Well…hasn't it been a while? I had a bit of a writer's block for about a year since I started college…and I think I'd like to get back into writing some stories for you all :) I came up with the idea for this one a while back and I hope you like it!
Disclaimer: No I don't own the Swan Princess. Stop reminding me.
How this came about: I had recently watched all three Lord of the Rings movies and pondered on Frodo's overtaken mind and body while carrying the Ring. A few weeks later, I was watching the Swan Princess III and when Derek brought up using the powers for good, I thought to myself, "what if Odette had taken it upon herself to use the Forbidden Arts for good and they started to corrupt her?". I would like to represent the original Swan Princess II with my good friend Phantom_of_the_Bandroom's re-make, so please read that first! And voila! As for the title, yes of course it's a hint to Wicked :) I hope you'll enjoy it!
Description: When Odette learns that Derek is hiding the Forbidden Arts in hopes that he can somehow use them for good, Odette inherits them and then destroys them once and for all. After a while, she becomes more sheltered and hostile as the Forbidden Arts take over her mind, body and soul. Can Prince Derek save his princess from yet another evil: herself?
Chapter 1: The Festival Days
The Kingdom of Swan Lake was abuzz with activity in the hours before the Festival Days were scheduled to begin. Games were being assembled, stages were set up, talent-contest hopefuls were practicing non-stop, animals were fed and cleaned for judging, and the year's newest feature, the obstacle course, was being prepared for only the bravest to dare. The air about the Kingdom was one of happiness and unity. But fear still loomed in the shadows, for in the days after the defeat of Clavius, the evil accomplice to Lord Rothbart the Sorcerer, rumors flew through the castle and the village that the young royals had once again faced the Forbidden Arts. Neither the prince nor the princess confirmed these rumors to the workers or villagers, but it was also hardly discussed in private between the two.
Prince Derek had been both infuriated and embarrassed that Clavius was able to sneak into the castle while he, Odette, and the guards were busy putting out the fires that had been set by the sorcerer's accomplice, Knuckles. While it was their sovereign duty to respond to the citizens in their time of peril, Derek felt that he could have done more to see through the sorcerer's ruse.
When he had first heard news of the fires, he had hoped that Odette would have remained at the castle and out of danger instead of offering her help to the villagers. It was afterwards that he was thankful she didn't for Clavius surely would have attacked her. The thought of Odette alone in the throne room trying to fight off Clavius and the Forbidden Arts by herself was…unimaginable.
In an effort to forget about the incident with Clavius, Derek had immersed himself in preparation of the obstacle course. Odette had self-appointed herself to recruiting performers to participate in the talent show. Odette was surprised to see that Derek's mother, Queen Uberta, had signed up to perform a rendition of Tango, a new dance from South America that was extremely difficult to perform. In addition, she had chosen Lord Rogers as her partner. Odette was eager to see how that would turn out over the next few days.
As hard as she tried, she could not get her mind off of the events that had taken place in the castle only a few weeks before. The fear that encompassed her when as she saw her husband blasted into the floor of the throne room was almost too much to bear. She was tired of Derek always having to protect her from some new demon or evil being.
Odette wondered how many others had been in league with Rothbart before he had been banished by her father. It was only a matter of time before some new person swept in and tried to claim what was left of the sorcerer's trail of dark magic and use it to their advantage. It seemed a never-ending battle for the two royals who had wanted nothing but peace and happiness after the defeat of Rothbart.
Odette sighed deeply and continued pouring through the entries that lay before her, compiling a roster for the night of the talent show. There were over 100 entries and she had been working at it for well over an hour. She had debated splitting the talent show into multiple nights to ease the judge's deliberations, but the schedules for those nights were already packed.
The light coming through the window of the library was waning fast. Odette lit a candle on the desk of sprawled parchment and rubbed her already sore wrist. It was going to be a long night.
Suddenly, she felt a warm and familiar set of hands on her shoulders. She jumped, not having heard Derek approach her, but soon fell into his warm embrace.
"Working hard?" he asked as he kissed her cheek.
"I'm trying to." She chuckled. "This is taking forever."
"Maybe you should take a break." Derek mused, sitting in the seat across from her.
"No, I need to finish this list. It's starting to get late. How is the obstacle course coming?"
"They're tethering the climbing net to the crow's nest now. Then everything should be in place."
"Well that's good." Odette smiled, still massaging her sore wrist.
"What's wrong with your wrist?" Derek asked.
"It's fine. Just a little sore from writing." Odette flexed and stretched the tendons.
"You should get something for it." He quipped.
"I'm fine sweetheart. You worry about me too much." Odette said as she picked up her quill and coated the tip in ink before she resumed writing.
"I could never worry enough, Odette." Derek spoke quietly, watching her elegant script glide across the parchment.
