Title: The Pitfalls of Madness
Chapter 14: The Mirror
Author: Alicia "Kamitose" Guy
Summary: After receiving a message from another swords girl to beware of Raphael, Cassandra seeks him out to settle the score once and for all, but is she truly prepared for what she is about to face?
Rating: R, for strong language, violence, and sexual situations.
Disclaimer: None of the characters in this piece of fiction belong to me. They belong to Namco. Dronia Fairborough and Samuel belong to me (don't worry, they are but a very bit parts, I don't even pair them up with anyone. They are not Mary Sue/Gary Stu.)
Distribution: As long as I am credited, and as long as you ask (and let me know once it's posted) then I don't care where it's distributed. BUT you have to ask.
Author's Note: This is my first ever Soul Calibur fanfiction. This site is severely lacking in Cassandra/Raphael fanfiction and I would like to help remedy that.
SPECIAL THANKS TO ANYSIA FOR BEING AN AMAZING BETA READER!
"There is no you there is only me."
Only ~ Nine Inch Nails
The air in the room grew thick as Amy stared Raphael and Cassandra down. "You lied to me!" She repeated, addressing both of them with scornful eyes. Raphael stood speechless as his young daughter fumed, her mouth drawn in a hard line.
"Amy…" He repeated, letting go of Cassandra as he took a tentative step towards his daughter.
This time she said nothing; Amy simply turned on her heels and took off in a run. Without even looking back, Raphael took off after his beloved daughter, leaving Cassandra in the massive room by herself. Cassandra pondered for a moment on whether she should follow Raphael or not. Just as she had made up her mind to pursue him, a voice from the shadows echoed in the room.
"Ah, dilemmas, dilemmas. What are you going to do? You could go after him… or you could stay here and we could talk." The figure who owned the voice finally stepped out of the shadows to confront Cassandra. It was the doppelganger from before, this time she wore the same clothes as Cassandra, only without the mask that Cassandra now wore. "Surprised? You shouldn't be… we are one in the same."
Cassandra narrowed her eyes. "Quit saying that. I'm nothing like you." She replied taking a defensive stance, her hand upon her blade.
The doppelganger sighed, approaching Cassandra. "You honestly think that I come here of my own volition? I'm here because you need me here…" a sneer crossed her face. "Nice mask." She sarcastically remarked.
Cassandra started for the door when she felt herself being choked by her cloak. "No, no… they'll be fine without your interference. I really think we need to have a heart to heart, Cassie." The doppelganger smirked as she yanked back on the cloth of Cassandra's cloak, catching Cassandra off balance causing her to fall backwards onto the floor.
Cassandra grated her teeth in anger. "Leave me alone! I don't have time for this." She wrested herself from the doppelganger's grasp.
"Oh, you have time. You aren't going anywhere, dear. We really need to talk." The doppelganger said licking her teeth. "You've been a very bad girl… but you blame your actions on the wrong things. All that you've done has come from me… all that you've done has come from you. Not your transformation… you. That was all us. Every last cruel thing, every murder, every soul you freed from their mortal shell was our doing." She turned Cassandra around to face her and smiled darkly. "That darkness you feel, the voice that scratches at the surface of your mind, telling you terrible things?" She poked Cassandra hard in the chest. "Comes from right here. You are a wicked, wicked girl, and I've always been there with you."
Cassandra's eyes widened for a second. "You're lying!" She yelled. "Just shut up!" She slammed her head against the doppelganger's and took off in a sprint.
The doppelganger held her bleeding nose but just smiled. "You got a bit of a fight in you… good. I like that." She snarled as she chased after Cassandra and tackled her to the ground. "We aren't done yet!"
Cassandra squirmed under the doppelganger's weight, pushing its face away. "I'm done with this! GET OFF!" She spat.
The doppelganger punched Cassandra in the face. With dark mirth she looked down at the prone girl. "You remember torturing those poor peasants in the village? I know I sure do. That feeling you had deep in your gut, the enjoyment you suppressed, you've always had a cruel streak. But for years you suppressed me. Years, I've had to stomach your family making you be the docile, good little girl. Conforming to their teachings, conforming to their will. Gods, how I hated it. But now you have been letting me play. I really ought to thank Raphael, properly. He allowed you to be what you always were deep down. A monster. And for that, I am…" She leaned down and whispered sensually in Cassandra's ear, "eternally grateful."
Reaching her other hand out, Cassandra sought to silence the unwanted voice. She wrapped her hands around the doppelganger's throat and squeezed tightly. "I will shut you up, one way or another…" She started to smile as the doppelganger gasped in pain. She faltered however, when the doppelganger returned her smile, loosing her grip.
"Don't stop." She implored, grinning as she watched Cassandra's reaction.
"You're sick!" Cassandra replied, shocked.
