"YOU HALFBREED BASTARD!"
Green hair flopped in front of his fiery eyes, masking his sweat and blood-stained face, the same color as chocolate. The broken body of a similarly colored elf with red hair was wrapped tightly in his arms, sightless eyes staring at the purple sky accusingly. A barely recognizable blond man lay on the rocky ground, pale skin blackened and torso impaled on his own rapier, and a black-skinned half-sylph lay motionless in a puddle of her own blood.
The wind blew Deirdre's hair back gently, but she couldn't feel it. The Snarl towered behind her, and she could feel its overwhelming power pumping in her veins, whispering in her ears, stroking her body, assuring her that she was one of the most powerful beings in the world.
She had never strived for power. She should have.
She loved it.
"Is that anyway to talk to your baby sister, Terentius? After so many years?" Deirdre whispered softly, blood glowing under her skin. She hadn't particularly wanted to kill any of these people, but she had been forced to. They were adventurers just like their parents. They had wanted to stop her. They had wanted to trick her.
Deirdre frowned, looking away from the Snarl, the power crackling in her skin and pulling her mind, running through the rocks in the mountain. Who had interrupted the rituals? Probably some more adventurers. Those people were always…
Her eyes widened.
She recognized the intruders easily.
A half-sylph, half-human woman fluttered in the air, a familiar green-hilted sword clenched in her hands. That was stupid of her. Druids weren't proficient in swords, and she was a druid, if her light leather armor and hawk flying besides her had anything to say about it. Two brown-skinned elven rogues held their weapons tightly, the green-haired one with a bow and the red-haired one with twin daggers. A familiar blond man swung a rapier, glaring at her through alert blue eyes.
"Deirdre! By the people you have slaughtered and the world you're going to unmake, this is going to end now!" Abram shouted, brandishing his weapon. "Where's Xykon?!"
Deirdre turned around fully, blinking down at the adventurers. She didn't care to answer their demands, or correct them on their 'unmaking the world' assumptions. She could swat them away like flies if they attacked, and she was far more interested in speaking. "…You've changed. All of you."
Abram took a moment to look a little confused before squinting at her. "What are you… hey, you look familiar."
"Have I been gone so long that you've forgotten the one you grew fifteen years with?" She stepped down slowly, eyeing him and her family resentfully. "I would have hoped for at least the courtesy of remembrance."
There was a long hush, cutting off the imminent fight.
Octavius sprinted forward, his daggers falling to the ground. "TIASAL!"
He threw his arms around her, hugging her grown body close to his, something that was tiny and doll-like the last time they had seen each other which now was curvaceous and fully adult. "Baby sister!" He let out a ragged sob, tightening his grip. Deirdre had never seen him cry. "Baby sister… Tia… How are you alive? We thought you were dead…"
Deirdre stiffened, then slowly draped her arms around her big brother, feeling his heart beat against her breast, frowning suspiciously. He was trying to trick her. Trying to make her think he loved her. But she knew he didn't love her. No one could love an abomination of nature.
"Big Brother…" she murmured softly in his ear, making them twitch and sending a tremor through his spine, before nuzzling his sweat-streaked neck. His scent made a wave of memories hit her. Not all of them were good.
"…Octavius, get away from her."
Octavius nearly crushed the woman up against his chest, a growl starting in his throat. "No. We have Tia. She's alive. We're going to get her back to the others."
Deirdre's eyes slowly scanned the increasingly tense Abram, Terentius, and half-sylph, Lydia. Her cousins. Her brother. They were going to try to kill her. She supposed they had always wanted to do that.
She was unnatural, after all. Everyone wanted her to die.
"I suppose you still want to fight me."
"No. You haven't done anything. Why are you up here? What happened all those years ago? Do you know where Deirdre is? By the elven gods, I can't believe you're alive…"
Terentius started forward, eyes wide. "Brother, she is Deirdre!"
Octavius spun around, letting his little sister go and glaring ferociously at his twin. His tendons and muscles tightened like ropes under his skin. Deirdre took a moment to absently admire his physique while the chip of her past within her squirmed uncomfortably. "No! Stop saying stuff like that! Tia wouldn't hurt a fly!"
A smile flickered over Deirdre's face. "Brother, it's true. I've joined Xykon. My name is Deirdre, now."
