Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Circle Break"

With a lifeless Morrigan in her arms, Darkfin stumbles out of the river and falls to the bank. Mt. Wiggins continues to explode in the distance.

Darkfin: Come on, Morrigan, keep fighting

Inside Morrigan's mind, she hears Darkfin's words but cannot respond. She also hears the comforting tones of her mother's ancient lullaby.

Morrigan: (In her mind) Mom - where are you?

Meanwhile, a frantic Darkfin desperately searches Morrigan's body for signs of life. No breath, no pulse, nothing.

Darkfin: DO NOT LEAVE ME

Morrigan: (In her mind) I'm here... I'm right here - feel me, I know you can!

Darkfin pounds her fist in anger on the ground. Taking a deep breath, she continues to perform CPR on an eerily cold Morrigan.

Darkfin: (Choking with tears) NO, NO, NOT AGAIN - NOT LIKE SAMMY

Aleta Oscura spends several more minutes working in vain. Sick and weakened herself, she crumples on top of McBride and begins to sob uncontrollably.

Morrigan: (In her mind) DON'T GIVE UP, YOU KNOW I'M STILL WITH YOU

An odd calm washes over Darkfin as she pulls back from the body. Suddenly, a wave of rage causes her to snatch the glowing crystal off of Morrigan's neck.

Darkfin: (Smashing it into shards) NO MORE

The crystal pops and crackles as tiny flecks of light dissipate into the air. Morrigan's eye fly open, they are glowing the same orange color as the crystal, the same color her mother's eyes once did. Her head and torso spring upright as she sucks in a huge, rattling breath.

Darkfin: Morrigan?

The Marked One is now on her feet. A primal shriek is unleashed from her mouth as the ground shakes directly beneath them. Paralyzed by multiple emotions, Darkfin can only watch as Morrigan demonically wails and flails in the direction of the volcano.

Morrigan: (Unearthly voice) NOW

As quickly as it erupted, Mount Wiggins abruptly ceases its pyrotechnics. Morrigan now turns to the river and raises her arm. The trident comes flying out to meet her grasp. The weapon is now enshrouded with the same orange glow. Darkfin is back on her heels in awe.

Darkfin: (Timidly) Morrigan

Still possessed, Morrigan's whole body reflects this as veins bulge and her muscles tense. She whirls around and prepares to plunge the trident directly into the heart of Darkfin.

Darkfin: (Unafraid) Release!

The sight of the Aleta Oscura briefly softens McBride. She now whips around in the opposite direction and launches the trident at the Kiyomi mountain range. It soars into the air, well past the river.

Darkfin: It has subsided

Morrigan: (A soft whisper) For now...

She collapses to the ground, curls up into the fetal position and slowly starts to rock. Unable to find words, Darkfin inches over and touches her fingers with hers.

Morrigan: (Grabbing her hand) Hold me... please

Darkfin pulls Morrigan into a protective embrace and the two stay on the ground, consoling each other in silence. Moments pass.

Morrigan: Tell me about Sammy

Darkfin jumps up and turns her back to Morrigan.

Darkfin: We have to go

Morrigan: Where?

Darkfin notices a helicopter on approach.

Darkfin: Away from here - come

Morrigan struggles to her feet. She feels the scaly arms of Darkfin wrap around her for support and the two start to walk.

Morrigan: This is the second time you've saved me from that river

Darkfin: And, hopefully, the last

Morrigan: I can safely say that this time outdid the other rescue, exploding train and all

Darkfin: I do not look forward to outdoing ourselves again

Aleta Oscura doubles over and succumbs to a coughing fit. She is gradually losing her color and her morph.

Morrigan: You don't look so good

Darkfin: When have I ever looked good?

This remark causes both of them to smile.

Darkfin: We need to reach higher ground

Morrigan: The lava and ash are flowing in the other direction

Darkfin: Mount Wiggins is the least of my concerns - it is too unpredictable out here in the open, we must find shelter

The two tread along the hillsides of the Don Alessandros. They go deeper into the trees for cover.

Morrigan: I heard them talking... they called me a "Taint"

Darkfin: Keep moving

Morrigan: One of them couldn't believe the "Marked One" would be a Taint - do you know what that means?

