The Vicar of Darkness

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 13 (v.1) - XIII.

Submitted: April 23, 2019

Reads: 36

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Submitted: April 23, 2019

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"She is not well." Sir Francois steps out of Eloise's room and informs the anxious doctor and his assistant. "But I have an idea I would appreciate running by you. I understand you have started her on treatment Doctor? If you wouldn't mind running the details with me?"

"Of course Sir Francois, Preston please fetch my bag," Doctor Harrison asks him kindly.

Preston leaves the two doctors discussing in the hall.

Sir Francois was not what Preston had imagined. He is taller than Preston, which is rare, his hair color is ages him more than his actual appearance. He's on the leaner side as well, and has a long face. Nothing about the man pegs him as a soldier, he is dressed and speaks in a doctorly manner. He does not wear a Masking seal. Preston wonders what he was like as Head Vicar of the Grandmasters. Typically Vicars that are healers aren't required to train in combat, although most do anyway.

Entering the library, he recalls lecturing Eloise about reading under the window after her bedtime       

Entering the library, he recalls lecturing Eloise about reading under the window after her bedtime. How can he miss her voice, when he should be grateful that she has returned at all. He is startled when the door clicks behind him. He turns to see Sir Francois and he reconsiders his suspicions from earlier, only a higher ranking Vicar could surprise another Vicar. Is Sir Francois a Grandmaster? No, that isn't possible, D'Hiver Nero doesn't have any Grandmasters at the moment. They are so rare that when they do turn up, they become instant celebrities.

"I understand that this is a matter of great sensitivity, but this Eloise- she is a Child of Adeline?" he asks in a whisper.

Preston nods.

"Is there a chance that we could maybe talk to her without the doctor and her parents present?"

"We could return later tonight?" Preston suggests, thinking about the balcony in Eloise's room. He can leave it unlocked at the end of his shift. Alternatively he can give Eloise a heads up so she can open the door.

"That would be most ideal." Francois sighs and runs a hand through his clean combed grey hair. "This is not going to be easy, but I believe there is a good chance she will make a full recovery."

---

In the evening, Ain and Sir Francois stand on Eloise's balcony. Ain knocks on the glass door three times, not loud enough for anyone but Eloise to hear. She wheels over in her chair and unlocks the door for them.

"Good evening Ms. Desmond, sorry to bother you at such a late hour but I'm certain that you do not want to get others involved with your private life." Sir Francois speaks in soft pleasant tone. "I am told that you are a gifted child of Light, yes? Is it true that you use this power to walk as a Vicar?"

Eloise nods, but fidgets in her chair, wishing she could thank Sir Francois for considering her privacy. She is also not accustomed to being before Ain as Eloise. She feels exposed in a way.

"We can use this to our advantage." Sir Francois continues, and Eloise returns her focus to him.

Her face drops, upon realizing what he has said. With a pained sigh she shakes her head morosely. 

"Oh dear, " he reads her face, "is there a problem with your Light?"

"I have no Light," she mouths slowly.

Ain looks at Eloise, his mouth opens and shuts when he can't think of something to say. The girl swallows away lurking thoughts. The loss of her freedom is one of those thoughts, but another one is the loss of her beloved partnership. What did he think of it? She can't read his expression in the lighting.

"Eloise," Francois is not discouraged by this news. "Vicars lose their Light when they are no longer part of this world. Since you are here, your Light must also be here."

He speaks differently than the other adults in Eloise's life. Doctor Harrison has a homegrown, professional, manner in which he doesn't need to order people around in order to be listened to. Sir Errol speaks formally, but in an light-hearted, approachable, outgoing tone.

Sir Francois however, speaks with little fluctuation in his voice. The monotone is not daunting, rather calming. Eloise recognizes that he is the type of person that is not going to force her to do anything, but will not lie to her. It is in this moment that she decides that she likes him. She is done with people not telling her the truth. She unknowingly glances at Ain as she thinks this.

"You must not accept defeat. I will help you draw your Light out, but I cannot do it for you. You must be willing for this to work understand?" the royal physician asks her.

Unlike Eloise, Ain cannot make out Sir Francois's character. Will he be able to help Eloise? She has a tendency to be stubborn, but that was the girl he knew previously, not the broken Eloise that sits before him.

