Takes place directly after:
In hindsight, Rosa probably should’ve realized that things wouldn’t really go as planned - something that, surprisingly enough, was a good thing for once. She walked up to what looked like a sacrificial altar, with massive cross to be hung from and all. Melina was still walking behind her, but honestly? The sounds of thousands of cultists humming and chanting kind of drowned out any form of coherent noise.
Not that she really needed to hear anything from her former friend anymore anyway, she wasn’t capable of that. Taking the first step of many up the stairs leading up to her doom, she gazed back to her red-haired bodyguard one last time, before sighing softly. She wondered if, had she not been a part of this strange world, would things have been different?
Would she have given a damn?
It’s possible, a voice rang in her head, clear and full of purpose.
Arachne... Rosa responded internally, though that was about it in terms of interaction before the halfling was drawn back to reality by her mother.
“Rosa,” Aranea spoke commandingly, “I am so happy you could join us, join me here today.”
“Yes,” Rosa said. “Well, at least that makes one of us. I’d rather just be killed than sacrificed, but I guess what I want doesn’t concern you. Not anymore, anyway.”
“To each their own, no?”
For some reason hearing her mother like this gave her strength. Strength to not give a damn, to not feel any sort of sadness related to her youth, her life, or just her existence in general. She was content with her end, because she could not retaliate, could not resist. When push came to shove, she’d always been too weak willed, always looking for confirmation, acknowledgement.
She closed her eyes for a split second, then looked around the open space she found herself standing in the middle off. They were in a graveyard, of course. As if it wasn’t already macabre enough, they had to hold this right in the middle of dead-central. Most of the gravestones were weathered away, broken or otherwise unreadable.
This was, after all, the Nether Grave. It was here where the maiestris were strongest, most drawn to the Eternal Night. It was also here where Rosa would meet her end before long, crucified by her own mother to resurrect an ancient Threat.
It was almost bittersweet how aware of her surroundings she was as Aranea grabbed her arm and dragged her across the platform to her resting place. The ground was desolate, though a few sprouts of green fluttered through the soil around the platform, and even the creaking, broken altar had hints of green littered throughout.
Maybe this was life’s way of saying there was beauty even in the darkest of places.
Also that you shouldn’t give up so easily, Arachne chimed in, and for a moment Rosa became like concrete to her mother.
“What,” she began,” pray tell, do you think you’re doing... Rosa?”
With a flicker of dark crashing through her arm, Aranea let go of the enlil and fell back to the ground. Rosa just stood there still, silent, arms by her side. Slowly, but surely, she shifted, turning around ever so slowly, ever so slightly until she finally faced not just her mother, but the entirety of her cult, but...
The Rosa everyone knew, loved and hated wasn’t there. Physically, she was, but as her otherwise dull eyes turned a sickly yellow, and her hair grew ever so more than what it usually should, there was definitely a different Rosa in attendance.
“What do yoU think you ARE doing/color]?” The duality in her voice was unmistakeable, and for once Rosa let it happen. She gave in, cared not for its consequence. For once, she didn’t hold back one bit as she unleashed the full brunt of the very being Aranea was trying to release in the first place.
”You bitch!” she yelled, a shock wave reverberating through the entire graveyard, sending shivers down not just the silver-haired cultist leader’s spine, but every single person in attendance.
“For years I’ve lived for you, humoured your every whim, but no more!”
Inching closer to her, slowly, retreating mother, she drew a strand of hair from her head. Twirling it around in her hand it transformed into some weird-looking lance, looking powerful enough to pierce to just about anything flesh-related.
“I...” Aranea stumbled, her words coming to her at a slower pace. “Rosa... but, no... Arachne!”
Her eyes widened, and an insane smile crawled on her face, but quickly turned into fear as Aranea’s mind caught up with what was going on. Rosa didn’t drew that spear-like knife for nothing. She was looking to end things.
Rosa didn’t stop. Whatever feeling she would’ve had seeing her mother crawling back like that was completely replaced by a single emotion: hatred. Pure hatred. Aranea had to die, and Rosa was going to make damn sure of that. Before the night was over, blood would’ve flown, the corrupted enlil was going to make sure of that.
Standing only a few feet away from her mother’s staggering body, Rosa pulled her right hand backwards as if trying to wind up for one hell of a spear-throwing competition, and just as she locked eyes with her terrified mother, unleashed hell upon all she had ever known.
It lasted maybe less than a second, but as blood covered her entire visage, Rosa’s eyes widened the yellow in them pulsating even more heavily than they already did as the young spurii gazed upon not the broken form of her mother, but the bloodied visage of her best friend.
The only person she would ever consider could draw more than just blank emotions from her: Elara.
“No,” Rosa said, gritting her teeth as Elara dropped forward.
She caught her friend in one hand, and gazed across the premise to her mother smiling back at her with that crooked smile of her.
“YOU, she shouted. “You did this, didn’t you, you bitch? You made her your thrall; you fucked her up in defending you, didn’t you?”
Before Aranea could even finish her sentence, Rosa was upon her holding a hair-needle to her throat.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Aranea said with a crackle in her voice. “Unless you want your beloved, your one special person, to die along with me?”
For a second Rosa hesitated, her eyes losing some of its beastial ferocity, and Aranea thought she was going to win this after all. But, just as Rosa seemed to retreat her hand, the woman felt a sharp pain coursing through her neck as she threw up blood. She looked up, one last time, to a more devious grin than even she could muster.
“You wished for a sacrifice... mother,” Rosa said as the blood slowly dripped onto the altar of bones. “I hope you’ve gotten what you wanted.”
Slowly, Aranea’s body began to catch on fire with a sickish, hellspawn-looking green flame. She tried to scream for pain, but the needle had punctured her neck to such a degree that no words were released. Finally, Rosa let go of her mother’s disappearing body and turned back to Elara.
“I should probably be sorry, huh?” she said to the fear-stricken heir to Valhmore.
“No...” the silver-eyed beauty responded. “If anything I should be, shouldn’t I? She enticed me, promised me the world if... if I just gave her a piece of me for safekeeping. I didn’t think she’d...”
Grabbing her friend by the neck, she brought the young woman back to her feet again for all to see.
“Rosa... please,” Elara said, struggling as the spurii’s left hand held tightly onto her neck. “You’re... you’re hurting me.”
“Don’t worry,” she whispered back, “It won’t be long until you’ll never feel pain again.”
“What do you...?”
With force quite unlike anything anyone in Vahlmore had ever seen, Rosa planted her right hand right into the place where Elara’s heart was resting and started to let Arachne’s spider web do her thing.
“You’ve been dead for quite some time, huh?” Rosa wasn’t even listening to whatever Elara was going to say next as her vistra’s power worked onto the young woman’s heart. “I will make you mine, Elara. Forever.”
“Ever. You will serve me in death, just as you’ve served my mother behind my back. But, don’t worry, I’ll care for you. You will lead the city in my absence as my Queen...”
“Bwuh... bu... but, I... what?”
“You should be happy. Was this not what you always desired from me in the first place? Now, you can finally get it. My body’s warmth, in exchange for a life of servitude.”
The pain that resided within Elara slowly subsided, and whatever sign of restraint towards this idea she still had slowly melted away into nothingness.
“Yes,” she said as she felt Rosa’s hand remove itself from her heart. “My Love, I will reign supreme for as long as our lives artertwined.”
Walking over to the Throne of Balthasar, she took her rightful place on it as she looked over the hundreds of cultists still frozen still from the shock of what had just transpired.
“As was foretold...” Rosa said with authority, breaking everyone free from their trance.
“Your Queen has returned from her eternal slumber.”