Elaine followed the Prince numbly as they ran through the dark corridors of the palace, feeling small and weak, and scared, and stupid. Oh, so very stupid. She’d done all this, risked so much, and she’d found what she’d been looking for. And it was horror, a nightmare made real. And the worst part, the absolutely infuriating part, the part that made her kick herself, is that underneath it all--she’d always known there was an answer like this waiting for her, if she ever bothered going to look for the story of her conception. When you don’t have a father--and your mother doesn’t let people get behind her. And cries to herself at night. And will not talk about certain things if you ask her about them. Well, how could you--on some level, at least--avoid realizing that if you searched in your past, you’d find rape?
Oh, you could never be sure. And you could let yourself create alternate explanations, and castles in the air, and tell yourself, over and over again, that of course, it was just a tragic romance cut short by war, of course she just missed your father terribly, so terribly that she couldn’t bear to talk about him--but you always knew. Deep down knew. That’s why when the need for answers grew so great you went running out on a fool’s errand instead of just confronting your mother. Because you didn’t really need to know. You just needed to convince yourself that you’d done all you could to find it out. But that was the thing. All that nonsense you’d said, about the blood of the Badb, and being bound by the Weird--that wasn’t nonsense. It was true. And it had demonstrated that truth in the worst possible way.
Amfortas finally stopped. “Here,” he stated calmly as he threw Elaine towards the ground. She saw it was a small chamber, filled with statuary. She suspected it was all the collection of some past King of Leonais and then realized with a start that she was thinking about an ancestor. A man related to her through this horrible man near her, who just happened to be her father.
She managed to catch herself on a wall, and stared at him for a long while. “How could you?” she asked.
“That, my dear, is rather… vague,” answered Amfortas, with a smile. “Please--specify.”
“You know what I mean,” spat out Elaine.
Amfortas nodded. “I believe I do now.” He gave a pleasant, cheerful shrug. “What can I say? It amused me.”
Elaine stared at him in horror. “Amused… you? That is your answer? That is why you…”
Amfortas looked at her, and began to laugh. “Come now, my dear? Do you honestly think I have to justify myself towards you… creatures?” He chuckled once again. “How adorable. Absolutely… adorable.” He placed a hand on her face, and stroked it familiarly.
“If you don’t pull back your hand,” snarled Elaine, “I will vomit all over it, and that nice doublet you’re wearing.”
Amfortas considered it for a moment, and then pulled back his hand. “I do like this shirt,” he noted. He chuckled to himself. “Ahh, me. What to do now?”
Elaine took a deep breath. “You sick bag of… sick…”
Amfortas smiled at her, and then calmly gave her a back-handed slap. “That is a very unladylike thing to say to your father,” he stated. “Remember, young lady, you exist because of me. And the fact that there wasn’t a rock close to hand after I was finished with your mother.” He drew a knife from his side. “Perhaps it’s time to finally remedy that… little cosmic jest, eh? You have, after all, served your purpose, and killing you would be most enjoyable right now, I think.” He smiled at her brightly, eyes looking at her for a response.
Elaine looked back at him. “Do whatever the hell you like,” she said. “Just don’t think for a minute I believe ANY of your nonsense. You’re not better than me, Amfortas. You just… aren’t.”
“Of course I am, child,” said Amfortas with an easy nod. “I’m better than everybody. That’s why all that I do is right. And that is why my killing you is a good thing. A holy thing. A righteous thing.” He smiled cheerfully. “Every stab that pierces your flesh shall be a glorious hymn to the Light…”
Elaine shut her eyes. “The worst thing about listening to you, Amfortas, is that I think even you know what you say is bullshit. But you say it anyway, because it’s the only thing you know how to say.”
The Prince clicked his tongue. “Such vulgarity. How tiresome.” He moved towards her, then turned suddenly and threw his knife. “You really shouldn’t have tried sneaking up on me,” he said calmly. “I have very good ears.”
Mansemat Cthonique stepped into view. “And you shouldn’t have thrown your knife,” he said, tossing the knife to the floor. “I have very fast hands.”
Amfortas shrugged. “It’s not as if it was my only weapon,” he said. He spread his cloak open, and drew the sword clasped to his side. “This is Clarent, the Blade of Day. Supposedly it has the power to oppose your own accursed sword,” he noted. “Shall we test that, eh?”
Mansemat stared at Amfortas. “My wife still awakens screaming, every now and then, because of what you did to her, and you have just spent a great deal of time threatening her daughter. Do not imagine for a second, Prince of Leonais, that I will treat you with any more respect than you deserve, you vile piece of shit.”
The Dark Lord of the Plains of Dread drew his sword, and with a shout, struck at his opponent.