Terentius shook his head, swallowing hard and blinking back tears. He had already understood and accepted it, even if his twin hadn't. "Baby sister… no…"
"I suppose you have heard of me?" Deirdre smiled, holding out a dark emerald hand. Her skin color had gotten darker, deeper, since when she was a child. Her hair and eye colors were just richer. She was beautiful, but there was something wrong with it. Something dangerous and savage. "I've done things that I doubt you approve of, but I don't think you have the right to tell me I was wrong. What else was I to do? Xykon was the only one who I could go to."
Octavius was deathly quiet, the woman unable to see his face.
The glow rippled under her skin, making her look more and more primal, and her eyes showed something unsafe. Something that reflected the damage the last few years had dealt.
Abram swallowed, his hand shaking. "Then… then you can come back with us. We'll keep you safe from him!" He swallowed hard, looking at her eyes and terrified of what he saw. "Tia, it's me, Abram. I've always thought of you as my sister. And here's Lydia, and Terentius, and Octavius… we love you! You've done bad things, but you can atone!"
She tensed, her jaw setting, and her eyes narrowed dangerously. Lydia was the only one who didn't try to say anything. The half-sylph only stared up at Deirdre's eyes, and with a face contorted with pain, she just shook her head. Too much time and hardship had passed. Tiasal was lost.
Deirdre relaxed slowly again, a cold smile crossing her lips. "That's a little presumptuous of you." The power of the Snarl crackled in her veins and a chip in her eyes, usually subtle, grew visible. "I've killed people. A lot of them. For Xykon." The sparks lit up at her fingertips. "I don't regret them."
Octavius stiffened, his back still turned on her. She could feel his mood take a dangerous swing, just as it always had when they were children.
"We don't have to fight. It has been a long time, and besides, it would be foolish to try to stop me at this point. I have the power of the world."
Octavius was silent, but Abram, Lydia, and Terentius all drew their weapons slowly, pain written on their faces.
Disappointment and sadness crossed Deirdre's expression. "So you are going to try to kill me now? You're little sister and cousin?"
Octavius knelt on the ground and fingered his fallen daggers, one last sob escaping from his lips. "No sister of mine." He grasped them and spun, shouting furiously and aiming for her heart.
They had wanted to keep her small and weak. Easy to abuse. Easy to hate without dealing with the consequences. But she showed them. She could hate just as well as anyone else.
"We haven't seen each other since I was a child. Don't you want to know what happened to me after you left me to die?"
She made a swift motion for him to stop talking. She had to keep him from lying to her. If he lied, she would get angry. She didn't want to get angry just then. "Oh, it was. The Order could have gone to the Oracle for information, then come to find me at any point in time." Deirdre held out her arms, green with an inner purple and blue glow. "I suppose you were glad to be rid of me. Inkyrius's health probably improved when I was gone and forgotten."
"YOU DAMN BITCH!"
Terentius stood on shaky, nearly broken legs, cradling his brother's body. "Do you have any idea how hard we looked?! We thought you were dead!" He staggered forward, holding out Octavius's body, tears making rivets in the filth of his face and voice getting raw with shouting. "YOU KILLED YOUR BROTHER!"
"No. Not my brother." A smile played over her face as she walked forward, her arms outstretched. The smile was broken. Something glimmered in her eyes that her big brother was too frightened and furious to name. "You were there, remember? 'No sister of mine.' He denied me himself. But you didn't." Purple irises sparkled in the light of the Snarl, and fluffy violet curls shimmered gently. Even in the midst of the blood and hate, she was still beautiful. "Let him go. Give your baby sister a hug. I've missed you. We can still put this past us, Big Brother. I know that you don't love me, but you were kind to me."
"I loved you. We both did." Tears streaked down his face. "But you're not Tiasal. Xykon did something to you, and now both my siblings are dead." His body shook and he squeezed his eyes shut, hugging his brother close. "YOU BITCH! YOU TOOK MY SISTER AND MY BROTHER! YOU GODDAMN HALFBREED BITCH!"
Deirdre came within arm's length of him, her smile fragmenting. "I always hated it when people called me the 'halfbreed bastard,'" she murmured softly. "'No sister of mine,' again? I know that you hated me for all that I represented. I know that you and Octavius would sometimes wish that I had never been born, so your Parent and Other Parent would be together again. Even with all that hate, the least you can do is recognize that I am still your sister."
