist. Mythology. Fan fiction. No copyright infringement intended.
Setting: Neo-Crystal Tokyo after Serenity altered the past.
Original Beta Readers: lyss-ling and true winolo.
Note from the author:
It's been almost a year since I updated any of my stories. I started fan fiction two years ago and have enjoyed immensely the many reviews people send to me when they read my work. It's a great feeling and I urge people who read other fan fictions to review. Writers need all the encouragement they can get. As well as criticisms.
I encountered some personal problems that I won't bother you guys with. I just wanted to explain why I went AWOL on everyone. Including friends I've made while posting stories on-line. Namely, aimee-hime, Lady Katherine, lyss-ling. And I also just disappeared on a few people and really feel horrible about it. I'll try to rebuild the trust. More than anything, you see, I treasure your friendship. In my absence, I also received a couple of private messages from other people and I wanted to thank you guys for that. It felt great knowing you've been missed.
I'm at lost how to continue "One Day of Serenity" (and my other stories) not because I lost muse or have forgotten the storyline but because my writing has changed a lot since I first started. So, to those waiting for the next update for those stories, you're going to have to wait a little bit longer. I'm starting from scratch, much like what I did here with "Hope's Destiny".
Let's hope I don't destroy it. Wish me luck!
"Well," she whispered, so softly only she really heard it. "Hell."
There was laughter after that. Apparently she spoke loud enough to be heard, after all.
Setsuna, garbed in her warrior suit, looked longingly at her Queen. The girl from the Lunar Kingdom stared back at her, with just a slight hint of sadness. It took all the Time Guardian's strength to stop her tears from flowing. Life had not been easy on the lunar child; as the Princess Serenity, as the hapless schoolgirl Tsukino Usagi, and as Neo Queen Serenity.
Many would argue, of course. Many would claim how blessed the life the girl has. Certainly the beauty she possessed was reason to be thankful. But Setsuna was witness to the curse of such a lovely face and knew Serenity wished differently at times. Some other girl's reflection looking at her from the mirror. Some other girl's destiny to live up to.
It could not be helped; the tears fell. Hot, it left wet scars on her ageless face.
She cried not because there was no hope…but because there was hope.
In the form of Queen Serenity.
The Guardian and Soul Bearer of the god Pluto still refused to believe the denseness of her fellow warriors. Even her King, with his link to the precious Queen, was ignorant of what was taking place. But, Serenity said it best in her guise as Tsukino Usagi; "Dreams are important and must be protected at all cost.". It didn't hurt that the the blonde that everyone dismissed as clueless slowly mastered her control of the crystal and her own power as the Light of Hope without anyone being aware of it. That, too, was an act of stupidity on everyone's part.
A child she may have been, but even before Chaos, the hopeless klutz that everyone knew to be the incarnation of the lunar princess was alone when she defeated her enemies. Something not even her mother, Queen Selene, was able to do. Though the Warriors of the Moon Princess believed that they lent their strength to the child in those crucial times of battle, Setsuna knew otherwise.
The fact that they were dead should have clued them in that they could not have offered any form of help to Sailor Moon in battles past. What little help they gave was merely Usagi's manifestation of what they would say to her as she tried to vanquish the enemy. The sadness of losing her friends was the fuel to the poor child's need to destroy the opponent.
They should have realized how strong Usagi was. Did they not travel to the future, during the conquering of Prince Demando? Did they not see the splendid kingdom, that even in ruin, showed a ruler of incredible power? Did they not realize then just what sort of magick Usagi wielded in her hands? How could they have dismissed such awesome demonstration?
"You cannot stop me, much less delay me. Besides, you must obey. It is your duty to obey."
That hurt. For Serenity to openly state that she was both not powerful enough and does not have the right to fight the Queen's decision hurt.
It hurt enough that she almost broke her Blood Oath. She wanted to. She needed to. It was the only way she could protect Tsukino Usagi. Serenity may be her queen, but Usagi was her friend. She was the only girl who managed to find a way through her indifference and made her realize that she was more than just a soldier with duties to perform.
What was so galling was that Usagi did not want to be protected. Because Usagi is Serenity.
'But what if …?'
Her Queen sensed her thoughts. Just another proof that the woman's power now reached a level never imagined before. "I am still she, Death Keeper." The voice was calm. The voice of a sixteen years old. Yet for all its child like tone, there was in it laced a hint of weariness; a voice burdened of life's knowledge.
