If you are offended easily, you might not want to continue. This was inspired by my deciding to take a crack at playing the OC with an evil character. I'd tried before, but never managed to feel it. But I slipped into this character pretty easily. It did disturb me a bit, and this is what came of that feeling.
This will skip a lot of the regular OC scenes and focus mostly on what happens in-between. If you are having trouble following where we are, just let me know and I'll fill in some blanks. However, I have no interest in just rehashing the game. I'm figuring if you are reading this, you know what happens already. There's a line or two here and there directly from the game, but mostly it's just my ranting and raving.
Oh, and I am sorry that my PC, Maeve of Sune, has the obligatory red hair. But since I decided to make her like my evil, shadowy twin, she needed to look like me in order to get myself really into the role. And since I really do have red curly hair, I figured it was only fair that she did too.
Rated M for violence, bad language and sexual situations. And I'm not kidding, so reader beware. The OC and NPCs, as always, belong to Obsidian.
This begins right before the Trial by Combat.
SHADOW AND HELLS
Chapter 1: Lady of Misfortune
Maeve stepped back and looked at herself in the mirror. Shaking her head, her long orange-gold curls tumbled over the shoulders of her new armor. The armor was beautiful and much more appropriate than the mismatched plate she'd worn so far. It was copper colored and highly polished. Symbols were etched in fine swirling lines on the breastplate. She could feel the divine and arcane magic infusing the metal like a tingle against her skin.
Maeve smiled. Finally, her reflection seemed to suit her. Short and sturdy, with muscular limbs and a wild froth of orange hair, she'd never been comfortable in her own skin. Especially as an aasimar, she was expected to be a certain way and look a certain way. And it was something she'd never really been able to manage. But in armor, ready for battle with the fire of fury blazing in her blue-grey eyes . . . well that was a look she could pull off.
Although she was born in West Harbor, she'd spent plenty of time here at the temple of Sune. Maeve didn't need to know who her father was to know what he was. A half-celestial, a child of a deva of Sune. On the pale skin of Maeve's back, a golden pattern birthmark wove itself into the face of Sune, her long hair tapering into a stream of broken freckles. Like many aasimar, Maeve was marked by her blood with that birthmark and the silvery glow of her eyes, allowing her to see as well in the darkness as she did in the light.
Daeghun had sent her here to the temple when she was twelve, unable to deal with her raging hormones and wild outbursts. The sisters taught her much about Sune and about desire. They groomed her to be a temple cleric, a sacred whore to the goddess of love. They taught her the sweet words of desire and skills a courtesan would have killed to know. But when she was sixteen and given her first charge, to fulfill the desire of a patron, she'd not lived up to their expectations. Maeve had learned the tricks of physical love from the other clerics and clerics to be, beautiful men and women who'd sworn their lives to passion. She'd never had trouble conjuring her own desire with them. But her first was an old man by her standards, a grizzled soldier who might have been thirty-five, and he received a scratched face and a knee to the groin instead of the sexual healing he'd come for.
So the temple sent her back to West Harbor where Daeghun continued to successfully ignore her. Maeve set to practicing the skills they taught her at the temple with every able and passably attractive male in the village. And where she continued to hone her divine spells from not only the healing skills she'd learned before, but spells of fire and destruction to rival an mage evoker.
The temple high priestess appeared in the reflection over Maeve's shoulder startling her from her thoughts. The older woman was much taller than Maeve was, and could have looked imposing with her dark hair and pale eyes. But her face was sweet with years of service to Sune. Maeve had grown to seriously dislike that peaceful look.
"It looks lovely," the priestess said. "But I hate to think that it will not be enough."
"Do you have me in the grave already, Kionen?" Maeve spat, still staring at her reflection in the mirror. "Do you really think I am so weak?"
"Do not mistake my words," Kionen said. "But you are not a fighter or a paladin, but a cleric. A priestess who should be doing her duty at the temples, not taking lives."
"What would you have me do?" Maeve asked acridly. "Lay down and spread my legs when Lorne comes to kill me? Not that I haven't done it for him before. He liked me to choke him you know. All sweetness and light. And what good has it done me? He's still going to kill me if I let him."
