Disclaimer: None of the characters or locations or else you recognize from the show belong to me, they belong to Saban. Jan and Ysabelle, however, belong to me, along with everything else you don't recognize from the show. This fic is immediately after my previous one, Dreams are Strange Creatures.
Tommy quickly teleported to the Power Chamber.
"Zordon," he said "I want to ask you something."
"What is it, Tommy?"
"Is there any way to help Jan? Some way to undo what was done to her, or help her control her instincts, or anything that might make her life less of a hell to live." The words came out in a rush.
"I have heard mention of some ways to change a Carthars' life, but I do not know the specifics. I will look into this for you. Meanwhile, why don't you go to the Youth Center and relax." Tommy started to protest. "Tommy," Zordon said patiently, "it will be some time before we find anything."
"Alright, Zordon. I'll see you tomorrow." Tommy reluctantly teleported from the Power Chamber.
"Ai yi yi-yi yi yi! Do you really think we can find anything that might do any good?"
"I don't know, Alpha. But we must try, for both Jan's and Tommy's sakes."
Jan puttered around her grotto. She didn't know what possessed her. Giving Tommy all that information. She would never be able to claim him now. But that's the way you wanted it, reminded her other voice. For him not to have been forced like you. Who cares? asked the first voice. He's yours. Chosens don't get to choose. They are claimed, pure and simple. And then, But he has the right to a choice.
"Alright!" Jan shouted. "That's enough." The voices inside her head shut up.
She'd always had this problem, ever since she was changed. The voices arguing over everything and anything. Sometimes, she thought it would drive her insane. She'd taken to calling one Instinct and the other Conscience. It helped to laugh about it.
Jan went over to the small pool inside the cave. In its depths Tommy could be seen, laughing and talking with his friends at the Youth Center. She wondered what he would think of the fact that her pool made it possible to see him anytime, wherever he might be. Of course, she never abused this power. Of course not, scoffed Conscience.
"Oh, be quiet."
Earlier, she had seen how Tommy had asked Zordon about something to help her. He was such a dear, sweet boy. But, she knew, there was next to nothing that could help. After all, she was the Carthar's Prime Healer. Of course, she hadn't learned from the Druids, but her teacher's teacher had, and she now had the knowledge of the ancients within her. She would know if there were a cure.
She looked again into the pool, and she was half tempted to go and join him. No, she thought. She needed to give him time. Time to digest what she had told him. Besides, she had work to do.
And the first order of business was to make sure the Machine Empire would be out of commission for quite a while yet.
Tommy was working out on the weights in the Youth Center with Adam and Rocky. The three were bantering while they worked up a sweat. A pair of lascivious eyes were on them, especially on the young Adam. The woman eyeing them from the pool let out a small moan of pleasure and joy when Adam removed his shirt. After all, he seems quite the specimen. Suddenly, she lost her view, as a healer in a rage took their place.
"What in the HELL do you think you're doing?"
"So sorry, Healer Jan. I meant no disrespect."
"You were spying on my chosen, and you mean no disrespect? Really, you know better. I should gut you for that!"
"Please, Healer, I didn't mean it. It's just that the one in green caught my attention."
Jan turned back to the looking pool, watching Adam as he worked out.
"He is a fine boy," she agreed, "but if I ever find you near my looking pool again, you're dead. Understand?"
"Now, why are you here?"
"I have need of something."
"What?" Jan was getting quite impatient. Her guest seemed to realize this, and started to talk quickly.
"I have need of a healing potion. One of my mortal friends has come down with the very beginnings of lung cancer. I was hoping you could help."
"I can." She started to rummage around in her many shelves full of potions and powders. "You do realize," she said as she searched, "that such a potion is quite expensive?"
"I'll pay whatever it costs."
"Ah, found it." She held up a small strangely shaped green glass bottle. "Now, for the price." She appeared pensive for a moment, even though she already knew exactly what price she would ask. "As payment, I want the Dagger of Menthos."
"The Dagger? But, it's been in my family for centuries."
"Your choice, Ysabelle. Your friend, or the Dagger.
Which is more precious to you?" She had a wide grin on her face.
"You do know how to put on the pressure, don't you, Jan?" She shook her head. "All right, the Dagger's yours. I'm just glad I'm keeping it in the family." The two exchanged grins. They had been doing this strange meeting practice since Jan made Prime Healer three centuries ago. The two were second cousins, and very close. The two hugged, and went into the other room to sit down.
"So, you have a chosen, now."
"That I do. His name is Tommy. Thomas Tyler Oliver in full, but called Tommy. And he's quite the man."
"And who's his friend?" Belle leaned forward as she waited for her cousin to tell her all about him. But Jan just shook her head.
"I thought you had a sick lover. The Dagger?" She held out her hand. Belle sighed and took the Dagger from her boot and placed it in her cousin's hand. She then took the vial that Jan offered.
"I'll be back. I want to know everything. It took you so long to get a chosen. I can't wait to hear everything about him."
