Wooh! I have waited a long time to post this chapter. Plus I have another new picture on Deviantart, with Elsa and Eri together.

First, I must give credit where it is due. This chapter is heavily inspired and influenced by an arc in the novel The Legend of Sigmar – By Graham McNeil. I have altered it extensively to make it as original as possible, and threw in a few references to other medias.

Be warned. This chapter is pretty dark. With that, please enjoy.

•••

Prologue

"Legend has it, in the mystic land of Prydain, there was once a king so cruel and so evil that even the gods feared him. Since no prison could hold him, he was thrown alive into a crucible of molten iron. There his demonic spirit was captured in the form of a great Black Cauldron. For countless centuries the Black Cauldron lay hidden, waiting, while evil men searched for it, knowing whoever possessed it will have the power to resurrect an army of deathless warriors, and with them, rule the world."

The Black Cauldron - 1985

•••

Chapter 14

Princess of Life and Death

•••

Cassandra sat with her table as she watched events from the recent past replay itself for the assemblage of people in Arendelle. All throughout the town the mood was morbid, expressions were grim, not since they were shown the devastation wrought by the Storm of the Unquiet have the audience witnessed a more harrowing spectacle.

Panic and terror was made manifest by the scene of what remained of a destroyed people fleeing down the slippery slopes of the mountain cliffside. The echoes of the haunting sounds of their screams and cries of horror reverberating off the mountain could be heard for miles.

Perhaps a few dozen people shuffled down the precarious narrow path. They were a handful of survivors, zealots, militia, ordinary men and women, all were running away, fleeing from a mortal danger.

Cassandra grimaced. It seems absurd and monstrous that this was all that was left of an entire town populated by hundreds. Yet this was indeed the case, there was no doubt for the Dunbroch Witch had not held back when she showed the massacre with much resignation.

Anna had held onto Elsa tightly and protectively as she thought back on the confrontation leading up to the terrible scene.

For generations the paranoid townsfolk of All Hallows Eve have practiced witch hunts and ritualistic purgings of the condemned. The accused would typically be set upon by the large numbers of zealots and be helpless to resist as the cruel and medieval punishments were enacted upon them, such was the case of Jack Skellington and his family.

But the townsfolk have never faced someone who was out for blood, their blood! When they made their advance on the seven teenagers, before any righteous reprobation were voiced, without warning the girl with the chain flail swung her weapon in an arc and brought the iron ball onto the skull of the lead zealot in one motion!

The man's head was obliterated in a watermelon explosion. The girl's own comrades we're caught off guard by the actions of one of their members.

To say the girl's parents were horrified was a grave understatement. But that was only the beginning.

Eventually the shock wore off, the mob shouted in fury and charged at the teens.

Aidan at once ordered a defensive formation to brace against the rush. Most of the team was still unsure of how to handle this situation.

But Wrenn however, carried no such uncertainties. Almost as quickly as it was formed she broke formation, she rushed head first into the thickest concentration of the mob with reckless abandon. Many armed zealots and militia deviated to attack the isolated girl, to think of her an easy target was the last mistake of their lives. For wherever Wrenn fought, people died in droves.

Cassandra cast her gaze to Rapunzel, her queen and sworn sister was the strongest woman she knew and yet... Rapunzel sat slumped, reduced to tears by what she saw. Arianna and Willow did what they could to comfort Rapunzel but in truth, they were both also in shock by what their sweet Wrennetta had done.

Wrenn left a bloody trail of destruction, every swing of her flail smashed limbs, split skulls, crushed internal organs to pulp. The blunt weapon destroyed bodies and morale like paper, what started off as a gang-up quickly turned into a fighting retreat. When Wrenn seized a struggling militiaman by the neck and blasted him with her death magic, all was pandemonium.

The sight of one of their own reduced to a charred skeleton broke the townsfolk, they dropped their weapons and fled screaming. Those blocked off or unable to escape cowered and begged for their lives. But their pleas were a coin of poor currency that day, they all died on their knees.

Black and green swirls of bale-fire swept through All Hallows Eve, sapping the life of all living creatures, to stay was to die.

Now the surviving towns folk flocked to the rear of town in their desperation to escape. The main roads they would otherwise use were now a death trap, and so the people crammed the narrow and dangerous cliff-side, preferring to brave the perilous trek than face annihilation at Wrenn's hands.

A few zealots tried to enforce some measure of order in the mass exodus, but it was a futile task. The horror of the destruction of their town overcame all thoughts except escape.

A scream was heard, the already frightened and disorderly evacuees descending into full panic mode when they saw their destroyer behind them. High above, on the edge of the cliff with the town in flames at her back stood Wrenn. With the fiery light source behind her, Wrenn's silhouette was a warping anamorphic being as if a demon was casting a shadow down the mountain onto the terrified survivors.

"Oh, Wrenn. What have you done?" Whispered Eugene.

What Belle and her husband Adam had warned them of was true. All Hallows Eve was indeed destroyed. But no one could have imagined it was by the hands of the seven, with Wrenn leading it.

Aidan, Amelia, Flynn, Eri, Neoma and Novak stared in utter horror and disbelief in what had just occurred. They may be battle-hardened and sure they have all killed people in the past, but never like this.

The audience heard a dull crack.

For a fraction of a second the masses ceased their panic, everyone praying in their hearts that what was about to happen would not. Whoever they were praying to, that diety must have been terribly busy elsewhere. A portion of the path gave way to the excess weight.

Elsa looked away as whole families fell to their deaths.

Weeping mothers pulled crying children away from the destroyed path, unable to help those lost to the darkness below. They tried to find a new path.

Novak let his sword slip from his left and only hand.

Aidan planted the pommel of his halberd on the ground. And though he tried to remain stoic, he was crumbling inside.

Amelia, Neoma and Eri looked away, anywhere but the fleeing masses or the smoking ruins they left behind. Only Wrenn remained untroubled, in fact she revelled in the fear she caused.

"It is time to finish them off." Wrenn turned to her companions.

"Eri, create a great canopy of snow over that cliff-side." Wrenn pointed at the rocks above the fleeing survivors. "Let it collapse and bury these wretches in an icy avalanche!"

All eyes were wide and laced with horror.

"No." The Snow Princess responded.

Wrenn whirled on Eri, lines of anger and hate marred her face. She marched up to Eri. Eri marched up to Wrenn.

"This has gone far enough, Wrenn. I will not murder these people while they try to flee for their lives." Eri declared.

"These bloodthirsty curs wanted to kill you, wanted to kill all of us. And would they have listened if we begged for our lives?" Challenged Wrenn, but she wasn't done. "They would kill your mother, Eri. They'd kill my mother, they would kill Aunt Anna just for association! And yet you still plea for them?"

Eri held her ground.

Wrenn narrowed her eyes at the Snow Princess. Since the battle in the witch haunt, Eri has worn her hair down letting her bangs cover the left side of her face. But Wrenn could see the blue glow underneath the cover where Eri's left eye ought to be.

"Oh that's rich. A girl who isn't human is appealing to my humanity." Wrenn sneered.

That was a low blow.

"That's enough, Wrenn!" Aidan bellowed. Moving up to stand between the two warring girls. "We are done here. I am ordering a withdrawal."

