I got the idea from a very good friend of mine,davatkins to post my fanfictions on live journal. Of course, more can be found about me at my website.
I will admit that I’m a little nervous. I am nowhere near as brave as him, but let’s see how this goes, alright?
No Good Deeds
( StoryCollapse )
Thank you for your time. If you seek anything other than a ficlet chapter, check out my blog located at www.machabadb.com/blog. It is certainly easier to keep track of non-fic related things there!
- Current Mood:accomplished
- Current Music:Celine Dion - It's All Coming Back To Me
Disclaimer: I do not now nor have I ever owned Gregory Maguire's book "Wicked", though I do own a copy and think it is utterly fantastic. I am just borrowing the story. Do not sue me as I have no money.
Author's Note: Yes, my toe is really touching in this. This is really happening.
Beta: None for now… possibly Xiane42 soon…
Plot: Of all of the tales that surrounded the Wicked Witch of the West, the worst was when one spoke of her soul.
Story Title: No Good Deeds
Chapter: Little Lies
Was this what it was meant to feel like? From her time tending to the sick and dead, the end was supposed to be very quick. Death was meant to be painless, or so many would have it believed to be. Being melted was neither pleasant nor was it soothing in the least, leading one to wonder just who had coined the term 'rest in peace'. Were one to die in agony, it was doubtful any joy would be found afterwards. Oh no, never to one such as her. Were she to be asked, while not utterly speechless, she would assert this to be true. Impure creatures with unclean souls did not deserve an easy release.
Though this particular 'death' left much to be desired. From the moment the bucket of water had been lifted, those soulful dark eyes of hers had widened and grown bloodshot. Despite her expecting this eventually, facing with the reality itself was something else entirely. Pain, unlike any she had ever experienced lanced through her body. A horrendous screeching reached her hearing and it took a split second to realize she was screaming her own throat raw. The Witch's aversion to water had not been without warrant, knowing the stuff burned her skin. It was a nightmarish allergy, as the condition made it difficult for her to clean herself. It was a wonder she was able to maintain the illusionary spell concocted for this sole purpose.
Shuddering, she emitted another half-choked scream before collapsing to the hard floor. Unconsciousness began to scratch its way to the fore but she fought it, the Witch forcing herself to hold her breath as Dorothy drew closer and picked up the dropped vial. Her eyes narrowed then as the youngster gathered the item closer and took a step towards where the 'melted' body was before deciding not to touch the cloth there. Shuddering, Dorothy moved towards the stairs and began her descent. Relaxing enough to finally exhale, the Witch groaned as her vision began fading in and out. It was to her fortune that Chistery found her, dragging the unconscious green woman away from immediate view.
Satisfied, Dorothy had refused to take her traveling companions up the stairs to see the remains.
It was a very good thing that no one had wanted to test Dorothy's claims. Chistery had been the one to finally locate the Witch. She'd been found lain out in the upper level of the tower, her thin limbs sprawled in such a way as if someone who had imbibed far too much and passed out. Having taken the brunt of the water in her face, the Witch's normally viridian skin was covered in reddish blisters and patches of darker flushed skin. She was bleeding, so it was that her evil blood had not dried in her veins as so many had assumed. The rest of her body was not faring too well either, it seemed. Alarmed, Chistery had hurried down the stairs for aid. None had been found, however. The young girl had not been quiet about seeing the Wicked Witch of the West dissolve into nothing. The entire castle was empty. Licking his lips nervously, Chistery collected supplies and quickly hurried back up the twisted tower to administer to the Witch.
Waking had been a pain-filled affair, the likes of which the Witch had not appreciated in the least. Helpfully, Chistery had removed her sodden clothing. He'd massaged oils into her skin, trying in his way to also aid her in continued circulation. Fresh cloth bandages had been wrapped around the parts of her body that were injured from contact with water. Along with half of her face. Her spindly fingers had grasped at her face, wondering why her vision was so distorted. Feeling cloth in place had surprised her so that her breathing had grown deeper and wheezy. On the edge of panic… very close to the precipice, she was also soon to make herself hyperventilate. Concerned, Chistery prevented her from unwrapping her bandages and merely wrapped his arms around her in a measure of comfort.
Starved of physical attention for so very long, his action did make her calm for a time. With her single, uncovered eye, the Witch studied her wrapped arms. Her hands, so thin to seem like those of a skeleton save for a layer of skin, had somehow mercifully escaped a thorough drenching. The heavy material of her own clothing had proved itself to be a sponge, however and she'd likely been soaked with water for an hour or longer before being found. The sad estate of her own body made the monkey shed tears whenever he saw her. Attending to the needs of her frail body had also proved itself to be trying.
During the fifth day, the Witch had requested a hand mirror to be brought. So she could finally see what had happened to her. Chistery had refused outright then, unsure of how the woman would react when she saw the extent of the damage. Having never shown such a concern for her own appearance before, this sudden change was unsettling. As he had refused to procure a mirror, so too did the Witch refuse the meager bowl of fish stew he brought later in the day. She even refused a cup of tea in her own way, hurling the offending object towards the far wall. Splattered with a mixture of broken porcelain and sticky tea, Chistery had knelt near that wall for nearly an hour, scrubbing and collecting the offending matter. They'd had a sudden swarm of ants a few years ago when one of the children had gotten into a small pot of honey and smeared the stuff on the floor, leaving sticky fingerprints all over the place.
Supplies in Kiamo Ko were limited but not so much had there been more living there. The Witch herself did not eat much and currently was doing a good job of barely eating. The eighth day, however, she conceded to a cup of tea and began accepting the food that Chistery brought. It was not as a way to end her childish behavior, but moreso due to her own body demanding that she take in what was necessary for her to remain alive. She'd never been one to believe in a soul, however, believing that a person…no a Creature such as her was unable to have one. So the idea of death was frightening, true. For a creature like her however, she knew that no afterlife awaited. Was it really so bad? If no afterlife scared her not, why did thoughts over her own demise terrify her?
