AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thank you for all the lovely reviews on my latest chapter. I am glad that so many people like this fiction! I've also started a new fiction on Mary and Sebastian called Immortal Souls, if you like this fiction, be sure to check it out! One of the limited fictions that will actually have a happy ending. I also have plans of another short Mary and Sebastian fiction, where the plot will loosely follow that of the Little Mermaid.
Falling Out Of Favour
Sebastian awoke with a start, his body reflexing with a jolt as he hadn't meant to fall asleep. He had high hopes of exiting Mary's quarters before morning light. He gazed ahead and observed that it was dull outside, but not quite morning. It was then he noticed that he was spread across the duvet and that he couldn't feel Mary's heat with him. He turned on the bed to look at Mary and blinked to adjust his eyes in the dark. To his horror, Mary was absent. With a pang of guilt he flipped his body off the bed and turned his eyes to the door. His heart raced as he witnessed it standing wide open. He raced to pull his clothes back on, fear residing inside of him. Mary had trusted him to keep her safe and he had failed.
Sebastian pulled on his swords sheath and strapped it firmly around his waist before exiting into the secret passageway. He whispered her name but no sound echoed back. He wondered why he was calling out her name. He knew that his hopes were set far too high. He traced his hands along the damp walls, attempting to trace his path. He passed through efficiently and exited by Nostradamus's healing room. He paced down the hallway and entered into the foyer. Mary had previously told him that she had woken up in the foyer. He glanced around but there were no signs of her. It was cold and he shivered in the frostbitten air of the early morning.
"Why are you wondering around the castle?" Francis voice called and Sebastian sighed.
"A midnight stroll to quench my uneasy mind," he jested.
"Truly? And why would you have cause for worry?" Francis replied halting in front of him.
"Believe it or not I have trouble resting after I have been tortured," Sebastian replied his eyes cutting deep into his brother's.
"You look conspicuous…" Francis interrogated circling around him and heading off in the direction of his rooms.
"No less conspicuous than you," Sebastian said gesturing around, adding an end to their awkward conversation.
Once Francis had disappeared out of sight Sebastian paced towards the entrance and paused in the alcove that separated the small courtyard from the castle. A familiar rattling noise sounded from the hallway close behind him. Sebastian glanced back and acknowledged the guards on patrolling duty walking towards the foyer. To avoid their brute enquiries, he submerged out into the grounds and became engulfed by the shadows. He travelled around the perimeter of the castle and once he was far out of sight he leaned his back flat up against the stone wall of the castle. He tried to accomplish civil thoughts to where Mary could have disappeared to. He recollected his memories in order from when he had collected the elixir up until Mary, each night, slowly heading towards the foyer. His eyes paused upon the tree's ahead of him that surrounded the stable. He remember the cat that had paused in the midst of the trees, frightened to venture deeper. It was then that Sebastian's eyes widened in terror as his mind came to a startling conclusion. Mary was heading towards the Blood Wood.
Frightened, Sebastian ran as fast as his robust legs would transfer him down towards the stables. He persuaded the stable boy to saddle up his horse and keep quiet of his actions. Once he had mounted his horse he kicked hard, causing the horse to hurdle out of the stable and down the King's road. The further he travelled the more he questioned his theory, as there were no signs of Mary. Upon arriving, his horse paused at the entrance and Sebastian wondered if it was possible for the elixir to call her back to the originator. Without another thought, he ventured his horse inside. He had travelled deep inside, with each step he felt the darkness consume his soul. After some time his eyes fell upon a pale silhouette.
"Mary!" He yelled, but she didn't turn.
Sebastian awkwardly clambered down off his horse. His brown leather boots crunching on the dirt ridden floor. As the branches snapped beneath his feet, his horse buckled and reared out of the wood. Sebastian stumbled for the reins but it was too late. The horse had already disappeared the way he had come. Annoyed, he turned towards Mary and placed his hand upon her shoulder. She jumped, paused momentarily and then turned to face him. As she jumped he moved back, resting his hand upon the sheath of his sword.
"Sebastian?" She said after a few short seconds. "How-"
Mary wondered where she was. Her eyes burned with discomfort as she strained to capture the sight of Sebastian in the swamping darkness. His beady eyes looked tormented. Mary shivered, she was freezing. She glanced down and witnessed that she was in naught but her bed clothes. She didn't even have any shoes on. The soles of her feet were splintered at Mother Nature's hand.
"I fell asleep… when I stirred, you were absent," he puffed clearly out of breath, "we need to leave now." He pulled Mary towards the safety of the grounds, but she retaliated. His hand slipping from her.
"This is the third time I've woken up out of sought, each time closer to these woods," she scorned and Sebastian frowned unaware of why she had recoiled. He was attempting to aid her, not harm her.
