Alrighty, here's the first part of Mariana's fic. Comments and feedback are welcome, so feel free. ^_^ I hope you enjoy!
Angelic Vestiges: Emerald Night
Part One: The Rise
A portentous atmosphere settled over the gently rolling hills of the Irish landscape. As the fading rays of daylight reluctantly loosened their soothing hold on the village of Lochlynn, the calm light of the moon and stars bathed the land. Summer’s last influences were fading into autumn’s vibrant embrace. The solid green of the natural flora had turned varying shades of red, yellow, and orange. As if to emphasize the changing of the seasons, a few of the leaves from the trees surrounding the village fell from the branches, caught in the lilting breeze. They were carried up one of the nearby hills to swirl around the lone figure that stood there.
A couple of the leaves caught onto the figure’s silver robes, and she exhaled a sigh as she brushed them away. The wind stirred her navy blue hair and carried the leaves to a new destination. Mariana fingered the shimmering fabric of her newly acquired robes, staring at them with an almost saddened look in her eyes. The meaning behind the robes would be making her first and foremost priority much harder to carry out. Eventually, word of her promotion would reach the ears of the Catholic leaders in the English capital and soon thereafter, the leaders stationed in Rome itself. No good could come of that many people knowing that a female had suddenly become a priestess. It would be certain to draw the attention of…less friendly entities. Even as she mulled these thoughts over, Mariana recalled the events of that day. She had been summoned before the village council…
* * * * *
“…to be raised to a new position,” announced Ambrose Bainbridge, the grizzly, yet friendly, head of the village council.
Mariana was deeply puzzled. What new position did he speak of? And what had she done to deserve this? She noted Ambrose’s use of the word “raised” and concluded that meant this promotion of sorts was indeed a benign one. Searching her memory, the angel attempted to recall anything that might reveal to her just what this new position was and how she had come to be selected for it.
“I am confused, I must confess, good sirs. What position am I to be raised to?”
The men of the council chuckled, and Ambrose smiled. “Do you not wish to gain status in the eyes of the villagers?”
Mariana grimaced and shook her head. Was that what this was about? “Sir, I do not care what status I hold in the people’s eyes. If there is but one in this entire world that I can make happy, that is enough status for me.”
The men’s chuckles abruptly ceased, and they all began nodding to themselves. Ambrose leaned forward, his disarming smile broadening significantly.
“Spoken well, Mariana. I must confess that ever since you set foot inside this village, we have been watching you closely.”
Mariana froze at those words and forced herself not to quiver in fear. They had been watching her? Closely? What did that mean? What had they seen and heard? Did they know about her heavenly origins? When she finally found her voice again, the angel spoke.
“And how am I to construe that statement?”
Ambrose couldn’t hold his hearty laugh in this time, and the rest of the council was soon laughing boisterously as well. A look of anger crossed Mariana’s face, which caused Ambrose to somewhat regain control of himself.
“I didn’t mean we were watching you all the time or even that we went out of our way to watch you. I merely meant that when we happened to be near you, we paid careful attention to your mannerisms.”
Mariana relaxed slightly. “And what did you think of my mannerisms?”
Ambrose smiled again and wet his lips with his tongue. “Oh, we found them quite satisfactory.”
Mariana noticed that his eyes had strayed from her face, and she folded her slender arms across her chest, indignation smoldering in her eyes, and shook her head.
Mannerisms, indeed! Human males… They’re all the same. Never interested in holding a decent conversation. Always looking where they shouldn’t when it’s not welcome. They’ve only got one thing on their minds, and it isn’t the thought of their grandmother’s fresh-baked apple pie! If only I could find someone different… But he’d have to be not human, wouldn’t he? And the chance of me finding a non-human male who loves everything about me, not just my physical appearance, on this planet are pretty much nil.
Her exasperation had apparently reached Ambrose, for his eyes were now firmly locked back on Mariana’s face. She smiled through her teeth and attempted to steer the verbal exchange back on course.
“You have yet to tell me what this position is that I am to be raised to.”
Ambrose, who was looking rather flustered, tried his hardest to remove the nervousness from his voice as he replied. “Erm…right. Uh…you have been chosen unanimously by the members of this council to be the very first village priestess ever in the history of Catholicism.”
A barrage of emotions struck Mariana from several directions at once, the most prominent of which was fear. She was fully aware of the Roman Catholic ban on female clergy. She couldn’t help but wonder why these men had decided to go against that ban. Slowly and carefully, she formed her question.
“Sirs, I am honored by this, but…why do you bestow this on me? Surely, you know—”
A wave of Ambrose’s hand cut her off before she could finish. “Yes, we are aware of the consequences of this decision, but we feel in our hearts that this is God’s will.”
