mommy miranda velocity edit cuz i just finished the game 🥳🥳🥳
mommy miranda velocity edit cuz i just finished the game 🥳🥳🥳
I’m self isolating and I’m bored so I made this! Have fun~
💕Who’s your favourite female character?
❤️Who’s your favourite male character?
👀When did you first get into resident evil?
🏆What was your first game?
🎮What’s favourite main game? (0-8 and Code Veronica)
🕹What’s your favourite side game? (Eg: Revelations, Operation Raccoon city)
💥What’s your worst game?
😈Who’s your favourite villain?
👑Who’s your favourite of the four lords?
😇A character you wish didn’t die?
🚨Do you have an opinion that is deemed unpopular?
📺Do you enjoy the CGI movies?
⭐️Favourite member of STARS?
✏️Do you have a favourite line/quote?
🦝Have you seen Welcome to Raccoon city and did you enjoy it?
⏰Are there any characters you wish had more screen time?
every time reader/oc tries to avoid mother miranda when she comes to the castle cause alcina don't want nothing to happen to them, miranda ends up being more gravitated towards them, I guess?? and every time y'all write it like that, I eat it right on up! y'all keep on keepin' on cause this some good stuff!
ƈ ͡ (ुŏ̥̥̥̥ ‸ ŏ̥̥̥̥) ु
ଘ( ͒ ́ඉ .̫ ඉ ̀ ͒)੭* ̀ˋ
y'all be acting like mother miranda is really that bad. she just wants her daughter back so she's doing everything she can to make that happen. I don't see the problem. like point to the damn problem but show it to somebody who cares cause it's not me. good night.
fuck it, spotify wrapped with the rest of the lords (bonus for miranda and the sisters)
The day of the Lord's Meeting is fast approaching, and Hazel tries to (unsuccessfully) deal with grief on her own.
Warnings for this chapter: emetophobia, graphic description of human remains.
The following days weren’t especially eventful. One of Alcina’s daughters would usually knock on her door in the morning to invite her downstairs for breakfast and Hazel felt relieved to no longer be confined to her bedroom. She needed a distraction from her thoughts and the girls were more than happy to oblige — whether it was sitting in the library, strolling around the castle or sketching together in the Atelier.
“This is my sanctuary, just like how Cassandra and Daniela have their own spaces,” Bela had said as she let them into the spacious room. “It used to just be a maintenance room for the clocktower, but mother let me turn it into an art studio.”
It was far, far up near the top of the castle with a number of skylights offering bright light from above and even a peek at the clocktower’s inner workings. Enormous gears spun and pendulums swung rhythmically behind thick wooden beams as they counted down the hours and minutes to the next bell-toll, the only sound giving them away their presence being the quiet rumble and creak of wood. The smell of linseed oil, turpentine and the smell that only really old, dusty wood possessed hit Hazel's nose as they entered and she took in the spacious room. Art supplies were carefully stacked on trestle tables, paintbrushes laid out to dry, tubes of half-used oils and palettes neatly placed into storage boxes and the occasional can of paint stacked along the walls.
Bela led Hazel towards a canvas on an easel in the centre of the room which Cassandra and Daniela were apparently no longer allowed to enter after a certain incident. Nobody elucidated as to what the details of the incident were, precisely, but Hazel had the sense that it was something bad enough to get not one, but two daughters banned. Apparently the stain of whatever they’d spilled onto the floorboards had to be hidden under the rug.
“This is my current project,” Bela said, a beam of pride lighting up her face as she pulled off the protective sheet. Beneath it was a partial underpainting of a woman in a pale dress, the pencilled sketch lines still visible beneath the thin glazes of paint. “It’s based on an old photo I found of mother from when she was still touring with her band in the old days. I was thinking of finishing it in time for her birthday so she can hang it up in her room. And then,” she gestured towards a vast ceiling-to-floor blank canvas on the wall, “I’ll paint the big version.”
Hazel stepped closer to admire Bela's work. Even the loose sketch was beautiful, capturing Alcina’s features and the feather-light gestures gave a sense of movement in the dress.
“This is beautiful already,” Hazel replied, awestruck. “I can’t wait to see it finished. Do you sell or show your work anywhere else?”
“Not really, it’s just a hobby to pass the time. The Duke has bought a couple of my still-life studies, though.”
“The Duke? Is he a relative of yours?”
“No,” Bela laughed lightly as she put the sheet back over the easel, “He’s like… a merchant. Mother allows him into the castle to do business but he usually sets up his shop in the village when he’s not travelling around. You’ll meet him eventually when he comes to deliver supplies, usually around the same time as the Lord’s monthly meeting with Mother Miranda.”
Dukes, Countesses, Lords: just how many more members of the aristocracy could they squeeze into one valley? A meeting for all the local lords sounded all very political.
The mention of Mother Miranda reminded her to ask Alcina if she’d gotten a chance to contact her Dad yet. It’d been what? A week — two even — and still nothing from the outside or when she could go home, even if the idea of going back alone and having to break the news made her heart hurt and her breath stutter. So she distracted herself as best she could to keep the simmering anxiety at bay, even when the daughters would mysteriously disappear for hours at a time with zero explanation and she was left to her own devices. Bela had kindly lent her a sketchbook and pencils, so she doodled scratchy, lopsided sketches of statues and flowers she found around the castle, people-watched from her room or smoked with Alcina.
Sketch, then rip up the page in frustration when tears dripped from her eyes out of nowhere and smudged the lines, made worse with trembling fingers.
Pick up a book only to lose concentration and just stare blankly at the pages for an hour.
Feel guilty about being antisocial and wander downstairs for a cigarette, then go to bed and stare at the canopy, or if sleep did find her it was restless nightmares of something skulking, human-but-not with bloodied teeth chasing her through the snow to the deafening wail of a failing jet engine, or Rose screaming for help.
Wake up in a cold sweat with the feeling of a gloved hand gripping her face and ringing in her ears. Rinse and repeat.
The Countess often invited Hazel to join her for a smoke after dinner. Her daughters didn’t seem to like smoke all that much (which Hazel understood — she’d also found it irritating at first until she taken up the habit herself), so they tended to disperse to their rooms whenever their mother lit one up. One evening Alcina brought her to the balcony area of her dressing room, almost overlooking the valley in its entirety. Hazel joined her outside, wrapped in her cloak and surprised that the older woman didn’t also don a coat.
Perhaps she’s used to the cold, she mused as she watched Alcina calmly light her cigarette without so much as a shiver in the wind.
“Now, Mother Miranda has asked me to bring you to the Lord’s meeting next week, so you may be formally introduced to the rest of my… siblings.” She said the last word with some distaste, like it left a bad taste in her mouth. Hazel immediately recognised it as the same tone her own mother had used when referring to her in-laws. “Merely a formality, of course, none of us are blood related, although I did raise Heisenberg for a short while when he was younger. Not that one would see it now, the ungrateful little swine.” She muttered as she stood, elegantly straightening her skirt and walked closer to the balustrade, beckoning Hazel to join her as she pointed to various landmarks in the distance.
The name triggered something in Hazel’s memory. Stupid stinky Heisenberg and his stupid, stinky pet, Angie said.
“That name sounds familiar— Heisenberg? Donna mentioned it before.”
Alcina’s beautiful features twisted in visible disgust and Hazel felt a pang of terror that she’d unintentionally upset the other woman, but breathed a small inaudible sigh of relief when the Countess’ ire wasn’t directed at her when she replied.
