"If you fight for most of your life specifically to bring another person down, you begin to live for that person, and that person alone."
.:Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti
Beatae Mariae semper Virgini
Beato Michaeli archangelo
Sanctis apostolis omnibus sanctis:.
The droning chorus of saints was comforting – they, along with the pastors, are gathered in his cause. In their country's cause. He is singing as well, on his knees, eyes staring towards the sky, his eyes locked on the paintings that told of the archangel. He is asking for forgiveness, as he has done countless times before, and he knows something the priests don't. They think they can save him. To save their own country would make them revered. But he has lived enough centuries to know that whom he prays to has turned their back on him since day one.
God does not help sinners.
You know I am a righteous man,
Of my virtue I am justly proud."
He sings for the mother of God, because women can be toyed with and convinced with soft, soothing words and French acting. He believes that she can help him. If Mary birthed God, she has power. Whether to convince God or help Britain herself. He feels almost pathetic, feeling like he was sprawled and begging before a woman – human, no less – until he remembers that she acquired a status unlike the mortals and higher then the nations.
.:Et tibit Pater:.
He sings with the foreign tongue, greedy desire burning. A priest behind him follows seconds after, bible in their hand grasped tightly as they recite well-known words with different intent.
You know I'm so much purer than,
The common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd."
There is a demon of lust within Britain. From the first time his eyes locked with cerulean, terror gripped him at once. There was this unfathomable creature before him, blonde, French, and beautiful. So skilled with the sword and strength and determination so – so alluring. Adrenaline ran through his veins unlike ever before, feelings towards his enemy country almost numbed when he encountered her. Even now he feels his heart constrict threateningly – and he hears the words speak truthfully in his ear. He is not hers to have – he has seen France hold her lovingly, pressing soft kisses over her neck when she finally retires off the battlefield. Since when did France's emotions matter to him?
.:Quia peccavi nimis:.
What worries him more, however, was the fact he hesitated before her, fingers trembling on their hold of his weapon as he watched her fight. He would not – could not hurt her.
"Then tell me, Maria,
Why I see her dancing there
Why her smouldering eyes still scorch my soul?"
He resisted snarling to himself, feeling goosebumps travel underneath his tunic as the singing intensified with his thoughts. Oh, how many nights did he spend only thinking of her, that god-damned wench who has mirthfully killed him and his men over and over again to please herself and her lover? He wanted to trail his stiff hands over her collarbone and choke the life out of her, feel the satisfaction of defeating the growing threat of a woman and watch the tears trickle down France's face. Yes, how he hated the French, how he just lusted for their pain.
How he just lusted for her and how he just lusted for him to be taken from the picture. How he is so envious.
"I feel her, I see her,
The sun caught in golden hair –
Is blazing in me out of all control."
It was becoming ridiculous – he was daydreaming, becoming delusional and seeing what was not there. He felt her warm, muscled form pressed against him as he embraced prostitutes. Almost, almost he killed a female-faced young boy after forcing him into a kiss when he thought it was her! She was an angel in the sun, still, even when her hair was matted and caked with blood and sweat – it still was more attractive then the well-kept tresses of the noble woman. He growled under his breath, to irritable with the spell that was placed upon him. A spell that no one, not even a Nation, could break.
.:Verbo et opere:.
Because, even when all he could think about was her, and the only thing that could quench his needful blood lust was her, it was of course her whom he made sure was held hostage.
This fire in my skin."
He sprang from his hunched form, a plan formulating in his mind with quick, accurate strategies that could only come from years of experience. He could feel his skin grow hot again as he remembered those nights thinking of her.
"My lord?" a priest questioned, and the choir almost stopped in their performance, so absorbed and on a high from such passionate singing. Their mind was locked on only one thing, and they could feel the uplifting spirit of the nation they sang for.
.:Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum:.
"Send word!" Britain ordered immediately, not letting the priest time to sputter, "I have a plan. This will be their downfall – her downfall. Now!"
