I just finished reading Son of a Witch and I had a few ideas pop into my head, so I decided to write a sequal of my own to it with Liir at the helm! I have not, however, read A Lion Among Men, so there might be a few discrepencies with that. If you can ignore those and not mind POTENTIAL SPOILERS then I hope you like this. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue this though, so give me some feedback and reviews, whether you liked it or not, and tell me what you think I should do: continue or no?
Disclaimer: I do not own Wicked, Son of a Witch, or any characters therein that may be Gregory Maguire's or L. Frank Baum's respectively. I just like to write a lot! The reason I haven't put a second character up for this other than Liir is because I intend to use almost all of them, and they will all have a semi-equal amount of cameos. The only truly main character is Liir... and maybe Trism... but that's to come much much later.
Revenge is a Four Letter Word
The snow crunched wetly under Liir's heavy boots as he slowly meandered into a stop, ensnared by memories tangling about his brain. Choking it. Smothering it. There was a time when Liir would have welcomed the bitter sweet reminiscence. It was a way to remind himself that he was alive and that he did indeed have a past to look back on. There was a time when he would think of Elphaba or Nor, think of the hours spent, the lives wasted.
There had been a time like that in the not so distant past. But now that past was like an eternity away from Liir. Gone was the notion of watching his life pass him by like a panoramic drama. Now, like so few and precious moments before, was a time for action.
Liir clutched at the black cape that billowed in the wind, tossing it across his meager frame. It was an old and tattered heirloom that had tasted the dirt of the ground and the stars of the sky alike, and had absorbed many emotions – most of them Elphaba's, for it was her cape. Liir had long ago stopped referring to her as his possible mother. He knew now in his heart that it was true; and with the realization came a sort of relief, clarity. He no longer thought of her as his mother, either. She was dead now, and nothing of her maternal legacy remained. Only legends of the Wicked Witch of the West.
The broom, also Elphaba's – also Liir's – was strapped prominently into a satchel teetering at his side. He had not flown here upon the magic broom for fear of having his presence known too soon. But even as he looked upon the residence of the small town and saw their wide eyes he knew that everyone could already tell. Liir was taller now, but this time the people recognized him: the black, disheveled hair and his piercing green eyes were evidence enough, even if Elphaba's cape and broom did not give his lineage away.
"Fanarra," he muttered, reminding his lips of how easily the syllables rolled off his tongue. He took a single step forward and all of the citizens flinched in unison. Liir had half a mind to laugh at their display. Were they really that fearful already? No matter. He would be quick to remedy their terror as soon as his business here was done. They would not have to bear his presence for much longer.
He continued on his way, trudging through the gray mix of snow and gravel, the oblong pebbles shifting carelessly beneath his footfalls. Mother's pulled their children away from his as if he harbored disease. Fathers shut the blinds and widows slammed their doors. Only the brave and dedicated kept to their routine on the streets, looking to the floor, avoiding any and all potential eye contact. Had they always done this or was Liir just noticing their odd behaviors now that he was older? He supposed it was to be expected. He was the son of a witch….
Liir occupied himself by shuffling through his plans. Reaching Elphaba's old castle of Kiam Ko was paramount to them all, if he could make it past the hot glares of the citizens unscathed, that is. Liir wondered if they were frightened because they hated him or if they hated him because they were frightened. Or maybe they didn't even know themselves why the hate and fear him so, but had thought of no other emotions they could have possibly conveyed.
"Why is he carrying a broom, mommy?" asked a little girl, tugging her eagerly at her mother's apron, a smile amidst a sea of frowns. Liir begrudged himself a grin of his own as he passed by her. She couldn't have been more than seven years old – a generation untainted by the Witch's influence. Thankfully. The mother quickly scolded the girl. She told her not to look at Liir, to not bring any unwanted attention to herself.
"Why caution her and douse the rare flame of curiosity?" Liir asked from a distance. Realizing that he was addressing her, the mother gasped and placed her hand over her pounding heart. "She lives in a different era than that of Wizards and Witches. She lives in the days of Emperors, Apostles, and charlatans. Warn her of 'His Highness' Shell, not of me. That man would be faster to abduct your daughter than I to cast a spell on any innocent."
The woman seemed paralyzed with shock, holding the girl close to her. Liir smirked and approached them. "What is this lovely girl's name?"
"Ch- Chizelle," the mother responded. Liir was surprised that she actually answered him, and by the look on her face, so was she. Liir nodded reverently and bent down onto one knee to reach the child's level.