The angel blinked. God’s will… This is news to me, certainly…
“Has He spoken to you personally on this matter?”
Confusion descended upon the men of the council, and Mariana mentally kicked herself. She was so used to having audible conversation with the Almighty that she had forgotten humans would consider His voice to be nothing less than a miracle.
“I—I mean… Never mind. I am still hesitant to accept this, though.”
Ambrose had regained his composure and leaned forward once more. “Do you not wish to serve the Almighty in a greater capacity than you do now?”
Mariana winced at that remark and sighed. If only you knew in what capacity I now serve Him. If only you knew that I protect the seal that restrains the Legion. If only you knew…what a burden it is… She sighed again before fixing her navy gaze back on Ambrose.
“If this is what the council desires, then I shall willingly assume the position of village priestess.”
* * * * *
Leaves swirled about Mariana again as she fingered the silver robes she had been given mere moments after those words had escaped her lips. She sighed, and remembered Ambrose’s words about all this being in God’s will. If there was some sort of divine plan for it all, she decided that she’d very much like to know what it was. Unfortunately, she had been pleading to the Almighty since her confirmation as priestess, but He had not, as of yet, found it necessary to reveal anything to her. The only words she had heard from Him echoed in her head incessantly, a constant reminder of her inability to wholly comprehend the mind of God.
You’re different from the other angels, Mariana. You don’t quite fit in with the rest of them. That’s why I appointed you as the solitary guardian of the Argentsigna, a task which took you away from most of angelic kind. But I don’t want you to be lonely forever. And if that means you must leave my service and enter another’s, I intend to see you through what lies ahead. Whatever happens in the near future, do not despair. It is all for a purpose. Remember that.
Your work is, as always, beautifully written. Not once have I read your words and not been entertained. The dialogue was well written and appropriate, and Mariana's character is carefully defined (though I'd already known that from Angelfire). There are some things you just can't get from a character profile. I'd have to say, though, that Mariana is my favorite of your characters. I hope to see more of your fic before too long! ^_^ I have just one thing to point out to you...
I merely meant that when we happened to be near you, we paid careful attention to you mannerisms.
what a great peice of work! I've never seen anything like it! Brilliant, excellent, wonderful, beautifuly written... said too many good things didn't I? Never mind. i'm sure you like it. Can't wait to see more.
Love it. You're truly an inspiration, LEA-dono. I hope to write as well as you do someday, although by that time you'll be better than me in too many ways to count. Oh well, enough Safer-talk. Excellent work, can't wait for the other parts! ^^!
“There are two types of statistics in the world: Lies, and damn lies.” ~Mark Twain Simply kickass sig by uǝzoɹɟ. UPA Chief. Have a puppy, too.
Alrighty, I've finally managed to get this written. Thanks to everybody who read Part One and commented and also for being so patient with me about getting this next part up. I hope you all enjoy it.
Part Two: The Attraction
The space of five years had passed since that fateful day. It was mid-summer; everything was lush and green. The wildlife had multiplied with the passage of spring. Birds nested amid the emerald foliage, flying back and forth constantly to bring their young ones sustenance. Their chirpings filled the air like some sweet sonata in a concert hall. Life was full of peace and pure bliss.
The quaint village of Lochlynn, nestled in the rolling Irish hills, was prospering. The previous several years’ harvests had been good to the village. The population had increased dramatically, the average age of its residents now around 30, rather than 45 or 50. With the influx of youthful labor into the village, work was able to get accomplished with much more efficiency. Trade had been opened and expanded with neighboring villages, and several young men of the village had volunteered to maintain this trade by traveling to and from the other villages, bearing the trade goods.
As a result of all this prosperity, the people of Lochlynn had grown even more pious, which gave Mariana more of an opportunity to become closer with her fellow villagers. The angel gradually became more accustomed to her role in the daily routine of Lochlynn. Thankfully, there had been no repercussions from the council’s decision by the heads of the Catholic Church in Rome. She had finally begun to relax into her duties, believing that all was well. Attracted by Mariana’s sweet and loving personality, the people formed a strong bond with their priestess. The children especially loved her, often coming around the little church to poke their heads in the door to see if Mariana could come out and play.
Today, a group of these children had stopped by the church, and Mariana smiled at them as they tumbled through the simple wooden door carved with a cross and onto the semi-smooth, wooden floor. Their leader, a little boy by the name of Cedric whom Mariana had grown particularly fond of, struggled to get out from underneath his companions and ran to give Mariana a hug. Soon thereafter, the angel was being smothered in hugs from all sides, tiny arms wrapping around her legs and waist. She laughed, the mirthful sound echoing within the walls of the holy building with the tinkle of bells. This seemed to encourage the children and their hugs intensified.