"Order?" Wrenn growled. "Do you remember back at our old world, Aidan? After we repelled the Samuel Sledge Raid, when we lead a retaliatory assault on their base? We had them on the run, we could have rode them down and destroyed the raiders then and there! But we were ordered not to."

Aidan's eyes darkened at the memory.

The audience became curious.

"Do you recalled what happened after we spared them?" Asked Wrenn. "I'll remind you. They came back at our Enchanted Fortress for a murder-suicide assault, many of our own died that day!"

"Stand down, Sergeant!" Aidan warned.

This was the first time Aidan addressed his second cousin by rank and imposed his military authority over her.

The stand off was tense.

"These aren't Raiders, Wrenn." Said Flynn. Moving to stand with Aidan and Eri against his twin. "These people are defeated, they are no longer a threat, they'll never come near us again after that."

Wrenn glared in fury at her brother.

Flynn flinched, his sister always had a way to strike fear in him with but a look. However, this was different. For the briefest moment, it seemed as though someone far older was glaring at him from behind Wrenn's eyes, but it vanished so quickly, Flynn wasn't sure he really saw it.

Wrenn for her part felt a knot in her stomach, her brother looked at her not with fear but worry in his eyes. For the briefest moment Wrenn felt doubt in her conduct, that what she was doing was terribly wrong.

"ARGH!" Wrenn cried in frustration. She forced her head back to the fleeing people. "Fine, then I'll do it myself!" She raised her hand at the distancing crowd

"Don't do it, Wrenn!" Cried Flynn.

"I will not leave any of these vermin alive to come back with vengeance in their hearts!" Wrenn prepared to conjure a Sphere of Decay for launch.

"NO!" Screamed Amelia.

Without fear for her own safety, the younger girl grabbed Wrenn's arm. Amelia's hands immediately began to burn.

"AMY!" Cried Anna and Kristoff.

"Amelia, no!" Shrieked Elsa.

Rapunzel grew white as a sheet.

Cassandra and Varian gasped in horror at what they saw. They had experienced first hand what the hurt incantation could do. Cassandra still carried the scars to this day.

Wrenn was only at the beginning stage of summoning her death magic so the effect isn't as strong as those two incidents. But still, it was searing to touch.

"AMY!" Everyone cried.

Aidan, Eri, Flynn, Neoma and Novak surged forward to pull Amelia away from Wrenn, careful not to touch Wrenn themselves. Alas, once Amelia grabs onto something with determination, she never lets go.

"This has to stop, Wrenn!" Amelia cried with tears-stained cheeks.

"Amy, let go!" Wrenn yelled.

But Amelia held her arm closer, even planting her cheek against Wrenn's shoulder. The rest of the team became even more frantic.

"Look around you, Wrenn. This bloodshed is madness, it sullies all the things we have achieved in this world. Is this what our dear friends have sent us here for? To be butchers of men? Tyrant princesses? Killers of women and children, no better than the Unquiets?" Amelia cried.

The hurt magic ceased, and though Amelia was suffering great burns, the pain to her hands and cheek were numb to her, for nothing hurt more than her aching heart.

"I am soul-sick of this killing. Every one of us have blood on our hands. Our mission is tarnished by what we have done here." Amelia wailed. "It's time to stop and leave."

Though it was unperceivable to the eye, Amelia could feel Wrenn's entire body trembling. Her words and tears struck Wrenn deeply.

Some part of Wrenn's higher consciousness broke through the haze of fabricated hate and rage, a rage she didn't even recognise as her own. And she recoiled at what she had done.

The audience watched Wrenn turned to face the fleeing survivors that were desperate to escape her wrath.

Wrenn's shoulders sagged. At last, she turned back and the other teens were surprised to see the pain in her now tear-filled eyes.

"You're right." Wrenn whimpered. "It is time to leave this place."

It was finally over.

That was a part of the story the audience very much wished to forget. But the damage was done.

Dark mutters circulated the town, something precious had been lost, few people will look at the seven with the same idolatry again, especially for Wrenn.

Rapunzel, Cassandra, Anna, Elsa, Lady Caine, Eugene, Varian, Kristoff and Hans became withdrawn. No one wanted to converse with one another, not even with their spouse. It would seem the parent group was as fractured as the teen group.

•••

But the ordeal was not over. For no sooner after she boarded the dirigible to leave the ruins of All Hallows Eve, that the darkness returned to haunt Wrenn's mind. Her thoughts of compassion and kindness replaced with distrust and wrath.

Woe betide the next fool that draws the ire Wrennetta.

•••

"ROYAL FLUSH!" A gruff man slammed his hand of cards onto the table.

The screen showed the interior of a large tavern back at the familiar setting of Muscle City. Several groups sat at various tables laughing, drinking picking fights and of course gambling. The main focus of the tavern was none other than.

"Porca puttana!" Dale cursed. The former art thief begrudgingly handed his coins to the winner.

"He went gambling?" Stalyan was aghast.

"Hey, Dale. Should you be gambling again so soon after your debts have been repaid?" Asked the adjacent player.

Dale just shrugged at the question, he didn't want to hear it.

This provoked more than a few groans of disgust from the audience.

"Seriously, Dale. You promised that boy you wouldn't gamble again after he gave his winnings for you!"

"Promises are made to be broken." Replied Dale.

That was the last straw.

Lady Caine surged to her feet, her feature thunderous. "My son gave you all his second place winnings and you squandered it!" She yelled.

Dale shrank while Lady Caine loomed over him. His wife looked at Caine apologetically.

Hans and Cassandra we're quick the grab onto Caine before she got violent. Though they were protecting Dale, none could miss the looks of anger and disappointment in their eyes.

Stalyan and Brock from their seats likewise looked to their former companion with disappointment.

Sideburns and Patchy seethed behind their teeth. Their nephew could have made good use of that money, bought better equipment, fit himself with decent armour, buy some potions. Or hell, buy some 'soft,' that would have really helped with the petrification curse!

There will be a reckoning.

All humans possess a minute form of sixth sense, be it a chill up their spine, darkening of their vision or bile in their guts. A subtle reaction of the body that warns a person when danger is nearby, now tonight at this very tavern these senses will be running on overdrive.

The music stopped, the chattering ceased, everyone paused their activities. With cold serpents coiling around their innards the tavern's entire occupancy turned to face the silent new arrival.

Wrenn stood before the table of card players, her dark fathomless eyes focussed on Dale.

"Oh no." Brock whispered.

Cassandra, Hans and Caine quickly returned to their seats.

"Umm. Can I help you little miss?" Asked Dale.

Wrenn gave no verbal reply. She removed her chain flail from its strap on her back, the iron ball crashed on the floorboards, shattering the silence that had enveloped the tavern. Muscle City was a haven for professional fighters, mercenaries and pirates, they recognise dried blood when they see it.

"Hey. Whatever this is, take it outside!" The bartender yelled.

"Gladly." Muttered Wrenn. Her voice was low, but it was deep and echoed like a demon's. She grabbed Dale by the corner of the collar bone and dragged the screaming man out the door.

•••

Dale sniffled.

The scene had switched to an edge of the dark forest outside of Muscle City, it was night, dark clouds blanketed the lands from the light of the moon and stars. The man in question was tied to a log, teetering precariously over the edge of a raging river, a river that lead to a waterfall. Dale squirmed under his bindings, completely helpless to the girl who presented him with his death.

