The Night Should Be Feared
Here we go again. After a few long months, I finally had the time to sit down and begin a new story. It's much darker than "A Cheap Rented Room", but I'm a real girl at heart. So the romance will come *i promise*. I've always wondered what would have happened, if Elphaba would have been caught by the Gale Force. So this is my version....*g* I hope you like it. This will probably be a ten chapter story, divided in three big parts. A big thank you (with kisses and hugs) to the people who nominated "A Cheap Rented Room" for best Fiyerba *blush* That really made my day. Hopefully you'll enjoy this story too!
Crazybeagle did - as always - a fantastic job at editing this story. Without her it wouldn't be the same. And I wouldn't be so satisfied with the chapter. I had big doubts, but now....Thank you sooooo much!!!!
["Wicked" is not mine. It belongs to Gregory Maguire and Stephen Schwartz.]
RATING: High T
And feedback....well....it makes me a very happy person. And it makes me write quicker *little hint* ;)
Chapter 1 – Barbarous Bastards Are Waiting
‚The night should be feared. It's the time where barbarous bastards are waiting for you around every corner, shining blades stucked into their belts. It's when the streets are deserted of the good. Only human venom is running through the alleys, like blood through your veins. The time of resurrecting fear. Black – the color of death – is enveloping you, stifling you, until there is no air left in your lungs. Anticipate the bad and collide with the worst.'
"The night should be feared..." Elphaba repeated the words, her father had told Nessa and her so long ago. They had been little- Nessa had celebrated her fifth birthday, to be exact, and she herself had been around eight years old. Nessa had whined for hours about the big fair, which would visit their hometown. It wasn't often that life and fun were in their neighbourhood, and the small girl had clapped her hands in excitement at the possibility of seeing clowns and magicians.
"Magicians? My daughters will not attend something so heretical. I forbid you from partaking in such immoral pleasure."
Wailing. Small hands clutching his cloak.
Tears. Childlike brought up arguments.
Whining. Big and round eyes filled with sadness.
Nothing helped. Their father's decision was final. But Nessa's tragically beautiful face had softened Elphaba's heart and she couldn't say no to her baby sister. They'd waited until the house had quieted down and only only the usual sounds of a household at rest could be heard.
The sisters had only needed half an hour before they'd entered the big fair.
Colorful lights, intoxicating smells and the delicious taste of candy apples. Showy magicians presenting cheap card tricks. Clowns throwing pies in each other's colored faces. And laughter. So much laughter. Men trying to win stuffed toys for their dates… little children riding the carousel, their arms circling the horses necks… women watching the wild gestures of the pantomimes.
The sister's father had only needed an hour before he spotted them among the masses and brought them back home.
Elphaba's only solace had been the mild punishment of her sister.
„I'm disappointed in you, Nessa. You know that your sister is ill-bred and immoral. You really shouldn't listen to her when she tries to persuade you."
"I understand father. I'm so sorry." Tears brimming at long lashes, chocolate brown eyes begging for forgiveness and and sweet round cheeks still apple-red from the earlier excitement."
"You're forgiven, my sweet," Frex assured his daughter, as if sensing her fears. "Nanny will bring you to your room now. Sleep well, my angel."
He hadn't been so calm when he'd turned around to face his other daughter. His failure. The one thing in his life that was surrounded by ugliness and a cloud of bad memories. It was the hardest sort of punishment- to see the one thing he hated the most and to be reminded of the one he'd cherished above all.
The minutes after Nessa had gone to her room weren't spent in lectures or reprimands. Frex had punished his daughter with all his might. When he noticed her blank, tearless face, he stopped, his hand still suspended in the air. For a moment, his heart constricted painfully, because every bruise he left on her face and body was now etched onto his soul. But it didn't stop his hand from connecting once more with the hated green skin.
Until he felt too tired to continue.
And even with her split lip, the swollen cheek and bruised arms Elphaba had smiled when she'd turned her back on her father, still dreaming about pink cotton candy and warm candy apples.
The next morning at breakfast, Frex entered the room and smiled sweetly at Nessa. His hand petted her shining brown hair with so much love, it would have brought tears to Elphaba's eyes if she'd been able to cry anymore. He sat down next to her little sister and had retrieved a book out of his jacket.