Odette said nothing in retort. Derek was right. While she didn't want him to worry about her so much, he had every right to. There was always the chance that there were more of Rothbart's apprentices staking out the castle, vying for the Forbidden Arts to be within their grasp once again. And if they chose to strike, Odette would more-than-likely be their primary target.
Derek took note of Odette's sudden rigidity. "You're worried about another attack." He knew he didn't have to ask.
"What makes you say that?" Odette asked, curious. Was it that obvious?
"You have every reason to think that, Odette."
Odette was quiet for a moment. She was somewhat comforted for the fact that Derek was aware of her fears. "Do you think there are others?"
"I wouldn't doubt it for a second. Roth-…he was a very powerful sorcerer." Derek teetered around the name of Odette's captor. He did not want to upset her.
"You can say his name, Derek. It doesn't affect me much anymore." Odette said. "How can we be certain there aren't more of them out there?"
"From what I've gathered from Rogers and mother, he had a rather small following of magicians and apprentices. I did some research…" Derek hesitated, but continued. "Clavius was his partner, while others were mainly just followers hoping to get a taste of the Forbidden Arts."
"Where did you find this out?" Odette asked. "I've tried to find any information on the Arts here in the library and there is practically nothing even mentioning Rothbart."
Derek did not answer immediately. Odette noticed that he suddenly seemed nervous, unusual for Derek as he usually had a cool composure.
"Derek?" Odette interrupted his thoughts. "What is it?"
"I didn't want to tell you right away…." Derek trailed off.
"Are you hiding something from me?" Odette tried not to sound accusative, but he didn't need to keep secrets from her. "You know you can tell me anything."
"Promise you won't be upset." Now he was sounding like a child. Very uncharacteristic of her husband.
"Okay, I promise." Odette said, curiosity now piqued.
"A couple of days after Clavius was destroyed, Rogers and I found the room that Clavius had mentioned. It was down in the dungeon. To be honest, I'm not sure how we missed it when the castle was being restored."
Odette pondered this. "What did you find?"
"The room was packed with sorcery and alchemy objects. We found potions, crystal orbs, a big mess of things. We destroyed everything while we were down there."
"Why didn't you just tell me?" Odette asked a little hurt that he would keep this from her, but still wasn't quite upset over it. She was glad that he had destroyed what remnants he could find of the Forbidden Arts. If anything it made her worry less.
"There's more, Odette." Derek hesitated, drawing in a breath. "I found his notes…Rothbart's notes. There are three different sets; the power to create, the power to change, and the power to destroy. They are all in a small locked chest."
"Are?" Odette cut him off. "You didn't burn them?"
"I thought about it and perhaps we could somehow use the notes to do some good for the kingdom." Derek phrased it slowly and carefully, but to no avail.
Odette felt a twinge of both anger and confusion at Derek's profession. "Derek, there is absolutely no good that can come from the use of the Forbidden Arts." She explained calmly.
"Maybe not from the power to destroy, but what about the powers to create and change? Odette we could do great things for our people! For us!" Derek tried to explain.
"Derek, listen to me." She placed a hand on his. "I don't think we should take the chance of keeping those notes around. It's just unsafe. What if one of Rothbart's followers was to find out that we still have the Forbidden Arts?"
"I'll keep them safe and hidden." Derek interjected.
"We'll be sitting ducks for another attack!" Odette shouted. Derek looked away as Odette hadn't exactly taken a shine to his idea. He didn't expect she would've.
She had not meant to raise her voice, but the idea of using the Forbidden Arts in any sense was something that just did not set well with her. Regaining her composure, she lowered her voice and spoke. "Derek, I don't feel safe knowing those notes are in the castle. In our home." She turned his head to face her own and looked into his eyes with an understanding gaze.
"I know you mean well and you want to make this kingdom great. But there are other ways of doing so without the use of magic."
Derek looked back at his wise princess. In his deliberation for the use of the Forbidden Arts, he had forgotten just how much of an impact they had left on her. "I just want what's best for us. For the Kingdom."
"And you think that one of the most destructive forces we've ever encountered is the answer?" Odette asked. "Derek, I need your word that you will destroy those notes." She leant in and placed a kiss on his lips. Leaning her forehead against his she whispered, "Please."
Derek sighed deeply. Odette was right. She was always right. Running a hand through her hair, he looked into her eyes once again. If she was truly bothered by the idea, then he would not go through with it. "Alright. I promise. They'll be gone as soon as the festival is over."
"Don't wait that long, Derek." She said.
"It's only a few days. People will be all over the castle and the chest will be heavily guarded. No one's getting anywhere close to the notes."
"Okay. As long as you're sure."
"I love you, Odette." Derek said pulling her in for another kiss.
"I love you too."
"Don't work too hard, darling." Derek said as she sat back down to resume her writing. "I'll see you later." He kissed her hand and turned to head to their bedchamber.
"Goodnight, Derek." Odette smiled, though her mind was now fraught with even more worry for their safety.
I hope you enjoyed chapter 1. As always, I appreciate reviews!