"We shall ask Nostradamus, we must leave," he persisted hearing branches snap in the ambiance.
Sebastian allowed his eyes to scan their surroundings. Mary fell slightly towards Sebastian as she glanced around herself. The deep roots from the tree's surrounding them interjecting her path. Mary took in a deep breath and paused, listening for further sounds, but nothing declared itself. She assumed that it was just the sound of animals passing by and in the process making themselves known. Hot tempered, she then turned back to face Sebastian.
"I never mentioned anything superficial, yet you resort to the seer," she retaliated and he looked at her in disbelief. She had just woken up, yet she seemed fully awake. His hand was placed upon her arm as if to guide her. Her abbreviation for Nostradamus slithered off her tongue like he was the devil.
"Nostradamus is good with medical issues," he answered honestly, looking around them once more. His eyes pierced through their murky surroundings, his patience growing thin.
"And what of you?"
"Me?" He spat his eyes abruptly turning to her.
"Would you deceive me?" Her eyes were wide, but her eyebrows furrowed completely. They knitted together, creases forming on her forehead. "Well?"
"Never…" he replied unsure of her prosecution.
"Then tell me, why are you the only individual to not be phased by my unsuspected rouse. Why is it that when I mention sleep paralysis, you automatically turn to the Seer? And third… I was missing out of bed before you woke, yet you were somehow guided here. Why?" She demanded her tone strong. Sebastian's mind wondered which why question he should answer first, but they all led to the same answer. Mary's tawny eyes analysed his emotionless face thoroughly and when she realized she had hooked herself into the unknown, she took a step back. She had uncovered evidence that she did not desire to be expressed. Sebastian did not move and his gaze did not falter. Mary wished she could take back her queries, but added one more. "What did you do?"
Sebastian felt frustrated and annoyed at her reluctance to leave such a darkened place. Something or someone was moving in on them and yet she was being so persistent. Now she had dug deeper than he had ever imagined she would. His heart raced in panic, as his palms began to sweat. He dropped his hand from her arm and stared intently into her eyes. He wanted nothing more than her safety, but he wasn't getting it anytime soon. She had asked him honestly and he knew he had to answer. Sebastian sighed, his lips opening ajar. Mary clung on to his every breath as she waited in anticipation.
"I sought help… an elixir that would bring strength to the weak," he said.
"And you gave it to me… at what price?" She exclaimed.
"The pagan's price," he replied ashamed and she gasped in horror, "a price which I am to pay not you!" He quickly added.
"Is that why I've been led here? What if I had been here unaccompanied? What then?"
"I don't know…"
"Then what do you know Sebastian? Enlighten me!" She scorched and Sebastian recoiled. She had used his full name in anger and it tormented him profoundly.
"It was bond that brought you here," a voice unknown to Mary, but familiar to Sebastian sounded from behind them. Sebastian turned placing his arm in front of Mary as if to protect her.
"You knew this before I took the elixir?" Sebastian asked.
"Indeed," the figure nodded from beneath the hood.
"Who are you?" Mary asked weary. The enquiry lingered in the air, silence filling their surroundings.
"I am naught but a lost soul, whose time is coming to an end," he replied.
"Your name," Mary pronounced deeply and the figure smiled in the shadows. She could see his blackened crooked teeth from beneath the concealment of his hood.
"My name is of no consequence," the pagan countered.
"If you knew the elixir would bring her here then why did you give it to me?" Sebastian asked and the figure moved in closer, causing his grip to tighten on her arm. Mary flinched beneath the pressure. "Wait… you said the conspirator was closer than I dare not imagine…. It was you. You gave her the poison, that's why only you could cure it." His arm dropped forcefully from Mary as he stepped forward, his hand upon the hilt of his sword. Mary noticed that his stance matched his action. She stepped forward calling his name, but it faded into the ambience like it never happened. "You could have killed her! What if I never came to you?"
"But you did… your ancestry lies deep."
"Why?" Mary asked and Sebastian turned his head towards her, snapping out of his anger barrier. He had almost forgotten she was present.
"I foresaw a prophecy," he replied turning to Mary.
"Just as Nostradamus," Sebastian reacted before Mary had the chance.
"The prophecy is coming in to play."
"What prophecy?" Sebastian asked, now looking at the figure before him. They faced each other, their proximity close. Sebastian spoke through a gritted jaw and bared teeth.
"A child, born of pagan blood," he said and Sebastian stumbled, his beady eyes falling to the ground.
"What child? Who's child? What am I to do with this?" Mary asked in avid fright.
"Your child," the pagan announced and Mary gulped, her throat dry. She raised her hand to her lips to stifle the gasp.