"We're sick." She replied, grabbing Cassandra's wrists. "You're doing it all wrong… let me show you how it's done." She removed Cassandra's hands from her throat and then reached out and with her own and squeezed tightly. "Don't worry; I won't kill you, that'd kill me as well. Can't have that."
Mustering as much strength as she could, Cassandra kicked the doppelganger off her. "I've had enough of this 'we' bullshit. There is no 'we' here! There is only me." She said getting up, wiping the blood from her face. She picked her shield up from the ground and walked over to her darker half. "I'm ending this now." She raised her shield to bring it down on the doppelganger's head, a cold look of determination.
The doppelganger merely smiled. "Sweetie, you won't kill me." She stood up gaging Cassandra's reactions. "Just let it all go…" She reared back and plowed her fist into Cassandra's face again. "Give in to it."
Cassandra reeled back in pain. The doppelganger approached Cassandra, cracking her knuckles as she sauntered up. "You're nothing without me." Roughly grabbing Cassandra's shoulder, she pinned her against the wall. "We can have whatever we want, take whatever we like. But you won't let us. Will you?" She leaned closer to Cassandra. "Let me show you how it feels…"
Cassandra's eyes widened in pain and she let out a yelp as the doppelganger ducked her head down and bit hard into the flesh of her collar and began to drink deep. After a few moments, Cassandra reached around and grabbed the nape of the doppelganger's neck and ripped her off of her. "I'm ending this…" She repeated darkly.
The doppelganger smiled wickedly, blood staining her curled lips. "And what are you going to do? Hide from your true nature once again?" The doppelganger paused. "Just. Give. In!" She raised her shield slamming it into Cassandra's stomach with each word.
Cassandra pushed the doppelganger back forcefully. "You want me to give in?" She asked furiously. "Alright, I'll play." She approached her dark half with a quickened pace. "All my anger, all my hatred, all my brutality… all of it comes from here?" She said putting her hand to her chest. "You want me to embrace this? My nature? My impulses and desires?"
Cassandra grabbed the doppelganger by the face and squeezed.
For a moment, she seemed to emulate Raphael's haughty style, menacing tone and arrogant posture, as she clenched tightly and her foe struggled against the increasing pressure of her grasp.
"Fine, then. Let's dance." She said.
She used her new strength to fling the doppelganger into a shelf. She then grabbed a large candelabrum and walked towards her. She swung the candelabrum at the doppelganger's head, a loud crack resounding through the room. "That's for throwing me into those doors." She swung again. Another sickening crack ripped through the room. "I think I like embracing my brutality." She swung once more, knocking the doppelganger completely prone.
Raphael followed Amy as best as he could but she always remained ahead of him. He thought he had lost her for a moment but taking in his surroundings, something felt wrong. Very wrong. He surveyed the halls and found a set of doors ajar. The dining hall doors. He rushed in and grew paler at the site he saw before him.
There stood Tira, the maniac who had broken into his castle once before. She had Amy inside her ring blade; the young girl pushed up against the edge with Tira's booted foot to her back applying slight pressure. Amy was vainly struggling.
"Oh, goody! Daddy's here too! Now we can start the party." Tira exclaimed with sadistic glee. She pushed her foot a bit more against Amy's back. Amy winced in pain as the inner blade dug into her stomach slightly.
"You arrogant bitch. Unhand my daughter before I rend your limbs from your body." Raphael responded, angrily.
Tira's face turned serious, her eyes narrowing. "I doubt you'd be fast enough. I'd push her through before you'd make up half the difference in distance." Tira smiled. "I just wanted to play with your daughter."
Raphael's voice caught in his throat. He looked beside him at the hearth, the embers still hot from the recently extinguished fire. "You think I need to cross this room to get to you? You underestimate me greatly, child." Raphael stated darkly as he painfully grabbed a handful of hot embers with his right hand and tossed them at Tira's face.
Tira shrieked in pain as the hot embers burned her face. Amy took the opportunity to wiggle out of the ring blade and break free. Raphael looked to Amy in slight relief. "Go Amy! Get out of here, now!" Amy nodded and fled without another word.
As Tira finally recovered from the pain she snarled looking up at Raphael, her mood taking a much more dour turn. "You'll pay for that one, dead man. I'll cut you into tiny pieces and feed them to my birds."
Raphael drew Flambert and sneered. "You'll do no such thing. You already owe me for the trouble you caused the last time. You never properly repaid me for destroying my balcony. You shall pay for it with your blood." He charged at Tira never once letting himself be distracted as he went to strike.
She parried his blow with her ring blade and grimaced. "Pathetic little man. We should have done this weeks ago, but she wasn't quite ready yet. I hated seeing your miserable existence continue. You are nothing but a tool that has outlasted its use." She dipped down and swung her ring blade at Raphael's feet, but he jumped back in time to avoid having them severed at the ankles.