“Now, now,” the priestess said with another burst of laughter. “You’re going to have to let go of me if you want me to breathe, or else I won’t be able to play with you again!”
At some signal unknown to Mariana from Cedric, the other children all released their hold and stepped back a few paces, allowing their leader to tug at the priestess’ robes, requesting her full attention. Mariana smiled, her navy eyes looking amusedly yet affectionately down at the little boy. Kneeling down so as to be at eye level with him, the navy-haired angel placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“Yes? You have something you wish to tell me, Cedric?”
The eight-year-old paused for a moment, stumbling over his words in an attempt to remember everything he had been told to say.
“Um…the head of the village council, Ambrose, told me to tell you that…he wants to see you in the council meeting place.”
Mariana’s smile widened and she winked at him. “Oh, did he now?”
Cedric nodded his head rapidly, pleased that he had been able to accurately deliver the message. Seeing Mariana smile made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The angel stood to her feet and took Cedric’s hand in her own.
“Well, shall we go, then? I’d love it if you would escort me.”
The little boy practically beamed as he walked hand-in-hand with Mariana down the main street of the village. The angel couldn’t help but smile; she thoroughly enjoyed living in Lochlynn. It wasn’t long before the pair had reached the council building. Cedric seemed to hesitate.
“Whatever is the matter, dear boy?” she inquired of him.
Cedric looked at her with those large, adorable eyes. “Um…I don’t think I can go in… That meeting’s just for grown-ups, I think.”
“Nonsense. Of course, you can come in.” She smiled reassuringly at him and led him inside.
All the current members of the village council were present, with one significant addition. On the right side of Ambrose sat Lucilius. His lengthy black hair and green eyes starkly contrasted with the other men in the chamber, and Mariana swallowed.
What is he doing here?
As if he could read her thoughts, Lucilius locked his gaze with hers and smiled at her. Mariana felt a tremor run through her; he was nothing less than gorgeous. How a man like him had come to end up in this tiny Irish village was beyond her. The whole time Ambrose was speaking, Lucilius never took his eyes from Mariana’s face.
“Ah, good, Mariana. You’re here. Um…I don’t believe the boy needs to be here, though.”
Mariana looked apologetically down at Cedric, giving his hand a squeeze to let him know she was sorry. The boy smiled up at her and reciprocated her hand squeeze before scampering quickly back outside to his friends. Turning her attention back to Ambrose, Mariana found that she could not look at the village leader without also seeing Lucilius, who still had his eyes fixed on her. Struggling to keep her eyes focused on Ambrose, the angel adjusted her silver robes on her shoulders.
“Why do you require my presence, good sirs? If at all possible, please conduct this business swiftly so that I may return to my duties.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Mariana saw Lucilius smile amusedly, his emerald eyes alight with interest. She felt her heart skip a beat, and she knew if she didn’t get a hold on herself soon, her cheeks would start to burn glaringly crimson. Ambrose was oblivious to the subtle nuances that were occurring right before his eyes.
“Do not worry about your duties for the moment, faithful one.”
Lucilius sniffed faintly at Ambrose’s comment, his gaze still glued to Mariana. Ambrose continued, still ignorant.
“We merely wanted you here so you can bear witness to this great event. For the first time in several decades, we are adding a new member to our number.”
Mariana pushed a strand of her blue hair out of her face, clearly anxious to return to the church and escape from Lucilius’s penetrating eyes. “The council, you mean?”
The village head nodded. “Yes, indeed. We, as members of the council, are pleased to announce that this man, Lucilius, shall henceforth be considered a part of our circle.”
The angel suddenly felt like she’d taken a punch to the stomach. Lucilius, a member of the council? That meant…
Ambrose finished her thought for her. “As such, you will be having more contact with him.”
Making no attempt to hide anything this time, Mariana looked Lucilius straight in the eye. His smile, which he’d failed to lose ever since she had walked through the doors, broadened significantly. Ambrose spoke once more.
“That is all for now. This meeting is at its end.”
Silently, the councilmen filed outside, knowing the meeting was now adjourned. Mariana stood in the center of the chamber, watching as the men exited. Lucilius was the last to leave, and he paused in the doorway, turning around to face the angel. Those tremors swept through her body again, and she fought to maintain her outer calm. Those eyes of his seemed to dance in delight as he spoke to her.
“I am fortunate that I will be working so closely with one as lovely as yourself. Perhaps we might…meet together sometime? Alone? More so than this, even?”
