Part 5 – Maze Immemorial

Several days have passed since Prue’s destruction. Ara has become silent and distant once again. Jayden observes her from afar but at the same time remains near. Just before nightfall Ara walks towards the door leading to the main courtyard. 

The same door which was an entrance to the church two years ago.  It has been two years since they walked through this same door.

Now it is an exit neither of them can walk through.

She opens the door allowing air from the courtyard into the main room where the scent of Prue’s remains seem to have permeated everything within the church.

Ara stands there, frozen, still.

As night falls, she sits by the doorway looking out into what could be their freedom.

At first light, she turns over and glances at Jayden. Then she turns back to stare into the courtyard.

The same courtyard Mazen walked through when she set him free.

Jayden makes his way to her realizing the significance of her glance.

But he remains silent.

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It is all over these clothes, and my hair. That acrid odor from Prue’s body as she burned. A reminder of my actions. Actions that will have to be repeated four times over just to walk through this door.

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A change of clothing can never take that away, this is something we will both have to live with. We must find a way to reconcile it and carry on with the plan. And this is not a burden for you to carry alone.

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During the last few days, I have gone through everything that happened with Prue. I think in her afterlife she did more good by you than harm.

How so?

Mazen was meant to be permanently locked away and kept away from you. At least, that is the way Candice designed it. Yet, the door to his room, one I tried unsuccessfully to get through many times before, opened as soon as you came near it. Your mother would never have wanted you to find him, who else would help you access him?

It was also Prue who had me locked in there with him, for an entire year.

She did and I do not understand why she did that, especially when he almost sent you to your death. But while you were in there, she helped me bridge the gap between fox and man then as soon as Mazen convinced you to transform, Prue helped save you from him.

She must have expected me to find him. She used to say I had an uncommon connection to him when he was alive. In the end, finding Mazen served a purpose, as I would never have regained my memory about Madeleine.

Prue must have wanted to show you what he is now, I mean even though neither of you remembered your past, somehow you found him. As you said, stepping into his room served a purpose, and who else but Prue was behind helping you get there. Although, granting you access to his room did almost cost you your life.

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Mazen, he hesitated in taking my life.

What do you mean he hesitated?

I saw it in his mind, when I pulled him into the other realm. He stopped himself, moments before you and Prue rushed into his room.

He is capable of self-control?

I think, he is.

He stopped himself. Are you still certain he does not remember you?

Yes.

But he stopped himself.

Still, he is not to be trusted. His mind is consumed with hunger and little else. 

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Without knowing Mazen’s reaction once he remembers the past the two of you share, do you think giving him the ability to roam in sunlight, therefore allowing him to be without limits, is the best thing once we are done with the Bishops?

It is part of my agreement with him, if he helped us.

You need to be free to find your daughter.

If you are suggesting I do not see my end of things, it is not going to happen. This agreement with Mazen, I will see it through.

You said it yourself, he cannot be trusted. Besides, what I am getting at is that you at least delay doing it until you find your daughter.

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Did you agree on when you would grant him the ability to walk in daylight?

Once everything was done and over with.

Then there is good reason to delay until you find Madeleine. You plan to leave Midnight Hollow and go straight to the city. You do not need me or Mazen for that.

Are you thinking—

Yes. Mazen will try to come after you once you disappear. I can at least remain here and delay him as much as I can.

After all you have done, I would never ask this of you.

Have you got a better idea?

No…I do not.

The spell you cast to prevent him from reading our minds, can that be maintained? Probably best he is not able to read mine, if I am to spend time with him.

As long as I am alive, the spell will hold.

Well, there is comfort in knowing that.

Are you sure this is what you want to do?

It will help you find Madeleine, that is what matters. All this time he is out there searching for her, we know he is not going to find her. It is pointless.

Yes. I realize that.

Then, you know what you have to do.

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Bring him back here.

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A fleeting reconciliation for the actions taken against a Bishop’s kin.