Her studies over trying to understand what a soul was had resulted in Chistery's lovely wings. Despite how painful the process must have been for him, he still stayed by her side. Even now, as she needed aid to relieve herself, the winged monkey had aided her. Words would not come to her though, as she thought over the events that had led to her present. There were periods as her lucidity slipped, possibly due to the blaze of infection she'd begun to have, where she would gaze fondly at Chistery and then the open space behind him. Her angular jaw would work a few times, however words would not come. She would then settle into silence.
The eleventh day since the burning found her howling in agony as Chistery removed the bandages one, by one and began cleaning her wounds all over again. Scabs had formed, some of them with a whitish ooze which flowed freely as soon as the upper crust was removed. The surrounding skin had to be carefully cut away as well, as it was blackened and covered with flecks of white. How the aged winged monkey was even able to do this with a steady hand battled the Witch, but she was grateful nevertheless. It was far too risky and dangerous to located an adept enough healer to treat her. Her thoughts slowly drew themselves from the haze of merely eating, drinking and lying in bed. The sisters were all dead now, along with Sarima, so the Witch doubted anyone would complain over her using one of the bedrooms.
It was the fifteenth day now… Chistery had seemed excited that morning while he began removing the wrappings. After the infected skin had been removed, her body seemed to fight all the harder for her to heal. He had also taken into daily removing the wraps to apply fresh oil and ointment and then put clean wraps on her. This time, he had removed all of the fabric, even on her face. Along with that, the winged monkey had finally produced a hand mirror. The reaction the Witch had to seeing herself after over two weeks was not in the least expected. "I am hideous…" She said, for what had to be the tenth time in fewer hours. Her left eye continued to rove over her face, taking in the lightly scarred flesh. Her right eye was completely white, which explained why her head had been wrapped. The water had gotten into that eye, causing irreversible damage.
She used both of her thin hands to grasps the hand mirror. Was it even possible? Squinting, she noted that both of her eyes responded to the action, however only one of them truly registered. She…supposed she could get over it. "Horrors…" She mumbled. Like many of the major events of her life, she too grew accustomed to the handicap. To her credit, she tried to ignore the fact that she relied on a single eye. She even tried to feed herself without help from Chistery, needing to consciously remind herself to turn her pointed head this way and that. Though it was slow going, as the days passed she spilled less food on herself.
A moon had passed since the incident, Chistery finding her one night in her room, resting her forearms in the window. Alarmed, the winged monkey struggled to speak. "Was with watch." Coughing, he resumed speaking. "Bad be beheld." Turning her head to peer over the left shoulder, the Witch shrugged lightly. Furrowing his brow, Chistery hastened over to her and stood next to her. His face fairly glowed with curiosity. The healing woman seemed…pensive. Was it such a surprise? She had suffered a horrid shock. Sometimes, he wondered and questioned if she would fully heal. There were injuries of the body, but this one…
"Do not mind me, Chistery. I just.." She swallowed hard, her left eye taking in the moonlight that bathed the landscape in a beautiful milky glow. "Why did I try to survive?" Looking away from the moon, she glanced instead to the monkey. Chistery, though able to understand her, had no answers for her. His speech had never been as pristine nor polished as she'd wanted. Still, she had not given up on teaching him to speak. "What purpose could my living have served?" Her tone grew bitter. "I have no one now, except you. Nanny is long gone." A line formed between her dark brows as the disappointing events known as her life flitted through her memory. "Mother died having Shell. Nessa is gone too." Her bottom lip quivered as she thought of the sole person she missed. "Even Fiyero…" Much to her chagrin, both of her eyes grew moist and began overflowing. "And what of Liir… He… " Inhaling sharply and not yet realizing that her skin no longer burned from her own tears. "He was… F-Fiyero's son."
She sucked in a breath. "Oh Fiyero… If only you had never met me. You'd be safe… and alive." She remembered well being covered in his blood. Her mind had begun to fracture, resulting trip to the Mauntuary and then the loss of nearly two years of her memory. Being forced to take Liir when she left, the question of his origin had been a germ in her heart. Afraid of what revealing this desire would have resulted in, she retreated more into herself. Better she not acknowledge the idea that he could have been her son. Liir had not a speck of green in him either, which helped her get along with the lie. She had not lied when she'd told Nanny that she was unsure if Liir was hers. In truth, she had pushed the possibility so far out of mind that it was a foreign concept.
As long as she kept the boy at arm's reach, he was safe. It seemed almost that everyone that the Witch had affection for ended up harmed or maimed in some ways. Irji and Manek were dead…never mind her own apparent involvement in the latter's death. Sarima and her sisters were proposed dead and Nor was enslaved to… To… Gritting her teeth, the Witch whirled around, planting both hands on the wall behind her. Chistery merely watched quietly. The Scrow had not arrived in time to help. Nor should they have… She told herself resolutely. A few things began to come to mind then. Biting her bottom lip, the Witch slowly lowered herself to sit on the floor. "C…Chistery. My mirror." The monkey hesitated, as if worried she was going to have a fit over her appearance again. When she insisted again, however, he obeyed her wish.
The handle of the mirror felt oddly cold and staring into her reflection, she could see so much there. So many deeds undone and so many words were unsaid. In fact, she sat so still and silent that Chistery began to think she had fallen asleep. And then with a voice, sounding much like she had swallowed gravel. "I am Elphaba Thropp… Third Descending. I am not the Wicked Witch of the West." A strange, almost predatory grin slid across her lips. Her thin fingers began twining in her hair. "I am Elphaba, the Witch of the West." Her begrudging acceptance of herself almost cracked when she thought of the few who had accepted her. "I am not now, nor have I ever been evil." Of course, she was sure she lied to herself even now.