Terentius stiffened, eyes blazing. "We never—"
The woman, so familiar yet so foreign, stiffened dangerously, something black flashing in her pupils and the chips growing. "Do not lie to me."
The venom in her voice made even the grieving elf wince.
"You wish that I had never been born so you could have the perfect family, without any 'bastard goblin child' and her 'raping brute of a father' getting in between your precious Parent and Other Parent. You wished that I would run out in the woods one day and never come out, bitten by a snake or drowned or some other death caused by forces outside your power, so Inkyrius would never have to look at my face again. So you would never have to look at my face again."
The color drained slowly from the green-haired elf's complexion.
"I know you felt this way because I heard you both say it all outside my room when I was seven."
That dangerous gleam in her eye shined again, along with a little glassiness that hadn't been there before.
Her hands shook. Tiasal hugged Deirdre's leg, staring at Terentius, waiting for him to deny it, to say that he had always loved her.
"I never forgot it."
Terentius struggled to speak for a moment, instinctively hugging his brother's body closer. He soon shook his head, swallowing hard and face incredibly pale. "Tia, we never meant for you to hear any of that. We didn't mean it. We were just angry."
"Of course you were." The hardness in her voice said quite clearly that she did not believe him. The gleam in her pupil grew, and Tiasal buried her face in Deirdre's dress, disappearing even from the sorceress's mind's eye.
"I would have forgiven you, Big Brother."
Her eyes glowed bright yellow and she leaned forward, brushing her lips against her big brother's dirty forehead. Terentius's leg's buckled under him and he collapsed to the ground, eyes just as sightless as his twin's.
The vague outline of the last twin's soul swirled in the air and faded into one of the black sapphires studded on Deirdre's necklace. One of the sapphires that had no one else within.
She rearranged the necklace at her throat before turning away from the grisly bodies, looking up to see Xykon landing a few feet away, balancing perfectly on a giant rock next to the Snarl's rift.
"I just massacred the humans' armies at the coast. What'd you do?"
Deirdre brushed off her dress, staring at the glow coming from under her skin and in the lich's bones. "I killed the adventurers after us. And the dwarven and elven armies. They were fighting so much with each other that I wonder if I was actually the one who destroyed them." She glanced down the mountain, arching an eyebrow. "You know, they'd be pretty fun to bring back as ghosts. We could give them weapons and make them fight for our entertainment. The verbal sparring alone would be worth it."
Xykon shook his head and looked up at the Snarl. "I knew I taught you well, kid. Oh, by the way, aren't those dead guys on the ground your family or something?"
Deirdre didn't miss a beat. "Two cousins and two estranged brothers."
"Huh. Beat your dad's record." The lich held out a hand to the Snarl, letting the chaotic energy reach out and climb up his arm, fusing into his bones. "So much for that 'unmaking' thing. We should really talk to those so-called gods about lying."
"We can do that next week. We can do anything now." Deirdre skipped over the bodies of her older brothers nonchalantly, already resolved to forget them, walking to the edge of the mountain and staring down at the sprawling carnage below. "Absolutely anything."
"Yep. And that Necromancer chick took Reddy back to the tower after his half of the rituals were done. We don't need him anymore." Xykon floated over the dead adventurers, paying them just as little heed as the woman. "I think it's time to let him go. Do you want to do the honors?"
Deirdre glanced back at him, arching an eyebrow. "This is a roundabout way of asking me if I want to kill him, right?"
"What else would I mean by 'let him go'? Give him a retirement package and set him up in a nice resort?" Xykon made a dismissive gesture. "Yes, I mean kill him."
The sorceress nodded, staring out at the war-torn landscape beyond, bodies lying with their blood staining the ground red. If they were left there, then in spring, that field would sprout particularly fruitfully. She would like to revisit then. It was hard to ever see flowers and greenery around the high tower they lived in, what with the fact that it was snowy year-round.
"Are you going to answer?"
"I will do the honors." Deirdre glanced down at the bodies of her family. "I should also dispose of these."
She grabbed Abram's hair and pulled him off of his sword, then frowned at him for a moment. His eyes were sightless white and his mouth was leaking blood sluggishly, but otherwise, he had become quite a man in the time Deirdre had been gone. He looked mostly like his father, but there were definite traces of his mother there as well. She wondered how they were faring. "He grew in the last several years." She tossed him off the mountain before kicking her cousin and her brothers off after him. Three pairs of eyes rolled to stare at her accusingly before they fell down, bouncing off rocks and branches until they were smashed on the ground. She didn't care. "If the Order is still alive or they had more children, then they will come for me."
