harmitwithspark: (Assignment)
Name: Larxene
Species: Olia
Canon: Kingdom Hearts II

Age: 17

Physical Sex: Female

Affinity: Lightning

Affinity Level: Adept

History: Larxene never knew the world before The Solution, her world has always been a place of single affinities, quicksilver change, and Storms. Her people were Rom before The Solution, they remained Rom afterward, the Kumpànya simply went mobile again instead of settling as they had. All in all, her family handled The Solution better than most.

Larxene was born the youngest daughter of twelve daughters (her father gave up on boys after that) three years after The Solution. A family as large as hers (and as busy) found out at about the fifth daughter that it was IMPORTANT to share the responsibility of child rearing. Larxene's care was given to a recently discovered relative, Dilan (going by the name Xaldin). Given Larxene was born with hair, and had two locks that stuck up despite gravity, she was immediately nicknamed 'Bug' or 'Lightning Bug'. It is a name she has never escaped, just as she has never escaped the hair that gave her the name.

She was an enchanting child. Her eldest sister was strong and proud, her father's heir. The next a singer beyond compare. The twins after, dancers that could move people to tears. A historian, a horse tamer wilder than her charges, a Tale Weaver, a healer, an engineer, a merchant, a knife savant. Each of the dozen daughters excelled, Princesses of distinction, daughters of the gypsy king.

Larxene Loved.

She was sweet, and kind, and cared for everyone she encountered, especially her sad, tortured cousin when he visited. He needed love more than most.

When she was twelve a chaos storm rolled over the top of the wagons like a beast pouncing from the canyon heights. While the rest of the Kumpànya slept, protected and safe, Larxene woke up and laughed in delight. She laughed, and danced, and held her arms up to the storm to be taken away.

It wasn't that Larxene wanted to leave the people she loved, or that she wanted to run away, the storm simply loved her, and needed her, so she went. She went away. Larxene danced, and spun, and pattered her way through the sky within the storm, fading away and spindling herself through the world...

...and Dilan found her. Summoned by her worried family he went into the storm to find one little lost adept, risking far more than life and limb to pull the fragile remains of a person away from the elements.

And it hurt.

To have limbs, and organs, and bones again. To remember she had to move legs and arms and wiggle toes. That hurt. More, the hollow look in Dilan's eyes when he held her close on the ground speared her through the twisting remains of her soul. He hurt himself to fetch her, and that made her remember how to cry.

She decided to change the world for him that day. It was not enough to simply love him, and fret over him, she would give him what he wished...a world worth living in after The Solution.

After reassuring her family, Larxene moved to New York, the city that The Organization was basing itself out of. And she took charge of making it a true city again. She gave them electricity, a steady power grid to beat back the night. She shielded them from the storms, helped police the streets in the early years, and she loved the city fiercely, watching it grow into a true city again.

Now The Organization is a much larger beast, with more members and far more reach. Larxene does a lot more paperwork now; she is the public face of The Organization in New York it seems, and a lot of the time she forgets how young she is herself, but the world still isn't where it needs to be. Dilan is still haunted and miserable, and so she keeps trying.
harmitwithspark: (Empty)
If there was one aspect of life that Larxene was incredibly bad at, it was all the paperwork. She liked the hands on work of helping people as opposed to dotting i's and crossing t's. This task had so little humanity in it; no discourses with people, just administrative lists and allotments...

...but it was necessary. A frustrating fact, that necessity. And there was only so much secretaries and assistants could do without her.

That was why she was in one of the many little administrative offices at two in the morning. Going through files and carefully reading things over, a pen in her teeth and a smudge of ink on her fingers.
harmitwithspark: (Default)
It had started out so simple.

Larxene went everyday to the children's wing. With those adepts that had their powers far too early, she made sure that everyone remembered that they were still kids despite the fact that they could level small towns. In short, she took time to play. Even on her bad days, when she couldn't focus past the storm shielding, she usually made it down for bedtime stories.

