The Eastern Prince, The Western Knight
Earth 53: Prince Snart/ Knight Lance
Part X: Leonard
“ Len .” her voice was soft, soothing the fire that seemed to play across his skin. “Len, sweetheart. It’s time to get up.” she continues and he feels the brush of fingers against his skin, cooling the burning sensation that plagues him.
“Mother?” he thinks with a pang of sorrow in his heart.
“There’s still so much to do, but you need to wake up. She needs you.”
His mother’s voice fades away and the pain that he’s been trying to ignore flares up, overwhelming his senses. There’s a rush of...blood? No, water. Rushing water floods his hearing and he struggles through the pain and overwhelming sound, swimming through the darkness for consciousness.
It's not his mother this time. It’s Sara, he’s sure, he’d dreamt of her voice and everything else about her in all the time she had been gone.
“Len.” she’s in pain? No, she’s scared. He’d never seen fear on her, not even after everything with her family.
Leonard startles awake, a scream stuck in his throat and a flurry of movement all around him.
“Majesty, thank the heavens you’re awake.” he hears as the rush of water fades away. He struggles to sit up, but the burning has returned full force and he collapses back with a gasp of pain.
“Please, milord, try to remain still, we’re almost finished treating your injuries.” the voice he awoke to sounds again and it's only then that he notices the people around him. The most notable of whom is Caitlin Snow, Queen of the Northern Empire. She stands before him, looking unimpressed, her icy magic turning her normally brown hair, white.
“You’re lucky we arrived when we did.” she tells him, laying her hands along his left arm. The burning begins to subside at her touch. He turns his head, looking down to find large patches of inflamed skin, slowly shift from the dark angry red to a color slightly lighter than his skin tone, the skin now scared.
“What happened?” he asks. His voice rough.
“The device had a safety built in.” Caitlin explains almost bored. “When you disarmed it, it went off. I don’t know how you survived, but you got lucky.” she continues.
“What about Barry? The guards?”
“Bartholomew will survive, but the guards were disintegrated by the blast. Given that the only thing common between yourself and Barry is Magic, it’s safe to assume your magic protected you.”
Leonard curses. “What about everyone else?” he asks.
“No other injuries.” one of the medics assisting Caitlin reports, sounding grateful. It’s a sentiment he shares.
“Minimal.” a third voice speaks. Leonard turns his head to see Malcolm enter. “Your people have already repaired the damage.” Malcolm moves to the end of the bed so Leonard doesn’t have to strain to see him.
“How long have I been out?” Leonard asks.
“Only a few hours. Honestly, all of this could have been a lot worse.”
Leonard shakes his head. “They’ll no doubt know their plan failed. So any chance of taking them by surprise is nonexistent.” he says. “What about Wells?”
Malcolm sighs. “I think that’s a story you should hear from him. It’s not good, but you may hear something that we’ve missed.”
He nods. “I don’t suppose we know which direction they went?”
“Last they were seen they were heading West, but they could have changed direction at any point.”
“How did this even happen?” Leonard mutters and Malcolm gets the feeling he’s not looking for an answer at the moment.
“We’ve sent word to everyone we could. They’re all aware of what’s happened and are keeping an eye out for Thawne and Sara.”
“Good.” Leonard states simply. “We need to figure out where they’re going.”
“I was preparing to leave after the feast when there was a knock at my chamber door. When I answered it Thawne was there. I was so startled I didn't get the chance to react before he’d knocked me out. I woke up in the chamber where they light the fires that heat the castle. He started gloating of course, because what else would he do, and I got a good deal of the conspiracy out of him before he left me there for dead.”
“How did you escape?” Leonard asks.
“Thankfully, the stokers checked the room to make sure there was ample fuel before lighting the fires. The Inner Circle took me into custody and worked to prove I was who I said I was before they would contact you.”
“What did Thawne say to you?” Caitlin questions.
“A lot. I believe he genuinely expected his plan to work. As if he was infallible.” Wells explains. “From what he said, Darhk was the mastermind of the whole plot. He and Thawne met when Thawne was a young man and Darhk lived in a different body. They talked about the state of the Empires and the ruin the monarchs were bringing down on them. Darhk convinced him to organize a coup and they spent years turning people to their cause, moving pieces around like a giant chess board. Apparently, they have contingency plans for their contingency plans. If one fails they move on to the next plan so long as one of them is still alive.”
