She doesn’t remember ever feeling so entirely empty, but she knows there was a time before this when she was. She couldn’t quite recall when or how or who had trapped her then, but it was in the creases of her memory. Like a deep, hollow, pitiful feeling that brought her shoulders to shake and her resolve to splinter. She wanted to be stronger for her sisters lying beside her now. Their skin was grimy, their clothing torn, their bodies weakened by the torturous infliction of no food and water on their human frames. She wished she could tear the chains from the walls of the dungeons that kept her and hold them close. She didn’t want to feel the cold stone under her bare legs or the harsh magical steel tightening every time she felt a surge of her own power flowing through her. She was bleeding enough already from the wounds they had torn into her flesh, and she knew if she pulled on her bindings any harder the markings would only deepen. She had to bide her time now, she would be no use to anyone if she passed out from loss of blood.
At first, she had tried to keep track of the time they had been encased. She had tried to back track in her mind, remember the days before but everything felt the same in the cold, wet room. Margaret had even tried notching the ground with the cracked remnants of her nails, but for some reason the room kept shifting. It was as if they were being transported, Elizabeth could sense the magical energy moving them, but it was fuzzy and displaced. She wasn’t sure who was doing this and whoever it was as keeping themselves well hidden from her. It was probably one of the many reasons they kept moving. Another was whoever had them probably knew he could sense her; knew he would come for her; knew he wanted to find her as badly as she wanted to be found.
She tried to leave her magical signature trailing behind her but the steel that bound her would singe her skin leaving a raw burn bleeding under the tightening of the bindings. Still she tried to let her energy flow to her sisters, let her warmth caress their skin just to stop the chattering of their teeth and rattling of their fingers if only for a few moments. She knew Elaine was trying to do so as well but from inside the tightly wound vessel that contained her, she could barely send anything through the powerful walls at all. She too was being constrained by a great force.
By now, it seemed like a life time ago that they had been taken, she knew it had only been days at most but in a darkened pit with no life and no air, time was almost a figment of your imagination. She was left with nothing but dark days and her sister’s shallow breathing. She wanted to think about softer, warmer things. His hands, his smile, their freedom. But it always disappeared with the scraping of cuffs on stone and the painful gurgle of a hungry body.
So instead she tried to find her memories of how this happened at all. It had slowly been flooding her as she spoke with the young women pressed closed to her side. They had been in a garden Margaret believed. A garden with purple and blue hues all around them Veronica had reminded her. She could see his face almost clearly in her mind, but the green backdrop was obscured. Grass maybe? She wasn’t entirely sure. All she knew was that she had to get her sisters out of here before they completely withered. Her and Elaine could survive much longer in the depths of these walls, but they could not.
So, she plotted.
Eying Elaine every so often willing her to understand her plan, hoping she was able to hear her muddled thoughts through the thick prison that encased her. They watched the comings and goings of the guards; remembered the routines of ill-smelling scraps slipping through a rusted metal slot; heard the jingling of iron keys once every fourth shift change. Elizabeth played with the angling of her cuffs wondering if she pressed the raw skin into the steel just far enough if she would have enough time to let her ability overwhelm Elaine’s confinement before they crushed her bones.
She knew it was risky; knew it would leave her alone, paralyzed, in more pain than she could possibly withstand. She would be left to succumb to the anger and will of the monster that chained them. It left her filled to the brim with fear. But then, the empath inside her screamed out for her loved ones. She needed to help, needed to save, needed to protect. It was her solemn duty as an Apostle of the Goddesses. Her duty as their sister, their friend.
When the third shift change came around whatever day, she opened her mind as widely as she could to Elaine, and it was then that Elaine affirmed her. With a soft nod and curt scurrying to the farthest corner the plan was set. And it was to the bright, wide eyes of the Maiden of the Fairy King’s Forest she smiled softly, a message she hoped shined clear as day.
I will be okay. You will come back for me.
She didn’t know if she believed her own words, but she knew if neither her nor Elaine did, he would. He would always come. He always had.
On the fourth round with the jingling of keys and the shuffling of feet Elizabeth pulled her wrists back tightly enough and let the beams of ark light blast through her body. She willed her white light to wrap around the structure trapping Elaine and despite the thick purple smoke that began to fight her she shattered Elaine’s cage. The next few seconds were vital but the blinding crushing of the bones in her wrist’s left her falling into a void. As she slumped against the wall with the darkness invading her sight and the sounds of scuffling filling her ears, she wondered if they had escaped.
And then hoped, for everyone’s sake, they had.
The lifelessness of her body and the shooting pains in her wrists told her that although she had been healing, although her body had been reaching outwards to keep her alive someone had surely been reinjuring her for their own gain. She wanted to raise her slumped head, but the tired ache was so deep in her bones. All she could seem to register was that she was standing now. There were shackles wound around her ankles, more shackles tightening her shattered wrists, and even one clipped around her neck. The steel felt like it was burning her skin at a low rate, just enough to make her uncomfortable, just enough to keep her awake and keep her power at bay.