He took a few steps toward her, and Mariana found herself rooted where she stood. His strikingly handsome features bored into her mind, where they were firmly imprinted. He stopped right in front of her and caressed her cheek. “So…beautiful…” Mariana’s heartbeat began to race; she had never been touched in this manner, with this intent, before. Lucilius ran that same hand through her silken hair and bent down to press his lips gently against her forehead. The angel could do nothing to prevent the blushing his action triggered, and Lucilius pulled back, smiling satisfactorily at the red tint in her face. He gave her cheek one last caress before turning his back on her and walking to the door.
“I shall eagerly await the moment of our next meeting, Mariana.”
* * * * *
“Lucilius, hurry up!”
Mariana’s bell-like laughter pealed over the landscape as she topped one of its many hills and turned around to find where Lucilius had gotten to. He was striding steadily toward her, his eyes alight and his lips curved in a smile. It had been only three weeks since Mariana had been informed of Lucilius’s induction into the village council, but those three weeks of being more involved with him had been long enough for her to form a fondness for him. Upon reaching Mariana, Lucilius caressed her cheek and bent his head down to kiss the top of her head.
“I’m here. I guess you’re just too quick for me to keep up with.”
Mariana’s eyes smiled as she looked at him and ran her hand down his arm to grasp his hand. “Come on. We’re almost there.”
Leading him down the hillside, Mariana entered a grove of trees where a small spring was sheltered within the underbrush. She turned to look at Lucilius, who had yet to remove his eyes from her.
“This is my favorite place to come when I find that I need to be alone, especially at night. It’s so peaceful here. And the spring is so beautiful, don’t you think?”
Knowing that he wasn’t, in fact, referring to the spring, Mariana blushed and looked down at the ground. Lucilius smiled and slowly snaked an arm around her waist, pulling her gently to him. He used his free hand to push her chin up toward him.
“Mariana, you’re…quite perfect, you know that?”
She stared at him, a strange feeling suddenly creeping over her. Those eyes of his captivated her and made her feel as though she were floating away… He briefly blinked, and Mariana shook her head.
What just happened? I’ve never experienced anything like that before…
Lucilius leaned down next to her ear, so close that she could feel his breath on her neck. Mariana started trembling then, and he wrapped his other arm around her waist before he whispered words that almost made her heart stop beating.
“I love you.”
He inhaled deeply, smelling her hair and her skin, and moved his lips to meet hers. Mariana’s eyes widened for three seconds before she closed them, surrendering to the pure bliss that coursed through her. Lucilius’s arms tightened about her waist as he leaned harder into her lips. Breaking away, Mariana breathed in short bursts and stared into his eyes again. His entire being exuded attractiveness, and she couldn’t help but say the words that flew as if summoned by Lucilius himself from her mouth.
“I love you, too.”
She slipped her arms around his neck and kissed him fully, pouring every ounce of love she could possibly produce into it. He responded to her kiss by pulling her even more firmly against him, and he allowed a soft, satisfied chuckle to escape his throat. Moving her hands to rub his shoulders, Mariana continued the kiss, the bubbling spring nearby the only sound serenading this silent confession of love.
Without a doubt, Mariana knew this was the happiest she had ever felt in her entire life.
Vey nice, as always your writing emanates a particular charming beauty and intense emotionalism. I love how you could allmost smell Mariana's embarassment just by reading what you wrote. You have every capacity to continue this, I wish you luck ^.^
Hey, good stuff. As usual, the emotions portrayed in the writing are exuberantly effective, so very much so that Max has scratched me many times in pure irritation while I try to hold him back. Keep up the good work! Happy rapings, everyone!
Max: *snarls and grabs Shade by the throat* I've seen enough for one day, thanks.
*Chuckles at Max's irritation* Heheh...I figured he wouldn't be too happy about reading this. ^^ Just avoid the fangs, Shade. You may be a vampire as well, but that doesn't change the fact that your own figment can clear out every blood vessel in your scrawny neck.
*Ahem* Yes, your writing is awe-inspiring as always, Milady. With every work, I find myself wishing that I could adapt at least a portion of your technique. While such may well be far beyond my capacity, I find myself drawn to each and every utterance of your fingertips. May you continue to grace the written word with your beauteous touch.
Alright, here is the third and final part of this fic, and, in my opinion, the best part. Now, I will have you all know that there is indeed mature content in this section. If you can't handle sex or violence, then do not bother reading this. Do not send me angry PMs, telling me that you were offended by it, either. With that being said, I give you the last part of Angelic Vestiges.
Part Three: The Tragedy
“Mariana, please don’t agree to this.”
The solemn, concerned face of Reyas, the guardian of the Viridasigna, stared mournfully at Mariana. The two were standing amidst the swirling clouds of Heaven, seemingly alone. Mariana blinked her navy eyes, her expression a mix of frustration and exhaustion.
“What do you care what I choose to do? None of the others seem to take an interest in my well-being. I’m tired of being underappreciated.”