Could someone evil truly care for others though? Had her goals been purely for selfish reasons? The figures she had studied when trying to understand the concept of goodness and evil had all seemed selfish and greedy enough. "Maybe I am slightly more evil than I give myself credit for." Some of what she had done was wrong, but wasn't she apologetic? She had tried to beg forgiveness for sleeping with Sarima's husband even, but her efforts had been rebuffed. Did that mean that she was evil? No… Evil was the Wizard. What he did to Animals, how he subjugated and tortured. He tore apart people's homeland for his own selfish whims. For gems, for money and power. And…he had held the Grimmerie over her head, demanding that she could not have possibly known anything of the book. He demanded that she give the book back so that Nor could be freed. Was she as such as him? So cold and evil?
Wouldn't Fiyero have noticed if she was as cold and callous as she'd turned out to be?
The question snapped her out of her own self imposed funk. There were things that she needed to do. There were things… Did she have the presence of mind to? "Chistery… How many think I am dead?" Looking at her carefully, Chistery shrugged his small shoulders lightly. I need an easier question for him… "Chistery.. How many people know that I am alive?" Nodding slowly, the winged monkey pointed first to himself and then to her. Exhaling softly, she resumed speaking to her own reflection. Never before, not even in Shiz had Elphaba spent as much time gazing at herself. She had been far too busy with her nose buried in books. Now of course, she had all the time in the world it seemed. "I can not abide letting all of this go to waste…" She murmured, speaking of her own opinions and past plans of trying to overthrow the Wizard's regime. She had been foolish and slow to act in the past. Now, though, her condition was more dangerous. She was injured; no one save the winged animal across from her knew she was alive either. Well… winged Animal.
"Chistery, I will have to make up for this mistake. I have erred." Oh… how horribly she had been mistaken. And those very same mistakes had resulted in serious losses. "Chistery…" She said with finality. "Take me to the Grimmerie." Her pointed jaw set, she grit her teeth. She was going to have to fix things, one at a time. The first would be dragging herself out of the horrible funk she had allowed herself to fall into. Her nostrils quivered a little and she lifted one arm and then the other, sniffing under them. "After getting me some cleansing oils." She was also going to have to figure out how to clean her clothing, because she knew that if she waited too long, she would be doing it all alone. It still confused her as to how Chistery was even able to move. He was old, by the standards of many.
Maybe forcing the Monkey into such a state had a negative effect on his health. Something else she regretted, but just another thing she could not focus on for too long. There were things to do and things to plan. The resulting energy from her miniature epiphany perked the thin woman up enough for her to forget for a while that supplies would soon become an issue…and that there was no group for her to return to. Or…was that even in the back of her mind? When Chistery returned with the oils, she quickly stripped out of all she wore. Slicking her fingers with oil, Elphaba began scrubbing her skin and hair clean. So many others had seen nothing but oddity in her avoiding water to bathe. A lone person truly understood it and for that she was grateful. Of course thinking about him always triggered an indescribable pain in her chest. Unbeknownst to her, a frown slowly grew. Chistery noticed this, along with a quivering bottom lip, however he remained silent.
Ruminations over that little detail would come later.
With an audible swish of fabric, Elphaba Thropp traveled up the twisted stairs to her former bedroom when she'd been affectionately referred to as 'Auntie Witch'. True, the phrase had a bit of a bite to it and would have proven hard to swallow. She had even had Liir refer to her as 'Auntie' and that was that. Again, a familiar question began to swirl through her thoughts. Was it possible for him to be her son? Was it? He had to be. She had acknowledged that Liir was Fiyero's son…so that meant he was hers as well. Would admitting it aloud doom the boy? Inhaling quietly, the green woman drew in the slightly musky scent of her bedroom. It had been so long now… Curiosity pricked her brow as the winged Monkey moved about in her room, moving into the back of her closet. Loosening a board in the floor, Chistery remerged with the Grimmerie. Hidden once again within someone's wardrobe.
A soft chuckle emerged before she could stop herself and slowly…almost reverently, her fingers began thumbing through the purple pages again, her eyes roving over the silver inked words. The Wizard himself had told her that she was unable to read the Grimmerie, as if being born in Oz had anything to do with it. Before long, she was seated on her dusty bed, idly twirling a lock of inky hair around one tapered finger and struggling to understand what she was reading. The dialect from one page to the next differed to such an extent at times that she wondered over the authors. The book in and of itself she knew to be powerful. The Wizard had desired it so much. Gritting her teeth, Elphaba's jaw trembled as she thought of the absent look in Nor's eyes. As if he had somehow erased all that the young girl had been. No…not a young girl... Nor was a young woman now. And Liir was a young man in his own right.
Hours passed with the green woman eventually being crammed into an odd position in bed as she read. As had been present while she was an infant, faint lines of red were in her eyes. Bloodshot orbs…her brilliant mind trying so hard to understand even now. Turning a page, her tired eyes had half closed. Reading that it mentioned 'Elixirs' and specifically 'Magical Elixirs', she forced herself to awake once more. Her vial of such had been taken by Dorothy as a trophy, proof that she had slain the Wicked Witch. "Nessa was more of one that I ever was." What was it that had convinced her own sister that sorcery was a necessary factor when her own preaching condemned the use of magic? As Elphaba recalled one of her last meetings with Nessarose, she noted that her sibling had grown so fanatical that even their father was concerned. She squinted, considering why she had been at that meeting. Asked to be protection for Nessa again.
Always, always the one used to protect the other. The one loved far less and yet tried to do more to actually help. Frex had claimed that her sister was such a holy and clean vessel. Yet, it was 'Sainted' Nessa who had done such harm to others. As a whole, Elphaba's life had fallen apart around her however she had not gone to such an extent to prove a point.
By the time Elphaba had reached half of one page detailing the instability of certain magical potions, she was only half heartedly reading. Chistery found her like this, half twisted so that her face was turned skywards. The book was clutched nearly closed in her hands and her snore was light. Sighing softly, the winged monkey took the Grimmerie from her, pulled a thin blanket over her and let her continue sleeping. Before he left the room, he left the strange book on the lone desk sitting in a solitary corner.
