Part Seven - A light in the dark
Sometimes, I feel like I'm in control, like I'm turning back into my old self again. Then, I see those images. Those images that seem to be reflections of my past, but that look so unfamiliar in a way, but very familiar in another. I keep yelling and screaming, but no one hears me. My screams are now fading away. Maybe I should just let happen what must be.
There is an evil and a good side in everyone. Sometimes, one is stronger than the other. I think my good side is the weaker. The evil in me is too strong. I only wish that there could be something that can help me. Something…or someone.
After a long moment of silence, Bryn finally decided to turn around and face him. Something, somewhere inside of her was telling her that she should thank him for saving her life, but she refused to listen to that something in her head. Simply refused. So she lashed out. "How the hell did you get out?" she asked, her voice cold.
At first, Sinbad was stunned by her reaction, but then he remembered that she was the bad guy now. He shrugged. It wasn't her fault. He was just happy he arrived in time. He smiled at her as he remembered how lucky he had been. "Simple. I leaned against the wall, it opened up, happened to be a passage out, so I took it and here I am!" He grinned.
Bryn frowned. The passage! Of course! How could she forget about it? 'Stupid, stupid, stupid' she cursed. She observed him angrily. He seemed to think it was funny. "I didn't ask for your help. I didn't *need* your help. I had everything under control."
Sinbad shook his head. "Oh, please. Scratch was going to send you on a one-way trip to the death world, and you know it. What bothers you so much is that I helped you. Admit it." He silently hoped that Bryn would finally return to being herself. He just needed a little more time - more time and more effort. But he knew he would succeed. It was his goal in life to help people. And now, Bryn needed his help more than ever, more than anyone else. He still wasn't sure how he'd manage to bring her back to her old self, but he'd find a way. There had to be a way...
Bryn knew he was right. But never would she admit it to him. Never. She turned around and started to walk away. He was beginning to become more troublesome. Sooner or later, she'd have to get rid of him once and for all. It was the right thing to do. 'Then why can't you do it?' a little voice inside her head asked. 'Why didn't you kill him the first time? Why have you asked him to help you? Face it, Bryn. He has a power over you. A power that could destroy the evil inside of you. Even when you're evil, you still care about him.'
Lies. This is all lies. Don't you dare say such horrible things to me. I am not going to listen to you. You are just a stupid liar. I do not care for him. I do not need him. He has no power over me. I can destroy him if I want. I can kill him any time I want. I will show you there is no more goodness in me. I will show you evil always wins. I will show him. I will show everyone that I am evil. I will destroy him. I will.
'You won't' the voice in her head kept chanting. 'You won't because you can't. You can't do anything against him. You're not really evil. You just want to believe you are. What have you done so far? You killed Karpan and fought with Scratch. Two evil ones. You didn't destroy a thing. The good part that is within you is stronger than your dark side. Eventually, evil will lose. You'll see.'
No. You will see. You will see that you are wrong. So wrong. I am not good. I am all evil. Completely evil. You want me to show you how evil I am? I will show you. Just watch and learn how bad I can be.
Bryn suddenly faced Sinbad who still hadn't moved to follow her. Her eyes became darker and darker by the second. She stared at him, full of hate and anger. "I am tired of you. I've just decided to get rid of you right now, so you won't bother me anymore." She smiled wickedly. "Then I will find your brother and your little friends and kill them, slowly until they beg me to end their miserable lives. After this, no one will be able to stop me from destroying all goodness on this planet." She started to laugh softly, her laughter gradually becoming hysterical.
"You don't want to do this, Bryn. Listen to me," Sinbad said carefully, so as not to scare her. Since she had turned evil, it was the first time he had seen her acting so weird, so full of madness. It scared him. Scared the hell out of him. He silently prayed it wasn't too late.
Suddenly, the laugher stopped. Bryn walked closer to him. "Listen to you? Listen to you*? I am not going to listen to you anymore. Never again. Don't try to trick me. It won't work this time, because I figured out your little plan. Trying to turn me back into the good ol' Bryn you knew…You are so naive! Don't you understand that she's gone for good? Bye bye goody-Bryn. I am Bryn now. You are just wasting your time focusing your energy on me. And you'll end up losing your life. What a pity!" She caressed his cheek with her long-nailed finger. "Too bad I can't turn you into evil. We could have formed a great team." She then posed her finger on her cheek. "But business is business." She cupped his face in her hands and forced him to look up. "Look at the sky carefully because it'll be the last time you're going to see it!" She smirked and let go of him as she laughed.
