Tony was already passing out sugary drinks. Etain shuddered. She hated what too much sugar did to her. So, she passed and went and grabbed a cup of tea. She discovered teas in Asia a long time ago. Before most countries did. She adored tea. She loved coffee more, but tea settled something in her soul. She also grabbed a candy cane. She loved these things. She loved to suck them into a pointed tip. They came out in mass in the early nineteen hundreds. But since the sixteen hundreds candy makers had made sweet candy sticks. The pointed tip would be perfect to poke people when they annoyed her. She smirked as she took the candy cane out of her mouth and looked at the pointed tip, before poking Tony.
“Hey! Stop that!” Tony glared at her.
“No. It is fun.”
“Will you grow up?”
“I am grown. Wanna see how grown?” Etain smirked, she would not sleep with him, but teasing was fun. Teasing is what friends did.
“You don’t have the right parts for me.”
Etain laughed. “Oh, and Gabby does?” She smirked as continued to fashion her sugary weapon.
“Hey! Don’t bring me into this childish game!”
“Says a grown man who became an archaeologists because he lost his favorite babble when he was robbing graves before he became a big evil villain.” Etain looked at him with a smirk. She then poked him with the candy cane.
Gabriel started and glared. “Only you would make a weapon out of a candy cane.”
“Would you three please behave?” Catriona sighed, “seriously, Arc, stop causing pain. What did Tony and Gabe do?”
“He is Tony. Enough said. I mean he wears his underwear outside his pants. And Gabby is a bad guy like me.”
“Hey! That was the fashion for superheroes at the time! I would change my outfit now!” Tony yelled, as Gabe yelled, “retired bad guy!”
“Good, I won’t be seen with you in that old outfit.”
“Will you three stop acting like children and behave?”
“Yes, mom.” They all sang song.
William cleared his throat, getting everybody’s attention, “okay! So, first Arc wants to say something. Then she will get to ask the first question.”
Etain raised an eyebrow from where she was lounging against some pillows with Catriona next to her. “I am making an announcement saying that I am awesome? Powerful? Queen of Evil? Cute as hell? Which is where you all have said I came from?”
Etain rolled her eyes. “So, my shrink over there says to face my past, I must remember who I am, and by that, I mean allow that you all know my actual name. I am Etain, Daughter of Brien.”
“O’Brien… You used that all the time.” Tony laughed, “you hid your name in your fake name!”
“Eh, it was a way to keep up the lie I sprung from nothing. But by doing that, I realized I gave the man power. That I am nothing more than something owned by him. So, I am Etain. I have no last name. I belong to nobody.”
The others nodded had similar issues with the times they were born. “Okay, so, Etain, what is your first question?” Tony asked as he plopped down with a bottle of wine, filling Catriona’s glass and his own, offering Etain.
Etain shook her head at the offer. She tilted her head and then smirked. “Who was everybody’s first love? I can answer first, I was in a poly amorous relationship. My wife to be was named Bridgid. My husband to be was named Drest. I had been having sex with Bridgid since I was twelve. About four months in, Drest caught us. We asked him to join. I adored being taken by both of them. I was planning the final steps of my marriage ceremony when my world was turned upside down. The opposing forces killed them.” They did not get to know everything right now.
While Tony was talking about some guy Catriona froze. Her first love? While Etain was sitting right there? Etain was opening up bit by bit, and it wa great. But Catriona could not help but get jealous when she joked with the others. Catriona always worried that she would pick someone else to date when she got well. And now Catriona had to tell Etain the story of her first love? That may set Etain off. She may just go back in time to them. After all, her first love story did not end well.
“Earth to Cat?” Etain placed a hand upon her’s. “You okay, Cat?”
“It is your turn.”
Catriona swallowed, “you must promise me something Etain.”
“I am serious.”
“I am too. Anything you want. Anything.”
“You cannot lose control. You cannot let your powers go.”
Etain frowned, why would a first love story need that promise. “Okay…”
“Okay, I promise. I said anything.”
“You can’t travel time, can you?”
Etain snorted, “nobody can but the crazy man in a blue box.”
“That is a television show.”
“There is a reason whoever created us made sure none of us had the power to go back in time. We can be super fast, we can fly, but none of us can change the past. No matter how much we wish we could sometimes. Everything happens for a reason. You told me that. You told me that many times through the years.”
Catriona nodded and sighed, “his name was Paul.”
