Following is a story explaining the prolonged absense of the pirate lass, Annie Rose.
She remembers a face. A face of a manâ€¦a face she had never seen before. But she knew him; she knew who he was and why he was there. She remembers feeling numb; unable to move, unable to breathe, unable to scream. It seemed like a dream. She was floating in the sky, but not independently. There was an arm around her; locked around her ribs. She looked down and could see the ocean: dark and still. She could see a ship, the ship she was on with her friends. She felt like she was going higher and higher; the ship was getting smaller. The clouds were unfolding as a solid blanket over the ocean. She turned her head in an attempt to discover who was holding her, but she saw only a shoulder and the back-side of a white head of hair. Then there was darkness.
It was darkness so dark she thought sheâ€™d gone blind. She had to feel her face and her eyes to make sure she was still alive. She reached around, searching for a wall, a door, anything to touch. She fell to the floor, crawling, feeling around looking for somethingâ€¦anything. As she was crossing this dark space, her hand met something sharp. She felt the cut on the side of her hand and the sting of the blood leaving the wound. Carefully, she searched for the sharp object, tapping at the ground. She found a stone tile that had broke loose; she could only assume the sharp edges of the tile were responsible for the cut on her hand. As she tapped on the tile, it bounced and she was able to pick it up, but her fingers felt a void underneath the tile. â€œA hole?â€ Her curiosity motivated her to reach into the hole and she was surprised at the contents. â€œA book?â€ Her fingertips caressed the small book; the edges of the cover and the pages. She hid the book under her belt, hoping that she would eventually have an opportunity to read it. She sat still a moment, listening. The silence was frightening. She wondered if sheâ€™d been thrown into a pit somewhere and left to die. Her eyes felt hot as she started to cry, and then she slept.
She woke with the sound of a loud â€œclang!â€ As if a heavy door had opened and then shut. She sat up and just stared straight ahead. Out of the corner of her eye, there was a faint glow; she whipped her head in that direction to catch her first glimpse of light. She saw that there was a doorâ€¦very likely a prison doorâ€¦that the light was shining through. The glow got stronger and stronger, as if a torch was being carried toward her cell. The light, now upon the threshold, was broken by the figure of a stranger. She shielded her eyes and reeled back as the door swung open after a series of loud clicks. The arm she held up to block the light from her eyes was grasped firmly and she found herself bound with shackles.
â€œWait! Please! Stop!â€ she shouted, still unable to see her keeper with her maladjusted eyes. She blinked and squinted and blinked even more until everything came into focus. She saw that she was being led by a grotesque looking individual. He was humanoid, indeed, but his very skin seemed to be falling off his bones; he walked with long strides and stood a tall height. In one hand, he held the chain that led her shackles and in the other hand he held a leather whip. She surveyed the land around her and noted that everything seemed deadâ€¦haunted, even. The trees were gnarly and leave-less. The air smelled stale, as if a spring breeze had not blown through here in centuries. Up ahead, there was a grand estate and grand it was in size, only. It looked to be falling in disrepair. She pulled back on her shackles a bit as her escort was moving very fast, hoping he would ease up. Instead, he halted and jerked the chain so hard that she was flung to the ground, face first. She cried out, having struck her knee against a sharp rock. She looked down at her knee to see a deep gash and then recoiled at the sensation of the whip licking her back. She screamed. The creature started walking again, and she was dragged for several paces until she was able to get back on her feet. As she entered the foyer of the manor, she was surprised at the condition of the estate. From the outside, it looked as if it would crumble to the ground at any second. But inside, it was lavish and extravagant. She stood in shock and bewilderment, gaping at her surroundings. She was led into a long room with marble floors and a tall ceiling. It reminded her of the interior of a temple with soaring arched ceilings, marble floors, and candles; there were candles everywhere. Large ornate chandeliers scattered the ceiling and the smell of spice filled the air. Her eyes followed a dark purple carpet in the middle of the room leading from the doorway to aâ€¦throne?
â€œWhat is this place?â€ she asked herself. She stopped to look around at this extraordinary room and was once again jerked hard down to the ground by her horrifying escort. Just as he was raising his whip, a loud shout sounded from the front of the room, and the beast dropped the chain and ran out of the room. She lay there a moment, trying hard to not feel the pain that was surging through her whole body. She lifted her head and saw him. He was walking toward her. She pushed herself up onto her feet and only one thought crossed her mind: â€œRun.â€ She turned and ran as fast as she could toward the door. She began to feel triumphant as she neared the door, now only paces away. To her horror, the door slammed shut and she, consequently, crashed into the door. She opened her eyes and he was crouching over her.
â€œMight I inquire where you think you are going, Love?â€ he said with a smirk.
â€œKoravelâ€¦â€ she groaned as she rolled over onto her side. She could think of nothing to say or do. She just stared at him.
