The Vicar of Darkness

Reads: 2333  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 0

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

Chapter 18 (v.1) - XVIII.

Submitted: April 30, 2019

Reads: 31

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 30, 2019

A A A

A A A

"Up in Darkness she glows, And they wonder why does she go? She says 'Dears you never needed me anyway,

"Up in Darkness she glows, And they wonder why does she go? She says 'Dears you never needed me anyway,

I only remind you of yesterday.'" Cecilia reads the poem engraved in the stone.

Eloise stands at her side clutching a bundle of flowers in her hand. Together they hover over a memorial.

Anna Rose Dastor, January 13, 1602- October 15th 1623.

"That poem Mel Ein wrote for her best friend who passed away in a boat accident. There are rumors that said friend was story actress Julietta Rith, but it's never been confirmed." Cecilia continues.

Her cousin places the flowers at the foot of the memorial. She thinks roses would have been more appropriate, but those are not local to D'Hiver Nero.

"I know you're standing before me in broad daylight, but I can't believe you are a Lightwielder and that you can walk."

Eloise turns back to her cousin and smiles. "Thank you," she mouths, she wishes she could elaborate but she has yet to see a sign of her voice returning.

In her original letter, she explained to her cousin what had happened to her at the Institute, how she escaped her parents, and where she was staying. She trusts Cecilia, and is ecstatic that she took the time to visit her out in the country.

Although, she looks a little out of place dressed in her custom tailored coat and hat.

She also had no idea that the memorial they stood in front of belonged to the great Basma of the Southwest. She was respectful enough regardless.

They turn back to face the setting sun, knowing that they need to head back to the cabin before the sun sets.

Glancing back, Eloise takes one last look at Basma's name. She sighs heavy, "Another year without the moon."

When she makes eye contact with Cecilia again she freezes. The red-haired woman gapes at her with wide deer eyes.

To say that she has her voice back is reaching. It is too rough and warped to call it 'her voice', but the edges of it are there. From this point forward it will only become easier. Walking out of her parents house had made Eloise stronger, older, certain in her actions. She knows that even if she cannot return to the former glory of Electra, Vicar of the South, at least she will never be the despondent and self-pitying version of Eloise again. With the return of her voice however, as nonsensical as it sounds, the hope of once again being a Vicar- a proper Vicar of Light, returns.

---

"Electra!"

The fair-haired Vicar turns to see Princess Lilith walking towards her. Eloise had been enjoying her regular midday stroll through the castle gardens. The late summer air is warm, but not stuffy.

During her free time spent in the Light Palace, Eloise wears her Masking Seal. Regardless, she cannot get used to being referred to as Electra in the daytime. And everyone calls her so, Sir Errol, Sir Francois. Preston and Prince Cyan are the only two who refer to her as Eloise when she is not on duty.

"I'm glad I found you!" the princess exclaims apparently overwhelmed with excitement. "I heard you were down here, you are off duty yes?"

Eloise nods.

"What are you doing then? On a refreshing walk? May I join you?"

Eloise does not see a reason to object, she nods again.

"Wonderful!" Princess Lilith claps with delight. "You know when I first heard you were returning, I knew right away that I had to be your friend."

She continues to talk about her interest in befriending the Vicar from the moment she met her. Only to be intimidated by her status. She goes on to comment about the day and the outstanding surroundings. She talks of the ending summertime and the coming winter months. Her kingdom, Winter Wind, has the most beautiful winters in all of the Kingdoms.

She keeps talking after the walk is over. Princess Lilith has an idea about anything and everything. Eloise hints that she wishes to read her book in the shade but the message isn't getting across.

"I heard good news about your voice, is it true?" she asks after three hours of Eloise's silence, suspicious that she might have heard incorrectly.

The blond nods confirming. "It is still difficult for me to talk, so excuse me for not being very responsive," she replies in a soft, hoarse, whisper.

In actuality, it is not a lot of effort, but ever since the return of her voice she is uncharacteristically shy in terms of talking. Her voice sounds unnatural and rough to her, making her stupidly insecure about it.

"Oh of course," the princess says with big trusting eyes, "you don't want to strain yourself."

Eloise uses the opportunity to try to excuse herself, "Yes, I am rather tired too- if you will excuse me, I think I will make my way home."