Today was no different.

It was just after a new jump rope game that the fight broke out. Two of the older boys were picking on the newest girl, saying she dressed like a boy. The girl had countered that they all dressed the same, what if they were dressing like girls? Given that Larxene was usually the oldest person around in the adept clothing, it was a pretty good argument.

Larxene couldn't do anything about the adept clothing itself. The moogles had tried to make it in colors. Were still trying, knowing them, but it was all black. And it helped best in the tight leggings and deep hooded coats.






Finger paint had seemed like a really good idea.






Why not after all? The coats would absorb the paint within a few hours, so no permanent harm right? And it let the kids be distinctive and colorful. That was important, in a way she really couldn't define, just important. She hadn't factored in the sheer amount of clashing mayhem that seven adept children could cause with finger paints. The walls, well, the walls might never truly recover.

The kids had been so happy though, before they'd trotted off to lessons. Her own coat bore the marks of cheerful battle. Hand prints and clumsy suns, a dog along one hem...

...she held her head proudly, a green star around one eye, as she started to work on wall scrubbing.
harmitwithspark: (Thoughtful)
When she'd parted from Xaldin it had been with the intent to confirm the locations of the other Nobodies herself. Not a lie, that statement. She would head out after them as soon as she confirmed the status of Castle Oblivion.

Herself.

It wasn't a good place for lessers.

The paths let out on the grassy fields before the Castle, giving her plenty of time to take in it's undamaged and attainable state. She wasn't sure she approved, given the status of The World That Never Was. If there was to be such an upset amongst the Organization it should have effected all the members in her mind...

...but then, Marluxia was rather good at avoiding discomfort.

The silvery doors slid open with a sigh as she approached, and that hair raising, syrupy feel of Castle Oblivion slid through her mind as she crossed the threshold...but all was normal. Not a light flickered, the walls were whole and uncracked, hardship hadn't touched this hold at all.

Marluxia wasn't in the garden, but the dining hall with his customary feast. She'd never understood why he insisted on three times daily eating, they were Nobodies, but everyone had their quirks. She'd never understand the glass of champagne he always insisted on either, though she joined him when ordered.

His customary glass was dangling from his fingers when she entered; his poses were always graceful. "I haven't been able to reach you, XII"

"No" she agreed casually, knowing the news she brought would cause a stir "The World That Never Was is no longer accessible. And Twilight Town has fallen." Best he found out first through her, else she'd suffer for the delay.

"...repeat that, XII."

"Twilight Town has fallen. The World That Never Was is no longer accessible. Most of the Organization was shunted to other worlds at the time of the fall. We are regrouping."

"I...see. And Xemnas?" he asked, the glass twirling gently in his fingers.

"Unaccounted for, assumed locked within The World That Never Was."

"Perfect" he sighed, setting the glass down as he rose to stalk around the table. "That is perfect."

"Sir?" she was still reeling from the displacement, and the reports...she didn't see how it could be 'beneficial' to lose their world.

"Oh child, now you can observe them outside I's influence. See who chafes, who thinks now that the supreme power is...absent. I expect progress in your secondary mission will grow exponentially now."

"I...see." she sighed, letting the trained, cold smile cross her lips as she took a glass of champagne. "An excellent opportunity." and if he was shifting her focus to group observation, he wouldn't expect reports on Roxas.

"I'll expect reports, of course." he chuckled reaching out to tug on her hair gently. "We wouldn't want to have to resort to...reminders...again. Do send me your address when you've settled with the group?"

"Due to the spread of members now, it may be impossible to have full observation and accurate reporting schedules." she stated, tipping back her glass and ignoring the tug on her hair "But you will receive a location when we've established a new secure area."

"Ah, well, a man can't have everything. Report as you can..." he laughed again "...within reason."

"Yes sir."
harmitwithspark: (Default)
Larxene hissed slightly as one of her girls brought Marluxia's latest gift to her. She hadn't wanted to step into her rooms to surprises anymore. With a Ninja on watch, at least she could pretend her space was private.