"Some years ago, a hag witch fell from the full height of a seventy-foot tower." Said Wrenn, her voice dripping with venom. "She was reduced to dust before she hit the ground, her last thoughts were undoubtedly of fear and helplessness as her body disintegrated. It was a bad death."

Dale cried for mercy underneath his gag, his wide eyes glistened with unshed tears. The girl grinned, she fed off the fear she evoked.

"Don't do it, Wrenn!" Cried Rapunzel. She could not believe what she was seeing.

The time has come.

Wrenn planted her boot against the log and also levelled her hand towards Dale, the magics of the Hurt incantation billowing black smoke at her fingertips. "I believe such a fate is fitting for cheats, users and betrayers."

"And what of murderers!?" Yelled a familiar voice.

Wrenn turned to see Neoma stepping out from the tree line, and as if the moon itself felt emboldened by the girl's entrance, the clouds parted, shining light onto the scene.

Wrenn noticed that the other girl has engaged her moonstone powers, while this was a norm outside of Black Rock sensitive countries like Corona and The Dark Kingdom, the currently distrustful Wrenn saw it as a threat.

"Have you come to stop me, Neoma?" Asked Wrenn.

"You're darn right I have." Replied Neoma.

"Novak was an idiot to offer money to a gambling addict. He jeopardised our mission, lost his hand as an indirect result and has become a liability to the team." Another low blow.

Wrenn then thrust her hand towards Dale. "Now. Barely days after this guy had his debts paid for him, he goes back to his gambling ways!"

"I do not deny that Dale deserves a kick up the ass. But THIS!?" Neoma gestured at the obscene scene.

"This will send a message." Said Wrenn.

"It is murder." Argued Neoma.

The two girls entered a tense standoff. Wrenn's eyes narrowed and she shook her head, raising her chain flail at Neoma.

"Neoma. Even though you are the daughter of not one, but two traitors. I never once thought you would turn against me!" That's three low blows!

In spite of this Neoma kept her cool, she held her hands up in supplication and slowly approached Wrenn.

"I am not acting against you, Wrenn. I am trying to save you."

"From what?"

"From yourself." Neoma explained, moving closer. "Something happened to you in that mountain, Wrenn. I don't know what, but it's changed you. It made you more ruthless, more... heartless."

"Nothing happened to me, Neoma. Save perhaps my eyes were opened to the true nature of humanity. Humankind is a beast, it is in their nature to betray, cheat and kill each other. Be it the post-apocalypse or pre-apocalypse, the only thing everyone understands is blood and vengeance!" Wrenn spat.

"Giving up on people doesn't solve anything. Continuing the feuds that divide us will only encourage further descent and hatred. Your mother taught my mother that, taught me that."

"My mother sees the world through rose-tinted glasses. She was always deluded by her own naivety." Wrenn choked as she said those words. She loves and worships her mother, such words caused her own body to reel and rebel against her.

Neoma was now standing right in front of her, Wrenn felt the nauseous pain in her gut worsen, as though Neoma's very presence was an affront to her.

Neoma placed a hand on Wrenn's shoulder. "What do you think will happen if you killed Dale? His death won't wipe away his debts, you'll just pass the suffering to his family. What will you do then? March into the debt collector firm and kill everyone, like you did the All Hallows Eve folk?"

"If need be." Answered Wrenn, shrugging off Neoma's hand.

"I won't let you do this." Said Neoma.

"You cannot stop me." Wrenn turned her back to Neoma. "I am done explaining myself to you. It is time I killed this dumb wretch!"

Dale struggled and squirmed under the binds when the girl turned her attention back on him.

"Don't do this, Wrenn!" Neoma pleaded one final time.

"Begone, Neoma. I will deal with you when I return to Muscle City." With no more words for Neoma, Wrenn raised her hand again to charge her Sphere of Decay.

Neoma had no more words either, she hurled herself at Wrenn, sending them both tumbling to the ground. The magic missile of death went wide, missing Dale and hitting a tree in the distance. The unfortunate vegetation shrivelled and died in an instant.

On the ground Neoma and Wrenn wrestled, the struggle was great. Wrenn roared in anger as Neoma fought to hold her down, one of her hands broke free and she cannoned her fist into Neoma's chest.

Neoma was launched off of Wrenn.

Under any other circumstance, trying to hurt Neoma with a punch was a fool's endeavour. But the audience stares warily at the damage on her "indestructible" armour, a crater had marked where Wrenn's fist connected.

Cassandra frowned with worry, as did Varian.

Neoma also noticed cracks on the palms that held Wrenn. "If any of that touches me, I'm finished." Neoma mentally noted.

Wrenn rose to her feet, filled with incessant rage. Heedless to the danger of her surroundings, she lunged at Neoma. The pair plunged into the raging river before tumbling down the waterfall. They wrestled and punched one another, literally fighting as they fell until hitting the churning lake far below.

The water exploded and a Black Rock peak pierced the surface. Neoma rode the construct and landed safely on the shore. Her armour was cracked in half a dozen places, like marble over a fire.

"Wrenn!" Neoma tore off her damaged face piece and cried out to the lake.

At first, there was no response, then a faint ripple and a fish broke the surface. The fish was dead, belly up. The lake darkened and more animals floated to the surface; fish, frogs, yabbies, even a crocodile.

The water boiled and slowly a fully powered black-haired Wrenn trudged up the shore. She was dry, all about her the water steamed as if the elements themselves did not wish to touch her.

Neoma tore down her damaged armour and summoned a new one, ready for battle.

All this time, Cassandra and Rapunzel have been thrown back to their past. It is a new generation but once again, Sundrop has been pitted against Moonstone. Albeit this time the roles of the girls have been reversed.

Deers, owls and rabbits fled the battle-sight, as would any sane human. The fighting was titanic, a loud thundercrack, the earth shook, great fissures split the lands, and it was as though the forest was struck by the fist of an angry god.

A monolithic thorn forest of Black Rocks blanketed by a black smog of death made play the arena for the battle between Neoma and Wrenn.

Cassandra and Rapunzel we're aghast by the sheer scale of the affected area. The smog filled thorn forest could easily fit the city of Arendelle.

The screen showed the interior and the audience watched with some difficulty and confusion, it was chaotic. The black smog made it impossible to see the outside, one could not tell where the ground or sky was, and no way of knowing how high up the screen was positioned. The Black Rocks speared in all directions, indeed like the inside of a thorn forest, so there was no way for the audience to even know which direction is up or down.

"I see them!" Exclaimed Anna.

Flashes of blue and green lights.

The screen rotated its perspective and narrowed in to show Wrenn and Neoma traded blows.

On the flat of a Black Rock bridge, the Sundrop and the Moonstone duelled one another. Neoma sent-forth a field of Black Peaks towards Wrenn and in response, Wrenn sent a green fireball at Neoma. Both magical attacks collided, but it was the fireball that cut through the field of Black Rocks.

Neoma dove clear of the blast that made corn chips of her indestructible materials.

Wrenn approached, powering up another Sphere of Decay, ready for the finishing blow. But Neoma would not have it, they were standing on her bridge after all.

