"No! Please, no!" Ben cried, raising his desperate hand to the balcony. He repeated the pleas, and his heart sunk as he heard the gunshot ring out. He couldn't tear his eyes away, as much as he dreaded the scene before him. The sinful crowds around him cheered and ranted alike as Major Swift fell to the flags, lifeless. Ben choked on his tears, watching as his father figure was torn away from him. Memories of lost family members rushed past his mind in rapid succession. Unable to contain his anguish despite being wanted and the multitudes of King's guards attending the spectacle, he charged ahead and screamed at Logan. The king, looking down at the disturbance, identified Benjamin Finn as another of the traitors involved in the Swift Brigade.
"Another traitor has turned himself in!" Logan declared. "Seize him!" Immediately his guards advanced. Ben fought, but the King's guards, more heavily armed and higher skilled, had little trouble locking manacles on Ben's wrists.
"No!" the princess screamed. "Please, brother, don't do this!" Logan simply turned away, waving his hand carelessly at his sister.
Hello readers It's Rev again, with another fanfic for you! I hope you liked my preface :3 It's the first time I wrote an actual introduction to a story. DISCLAIMER: I own no one except my original characters. Enjoy. And so, our story begins.
Ben woke up, yelling involuntarily as he did so. It was dark. There were no windows in the castle dungeons, and therefore, no way to indicate the time of day. The guards struck him or spit on him when he asked, so he quickly stopped trying. He was prepared for another twelve hours of boredom, but he heard the guards outside his cell snap to attention, then footsteps accompanied by voices coming down the stairs.
"I just feel my poor sweet brother shouldn't have to shoulder all this weight. You deserve a vacation. Let me deal with the crawler." A female voice said. It was not that of the princess that so sadly cried out to him. Ben would guess the last time he heard Seraph's voice was two months ago by now.
"Sister, please. It's hard enough trying to protect the villagers. I can't lose you." Logan said. "What can we do, then? It's bound to destroy us all if we don't do something. I can use my talent. I'm sure not even that thing can resist it. I'm the greatest queen this kingdom will ever deserve." She said.
"Not yet, darling. You still haven't dazzled the crawler with your charm." Logan said. The older princess of the two was about to say something, but Logan silenced her. They were approaching the end of the stair. "Wait here." He said.
"Hmph, brother why?" she drawled.
"Ssh. I have a surprise for you."
Ben edged towards the back of the cell as the guards stepped aside to let the king pass. Logan knelt down, peering into the darkness with his piercing eyes.
"Come here, captain. I have need of you." He growled, his face almost against the bars, trying to see his captive soldier.
"I'll do nothing for your sorry ass." Ben spat.
"Oh, I think you will." Logan said.
"Or what? I'd die before I'd do anything for you, except kill you myself!" Ben screamed, now facing Logan.
"Lucinda, come here." Logan said. The princess obeyed silently, her brown eyes boring into Ben as she approached, a slight smirk visible on her expression. "You will belong to Lucinda, now. Happy birthday, dear sister." Logan said, before laughing.
"I'll not sleep with a slimy whore! I'd rather sleep with Reaver." Ben spat.
"Oh no, no, no, Ben, sweetheart." Lucinda said, her voice dripping with syrup. The guards dragged Ben out of his cell. His clothes were in tatters, and his weapons were confiscated a long time ago. Thinking about losing that rifle always put him in a dark mood. It also brought back memories of his first firearm and his brothers. Now they're all dead, and his weapons are no longer his. Now, in this place of darkness, all he could think about was Seraph. He spent his days in this dungeon missing her. It ached. No woman could ever compare. Not even her evil older sister Lucinda.
Ben was forced to his knees, and Logan pulled his blonde hair, now greasy and unkempt from his time in captivity. His head was yanked back, and he was forced to look into Lucinda's glassy dark stare. She leaned in. He flinched with a tight noise when he felt her thumb caress his cheek. Rough thin hands grabbed his chin. Lucinda spoke to her brother first.