â€œYour eyesâ€¦your beautiful, empty eyes. They hate me, Annie.â€ He pulled a key out his pocket, unlocked her shackles, and then cast them aside. She rubbed her wrists which were already bruised and blistered from the short time she wore them. She looked around at the room once more and then at him. All he did was look back at her. He raised a hand and touched her face. â€œIâ€™ve been waiting so long for you, Annie. Youâ€™ve no idea howâ€¦happy I am at this moment.â€ He stood and offered her his hand, but she would not accept it.
Defiantly, she stood on her own, and she stood tall. â€œIâ€™m tired, Koravel. Tired of your cryptic notes. Tired of your random appearances that usually end with me injured. Tired of you. Tell me what you want!â€ Annie felt the heat rising in her chest and the rage of merely being in his presence. Her mind was swimming with images of her attacking him and killing him with her bare hands. But in an instant he was (uncomfortably) close behind her.
With one arm around her waist and the other hand on her neck he whispered in her ear â€œSurely you should know.â€ He stroked her neck with a hand and then ran his fingers through her hair. She heard him whispering something that she couldnâ€™t understand and then she slept.
â€œBENOL! Get us moving NOW!â€ Bill sounded desperate as he shouted at Benol.
â€œHe already said that weâ€™re making record time, Bill; weâ€™ll just have to prepare for what awaits us on the island now.â€ As Elan finished speaking, a howl shot through the air followed by a lighting crash that struck the mast of the ship. â€œAnother storm!?â€ Elan fell to his knees and began praying to his Goddess again for protection, but the wind only blew stronger.
â€œGet off your knees and raise that sail, or else it'll be ripped by theâ€”â€œ Bill was running over to the pulley when the lighting struck again, this time putting a large hole in the side of the ship. He rushed over to the side that was struck and looked over at the damage; they were taking on water. Elan ran to assess the damage as well.
â€œWhat do we do?!?â€ Elan shouted; the waves were restless; the wind was wild; and they were sinking.
Bill clenched his teeth and hollered â€œTo the lifeboat!â€ Bill turned to make his way to the lifeboat, but Benol had already set off with it! Bill and Elan just watched as Benol rowed away in their only hope for survival. The front of the ship groaned eerily and as the two turned to see what was headed their way next, a large wave crashed over the ship, knocking them both to the deck and unconscious.
Elan stirred and sat up, but a pain in his head caused him to cry out. He found that he was laying on a sea-weed littered beach and, about 30 feet away, he saw Bill lying motionless. He stood and trotted over to Bill, placed his hands on him, and chanted. Bill then opened his eyes and propped himself up onto an elbow.
â€œThanks, Elanâ€ followed a grumble. He looked at the wreckage around him and exclaimed a curse. â€œDAMMIT! We were so CLOSE!â€ He stood up and paced a few moments while Elan healed himself. He stopped as he noticed something on his person. He reached into his pocket. â€œWhat is this?â€ Bill pulled a note out of his pocketâ€¦a note with a black spot on it. His hand trembled, his jawed dropped open, and his eyes gaped. He slowly opened it and began reading the contents:
Â Â Â Â It would seem that my plan is working. I have Annie, and you are alive. You may not understand my motives now, but rest assuredâ€¦you will. My darling Annie Rose and I are finally together. You have no idea how long Iâ€™ve waited for this. But you, gentlemen, there is a reason I didnâ€™t kill you with the storm. I would suggest that you return to Doma as fast as the wind may carry you. Annie will return to you soon. The two of you must be there to greet her. The priest will have a very important message for her.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â -K
Bill crumbled the letter in disgust and threw it on the ground. Elan picked it up and read it, as well. He then searched all over himself looking for a note or anything else that a message may be conveyed with. â€œMessage? What message?â€
Bill shook his head. â€œWeâ€™re going back to Doma, NOW!â€
It was thus that the two paid for a pair of chocobos to carry them back home.
Annie opened her eyes; she was lying on a bed in a very ornate room. The first thing she saw was the mural on the domed ceiling; it was a painting of a woman holding a black sword to the sun. The bed-posts were carved to look like hour-glasses and almost every piece of furniture had been gilded. A large mirror hung on the wall opposite the bed; the wooden frame of the mirror had runic marks on it, but for some reason, the reflection was clouded, as if it wasnâ€™t real. Her clothes were changed and she was clean; but she was now wearing a silk nightgown. 'THE BOOK!' she exclaimed in her mind. She jumped off the bed and ran over to a wardrobe and swung the doors open looking for her clothes. When she turned around, Koravel was leaning on a bed-post readingâ€¦a small book. â€œLooking for this?â€ he smirked. â€œVery interesting reading in here. Where did you find it?â€ Annie was speechless.
â€œGive it to me. Itâ€™s mine.â€ She held a hand out.
â€œIndeed.â€ He chuckled eerily and placed it in her hand. â€œBut I doubt youâ€™ll enjoy the contents as much as I do.â€ He closed the doors of the wardrobe she was looking in and then walked over to a table in a corner of the room with a carafe and glasses on it. In the carafe was a dark liquid; it looked almost black, but it may have been a dark blue.