"Chizelle," Liir started, his voice low and soothing. "I carry this broom because it was something my mother left me after she went away. Would you do the same for your mother?" The girl nodded, a gleeful grin spread from ear to ear. "That's a good girl. A believe a reward is in order."
He waved his arms slowly in the chilly air and in a flash of movement a flower appeared in his hand. The girl squealed with excitement, clapping her hands giddily before taking the efflorescent blossom. Liir smiled to himself and walked away as she chirped from behind him, "Magic! Magic!"
Liir knew no magic. It was simple parlor trick – he had the flower concealed up his sleeve the whole time (did he not say this was an era of charlatans?). Mere slight of hand could never remotely amount to anything near "magic." He clicked his tongue in slight annoyance. He had been saving that flower for Nanny. Or maybe… he had been saving it for someone completely different.
The passage to the castle was slick with ice and slush and new fallen snow. But Liir dared not fly on the broom. He wasn't ready. His mind was still a blur of orderly objectives that needed to be fulfilled, and flying wasn't one of them… yet.
He had anticipated the silent arrival of the Monkeys and was not surprised when they surrounded him. Liir made no attempt at greeting them, but stood steely and cold, chin raised defiantly against the blistering wind.
"I didn't know when I would see you again, you leaving with that giant flock of birds in such a flurry," spoke one of them, obviously Chistery. He waddled forward on his knuckles and they both said their hellos with as much warmth as they would allow each other. "I barely recognized you at first," the old Monkey admitted, his spine curving under the weight of his wings. "I think it was the way you held your head."
"My head is supported by my neck," Liir replied dryly. "How can I hold it any other way? In your age you must be losing your sight, is all."
"I see that your wit has not dulled, but your courtesy could certainly use some readjusting."
"Are we going to banter here in the frost or may I enter?"
"Thought I told you before," Chistery yawned, leading the way. "This is your house. You need no permission from me to enter it."
"A house, yes, but hardly my home," Liir corrected, feeling dismal. "My home is where my heart is."
"And just where might that be exactly?" inquired Chistery.
"My chest," Liir grumbled. The sentence was as punctuation to their conversation, and they ascended together into the castle of Kiam Ko in utter silence. The halls echoed with the soft padding of Chistery's bare ape feet and Liir's leathery boots. He place stank of feces, just as it had when Liir returned for the first time since he had left with Dorothy. Silly, simple, Dorothy. The young man shook his head vigorously, trying to remove the memories from his mind. He had found that pointless memories only weighed him down. He had to keep his attention on the future. On his plans.
A sudden thought piqued him and he was compelled to act on it, be it out of curiosity or politeness. "Where's Nanny?"
"Passed, finally," Chistery answered over his shoulder. "May the Unnamed God bless her soul."
"She would resent you saying that," Liir chuckled. Perhaps he laughed to hide his grief. But his eyes betrayed him, letting hot tears streak down his face. And no amount of cursing from his mouth could cease them.
"You mourn her death more than that of your mother's," Chistery noted. It wasn't meant to offend or to comfort or even in awe. He was just commenting on the perplexity. But still, Liir felt it his duty to explain.
"Nanny was more of a mother to me than Elphaba ever was," he sniffed, drying his eyes with the cape. The tear fall had been brief, but heartfelt nonetheless.
"Console you then to hear she died peacefully in her sleep," Chistery commented, continuing on their way.
Liir couldn't help but laugh again. "I think she would resent that as well. She was a feisty one." Chistery felt no need to respond. It was pleasant conversation to be sure, but he felt no attachments to this lost boy. They were past acquaintances, but little more than that – the past amounting to very little in Liir's eyes anyway.
They reached the highest tower with sparse words, but Liir thought it strange that Chistery knew where he had wanted to go. The door opened with a rusty creak and dust fell like ashy snow about them. Liir wandered through the room, looking in vain for what he searched for. He had looked for that cursed book twice here before, but third time's the charm, is it not? He blew dust from bookshelves and tables, but stayed clear of the wide window, afraid that his legs might take on a life of their own and throw him from the spire. He also avoided the orb looking glass with his entire will. He didn't want to accidently gaze into it and see a past he regretted.
"You won't find it," Chistery called to him from the doorway, his tone a matter-of-fact. "You're not the first to look for the Grimmerie these past two years."
Liir looked back with a start and sneered. "What do you mean?"
"A short, old man in a velvety coat came knocking about two years ago," Chistery informed flatly. "He asked for the book, but I turned him away at the door. Then, not four months later, a young man came. Fiery red hair he had. I showed him the tower and he searched almost three days before joining the old man's path back down the Pass, empty handed."