Error? Mistakes?

Maybe she should have pushed Xaldin harder...

But no. It would not have been wise, or healthy, to do so. And while her teacher could have so much faith in her ability to corner even the higher ups? She knew better. Her limits were something she had clearly outlined long ago. Savage she most certainly could be...but not stupid.

She tucked the flower into a button hole of her jacket as she quickly jotted out a response.

Marluxia,

Forgive me my limits, I am still recovering from the questioning.


Mentally at least. The questions had been...scarring.

For the near future, given the reactions, I will stay with general research through the various libraries.

XII


Marluxia wouldn't be pleased with the slow progress such careful research wrought, not at all. And the consequences her impertinence earned would no doubt be immediate. In light of that she had a Dusk deliver her note, and the Ninjas...her girls were sent far and wide, to count and label worlds just being connected.

Her girls were far away when the Dusk returned, a small bouquet of purple and white bound in ribbon in it's hands. It would have been an innocent, and touching, outside of Nobodies. In the World That Never Was though, the Dusk bore thorn marks and the ribbon was blood red.

Well...she'd expected as much. She wouldn't linger over her 'healing'. She wouldn't linger long at all.
harmitwithspark: (Default)
She'd returned from her time in Twilight Town to find a single branch with a single flower awaiting her on her table. Subtle was not exactly Marluxia's style, but at least his reminders were quiet. She chewed her lip a moment as she mentally composed her report. What would he care to know? What would rivet his attention and feed his mind for a few days of peace on her end?

Marluxia,

I have begun researching memory in the Library of the Beast; the library itself is well coded and organized, but the materials themselves are elusive in their wording. It shall take some time to ferret out information useful to you. I have yet to encounter the Beast himself, dealing instead through the princess of the castle. I find this a far preferable setup, allowing for long periods of uninterrupted research.

There was a slight detour from complying to your wishes, as I was assigned to a retrieval mission by III. The outcome of my report to him, however, procured permission to gather verbal memory recall. He will not record to crystal.

III will also consider relaying our research request to II.

XII.


She sent the report off with one of her girls, then waited. The news of a possible interview with Xaldin would no doubt spur a response...

...and she was not disappointed; though the branch was splinters in her hand before the wait was over. Her ninja returned with a written list of questions, most of which made her wince at the sheer absurdity.
harmitwithspark: (XII)
The dark path let out on a reinforced rampart of some sort. Solid stone and canons...not her style in the least, but it was very useful as a reconnoiter point. She had to wonder at the placement of the stone edifice, so obviously perched to loom over the small town and the surrounding sea cliffs. Ostentatious was the term. Target was another. It certainly lacked subtlety, but then, it wasn't a subtle world.

Pity. Subtle worlds were complicated, which meant entertaining.

The bulwark at least had enough room for her and the girls, unlike the town she was to search. Not nearly enough room for everyone to play in.

"Well..." she chuckled, the sound softened to a near whisper on the breeze "...there is always the over-achiever option. A whole world here, why not check to make sure it's homogeneously infested? We're looking for interesting and out of the ordinary, girls." there was a moment of absolute stillness on the ramparts, then most of her companions melted away into the night.

The three remaining glided to either side as she jumped down to the bridge, the docks quiet and deserted at this hour. Silent, deserted, and dark. Almost like a flock of birds, the girls wheeled, shifting their target from the town to the anchored ships. It never hurt to check after all! Plus...ships were far more interesting to crawl through than streets.

The two men on guard outside The Interceptor never noticed the shadows alighting in the rigging, and the group took a moment to debate whether to kill them on general principles. It hadn't been in the orders, so with a shrug, the quartet flashed rock, paper, scissors at each other until one ninja slipped off to 'immobilize' the guards. "Now, let's see what we can find here." Larxene shooed the other two, slipping down to the deck.