Seven weeks slowly morphed into two months as the green woman began putting into practice some of what she was learning from the Grimmerie. Her actions were hastened as if she feared what would occur should she stop. Never stop. Keep learning. Due to her isolation away from the rest of Oz, she was unaware of anything in the Emerald City or its ilk. Unlike in the past, everyone assumed her dead and to prevent herself from a true death, she would have to keep it as such. Still….part of her yearned for a smidgen, just a tidbit of information from Gilken. She knew nothing even of the going-ons of The Vinkus outside the walls. Munchkinland was a mystery as well. Currently, she was standing before a large golden gilded mirror, looking her form over. "Oh Yero, what did you ever see in me?" She ran her fingers through her hair, twisted this way and that to gaze upon her lithe frame. There was hope there that she could see the same things he had. Unfortunately, her focus was far too limited to her skin color and the visual fragility of her body. Grimacing only made her pinched features more so and for a moment, she wished that the image of herself would just go away. "I am a person…am I not?" In the past, she had referred to herself as merely a thing. Things were more mindless than she could give herself credit for ever being. A faint sound caught her attention then and she watched with surprise as a hairline crack appeared in the thick glass.
Traveling unhindered over the surface of the mirror, the line split into more and more until she was staring at a spiderweb of patterns on the mirror. "What is…?" Bits and pieces of the mirror fell out then, offering her a distorted view of herself. Confused and unsure, Elphaba carefully knelt and glanced under the mirror with her left eye. She could easily see the bits of broken glass, but what had caused this? "Chistery!" She called, hoping the winged monkey had any clues. Was this…. Was this what she had asked for? More pieces of glass wavered before falling off. The pattern they were making and the distortion made the pull to study herself stronger. She began with her hands… She was green, yes. Was that what Fiyero had enjoyed? From within, another question began to pose itself.
"Why…" She was so focused on her visage that she didn't notice Chistery or hear the noise of disappointment he made before leaving again. The monkey had returned and was nearly done sweeping before Elphaba emitted a loud sigh. More of the glass wavered and fell off. She was sure of one thing… Maybe the chips and uneven fissures in her visage were what she should have focused on. She was not merely her skin or her too thin body. Nor was Elphaba her clever mind and her emotional frostiness. She was all of that. One question remained though. "Why green?" She'd been told that her skin color was a punishment, but if she thought of it well… no one else she knew had the same shade. And why would she have been punished? Shouldn't her mother…who was high or drunk from something and who slept around… shouldn't she have suffered punishment? As in life, not everything was always fair.
"Of all of the infuriating... Chistery, move out of the way!" Time was winding down, she knew. Soon, she was going to have to find a way to obtain food and other supplies. And… what sort of food would she find on the outside? Her mouth dried at the idea of eating an animal. Let alone if she accidentally ate an actual Animal. The Witch doubted her body would willingly accept the meals. In spite of this Elphaba had found a focus, of sorts, through which to channel her magic. The fork she had one eye on had merely quivered at first. The energy she channeled felt alien to her, now that she knew to center it. Again, she glared at the fork angrily and gave it a silent command; this time it shifted and writhed on the table as if touched by a lover. Inhaling slowly and wringing her hands, Elphaba began walking around the small table that held the fork. Squeezing her eyes shut for a moment, Elphaba lowered her head. The fork quivered again, scratching against the wooden table. Opening her left eye, she idly watched the fork rise from the table. Her thin nostrils widened faintly as she watched. The fork twitched faintly, and it spun in air slowly for a few moments before falling back onto the table.
To many, what she had done would have been seen as a failure. Not to her however. The secret was to be found in emotions. Thinking about that, the woman frowned. "Chistery…" She murmured as she carefully studied the fork. "Emotion is the doorway…. But if it is the only one, I fear I might not have the right fitting key." Was her own aloofness to be her own downfall? Would this be her failing before she had even begun? The though irritated her to no end. This time, the fork shot straight up into the air and imbedded itself in the ceiling.
Her middle grumbled lightly and with a sigh, she wrapped a heavy shawl around her shoulders, grasped a basket and waited as Chistery pulled the front door open. Pulling the shawl up over her head, she peeked outside cautiously. Though she was trying to maintain a steely reserve, part of her was terrified of stepping outdoors. What if some of the Gale Force came back? By Oz, what if Dorothy herself came back? Then, shaking her head, she dispelled the latter thought. If the child dared return, word of the Witch still living would not make it back. Pinching her lips together, she grunted lightly. Could she kill so easily? Though she had killed before when her son had been threatened. Twice in fact. Squinting in the darkness, Elphaba pressed further into the shadows. It was going to be difficult enough to find fruit and nuts that wouldn't kill her without light to lead the way. She had left Chistery in Kiamo Ko by himself, for the Monkey's own safety.
Searching by smell was helping, if only slightly and on she wandered, plucking when her olfactory organ pointed her the right way. She was lightly sucking on her middle finger from a few misses and contact with the occasional thorn. Things had never been as hard in the city. Though thoughts of what she had to do to keep herself fed and sheltered caused her already pointed features to twist, a grimace on her lips. She wondered sometimes over the peculiar proclivities of Gilikin's residents, more than a few finding her oddly formed body intriguing there. How had she turned herself from being a person to something else…
Her inner dialogue was, thankfully, interrupted by the sounds of rustling a ways away. Turning her head carefully, she pulled the shawl closer and lowered herself to the ground. She was uncertain as to the cause of her sudden hesitance, her movements slowed down to a crawl. Along with another rustle came a voice. "Sure this is a good idea, Mills?" Bootsteps were heard as the unknown person moved around what had to be a camp of some kind. "We got out of the Southstairs…isn't that enough?" The two are quiet for a while as the speaker manages to build a decent fire. Squinting at the sudden pinpricks of light, Elphaba inches herself closer to the source of light, careful not to fully expose herself.