“Thawne said something about getting Darhk’s old body back.” Malcolm says.
Wells nods. “Thawne only alluded to it, but he said enough to point me in the right direction. I looked into the sealed archives while everyone was busy and discovered a ritual for sustained immortality.” he explained. “Basically, it’s a ritual to move ones soul from body to body. I can’t explain how Darhk managed to jump into Sara without the ritual, but he’ll have no choice but to find a new body and quickly.”
“Why?” Robert asks.
“Because he needs a blood relative to properly bond with a new body or else he’ll start to weaken and Sara will be able to expel him again. It was why the ritual was in the sealed archives. If it were legal, there would be nothing to stop a sorcerer from having many children and raising them like cattle to replace his own body when need be.” Wells replies. “They’re going to have to take her body somewhere with the proper conditions to perform the ritual.”
“What happens to Sara if they do?” Leonard asks.
“Well, assuming Darhk doesn’t kill her when he’s free, she should be fine. She’s still young and her soul is still present, so she should revert to her normal self.”
“What conditions do they need?” Caitlin asks.
“A source of purified water and an abundance of quartz.”
“I can think of two places like that off the top of my head.” she replies. “The temple of the Shark King in the Upper Peninsula and the memorial for Gorilla City in the Northern Mountains.”
“The temple is surrounded by purified ocean water.” Mick continues. “And there are veins of quartz through out the area. As for Gorilla City, the memorial sits on top of the purified spring that runs through the mountains and the structure itself is made entirely of quartz just like Gorilla City was.”
“They’re headed for the memorial.” Leonard says with such conviction they hesitate to question him.
“What makes you so sure?” Oliver finally asks.
“I think while I was unconscious my mgic reached out for her on reflex. I heard her voice and what I believe was rushing water.”
“The river that empties into the spring where its purified and moved through the mountains is a raging river.” Caitlin explains.
“They’re probably traveling up the river, it’s the easiest path.” Robert adds.
“So then what are we waiting for?” Oliver questions.
“A plan.” Wells replies looking to Leonard expectantly.
“They know we’re coming, regardless of when we meet them. We’ll need to move quickly.” he begins. “But we also need to be ready for anything.”
“What do you have in mind?” Robert asks.
“We’ll take a large party. Just outside the mountains, the majority of the party will hold, while a smaller party continues on to the memorial. If they get passed the smaller party, the larger one will be there waiting.”
“Soldiers will obviously make up the larger party, but what about the smaller?”
“The best fighters and sorcerers we can spare and certainly only people we can trust.”
“If I may make a suggestion.” Mick speaks up. “You and I trekked those mountains as kids and Barry is quick enough to cast in a fight.”
Leonard agrees. “Wells,” he turns to the older man. “You’ve read into this ritual, we’ll need you there just in case.”
“Of course.” he agrees.
“Oliver, we’ll need a strong fighter in the advanced party.”
Oliver nods. “And if I could suggest Captain Diggle of the Inner Circle. I believe he could be of benefit.”
“Anyone else?” Malcolm questions.
“I’d suggest you yourself, but it might be a better idea to stay back and watch King Robert’s back.” Leonard says.
“Mmm.” Malcolm hums. “I may be able to get more information out of Druce and Declan as well.”
“It’s agreed then.” Leonard says. “We leave in two hours.”
Leonard stares down at the scars running the length of his left arm. The pale scar tissue twisted and raised along the limb. Queen Snow had informed him that there was nothing she could do to reduce the amount of scaring, but Leonard considered what could have happened and realized he was rather lucky to even be alive, so he didn’t dwell on it. Tugging on a thick navy jergen he straps a leather belt and sheath around his waist. He turns to the bed, lifting the sword from the blanket and inspecting it before slipping it into the sheath at his hip. He takes a moment to look at himself in the mirror. He hadn’t been dressed for combat since his days in training and quite frankly, he wasn’t particularly thrilled with it now. His strength has always been in planning, in strategy and while he was no slouch in a fight, he held no illusions that against someone like Darhk, he’d be no match.
Leonard puts those thoughts aside. It doesn’t matter now, all that matters is getting to Sara before they hurt her, the mere thought making him anxious. He forces away the thoughts again, turning away from his reflection and moving with intent toward the door. There would be no more reflection, no more second guessing. Sara needs him and he’s not about to let her down.