She didn't actually find much. Her section seemed to hold deserted sleeping quarters for the crew. Hammocks swayed gently with the boat, and it was dark and cramped. A perfect spawning ground for heartless...but there was none. Just a rat or twelve and few forgotten mementos. She snarled silently at the boring room, casually slitting beds as she went. It wasn't much, as statements went, but it gave her something to do with her hands as she traveled back to the deck.

On deck, her trio were standing with a small find apiece; examples of what they'd seen. The first with a tricorner hat from one of the guards. The second held out a delicately carved jade ball that was interesting enough to slip in her pocket. The third...the third held a handful of coins nestled between her fingers. Gold coins. "Oh my..." Larxene chuckled softly "Lead on."

The coins were part of a much, much larger collection. Several chests worth of varied treasure, from statues and beads to coins and silks. It seemed the ship had been raiding. Or getting ready to deliver.

She honestly didn't care.

"Clean it out." she ordered "To the general treasury I think." nothing really looked interesting enough to keep...

...though she eyed one of the chests and whistled cheerfully as she carved Thanks for a good time - - - XII - - - on the lid. "This one to Three's room. Have fun girls!" she knew the hold would be empty within hours, a great mystery to the natives. She might even stick around to see the crew's reaction come morning, provided she had nothing better to do.

Ah, but duty called. With a cheerful wave, she was up in the night air once more, and darting towards the town.

The quiet, sleeping, unsuspecting town that had probably not realized they'd been connected yet. The Heartless obviously hadn't started swarming yet, and any losses were probably those that the society wouldn't trouble themselves over. Well...that made her job more difficult. Searching every nook and cranny wouldn't be...efficient. Or amusing. Obviously she needed...bait.

Strong emotions drew Heartless. Strong negative emotions were even better for a quick response. Aaaaand...she already had a couple of good worms for her hook back at the boat.

It wasn't long before one of the guards had been revived with a touch of lightning. Then she wrapped a hand in his collar, not touching him, but tightening the fabric to the point where it was almost as good as a garrote. That and a knife pricking just above his kidneys were very good incentives to march to town. She released him in a dimly lit, crate filled square, sliding back into the shadows to play with her new toy from a distance.

Amazing how much fear a Somebody could give off when he couldn't see the knives coming, or pinpoint where the laughter was coming from. Yes, fear, and frustrated, hopeless anger that could kick over into rage with enough blood loss. Had she a heart, she might have pitied the man. Or given him mercy as her targets finally clawed out of the dark pockets they'd been in. As it was, she let him see the nightmares that crawled and shimmied toward him. Nothing special there; just Shadows and Soldiers. Then she heard it, over the clanking armor and the whimpering screams the man's damaged throat could produce. Creaking.

Creaking?

Like wheels that needed oil.

Even better when a red, lighted symbol appeared and tracked the human. She'd never seen a heartless do that. Something new! Something new with canon balls apparently. Her bait never stood a chance as the iron ball flew in. It caught him square in the gut. He was in his last moments when her knife found him again. Better not to let another heartless into the world. And he had done his job. Only right he be rewarded for that!

The small group of heartless weren't pleased to see their targeted heart flicker out. Even less so to see the square light up with her signature element, taking care of the riffraff so she could focus on specimen retrieval. The new heartless was an inelegant, chunky thing. A canon, of course. She danced around as she observed it; it's limitless supply of ammunition never managing to pin her down, her barrier keeping it from getting away.

Still, the firing thing would make transport a problem.

Every heartless had it's weakness though, and in a canon, well, it had very few points to be vulnerable at. In the end, it was a simple task of yanking the perpetually lit fuse out entirely and bagging that little coil for Vexen. After all, pity if the scientist missed out on the new specimen's full potential.

Then there was just the little problem of the man's body to deal with. It was only common sense to stuff the cooling, bleeding corpse into the canon, then she could just tow it along back to the ship without having to juggle pieces! Though...the corpse did provide an excellent example of the canon ball damage...Vexen could get the whole package!