A shift in the ground threw Wrenn off balance, the princess fell flat on her face. More Black Rocks engulfed the proned Wrenn, and with a wave of her hand Neoma hurled Wrenn and the cage off the bridge and into the abyss far in the distance.

Many in the audience would think that Neoma must surely have the advantage fighting inside a giant thorn forest of Black Rocks. Alas that was not the case, for the winds of death erodes all materials it touches.

With a grunt, Neoma restored her crumbling Black Rock armour. Her goggles and her respirator however, were not so easy to replace.

"Dammit!" Cursed Neoma. She could already feel the straps of her personal- protective-equipment wearing away. The few parts of her exposed skin tingled with first-degree burns.

Cassandra heaved with worry. Time was not on Neoma's side.

Neoma felt a disturbance in her Black Rocks. A flash of green and a thunderclap in the distance herald a powerful fireball hurtling towards her! The magic missile obliterated the bridge and several Black Rock peaks before exploding in a shower of green bale-fire.

Neoma slammed against a black tower, sliding down hundreds of feet on it's flat surface.

Her goggles were far too scratched to see through, and exposing her eyes to the winds of death was not an option. Neoma has to rely on her connection to the Black Rocks as her guide, it was a risky trick.

Sensing she was near the ground, Neoma slowed down her descent by carefully launching herself up with just the right amount of force. She landed on her feet.

Somehow inconceivably, Wrenn predicted this landing and was right on top of Neoma in an instant. Neoma took the full force of Wrenn's bodycheck, she was physically lifted up and slammed back first onto the lifeless dirt.

Wrenn was lost to the darkness, all thoughts of reason were driven away. She was truly set on destroying her foe and all who oppose her.

"No, Wrenn. Stop it!" Cried Rapunzel.

The pair struggled as Wrenn tried to reach for Neoma's mask.

Luckily, Neoma also knew a few things about poison gases.

'This better work.'

The sound of breaking glass and a yellow cloud of chlorine gas billowed in the space between them. Wrenn reared away from the deadly chemical mixture. It was the one chance Neoma needed.

Surging through the yellow smoke, Neoma whined back her Black Rock prosthetic arm and drove her knuckles into Wrenn's face.

Wrenn was struck with the force of a piston and was thrown twenty feet backwards. This would be the legendary punch that literally knocked the Hurt Enchantment out of Wrenn.

The smog of death dissipated, Neoma tore off her ruined goggles and respirator, her victory came not a second too soon. The treasured protective items crumbled before they hit the ground.

A huge sigh of relief from the crowd, could it be that it was over?

Taking caution, Neoma slowly approached her fallen comrade.

Wrenn bawled and writhed in pain. The brunette tightly clutched her brow, blood ran freely down her face.

"Wrenn, this has to stop now." Neoma brokered for calm.

Her offer of peace was answered with a punch aimed at her nose. Neoma needed only to sidestep the clumsy attack.

"Wrenn. You are a good person." Neoma persisted.

"SHUT UP!" Wrenn swung again. A wet snap echoed in the wasteland, her left hand broke against Neoma's armour.

Neoma stared at the girl. Wrenn has lost all senses, even the feeling of pain. But no matter what it takes, Neoma will get through to her.

The Moonstone Alchemist closed her eyes, her mind cleared and her body relaxed. All around them, the thorn forest of Black Rocks faded away, leaving a trail of sparkles in it's departure and laying bare the devastation to the unseen audience.

"I'm not going to fight you, Wrenn." The exhausted Neoma declared. The Black Rock arm crumbled to the ground, leaving only its motionless metal frame. The rest of her armour also crumbled away. Neoma's hair reverted to its natural raven black colour.

"You are my friend."

For a moment the two girls shared eye contact, but then Wrenn tackled Neoma over with a shout.

"You oppose me." Wrenn whined her right fist back "All... Who oppose me... Must...DIE!" Wrenn unleashed upon Neoma, punch after punch.

Neoma's brow was cut, blood ran freely down her face. Wrenn drew a dagger from her belt, she held it over Neoma.

"Wrenn. NO!" Rapunzel screamed.

Anna and Elsa looked away.

Cassandra's breath caught in her throat. Lady Caine put her arms around Cassandra and pulled her face away from the screen, it was rough because Cassandra was strong, but Caine held her close nevertheless.

Varian fainted.

The whole town watched with horror.

"Cousin." Whimpered Neoma.

Wrenn froze. The fire that urged her to kill faltered when she saw not fear, but sadness in Neoma's eyes.

"WRENN!" Someone yelled.

Wrenn turned to find a group sprinting towards them, saw Flynn, Amelia, Eri, Aidan and Novak running through the wastes. But something else caught Wrenn's eye, something in her line of vision shimmered in the piercing moonlight.

A solitary Black Rock peak stood alone, untouched by the ravages of the death magic. And there upon its clear reflective surface did Wrenn finally behold herself with eyes unclouded.

Wrenn cried in horror at what she saw. Sitting astride the earliest of her dearest friends with murder in her heart. As though looking through the eyes of another, she saw the looks of horror on the faces of Flynn, Amelia, Aidan, Eri and Novak, her family. Wrenn averted her gaze but then instead saw the devastation of the forest, dead at her hands, never to grow life again.

The internal conflict warring within her soul at last drew out the invasive intruder that has twisted her actions. Formed without form, it reared at her in frustration for her defiance. Wrenn felt a brush of power greater than anything she had ever known, including Maleficent and Zhan Tiri. It was an ancient power, with hate and anger of such intensity that even rivals the Unquiets, a malevolence nurtured for thousands of years.

Wrenn fought against her unknown oppressor.

The moment stretched and time itself froze.

The audience were thrown back to All Hallows Eve as Wrenn relived the massacre she had perpetrated. The burning of buildings, the screams of the dying, the slaughter of an entire town.

With a mind unclouded, Wrenn witness the slaughter of dozens.

Horror gripped her heart at what she had done. Her friends had also taken part in the killing, she had tarnished not just her own soul but of theirs as well. Their hands will forever be stained because of her.

In the centre of the carnage was the girl with black hair and drenched in the blood of her many victims. Her back was turned to Wrenn.

"STOP IT!" Wrenn cried to her past self though she knew it was no use, for she was just a passive observer. Yet the bloody marionette stopped to turn and face her regardless.

Wrenn screamed. For a terrifying moment she couldn't even recognise herself, the grey, emaciated monster that revelled in bloodshed and the pain of the living.

The thing snarled at Wrenn and snarled at the audience. The people of Arendelle's town square recoiled in terror.

Rapunzel looked into the monster's implacable eyes and knew this thing would not stop with All Hallows Eve. If it had its way, the world will be plunged in fire and death.

"This isn't me!" Cried Wrenn.

The world snapped back into focus as she looked, once again, through her own eyes. The fog of despair lifted and Wrenn looked around to find her friends encircling her but maintaining a wary distance. She looked down to see a broken Neoma, held protectively by Aidan.

Heart-sick, Wrenn sobbed at the bloodied state of her friend.

"Wrenn." Cried Neoma. "Is that you?"

"Neoma." Wrenn whimpered. The dagger slipping from her fingers. "Spirits. What has become of me?"

Wrenn reached out to Neoma's outstretched hand, but before their fingers could touch, an unseen force jerked Wrenn away. She screamed as she was physically thrown to the ground by the unknown entity. Looking up she saw a figure of darkest shadow, hollow, it floated on black mists.