"What?" Mary asked shocked and Sebastian's heart sank. "You said it was born from pagan blood… I am not pagan… we are not pagans," she corrected herself. Her eyes fell to Sebastian whose eyes turned to her. The timid look within his eyes expressed to her that she was entirely mistaken. "Your ancestry brought you here…" she echoed and afterwards understanding, "You are pagan!" Mary took a few steps back, her bed gown blowing it the cool breeze. "I am with child?"
"How can you be certain that Mary is with child? It has been naught but two weeks! The elixir after the deed would have stripped her stomach bare! No child could withstand." Sebastian yelled at the anonymous pagan.
"Ah, the elixir may have caused your temporary lapse, but internally it helped strengthen that which is to grow. Your lapse was needed for the elixir to work," his body turned to Mary, "the elixir wouldn't have worked if the antidote was taken before 48 hours."
"But I bore the pain, you strengthened nothing!" Mary shouted out of anger and shock.
"And you also bore a child!" The pagan growled back. "If your stomach had indeed been stripped of its womb, you would have bled."
"Have you…" Sebastian began looking at Mary through his lashes.
"No…" she whimpered. Her mind flooded with the guilt and the destruction that would follow. Her realization only now setting in. Holding her breath, Mary placed her hand gently upon her stomach and turned her gaze back to Sebastian. She noticed that his hand was still on the hilt of his sword, but this time it was strapped around the grip as if ready to pull out. She wanted to step forward and reassure him, but she didn't feel safe.
"You knowingly condemned us!" Sebastian scolded turning now to face the pagan head on. With every word his anger grew. "You preyed on us like a lamb for the slaughter. You gave Mary the potion in hopes that it would help initiate her pregnancy!"
"I did nothing but help the prophecy which is to pass," the figure nodded, "your act of love conceived the child, not I." The passiveness of the pagans comment made Sebastian's blood boil. He felt his hands begin to shake.
"What of the price in which I am to pay?"
"You're paying it now," he replied, "I told you blood would not suffice, but blood is to be given none the less. The price you pay is the venture into the afterlife."
The malevolent laugh that came next from the pagan disturbed Sebastian beyond certainty and his actions were beyond repentance. Shivers ascended the length of his spine as he suddenly felt overwhelmed with rage. With a hand on his hilt he pulled his sword from his sheath and with two hands firmly locked on, he swung, with the upmost force, at the pagan's exposed neck. His sword forcefully sliced through the skin of his neck like a warm knife in cold butter. The blood splintering the air, like rain that travelled within harsh winds. Sebastian could feel the impact of the blades edge against the pagan's skin. It added the upmost pressure to his hands as he powered through with his antagonising blow. The crunch of bone sounded afterwards as his sword travelled swiftly through his neck bone. As his sword exited through the other side, Sebastian's arms carried on swinging full circle until his arms could travel no further. His hands holding his sword firmly to the left of his head. His decapitation was followed by a dull thud of the pagans head thumping upon impact of hitting the forest floor. Sebastian felt the tainted blood spray over his facial features. His sword dripping at the blades edge. As he captured his breath he witnessed the headless body fall limp on the floor. It jolted and Sebastian, though still feeling angry, smiled wryly. After a few moments he turned to face Mary, who illustrated a look of horror.
"What did you do?" She screamed in revulsion. Her eyes averted from the body and towards Sebastian. He looked dangerous and wild. She couldn't recognise him. A look of resentment and blood thirst etched upon his face, his eyes dark. She screamed inside for the man she had loved.
"He was threatening me! He was threatening us! He condemned us!" He said dropping his sword to the floor and approaching her.
"You condemned us! You sealed me to this fate! A fate I did not want 'nor did I ever ask for!" She shrieked.
"If I hadn't you would died!"
"Yet I am still as good as dead!" She shouted, her heart worried of her upcoming journey back to court. She was pregnant and not just by another man, but Francis's brother.
"You don't mean that," he said hurt, "What I did I did out of my love for you…"
"Your love? Your pagan ties which you hold so close and secretive… it resides inside me… in this heretic child! If they find out, we're both as good as dead, do you not see?" Sebastian suddenly felt angry again. She had called their child a heretic, yet it shared their blood.
"I see that I saved you… I traded my soul for you!" He pleaded.
"You traded both our souls! To heretics!"
"Are you saying you wouldn't have loved me if you knew of my heritage?" He asked and Mary relaxed slightly, her hand re-balancing upon her stomach. She knew she would never have given up what she had with Sebastian. As his eyes locked on her movement, he realized that deep within her core she did not regret her choice. "Because what I did… I did to save you dammit!"
"You didn't save anyone," a blunt, emotionless voice sounded from behind.