Darkness, it surrounds me, encases me, in this labyrinth. It is always dark now, the Labyrinth only becoming a maze of vivd light and misleading doorways when someone is introduced to its suffering. No one has entered in ... I do not know how long. I have been here countless days, too long to tell for I lost the concept of time long ago, and every day I can feel my skin becoming paler, my body becoming weaker. My stomach growls from hunger, my mouth thirsts for water, and my heart longs for the sound of a voice, the touch of a hand, a beacon in the darkness. I know not whether my friends survived in their quest to stop Orlouge. Wherever they are, I hope they have gotten rid of that despicable mystic ...
"White Rose, my darling, you must be so lonely here."
I spin around, ready to face this monster, this beast. Pale blue robes flutter around him, yet no air stirs in my haunting dungeon. Light illuminates his regal clothing, yet masks his face in shadows. It is his mysticism at work, to make him look like a god, when he is nothing more than a conceited tyrant. I know who he is, his voice echoes in my brain, every day of my meaningless life.
"What do you want Mast--- ... Orlouge," I say, while my voice trembles with fear.
"Justice my dear, justice. To save you from your private purgatory," he replies. Light falls on his face and a captivating smile emerges from stone like features.
"Why would you want to help me? It is your own fault that I am here."
"No, no, my dear, it is your own fault. You sacrificed yourself. Quite a noble gesture, one that went unnoticed by those rouges you were traveling with, but noble none the less. I think you have served your time," he pauses, lowers his voice slightly and looks into my lifeless eyes, "You were always my favorite Arch-Princess, White Rose," a cold hand graces my cheek, "Princesses Lion and Rei pale in comparison to your beauty and strength. I possessed a sorrow that I had long forgotten once you left Facinaturu. I wish for you to return with me."
My eyes dart around, searching for something else to focus on, for his glance has been known to change things from black to white, "Why ... how?"
"I have a proposition for you. You see Asellus, Ildon, Zozma, and Silence are coming to overthrow me," he draws closer now, and clutches a curly lock of my auburn hair, whispers in my ear. I feel loved again, a feeling that has been foreign since I became fully mystic. Am I returning to human state? Impossible.
Orlouge continues, "and I want you to help me kill them. You're so much stronger then them, Rose. And Asellus left you here, alone, where you will stay until the end of the universe. You deserve so much more than the Dark Labyrinth, and I can give it to you. Only I can give you everything you want. We can be the way we used to in Facinaturu. Remember? Remember how we relished in every moment? Remember our slaves, willing to do anything? Until that ... bitch, Asellus, ruined it all."
"Don't call her that!" I cry, "You don't know her, you never understood, you never even tried to understand her ... "
"And you did? You think she loves you, don't you? Yes, I can see it in your eyes, " he chuckles, "she doesn't love you, at least not in the way you would want. Not like the slaves did, not like Zozma once did, not like I do. She does not understand the ways of the mystics ... to love many is common, to love someone of the same gender is natural. If you had told her the way you feel, you know what she would do. She would never speak to you again, become scared of you. She used you, White Rose, my foolish little child," he bends his head closer to my ear, "She would never accept you, and life would never be as good as it was in Facinaturu," a hand steadies on the small of my back and Orlouge draws me closer still. A combination of his charm and strength renders me unable to move underneath his grasp, "Any of the slaves would be willing to take your place, just say the word ..."
I pull away as best I can, "That would be cruel. Unjust. They have done nothing to deserve this torture."
"Torture you say? Are you completely ignorant of what we used to do to those 'poor, undeserving' slaves? Poor, sweet, innocent White Rose, a victim of circumstance; have those traitors clouded your memory of the past in such a way that you do not remember how cruel and, dare I say, heartless you were to all those beneath you? And you, you, have the courage to accuse me of being vicious and wicked, while you were no better than I. They've brainwashed you, Rose, brainwashed you into becoming a self righteous fool, convinced that she is pure. Do you not remember how we would make defenseless humans our slaves, torture them, and then feast on their flesh and drink their blood, reveling in their demise? The teenagers, the young girls and boys, taken from their homes by any mystic wishing to please their Lord. You, innocent White Rose, particularly enjoyed that aspect of mystic life. Kidnapping the humans from their families and creating mystics out of them. Was it not you who brought to me at least half a dozen arch-princesses? And what would happen to the others, the ones I disliked? Rape. Torture. Kill. Consume. It was your life, and you enjoyed it; you considered everyone who was not a mystic beneath you, and you were known as the 'nicest' of the mystics! Perhaps, compared to the rest of us you were 'nice', but compared to humans? Compared to those lowly human, you were a demon."