"This burning – "
Desire – "
His teeth nipped hurriedly onto the blonde's neck. They would be back soon, with her. He knew he could not face her in his current state so he fled to his chambers with the nearest scarlet woman – the irony was mocking when she happened to be a blue-eyed beauty that rivalled his enemy –that gypsy woman, because he couldn't think of another word to give her besides siren.
Soon he was finished, and his legs quivering with the blow of full-body satisfaction when word of her arrival came. He fled, not once giving a glance behind to the other woman.
"Putain! Bastard!" she shrieked, rising from the dirt floor. She didn't dare make a move forward, especially when all she wore was a cotton dress. Outside was two guards, and she knew Britain wasn't foolish enough to come in unequipped.
"Hello," he sneered, "enjoying yourself, love?"
She backed up instinctively, watching with sharp eyes as he took a step forward. His eyes darkened considerably. He knew this would happen – why did disappointment sting him so?
"What do you want?" she cried out, her accent thick but her English almost fluent. He almost paused to let the sound of her voice speak his beloved language.
Britain chuckled darkly, suddenly advancing a few steps so quickly that her heart skipped. He was so unsure before – the church had almost won him over. But she did that for him. Especially after her words, and after the way his heart stopped when she attempted to jump from the tower.
And so she was released, and he licked his lips for the chase. The rabbit has become the wolf.
"– Is turning me to sin!
...It's not my fault – "
"We have been waiting."
There is no grand entrance for him – he is too overcome by the human emotions that comes with having a mortal body to deserve it. The pagans are looking at him with gluttonous want of their own.
"Shall we begin?" he snapped, stepping forward. He didn't dare take off his cloak, even though everyone knew who he was. He still felt regret pool at his stomach – like the want for her – and he felt better to be shielded from their stares.
It's not my fault. He thinks – no, knows it is not his fault –
– But hers.
"I'm not to blame!"
The fires of hell are consuming him. He is learning. One step at a time, he is learning this forbidden skill of magick.
"Jam tibi impero et præcipio maligne spiritus!" the first sentence of the spell spills from his tongue easily, and he is uplifted with the feeling of this sinful energy blazing through his veins.
"It is the gypsy girl –
the witch who set this flame!"
Hypocrite. Of course he is, he always will be. He is becoming impatient, for the battle has been waging for years now, and he is still not considering knowing enough to do that one important spell!
His mentor is slit by the throat in a swift fashion – none of those in the coven move. He leaves with short strides and angry steps. He has to do it now, for his desire has reached its painful peak, and he can hardly breathe without her.
.:Mea maxima culpa:.
Either be his or burn. Quickly, he sends word to the king.
"It's not my fault!"
His hand was forced! A traitorous move, to his people and his king and his land, but he had begun to correspond with the French king for a long period now. At first it arose suspicion, and there was no response. But after much persuasion – and dare he say begging – the other was surprisingly eager. He learned something that could help him in the future.
At first he was unsure if Mary had answered his prayers or God was mocking him – the king of France was planning something great, and his participation would either end in life or death for her. She would be his either way.
"If in God's plan – "
"Lord save me!" he shouted his enforced victory cry for an entity he doubted, and he was thrusted into the crazed battlefield that had become all too familiar lately.
"Still praying to your God, Angleterre?" his opponent laughed obnoxiously, not even bothering to converse in English. The fool refused to learn the language out of spite, yet the name of Angel Land was still given to Britain.
"I don't need my god to defeat you, frog!" he countered, parrying the other's attack with such swiftness that the Frenchman stumbled. Just a few months ago his limbs were aching and trembling – that would've happened now, too, for he could make out the outline of her on the horizon as she led the troops.
"You have improved!" France complimented, and Britain could hear the suppressed awe under the sneer, "but you are still weak!"
"Is that so?" Britain asked, finally finally seeing an open spot, "well, tell that to my magick!"
France choked on his blood, a hole in his chest prominent from the effective spell.
"What was that? I couldn't hear you!" Britain laughed, pressing one foot onto the other's chest.
He locked up, barely hearing her shouts of pain as she saw her lover, and turned in burbling wrath to leave him to rot. He will get what he wants soon enough.
"He made the devil so much
Stronger than a man!"
