Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

AB Type

Summary:
AKA The Greatest Story Ever Told, by the Greatest Historian of the World. Aro's lived, figuratively speaking, for three thousand years. Ever wonder what he's seen and done?


Notes:


15. Anna

Rating 0/5   Word Count 1872   Review this Chapter

What did I dream?
I do not know;
The fragments fly like chaff.
Yet strange my mindr32;
Was tickled so,
I cannot help but laugh.

Anna let herself slip under the pond’s liquid surface. It was easy to lose herself in her thoughts while looking at the world through a watery lens.

Needing an escape from Piero’s questioning and Livius’ snide comments, she’d run from Belverde until she had come upon a small copse of trees. In its heart, she had discovered the trail of water, gushing from a crevice in some rocks until it pooled into a circular cavity before trickling out into a gentle stream. Surrounded by the emerald foliage, she had stripped off her clothes and hung them on a low branch. She’d floated on the still surface, allowing the water to cradle her body. Her hair floated, weightless in the water, a dark net through which tiny fishes and other animals swam.

The sunlight danced like gems from the watery beads on her skin. Anna laughed, imagining any human stumbling upon her, overcome by the sight of her naked body seemingly studded with diamonds.

Studded with diamonds. There had been a time when she had been such. A decoration dressed in further decorations. An object to be seen, beautiful and unresponsive as diamonds. But she had broken free of that. She was certain she had. Why, then, did she sometimes feel so very trapped?

Anna closed her eyes, blowing remnants of air from her useless lungs. She sank quickly to the bottom of the pond.

The world was beautiful from underwater. The sun was a flower, flickering before her eyes. It was darker and colder here. Anna turned her body around to see behind her. Between the rocks that formed the base of granite, a small hole was visible, just large enough to fit a small human male crouched in a fetal position. Or an average sized human female.

A shudder crept up Angerona’s spine. A dark panic shrouded her as she beheld that hole in the ground.

She had not known what they would do when they pulled her out of the cell. Rough hands had grabbed her and shoved her inside. Her head had cracked against the side and Angerona had felt the warmth of her blood dripping down her face. She had felt her back scrape against a protruding stone and she flinched. Before she could scream at them to stop, a large stone was rolled over her head with only two small orifices. She had no space to move, forced to hug her knees tightly into her chest to keep the open abrasions on her shins from rubbing against the rough wall.

She knew what they wanted to do. They were trying to destroy her, break her will, make her into a slave that forever said yes. She would not give them the pleasure of seeing her defeated.

However, she could not bite back the animalistic whimper that echoed within her chest, streamed down her limbs, clawed out of her aching womb.

Anna’s thoughts returned to the watery cavern below the pond’s surface—a shudder of ire ran up her spine. Now, though…now, she could destroy that miserable hole as was proved when her pale arm flashed out against the rock above it, causing it to collapse. She could now destroy whatever and whoever came her way. She wasn’t an ornament anymore, even if Piero deemed to see her otherwise.

Anna surfaced, blinking the pond water out of her eyes. A low branch with red flowers hung over her head and, when she glanced at her reflection in the water’s surface, it looked like an emerald crown, studded with rubies. Anna’s face twisted in a feral smile. That crown of shadows she had borne still seemed to burn her head, even today. Forced into wedlock with a man three times her age in order to secure the safety of her people. She had not wanted to. But she had been long past argument. A year spent in the darkness had destroyed any ability of fighting back. Instead, she gave him a queen, gave him an island, gave him a daughter.

How she had hated that child of her blood, but not of her blood. Ariadne had been his, always his. There was only one that could have been hers, conceived under her terms, and not for any of the men who entered her cell under his orders. In that tiny, bloody cavern, he had been born from her. Within that bloody hole, she had licked him clean, given him her blood to feed upon for lack of sustenance, kissed his tiny face, tiny chest, tiny arms and tiny legs to life. And within that tiny hole, she had been forced to remain in the macabre pool of her blood and her baby’s blood until it had dried on her skin and the stench of decay dug its claws inside of her while the child, an adamantine child with her dark hair and icy eyes, rested still, unmoving and safe in her arms. She had made sure to save him from her horror.

She had not done the same to Ariadne. He had stopped her.

And she had tried to do the same to herself. She had been close, so close. But, he was always there to stop her, kill her by keeping her body alive. She could still recall the day that she had run a knife up her arm, following the line of her veins from her wrist to her elbow. She had watched in an awed detachment as the sanguine stream branched off down her arm, coloring her fingers. Scarlet flowers bloomed in the still surface of the bath. She had dipped her hand in the cool water and the sharp sensations of the cuts calmed. In return for easing her pain, the cool surface called for a kiss.

