Sara Chatain and Cyrus both belong to Gwenn of 2BlueWizards
Warning: the story contains violence.
Paris, Sara took a deep b.reath, she let the familiar smell fill her lungs then exhaled them out, I thought I will never see you again.
The trip did not take long, but it was deeper in the the night when Sara reached Paris. She stood in the middle of the plaza and took a long look of her surrounding, trying to take in everything. The people and their hastened steps, the moist in the air and the street light reflecting on the wet stone pavement. A young couple kissing each other goodbye, grandparents welcoming their children and grandchildren into their arms. These things are real. She had come back to the real world, Sara thought as she took another deep b.reath, moist air with a tint of gasoline and perfumes, this is the real world. The nightmare is gone, she had woken up, like an Alice finally b.reak free from an accursed wonderland. Paris, Sara thought once more, I have come home. But deep down inside, Sara still knew it well, this reunion was temporary, this city that bears so many memories of hers, that cradles her past and future, can no longer be her safe haven, be her home. Alice never left the wonderland, for it was hidden behind every mirror.
No, she cannot linger, Sara knew it, she must gather her belongings and leave. But she can start over again, and left her past to time, as she had always done. Time will bury this nightmare in his sandy arms, and she has all the time in this world. So long Paris, but I will return.
Sara did not take the means of subway, but she walked across the city, from Saint Lazare train station to her apartment in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. But she kept to the shadows at first, not knowing she was still being hunted or not. Things stayed quiet, and her steps became bolder. It was a long journey but one Sara gladly to take, she had all the night. She needed to take everything in, she needed to package everything into her memory, every street, every tree and flower, the city lights that are the earthly reflection of night sky herself, the smell of perfumes and alcohol and the people. She had a long way ahead of her. Sara walked along Seine’s bank, night wind ran through her chestnut locks, this, this is real.
Sara let the city guide her, she let the roads take her to whatever direction, but still she was heading home. The air smells like rain, earth, city life and char...char? Sara hastened her pace into the alley, almost there! As she took that decisive turn, Sara...did not see her home, she saw yellow police line, charred wood and scorched b.ricks, a black remain of that was once her home. The right street, right number, but the building was no more. Sara dropped to her knees and bolted back up, she ran.
She ran and ran, so frantically, the screams in her mind grew so loud that it drown out the entire outside world. The car horn when she ignored the red light, the shouting and whistling of the late night drunkers. The night wind the outside world is lost to her, Sara ran and ran until she dropped herself to the ground in front of a gravestone.
Sara curled on the ground and cried, she did not know what to think anymore. For all the hardship she went through, that she always knew there is a place she can go back to. That, that was not just an apartment, a place to stay, but a reminder of her still has a place in this world! Now her link to the real had been severed, who is she now? What is real? Alice never escape the Wonderland.
"Pierre, what will become of me!"
Sara felt a touch on her shoulder. Being caught off guard, she visibly jumped forward. And when Saras looked back, first confusion, it was a hooded figure but in the dark of the hood, there burning like coal were two red eyes. Fear grasped Sara’s heart, she screamed. But soon she was pushed to the ground, she felt weight on her body and a hand on her mouth.
"Madame Chatain." The figure spoke, and that voice, Sara had heard that voice. "I do not wish to harm you!" Sara saw his hand reached for his hood, and then it was removed. "I only wish to talk!"
Oh that face, Sara quivered at the sight of it. Sara struggled, wiggling her body from side to side, pushing, kicking and clawing as her life was depending on those. Get away, get away! You murderer!
"Madame Chatain, listen to me!" Cyrus did not like this, not at all! "You are dead to the world, the contract is done, there is no reason to hurt you now!" He paused, and added, "I swear on your loved one's gravestone, in his name I will not hurt you." Cyrus looked into the eyes of the songstress and he saw only fear. To the Dāmian's part, he in fact...does not hate her in person, he despised her bloodline, of which he blamed for the death of his kin. But again, he did not know what is real anymore.
Sara lay on the ground and heard him talking, she...she did not know how to make of it, the whole contract, she is dead to the world thing, she did not understand those. All she wanted is to run away, far away from him. But the mentioning of a 'loved one' worked on her like a lullaby to a crying baby. She cannot fight him, and he was not hostile, despite the rough introduction. Sara had no other option, for now, so she nodded.
Cyrus felt the struggle quietened and saw the cooperative in Sara's eyes. He let go slowly and lifted Sara gently from the ground. "My apologies, Madame Chatain." Sara in turn glared at him, the one who tried to take her life, now he wanted to talk?