“My little ‘brother’, Karl Heisenberg. He found you wandering around the village after your accident and had enough sense that day to call Mother Miranda see to your wounds,” She breathed out a huff of smoke like an irate dragon, “Although that was only because he was loitering around the village at an ungodly hour doing God-knows-what to begin with. Probably terrorising the commoners.” She took a deep, calming breath before continuing. “There are four noble houses that have ruled over this area for centuries. House Dimitrescu is mine, of course. To the direct west of the castle is the Beneviento Estate, where Donna lives — you've already met, so you know what to expect from her.” She used her cigarette holder to indicate a heavily misted forest as Hazel craned her head to look. “To the south is the village reservoir, where the windmills are. That’s where Salvatore’s little hovel is. He rarely leaves it, much to the relief of everyone else. He’s also harmless for the most part, although he is what one would call…” Alcina searched for the correct word with pursed lips, “A creep. I wouldn’t recommend visiting unless you want to come home reeking of dead fish and pondscum.”
She turned a little and pointed towards a far mountain peak where some kind of large industrial building with smoking chimneys was located with an irritated curl of the mouth, as if the very direction itself was offensive, “And finally, south-west of here is that dirty little factory where Heisenberg holed himself up. I advise that you avoid him whenever necessary, the man has a foul temper and an ego the size of a planet.”
"Is he the one that smokes cigars?"
Alcina paused abruptly in her explanation and looked down at her, the annoyance melting into concern. "You remember that night?"
Hazel fiddled with her sleeve cuff, worrying the fabric absent-mindedly. "Not really. Only that it was cold and the smell of cigar smoke, not much else. He didn't… do anything, did he?"
The older woman's eyes narrowed slightly as she replied, "No. He might be an irresponsible buffoon with an aversion to soap but he wouldn't lay a hand on a woman. I taught him better than that, at the very least."
Hazel suddenly felt relieved that she had virtually zero recollection of the man who'd supposedly rescued her. The more she learned about him, the less she wanted to remember and the more trepidation she felt over this upcoming meeting, even if it meant she'd finally get to see Donna and thank her for the clothes.
“I’ve been meaning to ask; how are your injuries faring, my dear?”
Hazel’s thoughts drifted for a moment before answering, watching the light wind whisk away the plume of smoke as her gaze dropped down from the mountain view to where the mysterious ‘dog bite’ — mostly concealed by layers of bandages and clothing — peeked out over her knuckles from under the cardigan sleeve and cloak.
“A lot better, thank you. It doesn’t really hurt anymore, just very itchy from the bandages.” She lifted it up for emphasis and wiggled her fingers, grateful for the change of subject.
Alcina nodded in approval. “I’ll ask Mother Miranda if she can examine you when we see her after the meeting.”
Hazel worried her already-chapped lip a little bit in hesitation before she replied. “About Mother Miranda, I was wondering if you knew whether or not she’s had a chance to contact my Dad yet? I don’t want to keep being a bother by asking, it’s just...he’ll be worried, is all.”
Would he really be, though? A nasty little part of her reared its ugly head. The angry, bitter, insecure part that first festered in her mind when their dad had soured his relationship with them and started seeing another woman before his wife and son were barely cold in the coffin. If he really cared, he would have sent a search party by now, it sneered. Planes don’t just crash out of nowhere, people notice when one never arrives at its destination and they follow its last known flight path until they find a crash site. He’s probably too busy with his new wife to even give a shit about us —
She squeezed her eyes shut briefly to quell the sudden stream of vitriol. That kind of thinking is not helpful, brain, but thank you for your input nonetheless.
She wasn’t sure if she could ever forgive him completely for what he did, but with Mum and now Rose gone, he was all she had left.
Alcina took a pensive drag of the cigarette, her eyes focused on the village as she answered. “I’m sorry, I haven’t heard anything from her yet. I am quite sure Mother Miranda is trying her very best though, but as I said before,” she gestured down to the houses far below in the fading sunset, “Being in a place so remote, for all its beauty, has its drawbacks.”
Hazel finished her cigarette and nodded her head in resignation. One more week, that was all. On the bright side, she supposed, it gave her another week to prepare the apology she’d prepared in her head for when she finally got through to Dad. Hey Dad, sorry I’m coming home alone. Sorry the fuck-up daughter survived instead of the one who actually had her shit together! But look at this cool scar I got and I didn’t even catch rabies from it! Don’t mind the weird eyes either, I'm sure they’ll turn back to normal at some point. Maybe.
The week crawled by until the day of the meeting as she kept trying to distract herself from her spiralling thoughts, but memories of Rose kept creeping in. She found herself fighting back unexpected tears over the most minor of things: a spray of fresh flowers had been placed in a vase she passed on her way down to breakfast, for example. Royal blue delphiniums, clouds of white gypsophila and baby pink roses.
She’d stopped dead in her tracks, unable to take her eyes off the flowers, the telltale lump building in her throat. Pink roses, just like the ones she’d placed on Mum’s grave with Rose right before they’d left for the airport and boarded the—
Simone stopped when she heard a sniffle behind her and looked over her shoulder to see Hazel hastily scrubbing her eyes with her sleeve.
“Are you alright, my lady?”
Hazel rapidly blinked away the remaining wetness from her lashes and hoped it wasn’t too noticeable. “Yeah. Sorry. The flowers just reminded me of them. Mum and Rose, I mean. Silly, really." She tried to laugh it off. How ridiculous to start crying over a bunch of flowers, she rebuked herself. Crying isn't going to bring them back .
She didn’t notice Simone’s expression slide from pitying to perturbed when the maid glanced back at the bouquet over her shoulder as she led her charge down the hall. She could have sworn they’d only been placed there fresh the day before, but now they suddenly seemed to be withering at an alarming rate and drooping out of the vase. She hurried her young mistress along and made a quick mental note to have them replaced. Preferably without roses.
It was still early in the morning, earlier than the usual time for breakfast. Alcina wanted to get to the meeting with plenty of time as it was somewhat of a distance away from the castle at the church, Simone had explained when she gently woke her up and helped her look presentable as she sleepily nibbled on a slice of toast. Alcina met her in the main hall with her usual smile, graceful and poise-perfect as ever without a hair out of place. If she noticed Hazel’s red rimmed eyes, she didn’t remark upon it.
“Good morning, my dear. I’m afraid the girls are still in bed, so we’ll see them when we get back from the meeting,” she stood and put her cigarette down so she could give Hazel a once-over, fixing out of place curls and straightening any creases in her clothes. “There, perfect. Fetch Miss Spencer’s cloak, we mustn’t give a bad impression by being late now, can we?”
Her fussing reminded Hazel of when she was little, yawning and standing in the cluttered doorway of her and Rose’s childhood home while Mum made sure everyone’s shoelaces were tied and hats and mitts were securely attached before the walk to morning Sunday school. Her heart felt both warmed and pained by the memory as they exited the main hall and headed for a set of stairs she’d never been down. Downstairs was off-limits, she’d been told when she asked about it. Too many condemned corridors lay below the castle and were a death trap if one didn’t know the safe routes. She had to follow Alcina’s long strides at a trot, her hands clutching the cloak tighter around her shoulders as the temperatures dropped the further and further they went from the fireplaces above and deeper down the torchlit, foul smelling tunnel.
It felt like an eternity as they walked, accompanied by the click of Alcina’s heels on the worn cobbles below until a pale light appeared ahead and illuminated a set of stairs. Hopefully this is the end, she thought while wrinkling her nose. The tunnels reeked, like a lot of things had crawled down there to die over the centuries. The older woman’s steps slowed briefly and she turned a little to look down at Hazel over her shoulder.
“A quick word of warning, something I should have mentioned earlier so you’d have more time to... mentally prepare. Salvatore...well. Breathe through your mouth, and try not to stare too much. And avoid speaking to Heisenberg. The last thing we need is his attention on you."
