Oh endless river
As you transcend
Please take me with you
Far from this land
"Cardia, my beloved daughter. When you awaken, humanity will have to take its first steps down a blessed path that ultimately leads to the truth. You will lead the people from gods cradle to the expansive world of knowledge. Cardia, it all begins with you... but, because I love you, I must keep love from you. You will be alone.. forever. You must never know love. You must live in isolation. The more to learn of love.. the more you will be made to suffer."
"Because you... are a monster."
Her earliest memory-- and the only one she had of her father. Kept away from the world, these words were all she had to define herself by, to live by, for if she defied the one thing she was told, what worth did she have?
In a way, she had little more than that of a child. As a creation, she remembered little more past the two years of her existence, but she had lost sight of this. She believed she had retreated into sorrow, to only knowing the confines of her mansion in Wales, because a monster she was. She had made a single mistake, a one time venture into the outside world, and was seen as nothing more than that one word when she lost a shoe and burned the very earth below. Stones hurled her way, words that cut to her bone, she fled only to be chased, to be hunted. Desperation and despair took hold and for the first time, a gentle voice reached out and stole her away from destructive thoughts and concerns she could do nothing about. For once, she was not alone.
It mattered not how Cardia attempted to scare her away, prevent her from tending to her wounds as she would be hurt by the encounter, Elaine would proceed to give Cardia shelter, a place to rest her head and heal her weary soul. She was family, the mother she never knew, the love she never had from her father. Elaine and her daughter Etty took away the loneliness that had been all Cardia ever knew and in turn, she aided them with medicines and showed them the truth of her soul: she was the farthest thing from a monster. However, nothing good lasted for Cardia-- eventually, all would wither and die.
When it became known that Elaine was harboring Cardia, keeping her safe and sheltered, the townsfolk once more attempted to harm her, believing there was nothing honest about her. If Elaine was kind to her, it must be manipulation and fear. Though Elaine protested, wanting nothing but to prove Cardia's innocence, the mob led by their priest only accepted one kind of proof: a test.
Cardia and Elaine were to coexist together in a cave, a stone rolled in front to keep them in, and if they both lived after a week, the priest would rescind all claims of Cardia being a monster and everyone would leave her alone. Everything started out smoothly, the two living together, Elaine soothing Cardia and telling her stories, but eventually, things took a turn for the worse. The poison in Cardia's body slowly seeped out and Elaine fell ill. As soon as Cardia realized, she began to use her poison to burn through the rock which kept them in, but as stone deteriorated, so did Elaine. She passed before the light shone through, her last wish bequeathed to Cardia before she died.
Cardia sought to fulfill this wish but Elaine's death caused her daughter Etty to turncoat on Cardia, thus she fled. She was a monster-- to Etty, to the townsfolk, and to herself. Her father had been right, she could never know love, and so would she continue to live in isolation until she passed.
Please take my hand
I will go gently
Your arms around me
You'll be my man
Not every intention can be carried out. To be kept from the world, the reality of her existence now clear as crystal to Cardia, that was all she now wished for. She would never hurt anyone like the had done to Elaine again and never again cause the dismay and disdain she saw color Etty's expression when she learned Cardia had failed. No, if the world never saw or heard from her again then she would be happy. The only happiness she could ever know. Cardia did her best to keep herself locked away, her family's old estate-- their castle in Wales-- the only location she would ever see. The princess locked in her tower, the monster trapped in her cage. No one else would die this way.
Not until she was whisked away.But there were no ill intentions to speak of, not when Arsene Lupin claimed his treasure from the bewildered royal guard of Queen Victoria. They sought to bring her to the queen, to offer up her power, and Lupin sought to gift her with freedom and life, the promise to grant her wishes and make her one dream come true. Such kindness had only been gifted to her once and though she had been reluctant, Lupin and his team had proven themselves able to keep the monster at bay, to even let her true potential shine.
She could be labeled a refuge, hidden away from Queen Victoria and her men. She could be seen as a threat, highly sought after by the mysterious Twilight soldiers. Yet, for once, Cardia felt the freedom of choosing her own path, finding new labels for herself, a new life. Living like that, searching for who she was, for her father who must have known much more than anyone else, it let her evolve, bloom into her true role. The one label which would matter.
But it was tragedy and despair which were destined to set in first.
the final doll
The leaves are changin'
I cross this road
To make my last walk
In that warm sunshine
It was not out rightly apparent. As she was led through Steel London on Saint-Germain's arm, trained in science and combat by Frankenstein and Van Helsing respectively, and taught to fend for herself with careful self preservation, Cardia began to see the hope she had once longed for in the world. Elaine had been a tragedy and while regret still ate away at Cardia, she saw light within those who cared not for the poison in her veins, but offered unwavering help regardless. She was outfitted in a new wardrobe, all treated against her poison, silverware, bedding, anything she could need, she was provided with, even the companionship of a little corgi named Sisi. And as she learned to earn money, to interact as a human woman, she learned that she was human, underneath every terrible thing about herself, every fear she harbored.
There was a quickened rhythm in her chest when she caught Lupin staring, a faint flush in her cheeks when the others bestowed kindness upon her. By all accounts, she was nothing but herself now.
Good things came to an end.
As the poison Cardia radiated began to draw the attention of the royal guard, even the inspection of Herlock Sholmes being employed by her majestry, and the threat of Twilight looming ever closer, Cardia drew closer to information about her father and the studies he left behind. The truth grew closer, she grew anxious, and when she confronted it, she lost her grip on everything good she had come by. She was a doll. A homunculus. The only success of all her father's expiriments but certainly not his only attempt. She was one of six hundred and sixty six. The other forms of her life-- some beautiful, but some mutated beyond recognition-- surrounded her in large cylinders of glass, and just how fake, how monstrous she was set in.
To pour salt into her gaping wounds was Finis, the young boy who proclaimed himself her younger brother, who spoke of her father with familiarity. He emerged, spoke smugly, taunting Cardia, before attempting to sway her, pull her under his wing. It was their fathers wish, she was meant to be a monster, an emotionless doll. Yet her heart, however figurative, still beat rapidly. It accelerated as Saint-Germain's calm demeanor shifted as he pulled a knife on Finis and held it to his throat.
So they all ran, splitting and reconvening at the mansion. Cardia wished to leave those revelations behind, to put the person she never wished to be to rest and let her sleep with the other six hundred sixty five dolls. She could not. She was left to stew over everything she had come to realize, all the imperfections in her blood, the fate she was meant for.
She had to escape, to leave everyone behind. When no one had disturbed her, entered her room in that mansion in Wales, she had been safe, so had everyone else. She had to leave, take her place as a recluse monster, die without any of her ties to the world.She wasn't the only one to have found a new person in the mess. The emotions she had grown, the attachments she felt. The task of leaving had been easier than she believed it could be. Staying lost? It would be a tough fight to win.