The other six teens saw it too, the thing snarled and swept its bony talons at them.

The audience gapsed. There is an old saying that 'everyone fears the unknown,' and it has this far been true in the case of the Unquiets. Creatures that are utterly alien in physical features are indeed terrifying.

In contrast, this thing before them resembled something that may have once been human. And in a way that makes it even worse. What horrors and affronts to nature could a person have undergone to become this?

Everyone took up fighting stances, weapons drawn. Aidan wasted no time in scooping up Neoma and retreating to a safe distance away.

The thing turned back down at Wrenn with a growl, it reached out again.

"Don't you touch my sister!" Flynn roared. His blade swept in an arc but the killing blow passed harmlessly through the apparition.

The thing hissed and backhanded Flynn. Not so intangible when it fights back, Flynn was thrown thirty feet across the infertile dirt.

"FLYNN!" Cried Wrenn. Her friends prepared themselves to fight the new monster. Wrenn knew they were in great danger and it was a danger she brought upon them.

No more. Wrenn needed to fight this battle alone.

With a cry of anguish, Wrenn turned and fled into the depths of the Dead Forest beyond the wastes. The evil spirit phased into emptiness with the departure of its host, its haunting roar faded.

Anxiousness gripped the audience.

"It's going to be okay, Rapunzel. Wrenn can beat this." Anna comforted.

It was little consolation for the girl's mother. Fear and worry gripped Rapunzel like never before.

"At the very least now, we know Wrenn wasn't at fault." Elsa assured.

A few seats away, Arianna and Willow held on tight to one another. Ideally royalty should remain at arms length, today Arianna was grateful that her sister's behaviour is anything but ideal. They both savoured the hug.

At the men's group, Eugene was barely holding it together, Edmund held onto Little Wrenn protectively while Frederic was holding Little Flynn perhaps a little too tightly.

•••

The mists closed around her as Wrenn ran blindly through the thickets. She heard alarmed cries following her but they were soon muffled by the mists of the Dead Forest. The name lived up to the environment, every tree was lifeless, not a single leaf hung on their branches. As abysmal as the scenery was, Wrenn was relieved at least this time she wasn't the cause of it.

There were no paths, but Wrenn cared not where she ran. Her only imperative was to flee from any she might corrupt with the evil power growing within her.

'How could this have happened?' The blood of almost an entire town was on her hands. She wept as she ran. Her entire body wracked with sobs for the lives she had taken. Wrenn ran faster than she had ever run in her life.

She ran until she could run no more, at last dropping to her knees beside a lifeless pool, it's stagnant surface undisturbed made like a black mirror. It reminded her of Neoma's Black Rocks.

Wrenn moved towards the lake but dared not look at the reflection.

'How could I have done this to her?' Wrenn thought of her fight with the blunette. 'This isn't me. Wrennetta Fitzherbert is a better girl than this.'

"Are you so sure?"

Elsa felt her insides grow cold. Fear gripped her in a way she had never felt. She had known situational fear, had known the fear of not knowing, the fear of losing something precious, the fear of herself. But Elsa the powerful Snow Queen has never felt fear brought on by another.

The voice was deep, like spoken through a tube as long as it was old, yet piercingly clear.

Anna, Kristoff, Rapunzel, Eugene, Cassandra, Varian and the great majority of the town did not even feel the temperature plummet. They only heard a four syllable question, but all of Arendelle were already frozen by fright.

Something moved behind the mists, but it vanished quickly, Wrenn wasn't sure she saw it at all.

"Show yourself!" Wrenn demanded.

"I am not there." It answered. The voice came from behind. "You know where I am. And you know what I can offer you."

"I want nothing from you!" Screamed Wrenn, whirling around but to find nothing. "Whatever you are, you are a monster. A creature of evil!"

"That is true. But I could never have taken hold of you had there been no darkness within you. The door was opened. All I needed to do was step through."

"No! I am a good person!" Wailed Wrenn.

"But a person nonetheless. And like all people, you are born with darkness in your heart." It hissed, this time it sounded personal.

Wrenn watched the mists thicken around her, rather than a voice from over her shoulder the phantom shadow moved around to confront her.

The same terrifying spectral apparition cowed the audience without even looking directly at them.

Edmund held Little Wrenn closer. Cold fear seizing the warrior king as he watched the teenage Wrenn face down the evil spirit.

"You WILL listen to me!" The spirit asserted itself. "For I have chosen you to become my herald. You will bring upon the world an age of death, and from the lands of the fallen you will raise an empire of bones for me to rule." The spirit declared. "Such is what you are so gifted at doing."

Wrenn winced as all of a sudden, more images of the slaughter assailed her.

"You see? This is what you are." It gestured at the black-haired destroyer. "It is who you are, and so long as you are you, you can never keep my spirit out. Embrace it and the pain will end. Cease this pitiful resistance, give me your flesh to wear. And when you are mine, I shall grant you power beyond your comprehension. These poultry kingdoms you waste your efforts to save are nothing compared to what we could build together. There are lands beyond these oceans, worlds beyond this rock, universe beyond this plane of existence to be conquered. Stand by my side and all will be yours."

The audience saw as Wrenn did, lands far beyond recognition and understanding. Places of geographic nature unimaginable. And people, or creature people so different yet living in strangely similar civilised lifestyles as their own. All of which held life, life that the evil spirit would see expunged in order to spread its own empire of death.

Wrenn saw a vision of herself on top of the world, undisputed and unchallenged. Yet for all the power, it was a bleak vision.

"No. That is not what I want!" She cried. "This is a realm of the dead."

"It will last for all eternity, as will you. The empires of mortals crumble all the time, emperors die as inevitably as the lowliest peasant. Here you will reign forever."

"No." Wrenn resisted. "This is no better than a world destroyed by the Unquiets."

"But it is still yours. The Unquiets will find no purchase on a world without life. Your world will stand, and one day we will breach their realm and wipe the Unquiets from existence!"

"No." Wrenn sobbed.

"Then say that you do accomplish your mission, an impossible task doomed to fail before it began. What then?" The dark entity challenge.

More spectral shapes entered Wrenn's vision.

"Who will inherit this world of life? You know it will not be you. Let us not play charades any longer, for I already know the source of your darkness."

The mists took solid form.

"What?" Rapunzel muttered.

All across the table, the large group responded with confusion and recognition.

"Wrenn?" Gasped Frederic.

Edmund looked down at the baby girl on his lap.

And indeed it was. Standing before Teen Wrenn on wobbly legs was Little Wrenn, with her signature wide curious eyes and infectious smile. The tiny girl was and still is a ray of sunshine, bringing smiles and warmness to the hearts of all who meet her. She is loved by everyone. All wondered how Little Wrenn could be the source of Teen Wrenn's darkness.

"You hate her." The spirit accused. "And how could you not? You are both the same girl, but your lives cannot more different. You two may as well be strangers."

The phantom gestured at Little Wrenn.

"On the broken back of your suffering, this little girl will grow up in a life of bliss. Rulership of a kingdom you were denied, save for its ashes. Surrounded by a 'complete' family that you never had, showered with love that you will never know. This here is a girl who has everything, and you? Nothing."