With that frankly ominous warning she ascended the steps, Hazel following a bit more hesitantly behind and into the light and was met with an excited squeal.
“She’s here! She’s here! Finally!” Angie’s unmistakeable shrill echoed around the church interior, and Hazel had barely cleared the stairs when a miniature blur of wedding dress and veils collided with her legs and clung on with little wooden hands. Angie’s round little face looked up at her with wide eyes. “You look so pretty in the clothes we made! And you don't look like you're gonna puke anymore! Come over here, we have another present for you! C’mon!”
The doll tugged Hazel’s knee with surprising strength and she was too dumbstruck to resist when she was pulled away from the church pew Alcina had sat in and towards Donna, who’d been sitting stock still until she stood, a familiar bundle in her hands.
“We fixed your jacket.” Donna mumbled.
“We fixed it and made it better!” Angie added. “The sleeve was all chewed and shredded up so we had to make a new one.”
Donna unfolded it to reveal the garment in its’ entirety and Hazel gasped in delight. Angie wasn’t lying when she said they’d made it better. The original denim on the left sleeve below the elbow had been replaced with a similarly dark blue fabric and embroidered with dozens upon dozens of flowers of different sizes. Daisies, sunflowers, forget-me-nots. It made the work on her blouse look simple by comparison and it took all of Hazel’s effort to not start bawling (again) as she carefully took it in her hands, gratitude surging through her chest and holding it close. It was beyond generous of Donna to go through all this effort for a simple denim jacket that ordinarily would have been replaceable.
“This is gorgeous—” She squeaked out before catching herself, “Thank you, Donna. You have no idea how much this means to me.”
She couldn’t see Donna’s face behind the thick veil, but the other young woman’s body language shifted and she clasped her hands together over her chest and tilted her head bashfully with a little shuffle on the spot.
“You’re welcome!” Angie piped up, then craned her tiny head all the way up towards Alcina’s towering form. “We wanna have a tea party soon! We have more pretty dress designs to try out.”
Alcina waved her free hand nonchalantly, her eyes scanning the room. “Yes, yes. I take it the other two miscreants haven’t arrived yet?”
Hazel also looked around the church as she took a seat next to Alcina, feeling like a toddler next to the veritable giantess and craning her neck to take in the somewhat decayed state of the building. Part of the roof seemed to have fallen into disrepair over the transept, illuminating both the scaffolding holding up what remained of the brickwork and the ancient altar in the growing morning light.
“Ugly’s here already, he just went to get more matches cause he dropped them, hah!” Angie chirped while she toddled over the flagstones to Hazel and proceeded to crawl into her lap. Hazel initially froze, then forced herself to relax and bring a hand to awkwardly pat the doll’s head until a shuffling of fabric from across the church drew her attention. A hunched form in what appeared to be a dark brown mantle waddled into the light from another door, wheezing with every step and called out in a croak.
“I f-found them… did Angie hide the matches again because they were under the-the…”
The person stepped out around the pew opposite that blocked Hazel’s view, stopped dead when they spotted her and Alcina sitting there and shrunk back again, pale twisted hands scrabbling to pull the hood of the cloak over their face.
“You didn’t say they arrived early, Donnaaa!” He, Hazel figured, wailed in a thick, raspy voice and retreated back behind the bench; the only thing actually hidden from sight being his head. She heard Alcina heave an exasperated sigh next to her before calling out and she felt a stab of pity for him. He must be painfully shy, she thought.
“Moreau, she’s already seen you. Stop being so dramatic and come out so you can be introduced—”
There was a crash of a wooden door in the same direction Moreau had entered from, followed by heavy approaching footsteps reverberating off the stonework. The person in the cloak — Salvatore Moreau, Hazel now knew — flinched at the double assault of Alcina’s raised voice and the commotion behind him. Alcina herself huffed at the interruption and muttered under her breath. “For God’s sake, he always has to make such a dramatic entrance.”
The bootsteps got louder and a broad figure stepped out from the dark room, an oversized hammer slung over his shoulders. Hazel stiffened immediately at the familiar silhouette of the wide hat, the hammer and the trenchcoat, her brain scrambling to put the pieces together. She shivered, despite the warm cloak around her shoulders, the phantom feeling of leather gloves gripping her jaw.
If Alcina noticed her charge’s discomfort, she didn’t show it as she flicked her cigarette ash away and greeted the newcomer nonchalantly.
“Look at you on time for once, Heisenberg. Here I was thinking you’d be late again because you were far too busy playing with your little toys.” She drawled, amber eyes raking over him dismissively.
“And deprive you all of my magnificent presence? Can’t have a family meeting without the favourite child.” He replied smoothly, casually taking a drag of the cigar in his hand. The cherry-red flare reflected in his glasses as he looked up at Alcina with a tilt of the head and a sharp grin, before spotting Moreau crouched behind the bench.
“What the actual fuck are you doing?”
“Well you’re doing a shit job at it, moron.”
Hazel unconsciously squeezed Angie a little closer, as if the little doll would protect her from...something as her bandaged arm began to itch uncomfortably, the gauze suddenly feeling too tight on the skin. Her mind was ringing alarm bells as the man approached, hefting the hammer off his shoulders with a grin that was far, far from friendly and eyes hidden behind dark spectacles. He paused, ignoring Alcina, much to Hazel’s dismay and focused his attention on her instead as he spoke again.
“Oh, I didn’t know we had Mother Miranda’s precious guest joining us today,” he crooned as he stepped around the bench Moreau was unsuccessfully hiding behind. “I was beginning to think my big sister had locked you up in a tower or something. Remember me from a little while back, doll?”
His voice made her heart hammer, her throat closing up in fear. She gave a minute shake of the head, which made his grin falter slightly. She didn’t want to remember. It was like her mind had put up a wall in her memory, and there were monsters on the other side waiting to be released if she prodded too hard.
“What’s wrong, lycan got your tongue?” He pressed, frowning when she averted her eyes away to the floor and he looked to Alcina. “You fuckin’ break her or what?”
“Sit down and behave, Heisenberg, you’re scaring the girl.” The Countess ordered, obvious irritation creeping into her tone.
“You don’t tell me what to do, woman!”
Angie, who’d been eagerly watching the interaction with fervent attention, piped up from Hazel's lap.
“Yeah, go sit on the stinky side of the church! No boys allowed on this side!”
Heisenberg’s frame instantly tensed up and adjusted his hold on the hammer’s handle as if getting ready to swing. “You shut your creepy fucking hole!” he roared suddenly, his voice bouncing off the stone walls and making Hazel flinch at the volume. Angie shrieked with laughter, seemingly confident that he wouldn’t take a swing when she was perched in the safety of Hazel’s arms. Hazel locked up, memories of something growling at her from the freezing dark forest and his angry voice overloading her senses.
“ Heisenberg! ” Alcina’s sharp voice cut in abruptly above her head. It was the first time she’d heard it ever raised in true anger and in all honesty, terrified her more than Heisenberg’s outburst.
“I am trying to introduce myself!” He gestured at Hazel with a frustrated swing of the arm, “Because she was clearly too stoned to remember when I saved her ass and now you’ve gone and broken her!”
“I did no such thing!” Alcina stood abruptly, her eyes narrowed with fury. The sight of her towering over Heisenberg would have been hilarious if Hazel was, say, watching from a safe distance with binoculars and not between the two of them squishing herself into the pew like it was secretly an escape to Narnia. It was like watching a trainwreck in slow-motion, except that both trains were both about to crash into the platform she was watching it from.
Angie broke Hazel’s horrified trance by beckoning her to lean down so she could whisper in her ear between giggles.