Setsuna's own voice possessed the same tone. Ageless and all knowing in a way none of the other Senshi would ever sound. Soon, her voice would loss that weariness, compliments of the Queen.
'It isn't fair. Why should not one of us share her burden? Why must she take it all in her hands?'
Amusement laced with bitterness was in the silver one's voice. "Why not, warrior? I am fully capable of holding the evil at bay on my own now. The existence of Guardians would be a mockery." She moved a bit closer and Setsuna braced for the attack. Serenity raised a sculpted brow and halted her advance. She did not want a fight with Pluto. The Gate Keeper would lose; it would be a waste of time. "Unlike Galaxia, my conceit isn't great that I would need minions to do my biddings and shower me with respect." Her statement was without a hint of arrogance. Serenity was stating a fact. She was who she was.
"It doesn't make it right!" Setsuna's answer was ripped from her soul. She bit her tongue from saying more. She so wanted to lash out.
"It is right." A perceptible sigh. "And you know it is. Besides, it is impolite to turn down a gift."
But the Guardian of Time refused to listen to her reason. "This is no gift. Serenity, this is exile!" Her face showed panic. "Allow me to serve you! If no one else, then let me stay! How could you take away my honour - all our honour - like this! Do you not care that you condemn us and prove how incapable we have become with what you are doing!"
No sooner spoken that she attacked the queen, hoping to delay what was going to happen. Setsuna whirled towards Serenity. Her hand gripped her glaive, her black hair whipped about her at her abrupt movement. She didn't even bother saying her incantations. A surprise attack was what she did instead; she didn't't want to give the woman any chance to realize what she was going to do. She struck fast, targeting Serenity's midsection, but her staff met air.
She knew with a warrior's sense that the queen was right behind her. She recalled with horror the fact that Hotaro, the most powerful of the Guardians, also failed in disabling the queen.
When she first saw what happened, she was confused and unsure what it all meant. The mirrors of the portals acted like reflections of what took place, what was taking place, and what shall take place. One moment she was gazing passively at the images of everyday lives, her own attention directed to an image of Small Lady playing hide and seek with her father, King Endymion. Then, a cloudy haze came over the surface of the mirrors. When it cleared the portals revealed Serenity with her Guardians.
It was Neptune whom she first disabled, and then she lured Minako alone. The next revealed Rei's face, proud and fierce, and later, the tear stricken Ami. Haruka and Makoto, both in Senshi form, were dealt with at the same time. The two did their best to not harm the queen when they fought her decision. They should have tried to hurt her, for together, they might have won. Alas, both Haruka and Makoto loved Serenity too much. In fact, Haruka, before she closed her eyes, whispered to her queen that she forgave her, whatever it was she was doing.
Hotaro was the last of the senshi to be 'gifted' her release. She fought bravely, lasting longer than Haruka and Makoto, but in the end even she was no match against the queen's power.
Luna and Artemis, loyal to the core, watched sadly as it happened. The white Spirit Guardian kept silent even when Venus was placed in deep sleep, though he cried openly at the woman's prone figure thereafter. After Hotaro, Serenity gave them each a kiss – first Artemis, then Luna - and they slowly vanished from sight.
All this was revealed to Sailor Pluto in a blink of an eye, each door of the portal a monitor that she watched at the same time. In truth, it took Serenity five days to strip her Scouts their powers.
Now, only Setsuna remembered the oaths of duty. And it was now her turn to forget them.
Serenity held out her hand, and Setsuna found she was incapable of movements. The senshi couldn't even move her head to look at her queen. The truth was that Serenity did not want to see the betrayed look on Setsuna's face and that was why she was holding the Guardian immobile. Rei gave her a similar look before; it broke her heart.
"I will never make you so shamed…" The Queen's voice was barely a whisper, but in the stillness of the time portals, it was loud. "You will be made to forget, Eternal One. A life free from solitude, one that will allow you to have what you have been denied since the beginning of your oath as Guardian of the Outer Lands."
"I do not desire to forget! My life is to serve you! To protect you, and fulfil Queen Selene's decree that I be the Keeper of the Time Key!" The raven haired warrior fought against the invisible force that held her but try as she might she could not break it.
The queen watched her struggle before speaking again. "Then, yes. For my Queen Mother's power was weak, though she was Goddess of the Silver Land." Serenity came forward and extended her right hand. "T'is different now. My powers are strong enough to render all the protection around me as unnecessary. Why should the others be given peace and normalcy while you suffer a job that I can now take over?" Another movement of her hand, this time beckoning.
