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  1. #111
    Isobel and Carrie

    This time, even Isobel understood Diaval's meaning.

    "I... don't think that's going to work," Isobel told the raven.

    Sweet, precious Carrie - surely she knew she should hitch her wagon to a better star.

    "I mean, look at her. She could have anyone she wants. Anyone. And I'm damaged goods. She wouldn't... She would never... Her true love has to be someone wonderful."

    This was the closest Isobel had come to admitting certain things, even to herself. Until this point, she had steadfastly denied any feelings that might exceed the bounds of friendship. It would have been too painful to imagine the possibility of such happiness, so tantalizingly close and yet so impossibly out of reach. Dreaming of heaven would only make life on earth harder. So she didn't. She carefully constructed a wall in her heart that could never be crossed - a line so firm that she didn't even allow herself to acknowledge that it was there in the first place.

    This simply couldn't be. Isobel knew it couldn't.

    And yet... if there was any faint hope, how could she not try? She would have given her very life to save Carrie. How could she refuse to risk mere humiliation, even if the chance was remote?

    "Friendship is a sort of love, isn't it?" Isobel suggested with a faint edge of desperation. "She cares for me as a dear friend. Maybe that will be enough."

    Without waiting for Maleficent to render a verdict - fearing it would be no - Isobel gently kissed Carrie's cold, motionless lips. For an instant it appeared nothing was going to happen, but then Carrie's eyelids fluttered and the color returned to her cheeks. She opened her eyes and looked at Isobel, and suddenly her face registered alarm. "What happened?" she asked.

    "You were under a sleeping curse--" Isobel began, but Carrie shook her head.

    "No, I mean... your face. Someone hurt you."

    "Oh." Isobel raised a self-conscious hand to her bruised cheek. She hadn't given much thought to that. It hurt, but she hadn't realized it would be a source of concern to anyone else. Between her marriage to Nial and Blanche's younger days, Isobel had sported plenty of bruises. No one had ever seemed to care, and Isobel hadn't registered it as a potential source of worry. "I'm alright. Willard hit me, but he's gone now. Only temporarily, though. We need to get you somewhere safe."

    Despite the urgency of the situation, Isobel couldn't resist pausing briefly to give Carrie a hug. The relief of having the person dearest to her return lifted Isobel's heart, and gave her hope that everything might turn out alright in the end.

    She had hoped Carrie might not question their miracle further, but as they started walking, Carrie asked, "How did the five of you break the curse? Did you use some kind of spell?"
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 12-14-2017 at 07:57 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #112

    Pino briefly looked discomfited. This was not how his plan was supposed to go. Then he shrugged, though.

    "Ah, no matter," he said. "I don't need them to be alive. I just need a hand from each, and I'm sure the witch hunters I brought here would be so kind as to provide that from the corpses. Oh, don't look so glum, Kalona." Though they both knew 'glum' was not an apt description of the warrior's expression. "Your lot was cast with them by chance. That is all. You owe them no debt of loyalty. Those two women are evil, whereas you are - I think - a good man. So put it from your mind."

    He smiled, every inch the gracious host. "Come, let us go to your daughter, and I will reconcile her to you. Then perhaps you'll be in a more open-minded mood for negotiating."

  3. #113

    Mariel wasn't upset by the 'somehow.' She knew this wasn't going to be easy. That was why she had used a magic spell to seek help. They would find a way, though. They had to.

    "I'm hoping Queen Isobel will know a way to bypass some of the guards," Mariel said. "That would make this a lot easier. I need to look for the queen. My stepfather is here to try to find her, too, and he has bad intentions. He wants to capture her so Queen Blanche can kill her. I should find her and make sure she's alright."

    She refused to even consider the possibility that Willard might have won. No, Isobel would be alright... and so would Dinah.

  4. #114
    Maleficent, Prince Phillip, & Princess Aurora

    Everyone caught on to what Diaval wanted Isobel to do this time. Even as she objected, he cawed at her again. Not willing to take no for an answer.

    "I think you should try."

    Aurora told Isobel. She didn't know what's going on between Isobel and Carrie, after all, she had just met Isobel but it seemed very clear to the princess that Isobel cared deeply about her friend. And the raven, who was more then just a raven, seemed to know it too. Diaval cawed again, happy that Perrault's princess agreed with him. When Isobel said she thought Carrie could do a lot better, Aurora gave her a smile.