Angerona had allowed herself to sink under the placid surface. She remained underwater as she had not been allowed to before. He had pulled her out, held his fine robes to her arm to stem the flow, called for the doctor, saved her life. After she had healed, he had struck her so hard that she had fallen against one of the bed’s edges, her temple slicing open, her skull cracking under the blow. Then, he had shoved her into a small room and ignored her panicked screams to let her out.

Let me out please, the walls, the walls, there’s no space, I can’t breathe, please...!

She had been so disoriented, so very weak. Just standing could set the world spinning and send her reeling to the ground in a dead faint.

She hadn’t been able to open her eyes. Her lids had been heavy, her eyelashes weighing them down. She had lain in an uncomfortable position, but she could not move her body. Her limbs had been even heavier than her eyelids.

Her sight gone, she had been forced to rely upon her hearing. Strange sounds reverberated, a scream, cracking wood, the dull thud of a body striking stone. It had made no sense to her, although she felt as if she should know what was happening. Something within her had clamored to be revealed, but it was like a dream; the more she tried to remember, the less she could recall.

Instead, Angerona had focused on the only thing she could: the fire blooming within her chest. A fire that clawed slowly across her skin, raked into her muscles and burned her veins. Something uncontrollable unleashed within her, a pain sharper than any she had ever endured.

It wasn’t so surprising, Anna thought bitterly. Where before she had controlled an entire kingdom, she could no longer control her own steps. It was no wonder the vampire had taken her so easily. What had been surprising was Ariadne’s reaction. Ariadne who had despised her mother and been despised by her in turn had woken at the sound of her mother’s strangled cry, entered her mother’s chamber, seen the strange, pale man bent over her mother’s inert form and thrown herself at him with a half-surprised and half-furious cry.

Foolish child. But the insult was softened in Anna’s mind as she thought about her arrogant, selfish daughter who had realized at the last moment that she loved her mother. Foolish, foolish child.

These reflections faded in her mind as Anna pushed herself out of the water, stepping onto the emerald carpet lining the banks. Absentmindedly, she picked up a fallen branch, drawing nonsensical lines on the damp ground. Why was she thinking about such awful matters? She had put it all behind her: thrust all of her energy into forgetting these awful events, yet here they were, mocking her. She shook her head, glancing at the floor.

She had not drawn just lines. She had written her name.

With wild eyes, her head swiveled to the wall of the cliff encasing the pond, and with a sharp rock, she desperately etched the lines of her name into it. As she worked, Angerona trembled. Since the fire, she had regularly felt other fires suffuse her throat, mouth, her entire body. And she had realized she was losing herself. Her memory was fading; even her name was difficult to recall. Only the need to slake the fire drove her onward. A moment of lucidity had fallen on her and she had grabbed a rock and used it to carve each painstaking symbol of her name into the surface of the cliff wall. With her new eyes, she traced the letters, eight in all. Without warning, eight memories—each one linked to one of the letters—stabbed into her mind. A life as a diamond, time blurring in her cell, the sailor she had manipulated and hurt, a void of all emotion, the false immortality, her traitorous sister’s scream, a still, cold newborn and—reflected in her husband’s terrified eyes—her own blood-red irises.

She rocked back and forth, hands clenched in fear and agony, a scream tearing through her throat. Trying to unleash the torment flooding her veins, her fist lashed out against the rock. She almost missed, the force sending her reeling to the floor. Panting, she lay crumpled on the ground, her hands digging into her hair. A moment passed, then another, and then another. Her pain was fleeting; she slowly raised her head.

The four middle letters of her name had been erased when she had struck the rock. Four remained, the last two a reverse image of the first two symbols.

A-N-N-A.

Anna.

Anna. Funny name. Odd. She had never heard it before. And if she hadn’t heard it before, then it had no links to her past. It could not dredge up horrid memories. It wasn’t painful.

“Anna,” she whispered to herself. A pretty name.

Angerona closed her eyes. When she opened them, the black pupils reflected no sign of humanity. Angerona, the human, died. Anna, the vampire, remained.

Anna brushed a strand of dark hair away from her face. A few seconds later, the breeze returned the strand to its former place across her cheek. Sighing, she pushed it away. Relentlessly, the breeze pushed it again.

Relentless. Much like Aro, she mused. A tiny smile crossed her lips. His face supplanted her earlier musings, his mind an enigma she was aching to unravel.

Anna surrendered, letting the breeze do to her what it would.