"Oh, right. Those guys. Eh, they don't have anyone who's high enough of a level to stop the god-killing abomination. Just blast them with the Snarl thing and soulbind them."
Xykon wrapped an arm around Deirdre's waist and flew off of the mountain, over the battlefield and towards the tower they had lived in since before the hybrid had been part of this. Of course, Deirdre could have flown on her own, but Xykon seemed to like being in charge of whether she fell or not. An expression of control.
Deirdre sometimes mused about how many 'expressions of control' Xykon would need to perform before he was satisfied.
"Any idea when you'll deal with Reddy?"
"Tonight. I have some things to sort out with him before he dies, though."
"Oh, right. That." Xykon nodded. "Tell me the details later."
Deirdre nodded in confirmation.
"Yeah?" Xykon wasn't really paying attention. He was staring at a recording on Teevo. Tiasal leaned against his throne, pulling at her braids impatiently. She didn't like this new hairstyle. "The servant kids are calling me Deirdre. Why?"
Xykon wasn't really paying attention. He was staring at a recording on Teevo. Tiasal leaned against his throne, pulling at her braids impatiently. She didn't like this new hairstyle. "The servant kids are calling me Deirdre. Why?"
"I thought they were calling you Clash."
"That's the cleric."
Xykon cocked his head, staring at the crystal screen and flicking through channels. "Well, it suits you. Regardless of why they're doing it, 'Tiasal' is too cutesy for a sorceress."
Tiasal rubbed her arm, frowning. "Too cutesy?"
"Yeah. Seriously, 'Sweet Dreams'? That's just cheesy. Start calling yourself something badass. Or something sexy. Sexy works for girls pretty well."
"Change my name?"
"Hey, everyone else does it. You don't think anyone gave their kids the names 'Redcloak' or 'Xykon,' do you?"
Tiasal was quiet for a long time, so much that Xykon almost forgot she was there.
"I'll use Deirdre."
"It's done, Father. The Snarl has been absorbed into Xykon and I."
Redcloak was silent in staring out his window, keeping his arms crossed. Deirdre assumed that he was just thinking instead of examining the view. He had been locked in that room for several months. He had seen everything there was to see, from the tiniest carvings on the bedposts to the biggest mountains off in the distance.
"Have you suffered any ill effects from the magic so far?"
The woman arched an eyebrow, a smile flickering over her lips. "No." She cocked her head slowly. "You've been working on this for your whole life." Deirdre swished the wineglass in her hand, sipping the red liquid delicately. "I would think that you would be happier. Would you like a glass?"
"This isn't what I wanted to happen." Redcloak worked his jaw, still staring out the barred window. "You know that."
"You're picky." Deirdre walked forward slowly, taking another sip of the wine before standing besides her father. "Well, I doubt that Xykon will be satisfied with having the world for long. He will most likely allow me to take the reins and then run off to find something else to hold his interest. I assure you, I will govern as fairly as possible." She smiled. "Goblins, elves, humans, and all other species will suffer and prosper equally."
"How many people have already died?"
"Many." Deirdre leaned on her father casually. "And more to come. Xykon and I will keep fighting, and our undead army will grow. They will eventually give in." She glanced up at his face. "I don't see why you're so upset over it. You were willing to do the same."
"Tiasal, look at you!"
Redcloak spun around, grasping his daughter's bare shoulders and looking her in the eye. "You were a good-hearted girl! You had a family that loved you! You had a chance to run away from the choices I made and become your own woman!" He gestured down at her floor length, extremely form-fitting and revealing strapless black dress. "Now you're a deicidal dictator of the world, a heartless sorceress, and Xykon's concubine. You're nothing but a tyrant to the world, and you're nothing but a powerful toy to him."
"My name's Deirdre, you know," she said, smiling.
"Oh don't give me that!" Redcloak spat fiercely. "I'm calling you by your given name, not what Xykon or some kids stuck you with. I'm talking to my daughter, not the sorceress who's enslaving the world!"
Deirdre frowned, something dangerous flickering in her eyes, but Redcloak didn't see it.