"How do you know?" Sara asked, cold as ice.
"A common...acquaintance told me that I'd find you here.'' Cyrus carefully composed his explanation.
"Who is it?"
The Dāmian kept silence on this matter, and Sara did not press on.
"What do you want?"
"I...I...I'm sorry." Said the mercenary, turning away in shame from his formal target.
"Is that so?" Sara was furious, yet amused at the same time. He is sorry?
"What I have done is nothing personal, and I mean you no harm."
"Oh, of course, you b.roke in my life with a bounty on my life, and took everything away, of course you meant no harm." Sara remarked, bitterly and sarcastically.
"I...I did not know, and I did not care at that time..." Cyrus sighed, and admitted openly. And somehow Sara found this honesty reassuring. "But that was not me, not the real me, and I don't know who I am any more, who I really am...I need your help..."
"You don't know...who you are..." This man, he took advantage of her, he tried to murder her, why should she trust him? Apart from that, like Montague and Capulet they should hate each other by blood, shouldn't they? But the origin of their blood feud meant very little to Sara. The Lylthian took a long look at the Dāmian. He was wearing a loose hooded cardigan and trousers, more like a lost human boy than a merciless mercenary. Perhaps that's what he is, a lost boy, what he really is.
"You need my help? For what?" A cry for help was something Sara can never turn away
Jean-Pierre's tombstone cast heavy shadow on Cyrus. For a moment the Dāmian thought he caught a glimpse of a pale lanky man in the corner of his eye, as if someone, or some ghost was watching him. But that cannot be.
"I firmly believed that you kind took my loved ones, my family, from me. But your song shattered that belief and b.rought back many pieces of memories. I remembered something, but I need to know the whole story."
"That is why you hate me."
"I do not hate you Madame Chatain, I only hate myself." Cyrus began to understand that they have been thrown into the vortex of a centuries, maybe millennia-old power struggle, and they were both pawns in their games. But no more. Cyrus had been told many things, and for that he had allowed himself being manipulated. But from now on, he will take control, he will learn for himself what is he fighting for and against. The truth will be his strength.
"Madame Chatain, grant me this request." Implored the Dāmian.
Sara understood this pain profoundly. If she had some sort of guidance before this bitter journey, she could at least know where she was going, rather than being led around like a blind man.
"How can I help?" Sara sighed, she had made her mind.
"You have done it once, you can do it again, just sing your song, and I will remember!" Light returned to Cyrus's eyes.
"But which song?"
And Cyrus remembered his vision, the one given by Alinna, he remembered his mother’s lullaby, and he tried to sing.
"Tsvite teren, tsvite teren, A tsvite opadaye..." It was a sad song, alas Cyrus’s vocal cannot compose music, but he pass on melody.
And Sara...Sara felt a finger played a faint note on her heart string, and from the note came music. Sara never heard that song but that song sang itself to her.
"Tsvite teren, tsvite teren, A tsvite opadaye..."
(Blackthorn is in blossom, blackthorn is in blossom, But the blossom soon fades)
Once upon a time, there was a young maiden, whose name was Katalina. She was the daughter of a wealthy merchant. One day Katalina's father hired a carpenter to smith furnitures for him. The carpenter's name was Gab.riel, and Katalina fell in love with him. Of course their love was disapproved by Katalina's father, so they ran away.
"Khto v lyubovi ne znayet'sya, toy horya ne znaye"
(Who knows not love, that also knows not sorrow)
Katalina and Gab.riel ran away with a Gypsy caravan. One night the caravan parked outside a Blackthorn bush, they lit a camp fire and sang and danced. The blackthorn was in blossom, Gab.riel picked one and crowned the flower on Katalina's golden hair.
'Bad omen.' said the matriarch of the caravan, and she proceeded to read Katalina’s fortune. 'Lovers under blackthorn trees, the bitter tree that fruits sweet berries. The tree grants not happiness but strength. A canary shall live in a sparrow's nest, yet flowers shall bloom at her door after the long winter. Happiness is earned through hardship, and rainbow adorns the sky only after storms. But the tree's blessing is uncertain, a darkness lies ahead of you. Take the seed of the tree and plant it at your door. Water it and nourish it, so the spirit is pleased.' Then the old woman stated to sing, and Katalina remembered the melody.
"A ya moloda divchyna, Ta y horya zaznala, Vechoronʹky nedoyila, Nichky ne dospala."