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Ara, you have been trying to reach him for several days. What makes you think he will see his end of your bargain or that he is even still here?

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He is still here. He has not left Midnight Hollow.

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He will see his end of things.

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How many more days and nights will you spend trying to reach him?

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Until I know he has heard my calling.

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Mazen, forget about locating Madeleine.

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It is time to move forward with destroying the rest of the Bishops.

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Return to the church.

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That witch repeated the same three sentences every day and every night for almost one week.  Mazen heard it each time and he wasn’t about to respond to her every request. Before returning to destroy the Bishops he had to complete his plan with the little Hemlock.

But every night, he would focus on the witch. There was something different about her and he needed to figure out what it was.

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The Bishop witch had changed somehow. But just as she had the entire year he was in her mind, she still exercised control over what she wanted Mazen to learn. But this time it seemed to take more effort from her.

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Mazen, forget about locating Madeleine.

It is time to move forward with destroying the rest of the Bishops.

Return to the church.

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It was in the way she repeated the same three sentences. The inflection as she pronounced his name. The sorrow when she said the name Madeleine. And the fear in her tone as she said the phrase: “destroying the rest of the Bishops.”

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The witch was miserable.

It is in misery and desperation humans will do just about anything and Mazen hadn’t forgotten what she’d taken. His ability to hunt and he wanted it back.

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Regaining his ability to hunt would have to wait another day.

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The little Hemlock thinking she was being cautious was proving to be entertaining.

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The witch would have to remain in her misery until he deemed it necessary to return to the church.

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When will Witches and Foxes learn about the true talents of the Beast?

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Stealth and clever is this Fox but against this Drinker, it is not.

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Mazen. I feel like I haven’t seen you in days.

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I’ve been busy. Little Hemlock, are you ready for our daily chat? Screenshot-23

Have you got nothing to say? Run out of clever comments?

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You’ve been coming in here everyday for weeks, what is it you want from us?

From you, it’s what I want from you, Hemlock.Screenshot-6 (2)

Then, what is it you want from me?

It appears my timeline has changed so you’ll learn soon enough. How about we sit and have our chat?

No. I’ve had enough of your pointless chats.

There’s a point. Now have a seat.

No. You are in my place, you do not get to come in here and order us around.

Ah, right, you’ve reached your threshold. I wondered how long it would take you.

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You are familiar enough with my kind to know what I can do to the two of you.

You haven’t done it yet, you must want something from both of us. Something you haven’t been able to get.

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Little one, I want you to pretend the three of us are all very good friends. Now serve up a couple of drinks for your good friends and then I want you to stand there silently and just smile as if you’re having the grandest of days. I want you to ignore whatever it is you hear come out of Rose. Do you understand?

Yes, of course.

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Now, little Hemlock, you very well know I’ve respected your space and never once influenced you. It would be so easy to change that now.

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Now, make a choice.

What choice is that?

Have a seat voluntarily so that we can have our daily chat.

Or you’ll make me?

You know what your options are. You have until our drinks are served to decide.

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Well, have you decided?

It’s hardly a choice.

It’s the only one you’ll get.

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You Drinkers and your use of fear. What else do you have?

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Your kind always exercising your will.

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What does all that tenacity get you with us “Drinkers”?

You tell me, whether it is here or in the city you Drinkers continue to seek us out.

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Little Hemlock you are a bargaining chip to me and nothing else. I have no desire for the lot of you. You think I don’t know you’ve been following me around every night for the past week?

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Now, listen to me closely, you will have a seat and we will have our chat. You will answer any question I ask and do so truthfully. You will not argue nor will you feed the urge to be anything other than truthful. Do you understand?

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Yes.

Now, have a seat.

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You said you moved here two years ago, where did you move from?

The city.

Where is the city?

About 1,000 miles east of here.

Why did you leave?

I…

Why did you leave, answer.

There are others like you, who capture my kind.

Where are the remaining Red Fox?

I’ve never seen one, they were all destroyed.

I told you to answer truthfully.