Setsuna felt the time glaive slipping from her grasp and she gasped in hopelessness. "I wish this life. This duty is my life."
The queen frowned, exasperated now. Setsuna's stubbornness was getting to her. And this was rare, for nowadays, nothing wore the Queen's patience thin. "You, lie, dear one. Even before the great battle, you had longed for a semblance of normality. I give it to you now and gladly. Your burden is now mine to bear."
Sailor Pluto tried to shake her head and when she couldn't, she started to cry.
Serenity has had enough. "It is not an asking that I came here for. Sailor Pluto, as the last remaining Guardian of the Lunar Court, I order you to relieve your duty as Keeper of the Time Portals." There was imperial power behind Serenity's voice. Setsuna could no more disobey it than she could consciously wish the woman before her harm.
Setsuna decided to grasp straws. "What of the King?"
A gasp escaped the royal lips. Tears came from the very depths of the silver blue eyes, and Serenity's hand trembled from where it was raised in request for the key. "That," the Queen rasped, "was a low blow."
Pluto was bitter enough not to care that she hurt her. 'I wished she never knew what power she had to bear. That it was just the Crystal…' Also hope blossomed inside her heart. She knew it would be the King who could change Serenity's mind. Only he had that much power to sway Serenity's decisions. It was a scary position, to be true, but the King was, and always would be, Serenity's weakness. In any guise, the love they shared was a true source of power - and despair.
She did try to reach him, but when she tried to leave the Time Gate, she found it was locked and nothing she did opened any of the doors. Serenity planned everything flawlessly. Since when did Serenity become so calculating?
But the king! If she could make Serenity realize what she was doing would also mean losing the king, then may be there was a chance still to turn everything back.
The queen's next words dashed that hope soon enough. "I want to grant him freedom. I have caused so much pain to him. If he never knew me, he would be content and safe."
"Content!? Safe? You would leave him simply content and safe? What of his feelings? He loves you! He will love only you!"
"It is the lesser of evil," was the Queen's sad reply. It sounded like she wanted to say more, but thought better of it.
Setsuna knew the time was up. The choice was made, and nothing she could say or do would change the choice. The last she remembered was Queen Serenity enveloping her in a fierce hug from behind. In it, warmth so encompassing was passed through her being. All the Hope in the Universe was in that simple gesture. No words were needed. That embrace said it all: 'I love you, my dear friend. Be happy. I wish you happiness.'
Then came the darkness…
"Trista!" She was shaken roughly and she yawned before opening blearily one eye. All she could see was a vague shape. The feel of coarse cotton made her want to scratch her skin. Wasn't it just moments ago that she was wearing a beautiful gown made of silk and ermine? And wasn't she holding a staff that looked like a really big key? She opened her other eye and the world focused. Her mother's face hovered before her. She blinked in confusion.
Her mother rolled her eyes before yanking the girl gently. "Up, sleepy head, your da needs food, and he'll be wondering why we leave him to hunger so."
The inn keeper's daughter giggled when her mother tried to tickle her so she'd wake up completely. "Maman, I had such a lovely dream!" She stood up at last and started helping with the sheets. There was color on her cheeks and a giddy light in her dark eyes. Even her mother was charmed by her good mood.
"Oh, really? And this dream was the reason why you were so sound asleep?"
The girl nodded enthusiastically.
"Well? What was it about then?"
The question made Trista stop moving, readying herself to tell a full blown account. Then a baffled expression came to her face, and her mother watched worriedly. Was her daughter touched in the head? Lately the girl has been acting so strange. Just yesterday she spoke to the miller's son like a highborn lady would, adressing one of her peasants. There was no prtensions in her actions; by all rights, Trista acted very much one of the noble born. She was about to call out Trista's name, as the girl seemed to have fallen in a trance, when Trista shook herself as if to clear her thought and gave her mother a confused look.
"Maman," Trista whispered, "I don't remember the dream. At all."
The older woman scoffed, though inside she was relieved. For a moment, it was as if she was looking at another person, someone who was not her daughter. It looked for a moment like Trista was a stranger with all knowing eyes; eyes that had watched the passage of time. "Then it let it be. Some dreams are like that, child. They come and you forget them the moment you open your eyes."
Her daughter made no remark and she continued to look troubled.