She doesn't look completely persuaded by the physician's words. However, Ain sees a small fire in her eye that has a faint resemblance to something that has been there before. The tension in his chest releases, and it is then that he notices that he had been holding his breath. There is a ghost of the old Eloise in that look. Even if she doesn't believe her Light can return, she is willing to put up a fight. That counts for something.

"I must prepare the first part of your therapy, but I will be back tomorrow. Rest well, prepare to work hard, and tomorrow we will commence," Sir Francois promises her.

The glint in his eye reveals his genuine interest in the mysterious case. It is the same reason Ain loves working with Doctor Harrison. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with facing a challenge and making it your own. The moments are rare, in which Ain is truly alive. One, is when he is working at a puzzle that he can't quite solve. The other is when he is with Electra.

Eloise watches the two men walk out onto the balcony. They wish her a goodnight before parting ways and disappearing into the darkness. She her thoughts linger on what the doctor had said to her. Since you are here, your Light must also be here. She uncurls her fist that she had thoughtlessly held clenched. She stares at her palm, her mind racing. Ultimately she is too frightened to attempt summoning her Light.

Her reeling thoughts are interrupted by another tap at her balcony door. It is still propped open.

"You should really close this." Ain stands bashfully at the door. "May I?"

At her nod, he walks over and pushes her chair closer to her bed. Eloise can appreciate this because after her time at the Institute, wheeling herself around has become painful now that she's off the heavy sedatives. She finds that she is weaker too and it's frustrating.

Her friend assists her in getting from her chair to the bed. Preston had done this many times in a large fraction of Eloise's lifetime, but she cannot get used to Ain. Preston is Ain, so she does not understand where her incertitude is coming from.

Again interrupting her thoughts, Ain gives her a hug.

"I'm sorry that you are going through this," he apologizes, although Eloise does not see a need for him to do so. She is grateful that Ain is both her partner and good friend. He wants to help her, but he doesn't know how. Eloise doesn't know how either, so she can't hold that against him. And why would she? Ain's friendship is precious to her.

"Good night Miss. Desmond." He waves before closing the balcony doors behind him.

From her bed, Eloise once again watches him fade into the night.

From her bed, Eloise once again watches him fade into the night       

---

"Ready?" The following evening Sir Francois stands in the center of Eloise's room.

He stands at her side, and she curious what his plan is. While her room is large, there isn't a lot of room to move around in with her desk and dressers.

Eloise nods firmly. Ain is back on duty at the castle, so he would not be around for Eloise's therapy sessions. She is thankful for this, as she doesn't want him to see her fail.

The doctor spins a dial of Light under his right foot. Eloise wasn't aware that it was possible to do so. The dial grows to the size of the room, encompassing them in the physician's teal colored Light. In an instant, the room changes into a vast artificial space. The feeling of the fabricated space is extraordinary, it is familiar to Eloise. There is a warmness that Light gives off, and this room has the ambiance of a blanket in that sense. The room is a separate space than her room, a place where time doesn't seem to pass, although that isn't the case. Time is definitely passing.

"Neat isn't it?" Francois admires the room himself. It is his first time seeing the spell in action and is also interested in testing the limits of the space. "It was made with the power of five Vicars, specifically for you."

Eloise has little experience with the third dimensional aspects of Light. She dipped into the subject briefly during her training in MontPec, but in her studies not in her physical training. Accessing the third dimension is another level of Lightwielding, usually only accessible by Grandmasters.

She too questions if Sir Francois is a Grandmaster, but he mentioned that it had taken five Lightwielders to make the space so it is unlikely. Nevertheless, she admires the fact that he is able to do so.

"This room is made of Light. The ground, the walls, the air, everything in here is Light. Anyone- including a non-wielder, can manipulate the Light in here. I'm hoping that with this tool, you will be able to draw out and utilize your own Light." He demonstrates by pulling some Light particles out if the air. It is a different color than his own, white. "It will compare to learning to walk again."

He walks around Eloise's wheelchair. "Which reminds me, you've started learning sign language yes?"

Eloise nods.