I’ve never seen one but the others think one survived.

Then what are the foxes captured in the city?

Others just like me, half-breeds.

And?

And one Arctic Fox, though she’s a half-breed and just a child.

The child’s name, what is it?

Madeleine Frost. All this information you can get from me without asking. Why go through the trouble?

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I have my reasons.

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Why did you come to Midnight Hollow?

In search of the last Red Fox. They say he can save us from the Drinkers.

Have you located him?

They said he’s responsible for the blizzards but they are all gone now and there’s no trace of him anywhere.

Why were you following me around?

I wanted to know what you’re planning. I figured I’d find out what you’re up to if I followed you around.

And what did you discover?

Nothing really, just the church you watch from a distance every night until dawn. What do you want from me?

Tell you what, I’ll fill you in, because by the end of this conversation you will have forgotten all about it. You are part of a bargain I made with a witch. I know where your savior lies and I’ll take you to him. Besides, that forsaken mutt seems to take a liking to strong-willed women.

The Bishop church, that’s where he’s been?

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Stop. I need you to be silent now…

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Mazen, forget about locating Madeleine.

It is time to move forward with destroying the rest of the Bishops.

Return to the church.

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She’s relentless.

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Are you alright?

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I said be silent.

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Mazen, forget about locating Madeleine.

It is time to move forward with destroying the rest of the Bishops.

Return to the church.

Please, Mazen. Return to the church.

Enough, already.

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Listen to me little Hemlock, you’ll remember nothing of this conversation. I’ll return for you tomorrow.

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Tonight, I need to sort something out.

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It was nearing one week since Ara started calling for Mazen. She asked Jayden to leave her until she heard from Mazen. This meeting with him was something she needed to do on her own. Jayden agreed, since she shared her plans for the meeting. At this point, there was not much Ara concealed from him. Jayden remembering the control she had over him and Mazen the last time the three were in the same room, knew Ara to be more than capable of handling him if he tried anything.

Jayden was more concerned about her emotional state. Ara had shared with him the memories of Mazen, the man of her past, who she once referred to as Maze. Jayden knew as soon as she had begun to say things out loud, her emotions would become less abstract. No longer something she kept under control as she had for one year since regaining her memory. Still, he had to trust for her to remain focused on what she needed to do.

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And so, it becomes

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less abstract. Screenshot-5

Maze…is that you?

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What did you call me Bishop witch?

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Nothing. I…was lost for a moment.

You took something from me, and I want it back, now. It was not part of our agreement.

I did it to prove a point.

Please, enlighten me.

You do not need to destroy people to survive, it is not an inherent need of yours.

It was not yours to take, witch. Wait…you did it. You destroyed Prue. It makes sense now. Your part in her destruction has left you feeling your humanity. You were more entertaining when you were cold and calculating.

We need to move forward with our plan for the three of us to be free.

I already am free. What makes you think I’ll come running to your aid when you’ve taken the only reason you came to me for help. You wanted me to help you destroy all Bishops, something you and that mutt are clearly too human to handle on your own.

Because you still want what we agreed on.

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Here’s an interesting thing I learned in my freedom. Another fox, just like you, a child, exists in the city. The same child you asked me to track, who happens to be of the same breed as you.

How did you come about this information?

That’s not relevant. What is relevant is that you lied. I’ve been putting the pieces together and here’s what I’ve come up with: Madeleine is a Bishop offspring, your offspring to be exact. Our agreement involved putting an end to the Bishop bloodline, you failed to mention another Bishop remains.

Madeleine Frost, Mazen. Her last name is Frost. She is my daughter and both Madeleine and I have always been more Frost than Bishop. I have not lied, the pure Bishop bloodline ends with me.

An offspring of yours, is a Bishop by blood.

She is also half Frost. Tell me do you remember your family name, Mazen?

What are you getting at, witch?