Without knowing why, Trista hugged herself tight, ignoring her mother's questioning look. She knew that in that dream she could not remember, someone hugged her. Someone important. And even when she could not fully explain it, she felt safe, knowing that a benevolent deity watched over her, protecting her and all of those who live…
The Tria Fata was grumbling inside Their mystic cavern. Thousands of candles burned against the dark interior of the place. In one end, a spindle wheel spinned diligently. The wood that it was made of was now ridden with holes. Discolorations spotted it and a dullness replaced the mahogany sheen it once sported. But for all that, the wheel moved on over and over. From it came strands of various colors, each of varying thickness. How this was so, when there was no wool or flax fed to it to make the threads was part of the mystery of the cosmos itself.
It was Clothos, the first Child of the Morgae, who held the position of Spinner. Her back was riddled with humps due to an eternity of sitting bowed down to spin the old wheel.
Lachesis, Weaver of the Loom of Life, stood at the other end of the cavern. Impatiently, She waited for Her sister Atropos to deliver the next threads She needed to weave more stories in the Canvas of the Living.
And Atropos, the one who held the Shears of Death, She who was responsible for cutting the threads, was crying and refusing to move and deliver more strands for the Loom.
Clothos looked at Her in disgust, the gray tinge of Her skin now a blotchy red as anger infused Her. The Shears Keeper was being tardy. She bent down, bones creaking and groped the floor for something to throw at the little troublemaker. When She found one, She took careful aim and threw. It hit Atropos on the head, causing the little child to yelp and start moving. But Her tears did not stop and She kept looking back to the shadows located at the left side of the cave.
There was another one inside the cavern.
She was no sister of the Fates nor was she Their kin.
But the Morgae loved her. They loved her then, They loved her now. They would love her until the very end of time, and maybe even beyond.
Clothos was the first to love her. Being the Spinner, it was She who first touched upon the silver strand of the child. Lachesis loved her next, and from Her position as Weaver, watched in amazement the intricate web that the silver thread created.
Atropos was the last to love her, though Her love was perhaps the strongest of the Three. For it was a love riddled with guilt. So many times She was asked to cut the lifeline of that silver strand.
The wind howled outside the cavern, and all three Fates raised Their heads to listen to it. They do this because sometimes the wind brought messages from afar, though more and more it really was just wind. When They realized there was no hidden message, They returned to their task in silence.
Until Lachesis spoke. "You realize, silver one, that the Loom is in shambles, with what you have done…"
"And the Threads of Destiny is not pleased, for the Child of Hope dared to have her life released…" Atropos whispered in a child's breathless tone. She nimbly ducked another stone being thrown at Her, and even stuck Her tongue out at Her sister. When Clothos tried again, She simply jumped out of reach. Mid leap, Her child form elongated and became the body of a teen, the stands of Her blue hair turning black. It was longer than the silver one's own tresses, and it floated about Her form, acting as her cloak for She was naked.
Clothos, for once not taking notice of the spinning wheel, gave Her sister a disgusted look before turning Her faded gaze towards their visitor. "Time holds no power to thee, but child listen well to our company. Hope is great, and binds with Faith, but Love will never be denied, Love always finds its mate…"
Serenity rose from her position on the floor. There was a boneless grace about her. But though she stood proud and tall, it was obvious she carried a great burden. She acknowledged not the words of the sisters as she moved out of the shadows. Walking towards the Loom she stopped when she was a few feet away; a safe distance, she was afraid that being near it may cause the Loom to unravel and become the tapestry of old.
"He is happy, isn't he, Lachesis?" she asked.
Lachesis strung a new thread before replying. "Endymion is content like you planned he should." A baleful look before the Fata continued. "For did you not make him forget all that you could?"
Serenity frowned at the tone. "It was needed. I had to wipe all their memories. Even his." She glared at Lachesis, willing Her to understand. "Otherwise, they might seek to locate me, or hope to communicate. Without memories of me," at this Serenity moved nearer, despite her misgivings, to touch a strand she knew belonged to a child with strawberry blond hair. "They will live happily. With out any need to fight or be locked in a position that would require them sacrifice."
No answer from Lachesis, save for Her hands waving, as if whisking Serenity's reasons like it was a cloud of troublesome gnats. Serenity was not capable of reading the Loom, only She and Her sisters have that power. But Serenity could see all was amiss from her lonely vantage point, and that was why she came to Them. When the poor child begged for an explanation, the Fata as one told her this was Destiny as she saw fit to happen.