She handed the twitching, vainly struggling canon to one of her girls, then eyed the other unconscious guard. It felt unfinished, leaving one of a pair unharmed. The poor man might be labeled a traitor. Such an unkind fate, it'd be unconscionable! She'd have to make it interesting though. Creative.

Or at least disturbing.

At least the man never woke up as she removed his tongue, thumbs, and middle fingers. He'd be found in the empty hold in the morning, wounded hands bound with strips cut from the ship flag. She was about to label the mission done when one of her ninjas returned from her scouting. There was something interesting down the coast. Not heartless...but not human either.

* * * * *

Tortuga was a much livelier place than Port Royal had been. Noisy and filthy, so many flickering torches out to fight the night, yet it only made the shadows deeper. This was a town that knew to fear the dark...but also knew that darkness was useful. A dichotomy of ideals that should have made Tortuga the main anchor for the heartless incursions. Should have.

Port Royal was unfortunate, if the heartless passed up a tasty morsel like Tortuga, it meant that something significant was going to happen in the little, safe town. Probably something significantly unpleasant.

Not her concern.

She'd taken rooftops when she could, but now she was in the crowd, weaving among it and yet not part of it as the throng of Somebodies surged and pounded along the street. It wasn't a comfortable place to be, but she managed not to be pinched, prodded, hooked, or fondled with a few well placed knives. Surprising how a way opened to the nearest tavern after that.

According to the ninjas, the not-man had been followed to three taverns; the target was looking for something. Asking questions of the locals. It was another round of dodging before she could stand near him, watching. She didn't particularly care when he noticed her interest, though his reaction was a little out of the ordinary. He grinned, a smile full of gold capped teeth as he eyed her in return "Good to see a doxie who isn't flakin' paint!" he complimented "Takes weeks to get the taste of that out of a mans mouth, makes the price of wick dipping a little too steep."

On the Xigbar scale, the man didn't even come close to scoring, but it made the locals laugh and leer. It also made some men decide to take their chances. The first man hit the bar hard enough to cave in the front of his face; she wasn't happy with anyone who attempted to grab her. The second and third lost kneecaps...and after that it was a free for all. The room exploded with activity, everyone struggling to kill, or at least bash, everyone else.

And her target left.

Odd that.

She traced him to another tavern, then another...after that she just started fights first thing in the door by tossing patrons around until her target left in disgust. After the last tavern, she just had to wait, obviously standing by a dark alleyway. He came to her, snarling something along the lines of "Inter'ferrin bitch"

The knife to his ribs made him laugh. The one to his shoulder he ignored...and she grinned. Obviously not a man indeed. It was time to get dirty, which meant close up fighting, boots and fists mainly. The girls began to gather, perching on fences and crates, waiting for the order to tear him limb from limb...but it was fun to beat on someone who didn't go down in one hit.

Or twenty.

The man, the pirate, laughed at her, taking a deliberate step into the slanting moonlight. She'd seen far worse than flesh melting into dessication, so instead of the gasp of horror he wanted, she smiled and fried him. Skeleton or no...it'd probably stun him a bit.

It worked surprisingly well, his oaths and swears becoming garbled and bitten off as her lightning coursed through him. Only then did she gesture the girls in "Loop his arms through his ribs and tie them."

It was utterly hilarious when the not-man was shoved back into the shadows, his flesh solidifying around his bound arms. Hilarious indeed. With a last laugh, Larxene nodded to the girls and the dark paths opened, the muck of Tortuga left far, far behind.

Report I

Jun. 23rd, 2008 06:31 pm
harmitwithspark: (Assignment)
Larxene sighed, letting the reports gathered through the day filter and click in her head. It could be distracting, information, so she always tried for stillness as the day drew to a close. She was sitting neatly tucked on her window ledge, her austere room barely lit with a few flickering candles.