(But as a young maiden I know sorrow, I don't eat enough in the evening, I don't sleep enough at night)
Katalina and Gab.rial settled in a small village. Together they had three children, Irena, Trevor and Cyrus. Soon after the youngest was born, Gab.riel left the family. He would return from time to time, but the memory was vague. Cyrus often times saw his mother sat on the chair, in front of the window. She'd sat there when Cyrus fell asleep, and she was there when he woke up.
And Cyrus grew, with his sister and b.rother. They spent the day running along the rolling hills. His home, nowadays a part of Romania, was at that time known as the Principality of Transylvania. A land ruled over by the Ottoman Empire and Hungarian Princes. Europe at that time was scattered with numerous small nations, and they wage war against one another, and the great Ottoman Empire from across the sea. Cyrus was born at a tulmerious time, the Great Turkish War had been going for seven years. But war was only the games of the acrostic, and out of the concern of small mind. Cyrus's home village was deep into the Carpathians, life was not easy, and was forgotten by the outside world, and often times it is not a bad thing.
Cyrus and his siblings ran along the rolling hills, there were deep valley and vast forests, the creek was cool even in summer, and blanket of green grasses and flowers of many colours. In the morning, the mist rolled from the lakes to meadow, and one would mistake it for clouds. Cyrus and Trevor set out early in the morning to hunt dears. Trevor his middle b.rother, unlike Cyrus and Irena, inherited Gab.riel their father’s dark hair. He carried a long bow, and the blackthorn stick and slingshot.
When they returned home, their mother and sister had sheared the sheep, they gathered the wool in a large basket and ready for the wash. Irena welcomed the triumphant hunters with crowns of edelweiss. But their mother looked gloomy, she called away Trevor. By the end of the day, his middle b.rother left with their father.
"Oy vizʹmu ya kriselechko, Syadu kray vikontsya, Ishche ochi ne drimaly, A vzhe skhodytʹ sontse.”
(I will take the chair, and sit down near window. My eyes weren't even dozing, and the sun is rising)
It was a winter night, Cyrus and his mother and sister gathered around the fire. Irena, at the time already married, was home helping their mother with chores. They heard knocking. Time was hard and rumors had reached their village, that strange riders left destruction in their wake. Some said they are the Horsemen of War.
Katalina opened the door still.
That night they hosted three travelers, a man and two women. The man had dark chestnut hair (if I remember correctly, Sara has chestnut hair as well) and facial hair. One of the women was a redhead, the other has dark hair. They looked wary and exhausted, and the woman with dark hair, Cyrus remembered, was silent, but Cyrus knew the pain in her eyes.
Katalina offered them herbs, bandage, food and shelter. Ere the first light of dawn they left. From his bed Cyrus saw they spoke something to Katalina, that turned her face stony. Irena at that time was up already, Katalina said something to her daughter and she ran out. Then his mother approached him.
"Cyrus," called Katalina, "Cyrus wake up."
"Mother, what is it?"
"Cyrus, go now into the woods, and hunt, we are running out of food."
"But mother..." Cyrus as the only man in the family took the reponsibility of providing food, but it was too early.
"No Cyrus, go now, and come back before nightfall."
"Say no more, Cyrus, we do not have much time."
Though feeling odd, Cyrus did his mother had asked, he took Trevor’s long bow and walked into the woods.
Not too much luck for the day's hunting. Cyrus was hoping for a deer, but all he got were two rabbits. Better than nothing. As he began to walk back to the village, something caught his attention, smoke. It was half way between midday and nightfall, too early for village cooking...Cyrus walked closer and closer, it was too quite. Cyrus had a bad feeling, somebody was lying on the middle of the road? And what was that gashing from his abdomen? Cyrus turned his gaze towards the village, and he dropped his prey and ran to his home.
Too late, it was too late. Even in memory Cyrus felt blood rushed to his eyes, his vision blurred, the images he saw became static and was framed by a strange redness. That must be the anger, right? His mother and sister lay on the ground, lifeless, bloodless and cold. Cyrus rushed out, the entire village was like this.
"It's them, the red riders, the Horsemen of War, Harbinger of Death.” Said an old man, one of Cyrus's neighbors, it must be the blood on his face, which clotted in one of his eyes and turned it dull red, to the contrary the other was glassy green (remember the unusual eye colours).
"They went that way..." He pointed a direction then dropped that finger.