No matter how much Serenity told them otherwise, the Morgae would not budge. She may not have planned what was happening, she may have wished otherwise, but this Loom was the reality now. And It shall continue to weave Itself according to Destiny's prerogative.
Clothos frowned at Her sister's actions and thought of a way to make Serenity smile. The silver one was always crying of late. Thinking of a topic, She eagerly turned to the woman and said, "Your sweet daughter, she grows as her mother bids."
Atropos wiped a lone tear. Her hair followed her movements, and it looked as if she was wearing a gown with billowing sleeves of black silk. "Would that it was you who provides her quiet needs…"
Serenity shrugged, forcing to look unconcerned. She choose this life, she refused to regret it. Little Rini was given to a woman who loved her as much as Serenity did. She made sure of this: Lachesis, faced with the Light of Hope's silent plea, gave in and weaved a thread whose kindness outshone many of the other strands. This strand was chosen to become Rini's mother in the new Loom.
And in becoming Rini's mother, she was also given the title of Queen and Endymion's wife. It was almost Serenity's undoing the first time she came face to face with what she was giving up.
Atropos sighed at Serenity's gesture. Such an obstinate girl. It truly was troublesome. Then She turned to start cutting another thread, and saw it. In shock, the Morgae stood up, only to stay rooted on the spot, as She watched incredulously a thread, crimson in color and one that did not come from the sacred wheel, but from thin air, moved towards the Loom and towards the girl.
Serenity, in her melancholy mood, was answering her heart's desire. She moved her pale hand and touched briefly a golden thread inside the Loom. Her eyes were closed, savouring this brief contact with him, so she was not aware of what was happening.
It was Lachesis' gasps that brought her out of her reverie. Her silvery blue eyes widened when she saw her hands covered with blood red strings. She saw that the strings were connecting themselves with the golden strand as well. Soon, her whole arm was covered, a few moved by their own volition and was tangled in her silver hair. The strands were trying to cover her from head to foot.
The Light of Hope felt no fear though. The red strings were like a lover's touch. Each strand that touched her was love itself, asserting his rights and making her acknowledged what she knew was no longer hers. When a string dared to touch her lips, tears came to her eyes.
Memories, of a life she had wiped from the Loom came to her. Endymion's laughter, the feel of his touch to her face when she gave birth to their daughter, and even his displeasure when her eight friends took her away from the royal chamber just when they were about to make love, it all came at once, overlapping each other.
Memories of another time.
One that no longer existed, because she destroyed it, believing it was it was for the best.
Atropos saw Serenity's pain. And though She knew what the red strings meant, She felt protective of Serenity. With a grace honed from eternity of wielding the Shears of Death, She cut at the base of the red web.
Serenity moved back in haste. She watched half in horror, half in regret as the red strings vanished the moment it was cut. A few, having lost the connection with the gold thread, tried to reach the woman with the silver hair. But a wave of her hand caused them to drift away before they too disappeared.
All four of them stayed silent after that, too afraid to comment about what took place inside the chamber.
Time passed by, and only when the silence became overbearing did Serenity dared to speak again. "What happened? Why would love bind me to a man who has no memory of me? Endymion- I made sure he does not know, not even an inkling that I ever existed…"
Clothos glanced at her sisters, watched them nod as reply to the question in Her gaze, and only then answered Serenity's question. She spoke slowly so that the woman would understand fully the implications of what She was about to say. She hoped, by saying this, that the Loom would resettle itself, and return back into the tapestry that Serenity asked to be unweaved. There was still chance. The appearance of the red strands was proof of that.
But time was running out, and Serenity must See before it became too late.
Her eyes became black, and She glowed; she looked lit from within. Her hair, what little there was thickened and the grey color turned a lovely shade of deep red. Her face, gaunt and skeletal, slowly became youthful. The two Fata stood silently watching the transformation, Atropos unconcerned when Her ebony hair took the shade of red that was now Clothos's hair colour.
"The Morgae, Us, are Destiny's child.
We hear Her biddings, and We obey what We are told.
Oh, precious child, Keeper of Hope,
because of your selfless heart, you defied Destiny's call
just as it was in the time of the gods and the titans,
when the Loom had a life of its own, and We,
mere spectators to the lives of men.
Hope is great, it was whispered.
The best of all the gifts
for fair Pandora.