"No, Lawson. We got away and tha's all we got." His voice showed his agitation. "We got away from prison. We got away from Emerald City and we got away from Cherrystone." He grunted lightly and snorted for a long moment before hocking and spitting in the grass. "We got away from money and drink and women too." Shrugging lightly, he carefully tucked his collar. Both of the men were dressed in what must have been well pressed white dressing shirts, Mills wearing brown trousers with the suspenders hanging past his hips. Lawson was wearing ripped green pants and readjusted a clothespin to hold them up. Obviously, the pants did not belong to him. Both men were barefoot, had dirt smudged cheeks and faces. They had dirty fingers with plenty of accumulation under the nails. "Means we have nothing to lose really." Mills grinned toothily and it struck Elphaba that the man could have been attractive if not for the predatory gleam in his eyes.
"Yeah… that castle though? It's where… She was." As if to emphasize his own uneasiness, Lawson roughly rubbed his arms. Mills shrugged lightly, and scratched his furry chin.
"Does it matter? The Witched Bitch of the West is dead. Along with her foul sister, the Armless Cunt of the East." Laughing raucously at his snarky comment, he added. "I heard she used her feet for more than walking." Lawson grimaced a bit and laughed. "All that bowing and praying was merely practice for when she went to bed her Horse lover." Wiggling his bushy brows, he added. "And she learned to speak nonsense backwards once whilst trying to bed a mere Mouse." Lawson coughed at that.
"That's furking nasty, Mills." Mills just shrugged and lifted a mug filled with who-knew-what. Taking a swallow, he was unaware of the angry dark eyes watching him. Of the rumors Elphaba had heard, she had been a cockless man in disguise. She had even been a Snake that had taken on the form of a person. Never had she heard anyone speak of Nessarose in a tone other than that of the deeply devoted. Or…maybe she had and just had not taken the time to listen. She cared not for the evils her sister may or may not have done in that moment. Instead, her attention was focused on this man. This 'Mills' had spoken many crude things…many cruel things of a woman who had been told from birth that she was the embodiment of goodliness itself. I wish he would choke on his swill. Elphaba bitterly thought. She moved to slink away into the thick shadows when the sound of sudden coughing reached her ears. Turning her head, she watched with a cold sense of detachment as the liquid in Mills' mug rose and forced its way into his nostrils, and then down his throat all the while he struggled to cough it up. Too stunned to act, Lawson began backing away from his friend.
Mills made a few more strangled croaks before he collapsed onto the ground. The terrible wish completed, the liquid became merely that, oozing from his body and soaking into the ground. Turning away from the scene then, Elphaba made her way quietly back to Kiamo Ko, her basket filling along the way. It could be noted that when the moonlight bathed her face that a wicked grin was in place.
There was no sign that Lawson would appear at any point, though the Witch could not blame herself for being cautious over it. Since that night half a week past, she had been on her guard. Her unusually suspicious behavior had Chistery nervous after a time. Another problem was soon to present itself as Elphaba found her supply of oil running low. More than once now, she had wished she could touch water. Just one time, just to clean the grit from her body. However, having that would also involve her needing soap and that in and of itself would still require her to travel from Kiamo Ko for supplies. There was no way for her to travel for trade. Even if she had more than enough coin to keep herself supplied for a long while, it would still be noted that she was alive. It was not as if her face was easily hidden or forgotten. She knew that wearing all black would suggest caution to a prospector trader. Covering her face would only stress the need for caveat. So far, nothing that she had seen in the Grimmerie had alluded or pointed to a way to change her appearance. She was still going to be tall, skinny and green. If only she could hide her skin…
"If I just changed my skin and skin alone… Show me, do you have that?" Speaking to the book would doubtfully have any useful result, but it helped her feel better regardless. As usual, the Grimmerie was eerily silent. The book did not speak to her regardless, but as of late, she had taken to speaking to it more than Chistery. The winged Monkey had seemed put off over this at first and even now looked over her sadly. He would remain silent longer however, to give her time to remember he was there. If she ever did. Moving their dinner dishes away, the Monkey experienced a hard coughing fit and sniffed. He was a bit shaky when it ended and had nearly regurgitated on himself, but for now the need to cough had gone away.
The very next day found the green-skinned once again sitting at her desk, flipping through pages of the Grimmerie. There were a few lines in the corners of her eyes as she squinted, the unkempt state of her hair hinting at possibly an all night session. She had always been like this… Reading and researching. Always wanting to know and learn. Now, however, her research had true purpose. Supplies were going to thin out eventually and Chistery wasn't able to go anywhere without being recognized. She was not sure, but she could assume that the winged Monkey might even be killed on sight. The thought left a nasty taste in her mouth. The need to change her skin began to increase in earnest then. Of course, there would be problems if the day was a rainy one. Grimacing at the memory over how painful being drenched all at once was, she began to ponder and plan ways to keep out the wetness.
Chistery strolled into the room then, holding a plate and mug. His soft cough drew her from what seemed like a fog. Turning slowly to the winged being, she offered a faint smile and beckoned him over. Surprised, Chistery hurried over, setting the meal and drink on the desk. Then, he had to grab the side of the desk as the room suddenly spun around him. Concerned, Elphaba grabbed him by the back of his thin shirt. He wheezed a bit and shook, clinging to the cool wood before him. "Chistery…" The green woman began, unable to figure out what else to say. The aged Animal before her glanced up with sad, watery eyes. Chistery was truly getting old. The hair on his face and body were mingling easily with gray, and some of the gray was giving way to white. Maybe it had been an obsession with her own internal diatribes, her inability to forgive herself. Maybe it was even her own obsession with not forgiving herself. Now, however, she felt more than ever a visual reminder of the passage of time.