Reyas winced and placed a hand on Mariana’s shoulder. “I appreciate you. Please don’t go. I fear that something might happen to you if you agree to get sent to Earth…by yourself…”
Mariana ran her eyes up and down Reyas’ muscular build. His golden hair was short except for his long bangs that fell into eyes that matched his hair. He wore white, baggy pants, and a long-sleeved robe, emerald green bands tracing its hem and the ends of its sleeves. His firm chest was exposed and his charge, the Viridasigna or the emerald seal, rested securely around his neck on a golden chain. His only weapon, the Retribution, a deadly sword capable of awesome destruction, hung across his back. He was the very picture of angelic radiance and power, and he was gazing softly upon Mariana, his hand now stroking the side of her face.
“I care about what happens to you, Mariana. Please don’t go…for me. I…”
Mariana held up a hand to stop him before he could say the words she knew he wanted to say. “Reyas, don’t. I know how you feel about me.” She lowered her eyes to the ethereal “ground” they were standing on. A group of humans approached them, chatting amiably among themselves, but when they saw the two angels with serious countenances, they quickly moved off to find some other form of merriment. Mariana watched them go and saw the Viridasigna pulse faintly out of the corner of her eye. Inside her, the Argentsigna was doing the same thing, a reminder of why the seals were in existence in the first place.
“This is not a matter of what I or you or any of the other guardians want. Jehovah has seen fit to send me to Earth to separate the seals from each other, I suppose, perhaps to make them harder to find by demonic forces. I don’t really know the reasons behind this decision, and it’s not my place to know them. It’s our job, as the Seal Guardians, to protect the humans. We can’t allow the demons to escape in mass numbers until the Apocalypse. There is no room or time for frivolous relationships that might endanger the safety of the humans. Understand that, Reyas.”
A hurt look crossed the male angel’s face. “You…you don’t return even a part of my feelings for you? Perhaps…once the Apocalypse has come to pass…and we’re no longer needed in our current roles…”
Mariana shook her head firmly. “No. Please don’t even entertain thoughts like that. I don’t feel that way about you.”
Reyas quickly turned his back on her. “Go, then. I don’t want to restrain you from your duty any longer.”
Mariana was about to reply when she felt a hand sliding down her shoulder.
“Mariana… Mariana… Wake up…”
The angel opened her eyes to find Lucilius’s face inches from hers. He smiled when he saw that she was awake and kissed her. Rolling over onto her back, Mariana stared up at the star-filled sky. She remembered now. They had come out into the hills to watch the sunset. She had fallen asleep as they had reclined on the grassy hillside. Lucilius’s warm body must have been enough to put her in a state of sleep. Even now, he had an arm draped over her, soothingly caressing her stomach.
“You were asleep for a while, you know. Two hours at least.”
“I’m sorry…you could have awakened me.”
Lucilius smiled. “It was fine. I rather enjoyed observing you in pleasant repose. You looked so peaceful and every bit as beautiful as you are when you’re awake.” He ran a finger through her hair.
Mariana blushed at this, which made Lucilius’s smile widen. He really is amazing…he could have taken advantage of me in my sleep, but he didn’t. That dream I had, though… Why did I dream about Reyas of all people?
Lucilius broke into her thoughts by fingering the shoulder of her silver robes. “You would probably be more comfortable without this on…”
The angel opened her mouth to protest but found herself unable to speak as Lucilius’s mouth closed over hers. Sliding his tongue between her lips, he gripped her chest gently, sending an involuntary shudder through Mariana’s body. She managed to separate her mouth from his long enough to ask a breathy question.
“Lucilius…what are you…?”
She was cut off as Lucilius ran his tongue down her neck to her now-bare shoulder, where he suckled the tender flesh, and his grip on her chest became firmer. Mariana was suddenly overcome by a wave of intense pleasure. She had never felt like this before, and it scared her.
“I…I don’t think you should be doing this…”
“Just relax, and trust me. You’ll enjoy this.”
He had pushed her robe halfway off and had begun to pick at the buttons on the back of her dress when a small, but clear, voice broke the silence of the night.
“Miss Mariana…Miss Mariana!”
Gasping, Mariana quickly broke away from Lucilius, pushing her robes back onto her shoulders and sitting up rapidly to see who had called out her name. When she saw that it had been Cedric, she relaxed visibly. She had feared one of the village councilmen or even any village adult had stumbled across her and Lucilius.
“Oh, Cedric. It’s you. Do you need something?”
Lucilius had sat up by now and had narrowed his eyes in subtle fury at the boy, although Mariana was oblivious to this. Her attention was focused on Cedric, who was shifting his weight uncomfortably back and forth between each of his feet.