Darkfin: We will discuss it later

Morrigan: Later, later, later - what happens when later is no longer an option?

Darkfin: Watch your step

Morrigan: I'm so tired...

Darkfin: I know - we will find a place soon

Morrigan: No, I mean, yeah, I'm tired physically - but I'm more tired mentally - I'm tired of all this intrigue and hocus pocus, I'm tired of being a fugitive... I'm really tired of running around naked

Darkfin: You look fine

Morrigan: Do I?

Darkfin: Um... you can grab some leafy branches if it will make you feel better

Morrigan: Will it make you feel better?

There is a noticeable pause.

Darkfin: What will make me feel better is cold water... cold salt water

Morrigan: It's one long walk to the ocean - I can barely see as it is

Darkfin: No, we will not make it that far - there are cabins ahead

Morrigan: How do you know?

Darkfin is suddenly silent.

Morrigan: You have human friends, don't you?

Darkfin does not respond.

Morrigan: Other friends besides me... why am I suddenly jealous of that?

Darkfin: Do not be

Morrigan: But, then again, I'm not exactly human, am I?

Darkfin: Morrigan...

Morrigan: (Giddy) Neither are you - we're the perfect pair of freaks - let's throw a party!

Darkfin: Stop it...

Morrigan: We can play board games and serve turducken - of course, that will all be contingent on whether the world blows up or not

Darkfin: (Clutching her face) STOP... IT... NOW

Morrigan: I love you

Darkfin freezes on those words. The two stare at each other for a long minute until they both back away in shock.

Morrigan: That just kind of slipped out

Darkfin: You are under pressure

Morrigan: Maybe... but it doesn't make it any less true - do you love me?

Darkfin: Please do not ask me that now

Morrigan: When? - LATER?

Darkfin: We need to focus on what is happening now

Morrigan: I agree... that's why I said it

Darkfin: We should be nearing the cabins

Morrigan: You love Sammy

Darkfin: (Agitated) She is no longer of this earth

Morrigan: But you still love her, you can hear the reverence in your voice

Darkfin: And she lost her life because she knew too much

Morrigan: I'm... I'm sorry

Darkfin: (Turning around) I cannot... I WILL not let that happen to you

Morrigan: (Moving closer) I honestly don't think either one of us can stop what is inevitable

Darkfin: What do you know?

Morrigan: A lot more than before

Darkfin glances down at Morrigan's legs.

Darkfin: You are bleeding

Morrigan carefully wipes the corners of Darkfin's mouth with her fingers.

Morrigan: So are you

A rustle in the bushes causes both of them to tense.

Darkfin: Stay behind me!

Five snarling coyotes reveal themselves and surround the two.

Darkfin: I wish you had not thrown my trident so far

Morrigan: You'd be dead right now if I didn't

Darkfin is stunned by those words. With a swift, nonchalant motion, Morrigan picks up a heavy stone and zeros in on the alpha animal. It is brained before Darkfin can even process what is happening. The others scamper away without a whimper.

Darkfin: What has come over you?

Morrigan: I wish I knew... where did you say those cabins were again?

The two continue up a small trail in silence. It is now Darkfin's turn to trail behind, growing weaker with each step.

Darkfin: (Pointing) There... to the left

A small A-frame nestled among a grove a trees comes into view. An exuberant Morrigan practically carries Darkfin the remaining steps as they make their way to the entrance.

Morrigan: This is so cliche!

Darkfin leans over the porch and vomits up squid bits.

Morrigan: Well, almost

Darkfin: I fail to see the humor in any of this right now

Morrigan: Can't you? - it's like being trapped in my very own version of Days of Our Lives - or, better yet, a bad Sigma Seven marathon

Darkfin: When is Sigma Seven good?

Morrigan: So, you DO watch TV

Darkfin limps over and feebly tries to kick in the door.

Darkfin: We need to get inside

Morrigan is already fumbling around the mailbox and potted plants. She finds a key hidden underneath the birdbath.

Morrigan: (Jumping over) People are so predictable - open sesame!

Darkfin: (Turning the lock) Enough with the ebullience

Morrigan: It's weird, it's like I'm on some sort of sugar high - look at what else I found...

Morrigan proudly holds up a black feather and goes to tickle Darkfin's nose with it. Darkfin falls to the ground with a seizure.