Wrenn's head sank. It was true, a spark of envy had been lit, ever since The Dark Kingdom, after finally meeting her paternal grandfather face to face. Though the moment was one of happiness, it is the light of a candle that casts a shadow. The smokes from the ember of jealousy for the other Wrenn darkened her heart, blotted out all that was noble and turned her away from the light.

Something welled up within Cassandra's heart, a feeling of familiarity for the teenage girl. Jealousy has been the source of many terrible rifts, a path that leads only leads to suffering and remorse.

"No." With herculean effort, Wrenn continued to resist. She fought back to hold onto her humanity. Her life was hard but it was one she was proud of.

The audience saw images of Wrenn's life events flash in sequences on the screen. The rescuing of many beleaguered settlements, the medical aids she had given, the people she saved. It was a life lived for the good of others: a life lived with courage, honour and sacrifice.

"A wasted life. Your efforts accomplished nothing. They are all dead!" The Voice hissed. "All of whom you have left behind from your old world are dead regardless, you merely prolonged their suffering. And what was the price you suffered for it all?"

One final illusion, by far the worst.

Rapunzel screamed.

Wrenn looked down at herself. Every wound she had ever received in her young life became present in this one moment. Gashes, lacerations, burns, injuries too numerous to count. It was even made apparent that Wrenn had been impaled at least three separate times in her life of battles.

Frederic fainted. Arianna had to grab Little Flynn before the baby slipped from his grandfathers's limp hands. Tears of horror ran like rivers down the grandmother's eyes, Arianna was mortified.

That did it.

Her shoulders sank, her eyes dulled, the life drained from her. Wrenn's will finally broke. Without any care, Wrenn took a step into the dark lake.

The waters reached her knees, then her waist. The dark spirit beckoned her further into the cold lifeless depths.

"Wrenn? Wrenn, no! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" Cried Rapunzel.

All over Arendelle, people cried out their dismay. They cried for Wrenn to stop yet they knew it was futile.

"Snap out of it, Wrenn!" Cried ,Anna.

"Do not give in to darkness." Whispered Elsa.

The water reached her neck, she didn't care, the will to live seemed to have left her. Shutting her eyes, Wrenn took one final step and was submerged completely.

Eugene had gone into shock, this was a father's worst nightmare, a look of unfettered terror in his eyes. He did not perceive Kristoff and Hans on either side, shaking him.

Hans made a glance at Dale. The subject was alive and well. That gave him an idea.

"Kristoff! They said you saw your daughter here in Arendelle a month ago. Was Wrenn with her!?"

Kristoff paused his shaking of Eugene's shoulder, he looked into Han's frantic eyes.

"No. Amy was alone that day." Kristoff resigned.

Hans cursed. He and Kristoff continued to do what they could to stay strong for Eugene, just as Eugene had done for them when Novak and Eri were gravely hurt.

Rapunzel watched what no mother should watch, and watch without the power to act.

The lake floor plunged underneath Wrenn's feet. The girl sank freely toward the darkness below. The cruel laughter of the spirit echoed like a drum.

Rapunzel sobbed. Could it be that even as she watched these events, her daughter had already passed from this world? Did Wrenn drown and now her body walks the lands as a vessel for an evil spirit seeking to bring about an era of death?

The thought was too terrible.

Rapunzel shook her head in defiance, her sudden movement drew gasps of relief from the worried Elsa and Anna. Rapunzel glared at the screen, there must be something she could do to save her daughter.

It was at this moment when all hope seemed lost, that Rapunzel would do exactly that.

"Wrenn."

•••

When Wrenn opened her eyes, she found herself in a warm place, lying on her side, her head resting on something soft. She was in a city under the midday sun. It was a vibrant place, there were people everywhere, smiling and carrying on with business, it was a place flourishing with life.

Wrenn watched all of this from where she lay. She did not know how she had arrived to this new setting but could not help but smile.

A gentle hand caressed her cheek. A jolt in her nerves and the focus returned to Wrenn's eyes, she knew this soft touch. For as long as she could remember it had always brought comfort to her, the loving gesture she had so sorely missed.

"Mom." Whispered Wrenn. Turning her head.

The audience gasped and Rapunzel's eyes widened.

Sitting on the park bench with Wrenn resting her head on her lap was Future Rapunzel.

"Is this real?" Asked Wrenn, sitting up to look her supposed mother in the face with much desperation in her eyes. "Please. Tell me this is not another cruel illusion."

"No, sweety. This is but a dream." Said Rapunzel. "And it is only through your dreams that I am able to commune with you, here when you have reached your lowest point."

"Then it really is you." Wrenn smiled, her first smile in days. "But how are you here? How are we here? What about The Enchanted Fortress? What happened to Northuldra?"

The last thing Wrenn remembered before leaving her own time was the coming of Chernabog, the gargantuan demon that cast a shadow over Northuldra. Her mother did not need to speak, the resigning smile on Rapunzel's lips told Wrenn all she needed to know.

"So it is true, you are dead." Wrenn's energy deflated, tears again welling up in her eyes.

Grief choked the city streets.

"I am, dear. But do not be sad. Since my death I have never been happier." Rapunzel encouraged. Brushing the tears from Wrenn's cheeks she looked her daughter in the eyes. "Time and space are no obstacles to me. As a spirit, I was able to leave our bleak future. To see the beautiful world before the Unquiets again, with you."

Wrenn stared with wide glassy eyes, the grief of her mother's death dissipating.

Rapunzel smiled at Wrenn, she gestured to the scenery surrounding them.

"Do you remember this place?"

"I do, it is Corona." Wrenn sighed. She watched a younger Rapunzel and Eugene wheeling a baby Flynn and Wrenn down the street. A pang of jealousy threatened to resurface in the teenager's heart. "Flynn and I were here a few months ago."

"No, Wrenn. This is not that Corona." Said Rapunzel. "What you are looking at now is our past, our real past."

Wrenn blinked. Taking in her mother's words, the brunette looked again at the smiling family, at the baby girl held lovingly in her father's arms. This was not Little Wrenn of the alternate world, this was her, Wrenn felt a strange knot in her chest. For the longest time, Little Wrenn was like a stranger to her and yet here the baby girl in this vision was identical to Little Wrenn. And it was her!

"So we are the same."

Alas the skies darkened, horrid screams shattered the peace and people ran for their lives. The Unquiets have come.

"No!" Cried Wrenn.

The city guards fought a fighting retreat, selling their lives to give what little time they could for the evacuees to escape. Eugene had chosen to remain with his soldiers, giving Rapunzel and each of the crying twins a peck on the forehead before turning to join the fighting.

Ghost Rapunzel clasped her hands over her chest, a single silent tear rolled down her cheek.

In the carnage Eugene crossed blades with a vampire. But skilled though Eugene was with a sword, he was no match for the ancient blood drinker. Brad the Defacer dispersed into a swarm of bats, reappearing upside down on top of the confused Eugene. Balancing with one hand on the king's shoulder, the wicked vampire held a dagger in his other hand; the deadly tip aiming towards the top of Eugene's head.

"NO!" Rapunzel cried.

"DAD!" Bawled Wrenn.

Eugene sat slumped on his seat, so that was how he died. Everyone was staring nervously at him and at present Rapunzel, the brave and resilient queen was a weeping wreck.