Catriona was twenty. She had just met the most wonderful being. He had a minor power, so he stayed and lived a normal life. He believed that women were equal. It was a radical thought during this time. He started to court her. He would come and visit and they would just talk. They talked about books. They talked about the new university, Oxford. They talked about education for both men and women. They talked languages. And he was so sweet. He stated he understood she had no desire for sex. He kept his touches light and friendly. A kiss to a cheek. A brush of lips. Catriona fell slowly in love. She found herself on his arm whenever they went out. Happy and content. Perhaps one day they could marry.
It all changed one night. Catriona had come back from a battle with Arc. And had just wanted to lie down and sleep. It was late when there was banging on her door. She opened the door to find Paul. “Paul?”
“You tease! I have been patient this whole year. Now, you are going to put out.”
Panic filled Catriona. He hit her and ripped at her clothes. But before he could complete his crime, a rage filled Catriona and she let loose her powers. There on the floor was a puddle of Paul. Catriona blinked before she bent over and threw up. She ran to the only place she ran safe, her mother’s.
“So, my first love ended up being that man that almost stole what is only mine to give.” Catriona finished her story and saw Etain standing up. “Etain…”
“I need a moment.” Etain moved and went outside. She took deep calming breaths. Why did people have to be so evil? Honestly, for all the death and destruction she had caused, she never took a person’s will away. The right to say yes or no. She took deep breaths, trying to keep her promise to Catriona. She turned when a twig snapped. “Catriona.”
“Etain, are you okay?”
“Your question about time travel makes sense now. But I am fine. Are you?”
“Yes. I was able to work through it a long time ago, Etain. To me it is just a bad memory.”
Etain nodded, “just so you know, if I could travel through time, I would have killed him the moment he knocked on your door.”
“Let’s get back before they think we are either killing each other or having sex.”
Catriona laughed, “is that what the bets are on?”
“If it makes you feel better, all but Timothy think we will have sex and never fight again. Timmy thinks we have a big knock out battle brewing first.”
“And what do you think?”
Etain smirked, “I adore you, I can’t deny that. But you will push while I am on this therapy path. And I push back.”
Catriona nodded, “good. Push if you need too. It sets boundaries. Though, I got to ask something.”
“When you talked about ropes that final battle?”
“Have you ever been tied up during sex?”
“No. It doesn’t seem like something I would like.”
“Would you like it if it was you tying me up?”
An image of a naked Etain laying on their bed, tied down by silken ropes flashed through her mind, and a blush came to her cheeks. “Umm…”
“I will take that as a, maybe. One day we can find out.” Etain laughed as she left a flustered Catriona in the yard as she made her way back to the group.
Catriona took deep breaths, “that woman does it on purpose. I swear.” She muttered as she made her way back.
Then everything got muddy. Evolution. Religion. But basically, as far as cosmic timelines, in an exceptionally quick amount of time the Earth went from being a ball of rock to being able to sustain different types of life. From the first single-cell organisms to dinosaurs to humanity.
Humanity eventually ate the apple, which is just a metaphor for evolving into telling the difference between being a decent human being and being an asshole. Doubtful there was a demon disguised as a snake telling a fully developed Homo-Sapian to eat an apple. If demons, Satan, and God exist, they kept far away from humanity since the beginning.
For humanity did not just evolve into the normal beings that make up the vast majority of the world’s population. It is said that some were said to be touched by God’s divine grace.
That grace gave birth to the heroes and the villains.
In reality, it was a chromosomal anomaly.
But one many exploited.
And it was glorious.
For life without chaos is like a superhero without a cause.
There used to be a time where superheros reigned over and protected the lands.
They reigned in the chaos.
They brought order.
They were loved.
Until the villains became corporate.
The Queen of Evil brought them together.
Brought order to chaos.
Tricked the world.
Used fear and the developing world into industrial and corporate to take power from the shadows.
For hundreds, thousands even, of years it was the typical bad guy blows something up, steals something, does something super villain-y, and the hero would come in and save the day. Very basic. Exceptionally ordinary. Citizens worshiped the heroes and hated the villains. The superheros, however, knew the chaos the villains caused gave them a cause and a reason to exist.
One villain loathed it. She hated the whole… flamboyance… of her… evilness.
Also known as Doctor Arc.
And with that, she vowed to change the way the world work.
She was tired of the hero always winning.
She was tired of the hero lording over her.
Her arch-nemesis, who had the stupid ass name of Earth Phoenix. It was so not her actual name.
Back then they protected their actual name. But since Phoenix was her number one enemy, she knew her actual name. Catriona. But she never gave it up.
After all, Catriona, was hers. She called dibs.
Then she got the villains to go corporate.
And Catriona disappeared.
But Etain kept tabs on her.
Dibs was dibs, after all.
She just never figured out she would be a villain that would need a hero.
And she for sure knew that Catriona never figured she would have the Queen of Evil asking her to save the world.
The question was, would the hero answer the villain’s cry for help?
Or would this Queen Villain have to save the world on her own?
Chapter Two A Queen Rises
The past was just that to Etain. The past. And that is where it needed to stay. Nobody existed that knew her name, knew her origins any longer. Either she killed them, or the warriors of her clan had killed them. So, she would find it easy enough to lie to herself she had no past. Etain had the plan to just pretend she just came into being. Nobody would really question it, people did not care where heroes and villains came from, they just praised and worshiped the heroes and feared the villains.
She thought of anything that could tie back to her existence as Etain. The journals she kept were safe with her, and always would be safe with her. All other evidence she existed burned with her village and the two surrounding it. She knew there was a rock carving her mother had done; they carved it into the rock near the village. It depicted two little girls, with their names carved above them. But that could never lead to her. And she refused to destroy it, as that is where she laid her sister to rest.
The only piece of evidence. And it would be protected. Forever.
But besides that, nothing could exist of Etain.
Though Etain always knew.
She had a lot of guilt.
A lot of anger.
If she had just been there, she could have saved her sister.
Instead, she had thought of her own happiness.
For that, Etain felt the need to punish herself.
She denied herself emotions.
She would get to the point she needed to feel something.
Just not numbness.
That is when she took a blade and made thin, shallow cuts upon her skin.
They would be the only evidence that she could feel.
The only evidence that she punished herself for the past.
To the world, she had a new existence.
To start this new existence, she just went by Arc. It was a name she heard a village whisper when she passed through and shocked a man for daring to touch her.
She moved from village to village, stealing in the night. She had to survive. She had to live. She had her doubts. Doubts of how she would be known. Everything was against her. The most powerful heroes were judge-y bastards. The villains were heartless, soulless, so what was she? For now, she just questioned herself and feared the people, she was starting to install fear into, would find out she was just guessing the answers she needed. Just going through motions and making it up as she went along. But for now it seemed to work. So, she continued going from village to village, being a minor villain, taking what she wanted. And for a bit of time that worked for her.
Until she knew she needed more.
She needed power.
She was so tired of not having power.
Power would protect her.
She had always longed to have power.
She had planned on becoming the Clan Leader once upon a time.
She had watched in her village that all the power was with the Clan Leader. That they could do anything. Say anything. Act in any way they wanted. She was just lucky she had loved her loves. Her male lover was the heir to the Clan Leader. And she had him wrapped around her little finger. It would allow her to have him declare her the Clan Leader. And with that, she could have changed the laws.
But that all was destroyed in her father’s greed.
In her anger.
In her grief.
So, she had to figure a way to gain power once more.
But it was not going to be easy.
She knew she would have to tear down the obstacles in front of her, brick by brick. But she would make it. She was powerful. She was starting to be feared. And she could put on a mask that could fool the world. After all, she had a mask that fooled her Clan Leader and her father since she was a young child. She hid her powers. She protected herself. She could do it again.
But without power, she could not protect herself.
The first step was knowing exactly what her powers could do. And controlling them, even in her panic.
There were more than a few incidents where she could not get her powers to work to protect her in her panic. Men were barbarians. Taking what they want with no care. Not that women were much better. She did not want to live this way. She did not want to just exist. She did not want to be nameless. She had powers that could move mountains if she wanted. She had powers that could kill the Earth. So, why was she not grabbing the power owed to her?
She needed to control her powers, to have power.
She needed power.
So, why was she just standing there?
Why was she just surviving?
Was she afraid of what it would cost to cross that last line?
Had she not already cross that last line?
She longed for powers.
She was going to change the way of life for her people.
That dream was dead.
But why was she still standing in the shallow end of life?
She made her choice.
She would no longer hold back.
And nobody would ever make her feel powerless again.
So, she started to attack small villages; she killed the rapists and abusers.
She fought the monsters, the ones who took with no care, no mercy, but in the process she would become the monster.
She sat at the base of a bare tree in a cemetery. Nobody walked the cemetery after dark, it allowed her to watch the villages. Buring the bodies was a new thing, before most just burned them. But she did like the idea of burying them. They had buried her sister. Not just burned like garbage. She sat waiting for her clothes to dry. She did not care she was naked under the moonlight. She sat there in the dark, her eyes glowing and her hair blowing behind her. She watched the village that was her first target. People would rue the day they hurt her.
She sat wondering about many things. She was told the gods and Norns controlled their lives. She was told three women held the threads of life. It was not a new concept. She had to wonder about the Norns. Why they put in the pain and heartache into her thread. She heard the voice in her mind that sounded like her sister saying she did not need to go this path. But the other voice, the darker one, was louder, telling her she needed power to never be hurt again. And her soul’s grief, the ripped apart and holding together by threads heart of hers, was enough to drown out that light in her soul. The light that was there because of the love she felt for three people in her life. All three gone and that thread that tethered her to the light cut. She vowed to no longer be the Norn’s bitch. They would never cut her thread. She was given life by the Earth goddess, and until the Earth goddess chose to no longer connect to her soul and took her power away, she would live and fight.
And gain the power needed to protect herself.
Come dawn, she attacked the first village.
She showed her power. She made all fear her, fear that she would come to their village, destroy, kill, steal, and leave devastation in her wake. She seemed to kill at random. But she had watched the village for weeks before attacking each time. She fought. She took on their warriors and won. Those battles did destroy locations, but if people watched, they would have noticed she did not destroy housing. She did not destroy their crops. She went to destroy those who abused their powers to hurt. But that did not make her a hero. She did not want to give them redemption. She killed them. She stole. She took what she needed and wanted. So, she fought and battled. She licked her wounds. But this allowed her to be feared. It allowed her to test her powers.
But then she found a much simpler way when she was but eighteen.
Give a man or woman sex and they practically gave her what she wanted. She first tried this with a clan leader and when he passed out after she dominated him and gave him his orgasm; she took what she wanted.
The reason she had tried it out was she had been at the community grouping drinking their ale and he had come up and was obvious in his desire to have her. She knew if they had been alone and not amongst others drinking, he would have tried to rape her. As it was, he was aggressive. She knew what she wanted was in his housing. So, why not try to get there by allowing him sex? She drank until she was numb. Then she let him take her back to his housing. Where he used the ropes to tie him up as she took him in her body. It was not unpleasant. She rode him hard, trying to get him to finish as soon as possible, and even felt mild enjoyment herself. When they had finished, he passed out and she left town with her prize.
It began a serious of one-night stands. A series of ‘relationships’ where she benefited. She gained power. She gained wealth. She even gained a few titles in her times. She had been able to wrap some of the world’s most powerful men and women around her fingers. She hardly had to attack villages anymore. Her Queen of Evil title had been easy to obtain once she used sex to gain a better position in life.
But she was still a villain. She would cover her face and ravage the lands, killing those who were far from innocent and taking what was of value. She even used those men and women of power wrapped around her fingers, and they too raged wars for her. It was fantastic. It was empowering.
It protected her from the evils of humanity.
It was not long before the name Arc was feared. It was not long before she could walk down a street and be respected as if she were a Queen. And as she closed her emotions off more and more, as she allowed herself to become numb, using liquors, drugs, sex, she gained more and more power. All to make sure she never had to have her heart ripped out like it was all those years ago.
But at night she could not lie to herself. The nightmares of what her sister must have gone through, of what she had gone through when she had run. So many centuries, millennium, and in the harsh light of her mind, her past was never really over. She just traveled the world, as more and more land was discovered. She had the powers to do so with no fair. She was a mess. But she did her best to lie to herself that she was more than fine, and she was the one in power. Not her past. Not her father. Not her emotions. But her mind. She was in power. She was no matter what truths screamed in her ears during her nightmares.
She lost her self-control at times running from her past. She knew she had to draw lines in the sand. A line she would not cross. She was a mess. She was not a fool. The past was the past. And she would not let it have control of her again. She would stop losing her self-control. She would make sure she did not ever cross her own self-imposed line. She may not have many morals. But she did have some. Never hurt an innocent. Never hurt a kid. All those that lost their lives deserve what she would do to them.
It was time for the Queen to rise.
It was time to be her strongest in the moments she feels like falling to her grief.
To be strong in the face of her pain.
To be her strongest when she wants to be weak.
The Queen had to rise.
And the Queen rose.
Pushing the past into the back of her mind.
Hiding her emotions behind liquor, drugs, and sex.