"There are many ways to yield," Kionen said, wrapping one of Maeve's curls around her slender finger.
"I am tired of yielding. I know what I want and I finally going to get it. What's the point of inspiring passion when I don't feel any myself?" Maeve asked, spinning around and tearing her hair from Kionen's fingers.
"It is sometimes hard to know Sune's desire," Kionen said.
"Ha!" Maeve snorted. "You propose to tell me about Sune's desire? The blood of her deva runs in my veins, not yours."
"I can only tell you what I know to be true," Kionen replied serenely.
"Well, let me tell you something true," Maeve whispered menacingly. "Sune can go to the hells for all I care."
With that, she grabbed her flail and shield and stalked out of the temple. Kionen watched her go, her peaceful look replaced by shock and naked fear.
Maeve's flail was coated in gore and blood. Some of the blood, mostly what was soaked into the leather grip, was hers. But the bits of flesh on the wicked spikes, well, that was all Lorne's. He didn't have the good sense to beg for mercy, so she hadn't offered him any. Maeve stared at the drying filth on her hands. She didn't feel anything like she had expected. She had killed before, plenty of times, but mostly it had been just faceless obstacles in her path. Not someone she knew so intimately as she knew Lorne. It wasn't as if there had been any love between them. Certainly wasn't love. But nonetheless, she knew him.
Yet Maeve felt nothing at all.
A part of her thought it might be a good idea to wash the blood from her face and hands before walking back into the Sunken Flagon. But she decided she didn't really care about that either. She opened the door, walked in and the place went silent. She glanced around the room, surprised to see everyone waiting for her. Khelgar and Neeshka standing at the bar, Qara warming herself by the fire. Elanee and Sand sitting at a table with Grobnar and Shandra. And the paladin, standing stoic in the corner like a statue. Casavir's blue eyes were blazing, but she wasn't sure what sort of expression he was going for. Anger? Righteous disapproval? Repressed desire? Hard to tell with someone that much like a stone. Maeve stared at him pointedly. She winked and he scowled, turning away. Maeve grinned. There was nothing she found more entertaining than breaking down Casavir's hard veneer and getting a glimpse of the angry and arrogant man inside.
She dropped her flail and shield on the table, flakes of dried blood peppering the worn wood. With a snort, stomped into the side hall toward her room. Lack of emotions aside, she was feeling filthy and desperate to get out of her armor. The hall was shadowed and her mind was elsewhere, so she never noticed Bishop standing just outside the door to her room.
He reached out and touched her cheek before she saw him. Startled, she jump back and raised her arms.
"Ooo," Bishop whispered. "Jumpy."
"Go to the hells Bishop," Maeve spat. He grinned. "What do you want?"
"Plenty," he said. "But honestly? I just wanted to congratulate you on the fine mess you made of Lorne's face."
"Most of it is still stuck to my flail," she muttered.
"So," Bishop continued. "How's that make you feel?" He tilted his head down and looked at her, still grinning.
"Tired," she replied. "And that's it. Well, except for a burning desire to get out of this armor. So unless you want to help undress me, would you kindly get the hells out of my doorway?"
"Is that an offer?" Bishop asked.
"Fuck you," Maeve spat, pushing him out of the way and throwing the door to her room open. Bishop spun around and pinned her against the door frame. Her head struck the wood hard and she saw stars.
"That sounds like an even better offer," he said. He leaned in like she was going to kiss her, but didn't. "Unless it's all just a tease from you?" His lips brushed her cheek as he spoke.
Maeve tried to glare at him, but failed. She was damn well feeling something now.
"I see you took my advice," Bishop said, leaning back just enough to meet her eyes. "Since you were casting divine spells out there with ol' Lorne, despite, what did you call it, being forsaken by Sune?"
"Goddess of love my ass," Maeve muttered. "Besides, I've always figured my grandfather must have been a fallen deva, with black wings, to have been running about making bastards."
"Its likely," Bishop replied. "So who took you up on your offer to be their new priestess?"
"Beshaba," Maeve whispered. "I asked, and she answered."
"Our Lady of Misfortune," Bishop chuckled. "How appropriate."
"I thought so."