It was enough light though, far more than enough. The dancing flames licked along a single rose in a cut crystal vase. It was set square and alone on the only table in her room, delicately pink slashed in red. Blood to make the grass grow after all...

...a gentle reminder, no doubt delivered when she was away. She had forgotten her reports in the few days she'd been away from Castle Oblivion. Or maybe it had been a week. She wasn't always the best with time. Time and past for a report then.

A few limber stretches, then she was folded neatly on her knees at the table, pen and paper in her hand.

Marluxia,

Apologies for the delay, I have been reestablishing myself here, a process that provided far too many distractions. If the news has not already reached you, we are now an Organization of XIII, our newest member being a young boy. He seems to have suffered damage in the transition, understandable in one so young, and remembers almost nothing, making him useless for our research. Should anything interesting come of him, you will be the first to know.

There has yet to be a meeting, so I have been unable to advance your request for further assistance at the Castle, nor have I been able to corner Xemnas to discuss it privately. I did manage to spend a length of time with Xigbar though, the results of which you are no doubt finding distraction in. He is an amiable sort, and no doubt would be willing to contribute to your recordings, should you send blank crystals. He may also find some amusement in your other proposed endeavors, should our research progress to that point.

As for outside news, there is little of import to impart. Worlds are dying, heartless numbers are increasing, and greater numbers of displaced people are arriving in both Twilight Town and Traverse Town. The greatest amusement to date was the killer.

I do hope you enjoyed the ribbons used in delivery.

XII: Larxene


The results signed and sealed, she tapped the envelope against her chin a moment before shrugging. Some things...

...some things just didn't need to be known just yet.
harmitwithspark: (Assignment)
"Alright my dear, you'll have to be honest. Our assignment is to research memories, so what better place to start than within our own lovely skulls? Everything, anything you remember from before we met..."

"Marluxia, I've told you those petals are annoying."

"And we both know you can handle petty annoyances by focusing on the assignment..."

"Do my ears decieve me? You're admitting to being petty?"

"Petty is entertaining."

"Shut up a moment, let me think..."

She stood on a railing, booted feet tucked safely on the middle rung as she leaned forward, all bright smiles and laughter. Horses danced and cantered a few feet beyond her, the guardsmen on their backs laughing and waving at their admirer. She'd snuck out of course, slipping away from their deportment teacher to see the border patrol off.

She'd be in for it later of course. Her sisters would sneer at her troubling herself over commoners; the teacher would make her walk rounds with books on her head...but the guards liked seeing her. She couldn't have
not come. Not when this patrol would last weeks. An older man slipped from the rank and file, his storm gray horse covered in old scars. She loved to trace her fingers through the white lines, like lightning done in horse hair...

"You're going to get in trouble out here little one." the man rumbled cheerfully.

"Only a little" she replied, fingers being lipped by his horse "Besides, you asked if I'd see you off, Captain!"

"That I did, that I did. The men would get depressed if their favorite princess didn't see them off! It'd be unlucky!"


"I was a princess of some kind. I had sisters..."

"Of course you were, nothing else would do for you. Besides, we'd never let a common girl into the Organization, we do have standards after all."

"Oh yes, standards like Vexen? Or even you, the amazing Flower Powered man? Please, give me a break..."

She covered her painting carefully, drawing the fabric over it before tying the string tightly, after all, it wouldn't grace the halls. That privilege was for the best, and the best simply wasn't her. She was good though. Maybe good enough for other people...

It was awkward, lugging the thing down the tight stairs at the back of the hall, but well worth it as she leaned the covered canvas against an empty work table. "I brought a gift, Ana!" she called into the large kitchens, making a flour dusted woman glance up.

"Oh dear child, you should be in bed at this hour! Breakfast isn't for hours yet!"

"I know" she smiled, using her handkerchief to dust off Ana's face teasingly "But I know how you hate interruptions once the day gets going. This is for you, and all those midnight snacks you snuck me when I was little..."

"You're still little, girl" the head cook chuckled, flashing a look at the package "You got me a new cutting board?"