The ghost of Future Rapunzel however calmly closed her eyes when it happened. Heart broken though she was, she relived the memory with strength and grace unrivalled.

The scene of the burning kingdom vanished, Wrenn and her mother stood in a void. For a brief moment there was silence and emptiness.

Then a new scene appeared and the pair stood once again in Corona, the Island City once more a place alive. Cheers and laughter erupted when the castle doors flew open and out strode a healthy Frederic with his overjoyed wife and daughter clinging on either arm.

"You were there?" Asked Wrenn.

Standing invisible to the crowd, Ghost Rapunzel and Wrenn watched the familiar celebration.

"Yes I was, Wrenn." Rapunzel smiled at her daughter, unshed tears of joy glistening her eyes.

They both continued to watch the recent memory.

Wrenn decided to search the crowd for her slightly younger self, after a brief scan she finally found her. The girl cheered with joy, bouncing while wrapped in the arms of Amelia, Eri and Neoma.

Wrenn felt her heart sink, she had forgotten how happy she was, the joy she felt for saving her grandfather that day. Even if it wasn't her grandfather, it was still proud deed, a day of joy she shared with her friends. "Amy, Eri, Neoma." She whimpered.

Wiping her tears, Wrenn turned back to her spectral mother.

The woman continued to observe the embracing family. Though she was dead, Ghost Rapunzel watched her younger self with nothing less than a smile. There was no jealousy or bitter thoughts of envy, Rapunzel of the dark future felt only love and hopes for a beautiful future for the younger Rapunzel and her family.

All of this Wrenn could see in her kind hearted mother's expression. "How could I have acted any less?" The girl tremble, her teeth gritted, her fists shook, a fire of righteous fury lit in her heart.

A pair of gentle hands took Wrenn's white knuckled fists in a comforting grip. The scenery disappeared and once again Wrenn found herself alone with her mother in the void, some stars and dancing lights made the empty plane serene.

"What your grandfather Edmund said about spirits is indeed the truth. Since you and your brother arrived on this world, I have been watching with pride in my heart as you set yourselves to accomplish your mission."

"I did it all for you." Wrenn sniffled.

"I know you did. But now you are being corrupted from within. Another force of evil has entered this world intent on destroying you and all you have come to love. Even now it seeks to drag you to your death."

"Tell me what I must do." Wrenn cried. "I cannot do this alone, I... I have done terrible things, and I am losing more of myself with each passing minute. I can feel it but I cannot stop it. The evil that poisons me grows stronger while I grow weaker."

"You can do this, Wrenn. I can see the fire burning within you." Rapunzel cupped Wrenn's cheek in her hands. And as Rapunzel said these words more spirits appeared.

There was Arianna, Frederic, Edmund, Eugene, Anna, Elsa, many of her families and all the hundreds of people she had aided throughout her life. Everyone has come to support Wrenn in her moment of need.

"You are Wrennetta Fitzherbert." Said Rapunzel, her face becoming stern. "And I know people will speak your name with respect and awe for generations to come. Now fight!"

Her mother's words echoed in her head with absolute authority, Wrenn could no more disobey its command than she could breathe underwater.

•••

Wrenn's eyelids flew open, a blinding halo of golden light heralded her awakening, the black waters of the dead lake lit up.

"What is this!?" The evil spirit recoiled.

An unseen kinetic force of immense power parted the waters, creating a great channel through the lake. At the centre now floating in mid air was Wrenn, the source of the light, her Sundrop powers at full force.

"There she is!" Cheered Varian.

Eugene gasped and took a huge breath.

A huge joyful cry of excitement shook the city.

At the table of the Arendellian and Coronan royals and their friends watched with renewed hope.

With eyes glowing, Wrenn glared at the evil spirit with defiance.

Enraged by the sudden display of impertinence, the evil spirit surged towards the girl, Its astral form flew down the channel. Long shadowy arms ending in tentacle like talons reached for the blonde, but it could not lay hands on the girl, the appendages burned away by the cleansing light of the Sundrop.

The evil spirit roared, a millennia has passed since anything has caused it pain. As if the universe conspires to taunt the wraith, how could it be that the girl who possesses the death magic it so desires also possess the magic of its destroyer?

A host of malevolent wraiths answered the summons of the evil spirit, their dark master sent them against Wrenn. Once great kings and leaders of the past, all of whom had coveted the Black Cauldron, all of them twisted in body and soul by the evil spirit.

Edmund's eyes widened in recognition of one of the wraiths. A terrible figure of ancient history.

The Horned King wailed and was blasted away by the Sun Princess.

The evil spirit was furious that all of its former heralds have failed to attain for it this new one.

"I WILL NOT BE DENIED!" Growing in size, it coiled around the princess. Ignoring the burning golden halo, it fought to ensnare Wrenn again.

"For so long as you carry that darkness, you cannot be rid of me." It attempted to reach for Wrenn's inner darkness again. Only to find nothing. "What?"

•••

Wrenn stood in an empty white plane, standing in front of her was Little Wrenn. Teen Wrenn knelt and smiled.

"You and I have very different lives, Little Wrenn. That is good, because I want your life to be everything mine wasn't."

The teen placed a hand on the baby's shoulder, a show of support.

"I will fight for everyone, including you. I will fight so you will never have to. And in turn, I want you to live a full and happy life. For both of us." Said Teen Wrenn.

•••

"NOOO!" Cried the Spirit.

Wrenn tensed all of her muscles and with one thunderous battle shout that shook the valley, she unleashed a surge of radiant energy. The explosion of power pushed the waters further away, snapped brittle branches off the dead trees and immolated her oppressor.

With a wail of agony, the spirit disentangled itself and fled, flying back to the mountains, leaving a trail of smoke that could be seen from miles away.

The battle was won.

"SHE DID IT!" Squealed Anna, grabbing and shaking Rapunzel.

Rapunzel herself cried tears of joy.

The audience erupted in cheers.

Hans and Kristoff slumped onto their seats with exhaustion, the latter slapping Eugene on the back.

The magical force dissipated, the blonde haired Wrennetta collapsed onto her hands and knees. For a short moment all was calm. But the laws of gravity and physics cannot be evaded forever.

The tidal wave of the lake's waters crashed down onto Wrenn, the girl was thrown in all directions under water. It was impossible to recognise which direction was up, but Wrenn spied what might be the moonlight shining through the water's surface.

Launching herself from the bottom of the lake, she scrambled upwards. Though she swam at the right direction Wrenn's movements were lagging. The titanic struggle against the evil spirit has worn her down physically and mentally beyond reckoning.

Ignoring her aching muscles and burning lungs the girl kept swimming, yet no matter what, the surface seemed so far away.

Wrenn knew she won't make it, she was starting to fade, her vision blurred, what may be the last thing she will ever see was the moon above the water's rippling surface.

Suddenly, something hard smashed through that surface.

The town square of Arendelle was dead silent. All held their breaths as if they were themselves underwater.

To everyone's amazement, Wrenn is then seen above water! Coughing but breathing as she was hauled to shore, held securely by someone with a strong Black Rock arm.

"I thought we lost you there." Said Neoma.

The pair laid sprawled on the muddy banks, Wrenn stared at her rescuer. Words could not form on her lips. The instant she had the strength returned to her arms she pulled Neoma into a tight embrace, feeling shamed and honoured that Neoma would still dive in for her after what happened.