"And that doesn't change the fact that you're just a toy that happens to control a lot to Xykon."
"Of course I am. You think I don't know that?" She flicked her hair behind her shoulder, lazily reaching up and touching her father's cheek before glancing down at her dress, arching an eyebrow. The gleam in her eye was gone, but it still lurked under the surface. "And no, I don't dress like this for Xykon."
Redcloak frowned disbelievingly.
"Father, he has no interest in my body," Deirdre said flatly. "I hang off of his arm. Nothing else."
The goblin sighed in relief and looked away.
"I actually haven't had sex yet."
Redcloak's face got a little pink and he glanced back at his daughter.
"I'm saving it for something important."
The goblin cleared his throat, awkwardly wrapping an arm around his daughter's waist. "I'm glad you made that choice, Tia. You're a beautiful woman. No one should be able to have that without you wanting them to." He looked back out of the window and sighed. "I can't say that I'm glad about any of the other choices you've made."
"I did what you would have done."
"I made horrible decisions, Tia. One right after the other, especially in regards to Xykon. No matter how good my intentions were, they were still the worst things I have ever done. I never wanted that for you." The goblin tiredly rubbed his face, heart aching. "Are you going to kill me?"
"Are you eager to die?"
Redcloak looked at his daughter's face, tracing every delicate feature with his eye, knowing in his heart that, had he not been so caught in the Plan, he may have been able to save her from what she had become. He may have been able to save Vaarsuvius. He may have been able to live life with his family instead of being locked alone in a tower while the world burned and his daughter became twisted in the shadow of a sociopath.
"Deirdre, come on! We don't have a lot of time outside—I want to show you something."
Tiasal smiled, perking, and eagerly followed Leaves. Her friend's belly was getting swollen so it was hard for her to walk properly, but she was still quick as ever. Tiasal was actually surprised that they were wandering into the woods, though she was happy—she missed being able to climb trees.
Leaves glanced back, smiling affectionately before running past the snow-ridden trees to a small clearing.
They came upon a pond with a thin layer of ice covering it. Leaves trotted close to the shore, gesturing Tiasal over. The little girl gladly came forward, patiently waiting for Leaves to state what game they would play that day. Becoming friends had been a slow process after Leaves had been assigned to making sure Tiasal always had her braids in and looked sweet and innocent, but the little green girl was happy that it had happened, despite her reservations about letting people too close. She had never had a girl her age as a friend before.
"Hey, could you help me with the ice? We can't play without some water."
Tiasal heard the quiet strain and anxiousness in Leaves' sweet voice, but she wrote it off easily. Her friend had been acting oddly for a while. Tiasal suspected that the belly swelling was to blame.
The green girl knelt at the side of the pond, easily breaking through the ice with her fists, shuddering at the freezing cold water underneath. She wasn't sure what game they could possibly play with it. Swimming would be incredibly unpleasant, there weren't any fish in there, and the ice was much too thin for skating, even if they had had skates…
"I'm really sorry, Deirdre, but we have to. It's for the best."
Tiasal's ears twitched in confusion, but she realized that something was wrong too late. Two pairs of hard, strong hands grasped her shoulders and neck before shoving her head under the water.
There was a moment of suspension.
She started to struggle wildly, clawing at the arms on her, feeling blood flow. Her lungs demanded air, collapsing and unable to expand. Shock threatened to knock her out entirely. No. No, she wasn't going to die!
Her eyes glowed yellow.
The boys holding her down let out howls of pain and let her go, collapsing to the ground and holding their faces, smoke slipping from between their fingers. Tiasal snapped her head out of the water, gasping for air, and frost formed on her face and eyelashes. Her eyes darted down at her attackers. Swift and Turtle.
She looked down at Leaves, noticing the girl backing away, her eyes filled with fear.
"You tried to kill me."
Leaves trembled, swallowing hard. "You're Lord Xykon's apprentice and Redcloak's daughter. You'll turn out Evil. We have to kill you before then."
Tiasal became disturbingly still, her disbelief changing into something darker.
"It's for the greater good! Deirdre, prove that you won't be Evil! Prove it and we won't have to do anything!"
Leaves remained motionless, a deer caught in headlights. She couldn't run with her swollen belly. Tiasal could easily catch her.
"I thought you were my friend."
She had been fooled again.