“They always fight like cat and dog. Don’t worry; they wouldn’t dare fight for real here.”
This did not allay Hazel’s fears in the slightest and she swallowed dryly until Alcina suddenly addressed her and inadvertently made her the direct centre of attention again.
“Miss Spencer has been excellently cared for — haven’t you, dear?”
She nodded, forcing a polite smile onto her face and silently wishing she could be launched into space rather than deal with this sudden volatile and awkward as hell family argument. Alcina turned back to Heisenberg with a catty, smug grin.
"See? Perhaps she simply has no desire to be acquainted with riff-raff like yourself."
“Sure wasn’t a damn mute before she got sent up to yours! Cussed me out real good before even after I saved her from being dog-food-”
“Maybe she doesn’t wanna talk to you ‘cause you’re a stinky boy on the stinky boy side of the room!” Angie continued to add fuel to the fire and Hazel felt like she was about to combust with mortification being stuck between the three of them until movement caught her eye. Across the room, Moreau had peeked around the pew and gave a shy little wave. She couldn’t really make out his facial features under the hood aside from a misshapen mouth and pallid skin, but she swallowed her discomfort and looked to where she assumed his eyes were and waved back with a little smile, a little bit glad that he wasn’t trapped in the middle of the shouting match. He gasped a little at the returned gesture and flapped his hands, shuffling back behind the pew.
“She waved at me…” Moreau mumbled in awe.
Heisenberg’s head snapped from craning up at Alcina to Hazel as he caught the exchange from the corner of his eye, then Moreau as bewilderment, then furious indignation replaced the moody scowl.
“Wha- the fucking fish gets a hello but I don’t?!”
Alcina ignored him and launched into a tirade, “I don’t know why you’re getting so worked up, you ridiculous little man. I seem to recall you not caring for Miss Spencer’s health in the slightest when she was first recovered and brought to the safety of my home,” she sneered, hand on hip and leant down slightly, “Or is this your guilty conscience acting up due to your own woeful negligence?”
Angie shrieked out a laugh and clapped her hands, “Guilty, guilty, guilty Heisenberg!”
Heisenberg growled and raised the hammer, pointing it at Angie and by extension, Hazel, who tried to defy physics and shrink further into the chair as the doll cackled.
“Donna!” he snapped, shooting a glare at the veiled woman who was watching quietly from the safety of the sidelines, “Your feral doll’s running its ugly fuckin’ mouth again!”
Sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This was worse than every single family spat she’d ever witnessed combined and the meeting hadn’t even started yet. Her eyes scanned the room for any exits — the stairs she’d entered with Alcina were directly behind where she sat; or the entrance Moreau and Heisenberg had taken — God knows where that went. She mulled over the possibility of stealthily sliding out of the seat and retreating to where Donna was sitting on the safety of the sidelines. Asking Mother Miranda about contacting her dad could wait until later if these two were gonna duke it out right now with her trapped in the middle. Part of her did also wonder what would happen if things did get physical, considering Alcina could probably pick up Heisenberg by the scruff of his shirt with little effort, but she had a feeling that the hammer he was toting around wasn’t exactly made of tinfoil either.
Just as she was contemplating making an escape with Angie while the two were distracted, a flutter from far above caught her attention and she looked up to see a black bird swoop through the hole in the ceiling and land on of the scaffolding platforms, surveying the scene below with a curious beady eye. It croaked, and both Alcina and Heisenberg stiffened at the sound.
Another crow joined the first, then another and another, until a whole colony amassed above. Alcina and Heisenberg stepped away from each other, silent and warily eyeing the shimmering collection of corvids gather. Hazel noticed that Angie had stopped giggling and suddenly jumped off her lap, retreating back to Donna. A singular crow dropped down and landed in front of the altar, swiftly followed by the entire flock.
Hazel watched fascinated, mystified then horrified as the birds fluttered up together into an indistinguishable writhing mass of feathers, eyes and claws. Her eyes flicked briefly up to Alcina’s face, wondering if she was also seeing this unnatural amalgamation and was equally as disturbed by it. The other woman’s scowl had dropped into a more neutral expression, albeit with a slight furrowed brow, as if this was just a minor inconvenience and not, say, a completely unnatural crow-tornado interrupting her argument with Heisenberg. Her eyes flicked back to the mess of feathers just as they began to coalesce into the shape of a person, the glossy black twisting into an eerily familiar nun’s habit and stole. Her heart almost jittered to a stop as the hundreds of wings retracted to reveal Mother Miranda's masked face, twisting and rustling back behind her as if they’d never been there to begin with and she was left standing there, hands delicately folded and a placid smile gracing her lips.
Hazel blinked, then blinked again in case she was having some kind of mental breakdown, and dug her fingers into her thigh just to be safe. Not dreaming.
What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck. What the actual fuck?!
All thoughts of asking this woman anything died in her mind. Had she been drugged? Did they all just experience a mass-hallucination or did a nun just arrive as a flock of individual birds that all merged together into a human being?
“Good morning my children, forgive my slight delay; although it warms my heart to see everyone is in such…” Miranda spoke, her voice reverberating off the stone as her eyes roved over the small congregation, “ Lively spirits today. Lady Dimitrescu, Heisenberg, please be seated so we may begin.”
Alcina sat back down next to Hazel and rearranged her skirt artfully, while Heisenberg slumped in the pew opposite, leaning the hammer against the seat and crossing his legs. They both still eyed each other contemptuously from their respective seats, the argument postponed for another time.
“Now, as you are all aware, we have a guest joining our meeting today. Miss Hazel Spencer, the niece of one of my esteemed colleagues,” Miranda’s gaze fell upon Hazel, “I hope you haven’t found my children’s boisterousness too intimidating.”
She stepped down from the raised dais in a rustle of inky feathers until she loomed over Hazel, her eyes bright with cold curiosity behind the ornate mask as she scrutinised her like she was a particularly fascinating insect for a few agonisingly slow moments. “How are you feeling today, my child?”
Absolutely fucking terrified and bewildered and I want to leave thank you very much, Hazel wanted to scream at the top of her lungs, but she cleared her throat roughly and managed to squeak out, “I’m a-alright, thank you Mother Miranda.”
Miranda turned to Alcina. “Still no changes?”
Alcina met the nun’s eyes with a practiced composure and replied coolly. “I’m afraid not, Mother.”
What did she mean? Was she referring to the change in eye colour? They were talking about her like she wasn’t even there and her stomach twisted with anxiety.
“Pity.” The nun turned swiftly and returned to her position before the altar before speaking again. “Heisenberg, are you quite sure you saw what you reported?”
The man shrugged as he blew out a puff of smoke and carelessly flicked the ash onto the floor. “I know I saw her make a lycan’s head pop like a grape. No idea how, though. Maybe it was a fluke.”
Made a ‘lycan’s’ head pop? What was he talking about?
Hazel felt her heart jitter again. It was hard to tell with those dark glasses, but she was sure she felt his eyes on her as he spoke. She attempted to breathe evenly, trying to parse what he had just said even as anxiety was surging in her chest screaming at her to run.
“If the kid’s not shown any abilities even after a month, either she’s a dud or needs a little... encouragement. ”
Hazel held the denim jacket tighter, trembling. No. No. This man was bad news. This whole damn situation was a mistake. Alcina noticed and looked down at her, before turning sharp yellow eyes to him. “You had better not turn this into an excuse to play another one of your ridiculous little games for your entertainment.”
Miranda put up a gold-adorned hand to silence Alcina for a moment before replying. “What do you propose?”
“Just a little experiment. Replicate the same conditions that caused the reaction in the first place.” His face split into a grin, “Nothing like a little adrenaline to get the ol’ juices going. Under controlled conditions, of course. I am a scientist at heart, after all.”
Hazel looked him over. There was absolutely nothing about this man that said ‘member of the scientific community.’ He looked like he’d just stepped out of a filthy car garage and fallen into several dustbins on the way here. Then dumped a full ashtray over himself for extra flair.
“And put the girl in danger again?! Mother Miranda, I really must protest this ‘plan’ of his; I did not spend all that time and effort nursing Miss Spencer back to health just for this fool to get her killed!” Alcina spoke, scowling at the man across her before turning to Miranda. “Poor thing’s ability to heal is woefully slower than ours. Traumatising her again with his disgusting creatures would be beyond cruel.”
“‘Cruel’? You’re one to talk-” Heisenberg began to shoot back until Miranda intervened.
“Silence, both of you.” She looked between the two, mulling over both sides of the argument, her eyes falling on Hazel in contemplation, who was wondering if she could make a bolt to the tunnel back to the castle. Alcina didn’t seem to agree with this either, maybe she’d let her go if she made a run for it — even protect her from whatever Heisenberg had planned. Her heart hammered, feeling a tingling in her fingers as the silence stretched on forever until Miranda spoke again.
“Heisenberg’s reasoning is solid,” She began pensively. No. No no no no no- “However, I do not want a repeat of before. No permanent injuries.”
No, no, no, no. The colour drained from her face and she silently willed herself to move, to run, to protest, to do something. Anything. Her bandaged arm burned and would have been unbearable if her mind wasn’t rapidly spiralling into blank panic.
“Of course, mother,” Heisenberg tipped his hat with the same grin and stood, hefting the hammer over his shoulder. Alcina also stood with a huff, shooting a look of pure venom at Heisenberg as she walked over to where Donna and Angie sat, silent. Hazel watched her leave dumbfounded, hurt and betrayal burning in her chest. Even Moreau had shuffled away, albeit still peeking around the pew.
Heisenberg whistled sharply and a clatter of claws scraped over the wooden balcony above and the sickening scent of wet dog and meat hit her nose. She jumped up at the noise, Rose’s jacket sliding onto the bench as bile rose up her throat.
“You ready for round two, kid?”
A sickly pale form hopped over the balcony railing and dropped down next to Heisenberg and stood to its full height with a rumbling growl. Hazel locked eyes with it, and the memory of the night she’d woken up in the village hit her like a freight train.
I would give you five seconds to run before you're dog food; you know how ravenous lycans are in winter-
You bastard, the tiny, tiny part of her brain still capable of rational thought that was currently being held hostage by the freeze response seethed in fury. She started to back away, tears pricking her eyes and keeping them locked with the creature’s.
“Don’t run, you’ll only make it wanna chase you more,” Heisenberg jeered, still grinning like an idiot, “Just do what you did before and make its ugly face explode. And don’t stand there and get mauled again like a dumbass!”
Her arm was burning like it was on fire and she hissed through her teeth, biting back the urge to clutch it and taking another cautious step back, almost up to the wall. The creature followed, drool glistening on its misshapen, jagged teeth and raised its arms, sparking a memory unbidden from the recesses of her mind.
Keep your stance balanced girl, her Grandad’s voice urged. Tuck your elbows, chin down. Hands closed, but don’t clench ‘em too tight. Hazel let out a shuddering breath, lifted her arms and closed her fists, ignoring the way her skin was now searing with agony. The creature lurched forwards, then jerked to a stop with a grunt as the floor violently exploded from beneath in a burst of stone and dirt.
Its ugly head came within reach as it tripped, wrapped up to the waist in plant roots shooting up from the exposed earth. They twisted and writhed, curling up and around limbs as if sentient.
Then swing when the bastard gets in range.
Hazel’s right fist instinctively shot out as all the anger and betrayal she felt towards Heisenberg and the others funnelled into the jab. Her hand was probably going to be fucked afterwards, she realised briefly as her knuckles connected with the monster’s jaw and she felt the brute force of the impact shoot up her forearm. She was no professional boxer like Grandad once was, but he’d taught her the basics. Enough to make someone regret their life choices in that particular moment, at the very least.
Then something sharp erupted from the top of her wrist, over her knuckles, and impaled it straight through the eye-socket and out the back of the skull in a spray of bone and brains.
The beast slumped forward with a rattling gurgle and hot blood trickled over her hand and down her arm. The plant roots slowly retreated back into the soil deep beneath the flagstones and the body fell forward, no longer supported upright and dragged her down with a squeak.
Heisenberg let loose a loud bark of laughter as she braced her boot against its head in a desperate attempt to extricate whatever the hell in her forearm had lodged itself in there. Bile was creeping up her throat and she clenched her teeth in an effort not to inhale the creature’s foul stench combined with the metallic tang of blood.
“Are you alright, Hazel?” Alcina’s voice broke her out of the horrified trance and Hazel remembered that she should probably breathe before she passed out.
She heard his heavy boots approach and she tugged harder, hot tears blurring her vision.
Don’t come anywhere near me, you prick.
It finally came loose with a wet sucking shlooorp and she stumbled back, tripped over a loosened brick and suddenly fell through a hole in the floor behind her with a piercing scream.
Heisenberg watched her trip and fall with an amused snort and span around, arms wide, laughing triumphantly. “My hypothesis was correct! Are you not entertained, my dear siblings?”
“Its head exploded for real!” Angie shrieked and scuttled over to the dead lycan cackling. “Dead, dead, dead! Stabbed in the head! Hahahaha!”
“Heisenberg, if she is hurt after all that I-” Alcina began with a snarl.
“Why? Worried the snack you’ve been saving has cracked her head open on the rocks down there and spillin’ all her precious blood?” Heisenberg cut her off with a grin that bordered on feral. Alcina’s gloved hands tightened into fists as she stalked around the pew towards him, her eyes narrow and deadly.
“I am going to gut you like a pig.”
“Enough!” Miranda barked over the cacophony and Alcina stopped dead in her tracks. “Heisenberg, retrieve her.”
He returned his attention back towards the hole in the floor and peered down. Hazel had landed flat on her back with a wail and rolled onto her side, wincing in pain. Her back was going to be a mess of bruises, if she hadn’t broken it, that is. She could still feel her legs, which was both a blessing and a curse because ouch ouch ouch.
“You still kicking, kid? I hope so, that was funny as fuck.” Heisenberg’s voice called from above, barely holding back a chuckle. She glared up at him with all the venom she could muster as she stood and he only grinned more. He knelt down and extended a hand, ignoring the way her expression changed from pained to a mixture of fear and fury and growled a stream of profanities under her breath as she shakily stood up.
She went to gingerly touch her right arm where the bonelike thorn was jutting out of her arm, still dripping with blood and viscera, and froze. Her other hand was turning a dark green, her fingertips forming into blackened talons, with thorns forming over the joints like a knuckle-duster. Did one of her forearm bones just shoot out? It didn’t hurt, and the blood wasn’t hers but…
“Oh Christ,” she whimpered. Were these the ‘changes’ Miranda had been looking for?
She was turning into a monster.
“Don’t make me come down there and drag you back.” Heisenberg's voice broke her distressed thoughts and she looked back up at him with a scowl as he casually took a drag of his cigar.
“S-so you can call another one of those things to finish me off for your sick entertainment?” She managed to grind out through shaky breaths.
“Cool your jets, I wasn’t gonna let it hurt you. Think of it as just a little test to nudge you in the right direction — and you passed. Well done.” He sounded so unbelievably smug it made her blood boil.
“Get fucked, you arrogant prick.” She took off down the dimly-lit tunnel with a slight limp.
Heisenberg’s teeth bit into the cigar as his smile thinned, eyes narrowing behind the glasses. He stood with an easy roll of the shoulder and jumped down, his boots hitting the rough stone with a loud thump that echoed down the tunnel walls.
“There’s traps up ahead,” he called out and saw her turn at the sound of his voice, spot him with wide eyes, and run faster as he unhurriedly stubbed his cigar out on the wall and slid it back in his inner pocket for later. He has sent plenty of people down here to their deaths, but this was the first time in a long while he’d had to chase after one.
Hazel could hear his boots follow as she sprinted away, trying not to trip on the uneven surface as it headed down at a slope. The tunnel appeared to be some kind of abandoned mine; the jagged walls close and claustrophobic, with ancient wooden beam supports speeding past as she ran until she reached a fork in the twisting path. To the right, a barred metal gate which hung slightly open. To the left, a boarded-up doorway which led to a sharp drop down. Naturally, she ran through the gate.
Behind it was another tunnel, not as rough as the first but still sloping downwards, lit by the occasional electric lamp. Nowhere to stop or hide, so she carried on in the hopes that maybe she’d find a way out. Mines usually had lifts to the surface, right?
The idea of trying to get back to the castle somehow briefly crossed her mind, until she discarded the thought angrily. Alcina had stood by and let that monster attack her. They all stood by and watched. Mother Miranda had even encouraged it.
A turn of the corner revealed another barred gate set into a wide archway. She wrestled with the sliding bar holding it shut for a few harrowing seconds as the thorn…. thing poking out of her arm made it difficult to maneuver her wrist, dreading hearing the sound of Heisenberg’s boots right behind her as she almost tripped pushing through the gate and into a bare cavern.
No way out, except the way she came. Her panicked gaze travelled up; there was a large hole bored into the wall, too high to climb. Shit. Shit. She scanned the room again, hoping she’d missed a doorway hidden in the dark crevices of rock. Along the opposite side were some more haphazard boards supporting the lower wall and — there!
Amber light was filtering through what appeared to be hole behind the planks, big enough for her to crawl through. She ran to it, breath heaving and deafening in her ears, until a thunk came from above. She ignored it and focused on the obstacle before her. An experimental tug at the boards was promising, the wood was ancient and rotting in the damp conditions of the cave. Not weak enough to pull away with ease, but definitely wouldn’t withstand a few well-aimed kicks.
Some debris showered from above with a low scrape of metal on rock, like machinery lurching into action. She looked up to see rows upon rows of rusted metal spikes and her breath caught in her throat. A spike trap. A fucking spike trap that was slowly moving downwards. This was some Indiana Jones bollocks.
No. No. First the beast man, now this. Her boot collided with the wood, splintering and crumbling with each desperate blow. The boards eventually fell away under her thorny hands and she dropped down to crawl through the gap on her hands and knees. The rumbling had ground to a shuddering halt, but she wasn’t about to turn around and check why as she scrambled through the cramped space.
Hopefully Heisenberg had given up chasing her after that, she thought as she finally reached the other side and righted herself with heaving breaths.
Another clunk and the walls began to rumble again and the faint light glinted off metal mere feet above her head. She gasped in horror as more spiked rows began to descend from above as she bolted down the narrow hallway and around the sharp bend, only to almost topple face-first off a sharp drop into another large cavern.
Drop down, or be impaled by the spikes behind. A quick scan of the space didn’t reveal any immediate traps, so she steeled herself and hopped down.
Maybe there’s a pressure plate or something in the floor that triggers these things , she thought, and warily raked her eyes over the rough ground. Nothing obvious jumped out at her — no switches or plates, but she didn’t believe for a second that this nightmarish gauntlet was over as she tiptoed along the perimeter wall with bated breath, wariness of the traps outweighing her need to get away from this hellhole as quickly as possible. Can’t escape if you’ve been turned into minced meat, after all. She eyed the door at the top of the sloped room with equal caution. What if this room was to lure you into a false sense of security only for the next to be even deadlier?
The thought weighed heavily on her mind as she finally reached it and slowly stepped over the threshold. No clicks, no rumbles or any other odd sounds as she strained to listen over the rushing of blood in her ears. The hallway beyond was somewhat more modern than the rough mines behind, with dilapidated brick walls and gas pipes and fuse boxes running into the floor. With only the sound of her wheezing breaths and her boots on the ground she carried on, scanning everything from the floors to the ceilings for any other kind of trap mechanism in the dim light.
Please, let this be over. Something hollow skittered underfoot as she cautiously stepped forwards and froze on the spot at the sudden clatter as the object rolled and hit the wall opposite. She squinted through the gloom at something pale on the ground and…. oh, God.
A dirty, cracked skull stared back at her with empty sockets. A hand flew to her mouth, muffling a scream. The scattered remains of a skeleton were spread across the floor, a previous person fallen victim to the spike trap in the wall.
She silently prayed that they were old, from a more brutal and ancient period in history, because the alternative didn’t bear thinking about and made her blood run cold. She gingerly stepped over them, still on the lookout for any more hazards, ducked under and crept past more traps which looked like they’d already been set off until she reached a door and slumped against it, sliding the deadbolt open with trembling hands.
The storeroom beyond was so brightly lit in comparison that she had to squint, shielding her eyes when she entered; it was lined with ancient columns that looked like they belonged in the castle, with large baskets of fresh produce and wooden casks lined against the wall — a servants’ access to the castle, perhaps.
Either way, there were two options ahead; the heavy, lever-operated portcullis gate, or a tunnel leading back into the depths underground. Sick of tunnels and mines, she made a beeline for the lever and pulled it down, standing back as the giant cogs lazily span to life and the gate slowly began to shudder upwards with a deep rumble.
The doors began to part and she allowed herself a small inhale of relief; she had no idea what was beyond, hopefully somewhere she could hide from Heisenberg and Miranda. Stop, think, and form an escape plan.
Her weight shifted from foot to foot anxiously, watching the door crack open with a maddeningly slow speed. Just remembering how Miranda had looked at her with cold curiosity made her shudder, tears beginning to prick her eyes again.
The door mechanism abruptly halted in its tracks with a loud, prolonged scrape. The air also suddenly felt odd; thick and thrumming with static.
Then she heard footsteps from behind and felt her stomach sink.
“Y’know, that’s twice you’ve made me run after you now,” Heisenberg huffed out in a heavy growl as he emerged from the other room, pausing to catch his breath. “You little shit.”
Hazel’s eyes widened in terror. He was blocking the other exit, and the door mechanism had stopped completely. She noticed he didn’t have the hammer as he began to approach, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t hurt her in other ways.
She was backed up against the wall, desperately trying to hold herself together and throwing up the thorn-blade- thing , forcing herself to hold it steady and the quaver out of her voice, “I don’t know what you fucking psychopaths want from me, but I’m leaving.”
Why the hell did the door stop opening? She wailed internally.
Heisenberg paused with his head cocked to the side, eyeing the blade with a neutral expression before finally replying with a slow, sardonic smile. “Do you really think you’ve got a choice now Mother Miranda’s had her first success in years with you, hmm?”
Hazel narrowed her eyes at him as he nonchalantly reached into his coat, pulled out the half-burned cigar from earlier and lit it, puffing on it a couple of times before continuing.
“You got any idea how many hundreds of people she’s stuck a parasite in hoping for the perfect specimen to come out of it alive and not turned into a damn lycan?” He took another drag and gestured to himself with his free hand while pointing the cigar at her, “Four of us, that’s all. Five now, including you.”
Hazel’s face went sheet white, her arm dropping down in shock. “P...Parasite?”
“They really didn’t tell you anything , huh? Those powers didn’t come outta nowhere, doll. Welcome to Miranda’s Menagerie For Gifted Freaks.” He seemed to take her moment of confusion and horror as an opportunity to step closer until she snapped it back up again, trembling.
“If you come near me I'll stab you. I mean it.” Hazel managed to grind out, sounding marginally more confident than she felt. Heisenberg stopped, and raised his hands in a placating gesture, still grinning.
“That’s real adorable, but I don’t need to, sweetheart.”
The atmosphere in the room grew heavier, more intense, prickling her skin. Something flew at her from the corner of her vision and she flinched instinctively. The floor began to move— no, various objects on the floor began to float upwards as if defying gravity with metallic clinks and creaks. Cogs, pipes, indistinguishable rusting chunks of metal hung lazily in the air as if suspended by strings. Her attention was drawn to her wrist as something cold and hard began to wrap around it: a rusted chain was snaking around her outstretched arm and she gasped, trying to push it off when more shards of metal joined it, swiftly followed by cogs and other miscellaneous metal junk until both arms were fully encased.
“Wha-” She tried to stammer out, before the mass of metal seemed to remember gravity existed and crashed down to the floor, dragging her to her knees with a cry. She tried to move and yank her arms free as he stepped forwards, but it wouldn’t budge in the slightest.
He reached down and grabbed her by the chin, forcing her to look up at him as her eyes watered at the painful pressure on her limbs and the hot cigar smoke curling over her face.
“Friendly word of advice before you're thrown back into the old hag's clutches, kid,” He casually dropped the spent cigar to the floor and ground it under his heel. “Keep your head down and toe the line, or Mother Bitch will scramble your brains up so bad you'll end up as lobotomised as the fish man you saw up there. You won't even be able to to tell left from right by the time she's done fucking with your head if you don't start playing the part of obedient child.” Hazel silently clenched her jaw in an effort not to cry and he finally released her chin. She felt a tug and the pile of scrap jerked up abruptly, dragging her stumbling upright with it and biting her lip as the jagged pieces of metal dug into her skin, even through the thick cloak. Heisenberg stepped around and with a flick of a finger, some of the metal drifted away to reveal her hands.
She froze as he leant in and she found herself looking too, curiosity mingling with fear.
They were still definitely her hands with distinguishable fingers and joints, but they were covered in a thorny bark, like some kind of exotic plant. She jerked a little in surprise as he took the fingers of her left hand in his to examine them, but the metal held her locked in place. He lifted the pointer and index pensively as she held her breath in the awkward silence.
“Talons, huh? The nine-foot bitch is gonna have to give you some pointers,” He said thoughtfully as her eyes flicked from her monstrously clawed fingertips to his inscrutable expression then back, trying to subtly wriggle away, the alarming comment about Lady Dimitrescu also apparently having fucking claws ringing alarm bells in her head. He noticed her effort to squirm free immediately with a scowl and the scrap closed in more tightly, making her gasp out in pain. “Metal comes off when you put that fuckin' thing away,” He gestured towards the blade still extending almost half a foot from the top of her wrist.
She looked from his face, to the thorn. It was her only defense if he tried something, but it wasn’t like she could actually do anything with him seemingly controlling the mass of junk holding her in place. She grit her teeth and concentrated on trying to relax the muscles in that arm.
A flex of her fingers eventually seemed to work, the bone slowly retracting back into the skin while she watched it disappear with forced, even breaths. It looked like it should hurt tremendously, but all she felt was hot itching. The colour also returned to her skin, the claws and thorns shrinking away. Heisenberg seemed satisfied, flicking a gloved finger. The metal began to drift away, cascading to the ground until only the chain remained around both of her wrists.
She glanced to the exit, a fleeting thought of running while he was distracted with the portcullis gate in her mind.
“If you so much as think of running again I will knock your ass out.”
“I wasn’t.” She lied, tone snappy. The chains tugged in warning.
“Good, because if we take any longer getting back we’ll both be in the shit.”
Hazel nibbled her cracked lower lip as the portcullis lifted fully and the doors opened, releasing a blast of chilly air that pulled at their clothes. Heisenberg held a hand up to keep his hat from being blown off and stepped through.
“Come on, let’s get this over with.” He sighed. The chains dragged her forwards and she stumbled after him, almost tripping on the uneven flagstones underfoot.
This was really happening. This whole time she'd deluded herself into thinking these people actually cared about her wellbeing and were going to send her home eventually. The locked doors, the vague answers, not letting her see Rose one last time. It all began to click into place.
She really was a prisoner here.
She bit her lip harder when she saw the castle in the distance and tried to hold back a sniffle. He glanced back over his shoulder and stopped in his tracks so suddenly she almost walked into his back.
“What?” She blinked away the hot tear that threatened to spill, feeling it almost instantly freeze on her lashes. He turned on the spot and gestured wildly up and down at her.
“This!” He seemed wildly uncomfortable by the show of emotion and shifted his weight from one foot to the other before turning his head and squeezing the bridge of his nose. “You think turning on the waterworks is gonna get you anywhere?”
Indignation rose hotly, replacing the devastation. “I’m not— how am I supposed to feel then, Mr. Kidnapper?!” She awkwardly wiped her wet cheek on her shoulder, fully aware that shouting at the person who had chased you down and sent monsters after you not once, but twice was probably at the top of the list of Things Not To Say To Your Abductor.
His head snapped back towards her, mouth twisted into a heavy frown, eyes narrowed in irritation behind the glasses. She huffed, trembling, furious, anguished, while some of the sneering cockiness seemed to leave him, if only for a moment, under her glare.
He rubbed the bridge of his nose before an invisible force against her cuffs shoved her back roughly against the tunnel wall with a gasp and he stepped into her personal space, looming over her with a snarl. The harsh smell of engine oil and tobacco washed over her as he closed the distance.
“Now you listen to me, you fuckin’ brat, ” he hissed, leaning so he was almost eye-level with her, “If you don’t drop the attitude Miranda will make you pay for every word you say outta line with your blood, d’you understand? You’re probably already on thin fucking ice for running off.”
Hazel’s lips pressed into a thin line, uncertainty flitting across her expression. He looked around, scanning the trees, the sky, as if they were possibly being watched, before continuing in a low tone.
“When you don’t play her little fucked-up game of Happy Families , she’ll poke around in your head,” She flinched as his gloved index tapped against her forehead for emphasis, “She’ll strip you of your memories and personality until you’re a perfect little drone, just like all those idiots in the village. Your real family, your sister, everyone you’ve ever known and loved— she’ll make you forget. Until there’s nothin’ left.”
Hazel’s initial reaction was disbelief, until she remembered how Miranda had appeared before them as a flock of crows and utterly defied any laws of reality. How Angie seemed to run around unaided despite being for all intents and purposes a puppet, how Heisenberg appeared to be able to control metal, Alcina’s unnatural height…
The thorns erupting from her arms, her changed eyes, the scar on her chest.
She glanced away under the weight of his intense glare, squeezing her numb hands into fists. The chain was pressing painfully against her sternum, but it wouldn’t budge. “Why are you telling me this?” Her yellow eyes flicked back to his, swallowing dryly. “Why not run away yourself?”
He stepped back and barked out a harsh laugh, a mirthless grin replacing the deadly scowl in an instant.
“Trust me, sweetheart, it’s not for lack of trying. So take my advice, before I throw you back to the wolves— as long as you kiss her ass, swallow your pride and keep your mouth shut when it counts, you’ll live. Now,” the intense pressure against her chest where the cuff pressed against her ribcage released and she inhaled sharply as he continued, “What we’re gonna do is I am gonna drop you at the Lady Super-sized Bitch’s place like a good son, and you are gonna apologise to Miranda for running off like a spooked sheep, play along with whatever she says, and pray she’s in a good mood and not an experimenting one. Are we clear?”
Hazel felt her heart sink, the defiance crumbling away and retreating back into despair, and nodded silently. Heisenberg huffed and quickly turned on his heel, gesturing for her to follow over his shoulder.
“Good. Now hurry your ass up.”
Hazel didn’t really have much of a choice as the chain tugged her forwards so roughly she almost tripped following him up the steep slope up to the castle gate. A flutter of black caught her eye as she trudged along the icy path: a couple of scarecrows were keeping watch over a snowy vineyard, ragged cloaks frayed thin and shredded by the harsh winter storm, arms spread wide as if in welcome. They didn’t seem much of a deterrent, as a crow swooped down and boldly landed on one’s lopsided head without a care, and began to peck ferociously at it.
The crow flew away as they drew closer, something dangling from its beak. The scarecrow’s body was very lifelike, although she’d never seen one that wasn’t made of old clothes stuffed with straw—
Heisenberg must have noticed her slowing gait, and the chain tugged again.
“Don’t look,” he started to warn, impatience edging into his tone, but it was too late. Hazel turned her head fully to look and couldn’t hold back a horrified gasp, hands flying to her mouth. Her stomach lurched at the sight and she bent over, hacking out what little breakfast she’d had.
“For fucks’ sake,” he growled under his breath.
The ‘scarecrow’ looked back at her with a milky, dead eye set in a gaunt face, the skin blackened from frostbite and a gaping void where the crow had just pecked out the other eyeball. Hazel was still doubled over, coughing roughly until Heisenberg marched over, patience worn thin and conveniently blocked the macabre view by grabbing her around the middle and throwing her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
“Put-hrk— me down!” she shrieked between dry coughs, bound hands scrabbling for purchase on his dirty trench coat. “Why is there a dead—!”
“You are seriously beginning to piss me off with your whining!” he snapped, tightening his arm around her middle so much she wheezed and fell into a defeated silence, squeezing her eyes shut to stop tears from falling. “Acting like you’ve never seen a dead body before, Christ. Fuckin’ drama queen.”
He carried on up the hill until they reached the castle gate, the gravel path giving way to worn flagstones where he unceremoniously dumped her on the steps leading up to the front entrance. She landed on her arse with an ‘oof’ while he pounded on the ornate iron door and she stood up awkwardly, brushing herself off and sniffling. The door opened to reveal one of the maids, whose eyes widened in surprise and mild terror.
“L-Lord Heisenberg! And Lady Hazel!” she gasped, a hand flying to her chest and opening the door fully with a deep bow. “Please enter, Mother Miranda and Lady Dimitrescu are waiting for you in the main hall. May I take your coats?”
She closed the door behind them. Hazel felt her stomach drop in resignation as freedom slipped away.
The chain loosened and fell from Hazel’s chafed-raw wrists as they entered the warm foyer, floating away into Heisenberg’s pocket with a soft clink . The maid eyed it nervously but said nothing, deftly undoing the ties on Hazel’s now filthy and sodden cloak and stripping it from her trembling shoulders, folding it over one arm before turning to Heisenberg.
“Your coat, my lord?” she offered, a slight quaver to her voice. He waved her off and instead reached into his inner pocket and withdrew a fresh cigar, a lighter drifting from another pocket into his waiting hand.
“Be a real doll and fetch me a whiskey instead, would you? I know your mistress keeps the good stuff stashed somewhere.” He said, all charming smiles again, his voice slightly muffled by the cigar clenched between his teeth as he lit it and took a deep drag until the end blazed a hot cherry red.
“Of course, my lord. Please follow me to the main hall, I’ll have your drink brought to you.” She dropped a curtsy and led them towards the doorway towards the hall. Hazel lagged behind reluctantly, until Heisenberg took her by the upper arm and pulled her along with a warning look. They turned the corner and she flinched when his grip left her arm to wrap around her shoulders and draw her close instead.
“Get the f-” she started to growl out until he squeezed in warning and cut her off, his gravelly murmur burring in her ear.
“Remember,” his gloved fingers dug in through her clothed shoulder, making her wince slightly, “Play along, and you’ll be fine.”
Alcina’s clear voice could be heard beyond, echoing off the high ceiling of the spacious hall long before she could be seen. The maid opened the doors and stood aside as they entered and announced their presence.
“Mistresses, Lord Heisenberg and Lady Hazel have arrived.”
“Sorry for the wait,” Heisenberg called out, releasing his hold on Hazel to accept a glass of whiskey from a servant and downing it before continuing, “We lost track of time having a fun little adventure in the mines and stopped to admire my dear sister’s lawn ornaments.”
Alcina and Miranda were sitting by the fireplace, and Hazel’s chest burned with anxiety and betrayal at the sight of them. Miranda stood as soon she saw them enter and quickly strode over, a warm smile on her angelic features.
It made Hazel want to retch again.
“Ah, our lost little lamb is returned to the flock,” Miranda proclaimed as Heisenberg stepped away. Miranda addressed Heisenberg first as she stopped before them, “Well done, my son.”
Alcina followed suit, sharp eyes flicking between Heisenberg and Hazel, her glare narrowing on him and swilling the wine in her glass and a hand on her hip.
“Heisenberg, must you always insist on tracking filth into my home?” She sniffed. He craned his head to meet her glare with a sharp, cocky grin, taking a prolonged drag from the cigar before replying.
“I’ll have one of your cute maids clean my boots next time I do all the dirty work then.”
Great, stuck in the middle of another bloody argument, Hazel thought darkly, mentally checking out staring at the tiles as Miranda silenced them both with a taloned hand. The holy woman firmly suddenly clasped her shoulder, while the other tipped her chin up to meet her unwavering, unnaturally bright eyes. A shudder went up her spine.
“Are you well, my child?”
Hazel couldn’t respond at first, battling both the urges to run away and start bawling her eyes out, begging to be sent home. She took a steadying breath, to keep the quaver out of her voice. Pretend that you didn’t witness this woman turn into a flock of crows. Pretend you weren’t attacked by a wolfman. Pretend there aren’t human bodies strung up in the garden, and deathtraps underground. Pretend they didn’t lie to you. Pretend nobody, including yourself, has any wacky supernatural powers.
Play along, and you’ll be fine.
“I’m fine, Mother Miranda, thank you.”
“I expect you have many questions. Come, I would speak with you in private. Ah, Also,” she paused, and Hazel forced herself still and unblinking at the frigid touch as Miranda moved her hand from her shoulder to her cheek.
I want sacrilege Mother Miranda content so bad but I think I have to make it myself 😭
❣╰(⸝⸝⸝´꒳`⸝⸝⸝)╯❣ ( ꈍ .̮ ꈍ )
❣╰(⸝⸝⸝´꒳`⸝⸝⸝)╯❣ ( ꈍ .̮ ꈍ )
finally got to drawing Mother Miranda and her 'Maiden' lmao
Her name is Haoru Saihara, she used to work with Umbrella before her boss at the time, Dr. Carla Radames was assigned to Umbrella's East Asian division. Haoru was brought in tow.
Before Carla worked on her doomsday weapon, she had experimented different variations of the C-Virus on Haoru, which led to the beginning of project HOWL, HAOS' predecessor. It can be said Haoru was the beta HAOS, and the improved version of the Lepotica.
Haoru/HOWL is a very very tiny doomsday weapon, biologically programmed to destroy and infect, like HAOS, can split herself apart and multiply. However, after the death of Carla Radames, she was forced to flee the Underwater Facility and as a result, made her way to Romania in 2015. This is where she meets Miranda, and the events of RE Alter begin.