"Good. We will work on that as well. For now anyway, when we get your Light up and going we can stop. Or keep going if you'd prefer, it's a useful skill to have. " He signs as he talks, but Eloise hasn't learned enough to pick up more than a couple of words. He stops in front of Eloise and goes on, "To begin, we will not need this." He taps the wheel of her wheelchair with his foot and it disappears.

" He taps the wheel of her wheelchair with his foot and it disappears       

---

Electra of the South dances circles around a Creature of Darkness. The flashing of her Light strokes, pulsate at the rhythm of a steady breath. With the change in Light, something about Electra's movements change. It's musical. Her features begin to change, one at a time. First her skin tone darkens into a toasted olive color. Her hair is cut loose into long brown curls that bounce freely with her movements. Gradually, she becomes a different person. Someone Ain knows. This woman turns back to look at Ain, she grins knowingly, her light colored eyes pin him down on the spot. She knows him, and Ain knows her. But who is she?

Ain runs towards her. I know you... remind me how I know you.

This is a dream. The Vicar of the North realizes. He realizes this because he remembers.

Ain remembers.

---

 

Eloise falls on her knees, she places her hand on the ground to keep her balance. She has been training with Sir Francois for about a week. She spins a dial from the hand she has placed on the floor and uses it to push herself up.

Up until now, she has been using the Light available in the space around them to move around. Her insecurity lingers, and she has avoided using her own Light.

She stands in time to dodge a swing from Sir Francois. She then blocks his following kick, and kicks herself over and behind him. He then blocks her following strike.

"Good Electra, you are building your strength nicely," Sir Francois comments while signing for a timeout.

"I am not Electra yet," Eloise signs with her hands. She then leans forward resting her hands against her knees.

She is making progress, but movement takes more physical effort than in the past. She will never again take that for granted.

"Don't worry about using your own Light. We will work on your muscle memory first," Francois says sensing her hesitation. "You lost a lot of muscle because of the treatment, you must recover your physical strength first. Next week we can start kicking your Light around."

Eloise nods agreeing, she stands up once more and stretches her right arm over her head.

"How are your legs feeling?"

Eloise puts her leg out in front of her and flexes her foot. "Great," she signs. "I was afraid I would never be able to have this again. Thank you Sir Francois."

"Eloise you are working just as hard- if not harder, than I am," the doctor promises her. "Take a break you deserve it."

---

Preston has not seen or heard from Eloise in a week. Doctor Harrison has preoccupied himself with his other cases, being content with Sir Francois's work. Ain has not had a chance to speak to Sir Francois either, because he is busy with Princess Lilith's schedule. After the events of the Ostenland's Art Festival, she chose to extend her stay in MontPec. With Ain and Xena alternating their watch over her and the prince. He expects things are going well for Eloise. Her absence is constantly on his mind.

---

"You've become less and less dependent on the room's Light, and more on your own," François notes on a later evening as they wrap up. "Have you tried using it outside of the room? It's alright if you haven't, I'm simply curious."

Eloise shakes her head. They are coming upon their third week of training. Using her Light is the equivalent of walking on ice, barely manageable and incredibly stressful. She is afraid of putting her foot down.

"Everyone asks about you, they miss you." The doctor encourages her, "Think about how you will get to see them soon."

Eloise doesn't want to see Ain anytime soon. She longs to see him, but at the same time would chose not to if it was up to her. She misses Sir Errol and Prince Cyan, but knows that the return to the life she had before was not a promise anyone could make her. She doesn't want to get her hopes up.

---

"You're looking exceedingly better Eloise       

"You're looking exceedingly better Eloise. Are you feeling better?" Mrs. Desmond asks from across the dinner table.

In a rare occasion the Desmonds dine together this evening. Eloise's mom, Eleanora Desmond was persistent in getting her daughter to join them tonight. Eloise does not understand her reasoning, but any protesting would fall on deaf ears. The environment in the lavish dining hall is quiet and the air is chilly as usual. She can hear the servants breathing, it is so quiet.

"I am feeling better mother," Eloise signs.

Her parents do not have the time to learn sign language- or simply do not want to. A manservant by the name of Canto, translates for them.

"That is good to hear, right Hunter?" Her mother looks at Lord Desmond, who does not acknowledge her.

