The first sequel to Pride of her Parents was to be called Second Chances, a fairly blatant encapsulation of the story’s theme. Harun Al-Rashid tells En Shevil that, though he’s allowing her to marry his adopted son and heir, he doesn’t entirely trust her. He believes in second chances, however, and is allowing her the opportunity to prove herself trustworthy. So there’s a huge wedding ceremony, and En Shevil is made Princess of Shapier. Can you guess which Gloriannan kingdom I’ve always liked
to inflict cultural appropriation on best?
Anyway, I wrote a scene:
A cloaked man, pressed into a corner at the back of the hall by the excited crowd, scowled and clenched his fists. “Princess. Hah! That’s just a common harem girl.”
“That may be,” said his companion, gazing intently at the newlyweds. “But we are not here to discuss them, for I must return to W.I.T. as soon as may be — I’m not supposed to leave during my 200-year basic training.”
The other smirked. “If it weren’t for me, you’d never have lived long enough to get to W.I.T., let alone known enough magic to pass the entrance exam.”
“I know perfectly well enough how you saved my life and set me up as the apprentice of Ad Avis,” was the reply. “Its results might well have been disastrous but for that young man yonder.” Al Scurva pointed to the prince of Shapier. “And so I am hesitant to give you what you asked for — I don’t want you to harm him.”
“How I use it is my own business. Besides, you said yourself that you don’t know how to unlock its powers. I’ll sell it and get out of his country — and hers, now.”
Al Scurva nodded. “Here it is,” he said, and dropped into the other’s hand a wildly ornate ring of immense size and apparent value. “And I’d advise getting out of the country soon. The Dark Master is at W.I.T. right now, and Shapier is her next stop. Sparks may fly when she meets up with the prince and princess. Not that she calls herself the Dark Master anymore, but I don’t trust her.”
“I can take care of myself,” the cloaked man said with a thin smile. “Your debt to me is repaid; now get back to W.I.T. before I squeal on you.”
That was Khaveen, by the way. Under that cloak? Yeah, Khaveen.
So. Dinarzaad wants to start a proper Thieves’ Guild in Shapier, and asks En Shevil and Achim for their blessing on the endeavor. This they readily grant, since apparently any moral development of these characters during PohP did not affect their thiefly ways.
Katrina comes to visit Achim, who may still be slightly in love with her. En Shevil doesn’t trust the former Dark Master (and is undoubtedly ridiculously jealous), and tells Achim so, perhaps in not so many words. Achim, who also believes in second chances, invites Katrina to stay at the royal palace.
Khaveen comes to Katrina in secret, and they discuss how to get En Shevil out of the way. En Shevil, you may recall, is still part djinn, and can therefore be bound to a magical item and commanded just like any djinn. Perhaps Katrina has recognized this (I have no notes on how they know this will work), because she agrees to create a binding ritual to bind En Shevil to the ring Khaveen obtained in the scene above from Al Scurva.
En Shevil receives a message supposedly from Dinarzaad requesting that the Princess come inspect the premises of the new Thieves’ Guild. When En Shevil goes, she instead meets Khaveen, who really sent the message (how he knew about Dinarzaad and the Thieves’ Guild I also don’t know), and he performs the ritual that binds En Shevil to the ring. Then he takes her to Rasier.
In Rasier, Khaveen has En Shevil enchant Zayishah so she thinks she’s in love with him. Then he gives this public sob-story about having been under Ad Avis’ power all along, and this allows him to marry Zayishah and become co-ruler of Rasier alongside her. The Sultan gives him basically the same speech he gave En Shevil about second chances.
Katrina volunteers to help Achim search for his suddenly missing wife, and leads him off on a wild goose chase to various random places hoping that he will realize that he loves her more than he ever loved En Shevil.
A note in question marks, indicating I wasn’t sure about this plot point, mentions Khaveen having En Shevil murder former Emir Arus Al-Din, probably just to get him out of the way in case he tried to assume power again. This would have been awful for Miss Angsty Former Deathscar, and who knows whether it would actually have happened or not?
Meanwhile, Achim and Katrina discover some old friends.
It was one of those semi-cool nights where the wind has a full, fat feeling to it and whips so wildly about that one almost believes inadvertent flight is possible. The partially-forested land through which they traveled gave them an ample, if fluctuating, taste of these disorderly gusts as they passed from one copse to the next. Katrina had placed a peace spell over them to make walking a bit easier, but that didn’t keep stray wisps of moving air from reaching in and wreaking havoc: tearing the band from Katrina’s hair so it snapped out behind her like a flag, throwing Achim off balance by its unexpected force so that he leaned heavily on his creaking staff or sometimes fell. It would have been a pleasant night for, perhaps, hide-and-seek or capture the banner; it was not a pleasant night for travel.