“Well…no…I was just wondering where you were. I wanted you to go make up shapes in the stars with me. That’s one of my favorite games.”
“I’m sorry, Cedric. Let’s go back to Lochlynn, okay? Maybe we can make up some shapes on the way back.”
She stood up and held out her hand to Cedric, who grinned as he grasped it as best as his little hand could. Giving Lucilius one fleeting glance, Mariana allowed herself to be led toward the village by her small friend. Lucilius was left to follow in their wake. Not once did he cease scowling at Cedric’s back the entire way.
* * * * * *
Upon reaching Lochlynn, Mariana took Cedric to his house. At the front door, the little boy turned around and tugged Mariana’s robes. Kneeling down, the angel stroked his head.
“I had fun. Can we play the game again tomorrow night?”
Unable to resist those adorable eyes, Mariana smiled. “Of course we can. I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodnight, Cedric. Sleep well.”
Cedric beamed and wrapped his tiny arms around Mariana’s neck, squeezing her tightly. Mariana smiled and laughed softly, returning his hug. Releasing her, Cedric turned and walked toward his house, waving at Mariana one more time before disappearing inside.
Rising to her feet, Mariana faced Lucilius, who had been standing nearby through the entire exchange between her and Cedric. The moment she looked at him, it was as if the interlude enacted by Cedric had never existed. Those feelings filled her again, though not as strong as they had been when he had touched her. His eyes glowed faintly, and Mariana suddenly felt compelled to move toward him. He grinned with satisfaction, never removing his eyes from hers. Wrapping an arm about her waist, he began leading her in the direction of the house he had been given to stay in.
“Now that the boy is gone, we can continue our fun.”
Mariana only half-registered his words, and she shook her head in an attempt to clear the strange fuzziness from her brain. The streets of the village were practically empty at this time of night, so the two were quite alone as Lucilius guided Mariana toward his house. The angel felt as though she were only half in control of her body, and this confused her to no end. When they finally reached the door to his house, Lucilius led her inside.
The interior of his house had a dreary, ominous aura about it that immediately made Mariana severely depressed. Outside, the moon and the stars had been present to provide some light to illuminate the surroundings. Here, there was nothing, and Mariana was amazed that Lucilius could navigate his house without bumping into things in the dark. Had his sure hand not been on her waist, she herself probably would have collided with bits of whatever furniture he kept.
She was aware that they had entered a room. Lucilius’s hand left her waist, and for a few moments, Mariana had the horrible feeling of being stranded in the dark. Then, the light of a single candle cast dancing shadows on the wall, which only served to add to the dismal atmosphere. The only furniture present in the room was a big bed, its head against the far wall opposite from Mariana, and a small table next to the bed upon which the candle Lucilius had seemed to procure from nowhere sat. He moved toward her, a strange air radiating from him, and Mariana shrank backwards, her voice shaking.
“Why have you brought me here?”
Lucilius remained silent, keeping his eyes on her as he went to close to the door. Mariana heard the sound of a lock click, and fear began clawing at her stomach.
“Lucilius…I don’t want to do this.”
A malefic grin spread across his face, and in the blink of an eye, he was gone. Mariana gasped in shock.
Where is he?
She felt his breath on her ear as he whispered, “Right here.”
Whirling around in surprise, Mariana found herself face-to-face with those emerald eyes again, and that fuzzy sensation filled her head. Shaking her head, Mariana protested when Lucilius wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his chest.
“No…please don’t do this…” Her voice felt weak, almost as if it were being stifled by some outside force.
Lucilius bent his head down to whisper in her ear again. “It’s too late for you. You’re mine now as surely as the sun sets in the west.”
Without the slightest hesitation, Lucilius slid Mariana’s robes off her shoulders and tossed them into a corner of the room. He ran his hands down her chest and stomach, around her hips, and up her back to the top button on her dress. Suckling the base of her neck, he undid the first button, chuckling triumphantly, and unfastened the rest of the buttons in quick succession. Tears streamed in torrents down Mariana’s face as the dress fell to the floor, leaving her body completely exposed to Lucilius’s hungry eyes.
She was quivering in shame, unable to move as Lucilius swiftly removed his own shirt and pulled her against him. The contact from their bare bodies sent mixed, opposing signals, of both embarrassment and pleasure shooting through Mariana. Lucilius squeezed one of her bare breasts, smiling maliciously, and leaned down to run his tongue over the end of it. Mariana shook uncontrollably, a sob rising in her throat.
“Stop… I…don’t…want you to…do this…”
Lucilius’s eyes hardened. “You’re a little more resistant than the vast majority of my other victims. I can fix that, though.”