Indeed the coordinated grace of a woman could release the uncontrollable animal in a man. The rock of the hips, the fluttering eyes and sweet voice would make them lose their minds. As a nation, it either was controlled easier from years of practice or intensified ten fold.
For once Britain was sobbing to himself in being able to lose control – he hated this, being such a strong, prideful nation that was so shaken and afraid of this feeling.
"Mea maxima culpa," he whispers to himself.
He needs help. The next day is spent exclusively at the church, even when the feeling of indifference is gnawing at his mind while he prays to a fake god.
"Protect me, Maria,
Don't let this siren cast her spell!"
Help me, it is practically begged, watch over me.
The candles flicker at once, and he is graced with no response. It is worse then the silence at the church that even the saints singing could not fill. Before he'd leave with a feeling of floating – this time, so many months since he had last come when he took up the dark arts – he was more alone then ever.
The darkness is what makes up the quiet sanctuary where his magick is done, and it is suddenly uninviting.
His mouth moves slowly, carefully, hoping that he can swoon the Goddess like he so foolishly did Ave Maria.
"Don't let her fire sear my flesh and bone!"
Destroy the saint!"
Instead of wishing for himself to be saved, suddenly every waking hour is spent with blood thirsty madness. He was never this obsessed when it came to France – he is losing his mind, and suddenly the priests have become to curious and his king to worried.
"Why didn't you kill her?" he snarls at a soldier, holding him up by his collar with intense hate and confusion clouded in his eyes.
"Y-you told me not t-to!" the lad immediately stutters, struggling in the strong grip and tasting the malicious intent. His words were true – he almost had a fatal, killing blow on her. But Britain cried out, running blindly to tackle the other to the ground. She gave him a disgusted glance before fleeing.
"Lies!" Britain almost sobs, his voice growing hoarse, and suddenly he is spitting out Latin at a rapid, Italian pace before anyone could stop him.
The boy dies instantly.
All witness, all of whom who are either the king, priests, and generals, stay silent about what had happened. The shame is too heavy and Britain could feel it all the way from Caledonia.
"And let her taste the fires of hell,
Or else let her be mine and mine alone!"
His spy is lying in a pool of his own blood. The vicious-looking dagger that has been dipped in the blood is in the dead man's hand to make it appear like suicide.
The real reason was because of the sinmagicksin that was coursing through Britain's veins as he snuck away to take the other's post as spy.
His head throbs and heart thumps – bump bump – with the lust that consumes his being as he watches France and her interacts within their tents. His own arousal takes his breath away, feeling dirty as the scene encourages him, and he almost looks over knowingly, making love to her painfully slow and painfully gentle.
Yes, indeed, Hellfire, as the choir is singing, warning all those who tip-toe between virtue and sin. He is on his knees, having a performance of his own, convincing his people that he is devout and pure. The stigmata burns, and he suddenly mourns for the Italian twins that are forced to do such horrible displays of sacrifice to sate their people.
Night by night he cannot go without bedding at least three people, as he is turned on like a young stallion with the though of being so close to getting her – almost he beds the French king himself as they secretly meet again. He trails closer to his brothers' borders, his own hips moving with the seductive rock as he waited for them to emerge with needing bodies – he needed the burn of skin on skin touching forbiddenly, the thrill of magick not enough.
He is becoming overwhelmed, and can only remember the mantra of the wicked –
Ever Mind The Rule Of Three,
Three Times Your Acts Return To Thee,
This Lesson Well, Thou Must Learn,
Thou Only Gets What Thee Dost Earn.
"You're mad!" she tells him on the battlefield, cutting the head off of one of his men. He is unfazed, ignoring the stinging pain of people dying and hands outstretched towards her.
"Stay back or I will kill you!"
"Kill me!" he laughs, "go on! I will only return, but remember, when I kill you, you are dead forever, my dear!"
"I'd like to see you try!" she huffs, twirling expertly with her sword, and another man loses his arms.
"But of course, even if you survive this and destroy me, you cannot expect to live with your love forever?"