"What are you speaking of? I, stupid girl, am no tool. Have you any idea whom you are addressing?" Raphael replied angrily.
Tira frowned deeply. "Do I really look like I care who you are? You are no longer of use to us. We only need Cassandra now. You did so well in corrupting her, but she is no longer yours."
Raphael lunged at Tira, fully intending to spill blood. His eyes burned with fury as he unleashed his rage through his honed blade. His first two blows missed, blocked by her exotic weapon; but his third made contact with flesh of her right side, cutting deep into the tissue and sinew. The smell of blood permeated the air, slicing through the otherwise crisp scent of mountain snow.
Tira looked at the blood flowing down her side. A crooked smirk made its way across her child-like features. She spun the drossle in her hand, round and round until finally hitting Raphael square in the chest… right over the wound that had finally healed. Raphael reeled backward in great pain, holding his wound with his gloved hand. "Ha ha ha ha ha! Gotcha!" She squealed. "This is going to be fun!"
Breath rasping through grated teeth, Raphael stared the young girl down; his eyes blazing with murderous intent. "You enter my home an uninvited pest, destroy my belongings, threaten my beloved daughter, and now make me stain the floor with my own blood?" He flinched in pain. "You have the very nerve to call me a tool and to insinuate that nothing I have done was my choice to begin with? I will see your head… mounted to my wall as a trophy, you insolent child." He used the wall to support him as the pain grew worse. "I will not allow you the satisfaction of defeating me… not here… not in my own domain." He pushed himself painfully from the wall, weakly raising his blade in her direction. "Now then, let us finish this."
"Awww… did I hit a sore spot on the poor old man?" Tira mocked sliding toward Raphael, blade under her feet.
Raphael tried a move borne of desperation, lunging toward Tira, knocking her off her ring blade and pinning her to the floor. "Old man? Quite the contrary child, I'm feeling more spry than ever!" A wicked smile graced his wicked face as his own blood dripped from his mouth. He forced his sword to her throat. "Pathetic how all of your talk of grand schemes will mean nothing once you are dead."
Tira merely smiled. "You're wrong." And she dug the clawed tips of her gloves into his stomach, savoring the pained cry he let out. She pushed him off of her and ran to grab her weapon. "I'm bored now. Bye-bye…"
Amy ran furiously, sword in hand, down the halls trying to find where Cassandra might be. She hated admitting it but she needed help to aid her father, especially from her, but there was no other choice. As she made her way down the halls she heard a great clamor coming from the ballroom where she had left her father and Cassandra behind. She readied her weapon in apprehension as she approached the doors.
Cassandra paused for a moment, candelabrum raised high above her. The doppelganger waited, trying to gauge what Cassandra might do. The room grew eerily silent as an eternity seemed to pass.
"You can't do it can you?" The doppelganger finally asked. "You can't bring that thing down on my head and end me. Pathetic." She sneered.
Cassandra's face betrayed no emotion as she watched the doppelganger below her. "Actually, I'm just thinking about how wonderful it will be to have peace and quiet once you're out of the way."
"Sweetie, I'm not going anywhere." The doppelganger whispered. Her words, soft as they were uttered seemed to echo loudly through the vast room.
There was a hesitation in Cassandra's movement as she brought the candelabrum down, stopping only momentarily before finally bringing it swiftly onto her oppressor's head; the sickening crack reverberating through the ballroom.
She closed her eyes as the silence enveloped her. Her shoulders heaved in exhaustion as the only sound that resounded through the room was the sound of her labored breathing. When she opened her eyes, at her feet was a pile of black feathers, and buried amongst them, a shard of mirrored glass. Cassandra carefully picked the glass up, examining it carefully.
"Cassandra?" called an urgent voice.
Cassandra turned around towards the doors to see a very distressed Amy. Cassandra narrowed her eyes suspiciously as she bent down to pick up her sword. "What do you want?" She muttered irritably, failing to notice the bloody laceration across the young girl's stomach.
"It's Papa! He's being attacked. We need to help him!" The girl demanded.
Cassandra rotated her sore shoulder briefly. "You only play nice when it's convenient for you, huh?"
Amy glared at the older girl. "If you cared for him half as much as you act like you do, you'd come immediately!" She paused. "Please… I can't help him by myself." She sheepishly muttered.
Cassandra's demeanor changed. "Where is he?"
"The dining hall! Follow me." Amy said taking off.
"I know how to get there." Cassandra irritably groused as she followed.
Tira stood over Raphael, her ring blade around his neck. She had pinned one of his arms to the floor with his own blade. He laid weakly on the floor, trying desperately in vain to fight back, but he had lost so much blood. She smiled. "Nightmare sends his regards, Raphael." She pulled back on the ring blade a bit, cutting into the flesh of his neck.
