Sorry. I'm a little surrounded by pizza this month, with Camp NaNo and everything. All pizza lovers should totally be in my cabin. I drown people in pizza every day.
Off pizza now, and onto the thing you actually came here for.
Option the third won, which is a good thing considering Clare seemed rather excited about it and I don't know what her reaction would've been if it hadn't ended up winning. (Sisters are great, eh?)
(I honestly wasn't sure if “Threeeee PLEEEEEESEEEE 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3” should count as one vote for three or twenty-seven. But really, the please should've had an A in it somewhere...unless of course it was going to be pronounced plee-zee...buuuut anyway, that was a bit of a sidetrack from the main point.)
I offer my deepest apologies and condolences, but this one was a bit short. I would've made it longer, but I think it was depressing enough anyway. Well, I found it depressing to write anyway. I tried to write on from where I've ended but it really didn't work. I'm saving it for next time, and maybe then I'll do an extra long one.
Not promising anything though.
And then I've got the other excuse of the fact that Jessica is actually over for the week (which is super fun). And there's Camp NaNoWriMo too (I'm so excited! I've written more than a quarter of my goal already! Eeep). And then there's the fact that I'm having my birthday party today (my actual birthday isn't for a few weeks yet but I wanted to have a party while Jessica was here).
So yeah. Here we are. Hope is Hopeless. (Did anyone notice that I refrained from saying 'I hope-' anything? 'Cause if you did, congratulations, it wasn't even on purpose)
While I was unconscious, I dreamed…
A young nobleman, Marius De Corlette by name, stands unhappily on the shore. The adventure he hoped for has never come, and he begins to consider the return journey home.
A shadow shifts beneath a tree and he spins around, sword ready to defend himself.
Marius scans the area and shakes his head, turning back to the sea. The faintest echo of a laugh sends shivers down his spine. Someone watches him. Watches. And waits.
Ever since finding this nobleman as he set foot on the land, the nameless shadow has stalked him.
Waiting for the right moment to pounce.
Not long now.
Marius’ clear blue eyes reflect the stormy waves of the sea, emotions swirling like waves. “Oh Louise,” he murmurs, “Perhaps you were right after all.”
The time is ripe.
“Yes.” The sympathetic whisper hisses from the darkness of the tree’s shadow.
Marius whips around, eyes probing the darkness for any sign of a watcher. “Who said that?” he demands.
The trees sway and a tendril of Darkness reaches toward the young man, before shrivelling into nothing as the sunlight touches it. “It is I,” the shadow speaks again. “He who lives in Darkness.”
Narrowing his eyes, Marius realises that the black beneath the tree is deeper than shadow. It is Darkness itself.
“Show yourself,” Marius feels his hand trembling and grips the sword hilt tighter. “Show yourself or you shall find my sword in your throat.”
A laugh hisses through the leaves, echoing from every direction at once. “I cannot be slain by mortal weapons.”
“Then show yourself,” Marius says, and, fool that he is, he takes a threatening pace forward.
As his foot falls into a patch of shadow the Darkness reaches out and ensnares Marius in its grasp. With a cry, the nobleman slashes at the darkness with his sword, flailing to scramble backwards away from the danger.
The Sun breaks through the Darkness and it curls back, disappearing under the tree once more.
Horror written on his face, Marius steps back out of the shadow. “What are you?” he pants.
The laughter is louder this time, and Marius steps back again, closer to the sea behind.
“Come closer and I shall tell you my name.”
A tendril of the blackness curls out and the nobleman renews his grip on his glinting blade. “Why are you following me?”
“I saw your plight. Those foolish, barbaric lords who refused to take you into service. How dare they? To such a man like you.” The words hiss in Marius’s ears like poison.
“They had reasons,” Marius defends them, though unsure why.
“There was never any hope for them. Without me, there is never hope.”
Unnoticed by the man, a touch of Darkness creeps up his leg from behind.
“Yes there is,” Marius protests even as the hope seeps from him like blood from a wound.
“And you.” A swirl of darkness curls around his other leg. “You cannot return home in shame. You must prove your value to those worthless slugs you call family.”
“They’re not…” Marius starts but discovers he has not the heart to finish.
“You are no schoolboy anymore, to go home asking for aid,” the sly voice whispers. “No one would ever let you forget that disgrace.”
“No…I…” Marius’s sword hangs loose in his fingers.
“There is no hope for you anymore. The lords will not take you. The king scarce glanced your way. No hope.”
With a heavy heart, the nobleman let the sword drop to the ground. “No hope,” he echoed.
The Darkness around his legs is growing, spreading upwards.
Another moment and he will take the final step. Ask the final question.
“How could I ever succeed?” Marius barely notices the words slipping from between his own lips.
“With me,” the Darkness purrs.
“Together with me, none could stand in your way. You can conquer this country. Become the king you deserve to be.”
Marius takes a faltering step forward. Towards the trees. Towards the Darkness. “A king. Yes. I should have been king.”
“That’s right. And when you are king, you can punish all those who wronged you. Let them see their terrible mistake only when it is too late.”
“But there is no hope.”
“Come to me, and I will show you true hope.”
The nobleman takes two more paces.
One more will take him into the Darkness.
And finally he hesitates.
But it is too late now.
“You shall be king…”
“I will be king,” Marius says and steps into the Darkness.
Black surrounds him instantly, the Darkness seeming to creep into the very corners of his mind. All Hope is banished.
He falls to his knees. “Show me true hope,” he begs.
“Certainly.” The voice comes from his very mind now. “True hope is not hope at all. Hope is weak, and can be crushed with a single blow. You must have Power.”
Marius stands, unable to see anything but Darkness. “You said you would tell me your name,” he whispers.
The black seems to tighten around him. Filling his mind. His soul. Him.
Becoming part of him.
“I am Dark.”
The words ripped pain through my mind and I screamed. Horror, fear and dread all rolled into one.
1. I jerked back to consciousness with a gasp, chest heaving with sobs. I was alone.
2. “Louise!” A voice cut through my dream. “Louise, please stop. We’re almost there.”
3. “I’m not that ugly am I?” The smilingly offended words brushed aside the horror.
This week I almost couldn't think up an alliterating title with letters that I hadn't used yet, but it turned out that Hope is Hopeless wasn't too bad after all.