    "What Carrie deserves is up to her."

    Phillip nodded his head and said.

    "Here, let's take in her in this room."

    He said, it would be easier to try true love's kiss if they weren't walking around the halls of the castle. Aurora opened the door to first room they found and Phillip gently laid the forest witch down on the floor. He moved back and Maleficent, who has been quiet, told Isobel.

    "There are many types of love."

    Although for the curse she had cast, friendship wouldn't have worked. Not because friends couldn't love each other, many did but...The cure for her curse was a special kind of love. One that often existed between parents and their children. Or between two lovers, who were soul mates. Unconditional love. Putting the needs of another before yourself. Loving someone, despite their flaws. A person who brought the best in you and who you brought out the best in them. A person you wanted to spend your life with and would die for. Many people fell in love but it wasn't always true. Some confused lust with love. Others were too selfish to truly love anyone but themselves. True love, that was a rare thing to find. If someone found it, they should hold onto to it. She had found true love with Diaval, which was why she hadn't been able to let him go. Even when he sacrificed himself to save her life.

    She looked at Diaval and wondered if she was selfish. She couldn't bare thought of losing him and she had turned him into a raven. To save his life but he was stuck in this form. Was that true love? Or was it a selfish love? Because he had been dying and she wouldn't let him go. Didn't they say if you truly loved someone, you should let them go?

    Maleficent wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer and watched Isobel kiss Carrie and smiled when the kiss worked. Maleficent handed Phillip his sword back, now that he didn't need to carry Carrie. With Carrie awake, they could find Kalona now. When Carrie asked how it worked, Maleficent replied.

    "There is only one cure for a sleeping curse...."

    She looked over at Isobel before she added.

    "True love's kiss."

  5. #115
    Isobel and Carrie

    "True love's kiss...?" Carrie repeated.

    Isobel looked away, but didn't fault Maleficent for what she had said. If she hadn't answered, Isobel would have. She didn't have any intention of spending the rest of her life keeping a secret from Carrie. The rest of the world, yes - but not the one person she shared absolute trust with. She just wasn't sure how Carrie would react, and feared it would be with anger... or worse, pity.

    Carrie looked at Isobel until Isobel hesitantly met her eyes. Maleficent might not have said a name, but if she had been awakened by true love's kiss, Carrie knew there was only one person who could have given it to her. She was just surprised that her feelings were reciprocated after all.

    "Please don't be angry with me!" Isobel said desperately. Would Carrie think she had transgressed the bounds of friendship? "I would usually never do something like that without permission, I just didn't know of any other way to save you. This doesn't obligate you to anything. Please, just... don't make me leave. I swear I won't make you uncomfortable, just let me stay with you and I'll never speak of this again if you tell me not to..."

    Carrie hugged Isobel, and kissed her gently. "Of course I don't want you to leave," she said, finding unexpected confidence in the face of Isobel's self-critical hesitation. "I want to be with you. Thank you for saving me. Let's go find Kalona now."

    This wasn't the time for an extended conversation about the future of their relationship. That would come later, when they weren't in imminent danger. For now, Isobel twined her fingers through Carrie's as they hurried to find their other missing friend.

  6. #116

    Maleficent nodded her head to Carrie when she had repeated what she said.


    And stopped talking when Carrie and Isobel needed to talk. The Mistress of Evil didn't see the point of beating around the bush about it. Isobel clearly loved Carrie and Diaval had seemed to think the feeling was mutual. She smiled when the two admitted their feelings for each other but also felt a pang of jealously. And hated herself for it. She was happy that Carrie reciprocated Isobel's feelings. She truly was. Isobel deserved to be happy. Especially after she had been through. But she couldn't help but also feel jealous. She was stuck with lovebirds, she realized. Isobel and Carrie. Aurora and Phillip. She had Diaval but she didn't. He was stuck in his raven form and it was her fault.

    After everything she had done, Maleficent didn't deserve a happy ending. But Diaval deserved to be free. To be back in his true form. She owed him that much. After everything she had put him through. Diaval seemed to pick up on her feelings and rubbed his raven head against her cheek. The closest thing he could do to giving her any kind of affection. They couldn't hug. They couldn't kiss. They couldn't hold hands. But he could still show her that he loved her. She smiled sadly at him and kissed the top of his head.

    "I love you too."