"I was worried about you, Nessa. It was late and the sun had begun to go down. I don't want to imagine what could have happened to you." Another soft caress of her arm and Nessa had already absorbed the love behind her father's words. Elphaba was unable to be sad, or to be angry at her sister. At least one of them was loved.
As he opened a marked page, Frex glanced only a second at his children before his loud and booming voice broke the silence: "The night should be feared. It is the time where barbarous bastards are waiting for you around every corner, shining blades in their belts. It is when the streets are deserted of the good. Only human venom is running through the alleys, like blood through your veins . The time of resurrecting fear. Black – the color of death – is enveloping you…"
Right now- twelve years later- Elphaba Thropp could only hope that blackness was engulfing her. It was her only hope that the soldiers wouldn't spot her bright green skin.
Why can't I have indigo skin? she mused silently, while rounding another corner in Cantor, a small village only a few miles outside of the Emerald City. Her broom was clutched tightly in her hand, the dry skin over her knuckles cracking. Assuring herself that a few minutes' rest would restore her strength, Elphaba sat down on the dusty street. She could feel the damn letter in the pocket of her cape. She didn't need to retrieve it to know the exact words. They had pleaded for her help to fight against the Wizard. They had said that innocent Animal children had been slaughtered. They had lied and deceived her.
At least that would explain why there hadn't been one single Animal at the address they had sent her, but a group of soldiers from the Gale Force. It wasn't that Elphaba hadn't been close to death before. But she couldn't get over the fact that, once again, someone had deceived her. Another trap she had been lured into. And once again they had tried to throw water at her.
Ice cold water.
A scraping noise could be heard and Elphaba stood up hastily. A breeze had sprung up, blowing strands of black hair in her face. Fingering the annoying tresses, Elphaba listened carefully to the sounds around her.
A Bird singing an off-key love serenade.
The soft whoosh of the wind.
A tree branch scratching against a window.
But there was something different- a tangible tension that swirled around her. Someone was watching her. She could feel eyes on her body. A few spells were already fighting for dominance in her head as the young woman crept through the night. The fabric of her midnight black cape was clinging to her tense body, the skirt of her dress tangling between her legs. She stayed close to the walls of the houses, always on alert, ready to fight if she had to. Peeking around a corner, Elphaba saw a flash of green. And before she knew what happened, a jolt of pain shot through her. Completely shocked, the young woman reached up to retrieve a tiny dart from her neck. Realization hit her hard and she could feel bile rising from her stomach to her throat. Throwing the toxic little weapon away, Elphaba glanced around and listened carefully.
"I've got her."
And then there were footsteps.
Running along the street, Elphaba tried to be as silent as possible. But the poison had already begun to affect her body and mind. Sloppy movements…delayed reflexes…bleary sight. She stumbled across a large stone and somewhere in her mind she realized that she had sprained her ankle. But the pain was so dull… She would have no chance against the guards if they found her. Bracing herself against a wall, Elphaba took a deep breath. She had to regain some clarity if she wanted to escape. Concentrate. Focus...
Leaning her forehead against the cold brick wall, Elphaba heard the footsteps grow louder and louder. A wave of nausea washed over her and she fought against a sudden urge to sleep. Just closing her eyes and never waking up again…it just sounded too alluring.
"I can see her."
The shouted words and the sound of rifles being loaded awoke Elphaba's will to live. Pushing herself away from the wall she began to run once again. The broom was not an option. She would be an easy target in the sky.
She just needed a place to rest.
She just needed to get to the forest.
Only a few more corners and she could hide. There was no clear thought left in her foggy brain. Just the need to flee. Like an animal, which is cornered.
"The Witch. There's the Witch."
"Shoot her. Shoot the Wicked Witch."
The guards were behind her. Shooting, bullets flying around her. A blinding pain in her left shoulder. A silent scream escaping her mouth, leaving her breathless for a moment. Adrenaline kicking in fast and she continued her journey.
Rounding another of the countless corners, she ducked behind a open door. There was still a chance to escape.
I'm the Wicked Witch of the West, damn it. Nobody will bring me down.
Elphaba was so sure of herself, that she hadn't even noticed the blood on the ground. Her blood. A thin line following every step she made. And they had seen it too. She was just too happy, too relieved, too incautious…
.............Until blackness engulfed her.
* * *
Fiyero Tiggular was restless.