Cassandra and Amy burst into the room, swords raised, red eyes blazing in anger.
"Let him go, Tira…" Cassandra demanded. She had recognized the girl as the one who had tried to take her niece and nephew once before.
Tira looked up in surprise to see the two girls, battered as they may appear, to be standing before her. Her chipper disposition quickly grew sour. "No! No! No! This will not do! This will not do!!!" She said stomping her feet childishly. "You aren't supposed to be here yet! We had you distracted!"
"Distracted? That was your doing?" Cassandra asked surprised.
Raphael gasped in pain as Tira pulled a little more on the ring blade. "You're too late. What's done is done and we will win either way. You've lost. You've all lost." A maddened laugh burbled from the small framed girl.
Amy and Cassandra glanced at one another before looking back to Tira and Raphael. Again they threateningly raised their swords towards the crazed girl. As if on cue, they charged at Tira.
"This isn't over…" Tira proclaimed as she realized that in this case she was out-numbered and out-matched. She quickly removed her drossle from around Raphael's neck and fled out the broken window to the ground below before disappearing into the night shadows.
Cassandra and Amy took no time in running over to Raphael, who appeared crumpled in pain. Gingerly lifting Raphael's head onto her lap, Cassandra held her wrist up to her mouth. "You're weak... let me help you."
Raphael squirmed a bit in protest. "I do not require any help from you." He let out a grunt of pain. "I'll be fine." he muttered through grit teeth.
"Papa, please listen to her." Amy pleaded. Her red eyes were wrought with worry.
Cassandra looked sternly at Raphael. "You are bleeding all over the place. Would you stop being so damn stubborn?" She used her teeth to make a cut in her wrist and lowered her bleeding arm down towards Raphael's mouth.
"You need your strength." She reminded him sternly.
Raphael just glared at her for a moment. "The moment I show weakness to you..." He started.
"Just shut up and drink!" Cassandra said forcing her wrist to his lips.
Amy watched quietly as her father, acting reluctantly at first, finally took hold of Cassandra's arm and began to partake of her offering. Cassandra winced every now and then when he would dig his teeth into her flesh, but she waited patiently for him to finish. He finally released his grasp on her, having taken enough to allow him to get up. He knew draining too much from her would make her weak and incapable of defending his daughter.
Cassandra drew her arm back to nurse the throbbing wound. She felt a little light headed, but knew that it was nothing compared to what he must have felt. "Better now?"
Raphael sat up and reached for his sword. "No thanks to you. Where were you?" He asked, anger permeating his tone.
"Wow, you're welcome..." Cassandra muttered under her breath. She stood up showing signs of battle damage, her clothing reeking of her own blood. "Had a bit of a problem of my own." She tossed the mirror shard to Raphael. "Took care of it though. Turns out, I'm not as crazy as I thought. Someone was messing with me. Keeping me distracted from saving your ass, obviously. If it weren't for Amy, I wouldn't have arrived as fast as I did."
Raphael looked to Amy. "Are you alright?" He asked gingerly.
"I'm fine, papa. The wound isn't deep." She said looking down at her ruined dress. "But this was my favorite dress."
Finally standing, Raphael used his sword to help him balance. He gazed around the room in disgust. "This will not do." He quietly pondered his next course of action, the creases in his forehead showing great concentration. "I must leave tonight. The plans will not change."
Cassandra gave him a look of disbelief as she grabbed his arm. "Are you out of your damn mind? You can't go anywhere in the shape you're in! You'll get yourself killed!"
His red eyes flared momentarily. "You will unhand me, wretched girl."
Cassandra stared him down. "No."
The room was silent for almost a minute as they continued to stare each other down. Finally, Raphael broke the silence. "I don't know whether I should be relieved that you are finally showing loyalty to me, or furious that you would dare defy me." He paused. "I am leaving tonight and that is final. These wounds will be healed shortly. You must focus on your task at hand." He wrenched his arm from her grasp.
Amy looked to Raphael, her eyes showing deep concern. "Papa, please be careful." She almost pleaded.
Raphael leaned down and kissed Amy on the forehead. "I will. Take care my dearest one. I will return shortly." He said before heading to the doorway. He turned back to glance at Cassandra one last time, his expression completely unreadable, as a thousand conflicting thoughts warred in his mind.
And then he was gone.
A/N: Dear god this chapter was HARD! I can't believe I actually finished it. It was hard deciding what to for the end of this chapter. This fic has now been written in 3 different homes. My first apartment where I started the fic. The bulk of the fic was written in my 2nd apartment, and now I finished this chapter in my new house. Gorram thats a lot of places. Well hopefully chapter 15 won't take nearly as long. We're past the half way point here.