Love is greater.
And no binds can hold it.
Not even Hope's gentle wings…"
Serenity's lovely face hardened. She looked straight in the eye of the oldest of the Fates. The eyes of the Sisters of Destiny were completely black, as if only the pupils existed. It was a deep, unfathomable darkness, dotted by stars that twinkled and some wayward comets that spun and blinked out, following an axis of its own; it was cosmos contained inside three pairs of eyes. They were eyes of seers, of oracles, and of prophecy speakers.
"I do not regret my life. What was given to me, I had no choice. I never asked for it. Still it is my lot and I must live with it. But they are victims of my acquaintance. Because of me, they suffered countless trials, even death. Countless death." She turned away. Those eyes were too all knowing. "Without me to protect, they now have a chance for normal life." She raised trembling hands to her lips where the lone red strand had kissed it. "I do not regret…"
Lachesis, busy in Her weaving and making sure the strands She spooled into the canvas would create the images She knew it must make, snorted as answer.
Serenity turned towards Atropos. The Fata in turn, took pity of the lost Queen. Dropping Her mystic shears, She moved quietly and gave the silver one an embrace. It did not last long, for Atropos was not used to touching anyone. As She ended the embrace, She petted Serenity's cheek, Her form no longer that of a child, but one of a young woman, slightly older than Serenity herself. "Our words, Serenity, you must try to understand. Failure to do so…," She seemed to falter at what She was going to say next, but Clothos, now a child of three went to Her and clung to Her legs, despairing that Serenity would not listen to Her divination. It gave the Morgae the reason to finish Her sentence. "…would mean destruction of the Crystal land."
Serenity refused to listen. She had grown proud in her solituted. "You cannot scare me. I know my choice was right." With quiet dignity, the forgotten Queen of Neo Crystal Tokyo moved out of the chambers of the Morgae. Her destination was the mystic moon of Terra. In its barren land, she made her home.
From there, hidden away by clouds and the distance of space, she watched over her friends, her daughter, her people…
From there, her love, the King Endymion, was watched with a broken heart.
Every night, her illusions held. And he, the victim of Hope's Destiny, go to sleep with a woman who was not Serenity, never knowing, never remembering, the life that was taken from him by the woman who once occupied his dreams.
But Love, Him whose strings had felt the phantom call when Serenity and the golden thread was momentarily connected, felt angered and cheated.
The Morgae's word was true. Love would not be denied.
Not even by Hope.
The Crystal Land
They were together in the banquet hall. Both just finished the evening meal and was now drinking wine as was custom. In silence, they contemplated each other. One liked was she saw while the other merely accepted and was content.
The King of the Crystal Land was not an easy man to love. He was remote and frequently cold. His time, precious to him, was guarded and meager to strangers. What was hidden was hard to reach. And when one reached it, one was met with icy reserve.
But Endymion was a man capable of passionate rage as well. This passion was shattering in its intensity. And no one was capable of being the object of his desire. Not even his wife.
Lean, handsome, and stern, Endymion was the very image of aristocracy. He was dressed, always, in the darkest of colors. His black trousers, the knee high boots with its polished sheen, the white lawn shirts with its simple cravats, these were his staple wear. He had the deepest, bluest eyes anyone has ever seen. It was described as the color of cobalt, hidden in the shadows. It suited him, for there always seemed to be something dark lurking in his cold eyes. He also have the darkest hair. It complimented his black scowl. With his muscular physique, he towered over most men.
And there was his arrogance, always held in check. It made others appear lesser, duller. Weaker…
The Queen was not unattractive. She herself possessed an arresting countenance. Her features were handsome instead of beautiful and there was a graveness about her demeanour, not calming, but subduing. With her auburn hair, and her brown eyes, the woman who held the tiara of queen, was learned of all the arts and aware of all the statecraft. Educated since birth, being the daughter of a duke, she knew how to comport herself perfectly in every occasion. She was most elegant. The perfect lady, people whispered.
That hurt, for the whispers were never about her being the perfect queen.
When she had mentioned it to Endymion, he merely looked at her in distaste, and then told her it was not necessary to listen to worthless rubbish.
She sometimes despaired her King's indifference. His affection for her was doled out in small quantities. But she loved him with all that her mortal heart could give. A part of her knew and accepted that he would never love her the way she wanted to be loved. And while she resented that she would never be his first concern, or even second, Yllianna knew that she would always be protected by him. She must accept what he could give, lest he gave no more.