"As if I'd dare take that choice out of your hands!" she laughed, pulling the string off, and lifting the cover for the woman to peek. They'd been told to paint scenes around the castle...and she'd chosen the kitchen gardens, with the girls gathering for the noon salads, and Ana and her daughter sitting on the bench outside, fanning themselves as they took a break from the hot ovens indoors. Not exactly appropriate subject matter she'd been told.

"Oh...bless you child." was all Ana could say, flour covered hands rising to almost stroke the painting.

And so it went.

Her sewing was certainly not fit for making a feast cloth for the table, but her attempt went into the dower box of her lady's maid.

Her poetry and penmanship was a worthy effort, but not enough to impress a prince. It impressed a few wandering bards though, who were delighted to have their songs set down to pass along properly.

Her dancing was enough to help fill a ballroom, but the dances were to be opened by someone better. At Ana's daughter's wedding though, the bride had somehow learned to dance as gracefully as any common girl could dream...

Her singing was good, but not breathtaking; but she was the only princess to ever learn all the songs sung in the kitchens!

Her musical ability was passing fair, but couldn't draw tears. She often slipped away from the castle to play for the guardsmen though. Smiles were better than tears ever could be in her books.

Her grasp of law and judgment was superb, but tempered with far too much compassion for the court. Servant squabbles were more often than not brought to her rather than the Seneschal though...

Her classical knowledge and philosophical knowledge would never enthrall suitors; but the stable boys could tell you about the classic stories the princess told them, and they were a far more thoughtful bunch than any high bred gaggle.

Her looks, while a cut above due to breeding, did not stop hearts in the streets. No great sonnets were composed to her beauty, but she was far more approachable than any worshiped figure...


"Wow, for a princess, I didn't really have anything going for me. Didn't even get the bluebird magnetism..."

"Like you'd have put up with that, Larxene."

"Well, no, but I remember always...not being quite good enough. Ever."

"Well, we fixed that from the start, so don't trouble yourself over it dear. Now, tell me, was there a Prince in your future?"

"Why, jealous? Or think it'd be fun to go courting the princely type?"

"They make such charming faces once they figure out the innuendo..."

The rough, callused fingers adjusted her grip again as she seethed in the guardroom. The sword lessons were another little secret she had, the guards taking them on as a joke at first...but now, now they were a welcome distraction as she fumed. "They just...all of them..."

"I know little one" the Captain sighed, stepping back and bringing his own practice sword up "Girls, even princesses, can be mean."

"But!" she almost cried, starting the session anew with a lunge "...to say I'll never...no one. I mean, I know there aren't many Princes around, not for at least a months travel, but a spinster? Doddering around the castle forever?"

"Not likely girl, not likely. They were just yanking your braid, I promise" the captain chuckled, blocking neatly, if with just seconds to spare as her anger lent her speed.

"That's the problem, it is likely! It...all of them have to get married first right? All eleven of them! There's just not enough 'worthies' to go around, not in time. And even if they were, only Elsa gets to stay here, she rules after Father, the rest of us have to leave, go off to some strange land to be good little Queens to people we don't know!" the last ended on a wail as her wrist flexed, executing a stroke to do the guards proud that almost scored her partners belly.

"Whoa, calm girl, calm. I'm not sure what the problem is now. Are you angry because you might not marry...or because you might?" the Captain sighed, wishing he'd actually raised a daughter, it might have helped him understand this girl.

"I..." she blinked, halting her attack as she mulled that over. "I don't know. It hurts..it hurts a lot that the girls believe I won't be able to do what I'm suppose to do, that I'll fail. But it also hurts to think I'll just be sent off with a stranger to get the youngest daughter out of everyone's hair..."

"Well, seems to me...that you need to ask your friends for a bit of help." the Captain rumbled at last, tapping the end of her weapon with his own. "We'll get some out looking for someone appropriate. If not a Prince, we'll find you a Hero we approve of, how's that? We'll make sure that you don't end up with a true stranger, and we'll even try to make sure you stick around, we like you here after all..."

