Varian had seen Rapunzel use her powers in the past. The memory of her being consumed in blinding white light as she commanded the black rocks wasn't something he was likely to forget anytime soon. Especially with how it felt like his whole world had ended in that explosive moment.
"Wither and decay."
This was quieter. And much more sinister. Darkness consumed her eyes, causing a shudder to run down Varian's spine. The tune ignited a memory from the day they'd met, her hair wrapped around his head. He pushed the memories away.
"End this destiny."
She wasn't looking at him, but rather, past his shoulder? He wasn’t sure.
Inky blackness spread down her hair, a chill spreading across the room.
"Break these earthly chains."
It felt as though the air was being sucked out of his lungs.
Varian backed away from the princess. He was sure the scientific ramifications would be far more exciting if touching the hair wouldn’t begin to sap away the life of anything it touched. His back hit a wall.
"And set the spirit free."
His lips curled into a grimace as he eyed the dark tendrils of hair spread across the stone floor. Streaks of blue light slid across them, the beauty of it insidious in its deadliness.
Rapunzel’s voice settled into a soft chant, grating on Varian’s nerves.
“Raps, you’ve gotta snap out of it.” Varian gaze snapped over to Eugene, noting the way he struggled to stay upright as he worked his way toward Rapunzel, carefully avoiding the tendrils of hair swirling around the room. Brave, Varian thought. He was so going to die.
Rapunzel for her part seemed to have very little control over the situation. Her eyes were black and empty, tears streaming down her face as the destructive magic swirled away from her. Not like a person singing a spell, but a conduit for some ancient darkness.
Varian glanced around him. The tower they were in seemed to be weakening structurally from the onslaught of magic. He dreaded to think of the consequences if it truly could bring the building down. At this point he wouldn’t put much as beyond the limits of Rapunzel’s power.
He didn't have time to dwell on it, a glimmering light drawing his focus away. A small stone, no, an opal, shimmered from inside a tangled cage made of the black rocks. Except the rocks were also glowing. Probably reacting to Rapunzel’s use of the moon’s magic.
This… this must be the moon drop itself? This was what Rapunzel had been staring at.
Bright light flared close to his face, making him squint. He blinked, glancing up in confusion as he realized it wasn’t the opal this time, but the streak in his hair that was glowing.
He glanced back at the opal, which seemed to shine insistently at him, like it was calling out to him. It shimmered in it’s enclosure of black rocks, hypnotic, mesmerizing. He felt a pull to it, taking a cautious step toward the enclosure. Then another.
The streak in his hair was shimmering silver, catching blindingly out of the corner of his eye. There was a history, something, connecting him to the opal.
He barely thought as he reached out his hand.
The moment his gloved hand made contact the light flared, sparkling blue flames consuming his glove.
His skin didn’t burn like Cassandra’s had, but what did happen was no less horrifying.
His skin became paler, translucent, shimmering like the opal. It spread up his arm as though he was transforming into a crystalline statue.
But, he didn’t feel like stone?
His feet lifted from the ground, his whole vision whiting out. He didn’t know anything but light anymore.
Eugene really hated having to be the responsible one. It wasn’t enough that celestial magic had a mental hold over the love of his life. No, that glowing movement out of the corner of his eye; this situation was about to get worse.
“Kid’s gonna get himself killed,” Eugene stared at Varian, who was reaching out toward the opal. The streak in his hair shimmered ominously, reacting in some way to the magic of the moon drop.
He didn’t have time to read into it if he wanted to stop him before he got himself, or anyone else, hurt. Seriously, how hard was it for that kid not to mess with clearly dangerous objects? He made a dash for him; harder than it should have been when he had to pick through Raps’ murder hair.
The opal was reflected in Varian’s eyes and he looked almost like he was in a trance. There was a certain vacancy in his eyes, so far removed from the curiosity the kid usually approached every new mystery with.
Eugene didn't reach him before his glove went up in blue flames, the bright flash of light stopping him dead in his tracks.
Well, the kid was- dead?