"And why did you not turn him away at the door?" Liir snapped.
"Couldn't," Chistery shrugged simply. "He had snuck in. None of us even saw him coming. We caught him in the kitchen with Nanny. She had died a week back, but we didn't have the heart to touch her. He offered to bury her for us in exchanged for food and shelter for a while. What could I do? He seemed kind enough to me."
"I bet you also enjoyed having someone to speak with," Liir commented, his voice a little more sarcastic than her had intended.
"True," agreed Chistery. "Nanny was the only one I could talk to, and now she's gone. What's the good of speech if you never use it? Ah, but the boy had plenty to talk to me about."
"Well," Liir interrupted, tired of the conversation, tired of the Monkey, tired of the whole damned castle. "I'll have you know that I came here for more than just the Grimmerie. I wanted some help as well. I was wondering whether you would be interested in relocating."
"I've bound myself to a solitary pact. I want to take the flying monkeys and establish a new home in the South. I have a sudden and all consuming desire to turn Oz on its head!"
Chistery laughed, a wheezy, high pitched laugh. "And all this time you doubted that you were the Witch's son."
"I'm not doing it for Elphaba," Liir said, straightening out his back and growing to his full height. "Nor for her legacy or anyone or anything else. I'm doing this for me."
"I would repeat myself," Chistery sighed. "But I know you wouldn't appreciate it, and I'm in no mood to quarrel."
The two of them steeped into silence for a few minutes and Liir found himself once again scanning the room with his calculating eyes for the Grimmerie. It was all in vain, of course, but it helped to reduce the awkward tension between him and Chistery. An emotion had laid itself upon Liir – one he couldn't accurately name – but the feeling barred him from getting too close to the Monkey. He wouldn't label them as friends.
"The other monkeys are restless," Chistery mentioned at long last. "And they miss having a master ordering them around so much that they actually listen to me, of all Animals. I'm sure you'll have no trouble employing them into your service."
"What about you?" Liir asked, his voice cracking.
"I'm too old to fly anymore," Chistery admitted solemnly. "I would only slow you down. Besides, if you deny ownership to this castle, then it must have been mine and Nanny's. Well, now I suppose it's just mine. And I don't think I could bring myself to leave this place anyhow."
Liir furrowed his brow and curled a lip in contempt. "You're right," he conceded. "Elphaba always loved you more anyway. She would have left you the castle before she would even consider leaving it to me." Liir understood the feeling now and called it out by its name: jealousy. It was deplorable… and sad… a human envious of a monkey.
Chistery made one last speech to the monkeys. That they should obey every command Liir gave them just as they would the Witch. Liir could not understand most of their chattering, but none of them seemed to be disappointed by this new management. He gave a few easy orders to test them and they all followed accordingly. They way they were trained was akin to soldiers, and Liir had to grind his teeth to forbid the memories of his days in the armed service from returning to his one track mind.
"How long do you think you'll be away?" Chistery asked, sounding apathetic to having his brothers and sisters leaving him alone, essentially to die. Maybe he had already reserved himself for death. Maybe he considered himself already dead. "Should I expect you back?"
"Not likely," said Liir, retrieving his broom from its makeshift scabbard. "The West is the Witch's realm. I aim to claim the South for my own." He wrapped the black cape around him to brace against the wind and placed the already quivering broom beneath his legs. "The way I see it, revenge is spelled with seven letters… it should not take me less than seven years to exact it."
"Oh, pity my learning," Chistery cried to himself. "Elphaba taught me language, but never numbers. I always thought that revenge only had four letters."
Liir halted, struck dumb by the Monkey's words. "No," he whispered, deep in thought. "I suppose… maybe… sometimes revenge can be spelled with four letters."
Biding each other their obligatory goodbyes, Liir levitated high into the evening sky, the rest of the flying monkeys leaping up to join him, sending out howls that echoed through the mountains. Like a dark cloud they swooped over the small town of Fanarra and the people looked up with horror at them.
They numbered nearly a hundred fold, wings beating against the air as fiercely as dragons, with Liir at their head – cape streaming darkness behind him like a plume of smoke. Citizens looked up and shrieked, pointing, crying, running for their lives to the closest shelter. "She lives!" they shouted. "The Wicked Witch lives!"
"Call me wicked if you must!" Liir bellowed down to them, his strong voice booming over top of the din and mayhem. "Go ahead and call me Wicked! But here I fly as you flee on the ground! Call me whatever names you will, but I swear to you and to all of Oz that I will become the next Wizard! Wicked or no, I will be the Wizard of the South!"
To be continued?