Looking back a moment, Doubar could see the Nomad from a distance. They were now in Basra. They were lucky that a storm hadn't hit them. Sighing, he walked faster to join up with Firouz and Rongar who had walked ahead. They seemed in a hurry to arrive at Caipra's house. He was too. He still thought it was strange not to have his little brother around.
By the time he joined his friends, Firouz had already knocked on the door. "I hope she's home," he declared more for himself than for the others. Rongar nodded in agreement.
The door slowly opened and the friendly features of Caipra appeared. She smiled when she recognized them. "It's Doubar, Firouz and Rongar! What a wonderful surprise! Please, come in!" she invited.
They gladly entered the small house. She looked at each of them, still smiling. "Any news about my husband?" she asked, hopefully.
Firouz looked down a moment. "No…I'm sorry." He wished he could say more to the woman. He could only imagine what it was like to still hope for your loved one to come back home after so long…
Caipra closed her eyes, and opened them almost immediately; she smiled softly. "Don't be sorry. He will return someday, when the time is right." She then invited them to sit down. "So, what brings you here, my friends? It has been awhile since I last saw you."
Doubar cleared his throat. "Sinbad sent us here."
Her eyes darkened as she began to form an energy ball in her hand. Her eyes smiled at Sinbad, who didn't seem frightened. Finally, he will die. 'That will prove something to the annoying little voice in my head who keeps telling me I can't kill him,' Bryn thought, satisfied.
She took one last look at Sinbad. 'Too bad I have to kill you, handsome. If I could have turned you evil, we would have been one hell of a team.' She then shrugged. 'But I shall enjoy killing you.'
Her energy ball was now fully formed in her hand. "This is the end, Sinbad. Your end. Don't worry. I will tell your brother before I kill him that you begged for mercy like the weak and pathetic sailor you are." As she was about to throw the ball, she suddenly froze. The world around her darkened. She found herself in another place, another time. Watching.
In horror, the little girl watched the knife getting closer and closer to her. She wanted to scream, but no sound came out. She wanted to run, but her tiny legs refused to obey her. She didn't want to die. She was too young to die. Kids of her age didn't die! They grew up, got married, had kids, lived happily ever after.
Fearfully, she looked at the two men. They were both big and ugly. They looked as if they hadn't taken a bath in more than five months, which was probably a fact. They were going to kill her. She knew it. 'Do something!' a voice yelled inside her head. But what could she do? She couldn't defend herself. Angry that she was so helpless against them, she fervently wished that they could be hit by a tree and die. She froze and clenched her eyes, waiting for the knife to strike her heart. Her smiling mother appeared in her mind. 'Oh, mommy…Why did you throw me out? I need you so much!'
A crashing sound startled her and she opened her eyes quickly. The two men who were going to kill her were now lying dead under a fallen tree. She began to shake. "Just like I wished," the little girl stated out loud. At this realization, she began to shake more, unable to make it stop. "What did I do? What did I do?" She kept repeating the same words over and over again. Hysterical, she collapsed to the ground, tears falling down her cheeks. "I killed them! I killed them!"
Suddenly, she heard someone laughing. "W-Who's there?" the girl asked, her voice trembling. She looked around carefully, but saw no one, only trees. "Stop it!" she ordered, trying to find the direction it came from. It seemed to come from every direction at the same time.
"Bryn, Bryn, Bryn…Those tears are a waste. They deserved to die…" the voice chanted softly. "They were going to kill you. You defended yourself by killing them first. You did the right thing."
"How-How did you know my name?"
"Because I am you. Bryn is you, and Bryn is I. I am in your head, I am a part of you," the voice answered happily. "You have great powers. Greater than you could ever possibly imagine. They will grow with time. This is just the beginning. Your mother threw you out because she didn't want you anymore. She knew what kind of person you really were and she stopped loving you," the voice continued. "I care about you. No one else does, and no one else ever will. I am the only friend you can have. We'll share everything. Everything."
Bryn put her hands on her ears. "My mommy loves me! I will have friends that care about me! You're a liar. Nothing but a liar! Go away! Go away! I don't want to hear you anymore!" She screamed. But she could still hear the voice, laughing at her.
"Bryn. You are a killer. How could people want to be friends with you? Only I understand. Only I will ever understand," the voice mocked.