"You can wait until tomorrow. Now remember, put the whole vial into a non-alcoholic drink, and make sure he drinks it all. He's liable to pass out, so don't worry about it."
"Thanks, cous. See you tomorrow."
"See you." Belle then left, leaving Jan to her private thoughts. It had been a while since she'd last seen her cousin. A decade at least. But, she was glad it was her cousin who had discovered she had a chosen first, and not her sire. She'd never hear the end of it if he knew. She suppressed a shudder of disgust that always happened when she thought of her sire. The vile pig. She then thought back to her millennium of training. It took a long time to become a Healer. And so many never came close to becoming one. Over a hundred girls had joined the Healer corps in the Year of our Lord 374 (or so) and only three had ever become even the lowest level of Healer. The competition was tough. But she had survived. She brought her thoughts back to the present. She went over to the looking pool to observe Tommy. It seemed that Tommy and the others had finished their exercise and were now cleaning up before they met the rest of the team at the Park. She smiled at this. They were such a close group of friends. She went then to prepare a sleeping potion for a Lord who was due to arrive at her grotto in an hour.
It was several hours later, and the Rangers had just finished having a fun picnic at the Park. They were laughing as they cleaned up their mess, and then headed off to their respective homes. As Tommy's and Kat's lay in a similar direction, Tommy offered to walk Kat home. The two laughed as they headed for Kat's house, unaware of the angry eyes watching them. And as Tommy stopped by Kat's door, he gave her a quick hug, and headed on off to his house, down the street, unaware that the angry eyes were now raging with jealousy.
How dare he! cried Instinct. Stray with that... Jan quickly squished that thought. Kat was just Tommy's friend, came a little voice at the back of her mind. But Instinct was in full control. And Kat was the focus of all her rage. And, as quick as a thought, the Kat who was making herself a cup of tea in her kitchen quickly became an unconscious Kat lying on the floor. But, after she had done this, Jan felt a crushing sense of guilt. She knew if Kat didn't get proper attention, she would become a bibbling idiot from the brain damage. So, she quickly teleported Kat to her cave, and put her in the healing rooms. She healed the mental damage she had caused, but knew it would be many hours before she was well enough to leave. And Kat would sleep for at least four hours, so, she forced a healing concoction down Kat's throat, which would boost all of her healing capabilities, and then headed off to a bar, to get some nourishment of her own.
She found herself at a seedy bar in the bad part of Stone Canyon. The Devil's Playground, the bar was called. Obviously an overstatement. But, it would do. She went through the doors, into the smoke-filled establishment. She immediately felt the emotions that made her strong gusting around at her. The anger. The hate. Despair also seems to be quite common here. One could almost think that the walls had become saturated with that emotion. This place would give her much sustenance. She went over and sat down at the bar, next to a man that seemed to radiate both deep despair and a biting hatred at the same time. She then ordered a beer, and allowed the despair and misery that the bar's occupants were feeling into herself. The man beside her shifted, and ordered another straight whiskey. From the glasses on the counter, it seemed that he had already consumed at least four. She shook her head. 'Mortals,' she thought. 'Always trying to disguise their emotions. When will they ever learn.' She then proceeded to open herself up to the sea of emotions, letting them into her psyche, and letting them empower her. Three hours and two beers later, her powers were once again at their peak, and she left the bar. She glanced at the man who was still beside her, having now switched to Gin, and shook her head. This man had quite the tolerance for alcohol. But, he'd still have a hell of a hangover tomorrow. 'Mortals,' she thought again. 'They never learn.'
Once she returned to her home, she took a look at the sleeping Kat. A crushing guilt held on to her soul. "This has to end." she whispered. "I can't keep doing this." She then teleported Kat home into her bed.
Jan started to pace, her mind whirling. She knew of a ceremony, that would free a chosen from a Carthar. But, it was archaic, and very painful. But, what choice did she have? She then went to search her library for the spellbook it was contained in.
A few hours later, Ysabelle returned to her cousin's home.
"Jan?" she called.
"In the library." Belle entered the large room, filled with ancient books of every type, size, and language. Jan was sitting with a particularly large volume on her lap, reading what appeared to be Latin, although Belle wasn't sure, as languages weren't her forte.
"It's a spell on how to free a chosen."
"Free him? But, you love him," Ysabelle protested.
"Which is why I have to do this. Tommy would wither and die in this kind of life. I don't want that. I love him too much. So, instead, I'm going to free him to live a normal life."
"Are you sure?"
"Extremely sure. I'm going to do this, no matter what the cost."
"But what about Mattias? He won't like this."
"I'll make my esteemed," Jan sneered the word "Sire understand that this is what I want. He won't stop me."
"Well, " Belle said, changing the subject, "at least tell me about this chosen of yours who you love so deeply you would sacrifice so much. And his friends."
"You just want to know about Adam," Jan teased.
"Well, yes," she said, no modesty in her voice. Her eyes were eager, as she said "Now, tell me everything."
"No way. He's off limits. Keep your eyes off him."