‘This form is the most similar to the first time we met'
The deathly, cold that seared her skin made her wonder how she hadn’t realized before who had captured her. Surely, it must have taken an incredible mystical force that had been keeping his intense presence and powerful magic hidden from her. She forced her eyes to narrow in on the voice across the room despite the raging of her body that willed her to rest, to heal. His presence was overwhelming although he sat less than a few feet away. They were in a place that mimicked her father’s throne room with high ceilings and golden decorum. However, it was the sigils surrounding them that caught her eyes, they were that of the Pendergast name.
‘He will not be happy with me when he sees you. You shouldn’t have forced my hand.’
It was a startling reminder of how similar he was to the man she loved. The curl of his hair, the soft slant of his features. It made thinking of him all the more apparent in her mind. So, Elizabeth closed her eyes to focus on her body. She could already feel the wounds that brought her the most ache closing again. There was a cut the length of her thigh that was closing, blood drying on its outer edges. There was bruising lining her ribs and arms that slowly faded from a deep purple to a soft yellow. The jagged ridges of torn skin across her sternum and right shoulder. Her wrists were mending once more, her head regaining focus, her bottom lip sewing shut. She was stretched wide, her arms pulled up, her legs pulled apart, her head yanked back. Almost like a target. His target.
‘That won’t do.’
With speed that should have terrified her but simply left her paralyzed and reeling, he had gripped the shackle that bound her neck and let his hand crush a single wrist once more. She wanted to hold her pain inside herself, not let him know how deeply he was causing her to fear for her life, but the shout that ripped from her throat reverberated around the room almost as loudly as the cracking of her bones. He pushed her head back until she was staring in his unyielding eyes with his hand callously gripping the metal shackling her throat. The burning sensation on her skin all the more painful.
‘Now, now. We can do better than that.’
She could feel his hot breath against her skin and the cold feel of his other hand moving to grasp her healed wrist. She could practically smell the stench of hellfire and utter hatred seeping from every facet of him. His body was alarmingly tall, dangerously fearsome and the black, barely blue of his eyes a harsh reminder of why she was here. She knew they had been together before, but it was not like this. Maybe a festival of some sort? She was sure she had seen him laugh and yet that memory faded to black at the harrowing sound of his voice.
‘We want my brother to find you love.’
He grasped her wrist tightly as the bones began to crack underneath the weight. She couldn’t help the blood curdling yell that tore apart her throat as he willed his pain to radiate within her. The breaking of her wrist made to feel like her body had been filled with a level of dark magic specifically quelled up inside him for her. A taste of coal in her mouth, a flash of the darkness he dared place within her crossing her vision.
‘That’s better. I think one more and he should crash right into our little space.’
Elizabeth watched him as he raised a glass blade from the sheath at his hip. It was beautifully crafted with a simple thin blade and a golden hilt. His fingers gripped the handle with a gentle familiarity and his other hand sought to graze her skin and pull her chin to level their eyes once more. She couldn’t help but notice how dark the purple hue that tattooed his skin had become, how black the symbol of the Demon King singed his soul.
‘He'll know it was me.’
He gripped her chin harshly and all Elizabeth could do was whimper as the steel shackles kept her magic tightly bound; marked her skin with fiery scars to remember them by. To remember him by.
‘You’ll tell him that when I am Demon King, he will keep his promise forever.’
The sneer that marked Estarossa’s face imprinted in Elizabeth’s mind. She had never felt something so tremendous; a statement he truly intended with every ounce of his dark magical spirit to keep.
‘Tell my brother I said hello’
As she stared into the eyes that should have reminded her of his brother, a man who would never dare bring her harm, she was left with a chill. That was until the glass blade tightly gripped in his hand was piercing into her stomach. Elizabeth could not control the anguish and rage that flowed from within her. The pain was unbelievable, unfathomable, unbearable. She could feel it in ever fibre that held her together, a never-ending wave of utter devastation worse than the reality of losing everyone she held dear. It was like she was reliving the worst pains her mind could imagine. Figments of her worst nightmare swirled in her eyes as a dark fog and she was suddenly surrounded by the bodies of those curled deeply within her heart. Their lifeless frames covered in their blood and her, stuck standing in place with nothing to do but stare, and scream.
The Sins surrounded her on demon spikes. Their bodies run clear through with a potent dark magical energy. He was there, his beautiful blonde hair matted to the grimy, sullen skin of his forehead. His eyes faded, each of his hearts pierced threw. He was strewn over rocks in pools of his own blood. She was left quaking as she screamed in horror, as tears flowed down her face.
She knew somewhere outside of herself that her blood was pooling below her and staining the tattered shards of her silk gown. It would nearly kill him to see. She knew because it was nearly killing her to have this imagine flooding her mind. She tried to break the fog that overwhelmed her with nothing but death, she willed herself to break that chains, to save herself from this trauma.
But all she could feel was the black hole swallowing her entirely.