    She whispered to him as she walked with the two couples to find Kalona. She truly did. She always had and she always would. Even as she told herself the best thing she could for Diaval now was to figure out how to finally free him of his curse. And let him be free of her. Like she should have before. Maleficent realized now how selfish she had been. She had saved his life but had also cursed him into being a raven. She hadn't given him a choice that day. She had made the choice for him and he had been stuck like this ever since.

    They needed to find Kalona, help this Dinah girl, make sure that Diaval was turned back into a human, and then...She would give Aurora all the answers she and Phillip came here to find. And let the royal couple decided her judgment. Accept her fate. She had done many horrible things, after all. She justified herself in it all because King Stefan was a horrible person too. He had done horrible things to the Moors to become king. But that still didn't give her the right to harm his daughter and curse all the people of his kingdom along with her. She had let hate and the need for vengeance consume her for so long.

    Maleficent was a villain and villains didn't get happy endings.
    Last edited by Sojourn; 12-17-2017 at 11:02 PM.

  7. #117

    Isobel had never been loved before. Not really. She had been little more than useful currency to her parents, and an object for the amusement of her husband. Her stepdaughter had felt only hatred for her. Being loved was new, and confusing. She liked it, though. It was a strange feeling of warmth radiating from deep within. She wondered how long it would last, how long Carrie would be able to love her.

    It didn't escape Isobel's notice that Maleficent's mood had taken a turn for the worse. Surely seeing... whatever not-yet-defined thing Isobel and Carrie had... brought fresh regret about the state of Maleficent's own beloved.

    There was no consolation that would ease the sting of such a loss. Perhaps something practical might be of help, though.

    "Maleficent, a thought has occurred to me. In the library at Castle Florian, there is a book about human and animal transformations. I don't recall much of the contents as it wasn't relevant to my goals at the time, but perhaps it will be of help?"

    Since Isobel planned to go to Castle Florian to rescue Dinah, she might as well get the book at the same time, since the hardest part would be getting into the castle in the first place.

    They reached the last of the mirror-walls Pino had put in place, and Isobel removed it so they could pass through.

  8. #118

    Unlike Isobel, Maleficent had been loved before. Back when she went by the name Mallie. She had loved and been loved by her mother. She had many friends, all who were gone now, that she had loved like a family. Of course, she also had Diaval. But now...Seeing the two couples made her feel selfish. She had changed Diaval into a raven, with out giving him a choice. It hadn't been right. It had been selfish of her. Love, her mother used to tell her, wasn't selfish.

    When Isobel brought up Castle Florian's library, she replied.

    "It's definitely worth a try. I owe it to him to return him to his true form."

    Even if that meant that he would leave her. Once he was a human again, Maleficent would let him have a choice on how to live the rest of his life. She hoped that they would be able to find Kalona soon and get to Castle Florian to help Dinah and also see if they could help Diaval.

  9. #119

    No, 'glum' did not fit Kalona's mood at all. 'Furious' would be closer, but far too mild even then. If he could have called lightning down on this man right then, he would have, but hat was an bility left to gods and the rarest of sorcerers, for even most sorcerers could not call lightning. But he kept his temper under control, as he wished he had with his daughter. He did not attack... nor did he speak, for he knew his voice would give away more than he wanted. So he just nodded, and followed this Pino fellow.

  10. #120
    Kawelo, Koa'iki, and Meki Leaf

    "All you know about Queen Isobel's whereabouts is that you were brought to this place when asked magic to take you to her?" Kawelo rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

    "What are you thinking?" Koa'iki asked, looking at her husband thoughtfully.

    "That if she's in here, we'd better start looking for her." Kawelo explained to his wife.

    "What if we get lost?"

    "Do you really want to stay here, meekly sitting where they told us to? That sounds too much like sitting on a target to me."

    Koa'iki stared at her husband. So did Meki Leaf, who recovered first. "Father does have a point, Mother. If we stay here, we stay in someone else's power. If we leave, we may leave their power, or at least diminish it."

    Koa'iki turned to stare at Meki Leaf. "I am so glad for the day your father decided to adopt you. It even makes up for his decision to adopt that traitor at the same time." She turned to Mariel, and took the girl's hand. "Come. Let's leave before those who think we are in their power return."

    She rose to her feet, as did Kawelo and Meki Leaf, who checked the doors and windows, then picked a door to go thru. Kawelo went thru first. then Meki Leaf gestured that Koa'iki and Mareil should go thru before he did.

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