"Poor creature. He's been locked away for so long he's lost his mind. He doesn't know what he's saying." Then, to Ben, "Look at me, Benjamin. You love me. You cannot resist me. I am the queen. You will serve your queen willingly." Ben had no powers over this witch's dark sorcery. He spilled tears, but her control made him believe all her words. At the same time, he tried to tell himself this isn't right. What would Seraph think? He couldn't speak, and Lucinda raised her eyebrows expectantly, mockingly. Growing impatient, she slapped Ben across the face. Her sharp maroon nails caught his cheek, drawing a line of blood. With Logan still holding his head, and Lucinda's gaze still pinned on his decrepit form, Ben was unable to resist. He winced when she traced a finger over the bloody line and brought it to her lips. Lucinda closed her eyes, testing the flavor. She chuckled. "Adorable, I must say. Like cotton candy." she jeered. Then her expression became more solemn and sophisticated as she turned to her brother. "My lord." she curtsied and kissed his hand. "I am most pleased with your gift. How you must have struggled to catch this one. I am deeply grateful for the sacrifices your lordship's forces must have endured to bring me this fine treat. Thank you, my king." she said.
"Anything for my darling sister." Logan replied.
Lucinda, ever the proper princess, waited for her brother to exit the dungeons before taking her leave. Instantly all traces of kindness vanished.
"What are you block heads looking at! Clean up this mess!" she shouted at the guards, indicating the blood and filth that accumulated in the dungeons over time. Without any words other than "Yes, my lady" or similar variations of the proper respect, they set to work. Ben lay on the ground where Logan dropped his head and let him fall. Being enchanted drained almost all energy from his already frail form. It didn't matter. Energy or no, Lucinda could still forcibly manipulate him as she wished.
"Get up, drudge. You will walk with me, side by side, and keep your eyes downcast. You may look directly to myself only, or whomever the king wills. You will keep silent unless I allow you to speak. The proper response to anything I tell you will be "Yes, my queen, your grace, or my lady." Lucinda started walking while giving directions, and Ben half willingly followed, being a prisoner under her spell. His deterioration hindered his movement, but Lucinda kept pace with him despite her normal brisk style of walking. She kept head high, shoulders back, and teeth slightly apart. Her golden skirts sloped outward elegantly. "Never let it be said that I am an unjust ruler. I can be a reasonable monarch. But I can also embody the worst qualities in a person." She spoke the last sentence with a venomous warning. When Ben lacked a response succeeding her demands, Lucinda whirled on him. With no warning Ben was thrown against the wall, Lucinda's nails digging into his windpipe as her other hand held a death grip on his crotch. "Acknowledge me! I am your queen!" she screamed, her face inches away from his, Ben's wide blue eyes remorseful and frightened, humiliated. Lucinda had a powerful voice. It could be said she acquired that aspect from her father's side. Logan didn't share the same volume capacity, but the venom was still there. As for the younger princess Seraph, she barely ever spoke in the presence of them.
Seraph jumped as she heard a violent thump against her wall, right by the door. The grunt that immediately followed set sparks aglow in her breast, an electric current through her heart. Benjamin! He's alive! Hope turned to rage when she heard her savage sister screaming at what Seraph assumed was his face. It may as well have been directed at her. It was surely loud enough to penetrate the stone walls and polished mahogany door. Unable to do anything, Seraph's grip tightened on her pencil. She closed her eyes and waited for it to go away, like an unpleasant stomach pain. She couldn't draw anymore. She dropped the pencil on the half-finished portrait of Benjamin Finn, and wept.
By dinnertime, Seraph was summoned out of her room by Jasper. He gently knocked three times before speaking.
"Dinner is served, your highness. I do believe it is your favorite, tonight. Brisket with cheesy potatoes and a side of peaches." After a pause, he heard nothing, so he spoke again. "Princess Seraph, is everything alright?" Growing worried, he opened the door a crack. Seeing Seraph fully dressed, he entered, closing the door behind him. Seraph was ashamed to still be in tears when Jasper came in. "Now, highness," he said, placing a kind hand on Seraph's shoulder. "Sit down a moment, and we can talk. Anything you need to say, I'm ready to listen." Seraph stood without words and crossed to the bed. She sat on the goose feather quilt on top of satin sheets and looked wistfully out the window.
"I'm scared, Jasper. He's alive but I want him to be safe. I don't want my sister to ruin him." Jasper nodded, understanding.
"Your sister does have intentions to bed the young captain, and not just once, I'm afraid." he said carefully. "But there has to be something I can do to save him. Someone must know a way to defeat her, without her knowing. If she knows, she can control anyone into doing what she wants. Wait…." Seraph bit her lip, unsure. But her face became determined after a moment. "I'm going to Bowerstone Industrial. No one will look for me there." she said. "Very good, your highness. But shall we discuss this more in detail later? I'm glad to see you're feeling a little more hopeful. But you are expected at the dinner table tonight. Shall we?" Jasper asked, bowing before the princess and following her from her quarters.