"Because he's much too young for you."
"He's the same age as Tommy."
"A year younger. And it isn't the same at all." Jan gave Ysabelle a scathing look. "You don't choose your chosen. I didn't choose Tommy. But you and Adam, that's a big no-no."
The two thus argued about Adam for quite a while.
Tommy teleported into the Power Chamber.
"Well," Tommy asked anxiously. "Did you find anything?"
"I'm afraid not, Tommy. If there is something, then only the Carthars know it, and it is a guarded secret."
Tommy's shoulders slumped at this news. Just then, Jan and Belle teleported into the Power Chambers. The alarms started to whine, but Jan quickly told Alpha to "Turn that wretched noise off, already."
"Jan. What are you doing here? And why did you bring this woman with you?"
"Tommy asked you earlier if there was something you could do. I can do something, but I need something from you."
"And what would that be?"
"Some miltoan powder."
"But that is used to increase a person's pain!"
"I know that, Alpha. But that's what I need. Seems I've run out. Oh, " she said, turning to Belle, "this is my cousin, Ysabelle. She's going to be helping me."
"Alpha, get her the powder." He turned to look at Jan. "I hope you know what you are doing."
"I hope so, too," was all she said. Alpha then gave her the powder, and she was about the teleport out, when Tommy spoke.
"Wait. What is this thing that will help?"
"A ceremony. The Anthecnan Ceremony. It separates a Carthar from their chosen." Her hesitancy seemed to really bother Tommy.
"And how does it work?"
"That doesn't really matter."
"It does to me."
"She has to amputate one of her limbs." Ysabelle said casually.
"It's the only way," said Jan. "I almost killed Kat earlier today. She's fine now, but it was too close for my liking. I don't want to be so out of control. It's best this way. I don't really need two legs, and after the ceremony, you'll be free."
The two then teleported out.
"She can't be serious," Tommy said to Zordon. "She won't really do it. Will she?" Tommy sounded extremely nervous.
"Tommy, this is the best way, as Jan said."
"No! I won't let her."
"You can't stop her, Tommy. It is her decision."
Zordon then teleported Tommy home.
"Let's get started." Jan sat down on a padded bench, and got ready for the ceremony. She had already swallowed the miltoan powder, which she had mixed with her blood. She then got ready to amputate her leg just below her hip.
"Are you sure about this?" asked Belle.
"Very. Now, let's do it." Belle then took the tool that would remove Jan's leg and grimaced. She then got started with what would be a most distasteful duty of having to amputate her cousins' and best friends' leg.
Tommy was again on the Dreamscape. He then heard a piercing scream. He ran towards the sound. He felt like it took him hours to get to her. Jan was there, sitting in a wheelchair, with a blanket over her legs. But, you could see that the blanket dipped a little on one side. She now had only one leg.
"Tommy," she said. "It's done. I..." her voice faltered a little, "I won't be bothering you anymore. Goodbye."
"No. You can't leave me alone." His voice held what sounded like desperation.
"You're never alone, Tommy. I'm sorry I ever made you think that. Your family and friends will always be with you. As will Zordon and Alpha."
"Why did I do this?" Tommy nodded his head. "Because it was the right thing to do. If I made you one of us, you would always have been unhappy. More than unhappy, you would have hated it. We encounter the worst part of human life, and you are such a kind soul. You could never have survived under the pressure. I couldn't do that to you. I love you." Tommy looked shocked at this. "I told you," she said gently, "that we often fall in love with our chosens."
"Did it hurt?"
"Falling in love? Or the Anthecnan Ceremony?
"Both. Either. And what does 'Anthecnan'" the word rolled clumsily off his tongue, "mean anyway?"
"I'm not quite sure. The ceremony itself was translated from ancient Latin long ago, and from something else before that, so I can't really read it, but I think it basically means 'The Ceremony of Parting'. And as for your other questions, love hurts, Tommy. But, you know that. And as for the ceremony, it hurt a hell of a lot. But, it was worth it. No, don't argue. This is it. We'll never see each other again." But Tommy had to ask...
"But, what about the Dreamscape?"
"What about it?"
"Will I still be able to control it?"
"Of course, Tommy. Always. This is my gift to you. For all the heartache I put you through. One day, it will come in very useful." Jan looked at Tommy rather wistfully. "I'll miss you, Tommy. Goodbye," She then faded from sight.
"Jan, wait!" But she was gone. Tommy then sat down and started to cry quietly. "I love you", he whispered. "And I always will. I'll never forget you."
Tommy them stood, and looked over the rocky landscape. "This is all I have left of her," he told the unforgiving land. "And I will cherish this gift she gave me. But I won't ever give up on her. One day, we'll be together again. One day..."
And then Tommy succumbed to the nothingness of normal sleep.
Author's Note: Well, that's the end of that. I have a sequel in mind, but unless I get some feedback, I doubt I'll ever get around to it. After all, Belle is still after Adam, and what are the Daggers for? It'll be in the sequel, when or if there is one.