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part seven.


Arthur leans back against the locked door and sighs, trying not to listen to the sound of fingernails scrabbling on the other side.

“You said she kept trying to kiss you?”

Adonis nods slowly, without taking his eyes off the door. He and Stark had managed to carry Aura (who, after all, is only very light) for most of the way, with Blake rushing to assist at intervals. Delilah’s soothing words had had absolutely no effect on calming her down, and she’d kicked and thrashed and shouted unintelligible things the entire way. Although he’d managed to keep his cool throughout the ordeal, it has deeply affected Adonis, who strangely feels almost as if his heroine has betrayed him with her madness. She has no right to be mad when Shaman is so desperate, and when they have a child on the way.

Once Arthur had seen Aura and heard Itzal’s tale, he’d sent Delilah to go and find Osiris and had helped Blake, Stark and Adonis to lock Aura in one of the castle bedrooms. This had angered her even more than being dragged all the way from Mahogany Forest, and she’d put up a tremendous fight for someone so small and physically weak. Stark has gone off to nurse a cut lip, Blake is sitting on a chair pinching his bleeding nose and Adonis can already feel a few bruises beginning to form. Arthur is watching him closely but Adonis, who isn’t in the mood to be psychoanalysed, turns away. Luckily at that moment Arthur is distracted by the arrival of Delilah, Osiris, Serafina, Minn, Kaala and Lilith. Delilah looks exasperated; Lilith is trying to defuse the situation and the other four seem to be involved in a heated argument.

“Why are you so selfish?” Serafina is demanding of Osiris; “just tell us what the fourth curse is! We know you know.”

Osiris regards her coldly. “You are fire, and I am earth. You scorched me in the first curse; I will not speak to you.”

Serafina growls under her breath, and Minn pushes past her. “Osiris, tell me. Water keeps the earth hydrated; I am your friend.”

“You are water, and I am earth. You suffocated me with the third curse; I will not speak to you.”

Kaala steps forward. “Air and earth are the closest allies of all, Osiris. I feed your plants and you hold them firm for me so that they may oxygenate me, and I can distribute their goodness to the other life. Tell me.”

“You are air, and I am earth. You froze me in the first curse; I will not speak to you.”

“Is earth so innocent?” Serafina blazes, “it was earth which shifted in the third curse, causing the flood. Water may have suffocated earth, but only because earth provoked her.”

All four of them start speaking at once – circling and challenging each other, each trying to proclaim his or her own innocence and condemn the others. Osiris is the first to resort to magic by hurling an earth ball at Serafina, which promptly bursts into flame, to be extinguished by a jet of water from Minn. Kaala joins in by blasting Serafina, and the argument disintegrates into a verbal, physical and magical fight.

“Enough!” Arthur roars after a few moments, shaking his head. Adonis grabs hold of Osiris, Lilith Kaala, Stark Minn – no one seems to want to touch Serafina, but the action has the desired effect. All four of them calm sufficiently enough to stop struggling, and content themselves with shooting each other malicious looks.

Delilah shakes her head. “Even the elements have turned on one another.”

“This is not the way,” Arthur’s deep, authoritative tones penetrate them all. “This is precisely what Mallos wants – we must not play into his hands by fighting like this. You are all different, each of you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work together for the common good. You are brother and sisters, for God’s sake! You three,” he nods to Minn, Kaala and Serafina, “leave now, please. I would prefer to speak to your brother alone.”

Looking somewhat sulky, the three girls exit in complete silence. Arthur turns to Osiris.

“Tell me what the fourth curse is.” It is an order, not a request.

Osiris contemplates him in defiance for a moment, before conceding. “The fourth curse does not affect everyone; only fairies. Some fairies some of the time, other fairies all of the time, and a lucky few none of the time. It removes all cognitive processes, memories and consciousness; you are essentially reduced to your animalistic instincts. Familiars are completely unaffected, but you yourself have no notion of who you are or what you are, and your only concerns are personal safety, food and reproduction.” He pauses for a few moments – probably for effect – before adding ominously, “but that’s not all. While the conscious mind is gone, the curse is able to tap into unconscious thoughts and desires. That girl you’ve got a bit of a crush on? When the fourth curse takes over and you become nothing more than a wild beast, you may return to your senses in the middle of raping her.”

A heavy silence hangs in the air for a few moments. More than one pair of eyes turns to the door where Aura is locked in.

“Why did her hair change colour?”

“Aura doesn’t have an unconscious mind in the same way we do,” Osiris sniffs, as if he’s unable to comprehend why anyone couldn’t understand this. “She has a second, repressed consciousness instead.”

“Anneliese,” Delilah offers quietly. Osiris nods savagely.

“Anneliese passed on to the realm of the dead, but it was her part of Aura’s soul which was put into her body. There isn’t enough of Anneliese left to assume consciousness, but the fragments which remain are enough to completely alter Aura’s personality and behaviour while she’s under the influence of the fourth curse. The phoenix within has awakened.”

    • part six. -
    • part five. -
    • part four. -
    • part three. -
    • part two. -
    • part one. -

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