"The princess has arrived, your majesty." Jasper said, bowing to Logan after opening the doors with a flourish. Seraph kept her eyes down as she paid courtesy to the King, then made her way to her seat. When she finally gained the courage to look up, she noticed Ben wasn't in attendance. This set her heart in a panic. Why isn't he here? she wondered frantically. Lucinda was at Logan's right hand, her composure elegant and flawless as usual. Seraph wasn't hungry in the least, but she forced herself to nibble some potatoes. Lucinda clapped twice, and a little servant girl appeared with a bottle of wine. She proceeded to fill the King's glass, then Seraph's. Seraph gave her a smile, which seemed to give her some reassurance. She didn't blame the girl for being afraid around the King. Lucinda was quite into her glasses by the end of the awkward rather silent dinner. This gave Seraph an idea. "Sister? Why don't we walk around the garden and enjoy the twilight?" Seraph chanced, offering her hand. Lucinda stared at her hand for a few seconds, confused. Seraph tried to hide the fact she was sweating under her evening gown, and extremely nervous. However, Lucinda, in her drunken state, giddily agreed and grabbed her younger sister's hand. Lucinda ran, laughing excitedly, dragging Seraph with her, who had to avoid crashing into palace servants and the occasional guard.
When they finally made it outside, Lucinda stopped to catch her breath, much to Seraph's relief.
"I haven't had this much fun since the last party I attended in Millfields!" Seraph forced herself to laugh along with her sister, determined to get the information she needed. It killed her inside to even say it.
"So, uhm, I hear you have some brilliant plan in store for defeating the crawler!" Seraph smiled a huge smile, looking, she thought, ridiculous, but thanks to Lucinda's drunkenness, she didn't notice anything strange.
"Why yes, little sister! I'm going to march straight up to that beast and offer it my sacrifice. The kingdom will worship me forever, and oh, I really don't expect this, but I hope brother will be so afraid of me that he'd hand over the throne! Who knows? Maybe I'll become so powerful, I can just take the throne without a word!" This both surprised and frightened Seraph. Lucinda was awfully loud for such a quiet night, and her outburst drew the attention of some guards. She silently thanked the gods all the nobles left by now, or she could have expected to be murdered in her sleep for all she knew. Quickly Seraph led Lucinda to a corner behind a statue and shrouded in foliage.
"Sister!" she whispered. "Don't let anyone hear you say that!" Lucinda seemed to realize her mistake.
"Oh my, I really did speak out of turn there, didn't I? Well, it doesn't matter. Sooner or later, I WILL have the throne." Seraph couldn't believe what Lucinda was saying.
"Alright, but just don't say anything about it. Anyway, I was wondering where…your prisoner was lately. I didn't see him at dinner." Seraph said, her whisper almost inaudible. Lucinda seemed to regain some of her earlier composure.
"Oh, no commoners, soldiers, or lesser people of any kind are permitted to dine with the royal family. Unless, of course, they were strictly invited by the King. No, Ben took dinner in his rooms." A flash of anger went through Seraph upon hearing her sister refer to Ben by his first name. She restrained it from her voice.
"Well, OUR rooms would be more appropriate. He is always under my watchful eye. Keeping him anywhere else would be too risky. He's sure to try and escape." You're right. He would try to escape. He'd try with all his might. But now he's enchanted, because of you. You won't get away with this.
Seraph was exhausted by the time she retired to her rooms. She couldn't believe her luck. Her cunning sister, so beautiful and commanding, just revealed all her plans without barely paying attention to whom she was speaking to. She will come to her senses later, of course. And when that time came, Seraph decided she better be ready to feign ignorance and mention nothing of their conversation. Even when confronted. Lucinda may remember some when sober, but she won't remember everything. There's plenty of room for some twists to the story. Despite being tired, Seraph couldn't sleep. Her mind went over every detail of what she'd just learned. She spent some time in the sanctuary telling Jasper.
"She wants to be queen, to usurp Logan." Seraph said, pacing the polished marble floor.
"Well, that's no surprise, is it now?" he replied. Seraph laughed.
"No, I guess I always knew that. But she has it in her head that she can defeat the crawler all by herself. I mean, Logan isn't very strong, and doesn't have much light in him, but Lucinda is so much weaker. Even with her seductive talent, does she really think that's going to be enough to entrance a centuries-old monster?" Seraph said.
"She may very well lose her life in the attempt, your highness. But that isn't such a bad prospect to keep in mind. I'm sure Logan will be slightly easier to talk to with her out of the picture." Jasper said.
"You're right. But there's just one problem: she wants to sacrifice Ben somehow."