Silent seconds pass and her mother attempts to make conversation again, "Sir Francois seems competent, perhaps he can do something about you walking-"

Eloise does not hear what her mother says next. Her mother's words drown in her rage. She cannot believe what she is hearing. She slams her hands on the table and pushes her chair back. She doesn't mean to use the amount of force as she does.

Her mother stops talking. "What are you doing?" she demands more than asks.

"Are you really talking about this right now?" Eloise signs roughly, Canto translates.

She goes on at full speed and Canto struggles to keep up. Granted, Eloise doesn't know enough sign language to fully express her rage, but she expects that she is getting the idea across.

"Is that what I'll always be to you? Someone that can't walk? I am your daughter. I am in pain because you are determined to change me into someone that I am clearly not. You would risk losing me as a person than have an invalid for a daughter?"

Canto fumbles with his translation, unsure if he should be talking to the Desmonds in such a manner. Eleanora is speechless, her husband is unfazed.

"Tell me- if the cost of me walking is to sacrifice me as your daughter- would you be content?" She stares down her father from across the table. She is no longer having her mother as a mediator. Eloise speaks to him and him only.

As she expects, he ignores her. She was never worthy of speaking to him. But she is not going to let him off the hook so easily. She is tired of everyone's desire to please the man. She stares him down unshaken.

"Are you listening to yourself Eloise?" Lord Desmond begins in an abrupt tone. Eloise feels some satisfaction in finally getting under his skin. She frowns when he continues.

"Right- you can't listen to yourself, pardon me. How do you expect to do anything in this world, if you cannot walk? You cannot be a daughter when you are merely half a person."

"Hunter!" Eleanora exclaims in a panic.

Eloise cannot breathe, she would not wish this feeling on her worst enemy. This is confirmation that her father does not even consider her a person. She can't be in this room with this man... This is wrong.

"Remember-" she signs rashly. She knows she is overreacting- no- she is right in reacting this way. It is the dramatics that are unnecessary but Eloise doesn't care anymore. "You are giving me up as a daughter... and in exchange I walk- I walk out of your lives forever."

"Eloise what are you going on about?" Her mother looks at Canto for clarification, but the translator is lost as well.

Lord Desmond is unmoved however. Eloise longs for a protest from him, but there is not one coming. She knows. Only she can help herself.

She looks at her hand, focuses, and spins a Light dial. A headache Eloise was not conscious of, dissipates promptly, and a familiar sense of security returns to her. She takes in one big breath and exhales as she moves forward to stand. Her mother speaks but Eloise does not hear her over the adrenaline.

The Light doesn't struggle, it flows out of her fingertips in a smooth, natural flow. The fluctuation of Light flow is like the wavelengths of a song, as she re-synchronizes with the movement of her legs. She is now Electra. Electra, Heroine of Surt. Electra, Heroine of Cedar Hills. Electra, who trained with the great Basma of the Southeast. Electra of the Royal Guard. An Electra irrevocably worthy of the name. The Lightwielder walks out of that dining room, out of that house, and out of that life.

---

She walks deep into the town of Surt and does not stop until she is at the outskirts. She falls onto her knees. Her actions up until now had been fueled by her emotions of rage and desperation. But now, that fuel is gone and turning into panic and anxiety.

Her parents now know she is a Lightwielder, but at least they don't know she is a Vicar. She doubts that they would out her if they did, but after tonight's events Eloise cannot say that she knows her parents at all. She wonders if anyone has recognized her on the streets. She hadn't remembered to use the masking spell to conceal her face until she was a quarter of the way into town. It was late and dark however, so she hopes for the best.

What she had done was risky. Sir Errol will not be too happy with her. Speaking of the Vicar of the East, she keeps her fingers crossed that he will have a place to shelter her. The Royal Guard takes quarters in a wing of the Palace, but these are full-time, higher ranking members. Regardless, she meant it when she said she was not going back to that life. Realistically, she will have to return for some of her belongings, but she can break in and do that on any given night.

Even so, she cannot believe that her parents did not try to stop her. Was her father honestly happier this way? Then perhaps they are all better off now.

Was her father honestly happier this way? Then perhaps they are all better off now       


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