“I think there is a valley ahead,” Katrina relayed back to him. She always led in such weather, since the spell was easier to maintain, she said, from the front. Her voice sounded soft, but he knew she was nearly shouting. Even within their shifting sphere of semi-calm, the storm-promising weather was roaring.
“We should stop there!” Achim replied, equally loudly.
“I am overtaxed,” Katrina said wearily. “We must stop there.”
The valley opened abruptly beneath them; it was really more of a large ravine. In the darkness they could see no way down, but one thing was quite visible: the lights at the bottom. They blinked as trees swayed and hid them, but invariably came back: friendly town-like lights in reds and greens. Achim smiled faintly: civilization was always a good thing, because there they might find news of En Shevil and her kidnapper.
A burst of light from his left startled him, and he watched the four glowing orbs spin from Katrina’s hands into the valley, illuminating the land all about in search of a navigable downward path. It was some time before they found one, and that was some distance away. As they picked their way along the valley’s lip to the spot where the grade was somewhat more accessible, Achim could see Katrina drooping. She’d been sustaining the calm bubble for miles now, and must be exhausted. He hurried to offer her an arm, and she leaned on him gratefully. And only a few steps downward the wind stopped.
They continued to hear it whistling, however, above them as they moved carefully down the pseudo-path, but somehow the ravine seemed eerily quiet after the tumult of the gale. Katrina let the spell go and held onto Achim’s arm tightly, now letting him guide. So it was that they were attacked — she weakening with every cautious step; he blindly attentive to her needs.
They must have come from the trees, Achim confusedly reflected, for they dove down feet-first from either side and each knocked one of the travelers to the ground. Achim seized hold of the shrub into which he was flung and thus held himself, but Katrina tumbled several yards down the uncertain slope until she came to rest with a moan against an upthrust rock.
The prince jumped to his feet at once, though his shoulder ached where he’d been struck. His enemy came at him again, a dark shape swooping down towards him just as the first lightning-flash of the storm shot through the clouds high above them and poured light into the valley for the splinter of a second. As he hit the earth a second time, Achim cried out in surprise, for that momentary view had told him much: wide, bat-like wings, a long, dart-ended tail, and an inhuman visage had marked his attacker for what she was. But what were demons doing here?
She was on top of him now, yanking his dagger from his sheath and tossing it away. She tucked her wings as they rolled painfully over rock and bush, working methodically to secure his hands. When she had done this her wings burst open again, and caught her to her feet. He was brought to stand, and could feel the sharp, warm point of her tail against his neck.
Her companion appeared in front of them, coming to look closely at their captive. At the same time, though his newly-acquired scrapes and bruises were beginning to smart and his head was reeling from a blow, Achim attempted to return the favor.
The other demon was clad in black, an intricate outfit of strange and overlapping design that left the right shoulder bare. This caught the human’s attention because of the glowing tattoo that adorned it, a bizarre and vaguely disturbing symbol. A symbol that he recognized. It was at this moment, looking at the exposed shoulder, that he noticed Katrina on her feet behind it, preparing to cast a deadly spell — a spell he recognized far better than he did the bright coiling lines on the demon’s shoulder.
“Stop!” he shouted. “These are allies!”
With the first word the demon had snapped around to face Katrina, but at the latter phrase had turned again to regard Achim with confusion and surprise. The mage held her spell, ready to unleash the furious dragon fire at any time. “What are you talking about?” she demanded, hoarse and suspicious.
“Just trust me,” Achim said, then directed his words at the other man. “Will you take us to your queen?” I’d better be remembering this right, or we’re likely to end up possessed.
“You know of our queen?” the demon demanded. “What is your name?”
“I am Achim, Prince of Shapier, husband of En Shevil.”
His addressee started, eyebrows rising in shock. Achim’s arms were instantly released and he felt the demoness step away. “That name is indeed a password,” she said. “Your pardon, lord.”
Achim felt himself gingerly and looked around for his pack and walking stick. Katrina had lowered her arms, but her stance was yet stiff and skeptical. “What are these creatures?” she said. Her voice trembled with exhaustion, and her hands trembled. Achim went to her in consternation.
“I think they’re friends,” he said. “Let me find your pack.”
“We will carry you and your lady to the stronghold,” offered the demon.
“Oh,” Achim said, a bit embarrassed, “this isn’t En Shevil — this is Katrina, my friend. En Shevil was kidnapped, and we’re looking for her.”
“The savior kidnapped?!” gasped the demoness. “How? By whom?”
At that moment Katrina fainted, and Achim barely caught her. “Let me take your companion down,” the demon said, coming quickly to the prince’s side. “I will have a room made up for her. But the queen will want to see you; will you come at once?” It was beginning to rain, and as he relinquished the woman’s limp form he looked about him for their fallen things. “I will send someone up to find your pack,” the demon added, sounding somewhat ashamed.