"But, when you saw Asellus, asleep in her coffin, you became infatuated with her, put on an act in order to please her, escaped with her. She grew on you and you started to change, started to believe that perhaps humans were equal to mystics, maybe even above humans. Yes, it was the same with Rei. You were both misguided, led astray from the truth. And the truth is my dear, pure, White Rose, that mystics are above everyone else. And there can be no changing that fact, run from it as long as you like, you will eventually have to admit that you are a mystic. And it is your right to control others, because you have the power to. And that is all that matters."
"I will return for your answer, in awhile. It is your choice, choose loyalty to Facinaturu and freedom, or loyalty to Asellus and despair," he disappears as silently as he arrived, fading away slowly until the only remnants of his ever being here is the steady echo of his voice in my mind.
A whirlwind of thoughts and emotions flutter through my mind as if in a terrible thunderstorm, memories and ideas as the lightning, flashing across by brain and then dissipating as quickly as they had arrived. As each arrive it feels as I have been struck by lightning, the sharp pain of them make tears well in my eyes, slowly dribbling down my cheeks. My transformation into a mystic. Laughing at a young human boy being beaten by Orlouge. Dreaming for years at a time. Zozma's exile. Rei's escape. Silence's exile. Devin. Plots against Orlouge. The "nicest" Arch-Princess. Ciato's hatred. "Nicest" Arch-Princess. Meeting Asellus. Helping Asellus escape. "Nicest." Asellus ... Orlouge ... Zozma ... Ildon ... Rei ... Silence ... Rastaban ... all so distant now, as if I am dreaming yet again ...
I must control my thoughts and think this out rationally! Yes, the proposition is tempting, extremely tempting. All he requires of me is to help kill some people. Nothing more, nothing less. But, Orlouge, he may betray me, he is ruthless, cold, no regret would pass over his icy heart. And these people, they do mean something to me, don't they? Or, rather, do I mean anything to them?
Rouge, Lute, Silence, Ildon ... Asellus, they left me here, to rot and decay, knowing of my eternal torment, not one stepping up to join me here, or to take my place. But, they did not have the chance--no, Ildon and Silence, they both knew, they both knew what I was to do, they could have stepped up before I. Should I really be sacrificing myself for them? Is this my idea of suffering for love?
Love. What a foolish word. No one falls in love these days, least of all mystics. Love is nothing but a fairy tale, dreamed of but never truly achieved it. And when someone thinks, believes, they have it, all it turns out to be is heartache. No one loves me now, and no one has loved me for centuries. Orlouge is the closest I will ever have, his lust. Lust, in the end, will give me more pleasure than a love that will never be returned.
But, I do love her, I can't deny that. I can't stop thinking about her, the way her emerald hair glints in the sunlight, the perfect formation of her body, the skillful way she fights. How noble, how proud, how moral she is. So distinctly do I remember every wonderful thing about her: how she saved Mesarthim, her brave escape from Orlouge, finding the runes with her ... so many memories in so short a time. Her crestfallen face after her Aunt rejected her. We are alike now, searching for what we really are She brought back my humanity, my soul, or at the very least, part of it And if she doesn't love me? After she dies I shall never see her again, so what will it matter? Could I kill the one I love?
And Zozma, my dear Zozma ... perhaps he did love me; I did love him. But that was long ago, so many years ago, before he had ever thought of betraying the Lord. Orlouge said he was fighting alongside Asellus, I hardly imagined that he would be alive after his exile. His exile ... why did he have to foolish enough to conspire with Silence? And to try and bring me into it, because I was the only one he cared for in Facinaturu; he wished to escape with me ... like Asellus. Is that why I helped her, realizing the mistake I had made previously, in not going with Zozma and Silence? They both paid the price; Silence, made to live up to his name, when Orlouge cast away his voice and exiled him from Facinaturu. And Zozma, exiled to Hell, a fate worse than death. And finally, now, I am paying the price for escape as well, banished to the Dark Labyrinth. But, he escaped from Hell, and no one has ever escaped from Hell. My heart longs for him as well, it has been so long; could I really destroy him, with the feelings I still have for him, and probably will always have for him?
And what of the others? Silence, a former friend, Ildon, a noble swordsman whom has always been a friend, never to cause me harm ... and of course those that I met with Asellus, whom I consider friends, no matter how brief an acquaintance; they will die as well. Lute, Rouge, Gen, Liza, Mesarthim ... could I defeat them as well?