While she did not look that different and still held her sharp, angled features, her lone friend had not escaped so easily unscathed. Chistery was old. He was sick as well, and she should have known. A pang of guilt hit then, for whose fault was it that she hadn't noticed? The Monkey had taken care of her when she was so badly injured. How long had he even had that cough? So wrapped up in her studies, she had only until now put her friend's increasingly fragile state in the back of her mind. Now, it was at the forefront. Instead of words, Elphaba slid easily from her seat and knelt on the wooden floor, pulling Chistery into her arms. "Chistery…" She needed not to even say more… He understood. Sharing her meal with him then, the two began to bond in ways that even Elphaba had not expected. True, her gaze drifted to the Grimmerie where it lay on her desk, but for today her sole focus had to be her savior.
"Glum go good." He chattered, amusement in his eyes as they shared a biscuit. Yes… Things were not so glum for now.
Despite her devotion to her friend, Elphaba had begun to believe she had to learn from the Grimmerie with as much focus. Finding a compromise between the two was simple. She would spend her time with Chistery and the book at the same time. The Witch even read from the book to him. He did not in the least seem to understand when she showed a particular page to him, but she still read to him. Thankfully, with Chistery's health to consider, the green Witch spent less time awake in the Grimmerie. In addition, for the Monkey's comfort, she had taken over a bedroom on the main floor. Her grasp of anger and channeling had also helped, as a mere fork was no longer the heaviest object she could move. Still…the ability to have another flying broom escaped her grasp, along with a way to change her skin. "I doubt Yackle would just appear and offer me another one." After the words had left her verdigris lips, she glanced around warily as if the aged woman would appear from thin air. Thankfully, or sadly as the case seemed, the woman never presented herself. Chistery scampered off to tend to the afternoon meal and Elphaba took the temporary distraction to tear herself away from the distracting text. There was only so much wine hued pages she could handle at this point. Having stripped out of her customary dark garb, she had begun to wear some of the more colorful frocks in the wardrobes. After all, it wasn't as if Sarima and her siblings planned on rising from the dead anytime soon.
Biting into her bottom lip, she idly fingered the light blue dress she'd found. It was likely for sleeping but she cared not. Of all of the clothing she had to choose from, these were the least extravagant and decorated. Of course…it hung on her wispy frame. A faint grin crossed her lips as she thought of that. All fleshy and plump they were. If anything, she stood out from that. Even if not for the green skin… Frowning only lightly, she folded her arms, staring out the window from the relative safety of her seated position. She dared not get closer to it in the light of day. As she stared, a strange sound pierced through her muddled senses. In days past her dark, burnished eyes had taken on a livelier tone. She was closing in on the secret she knew.
It was only a matter of finding that for which she sought. Another sound reached her ears then and rising from her seat, she stepped out of her door. "Chistery?" She called softly. No sound answered her call. "It is not the time for games, Chistery…" Nerves caused her voice to quiver. As she stepped from the room, she began to review the spell library she'd been building. As time passed, she had read over and memorized a dozen spells at least. However…putting them into practical use was something else. The sandals she wore lightly slapped against her heels as her cautious walk accelerated into a full run. Something in the kitchen had caught her eye. Normally, she would have discarded it as a piece of clothing. Maybe some of the supplies she had found in the forest. Not this time.
As she reached her destination, Elphaba's breath hitched in her throat. Grabbing onto the back of a chair for support, she struggled not to lose her balance. There was no way, no way at all that what she saw could be true. One foot slid before the other as she approached. Dropping to her knees, she placed one thin hand on the chest of her friend. Chistery lay on his back, his limps flung haphazardly about him. One of his eyes was focused in a different direction than the other and his mouth sagged open. "Chistery…" Her voice wavered and with a gasp, she felt hot tears burning their way down her cheeks. Gathering his limp body in her arms, her heart skipped a beat as she felt faint breath tickling her neck. Of course…she had to be imagining it, didn't she? Letting out a sob, she rose to her feet and ran back to her room, a purpose in her dark eyes. The Grimmerie…maybe. It had changed him before hadn't it?
Warning bells sounded off in her head as she contemplated what she would search for this time. Concern over herself was pushed aside as her mind took a downward spiral. She had to save him! There was time yet, wasn't there? Setting his warm furry body down on the bed, Elphaba dashed to the Grimmerie and flipped the page open. The force used was strong enough to have the book flip its own pages for a moment. It stopped on one page in particular and glancing at it, the Witch released a small laugh. It was a spell of seeking… And what better time to use it when what one sought could not be found? Clearing her throat, she began reciting straight from the book. As the ancient words passed her lips, the spell imprinted itself in her mind. "Reperio ut quod exuviae…." Trembling under her fingers then, the book began moving first one page and then the next. A light breeze kicked up as she glared at the silver lettering. Flashing past her, the pages turned at a dangerous speed. It seemed that the Grimmerie now followed her thoughts, or was it a reaction from the earlier spell she'd cast? Soon, her destination was located straight in the middle of the ancient tome. In bold silver, the page read: 'Reverto ut Vita'. Biting her bottom lip hard and not thinking of the possible consequences, Elphaba gathered her reserves and began chanting the words on the page.
Had she waited, the green-skinned woman would have pushed the book aside and returned to her search for a way to change her skin. Chistery had died, likely of an ailment in combination with old age. It was inevitable. What she was doing, despite her not knowing exactly what, went against the natural order of the world. She was not Elphaba Thropp, the analytical mind. She was Elphaba, devastated by not just the death of her lover and sister…but now having to suffer the loss of her last friend in all of Oz. The smile on her face, when she heard Chistery draw in a shaking breath, was blinding. She did not notice the letters in the book shining all the while quivering. A short message engraved itself on the bottom right corner of the page.
After that, she decided to keep the Monkey in bed and tend to him instead of it being the other way around. Chistery was flustered and confused over the treatment. The rest of the day, Elphaba fluttered back and forth within Kiamo Ko's walls, not giving the Grimmerie a second thought. For indeed, she had used the book for something good, had she not? She had restored Chistery to the land of the living. A small idea began to form in the back of her mind. Of course, if she could do that, could she not also remove life? Though the thought itself was far too horrid for her to allow it to come to the forefront of her mind.