"Oh! Let me walk you!" Princess Lilith beckons for the guard shadowing her to follow, "I would love to see where you live! I could visit you sometime, I can bring you the finest orangehum leaf tea, it's best for your throat." She tucks her hair behind her ear momentarily uneasy. "I don't want to impose of course but as you know there aren't a lot of girls our age in the Guard or in court... it can be lonesome. We can play Onte! Or the Light cards- what are they called?" she searches for the name of the popular card game.

Eloise falters, the princess truly means well. "Adeline's Light Children," she answers her question.

They arrive at the camp       

They arrive at the camp. As the colder months draw nearer, the leaves on the surrounding woods are speckled with yellow. Eloise finds it bewitching, it's a painting of a place she can call home. Her Vicar training had taken place over the span of the spring and summer months. This new scenery takes away from her association of the location with her time here. It takes away from the dispiriting memory of Basma.

"Oh it's a vast place. How nice!" Princess Lilith comments, pleasantly relieved that the cabin is a multiroom building rather than a room Electra and Ain share.

Lilith makes no motion to excuse herself.

"Thank you for keeping me company today," Eloise whispers. "Would you care to come in for a tea? Urm... Sir Ain made flower petals last night." She almost slips up and calls him Preston.

"Flower petals?" The princess raises a delicate eyebrow.

The Vicar knows the popular dish is called something else in the northern nations, but she can't seem to recall the word. "It's a flat bread with tomato sauce and bell peppers," she describes. "It's cut into flower petals."

"Ah, Seasoned Crown!" Lilith beams. "Last I remember you southerners don't put enough spices into your Seasoned Crown, but I would love to try some."

Eloise isn't oblivious. She knows why Princess Lilith wishes to spend time with her. There are plenty of other females in the Royal Guard, Xena for one. Most are far more interested in the princess's life than Eloise, she is sure. No, the real reason Lilith is nosing around is obvious. She must know by now that Eloise shares quarters with Ain. The blond doesn't protest either. The sooner Lilith gets what she wants, the sooner she will leave Eloise alone. For now she goes along with it...

---

...And how she was wrong to think that. Despite running into Ain several times with Eloise, Princess Lilith was adamant about staying at her side. Eloise cannot figure out why until:

"Electra, you've known Ain for a long time yes?" the Princess of Winter Wind asks her one early fall afternoon. They sit in the garden while the weather allows it. "He worked for your family?"

"Yes, I've known him since I was very young." It has been a couple of days and the hoarseness in Eloise's voice has disappeared. Her voice is delicate however. She's trying to focus on her game of Nettle but the princess isn't having it.

"Lucky! Do you find him pleasant?" Lilith runs her fingers through her soft hair dreamily, "I find him pleasant."

"He is, he is very genuine." Eloise respects the girl enough to answer truthfully.

"As I thought." The heiress nods pleased, tugging her sun hat into place when it shifts loose. "I'm curious, what is the extent of your relationship?"

There it is. That's what Eloise had been missing in her initial analysis. That's why Princess Lilith is persistent in hanging around.

Eloise contemplates her response. Should she be as vague as possible, or simply get it over with? "There is nothing romantic going on between us if that's what you're asking." That, is apparently the route she's taking. She regrets blurting it out at once. "I will admit there was a time where I hoped he would look at me in that light, but now I respect our friendship too much."

Princess Lilith is surprised by her answer, she didn't expect the girl to be that frank. She won't deny that she is glad to hear her answer.

"He is very honorable, I sense it as well. Say, what is he like- during the daytime?"

Eloise folds her puzzle with unease. Not that she doesn't trust the princess, she knows she can't talk about Preston. "Sorry, it's not my place to tell you, even if I were allowed to discuss it- out of respect to him, I couldn't." There is truth in her words, Vicars are not allowed to discuss their day lives. There are exceptions, in emergency scenarios, and the law isn't set in stone but is a respected practice.

"Oh I understand, I apologize for inquiring." Lilith realizes that the question was out of line and she is embarrassed for getting carried away.

The Vicar recognizes that nothing the princess does is with ill-intent. She can't dislike her, she's a sweet girl, a little naive. Without her escape as Electra, Eloise would have been equally as naive.

"You should talk to him." The blond says suddenly, while slapping herself mentally. "He's a good man."