"I'm not a killer! I didn't want this to happen!" Bryn answered. Her heart started to beat faster in her chest. She couldn't understand what was going on.
The voice laughed louder. "Of course you wanted it to happen. That is why it happened. Because you wanted it!" The voice paused a moment. When it spoke again, no laugher could be heard. "Bryn, you are destined to be evil, to be bad and hurt people. One day, you'll become one of the most powerful witches of the dark side. And when that day arrives, I will be there to take control."
Bryn shook her head, keeping her hands on her ears. "I'm not evil! I'm not! Go away! Leave me alone! Go away!" She screamed as loud as she could. Falling on her knees, she could feel the tears streaming down her cheeks. She leaned against a tree, trying to make herself as small as possible. The voice kept laughing in her head. When would it stop? When would it go away? Just shut up…shut up!
Bryn returned to reality. She noticed she was shaking. Her energy ball had disappeared from her hand. Anger rose inside her. Once again, for an unknown reason, she failed to kill Sinbad. But before she could make a move, the world became dark again and the last thing she experienced was falling on the ground and hearing someone scream her name.
As soon as he saw Bryn fall, Sinbad ran to her and kneeled by her. He slowly caressed her face with his fingers, his blue eyes full of worry. All the anger had disappeared from her features and she now looked tortured and scared. He wished he could take away what was bothering her so much. He wished he could make the evil in her go away. He wished so many things, but it seemed his wishes were never going to come true.
'No.' Sinbad shook his head. He had to believe that Bryn would return to her old self again. He made himself the promise that he would bring her back, and he always kept his promises. Carefully, he took her in his arms and carried her to the shelter of a tree, where he gently laid her down. He sat next to her, his eyes not leaving her face. He just waited for her to wake up.
Caipra nodded. "I have been feeling the changes that have occurred in your travel companion, Bryn. This is why you are here, am I right?"
"Well, yes I think that is why we are here. Sinbad asked us to look for a woman named Shanna and we thought that maybe you knew her. He didn't explain to us why we needed to find her, but we guessed it was because of Bryn," Firouz explained. If Caipra didn't know, there was no way they could find her! Basra was a big city and she could be anywhere…It could take them months to find her and they didn't have that much time on their hands.
"Shanna…Shanna…" Caipra repeated, slowly rolling the name on her tongue. She knew she had heard that name somewhere…but where? She frowned. She tried to remember, searched her memory for the name. She was ready to give up when suddenly. She smiled. "Yes, I've heard of her. She has a great knowledge of Death. She lives not far from here. Look for a bookshop just down the street; she lives above it."
Doubar sighed in relief. "Thank you. Thank you so much! You don't know how much this means to us…"
"But tell me before you leave…Why would you want to see her? She's mostly a necromancer. A sorceress who possesses magic wich involves death. Why do you need to consult her?" Caipra asked, curious and also worried. "Is there something you are not telling me, Doubar?"
Doubar opened wide eyes, surprised. "Dealing with death? Necromancer? Why did Sinbad want us to find her?" He looked at Caipra. "Sinbad simply asked us to find this woman. He didn't have the time to explain why, since he had…things to take care of. Maybe he thought she could help Bryn…"
Rongar shook his head. That didn't make sense. Bryn wasn't dead. Well…maybe her goodness was, but did Sinbad think this woman could resurrect the good part of her? He shrugged. Sometimes, he would never understand his Captain.
Mimicking Rongar, Caipra shook her head. "A necromancer couldn't help your friend. In fact, magic can't help her. So, I have no idea why he sent you to see her…"
The silence enveloping the small town was suddenly broken by the sound of a burst of flame. The silence then returned. But the atmosphere had changed. It was not as peaceful.
Scratch tried to control his breath, but it was hard when all he could think of was those two…cowards! They will learn that no one makes fun of Scratch and survives. No one damages his body and lives. NO ONE.
He felt a fierce rage, such as he had never experienced before, building inside of him. That bitch was a betrayer. She had escaped this time, but he would get her soon. Very soon. Karpan was a fool to trust her. He was a fool to give her back her memories. She would have been easier to kill if she had still amnesia. And Sinbad…always had to be the hero. If it wasn't for him…Bryn would be dead and he would still have his hand.