Finally the pair parted and Neoma frantically inspected Wrenn for injuries, she was relieved to find none. However-.

"You look like crap." Neoma laughed.

Wrenn laughed also.

The cool air felt sharp against her skin but Wrenn welcomed its sensation, her entire body shook with cold and pain but she revelled in it, for it was a reminder that she was alive.

Alive.

Wrenn's features fell. Her mission was to save the people of this world, to give them a chance her own world did not. The mountain folk she had slain will not have that chance.

She knew it was not entirely her fault, but could anything be gained by explaining away that an evil spirit had taken control of her and committed that atrocity?Anything she said now would only sound like an excuse, an attempt to shift the responsibility of her actions. And that was something Wrenn would never do.

"The people of All Hallows-. Oh sheisse, what have I done?" Wrenn swore.

"Urgh. Yeah, you'll be carrying that for the rest of your life." Neoma cringed. "And we can only hope the people of Muscle City won't take ill of you after this."

"What about you? I nearly killed you." Asked Wrenn.

"But you didn't, that's what's important." Neoma smiled. "It was an evil spirit that made you do those things, we all saw it, but that's over with now."

Wrenn smiled. Thankful to her friend.

"The spirit was evil, but it could not have taken hold of me if I hadn't been so jealous of my younger self." Wrenn's thoughts turned to her mother. "She was there, my mom, she helped me overcome the evil."

"Oh, speaking of Queen Rapunzel. I've brought something with me." Said Neoma, reaching into her pouch. The thick leather had sustained some damage from Wrenn's decay magic but luckily the tough material held out. "I was actually on my way to hand it to you, but... Things got out of hand."

Wrenn almost wept at the sight of what Neoma pulled out. The hairclip her mother had gifted her so many years ago, the golden crest of the sun emblazoned on a pink cloud textured background.

"How?" Wrenn asked, she had thought it was lost to her.

"The friendly plump lady at the inn found it in your room and she kept it safe for you." Explained Neoma, the blunette fastened her own purple clip on her hair. Thankful that she had placed it in the pouch also. "Go on, take it."

Wrenn slowly reached for her hairclip, she had long ago memorised the feel of her most prized possession. Feeling it in her hands again almost brought a tear in her eye.

"What is a princess without her crown?" Chuckled Neoma.

Wrenn took a step back upon hearing Neoma.

"No." Wrenn whispered. "I do not deserve that title."

"Of course you do." Said Neoma. "Look, Wrenn. Your mom didn't give up on my mom, so no matter what you do I will never give up on you."

Wrenn stood stunned, staring at Neoma.

The alchemist continued. "This has been a dark chapter for the team, and we need you to be the Sun Princess again. A fresh start. What do you say?"

Wrenn looked into her friend's eyes, seeing devotion and forgiveness she did not deserve.

"I don't deserve a friend like you." She said.

"I know, but you're stuck with me." Said Neoma. "Now what do you say we get out of this place?"

"Wait. Before we go." Wrenn said, handing her hairclip back to Neoma, she knelt before her friend. "If this is truly to be a fresh start, then I want you to be the one to crown me anew."

"Well I'm no bishop, but sure. I can manage that." Neoma smiled, accepting the honour.

And so it was, the audience watched Neoma carefully and ritualistically fasten the clip back on Wrenn's hair. A sure sign of a friendship unbroken.

The audience applauded.

"Oh Cassandra!" Rapunzel cried.

For a second time the Sun Queen race off her seat to embrace her friend. Cassandra also stood up. The pair met each other in a crushing hug.

There will be more hugs to share.

"WRENN!"

The rest of the group finally caught up. Amelia was at the head, and without reservation she tackled Wrenn over in a spine-crushing squeeze.

"You're back! You didn't leave!" Amelia cried.

"Amy." Wrenn hugged back.

After she was released, Wrenn immediately took Amelia by the chin, with worry and terror in her eyes she frantically scanned Amelia's cheeks. Wrenn also took the younger girl by the wrists and searched for any scarring in her hands.

There were none, Wrenn was relieved to find that Amelia had been heeled. No thanks to her.

"Amy. I'm so SO sorry. Can you ever forgive me?" Wrenn begged, lowering her head onto Amelia's knuckles.

"Yes, yes of course!" Chirped Amelia, the misdeed already forgotten.

The boys watched with smiles.

Next approached Eri. Wrenn's heart fell when she saw her friend still with hair covering half her face.

"Eri. I am sorry, I should never have said those things."

"There is nothing to forgive." Eri smiled. The Snow Princess also welcoming her safe return without rancour. Both she and Amelia pulled Wrenn into a warm and loving hug.

At this, Elsa and Anna followed the example of their daughters. Both of them pulled Rapunzel into a group hug to show that they too feel no umbrage toward Wrenn or her.

And so the town decided that this was a good time to have a moment to catch a break.

"Say, Eugene. Should we be hugging as well?" Chuckled Varian, noticing how their wives were getting all touchy feely while they just stood awkwardly.

"Ha. Come here you little twerp." Eugene pulled the slightly shorter man into a bear hug while everyone else laughed.

"You too, Kristoff. Share the love." Anna encouraged.

As everyone laughed and applauded, Rapunzel turned her attention towards the heavens. With Little Wrenn held protectively close to her chest, Rapunzel offered a prayer to Future Rapunzel. There she promised that she would strive to be as strong, brave and selfless as her future self.

The witch watched the crowd with a smile, heartened by how the screening turned out. Her smiled faltered suddenly as she cast her gaunt gaze to the far distance.

"One problem at a time." The witch reminded herself.

••• Far away •••

High up in the mountain of death, in the tomb of what was once the witch haunt, a great evil stirred. Clouds of fell magic billowed as a dark consciousness brewed in the cavernous depths of the mythical Black Cauldron.

The ghostly howls of century old tortured souls echoed throughout the dead halls, all of them victims from the past and victims still, they cower from their cruel victimiser.

The Evil Spirit's malevolent consciousness raged with vengeful fury, trapped evermore as a immobile Black Cauldron without herald as its host.

However, after devouring an entity as powerful as the Gate Keeper Unquiet, a great power was gained and already it makes plans for the day of its inevitable return. And on that day, the ancient King of Prydain vowed to destroy The Sun Princess.

"FITZHERBERT!"

•••

As The Black Cauldron plots its revenge, the necromantic magics that it has been so infamous for seeped into the grounds without its knowing. Down the cliffs and mountainside the fell magic flowed, where it passed through the ruins of what was once All Hallows Eve.

First it was nothing. But then a twitch, a sudden violent jerk and Jack Skellington gasped, life flowing through his bones. All throughout the mountain, the dead lived again.

•••

End of Chapter.

•••

Author's notes.

So. Contrary to Wrenn's beliefs, the people WILL get a second chance.

The previous chapter was the injury, this chapter was the wound and removing of the infection. Next comes the recovery chapter.

Stay tuned as the seven now travel to the Southern Isles. Where Novak must learn to remaster himself physically and internally while facing the country of his father. The recovery will be a great battle in itself, but how will the seven do it?

Next chapter: Stabbington

Thanks for reading. And please leave me your thoughts.