"You think so?" The smile on the princess's face is candid, and again Eloise can't help liking her for it. "I admit I often try, but he is irritatingly dedicated to his work."

Eloise stifles a laugh. "You know, I was in a similar situation. He is oblivious."

"You? Electra of the South?" Princess Lilith's wide blue eyes are in disbelief. "The entire country is enamored of you! He must be completely dense."

"Well, you have to take into account that we Vicars are fairly average during the daytime." Eloise points out to her. She is uncertain as to why she is talking to the princess about her insecurities, but she surprisingly finds it enjoyable. The two girls doubtlessly have more in common than Eloise has assumed. Lilith isn't disabled and her family is far more pleasant than the Desmonds, but she too has spent most of her life protected from the real world. There is a chance that is what Princess Lilith sincerely longs for in her befriending of Eloise.

---

Eloise enters the cabin       

Eloise enters the cabin. She closes the door behind her with a soft click and lets out a sigh. She leans back against the door and closes her eyes. Keeping the princess company during the day is mentally exhausting. While spending time with the princess isn't stressful, Eloise historically has had little interaction with people who weren't her estate's staff.

It's automatic, when the princess is around Eloise can't act like Eloise. She swaps into her complacent Electra self and finds herself doing whatever Lilith desires.

She finds herself thinking back to when she was younger. Desperately looking for a connection to the outer world, through Preston and Jacob, anyone who would give her the time. Exactly what Princess Lilith is doing with with Eloise and she can't fault the princess for that.

"Are you alright?" Preston's voice calls from the sitting room.

Eloise is startled, she hadn't expected him to be home.

"Oh, you're home early. Sorry, I'm okay, just a tad tired," she explains softly. She rounds the corner and goes into the sitting room.

He sits on the smaller of the two couches, going over some notes from the day, jotting a few extra marks here and there.

"Yes, our rounds ended early today." He looks up from his notes, not letting himself be distracted from his earlier point. "Princess Lilith has been spending a lot of time with you hasn't she?"

"She gets lonely." Eloise takes a seat next to him, crossing her legs under her and leaning against the arm of the couch. "I will admit it is tiring."

"If you want we can take turns? You deserve a day off every now and then," he suggests with what he hopes is convincing indifference. He returns his gaze to his notes, "You're only now getting better- I don't think you should strain yourself."

Eloise admits the idea is tempting, but she is uncomfortable with the thought of interfering with his medical studies. There's been a number of occasions where she's found him sleeping on the couch with a medical text in his hands, or at the kitchen table over his notes.

"I hate this," she says without reservation. Once she has Preston's undivided attention she goes on, "Not the Lilith thing- just, showing weakness around you. I don't want to be Eloise to you. Eloise who you have to babysit. Eloise who is helpless, ambitionless, and pitiful. Eloise who lives in the clouds, clueless about the real world. I don't want to be weak."

"Weak is the last word I would use to describe you," Preston says sternly. "You are the strongest person I know. Eloise, taking a break is not a sign of weakness."

She sighs, standing up again. "I'll go take a rest before we head out," she announces flatly. There are times when all she wishes is to speak to Ain, but is lectured by Preston instead.

---

A couple of days later, Eloise has no idea how she makes it through her evening shift as Electra. Vicars typically don't require a large amount of sleep because their abundance in Light constantly restores mental energy. Despite this, Princess Lilith is still cutting into her sleep time.

Ain must have noticed that Electra was off her game because he didn't say much to her during the evening. He also performed most of the Sealing spells throughout.

All she longs for now, is to make it to her bed and call it a night. She might have mentioned this at some point during their night.

She enters the cabin and shuts the door behind her. She experiences an overwhelming sensation of familiarity with the process. She does it every day, but today is different? Wait- is Ain ahead of her or is he behind? She isn't sure- wait, he is in front of her- she can see him a few steps ahead. Is this tunnel vision? She leans back against the door and looks at the floor trusting that her eyes will adjust. In her peripheral vision, Ain turns around slowly- or maybe it isn't slowly. He says something to her. She cannot hear him. Or rather she can but the sounds are jumbled up.

She catches his scent as he leans in to ask her something again. He appears concerned. He then scoops her up and carries her to her room. He helps her lie down, something he hasn't done since she lived with her parents.

"Rest..." she hears briefly, followed by the word: "...morning. "


© Copyright 2019 SonglessSiren. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments: