Jean watched as Viviane raced through the hallways, doing her level best to keep up with the Badb. Viviane’s face was drawn in a tight scowl, her eyes shining with fury, and her pestle was ready in her hand.
Somehow, this didn’t exactly reassure Jean.
“Maybe--maybe we should get a plan,” she suggested.
“I don’t NEED a plan!” yelled Viviane. “All I need is a mother’s love to guide me to where my daughter is, a mother’s strength to keep me going until I get there, and a mother’s anger to make the bastards who’ve taken her pay!” She snarled as they reached a barred iron door, and raised the pestle. As Jean watched, the stone around it fell apart, and a blast of wind knocked the door away. “Also,” added Viviane, “the power of nature itself at my beck and call. Can’t forget that.”
Jean stared at the ruined door for a second then coughed. “Umm… right. You know… Viviane… I know this might seem… presumptuous, coming from me… but I think you aren’t quite thinking clearly…”
Viviane glared at her. “Well, you’re right on both counts.” She leaned forward, crossing her arms. “First, I’m not thinking clearly. A haze of anger is covering everything. And I’m okay with that. Anger is useful. Anger lets you get things done. Anger kept me alive for a long, long time. It was one of the two things that kept me going until recently. So don’t knock anger to me. It’s an emotion I value. Even cherish at times. Am I understood?” Jean managed a nod. “Good. That means I don’t have to make a production about the SECOND thing you were correct about--you being presumptuous. So let’s just go get things done, shall we?”
Jean gave another nod. “Sure.” She looked nervously at the ground.
Viviane turned away. “Well,” she said, “I guess you’ve finally pinned down EXACTLY where Elaine gets it from.” She shrugged. “What can I say? Apple didn’t fall far from the tree.” Viviane bit her lip, and gave a nervous laugh. “I… I couldn’t give Elaine my magic, but… I did give her my bitchiness, and that, I like to think, is a far, far greater gift.”
Jean stared at Viviane for a moment. “She’s the second thing, isn’t she? The other thing that kept you going…”
Viviane shut her eyes, and nodded. The pair moved through the hallways in silence for a long while after that.
The silence was broken by a man’s shout coming from before them. “Halt! Who goes there? Declare yourself!”
As they stepped forward, Jean saw that the speaker was an Eremite, one of a group of several who were standing in a broad hallway. “Erls,” hissed one of his fellows. “Those are Erls, Sir Ishim.”
Sir Ishim gave no response to that beyond a wave of his hand. His men began to disperse through the room.
Viviane smiled to herself. “Well. I was hoping to meet someone. And here you are. It must be fate.”
“Stand down,” said the Eremite. “Stand down now, and…”
Viviane laughed. “Now isn’t that rude? Here I’m about to answer your questions and you’re yelling at me!” She raised the pestle. “Who am I? I am Viviane du Lac, the Badb, Queen of the Old Magic, and you, gentlemen, are dead men.”
Jean blinked, and then jumped back as Viviane gathered a flame around her pestle, and then let it fly.