Forcing her chin up, closer than ever to him, he stared deeply into her eyes, exerting every ounce of his hypnotic influence he could muster. Mariana suddenly lost all control of her body, and only moved according to how Lucilius wanted her. Still gazing into her pools of navy blue, Lucilius pulled her down onto the bed with him, and in the seconds soon thereafter, Mariana lost any control she had over her mind as well and the world suddenly went dark.
* * * * * *
Focus returned to Mariana’s eyes, and she felt the silky texture of sheets against her back and the warm, sweaty body of Lucilius on top of her. He finished licking the sweat that had beaded on her breasts before rolling lazily off to the side of her. Mariana listened to his slowing respiration before noticing that her breathing matched his own. Shame overwhelmed her, when the realization of what had just happened hit her like a ton of bricks. A numb sensation grasped her body and she slowly, mechanically, moved to slip out from underneath the sheets. She gasped when Lucilius’s hand shot out to grab her wrist painfully and pull her back toward him.
“I’m not finished with you yet, angel wench.”
Mariana’s eyes widened. He knew what she was? How was that possible? He must have read the disbelief in her face because he began laughing.
“Yes, I know what you are. I’ve known ever since I first came here. And you never once suspected a thing about me.”
Confusion filled Mariana. “…What? What are you talking about?”
Before she knew it, Lucilius’s hands had grown vicious-looking claws and he sliced them directly into her chest. Searing pain consumed her, and she couldn’t help but scream.
“You have something I want, and I’m taking it away from you now!!”
Gasping, Mariana tried to fight against the pain that burned her as she struggled to dislodge Lucilius’s claws from her chest. He wanted the Argentsigna. There was no question about that. But there was no way he could know about it… How did he know about it? Lucilius dug his claws in deeper and leaned close to her, his nose almost touching hers.
“You’ve almost got it figured out, wench. I’m an incubus. And I want that Argentsigna of yours destroyed.”
Mariana inhaled sharply. This couldn’t be happening to her. He may have managed to have his way with her, but she would not allow him to destroy the seal. Her eyes shone with a sudden determination, which gave Lucilius pause. She felt the holy power of the Argentsigna flow through her and manifest itself into physical energy that slammed hard into Lucilius, throwing him out of the bed and into one of the walls. The effort of calling the power to the surface, combined with her exhaustion from getting raped, left her all but incapacitated, and she lay flat on her back, her breathing labored.
Lucilius shook his head and fixed his eyes, now filled with pure vehemence, on her. “Nobody…NOBODY denies me what I want!”
Before he could do anything, however, Mariana’s body went into violent, involuntary convulsions. Pure agony lanced through her, as if Lucilius’s claws were tearing into every inch of her flesh, though she knew they were not. Her wings suddenly became plainly visible, draping over the sides of the bed in a curtain of white feathers. She curled into a fetal position, screaming in pain. Dimly, she could see red and black splotches forming on her wings, and this caused panic to consume her.
She emitted a final scream as the pain released her, and she flopped onto her back, breathing heavily. The world faded in and out; she could faintly see Lucilius begin to move toward her again. If he came for the Argentsigna, there was no way she could fight him off, not with her strength depleted this much. It was then that a desperate pounding sounded at the door, and the muffled voice of Cedric pierced the room.
“Miss Mariana! Are you alright?! Please be alright!”
Cedric’s voice filled Mariana with a renewed vigor, and she managed to send another burst of holy energy into Lucilius, deterring him once more. Enraged, Lucilius leapt to his feet, throwing on his clothes in mere seconds, and flung open the door to find little Cedric cowering on the other side. With a snarl, Lucilius grabbed him by the back of his neck, dragging him out of the house. Mariana was too weak to even move, and tears began flowing from her eyes as Cedric’s terrified screams echoed in her ears.
Forcing herself to get out of the bed, Mariana exerted every ounce of strength she had left to retrieve her robes, at least, from the floor and wrap them around her naked body. Limping weakly out of the house and into the streets, Mariana looked around for any sign of the incubus or Cedric. Several people of the village were gathering a good distance away from the church, many of them pointing at it and whispering low among themselves. Fear rising in her chest, Mariana broke into a labored run toward the holy building, ignoring the mixed expressions of surprise and anger that appeared on the villagers faces the second she ran past them. Shoving open the door, Mariana burst inside, only to have her bare feet come in contact with a slippery, sticky substance that pitched her forward in the middle of the church.