The Bishops took more from you than your freedom. I think you already suspected as much. Either way, right now, is not the time to sort through Madeleine’s origins. I will see our agreement through, every last part of it. The sooner we move forward, the sooner we can end everything the Bishops have done to all three of us. 

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Do you want me to return everything taken from you?

Yes.

And you will help just as we agreed?

Yes.

Then you are free to hunt as you did many centuries ago.

How do I know you’ve done as you say?

It is your choice to test it if you do not trust me. You do not have to destroy anymore people to survive. But as you pointed out, it was the only reason I came to you for help, it is an aspect of you I need with the Bishops.

I’ll see for myself. If you’re telling the truth, I’ll return in a few days time.

As I said, it is your choice.

And with that Ara returns Mazen’s ability to hunt, and a single act on his part will reinstate what the Bishops have taken.

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Mazen steps away from the church, under the pretext that he wanted to see for himself if the witch had reversed whatever she’d done. He knew full well she was telling the truth as he felt the hunger return.

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For the last month that witch had rendered him inadequate and helpless as far as the biology of the undead goes. But now she’d unleashed the only need Mazen knows.  He is no longer in a constant state of under-arousal. Arousal as in an opportunistic function, one eased only by draining the blood of the living. A function of his undead biology and the only emotion he thinks he’s known. Unlike humans driven and controlled by who they are, Mazen sees himself as a Drinker, a Brute, a Beast.

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With each step he takes away from the church he experiences a resurgence of heightened awareness and the need to hunt.

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Each step marking the distance between him and the witch as his compulsion pulls him to return to her. And to shred her to pieces. To finish what he’d started when she first walked into his cage.  And just as an animal hunts when hungry, Mazen focuses on satiating his appetite. An appetite displaced for nearly one month because of what the witch had done.

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An incessant need to satisfy a never-ending appetite. To destroy something living. A hunger which grew since initially feeding on the witch and then it was promptly taken. The Bishops, they always take.

His compulsion forces him to sense only what is nearest; how he wants to shred her to pieces.  

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And just as he stopped himself before, he painfully forces himself further away from the church and away from her.

He’d heard every word she’d spoken, and inside, something was stirred.

“Maze…is that you?” she had asked.  

He needs the witch alive to resolve what is left of their agreement yet at this time he is forced into the only emotion he knows.

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Mazen closes and locks the main entrance to the Rose & Hemlock tavern.

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Holly greets him with a smile.

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He responds, not.

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Mazen what are you doing!

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What I set out to do the first night I was free.

Why are you doing this, we are friends…

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Never have I been nor will I be anything other than this. It is what I am.

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Draining blood from a body is a messy affair and if Mazen felt pleasure this would be it.

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As he drinks from Holly’s already raw neck, he digs his claws into her flesh, opening new wounds as blood outpours onto every part Mazen touches. Hearing the tearing of her skin and the blood gushing, after 300 years it was the closest thing to satisfaction.

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At this moment, the only thought in his mind is that of draining every last drop.

Finally, he is free.

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Holly stopped struggling.

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And then shortly thereafter, she stopped moving.

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Mazen could feel her barely breathing.

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Mazen releases his hold and Holly’s body falters to the floor.  He listens as she takes her last breath.

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And as she dies, he begins to feel a surge…

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a pain originates from within the depths of his mind…

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and then his entire body begins to tremble…

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Screenshot-58     and alongside a lifeless Holly, a Beast falls.

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Into the flood a Beast, goes.

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Her. name. is. Ara. Frost.

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Madeleine. Frost.

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She. called. me. Maze.

18Mazen. Frost. 

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I. am. him.

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Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

One thought on “Part 5 – Maze Immemorial

  1. Sad Holly had to dye before Maze knew the trueth about him self… but when that’s was the only way so be it…
    Now I’m sorry for the beast, if something human has remained of him … and sorry for the humans in Midnight Hollow, if not.
    I just don’t understand why he thinks Ara is weacker… I thought she must be stronger, after she took the powers out of Prue?
    And I’more than ever longing to know how it’s going on! 🙂 ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

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