With a start, the great doors opened, and a young woman with strawberry blond hair bustled in. Endymion's eyes widened just a bit, before life flickered in it and a warm smile occupied the cruel lines of his lips.
There was only one person in the Crystal Palace that could make the King look happy. It was his daughter, the Princess Riana. The precious child, now in her fourteenth year was as different from her parents as night was to day. Where they were somber, Rianna was gay. Where they were quiet and contemplative, Rianna was loud and impulsive. Where they were grave in matters of life, the princess was simply in love with life.
Sometimes, rumours abounded that the child was not the King's. There was so much about her that was so different from her parents. Except the King does love her. It shone in his eyes, the way not even the queen could evoke.
She came to them now, bowing low, first to her father and then to her mother. Rini, as she was called by those close to her, was her father's child. In her eyes, pale lavender that appeared pinkish due to the colors of her dresses, the man who ruled all of Earth could never do wrong.
Though she loved her mother, she always felt a certain reserve when near the Queen. She felt threatened, and uncertain in how to act. Guilty of such emotions, it was to her mother that she spoke first.
"My Queen Mother, I greet you. The night is beautiful, and I seek your company. Let us gaze together at the lunar orb."
Yllianna raised a thin eyebrow, and stared at her daughter for the briefest of seconds. Then she closed her eyes, took a goblet from the table and drank from it delicately, before she shook her head. Then she opened her eyes and looked at her husband. She knew what would happen next, because it was always like this. "Ask your father, Princess." she said.
Endymion did not need to hear the question. He moved out of his chair and offered his hand to his daughter in an exaggerated manner. Rini moved and accepted his gallantry, her giggles loud. She was thrilled to be treated with such aplomb. With a bow to the silent woman at the other end of the great table, father and daughter raced off into the night, their steps light and their hearts lighter. Neither could fully explain, why in nights such as these, when the moon loomed in her full form, both of them felt as if a gentle hand caressed them in silent love.
They ran to the secluded area of the garden. Away from prying eyes, Rianna let her laughter out, spinning in circles, pleased that she had her father and the moon all to herself.
Endymion, suddenly at peace, lay down on the dew kissed grass. His blue eyes stared at the silver moon, and he felt a stirring deep within him.
How many nights had he stared at the satellite of his Kingdom? For months, when a deep unease took over him, it was the moon that he turned to. It calmed him in a way not even his daughter's presence could. If he could, he would have dragged the moon nearer, closer to Earth, so he could gaze at it fully, fill his eyes with its different phases.
He knew he was wary all the time. Distrustful to his wife's presence. But this was because when he tried to recollect moments in his life when he and the Queen was not jaded or proper or content, but simply happy and in love he always came blank.
Oh, he recalled memories. He remembered how they met, how he courted Yllianna, and how he was happy in the wedding. He remembered feeling proud at the sight of her dressed in white. He remembered the tenderest of touch, and the fiercest of embrace.
But how odd that when he remembered these things, he felt nothing. It was like he was watching a stranger's life, rather than his own. This, above all, made him…unsure. To remember, but not to feel. It made no sense.
Because he knew what it was like to feel.
Once not so long ago, he felt it. He remembered and felt the memories.
And it happened in a dream.
He was in a party that Yllianna gave their daughter. It was a duty at most, one he looked forward to ending soon. Trying to stay awake, he leaned on the wall, to watch over the guests. That was when he felt it; a shiver in his spine. In his dream, he spun around. His eyes scanned the crowd and refused to give up when he saw no one of consequence. Somehow, he does not know how, he did saw something that caught his attention at last. She was standing behind a large pillar, her body in shadows.
It just a second or two, but it was enough. When he moved towards her, she ducked into the darkness. By the time he reached her place, she was no longer there. And try as he might, he could not find her.
Two seconds of sight. That was all it took. In that brief moment, he remembered the world around him suddenly much more beautiful than normal. The laughter was not irritating, but like music, accompanying natures own sounds. The light of the sun turned every color sharp and vibrant. And he had felt incredible joy.
Endymion, trapped in his cold world, had never felt such joy. After that night, dreams about him and Yllianna came over and over. It was as if someone was forcing him to relive his life as the husband of a woman who could not make him feel. It almost worked, except when the dreams came and he woke up from them in the middle of the night he would look at the moon, and try to remember that two seconds.