As days became weeks, the winged Monkey grew healthier under the pleasant treatment. Though he began having spots of absent-mindedness where he would forget where he was. Slowly, Elphaba returned to her studies of the Grimmerie. "Chistery…" She murmured one morning, while sitting up in bed next to the winged Creature. "I think I have found a solution to the supply problem." What had it been now? Four…or five months since she'd had water thrown in her face? She had made more forays into the woods, though thankfully never came across Lawson again. The Grimmerie, balance in her lap, began turning pages slowly. One of them wiggled loose though and curled up below it. "What…is this?" Lifting the page, she squinted at the letters at first until it clicked in her mind. All of the pages she had encountered, she had found a way to understand. This one…was far harder. It read as follows: 'As every merchant goes to market to refresh his wares. As every buyer breaks his back working to buy of the merchant. As every employer breaks a sweat and negotiates with merchants to maintain their finances… so too must there come a price for a gift given.' Nape rising temporarily at what seemed a threat, the woman looked around. Nothing happened though. Coughing lightly, Elphaba wasn't exactly sure what she was reading then. Was this supposed to be some sort of special secret code…or was she being given a warning?
"So too must there come a price for a gift given." Shaking her head, she resolved herself to try to decipher the message later. She did not notice Chistery's blank stare.
An oddity for the Monkey was that a few weeks after returning to her, he had stopped speaking. It was gradual, with his voice growing quieter until he could produce nothing from his throat than inhuman screeches and squeaks. Though it alarmed and worried her, Elphaba could tell by his eyes… His mind was still the same and he still understood her. He also seemed to enjoy her reading to him. There had been so many times in the past where he glanced at the book and papers…wondering. If he could speak, maybe she could teach him to read. Unfortunately, his speech had never progressed past a certain point. And with his body as frail as it had grown, it was doubtful that he would ever have the chance now. "Chistery, I have found that the problem was not hiding my skin tone. Rather, it was the supposedly outlandish idea that I had of changing it. I do think the Grimmerie assumed I spoke of a permanent change. I find this especially divergent as it seemed to have no qualms against your wings or…." Stopping herself, she dared not utter what she was about to. She had not informed Chistery of what she had done and did not plan on it either.
Clearing her throat loudly, she returned to her point. "Perhaps it does not wish to change me permanently because I am meant to be this way. " Her dark brows furrowed as she tried to work out the finer details. "Such as…if I removed the part of myself that made me this lovely shade that maybe I would no longer be able to…" Stopping, her eyes widened slightly as she deliberated the possible ramifications of this. Being in the green had nothing to do with her reading ability, did it?
Again, she recalled the Wizard's insistence that she was unable to read the book due to her being an Ozian. What did being born in Oz have to do with it really? And he had read the page with such ease. Though, she knew that he'd made his way to Oz by way of balloon. That still did not explain why she should have not been able to read the book. Sarima had even mentioned not understanding the book. The children did not read much either. "Why would being born in Oz affect reading ability?" It was not simple reading though. The Grimmerie was a very old book so the Wizard's statement could not have been that far off. Why had he made it though? If it was hard for an Ozian to read surely he, from another world and everything, should have struggled incessantly with the ability to even comprehend one word on the page. Was the Grimmerie from another world?
Her pointed chin worked faintly as she mulled over this idea. It had to be from somewhere else… that was for sure. The languages in the book were ancient, some of them modifying the title of the page so that she at least had a brief idea of what spell she was reading. No… The point was that she could read it at all! Why though? "I am stuck being green…aren't I?" She said this to distract herself from continuing on her line of thinking. For if she allowed her thoughts to travel further, she would begin to think of the correlation between the Wizard and herself…and that was the last thing she needed to think about. No… Toppling her enemy from the fragile cusp of power that he clung to would be a far better focus.
Alchemy had never been her strongest suit though in her defense, it had not been her sole focus at the time either. Now of course, she struggled to pull on what little knowledge she had gleamed. The recipe found in the Grimmerie was simple enough…or so she prayed. Her first batch consequently exploded in a cloud of noxious orange gas. Cleaning up the mess afterwards proved to be trying because as soon as the stuff settled, it changed the hue of all it touched to a bright, angry carrot hue. Grimacing and wearing the sheerest garment she could find over her body, Elphaba wrapped her hands and knees in watertight material and scrubbed the stuff up with a bucket and brush. There had been a moment, brief though it was where she considered allowing Chistery to aid her. Shaking her head, she set herself to the chore. She had made the mess after all, had she not? Impatience in her past had resulted in dire consequences. There were so many instances where had she allowed herself to carefully think her way out of a problem, things would have been so different. Now, here she was, scrounging and struggling just to stay living. Also, beside a companion who had already died once.
Her second attempt was more successful. The oily goop was a purple hue with minor flecks of gold. Grinning, she tried to then figure out what she could test the concoction out on. A blank bit of paper not consumed with notes was chosen. Nothing happened though. Swallowing hard and with a sigh, she moved the spoon she'd used away, but not before a drop touched her skin. Gasping lightly, the bewildered Witch watched with barely contained excitement as the splashed area on her skin began to pale until a pale peach greeted her. "This…" She sniffed lightly. "This is like a rare Lurlinemas present…." Could it be? Was it so? Was part of her no longer such a sinful shade of green? More… She thought, moving to the bowl she had used to create the potion. I must use more. I must try more. Elation over seeing something other than her own color had infused her with renewed energy and as she splattered more of the stuff on her bared left arm, she watched with grim satisfaction as the tone changed. It was not permanent… Or so she tried to tell herself.
Part of the green woman's mind wanted to say it was so. That she could so easily hide what she was and maybe… Just maybe…
Find a place? Elphaba could find a purpose. If her skin was always as such, she would never have to struggle again. Or would she? Would there be something in her that reflected her inner heart? For surely, such thoughts…changing oneself and evading the inevitable was truly only a speculation of a twisted mind. She had to give herself the benefit of the doubt though and bravely, she took up a clean rag and began rubbing the potion on more of her skin. When she was finally done, a strange looking woman faced her. She had the same sharp planes to her face, high cheekbones and a haughty air. Somehow, looking at such a different visage was temporarily enfeebling to her. Much as one who has struggled through the fog of unconsciousness into what could be a new world, so to was she trying to come to grips with a drastically different form.