"Although I've never understood this whole worship nonesence, at least you're listening to me. It's a start," Bishop snarled, leaning back in towards her. This time, it seemed clear he was going to try to kiss her. But she stopped him by biting his lower lip instead.
"Bitch," he said, pushing himself away from her.
"That's why you love me," Maeve said as she slammed the door in his face.
Skip ahead . . . . to Nasher's orders to go and wrench Crossroad Keep from Black Garius and his minions . . . .
"So a handful of Many-Starred Cloak mages and us, are going to take back an entire keep from a horde of Luskan arcane brothers? Oh, that's a great idea," Bishop muttered, although he still followed.
"We will do what needs to be done," Casavir retorted. Maeve glared over her shoulder at the two men. Bishop rolled his eyes, but shut up.
She turned back to the road. It was afternoon, and only a few more hours to Crossroad Keep. Bishop was right, it was suicidal to send them there, but she figured Nasher was hoping she'd be squashed. He might have been okay with her becoming a squire to spit in Luskan's face, but once that madness was over with, she expected him to find a way to remove her from the nobility. A former cleric of Sune, now a follower of Beshaba, with a sharp tongue was not exactly the sort of person Lord Nasher wanted to associated with. Not to mention she was just a swamp farmer's unwanted foster burden.
Maeve sighed. She didn't want to play martyr for this. Bishop sidled up next to her, sliding his arm around her waist.
"What do you want?" she asked aggressively, but her words were in opposition to her body. She didn't pull away, but settled against him, letting their hips brush together with each step.
"Hm," Bishop said, learning in close. "What do you have?"
"Nothing you'd want," she retorted. "Unless you'd like a flail spike in your eye."
"Ha, I'd bet you have something far more pleasant for me, if I could just get you our of that tin can you insist on wearing," Bishop snorted.
"Oh would I?"
"I'll just have to be patient. Well, if you manage to survive this ridiculous order," he laughed. He let go of her waist and dropped back again, letting her walk alone. Maeve could feel Casavir's eyes glaring into the back of her head, and Bishop's mocking face. She didn't need to turn around to know what was going on back there. Trying to ignore it, she stalked forward, looking straight ahead. Not watching where she was going was not the best plan. Her boot caught on a rut in the road and she stumbled forward.
"Hells," she muttered, stumbling to her knees. She might be strong, and newly refreshed in divine spells, but her dexterity was bad enough even without the armor. Predictably, Casavir rushed forward to help her. He offered her his hand and she took it, letting him pull her to her feet. She stood and he was standing entirely too close. He was quite a bit taller than she was and looked pretty impressive in his silver armor. If only he could get the stick out of his ass, he might be fun, Maeve thought.
"Are you all right?" he asked, his velvety voice filled with honest concern.
"I'm fine. Just a bit of bruised pride," Maeve said, starting to walk again, this time walking carefully where she put her feet. "I've always been clumsy. I just figured I'd out grow it. Looks like that isn't going to happen."
"I would be happy to help train you to move and fight in heavy armor," Casavir offered. "I have some experience with that."
"Thanks for the offer. If I manage to not get us killed, I may take you up on that."
"We will prevail," Casavir said serenely.
"I'm glad you think so," Maeve sighed.
"The righteous cause will always win in the end," Casavir continued.
"Well then," Maeve snorted. "We're screwed. I am not exactly a paragon of virtue, in case you hadn't noticed."
"You have made some . . . bad decisions. Yes, but I think you have more goodness in you than you know."
Maeve stopped short and spun around to face him. Her eyes were blazing.
"Are you blind?" she screamed at him. "I am no one's protector, and I only do what's in my own best interests. I have no goodness in me, unless you're offering to put your goodness in me."
Casavir blanched. Maeve just stared at him, her pale skin flushed with anger.
"Looks like the paladin might get lucky," Bishop interjected. "If he could figure out what to do with her."
Ignoring him, Casavir said, "Do not mock me."
"I'm not," Maeve spat. "Don't mistake me, I'm glad you're here. You're a good fighter, and I don't have to worry you might stab me when I'm not looking. And despite your protestation about how Bishop looks at me, at least he's honest about it. You aren't the first paladin to want a taste of evil."
"I do not," Casavir said softly. "Want a taste of evil. I want to help you see what goodness you have."