No. Never. What am I thinking? I was all that Orlouge said I was, for his charm and a cold mystic heart create the monsters that most mystics become. The guilt of all I have done overwhelms me but, I have changed. Asellus has somehow brought back my human side. I do not even remember being a human. The part of me that has been lost, lost since Zozma's exile, has been awakened by Asellus' kindness and caring. The caring, the kindness, the concern; what I felt when Zozma and I were together. After he was gone, at the urging of Orlouge, I pushed those traits down, replaced instead by selfishness, cruelty, and hatred. I will never resort to that again. Life here is meaningless, but in Facinaturu it would become even more unbearable, everyday filled with guilt and regret, or fear and hatred. I can not return to that life. I now know why I stayed in the dungeon, not only to save Asellus, but to punish myself for past sins. I will never go back to my mystic ways.
At that moment he returns, confidently smiling, a devious glint lingering in his eyes, "What is your answer?"
I no longer shy away from his gaze, and our eyes meet, locked in an ultimate battle of wills, "No."
A sneer forms on the pale face, and his eyes begin to fill with intense hatred, "Is that your final word on the matter?"
"Yes," I speak shortly, with command. The Charm Lord will never control me again.
"I shall defeat Asellus on my own then, she is not as powerful as she believes. But, before I leave you, darling White Rose, I have a small gift, a token of the years you have spent under me; and I do mean that in more ways than one."
He walks closer towards me and bends his head down to mine meet my gaze. I am too frightened to move as his hands reach out from beneath his robes Orlouge's fingertips are frigid and cold as steel, making me wince as they touch my temples. Suddenly, great waves of pain and insanity surge through my body, my knees buckle, forcing me to kneel at his feet. He kneels with me, frowning in intense concentration. Nothing but the pain enters my mind, and that he is in my mind, searching it for ... something. I throw back my head to scream yet nothing comes, just a gasp of air, as I am already too weak to cry in terror. The torture seems to have no end, at least until he finds whatever it is he is looking for. My heart keeps pounding in my chest, faster, faster as the Charm Lord consumes me and every ounce of knowledge I have, seeking out my most intimate thoughts--maybe to find out why I went against him. I know why; it was my duty, my job to protect Asellus, and this will be the final part of it. My final sacrifice for my beloved.
He pulls his fingers away and vanishes quickly, not giving me time to retaliate, and I sob in pain.
I now realize what he was doing to me; an ancient technique, possessed by many of the mystics, that let you incite pain in someone with just a touch, yet also empty the contents of your mind to them, and in turn, taking away any mystic powers that person may have possessed. In the glimpse of Orlouge's mind that I received, I now know something, that Orlouge may be aware of, or may have forgotten, since it is deep within his subconscious. It frightens me beyond all that I have seen and heard in my life.
Orlouge, the Charm Lord, has been the only Lord of Facinaturu that I have ever known, but, I am relatively young compared to many of the other mystics. There have been other Lords, and in his long life, Orlouge has forgotten them. Mystics never die, for they are not able; but when Lords have been defeated in the past, their souls, their power, their entire being is transferred to the conquer, and that mystic is tainted with the wickedness of all the Lords before him. If I had known this I would have tried to convince Asellus to disband her quest, for it is foolhardy. Only if Asellus has enough human left in her will she survive. If not, his power would transfer itself to her, corrupting her soul for all eternity.
My sanity is nearly gone, because of the curse Orlouge has put on me because I chose my friends over myself, though they may never know the sacrifice I have made. I'm having trouble stringing these few thoughts together, and it is getting harder and harder to concentrate. Perhaps if Asellus defeats Orlouge, inheriting his kingdom, she will return for me. By then I will be a shell, a small fragment of my former self, not even worth whomever would be put in my place.
And after that? I do not know. Perhaps, I would return to a hero's welcome. Perhaps to eternal sleep. Perhaps exile. Who knows; the Charm Lord was never asked for justifications, and I suspect they will treat Asellus the same, if she does defeat him. In any event, it no longer matters to me. When choosing to stay here I had lost nearly everything: my mind, my soul, my confidence, my faith, my friends. And now, finally, the shameless bastard has taken away all that I had left. Hope.
Tears are trickling down my cheeks as I sit, and wait for full insanity to overtake me. I look down at myself, my clothes now tattered and worn, my shoes that have nearly fallen apart, the vines that twist and turn around my legs; a little white petal falls from my crown, lightly hitting my nose before reaching to the ground. It is quite strange, I wonder why I have not noticed before, but, the eternal white roses on my crown, on my dress, the tips of my shoes ... they are wilting ...