She opened her eyes and saw with disgust that she was lying in the middle of a vast pool of blood. The thick, crimson liquid covered her all over her bare skin, causing the fear inside her to grow. Swiftly, she jerked her head up to look in the direction of the altar…
If getting betrayed and raped by someone she thought she could trust hadn’t been enough to utterly destroy her heart, the sight that met her eyes finished the job. There, sprawled out over the altar, was little eight-year-old Cedric, his body a bloody, mutilated mass. It was barely recognizable, but Mariana could clearly see his face, forever frozen in a look of pure anguish. Feeling her sanity slipping away from her, the angel began experiencing massive convulsions, and she put her face into the ground, as if hoping to drown herself in Cedric’s blood, and ran her fingers down the floor, tracing incomprehensible patterns in the fluid. Her salty tears mixed in the crimson as she sobbed uncontrollably and finally passed out.
* * * * * *
When she awoke, Mariana found herself on another grassy hillside, but this time, there was no Lucilius. There was nobody. She was utterly alone. Instinctively, she knew that she had been kicked out of the village, but even in their anger and fear, the people of Lochlynn had still displayed kindness and had cleansed her of all that blood and given her a fresh dress and robe to wear. The memories of the night haunted her mind, but out of all of them, the image of Cedric ripped apart on the altar was the most prominent and she wept again.
Cedric…I’m so sorry… I…should have done something…
Her wings… She could feel something different about them, and it was not in any way pleasant. She felt stained, tainted. Everything about her previous life had fallen to pieces. Everything…except the Argentsigna. Yes, the silver seal was still intact, at least. Although, Mariana wasn’t sure if everything she had paid for the safety of the Argentsigna was worth it. She was alone now, she was sure. The other angels would never accept her back as one of them.
I’m no better than a fallen one, now. I might as well burn in Hell forever after this night.
A pulse from the Argentsigna told her differently, though, and Mariana managed a weak smile. Too exhausted to go anywhere for the time being, Mariana allowed sleep to take her as she laid her head down in the springy grass. The first falling leaves of autumn detached from the trees nearby and nestled on top of her body. They were the only things that kept watch over her for the remainder of the night.
Wow. That was by far, my favorite part ever. Very emotional, very thrilling, truly a really awesome ending...which turned out only to be the beginning. I was able to prevent Max from reading it...although he might eventually infiltrate my private memory banks....*grips head* AAAAAAAAAH! TOO LATE! ><
You write better than some of the authors I've read. Great vocabulary, I learned a lot of new words. ^_~ I absolutley love your style. It was passionate, thrilling, beautiful. Better hope Max doesn't see it (I've been reading your and Shade's RP). XD
"Maybe it's the sum of a million coincidences we don't quite control that brings us to a particular place
at a particular time, or maybe it's the choices we make, the actions we take. If there's one thing I've learned in 85 years, it's
that what we want doesn't always matter. But then again, sometimes it's all that does." - Mick St. John
So it ends... Brilliant, simply brilliant. A very captivating piece indeed, with a very good balance of tragedy and loss. Once again, a very deep emotional insight on Marianna and her thoughts. And yes, Max wouldn't be too happy
Tiroth, I believe that's why she's studying literature in college. *Ahem*
I believe this is either the best literary work I've seen from you or something close to it. Poetically romantic, powerfully disturbing (in the good way) and with beautiful use of descriptive writing...as always. This is precisely the reason I admire your style, and also why I wish I could think an RP inspiring enough that you feel you need to give it your all. It would be an honor to bear witness to your creative genius. I almost wish there were more to the story, but...oh, wait. That's right, Blood Red Summer. *grins* Write faster!
It definitely could have been more graphic, for which I'm grateful, but it's times like this that I'd rather not have such a vivid imagination. At the very least, I'd like to have some control over what my imagination generates and what it doesn't. Still, I reiterate, a wonderfully written piece. Let not this prudish, sheltered mind dampen your spirits. ^^
This is probably a little late in coming, but thanks for all the comments and support, you guys. It really makes me feel good about how this turned out. I just finished reading over it again, and I must say that I amazed myself. I guess taking a few steps backward from it for awhile helps me lose the bias I initially have toward it and allows me to approach it with a new perspective. And don't you worry, there's plently more to Mariana's story than this. As Wielder has already pointed out, there's Blood Red Summer, of course. And then Angelfire before that, of course. Anyways, I guess what I'm trying to say is, there's more where this came from. ^^
I'm going to say this now, as I'm sure nobody will slaughter me for bumping up an old thread in Character Fiction. I finally read this, LEA, and I must say... it was amazing. It held me in place the entire time... I absolutely loved it. Please, write more (aside from BRS, of course) and use Mariana again. I want to see that bastard Lucilius pay. Poor Cedric. The third part... dios mio. *Applauds* Great work. I hope to see something new in the near future ^^
This is probably oen of the best peices of writing I've ever read, better than professional writers that have actually had books published. Im not ashamed ot say that it almost made me cry, and scream at the same time...It's like i was actually their, I could feel mariana's emotions and her anguish because of Cedric...poor Cedric...