Deirdre let out a furious shriek, rushing forward and slamming the other girl against one of the trees, sinking her great teeth into the pale throat before Leaves could so much as utter a scream. The girl let out a choked cry just before her neck was torn open.
Deirdre let the corpse drop before wiping her mouth and spitting, something previously shapeless taking form in her eyes. She let her hands go limp at her sides. Three dead children lay on a blanket of red snow. But there was a fourth dead child—one that no one but Deirdre could see.
She walked away and let the bodies lie there.
"With the way things have turned out, I wouldn't mind dying." Redcloak looked away. "I want to release Vaarsuvius first, though. And if I thought there was any hope, I would stay just to convince you to leave Xykon. But there isn't hope of any of that, is there?"
"No, there isn't. Mother will be released one day—I have no intention of simply keeping her around my neck for the rest of my life—but you will be dead by then." Deirdre glanced up at him, arching an eyebrow and taking a sip of wine. "So you aren't angry about my killing you? No disownment?"
"Tiasal, I killed my own brother." His voice caught a little. "I'm able to face that now. And, because of my own hubris and inability to own up to what I've done, I lost my daughter and the woman I fell in love with. You can kill me. It won't be worse than anything I've done. I'll always love you."
The woman next to him stiffened, taking a sharp intake of breath. Before Redcloak could turn and ask why, she slammed the wineglass across his face, shattering it.
Redcloak recoiled with a shout, holding his bleeding head in his hands.
"Don't ever say that to me again."
The goblin quickly healed his cuts, looking up at his daughter and his heart nearly stopping when he saw her eyes. They were nothing but icy hatred with chips of cold, hard insanity deep within. "Tia, what—"
She brandished the broken glass, her knuckles white on the stem, and Redcloak jerked back again, pinned against one of his bedposts. "You're just like your brother. I will not hear those wretched words again!"
Redcloak recoiled, staring at her pleadingly. By the Dark One. She was more disturbed than he had thought. He had felt her slipping, but never to this extent! Why hadn't he seen this before?! "Tia, I don't know why you're so upset, and you can kill me if you want, but please tell me what's wrong!"
"You'll never love me! No one will! AND I REFUSE TO BE LIED TO!"
She threw the glass at the wall, shattering it to tiny bits and shards embedded in the floor, before coming up and wrapping her hands around her father's throat, putting enough pressure on to all but cut off his airways. Redcloak's hands went up and grasped her wrists tightly, but he didn't struggle. Struggling would require hurting his daughter. He couldn't do that.
He concentrated on trying to breathe past her fingers. This was a surprisingly difficult task.
"You know, Father? I've been planning on this for a long time," she hissed, the little chip of insanity growing. "Ever since I was small. You wanted me to fall into the same trap Right-Eye did. You wanted to make me think that you loved me. But I saw sense then."
Redcloak tried to get some air, weakly touching his daughter's cheek, trying to plead with his eye. What was this? She didn't think he loved her?
"I won't be fooled again. I said that to Right-Eye and I'll say it to you. I won't be fooled again." Her grip tightened and her father's face started to change color. She leaned forward, starting to smile, and cooed softly in his ear. "And for trying to trick me on top of everything else, I'm going to make you suffer before I kill you."
She loosened her grip just enough so he could breathe, something that he was grateful for, but not enough to give him the air needed to speak. He cupped her face in his hands, lovingly running a thumb along her cheek, but she didn't seem to notice.
"I decided to do it before I was even a teenager. Funny; your best ideas come before your brain is clouded by hormones." She kissed his cheek. "I don't want you to go through something as small as torture. Lost eyes, broken bones, mutilations… they go away once you die, and soon enough, you forget that it happened. No. I want you tormented for the rest of eternity just as you damned me to be the moment you and Vaarsuvius decided that an abortion was too risky."
She released his throat all at once. Redcloak took a grateful gulp of air, his regular healthy green color coming back. He had to take a few torturous moments to breathe before he could gasp out what he wanted to say through a bruised throat. "Tia! That's how you feel?!"
He clasped her hands tightly, more upset by what his daughter said than what she almost did. "No! I love you! I always have! Why didn't you tell me about all this?"
"I'm not!" Redcloak cupped her face, kissing her cheeks and forehead desperately. "Of all the things I've done in my life, Tia, I've never regretted you or your mother. You can tell when people lie to you. You can tell I'm not lying now. I love you. No matter what you do, I'll always love you."