Maeve sighed, defeated. "I know," she muttered. "And look, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but don't waste any prayers on me. It's like praying that the sun won't go down at night. I'm not worth the effort."
"I don't think so," he said softly. "I think you've just been left alone to your own thoughts too often in your life. Even the best of hearts can be damaged by that. I know better than you might think."
"Oh Casavir, what the hells am I going to do with you?" Maeve asked, sighing. Standing on her tip toes, she kissed him gently on the corner of his mouth. She was shocked when he didn't blush but instead closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep shuttering breath. And so did Bishop standing behind them. It took everything she had not to look back at him.
"Thank you," Casavir whispered as they started to walk again.
"Don't thank me," she replied. "You're going to regret it more than I will someday."
. . . . amazingly, they survive the attack on Crossroad Keep and as a reward, Maeve is given Crossroad Keep as her own . . . .
"So, what's the great Captain of Crossroad Keep want with her humble tracker?" Bishop asked, sarcasm dripping from every word.
"Pulling your weight with a little less backtalk would be a start," Maeve snarled.
"I like it when you're angry," Bishop replied. He looked away for a moment, staring out toward the setting sun. He'd been fletching new arrows, sitting on the crumbling ruin of the wall of the inner courtyard. Maeve sat down on the stones next to him, pulling her legs up underneath her. Her hair was loose around her shoulders and she wore a pale grey robe. It hitched up as she sat, showing a promising length of thigh.
"I like it when I'm angry too," she said. Bishop set the half finished arrow down and turned to look at her.
"So Nasher gifted you with this pile of rubble," he said. "Nice insult."
"He's a prick,' Maeve said. "But the Keep's got potential."
"Yeah, whatever," Bishop muttered.
They sat in silence for a while in the swiftly approaching twilight. Maeve leaned back, bracing herself with her arms and sighed.
"That offer to camp," she said finally, "Was that an offer or just another snide comment?"
"If it was an offer, what would you say?" Bishop replied, answering her question with a question.
"I'd say yes," Maeve said.
Bishop took a deep breath, tried and failed to not look surprised.
"I thought you hated me," he said.
"Maybe a little," she said. "But you're the only one around here who's honest with me. And doesn't look at me like at any moment, my celestial blood might take over and I'll sprout wings and start reciting poetry."
Bishop snorted. "The paladin? Again?"
"I don't get him," she continued. "I think I could spit in his face and piss in his helmet and he'd still be trying to redeem me. At least, if he was just trying to fuck me, I'd know how to deal with it. But he told me he wanted to 'protect me' which I think is paladin for love. All his damned mooning is going to make me sick."
"Well. Pissing in his helmet eh? Putting a lot of thought into this?" Bishop snickered.
"More than I'd like to."
"If it makes you feel any better, I think you'd look stupid with a halo," Bishop said.
Maeve laughed bitterly. "I agree."
"Maybe," Bishop said, "You should just tell Casavir to take a leap."
"I would if I thought it would do any good. And as much as I hate to admit it, I do feel a little sorry for him."
"Do you now?" Bishop sneered. "A good deal of rolling has started with less."
"You know, I wish you just stop talking and kiss me," she said.
"What makes you think I want to do that?" Bishop asked. With a snarl, she leapt forward and grabbed the back of Bishop's head, pulling tightly on his short hair. Her hair floated around her face and her eyes glimmered silvery with anger in the half light.
"I do love it when you're angry," he said.
"Then let go of my hair."
"You like that too," she said, her other hand sliding up his thigh to settle on his crotch. "Obviously."
"You seem to know just what I like," he said, his voice catching in his throat as she moved one hand a bit, and loosened her grip on his hair with the other. Her sharp fingernails dug into the sensitive flesh on the back of his neck.
"Just shut up," she said, finally moving in close enough to kiss him.
The kiss was like dropping an ember into a haystack. Bishop grabbed her fiercely and flung her down on the ground, his whole weight falling on top of her. He kissed her feverishly and she tasted blood in her mouth. He ground himself against her, the rough grey robes chaffing against her skin. His hand darted under the hem, pulling the robe roughly up around her waist. Instinctively, Maeve spread her legs, letting him settle in-between, a few layers of thin fabric the only thing between them.