Eugene watched in shock as he didn’t burn. Rather the light of the opal spread into him.
Varian's feet lifted gently from the ground, like a marionette when a puppeteer lifted it. His eyes fluttered closed, head lolling to the side.
Now that was creepy.
The silvery streak in his hair was shining painfully bright, like a sliver of moon framing his face.
And then, he started singing. Not the incantation Rapunzel had learned, something different, the same cadence. But softer, less ominous.
“Cycles of the moon, spread the sparkling light.”
The glowing silvery light spread through the rest of his hair, down from his roots. It reminded Eugene uncomfortably of the glow that would spread across Rapunzel’s hair when she used the sun’s power. Really, did the moon drop have to take a person too? This was excessive and uncalled for in Eugene’s opinion.
He grimaced as Varian’s eyes reopened, shimmering like the opal itself. It might’ve been beautiful if not for being so downright unsettling.
“Lead us through the night, and heal the wounds of time. The wounds of time.”
He flinched as light filled the room, spilling out the windows into the dark kingdom. Boy was that term not accurate at the moment, Eugene thought to himself.
When the light finally faded enough for him to see again, it was to Varian dropping like a discarded doll as the light faded from his body. His crystalline appearance made Eugene half expect him to shatter on impact.
Instead, the last of the light seemed to glance away from him in glittering sparkles. He didn’t move again.
Cursing softly under his breath, Eugene ran the rest of the way over and slid to the floor next to Varian, watching him cautiously for any movement or sign of breathing. He cautiously reached out a hand, unsure if there was any residual magic to be wary of. Heck, if Varian was awake, he’d probably smack Eugene’s hand away magic or not.
He settled his palm on Varian’s chest, letting out a breath of relief when, after a moment, he felt the small movement of breathing. It was only once he found the sign that he calmed enough to realize that Rapunzel had stopped her chanting.
He turned, blinking in surprise at the tendrils of silver that were snaking up her hair, chasing back the black and leaving the soft gold he was used to in its wake.
“What-” Rapunzel’s voice was soft, confused, as the silver settles in her eyes, making them shimmer like bright stars.
She’s also on the floor, and Eugene suspects the flash of magic is the culprit.
“Blondie,” he breathes in relief. “We really have to talk about your dark hair, it’s just not the look for you.” His humor falls a bit flat, but Rapunzel smiles anyway, that ethereal glow in her eyes already fading, but doing nothing to mute their vivid green.
“Eugene, what happened?” Her gaze falls onto Varian, still out cold on the floor. “Varian, is he alright?”
“He’s breathing.” He’s not sure what further assurance to give when he doesn’t even know how to describe what just happened to him. “And I’m gonna be honest here, I have no idea what happened. And frankly I think I’m okay with that.”
“Eugene, the opal….”
“Y'know, I really wish people I know would stop messing with destructive death magic, at this rate I’m going to get gray way ahead of when I should-“
“Eugene, look.” She gestures behind him at the enclosure of rocks. The empty enclosure of rocks.
His gaze finds the opal, no longer suspended in it’s cage, but rather sitting unassumingly on the ground. Oh that is not a good sign.
“I’m starting to get an idea of what happened and I am really not liking the direction this is going.”
A groan cuts them off, Eugene’s gaze dropping to Varian. He squints open his eyes, wincing.
“You know, that’s what we were just wondering. Let me ask you something, do you have a death wish or something?”
Varian scowls up at him, pushing himself up into a sitting position, and brushing away Eugene's hand as if it's presence personally offends him. He decides not to take it personally.
“No really, because I’ve died once and I would not recommend it. When will you learn not to mess with rocks kid?”
“Lay off, we’re all alive aren’t we?” Varian glances over at Rapunzel. “And the murder hair’s stopped for the moment I see.”
Rapunzel nods. “It did…" She pauses, considering her words before continuing, "Varian, we think that had something to do with you. You and the opal.”
He curls his gloveless hand against the stone floor. “Great. Just great, more magic.”