There – she is frozen, her eyes blank, her body stiff, and he is suddenly teased with skin under the armour as the wind shifts.
"H-how – "
"So it's true!" he roars with dry, obviously fake cheer. He already knew, but with the king's spy within the army, this was all they needed.
He watches as she is knocked unconscious by her favoured general, and dragged away to her prison once again. He trails after, never making eye contact with the Burgundian accomplices, who look at him with obvious distaste and even disappointment. He wishes for his cloak again, and looks away as he pays them.
"My lord Britain, the saint has escaped."
"She's no longer in the cathedral! She's gone – "
"But how...? Nevermind! Get out you idiot! I'll find her even if I have to burn down all of Paris!"
"Now gypsy, it's your turn."
She escapes his reaches. France, as clever as that frog is, enters into British land cloaked. He somehow knew and he entered cloaked. He is not questioned, eyes never linger onto his figure lest the shame will be burned into him, and he escapes with her.
But it does not worry Britain – this still falls into their backup plan.
However, in this case, she must choose.
"Choose me or,
Your pyre – "
How scandalous, having an affair with her own country. Word is quickly spread, and respect for her almost dwindles. Yet the French king still sends her into battle, even when the army, which is now a mixture of loyalties, scrambles on the battlefield.
"Whore! Connasse! Pute, " a noble soldier sneers, and she can taste the copper blood in her mouth as she bites down to keep from sobbing, the unknown and rough hand touching her forcefully. She is cornered in between the tents, and none of her once loyal men move to help her.
Britain watches wordlessly, knowing that there will be no saviour when France is miles away fighting for his life.
"Be mine or you will burn!"
They are setting something up in Rouen. A tall pillar stands in the Vieux-Marche, and she is not there to see it nor anywhere near to hear of it. She wears male clothing exclusively now, still horrified from her experience. She is beginning to push away France, nothing verbal being said but even Britain can see the accusation in her eyes.
Once again she is captured. A skirmish started by a distraction, a Burgundian assassin was smart in his movements and was able to touch her in such a way in battle that she locked up, reliving the horrifying night of being forcefully taken. None of her men make a move to get her.
At night, Britain is gasping shallow breaths as he grabs his heart – he dies again, almost weary from within, but attempts to move his wrinkled face to form words – nothing comes out, and he feels like the magick within is backfiring and is killing him with three times the norm intensity.
"God have mercy on her..."
She almost doesn't recognize him until he smiles. He gives her an empty smile with Arthur's lips.
"I can give you that too," he says quietly, coming up to her. She doesn't move.
"I don't want it..."
"I can give you immortality."
"Leave me alone," she says tiredly, forcing herself to flinch as his fingers caress her chin.
"With my power, you won't have to die. You can be mine."
"...God have mercy on me..."
He stares emptily forward. He cannot watch, so he doesn't. He forces Arthur to watch instead. And he knows, with satisfaction, that he is watching as well from within the crowd.
The priest is done listing all her supposed felonies. France steps forwards, knowing it is his time. Whispers of gossip begin immediately.
He stands stone cold, not showing any emotion.
"My dear, my France," Jeanne says lovingly, her eyes watching with mixed emotions as he comes forward. Britain grows impatient.
The words are ice, and pierce almost all belief of romance between the two. The gossipers instead talk of Jeanne claiming to have his love for attention.
"France," the king, the familiar French accent meets Britain's ears, and he leans forward. No one recognizes him from beneath his cloak, "start the fire."
"My love!" Jeanne says more firmly, leaning as much forward as the ropes around her allow. France leans forward as well, but only to make a spark.
Panic grips the woman, and she begins to cry.
"France!" she sobs, "France, please!"
He says nothing.
"My dear!" she wails, and her voice is reverberating off the sudden silence.
A single tear, followed by many, had begun to fall from France's eyes.
Britain feels no satisfaction.
"But she will be mine – "
The madness was suddenly extinguished as the English stepped forward to dig through the ashes and rake back the coals to reveal her charred body. Britain pushed past his rival weakly, realizing that she was gone.
" – or she will burn!"
And that she was never his.