One more needed to be said, Cyrus put his kin to rest, sallow under the earth. He took his b.rother’s bow and his father’s sword. Cyrus rode out into the snow, to the direction where the old man pointed to him. He rode the rest of the day, and caught up with the riders by nightfall. There were a doze of them, Cyrus saw from between the trees, and they had stopped. Being a hunter himself, Cyrus sneaked between trees, it was one verse twelve, but he was not thinking. The young hunter thought he had the advantage of distance and secrecy, he thought he could ambush them. Cyrus shot an arrow, just a blink of an eye a figure flashed in front of him, the next thing he knew is that he was dropped to the snow, a man looked down to him on the mount. The man had hair like white flame and eyes like burning charcoal. He wore a red tunic, and armour, and his black mantle was covered by snow.
"You killed my family!!" Cyrus took his sword and charged, but he was pushed to the snow like a toy.
"We did." The leading man drew out his saber from thin air, his followers circled around them, clearing out a dueling ground.
Cyrus charged again, but he never touched that man, he was hit on one leg and fell again.
"It is not for you to know. We were in peruses of someone, you know who she is."
The black-haired woman!
"Your mother let her in. The black-haired woman, she knew we are on her tail, she could at least warn you."
The last time, their blades crossed. But Cyrus felt like he had hit a stone, the rocil sent him backwards a few steps. And he saw the man's blade went into his abdoman and exit from his back. So that was the feeling of death, it was cold, as the steel of the blade, and warm, like the blood that ran out.
"Tell me little wolf, do you want power? Do you want revenage on those who have wronged you?"Cyrus heard a whisper at his ear, and saw vague shadow of a man arching over him. "Do not blame us, blame the woman, she knew this will happen but still she b.rought everything to you."
Cyrus nodded, it was not his time, not yet! As his last b.reath left his body, something thick, warm and salt flowed into his mouth, his world went red and he drew b.reath again.
Cyrus fell on his kneels and let out a long, devastated cry. It was a cry that pierces fleshes and souls.
Not knowing what he had seem, Sara was frightened at first but soon she put a hand on his shoulder.
"It's alright," the Lylthian hushed, "It's all gone, or over now."
"Yes it's all gone because of me!!!" Cyrus turned his face to Sara, red tears left two horrifying marks on his face. "The killers of my family, I have become one of them, what have I done!"
Thunder echoed his heart-tearing cry, then rain came down. Sara held his shoulders gently, she was searching for comforting words, but before she could say anything, she was again pushed to the ground. For one moment Sara thought the young mercenary had lost his mind, he had been driven mad by the truth he cannot handle and went savage. But soon she found out why, this revelation was too much for the Dāmian to take in, that his mind shut down. He lost his consciousness.
Sara mustered her strength and pushed him aside. What should she do? Performing CPR? Does it even work on them? The time for hesitation was short, for they were not alone! In the shadow Sara could feel it, there was a third presence!
Sara dragged the mencenary on the wet stone pavement. 'Pierre help us!' The Lylthian woman prayed, her strength only made her to the shadow of Jean-Pierre's tombstone. Sara kept her senses high. A third presence was circling the wood around. Sara did not know who or what it was, she curled up in shadow and prayed for its protection. 'Go away, please go away!'
And it did go away, after what felt like a century. Sara peered from behind the tombstone, it was only the quiet night. Sara withdrew her gaze and before she drew a b.reath of relief, her eyes were met by another, cold and red like burning charcoal.
That b.reath of relief turned into a muffled scream. The red eyes belong to a middle age looking man, he has ash b.rown hair and facial hair.
"Sara...." She heard her name been called, by whom? That man?
Sara looked up at him. The man was reaching out for her, but that hand never touch her because he never allowed it to.
"Sara, do not fear me." And Sara recognised that man, he was there that day when she had been led into that trap, he walked behind Marcellus! What was his name? Maximian?
"No!" Sara recoiled deeper into the shadow.
"Sara..." There was one moment Maximian almost sounded heart-b.reaking, but soon he regained composure.
"Sara, go now!"
What did he just say? Sara couldn't believe her ears. But still she followed her instinct, she stood up, and looked hesitatingly back at Cyrus.
"I won't hurt him, you must go now! Go back to Lady Alinna, only she can protect you!" Odd thing to be said by a Dāmian but Sara had no spare mind for this kind of suspicion, she did the only thing she could at that time, Run!
Palil Maximian carried the unconscious young mercenary on his back.
"Ensil, I thank you." He murmured, as if to himself, or to the sleeping mind.
"You did the right thing. No one else shall know what happened this night, this place. You have my word."