As fiercely as he grabbed her, he pushed her away and stood up, leaving her lying on the ground.
"This is no good ladyship," he said, grabbing his arrows and fletching tools from the wall. "This just isn't my style."
"What isn't?" she said, propping herself up on her elbow, not bothering to cover herself.
"I prefer honest whores to playing a whore myself." he said. "Because you aren't paying me for this."
"Then what am I paying you for? To be an asshole?"
"Everyone's got a skill," he said, stalking away silently.
"Shadow and hells," Maeve cursed under her breath, standing up and letting her robes slide down over her legs again. She brushed herself off and stomped towards the Phoenix Tail Inn, since a drink seemed likely to be the only stiff thing she'd be getting tonight. Caught up in her own thoughts, she ran into Casavir, practically bouncing off the hard breastplate of his armor. One of the hard rivets poked her hard in the forehead.
"Cyric's blood," she sputtered, grabbing her head.
"My lady, are you alright?" Casavir said, reaching out towards her. She pulled away.
"Don't touch me!" she spat.
"I . . I am sorry, my lady," he said apologetically, backing away. "I did not mean to hurt you."
Maeve sighed, feeling a tiny pang of guilt for shouting at him. "I'm sorry I yelled. I know you just don't have it in you to hurt someone on purpose."
"Yet I have, hurt many, in my days," he said softly.
"You really need to relax," Maeve said, looking up at him. "It is all about what you intend to do anyway; isn't that what they say at the temple?"
"They also say the road to the hells is paved with good intentions," Casavir said, his voice dropping. "But I doubt you are in the mood to listen to my doubts tonight."
"I'm just in the mood for a drink," she said. He was watching her expectantly. "If you'd like to join me, I plan on getting obnoxiously drunk."
"Thank you," Casavir said, "But I know that my company would not be best for that sort of thing."
"Your loss," she said. She turned away, but paused for a moment. "Casavir?" she said softly, turning around.
"Yes my lady?"
"Can I ask you a question?" Maeve said, her voice just above a whisper.
"Of course. What do you wish of me?"
"I know you said you had some feelings for me, but is it all just duty and protection? Do you find me attractive?" she asked. She shook her head, knowing that the backlighting of glowing sunset would make the froth of her curls look like a halo around her face. That's what Bevil always told her anyway. She suppressed the urge to smirk, realizing she was encouraging all the behavior from Casavir she'd just been complaining about to Bishop.
Casavir blushed predictably, and he sputtered, "Yes . . . I mean, if you are asking if I find you appealing to look at . . . yes."
"Can't that be enough? At least for one night?" Maeve sighed, taking a step towards him.
He took a step back. "I . . . I don't . . .," he stuttered.
"Never mind," she said. "You'd never survive me in the mood I'm in. Good night Casavir."
"Good night, my lady," he said, his brow furrowed. With a curt bow, he turned and walked away. Maeve watched him go, and by the look of things, he would have run away if he hadn't been too dignified to do so. Men, Maeve thought. And paladins. What a waste. She watched as Casavir stalked up the hill, the back of his breeches pulling tight against his muscular legs. He might just be worth the effort, to dirty his halo a bit. Might just get the taste of Bishop out of my mouth anyway. She laughed at herself. She looked up at the sky, the orange glow of the sunset turning to blood red as the sun finally disappeared behind the hills.
Beshaba, she prayed silently, I think its time all this damned misfortune fell on someone else. Give me the strength to spread your destruction, but give me something in return, Nothing is for free, even faith.
A coldness spread over Maeve as she finished, like a cool breeze after a hot day. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, the air feeling like an icy wind inside of her. She opened her eyes as one of the many cats that hung around the keep strolled up to her, looking for attention. With a wicked grin, Maeve kicked the scrawny thing in the side and it yowled piteously before skittering away. The randomness of it made the tension in Maeve's chest disappear for the first time since she'd smashed that damned smug look from Lorne's face with her flail. She reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear, and ran her hand over her lips and down her neck softly, seductively. Smiling in earnest now, she continued towards the Tail, unaware that Bishop watched her from the shadows, deciding against his better judgement, that he didn't think he was going to kill her after all.