Chistery saw her after she had applied a thorough coating. A soft smile crossed her normally stoic face. Instead of the response she expected, the Monkey opened his mouth and started screaming. The sound coming from his own mouth seemed to frighten him even more and his voice pitched higher.
Exaltation twisted into horror as the winged Creature seemed to go insane and began jumping up and down. Running out of her room, the Monkey was heard tossing books and supplies to and fro in his wake. A metallic thud indicated a pan had just been thrown. Pulling herself out of her stupor, Elphaba hurried down the hall again. Her heart began to pound, that having to do with more than just the running. She was afraid. Chistery had never acted like he was now. Then again, had he not also been absent and devolved into squeaks and squeals in the last few days? He had also seemed angry over wearing clothing, with her one day finding him running around as bare as the day he had been born. Spotting her had been all that drew a halt to his wayward rampaging and then he had sobbed, childlike, in her arms and hugged her. She knew that he worried too. Something was happening to him and this time, it was nothing that either of them could stop.
Was all of this part of the natural aging process or was something more foul at play now? She had grown tired of waiting and games, but had also slowly learned the value of patience. Another, louder clang echoed down the hall. "Chistery!" Seeing him, when she finally found him, hurt far worse than finding his corpse had earlier. The Monkey did not respond to her anymore. Instead, he seemed content to occasionally screech incomprehensibly and then pick at himself or thrown tools around in the kitchen. This was not the Chistery she knew, the one who would know that throwing utensils around was bad. He had no perception of right or wrong anymore and the formerly green-skinned woman wondered if her change of cast had been at fault. "I'm so sorry, Chistery." He acted as if…
As if who she was…how she had looked was all that anchored him to conscious sentience… The grasp of that fact made her feel ill. "I'm sorry…. This is all my fault." She remembered the warning then. A price for a gift given. Was the price Chistery's identity? No… No that was not what she had intended at all. She watched the winged Monkey then as he slowly wore himself out. Thank Lurline that he was as old as he was. Biting her lip then, she carefully approached Chistery and gathered his calmer body into her arms. He squeaked and his eyes, when they turned her way, had lost any signs of recognition or the sharp intelligence she knew he had been capable of. Her friend was gone.
In his place was a monkey, one that was unable to really control itself. I have to find something to keep him in. The thought came unbidden and with growing dread, her mind began traveling back to one day and a certain metal contraption… A cage? Swallowing hard, she knew she could not keep him in one of the rooms or even with her indefinitely. He was a lot stronger than he looked. Sitting with him in her arms still, she hugged him and kissed his forehead, praying he would at least understand. She had never meant for him to lose what made him an Animal. On the same hand, she had also not wanted him to lose his life. Slowly, and with painful realization, she began blaming herself. She had cast that spell for all the selfish reasons, careless of the consequences. Now Chistery would suffer for her deed with the loss of himself.
Letting him go as she felt him wriggling, the winged monkey settled on one spot and curled up to sleep. His wings, as beautifully twisted as they had been, were also beginning to look frayed. He was slowly falling apart, bit by bit and soon she knew nothing would be left. Oh, if someone had warned her of this, she never would have delved into a realm of such dark magics. There was no one to warn her though and only the results to face.
"No good deed goes unpunished." Especially when it was made for the wrong reasons.
…To Be Continued…
I suppose we could call it this, right? So, I need to make more regular updates. I know this, Jeri knows this… (I think. But who knows what really goes on in the mind of that ferocious cat?) And my err “adoring” fans know this? Now if we can replace adoring with “nonexistent”, we can get down to business.
Okay. Personal stuff first… So, my wrist? Still fucked up and it makes me a bit pissy to think about. I know that I should be more patient with myself, but with all of the physical stuff I have to do every day; it just seems like one more on my lists of weaknesses. Fed up today, of feeling sorry for myself, I went and called a number on the back of a prescription slip I had from my doctor. I now have an appointment in two weeks for some physical rehabilitation…for this wrist. Occupational and Physical therapy of my own.
I plan on building more strength in both my wrists during this and want to keep them strong in the long run. So that means… YES. I will resume drumming on a practice pad, if only for that. My aunt is still having a WICKED good time as well. If you’ve followed my videos, you would know what I mean. Haha!
Now then… WRITING stuffs!
My stories in order are as follows:
Contracts & Disclosures
No Good Deeds
“Beholden” is currently on hiatus until I get at least some of the problems with my fanfictions under control. Mind, it is DELICIOUS hiatus. :)
“Contracts & Disclosures” is the story I will start working on when I finish revising these chapters in Pivot and Improbable. Not before….after. This gives me more time to get stuff cleaned up and gives me some time to watch some Xena episodes.
“Improbable” is on the backburner for now (Remember, I said to expect a 1-2 month wait on its revised chapters to appear.) while I manage upgrades to Pivot.
Chapter one of “No Good Deeds” is entitled “Little Lies” and is currently up on Fanfiction.net and on my DeviantArt page in PDF format. PDF…the wave of the future (or present…not sure yet…)! The document for “No Good Deeds”, chapter 2 has been set up for future writing.
“Pivot” is being heavily revised. Currently, the first chapter is honing in just past 3,000 words… Which makes it nearly twice the size it currently is on fanfiction.net. Of all of the fanfictions, it is the ONLY one that doesn’t have a set number of chapters yet.
Let’s see… I should also try to make a faint updating schedule eh?
Mondays or Tuesdays, I will try to do a new Youtube video.
Fridays or Saturdays, I will try to do an update to my blogs.
Love and Kisses,
- Current Mood:creative
- Current Music:If Anyone Falls - Stevie Nicks