Annie looked at Koravel again, this time noting that he was wearing naught but silk pants. She suddenly felt veryâ€¦violated, realizing that he was probably the one who undressed her and put her in this nightgown. â€œWhose bedroom is this?â€ she asked with a flush to her cheeks.
â€œMineâ€ he said as he poured two glasses of the dark liquid.
A dizzy haze swept over her and she stumbled into a nearby chair. She sat herself down and held her head in her hands. â€˜What game is he playing with me?â€™ she thought to herself.
â€œHere. Drink this; itâ€™ll help.â€ He crouched next to the chair and held a glass in front of her. She shook her head.
â€œIâ€™m not an idiot, Koravelâ€ she hissed as she shoved his arm away. She looked up at him and saw him drinking the liquid out of the second glass. He was watching her. He didnâ€™t take his eyes off of her. She felt dizzy again. â€œOhâ€¦â€ she leaned back in the chair and put a hand on her forehead. She looked at her other hand and was surprised to see that she was holding the glass. 'How did Iâ€”' she dropped it and glanced over at Koravel. His back was turned to her and he was looking out a window. On a table next to the chair was a small, but stout, statue. â€˜This could be my only chance to be done with himâ€™ she thought as she picked up the statue and crept quietly up behind him. She was just close enough to hit him with the statue when she froze and the statue fell from her hand. He turned and looked at her with his piercing green eyes.
â€œWhat do you think you are doing, Annie?â€ He seemed angry. The dizziness returned and was twice as intense as the previous time.
â€œWhatâ€™s wrong with me? What have you done?â€ She put a hand to her brow and staggered over to the bed and sat down. Again, Koravel brought her the glass.
â€œThis will make you feel betterâ€¦I promise.â€ He held the glass outâ€¦the same glass he was drinking out of.
She took it from him. â€˜Fine; Iâ€™ll play your game.â€™ She took a drink and the dizziness immediately subsided. She glanced up at him and saw that he was watching her again. Her eyes started to feel strange and the colors of the room started to shift. She blinked several times. â€œWhat is this?â€
â€œJust a side effectâ€ he said coolly. There was a vial sitting near the carafe and Annie watched as he drank the contents. He seemed to be cringing as he slammed the vial down on the table and stood taut for a moment. Annie pulled herself further up onto the bed to be more comfortable, when her right arm went numb followed by her left.
â€˜Whatâ€™s happening to me?â€™ she thought to herself. Koravel turned to her as if she had asked him the question.
â€œJust the side effects, my love. I wanted you awake for this. But I wanted yourâ€¦physicalâ€¦condition to be perfect as well.â€
"Pphhâ€”" she tried to speak but only a sputter left her lips and then nothing else. â€˜Dammit, Koravel! What are you doing?â€™ she thought, knowing he could hear her that way at least.
â€œI helped you with your dizziness, remember. Plus, Iâ€™ve also primed your body for conception.â€ He sat on the bed next to her, looking at her. She felt her legs going numb now, starting from the toes, all the way up to her thighs. He pressed a hand on her hip. â€œCan you feel that?â€
â€˜Donâ€™t touch me, you bloody cur!â€™ she could still use and feel her torso, so she jerked away.
â€œPerfectâ€ he said with a grin. â€œYouâ€™ve probably been wondering why Iâ€™ve haunted you all these years. Well, itâ€™s simple. Iâ€™ve been watching your family for a long time; particularly your motherâ€™s side. I spoke with an oracle YEARS agoâ€¦when your ancestors were still some of the few living in Ireland practicing the old ways. She told me to watch that family. She said in time there will be a woman who will have difficulties conceiving; she would be a weak woman. But, when she does conceive, she will have a daughter. The daughter of the weakest woman in that line, will be the strongest of all. Your mother was a weak womanâ€¦very weak indeed. She nearly died during her pregnancy with you and she would have had I not intervened. Thus, I have waited these many years to produce an heir. You will be the mother of my heir. He will be strong, like you, and powerful, like me. I will be utterly invincible when he joins me in power. Nations will fall to us; Kings will bow to us.â€ He gripped her nightgown tightly and tore it away.
â€˜Noâ€¦pleaseâ€¦you BASTARD!â€™ she thought. She wanted to close her eyes, but she couldnâ€™t. They were fixed open by his witchcraft. A tear ran out the corner of her eye, and she had no choice but to watch him and what he was doing to her. She wanted to kick him, punch him, throw him off, but her appendage paralysis left her vulnerable. Her mind was devoid of any rational thoughts. She wanted death. She wanted to die. She wanted to kill him. She wanted to vomit. It felt like hours were passingâ€¦and the hours turned into days; days of thisâ€¦tortureâ€¦and she felt pain. She promised herself if she ever made it out of this, she would kill him. She would make him bleed; make him hurt; make him beg for mercy. She would watch the life leave his eyes and his last breath escape his lips. When he finally stopped, he kissed her hard. She wanted so badly to spit in his face, but she couldn't. He lay down next to her and put a hand on her belly and whispered something. At last, she closed her eyes and she slept.
Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=battleaccountant>Battle] at: 7/23/06 11:29