Morrigan: (Running inside) Not good

Morrigan hunts around for a blanket, finds one and rushes it over to a twitching Darkfin.

Morrigan: Wait... she said she needed cold - cold water - salt water

Using the blanket as a sling, Morrigan hauls Darkfin over to the bathroom and gingerly places her into the combo shower/tub.

Morrigan: (Turning the faucet on full) I've seen hideous shower curtains before but this one takes the cake - Gracie has been outdone

The rush of cold water snaps Darkfin back to consciousness. Her arm fins expand, ready to fight.

Morrigan: WHOA, put those away - those aren't tub toys!

Darkfin: What... what happened?

Morrigan: You blacked out there for a minute

Darkfin: (Relaxing in the water) How did I get in here?

Morrigan: I asked the neighbor down the road to lift you in - his name is Bill, he has a bulbous red nose

Not realizing the joke, Darkfin panics and scans around the cabin.

Darkfin: FOOL

Morrigan: CALM DOWN... I'm kidding

Darkfin slumps under the water and remains there as Morrigan sits on the side of the tub.

Morrigan: I remember this time in second grade when I won a goldfish at the school fair - I tried to hide him in the pool because my dad didn't want any more pets...

Darkfin: (Popping her head up and gasping) SALT... I need salt

Morrigan: OK

Morrigan runs to the kitchen and finds a half-empty saltshaker.

Morrigan: (Returning) Will this do?

Darkfin: (Dumping it into the water) It is not enough - use canned soups if you have to

This causes Morrigan to chuckle as she snatches two cans of chicken broth from the cupboard.

Morrigan: All I need is some cayenne pepper and you'll make a fine jambalaya!

Darkfin: (Sighing) Why must you do that?

Morrigan: Do what?

Darkfin: Make light of everything?

Morrigan: Defense mechanism... why do you have to be such a cold, terse bitch?

Darkfin blinks at her.

Morrigan: Uh-huh - fish or no fish, you're a bitch!

Darkfin grimaces in pain as the changes in her metabolism continue.

Morrigan: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you

Darkfin: It has nothing to do... with you

Morrigan: (Growing scared) You... you're not going to belly up on me, are you?

Darkfin: I should be fine

Morrigan: I don't like "should" - could you change that to "will?"

Morrigan takes Darkfin's hand in hers and squeezes it.

Morrigan: It's not like I can just flush you, you know

They both smile at the comment.

Morrigan: Do you need more salt? - I think I saw a bag of potato chips in there

Darkfin: No - there is nothing more to be done... GO

Morrigan: WHAT? - where?

Darkfin: Go to the other room and find some clothes - rest - let me rest... in private

Morrigan: But...

Before Morrigan can utter another word, Darkfin is out of the tub, ushering Morrigan out the door, and locking it behind her.

Morrigan: HEY... what if... what if you need oyster crackers?

The sound of the running shower water is now heard as a miffed Morrigan finds an ugly camo hunting shirt to slip on. She finds some even uglier neck ties from the 70's in the closet.

Morrigan: (Cleaning herself up) Maybe she'd let me stay if I were hogtied and blindfolded? - nah... I've had way too much of that with the hooded creeps

McBride paces around the cabin, pulling the shades and taking inventory.

Morrigan: When Fin feels better, we need to put all our cards on the table - everything, and I do mean everything, needs to be discussed!

An bronze statue of an angry bird gawks at her from a bookshelf.

Morrigan: What are you looking at? - huh, where have I seen you before? - it would be so refreshing to see an actual smile for once

Morrigan fetches herself a glass of water and studies the liquid before gulping it down.

Morrigan: Hmmph - she isn't the only one hurting right now - I'm hurting, real bad - is it asking too much for a just a little solace, is it?

A gleaming nail file comes into her view.

Morrigan: (Looking at the bathroom door) Hmm

With eager stealth, McBride takes the file and approaches the bathroom door.

Morrigan: (Muttering) Like it or not, people comfort each other in times of crisis, not hide in separate rooms...

Morrigan successfully picks the lock and opens the door.

Morrigan: (Entering) Maybe you want to be a cold fish, literally, but I...

She is stunned to find a very human silhouette behind the frosted shower curtain.

Morrigan: You ARE human!

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Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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