"Father, what are your thoughts?" Rini asked. She was hesitant to break the quiet but she was disturbed with her father's sad smile.
Endymion looked at his little girl, and felt soft warmth in his heart. This child was so precious to him. "I am contemplating the moon, Princess."
Rini looked at it and dimpled. "It is very beautiful. Do you think, Papa, that anyone live there?" She dropped down to her father's side, arranging her skirts primly around her. "Some stories said there used to be people living there…"
The king's laugh, so rarely heard these days, echoed throughout the garden. "No, my little lady, no one can live there. For all its beauty. It is dead, barren."
"But there are times, papa, I feel someone lives there."
"The man in the moon, you mean? Or is it because of the legend of the moon rabbit?" His tone was teasing. It amused him how serious his daughter was about their topic.
"No," Rini whispered. "A lovely lady, with silvery blonde hair."
Endymion frowned. He felt a tug in his heart. And briefly, his vision was clouded by a shadowed figure, hiding behind a pillar. "And is she beautiful?" he asked softly.
"I-I don't know, Papa. But I think, if I did – if I did, I would see her, that she would be perfect."
"A moon goddess then." Even the thought of it, the possibility of such a person existing made his heart ache with longing. It was one of his guarded secret; the Coat of Arms of the kingdom shows the silhouette of a woman with the full moon behind her. It was changed into that by Endymion when he ascended the throne. Even as a child, he'd always taken a fancy with the stories about the goddess of Luna.
"What was her name again, Papa? The one who fell in love with the shepherd and lost her immortal soul?"
"Selene," His eyes were turned to the sky, and the sad smile Rianna first noted was now wistful. "Others call her Hecate."
Rini to look up and traced the outline of the moon with her fingers, making phantom lines in the air. "I do not like Hecate for a moon goddess. I like Selene best, Papa…"
"I, too, Small Lady, like the other name better."
The princess gave her father a hug for being so agreeable then moved away quickly, self conscious with her actions. She was to be a young woman soon, and she feared that her father might treat her as one, for she always wanted to be his small lady. "Or maybe, even…Serenity."
Dark brows rose in surprise. The tugging in his heart was getting stronger. With a scowl, he turned to the palace, and then to his now worried daughter. "It is time to go, princess."
"Yes, Papa." Rini opened her mouth to ask if she said something wrong, but decided against speaking. She doesn't know how she knew, but her father was suddenly very sad, and very lonely.
"Serenity is a lovely name."
'Serenity is a lovely name.'
The winds howled. It was deafening, dangerous. For the words they speak was igniting the fires inside the goddess's heart. Chaos, He that was defeated nearly two millenniums ago, leaped at the pain and rejoiced.
Something was overcoming Serenity's warm shine.
Serenity stumbled from her underground chamber. She clutched at her chest, on the spot where she could feel her heartbeat strongest, hoping it would still its restless beating. In confusion, she ran to the blackness of the night; outside the beautiful planet of Earth dominated the sky. When she caught sight of it, she stopped running, eyes wide and fearful.
Almost instantly, she knew it was the wrong move to go outside. The winds that howled to her no longer sounded like that of a mocking stranger. It was a now a soft accusing whisper. It sounded like his voice: Endymion's voice.
"No!" The woman screamed in agony. She placed her two hands over her ears, hoping the gesture would block out the sound. She even closed her eyes to block out the image of Earth. The blue of the planet reminded her of his eyes. "How could you remember? I tried so hard for you to forget."
The winds merely howled back, over and over, until they it seemed they were chanting. In his voice…in his sad voice.
She crumbled to the grey sands of the moon. Her body was shaking as tremors of pain racked her. She felt her soul was being torn into two and she wished for death. Death would be better than to hear the accusation in his voice.
Her shouts of denial cut into the night and soon drowned out any other sounds. Her soul, she felt like it was lashing her inside her body, punishing her for his absence, and her shrieks of pain corresponded with every strike. She knew, as surely as one who lived again and again only to overcome the fire of trials, that she, the once lovely queen was slowly hating herself.
Inside her, the small portion of Chaos, drank greedily the poison thoughts of her soul.
The poison was powerful. It was a potion stirred by centuries of memories that she and Endymion shared. Memories only she remembered. Memories only love remembered.
And love, when turned dark, was the bitterest form of hate…
The winds howled louder. But the wail she cried, one wrenched from her soul, was louder.
'Endymion, thou art my greatest desire… and my deepest despair.'