The look in her eyes sent a chill in his heart. He could feel her heart pumping hard against his chest. Her face was frighteningly cold.
Something deep inside him warned that something horrible was going to happen.
"I've been waiting for this, Father."
She went on tip-toes, putting her hands gently on his cheeks and pressing their lips together.
The goblin took a sharp intake of breath and the woman took the chance to deepen it. Redcloak had to have a moment to process the fact that his daughter was kissing him. His daughter was kissing him.
The scientist and the person promptly went into a frenzy.
Redcloak pushed her away sharply, careful about putting too much force behind it, and stared at her in shock. "Tiasal?! What was that?!"
"A kiss. I figured you did it a few times with Mother before she spread her legs for you," Deirdre said scathingly, making her father wince in surprise. "I've seen the way men look at me. I've seen the way you look at me. Just like that wretched cleric."
The color drained from the goblin's face. "Tia, what are you talking about?"
"Oh, I suppose that you have tried to hide it from yourself plenty of times. After all, I am your daughter. It would be wrong."
Redcloak swallowed hard and shook his head, skin nearly white. "What are you talking about? By the Dark One, tell me you don't mean what I think you do."
"You want me. And you hate it." She sneered, the chips in her eyes flashing. "I suppose it's only natural. I look a lot like Vaarsuvius, don't I?"
The goblin grasped his daughter's shoulders tightly, eye wide. "Tia, you've gone insane! Please lie down for a second. Take a deep breath. Calm down…"
"Of course I've gone insane! I'm infused with the magic from a being of pure chaos! But just because I'm insane doesn't mean I'm wrong…" She went on her tip-toes again, kissing the corner of his mouth and sending a surprised shudder through him, pressing up against his body in a way no daughter should. Redcloak took a sharp, horrified intake of breath, but Deirdre simply smirked. Whether he wanted it to or not, the goblin's body was responding to the advances. "And I'll prove it. You're going to die tonight, but I'll give you a parting gift."
The goblin sputtered, both the scientist and the person at a complete loss for what to do. "Tiasal, by the Dark One, are you saying that you want to…?!"
She smirked, that weird gleam in her eye shining, before she kissed him again, sliding her hands against the abdomen under his shirt. "Want to? It would be you who wants to. I just want you to suffer for the rest of eternity. And you will, because you'll know that you slept with your little girl and liked it."
Redcloak jerked again, taking her wrists tightly and pulling her hands away from him. "No! I'm not going to consent to this! I can't believe you're even suggesting to…!"
"Daddy, I've taken over the deicidal abomination you have been trying to capture for over fifty years! You think that I need your consent?" Her eyes glowed bright yellow and she leaned forward. "Don't worry, you'll be perfectly aware. We'll just wipe away that 'control' thing."
She kissed him again softly, wild and thoroughly untamed magic transferring over to her father.
Redcloak made a desperate bid to resist the power, horror and disbelief hardening in his stomach, but it was useless.
His muscles relaxed, losing their ability to refuse basic instincts. A deeply primal growl started in his chest. As far as the flesh was concerned, a beautiful, young, and very fertile woman was offering herself. The mind no longer had any say in the matter.
The goblin snaked powerful arms around her waist, kissing her pulse point, then her throat, then her chest, growl getting louder, reflecting only the untamed body and not the thoughts within. His hands wandered, fingering the hidden zipper down her back, pulling it down.
Deirdre breathed heavily, wrapping her arms around his neck and murmuring in his ear. "I know you can understand me, Daddy, even if you can't respond. So understand this: we all would have been better off if you had let Xykon murder Mother when she first lost that phylactery."
She let the dress fall to the ground.
"Why are you still here?!"
Deirdre grabbed the vase filled with flowers and threw it at the motionless little girl, shrieking in fury when it broke on the stone wall behind her. The glass shards exploded into the air, making everything gleam and sparkle, before they embedded themselves in the ground. "LEAVE! YOU'RE DEAD!"
Tiasal glared, crossing her arms slowly and advancing on Deirdre, her tusks and canines bared. Time hadn't changed her.
"THIS IS MY BODY NOW!"
The sorceress slammed her fist into the mirror, ignoring the glass shredding her hand to ribbons and grabbing a broken piece, throwing it like a dagger towards the little girl.