“Very well,” the prince allowed. The demoness jumped into the air, caught his arms as she wheeled, then plunged sickeningly into the darkness below. They barely, but quite expertly, missed a slough of obstacles, and soon the lights of the little town were more that points in the blackness, but windows clearly visible. They landed within a walled yard before a large but plain building of wood. The rain was by this time pouring, but was thinner here at the valley’s floor. The demon and Katrina were not readily visible, and the demoness hustled the dizzied Achim inside before he could cast even a glance about for them.
A long hallway with doors on either side — the entire place was wood, smoky candles illuming the way — and a large room, opening up at the end, filled out the entire expanse of the building. This expansive chamber was empty and dim, and seemed a council room of sorts, as a lengthy table surrounded by ladder-back chairs
So Askgaella and Gorllex have started a haven for, basically, demons that don’t want to be evil. What sucks about this is that it seems to have been mostly a cameo, because they don’t show up in the rest of the summary for this story. Askgaella was kinda the best PohP character, and her continuing adventures seem way more interesting than all this nonsense with Katrina, but whatevs.
Eventually Achim and Katrina get back around to Shapier — possibly because they’ve heard news of weird stuff going on in Rasier and Achim insists on going back despite Katrina’s deceptive protests trying to keep him away. And then the hyper-drama really starts.
“Aw, I hate it when Ishah’s doing her Emir stuff,” Khaveen grumbled, slamming the door and stalking into the room. En Shevil, kneeling by the bed as he had commanded her this morning, looked away in distaste. “And don’t you give me that look,” he cried, adding an unfriendly moniker. He strode over to her with a grin, anger disappearing in an instant as it always did with her — she couldn’t disobey him, after all. “En Shevil, I command you to kiss me,” he said.
“To hear is to obey, master,” she replied with a sigh, starting to rise in disgust as she turned her face towards him.
A strange, sudden noise filled the room, and the door burst open, its hinges blown away by destructive magic. Khaveen pulled away from his slave, and she fell back down onto her knees. “Khaveen!” Achim roared. “Get away from my wife!”
“Your wife, huh?” Khaveen mocked, though she could see how surprised he was at Achim’s presence. “If she’s yours, why’s she here next to my bed?”
With an obscenity towards his rival Achim advanced.
Khaveen continued to speak, unperturbed. “Let’s see… how can I hurt you the most? Kill her?”
“No!” the prince shouted, sprinting forward.
A cruel, bestial light kindled in Khaveen’s eyes; he quickly put the bed between him and Achim as he spoke. “You’re right! That wouldn’t be bad enough!” Lips pulling wide into a maniacal grin, he screamed, “En Shevil, I command you to kill him!”
The room fell silent for a split second as everyone froze in horror except the enslaved. She climbed slowly to her feet, biting her lip, her heart tearing with every move she made. Slowly, very slowly, she spoke against her will. “To hear… is to obey… master.” Tears pouring from her eyes and jaw set against a welling agonized scream, she began moving very slowly towards her husband.
At that moment fire filled her vision and she was hurled backwards in great pain against the far wall. Katrina stood crouching, hand aglow with crimson light, face twisted with rage, before Achim. “I won’t let him die,” she growled.
En Shevil pushed herself to her feet and again started her advance. “Thank you,” she said between clenched teeth. “But if you stand in my way, I will have to kill you.”
Katrina cast another spell, sending a ball of lightning towards her enemy. En Shevil blocked it with a magical wall. “Don’t thank me, fool!” the Dark Master cried as she began another offensive. “I’ll kill you, and Achim will be mine!”
The truth of the entire business dawned on En Shevil just then. “So it was you that gave Khaveen his power over me!” she cried. “How dare you?”
So of course they fight while the men watch. I don’t know if you remember all the details of this nonsense, but the reason En Shevil is half djinn is because she absorbed the powers of the dying daughter of Iblis and Orono the dragon. So basically En Shevil is half Iblis. I know, right. Anyway, even the former Dark Master can’t stand up against angry half Iblis, so Katrina is defeated.
At this point, as Katrina dies, she activates a sort of failsafe she built into the enslavement ritual, which frees En Shevil from the ring and Khaveen’s control so En Shevil won’t be forced to follow the command to kill Achim. This is the kind of dramatic bullshit I absolutely adore. Even now, years and years later, I’m kinda like, Oh, that’s some good stuff. She really loved him all along! For some reason.
So then of course En Shevil kills Khaveen. The notes don’t indicate what method I had in mind for her to use, so I’m not sure whether or not I remembered my own magical rules here: En Shevil’s dragon magic left her at the end of PohP, and she can only use her djinn magic when she’s enslaved and commanded to do so. So if I thought she was going to use magic against her enemy here, wrong!!