"Wait until I find you…You should enjoy the present moment because it will be the last you'll have!" He couldn't control the rage inside of him. He had to let it out. He looked around him. The town. Too peaceful. Too beautiful. Too…good. A smile formed on his lips as a huge flame appeared on his remaining hand. "Burn!" He threw the flame at the nearest house and watched excitedly as the flames devoured its wooden frame. He prepared to form another flame when a soft laugh could be heard.
He groaned when he heard his name, and slowly turned around. He tried to hide his surprise. "Well, well, well…if it isn't the great and the so very bad Rumina…"
Still laughing, Rumina walked closer to him. "You seem surprised to see me. I guess it's understandable, since I've been gone for so long." She crossed her arms on her chest and glanced at him. "My poor Scratch. You're in bad shape. And…you lost a hand? You poor thing!"
He clenched his fit. "Watch your words, witch! I'm still more powerful than you are!" He gave her an arrogant look.
Rumina laughed, but her eyes kept their cold state. "I've gained some power of my own since you last saw me. And every good magic user needs both his hands to cast powerful spells." She smirked. "What are you going to do, Scratchy?
Scratch crossed his arms on his chest and smirked, ignoring her last comment. "Bryn is back."
"I know." Rumina's eyes darkened. "She's with Sinbad. It is a disgrace that she hangs out with that…captain!" She spit on the last word as if it was the worst insult. "I hate them both, but I hate him even more. Maybe I could trick her into killing him," Rumina whispered, more to herself than for Scratch.
Scratch only laughed at that. "You're even more stupid than I thought if you believe that your little plan will work. Bryn isn't stupid. She already killed Karpan and tried to kill me, which of course she'll never be able to do. She'll probably go after you when she knows you're here. Not that I care…"
"Don't underestimate her…or me as I matter of fact. She's very capable of ending your miserable life and I could always give her a hand…" Rumina smiled, a wicked plan forming in her head. "You don't know what I've been up to since our last…meeting."
Scratch just grunted. "Whatever. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a town to burn down."
Rumina shrugged and leaned against a nearby house. "Go ahead, I'm not stopping you. I think I'll watch the show."
As she opened her eyes, Bryn could only feel a terrible headache. All was a blur around her and she couldn't remember where she was or what had happened. She tried to move, but her body wasn't obeying her. She waited impatiently, as her vision slowly returned to normal. She then focused…and froze. She was lying on the grass, her head resting on…Sinbad's lap. She could feel his fingers in her hair. Her eyes grew wide and she jumped to her feet, finally in control of her body, ignoring the pain in her head. She narrowed her eyes at Sinbad, her body shaking with anger. "What the hell do you think you are doing?" she snapped. Her hands wanted nothing more than to strangle him until he begged and pleaded, and…
She felt angrier at his soft words. She really needed to destroy him before it was too late. Trying to stop herself from shaking, she clenched her fit. "What were you trying to do?"
Sinbad shrugged. "Nothing. You were the one trying to kill me and then, you just fainted."
Bryn froze a moment. Now she remembered. She was about to kill him when that…damn memory flashed in her mind. Again. Worst possible timing. She kept a blank expression, as she observed him in silence.
Sinbad frowned. "What happened? Why did you faint? Why didn't you kill me?"
Bryn ignored him. But it was a good question. What happened? Why was she having those...flashbacks now? To make her remember…how good and weak she used to be.
Sinbad walked closer to her when he saw that she wasn't answering. "Bryn…tell me."
Startled, she didn't move. He was so soft, so sweet…'Disgusting, Bryn. He is disgusting. Remember that,' the voice in her head chanted. Bryn could only nod slowly but her eyes were locked into his blue ones, hypnotized.
Sinbad suddenly stopped and looked at the smoke that was coming from the village. "Oh my…The village is burning!" Without another thought, he began to run.
And Bryn mechanically followed him.
Sinbad, with Bryn not far behind, arrived rapidly at the fiery village. The villagers were screaming and running away from the deadly red and searing flames. Sinbad immediately noticed Scratch in the middle of the town, looking at him, laughing. "A gift for you, Sinbad. I hope you'll enjoy!" He then vanished, his laugh echoing throughout the town.
Ignoring the demon, Sinbad ran to help the remaining villagers to escape.
Bryn bit her lips. Why did she follow him? It's not like she wanted to help. Bryn silently groaned. Something was happening to her…and she hated it. Unmoving, she watched as Sinbad helped a little boy to escape his burning home.