It passed right through.
Tiasal advanced further.
"GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!"
The door slammed open. "Tia!"
Redcloak ran forward, pulling the sorceress away from the mirror with fear in his eye. "Tiasal, calm down!"
"SHE WON'T LEAVE! THAT WRETCHED BRAT WON'T LEAVE!" Deirdre struggled in her father's grip, mad tears starting to stream down her face. "WHY DO YOU KEEP HAUNTING ME?!"
"Why do you keep haunting me?" Tiasal whispered softly, voice little more than a rasp.
Deirdre let out a furious half-insane howl. Redcloak hugged her tightly, hiding her face in his chest and murmuring healing spells under his breath. "Calm down, Tia. I'll get you to my bed. You're safe."
She wrapped her arms around him, hiding from the ghost of her past.
Once the little girl was gone, Deirdre could punish Redcloak for trying to trick her again.
Once the little girl was gone.
A few hours later, Xykon nonchalantly opened the door and walked in, glancing at the bed. "Are you done?"
The naked woman was sitting up in the bed, wiping blood from her mouth. Beside her, the undressed body of her father lay with his throat torn open by teeth. Blood was soaked into the sheets, but besides that, there were a few speckles of blood far away from the goblin's open neck. Huh. So she really had been a virgin. With the way she dressed, Xykon hadn't quite believed it.
"Really went for the physical approach, didn't you?"
He didn't seem bothered by her nudity. He leaned against one of the bedposts, crossing his arms and glancing over at his dead subordinate. "I gotta give you props: gross as it is, it was creative."
Tiasal looked down at her father, eyes holding an unnamable expression, missing the hard chips that had been developed over the years. "He was gentle."
"Gentle. Even when I was strangling him, even when I was touching him, even when I was killing him… he was gentle."
But before realization, the truth, could dawn, her eyes lost their old clarity, clouding with paranoia and dementia born from betrayal from her loved one, exacerbated by tutelage under a sociopath and a misguided attempt to stem Evil before it overflowed, and completed by the absorption of a thing of pure chaos. Her mind was lost again. Deirdre was back.
"He was trying to trick me. Even in the end, he was trying to trick me."
Deirdre stood from the bed, grabbing her dress from the floor and growling angrily. "After all he had done, he had the nerve to try to trick me."
Xykon shook his head slowly. Why were his female subordinates always crazy?
She slipped on the dress and combed her hair with her fingers, grabbing her necklace full of horrified and silently screaming souls, glaring at the corpse. A little girl had her arms draped over it and her legs tucked under her, pathetic little sobs shaking her body. Deirdre had never seen her cry.
"Please get up. I didn't mean it. Please… I love you, Daddy… Please get up…"
"One of the minions will have to take the body away. I can't stand the sight."
"Sure, sure, whatever." Even despite his lack of necessary equipment, Xykon could almost smell the sex and blood in the air. He mused quietly before glancing up at the sweaty hybrid. "Twenty gp say that you're knocked up now."
The woman glared at him before putting on her necklace and leaving, dress hugging her curvy body tightly. With the way she was going, Xykon would need to think of a way to keep her under his control. Crazy people were hard to predict sometimes.
Plans swirling in his mind, he left the room without another glance towards his old subordinate.
Tiasal faded away completely. Deirdre didn't see her again for a long time.
In the many times the youngest brother had imagined his reunion with his older brother, he had always been angry. He had always confronted his brother for what he had done. He had always resolved that it would take a long time before he ever agreed to even consider him a brother again.
Now he saw what he had done to his niece and to his brother, and his anger didn't feel so strong anymore. He wished that he hadn't scried on the mortal plane. He had dealt with many things in his life and afterlife, but witnessing what his niece inflicted on his brother… and knowing that it was his fault…
When his brother materialized on the foggy plane of the un-judged, he wasn't angry. He just waited for his elder to say something.
The older brother just sat on the ground, blind to all around him, and rested his head on his knees, hugging them.
The younger brother sat down and wrapped his arms around him.
Slowly, the older brother's shoulders started to shake. His face stayed hidden from view. Their mistakes had finally come to a full circle. They both suffered had the consequences of their decisions, and all that was left were memories and broken people.
There was no turning back.
Of all the ways to lose someone, death is the kindest.