However she does it, she does it, and everyone can go home and live happily ever after. Except that Zayishah is going to be seriously traumatized after having been married to (and presumably sexually active with) a man she loathed, and, hell, she might even be pregnant with his rape-baby. And En Shevil has done more awful things to angst about, and may also have been sexually abused by Khaveen. And Achim undoubtedly has some residual feelings for Katrina, who has now sacrificed herself for him twice, yo.
Anyway, that was just the first planned sequel. Can you handle more? If so, read on!
The second sequel was to be called, very creatively, Victim’s Revenge. That may have been a working title — I don’t really remember — but it is at least the name of the file in which the few details I have on this and the one scene I wrote are kept. And this shit is priceless, you guys. I am crying with laughter as I read through it. The best way to share the glory with you is just to quote the entire document:
Some victim of Deathscar’s murder rampage (family was killed)
He was also working for Telmiquor.
So En Shevil ruined his life twice.
Steals away En Shevil’s child to raise.
Makes child evil.
This is for revenge.
The well-made door swung noiselessly to behind her, and she eased the latch shut in silence. The pure darkness beyond was chilly and static, dead. She crept forward, trying to find a scrap of light to reflect off of her eyes at the invisible surroundings. This she failed to do before a voice spoke — his voice.
“I am not surprised you made it so far,” he said easily. His chill tones echoed across the open space of what must be a rather large chamber. “But you have arrived too late.”
Light flashed in her eyes as the room was suddenly illuminated, and she crouched, blinded. Something heavy, flung before ever the darkness was pierced, struck her just at that moment, knocking her backwards. Her head struck the floor and she struggled to sit up under the weight as the world spun. It kept her down as if of its own will. But she already knew. Her body was sluggish and unresponsive, and she already knew. That cooling limpness could be nothing else.
“Harun…” she choked, wrapping her arms around the stiff shoulders and cradling the corpse as she knelt. His pale face, frozen in a desperate expression of horror, was already beginning to take on a grey tinge, and under the tight noose around the bloated throat the skin was puckered and blue. His elbows were twisted at odd angles, and his ankles had been tied. His clothing was shredded, and bruises and other abrasions dotted his disfigured body, already stiffening in her miserable embrace. He had not been dead long.
Doodle was speaking lightly. “You should have seen that look on his face when I had Deedle break his arms and put him on the box,” he said. “He had no idea why I’d betray him. Called me father, asked me why.” Doodle laughed heartily. “And then his eyes when I told him — when I told him — that you were his mother! — and kicked the box away. It was beautiful.”
En Shevil had been so intent on Harun’s tortured face that she had not bothered until now to gaze at the room around her, or up at the man who had hurt her so much. Now she raised her eyes to his seeing nothing but their horrible malice: inexpressible anguish meeting vengeful madness. Such a grief and pain as she had never before known welled up in her, and she bent over Harun’s body, weak but tense with massive sobs. She gasped as tears poured from her eyes.
Doodle laughed again. “Doesn’t it hurt?” he asked. “It’s too bad you couldn’t see me twist that theoretical and quite unexpected knife in your son’s belly, isn’t it?” She heard him stand. “But… here I have a more literal knife…” Here was the ring of steel. “…and since your son is dead…” He took a few steps. “…perhaps you’d prefer to see it — ha ha — in the body of — your — granddaughter?”
The sudden wail of a baby ripped across the silence and into En Shevil’s broken heart like a mirror of the weapon Doodle held in his hand. Dropping Harun’s body violently and springing to her feet, En Shevil started forward with a shriek of abandoned horror as Doodle raised a gleaming knife high above a bassinet not far from the throne-like seat he had just vacated.
A string of words such as she had never before used in her eventful life issued from her mouth as she sprinted with all her power towards the dais — but never could she reach it in time. The air seemed to swirl and pull around Doodle as the dagger fell in a deadly sweep, time slowing in agonizing detail. She was still a good ten feet away.
Oh, man, can you believe that? Remember how PohP had a happy ending? And then Second Chances had a Well, we’re all going to need therapy, but still relatively happy ending? Obviously we were plunging into depths of dramatic despair here in order to round off the trilogy with the saddest weirdness I could come up with.
Especially when, if I recall my own intentions correctly, En Shevil’s best friend Elsa the King of Silmaria, having been assisting in the search for Harun and led there by another, magical method, materializes suddenly in the path of the knife and gets stabbed to death in place of En Shevil’s little granddaughter!
I mean, what. Seriously. And the working names Doodle and Deedle make the incredible drama and angst all the more hilarious.
Like, I really cannot stop laughing at this.
So there you have it, folks — the final, miserable end for our Mary-Sue En Shevil, the pride of her parents! Almost twenty years after her heroic debut, the story finally draws to its wretched conclusion!
All of this nonsense gets a , because, although it’s incredibly bad, it also makes me laugh really hard and I have such a nostalgic connection with it. Why don’t you give it a rating too? :D