Running around the Palace grounds, his thoughts were as tangled as his feelings. Something wasn't right. He could sense it deep down. The world had shifted ever so slightly and Fiyero had the suspicion that something was going on behind his back. Something big. His guards had seemed distant yesterday, and even last night in Gyorgi's tavern they'd tried to avoid him.
Stopping in front of the guards' training area, Fiyero pinched the bridge of his nose. He had to regain some clarity, while he was waiting for something bad to happen. He had tried different strategies. Sleeping, running, sleeping with Glinda, writing, and even reading. He had read the entire History of Ix without dozing off, for Oz's sake. His whole body felt like it was under pressure.
Grabbing one of the swords, Fiyero twisted his wrist a few times, before making some swings with the sharp blade.
As a young Vinkan Prince, he had learned it all. Fencing, sword fighting, archery, correct falling, abseiling from house walls, trees and mountains, conflict resolution, fist fighting, the proper handling of different guns and weapons, warfare. There were hundreds of ways to kill a human being. They had tried to teach him all of them.
He could fight in full armor and a rifle or naked with just his fists. He had learned to plan and fight in one cycle.
Moving back, Fiyero rested his sharp blue eyes on an invisible aim, his body coursing with anger as he struggled to keep his movements swift and controlled. Fighting was much like dancing. Control your stance, your balance and your footing. One false movement and a disaster can be the consequence. And with this thought Fiyero's body began to fight and dance at the same time.
Jump. – Lifting Glinda up in the air, her skirts against his face.
"Why can't you find her, Fiyero?"
Dodge. – The other pairs holding their outstretched arms up to create a tunnel for the dancers.
"I'm not sure if you really want to catch Elphie."
A step to the left. – Right foot forward, close, left foot to the left, close.
"The Wicked Witch is our enemy. We have to kill her."
Strike. – Dipping the woman in his arms, her head nearly touching the floor.
"Captain Tiggular. Why have you ignored the hint that the Witch would visit the village?"
Gliding. – Shiny shoes on polished parquet.
"I heard that water will melt her."
Cover. – Her possessive hand on his shoulder, his on her narrow waist.
"I swear to the Wonderful Wizard and to Oz that I will not rest until the Wicked Witch of the West is in our confinement, nor will I betray this country and its citizens. I would rather die than let the Witch live."
When the Wizard had promoted him to the Captain of the Gale Force, his soldiers hadn't respected him. He was just the Prince from a far away country. Too handsome, too charming – clearly not a fighter. They had ignored him, made jokes behind his back, back-talked. It had taken only three days before Fiyero couldn't take it anymore. One of the guards had just implied that the Prince couldn't tell the difference between a charge and quick attack, when Fiyero grabbed one of the swords and attacked him. He had had no intention to kill the soldier, but there was only so much a Prince of the Vinkus could take. Even with his flaring temper, Fiyero had so much power wielding the sword that his opponents had soon realized they had nothing to laugh about. After that occurrence, nobody doubted his fighting skills. They just doubted his desire for hunting the Witch. And there were many speculations about his failure.
Unbelievable feelings. "I have heard they went to school together. Maybe he feels sorry for her?"
Narcissistic motives. "Our handsome Captain is afraid that the Witch will transform him into a Frog."
Warranted doubts. "He's just too inexperienced to hunt down someone like her."
Silly accusations. "Too inexperienced? In my opinion he's just too dumb. Didn't you know that there's been a Tiggular wing at Shiz for a few years now? Word is that his father donated a large sum so that his son could graduate."
But they all agreed on one thing.
"He's simply incapable of this task."
Fiyero halted abruptly, a cloud of dust swirling around him.
He could feel the power slipping through his fingers. Not long ago, he had been the hope for the citizens of Oz. Shining, glowing, triumphant. They hadn't doubted his abilities or motives. But the climate of public opinion had changed ever so slightly. They still waved at him, women still swooned, men still shook his hand with respect. But there was a hidden accusation behind their false smiles- that he couldn't achieve the one and only aim.
To kill the Wicked Witch.
Turning on his own axis, Fiyero leaped forward and struck his imaginary foe. Ramming the shiny blade into the ground, the Prince leaned onto the handle and breathed hard. Swallowing a few times, he closed his eyes for a second. Instantly, images of Elphaba flooded his mind. He had done everything to find her, but without success.
Next to following his own leads, he had to lure his guards down many false trails. He couldn't count how many times he'd burnt unequivocal evidence and made up lies. But each time he went after her, Elphaba had been away. Like air, she vanished, before he ever had the chance to catch up to her.
And then there was Morrible. She was like a blood hound. Each rumor, idea, vision and thought was instantly picked up by her, and she tried spell after spell to outwit Elphaba. Fiyero knew that Morrible felt that something was wrong. Her sharp eyes were always resting on him, following him even in his dreams. She seemed to judge his movements, words and strategies. So far she had no evidence against him, the old wretch. But this game of lies and deception was tricky. Only one false move and Fiyero wouldn't only lose his head and Elphaba's life, but their chance of a future together.
Wiping his dirty hands clean in his shirt, Fiyero shook his head, a fine sheet of sweat covering his reddened face. He was mad. Simply mad. Their future together? As if Elphaba was interested in a romantic relationship with anyone at the moment. Pulling the sword out of the earth, Fiyero glanced at the black sky. Why couldn't he just stop thinking about her? Was this really an obsession, like Glinda accused him? But would there be this warm tingling feeling whenever he saw Elphaba's picture in the newspaper or on a house wall? Would there be the slight leap of his heart whenever someone said her name?
Fiyero cleaned the blade carefully from the dirt, before putting it back into its leather sheath.
There were no answers to his questions.
A future together.
What a stupid thought.
* * *
Ikarus Dandelion was sitting motionless on the branch of the old oak. He tried to ignore the strong need to piss, or to scratch the persistent itch behind his left wing.
Instead, the stare of his little black eyes was fixated on the Captain of the Gale Force. Ikarus had seen many pictures of this horrible man in the newspapers. He was one of the men who were helping the cruel Wizard to murder all the Animals in the country. Atuna – the wise owl of their wood – had affirmed the rumors- how the Gale Force had locked Birds up into a cage and set it on fire. The time when they'd famished the citizens of an Animal town. Or their violent behavior against sick Animals, they had abandoned in the desert.
Tilting his little head to the side, the Sparrow tried to ignore his stiff neck. Now was the time to wait. He was pretty sure they would bring the green lady to the Palace. He'd just sung one of his famous love serenades, when he'd noticed the commotion under the tree. Flying high into the air, he'd watched how the green lady ran away from the Gale Force, tripped over a rock and stumbled around, like she had drunk too much ale. And never before in his life had Ikarus so loathed the fact that he was just a small Sparrow. He could only watch helplessly as the soldiers caught the green lady, threw her head against the brick wall, and carried her unconscious body away. In this moment Ikarus, understood his destiny. He had to help the green lady.
Like an arrow he had followed their horses until it was clear that they would bring her to the Palace. The bright green from the city had come into his sight and Ikarus had flown as fast as his wings could carry him to the castle-like maze of architecture, to spy out the grounds.
And here he was. Perched on a leafless branch, watching the Captain of the Gale Force hopping around as if he'd been stung by an adder. Completly mindless. There wasn't even an opponent or a sand-sack or something he could hit. He just swung his sword around in the air like a stupid fool. Ikarus had to suppress his sudden urge to fly over this cruel man and to piss on him. Instead, he noticed from the corner of his eye how the small caravan of horses and soldiers was coming in sight of the Palace. They would only need a few more minutes before they would arrive.
Preparing himself for his great rescue operation, Ikarus turned his head once again to glance at the Captain. He seemed to be deep in thought as he carefully cleaned his sword blade and put it back into its leather sheath. His movements seemed mechanical. He stared at the sky and frowned.
He was probably just thinking about another barbarous way to torture and kill Animals.
In this moment a small figure stumbled over the courtyard- presumably a messenger. Breathing hard, he braced himself against a pillar as he came within close proximity to the Captain.
"The Wizard wants to see you," the messenger gasped.
The Captain shrugged nonchalantly.
"They have her." A big smile broke onto the boy's face. "They have the Witch!" With these shouted words of joy, the messenger ran away, probably to proclaim the news to as many people as possible.
Ikarus didn't want to stay. He knew that the Captain would grin widely, a deadly gleam shining in his eyes. But some twisted sort of masochism urged him to observe the exact reaction of the man below him. Not in his wildest dreams had he anticipated the following events.
The sword falling onto the earth.
Heavy metal thudding. Dust swirling around.
Panic, fear, and maybe…hope shining in blue eyes.
Gasping for breath.
"Elphaba." A broken whisper.
And with that, the Captain raced in the direction of the Palace.
* * *