Her weapon wavered, then fell, tip planting itself with a wooden thunk in the dirt as she stared at him, gaping "You...you all would...why?"

"Why Princess, why wouldn't we?"


"Hmmm, sorry, no Prince. Want to know something absolutely hilarious though?"

"Of course"

"Looks like I was always number twelve."

"Oh dear...you'll never live it down. Princess Twelve..."

"Tell, and I'll tell them what you wear under your coat."

"Come on, I promise, you'll love it. He wants to meet all of you." she heard her sister saying, several beds over as she got ready to...dance. A strange thing, getting into a dress at bedtime. She had no idea who her sister meant of course, the palace gossip said a proposal had arrived with a messenger for the eldest's hand in marriage...

...and she'd been told before any of the other girls even knew. Servants heard everything, after all, and everything they heard, they told to their favorite princess as a matter of course.

She hadn't heard a whisper of late night dancing though. "Who?" she asked, giving up on sleeping as the other girls laughed and fluttered about, finding their own gowns.

"That's a secret" the eldest smiled, chivying the youngest towards the closet "But I promise, he might even be able to help you find someone hmmm? Wouldn't you like that?"

She wanted to say she already had friends whom she trusted doing that...but they'd have laughed and sneered at her. Instead she just flashed a smile and climbed into the blue silk her sisters chose for her "I'd like to know what's going on..." she answered at last, after each dancing slipper had been laced, and each girl lined up according to the eldest's whim.

"Why, we're going dancing!" was the infuriating answer, though she couldn't help but smile excitedly as she began to hear music. Why had she been worried? It was just dancing! A ball! Something fun for girls who deserved it! She didn't even blink when one of the beds slid aside to reveal a stairway. No, she simply laughed, slipping her hand into her sister's as they formed a delighted chain of girl going down into the dark...

There were woods, in that land beneath the bed. Great forests made of sighing jewels and precious metals, and kind men who took their hands and led them to a castle not that far away...

And they danced. The twelve of them and their escorts, turning and wheeling in a brightly lit and mirrored room. No talking, no need or breath to do so as they spun. The lights became a blur after time though, the laughter in her throat forced as she noticed shadows forming deep within the mirrors.

Shadows that made her chest burn with fear, an emotion so intense that it snapped the bonds of the fugue over her. She did not dance with a charming man, but with...something else. She had never seen it's like, nor read of it's kind, clad in head to toe gray that was skin tight and shadowy, oddly, she didn't fear him. No, the form moved to place itself between her and the mirrors as her sisters danced on...and all she could do was watch in horror as those mirrors shattered, letting in a horde of something darker, hungrier than the gray suitors...

Then her sisters screamed, chill and high as the suitors moved as one to face the threat, and worse, those screams began to die off, one by one.

She couldn't see through the swirling morass, darkness coming inexorably closer, then suddenly there was a strong back before her eyes, clad in dark coat. The man wore a hood, and a weapon moving so fast she could barely see it danced among the shadows before them...

"Princess, please, come with me. Your world..." he gasped, a shadow striking a little to deep "...your world is no longer safe."

She didn't have time to agree or fear, nor even shake her head. The darkness was growing, and for the first time she saw the bodies of her sisters, limp and dead...

She screamed; and the darkness swallowed them.


"There was someone there...at the end."

"Someone?"

"Not a heartless. Someone...never mind. It was probably no one important. You know the rest. I woke up, you found me yadda yadda yadda."

"And we all lived happily ever after right? You know I'm going to have to get you to record those memories...as your commentary just isn't that useful."

"Hmmm, maybe later. Now I'm bored, and really, you probably don't want to see me as a Somebody. It'd be such a shock to your system..."

"I'm not nearly as delicate as I look..."

"Oh, but you're delicate enough, Marluxia. Delicate enough."

March 2012

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