Rumina, who was watching, grew furious with Sinbad's rescue efforts. Because of him, everyone survived. He had just ruined her day. Well, he was going to pay! She waited until he was near a house. She spotted burning ceiling beams threatening to collapse. Moving her finger, caused the planks to fly at Sinbad, crushing him under their weight.
Rumina smiled in satisfaction when she saw Sinbad, immobile under the planks. She then misted away. It wasn't that bad of a day after all
Lea wore a shocked expression on her face as she watched, through her magic pool, Sinbad getting hit by planks of wood. She then saw a woman disappearing, a wicked smile on her face. "Bitch!"
"Who are you calling a bitch?"
Lea blinked as Sinbad materialized in front of her. "You received a nasty hit on your head. If you're here, that means you're unconscious."
Sinbad frowned, confused. "What hit me on the head?"
"You'll find out soon enough," Lea mumbled.
Sinbad shrugged. He wasn't going to get anything more from her. He went to sit next to her. "Where's Maeve?"
"Don't know. She said she had business to take care of…No idea what she was talking about." She then glanced at him. "How are things going with Bryn?"
Sinbad sighed. "Not so good. I don't think I'll succeed in bringing her back to the good side. She doesn't let me get too close and she's determined to kill me now. The evil in her won," he said, cynically.
Lea put a hand on his shoulder. "Don't talk like that! You can't give up hope. I believe you have the power to make her good again. You have to believe it too."
"I know, but it's getting harder and harder," Sinbad whispered. He felt the strength leaving him slowly, bit by bit. He couldn't win this fight. In the past, good always found a way to beat evil, but not this time. This time, he wouldn't be the last one to stand up alive. He would be the first to go down. He felt hope and faith fading away, leaving him helpless. Sinbad couldn't stand to see Bryn like this and he couldn't stand hearing her say she'd kill him. Even if it wasn't really her, it was still her voice speaking, her dark eyes looking at him…
Sinbad closed his eyes, wishing he could disappear this very instant, wishing he would never wake up. But no, he couldn't give up. He promised he'd bring Bryn back and he would. He might die trying, but never would he give up. Never. There had to be a way to reach out to her. Sinbad opened his eyes and looked at Lea. "She was going to kill me, but she fainted before she could hit me. And when she woke up, she looked…disoriented. The look in her eyes…"
Lea frowned. "She fainted? I wonder-" She stopped, lost in her thoughts. She then blinked. "Maybe it was her good side fighting, because it didn't want you to die." If Lea was right, it was a good thing. A very good thing.
Shaking his head, Doubar paced around the room. "If Sinbad sent us here, it must be for a reason. Maybe he didn't know that woman couldn't help…I don't even know how he knew about her!"
Firouz nodded. "It just doesn't make any sense."
Caipra was about to answer, but she suddenly froze. "Something…"
Firouz, Doubar, Rongar and Caipra stood stunned as Maeve appeared to them, her image blurred.
"Maeve?" Firouz was the first one who recovered his ability to talk.
Maeve nodded. "I don't have much time. I'm still surprised it worked." She then glanced at the Nomad's crew and Caipra. It was good to see them again. She missed them so much. She felt so lonely where she was. "I cannot explain everything because my time is limited. You must find Shanna. Lea and I are stuck in a place that is not heaven and Shanna is the only one who can send us there. I don't think our sanity will survive must longer if we stay there. Please, we need your help. Sinbad promised us he would help."
"Lea," Doubar whispered, memories filling his mind. The innocent little girl who had been his brother's companion during his childhood. A girl who hadn't deserved to die so soon. She never had the chance to grow up, to see the world, to fulfill her dreams.
He felt tears coming to his eyes, so he closed them. He remembered Sinbad's pain after she died. Sinbad had barely dealt with their parents' deaths that he had to deal with hers. Doubar wished he could have taken some of his pain away. It wasn't fair for a young boy like his brother to suffer so much, so young.
Pushing the tears away, he opened his eyes and looked at Maeve. He nodded. "Don't worry, lass. We'll help you. We'll find this woman, Shanna, and we'll help you. You and Lea deserve to be in heaven."
Firouz and Rongar nodded, agreeing with Doubar.
Maeve could only smile, a feeling of sadness overwhelming her as she thought she would never see them again. Rongar, always silent, but still very present. His eyes were talking for him. Someone you could always count on. Firouz, probably the smartest person she ever met. He was as much into his inventions as she was into her magic. And Doubar, who always had been like a big brother to her. Never would she forget them. "Thank you."