The Incarnations Chapter 3

The Duchesses Two, the Ladies Two, the Sir and the Lord of One

The Lady’s sleep lasts through the morning and even into the afternoon, for the day before had mentally exhausted her. She finds herself not only failing to maintain humanity, but her Lord’s faith in himself, or so she fears. For the first time in many millennia, she is at home in her castle and has not woken up to try again at her game of ‘I love.’ She doesn’t have the heart for it.

The whole morning, her servants work around the castle, checking up on her, and reminding her of the time. They keep this up because at some point, Lady Love will have to face Lord Dread’s challenge once more.

She Desired for this week to simply cease existing, for her Despair over the situation only dampens her ability to perform her duties. For the moment she lies with her face against her soft pillow as she considers forfeiting to her Lord, and asking him if she can keep her favorite of the mortals to begin anew. 

The Lady shakes her head in her sleep, throwing away this betrayal, this idea. She has not fallen into such Despair in so long. The last time came with an arrival. With this realization, Lady Love’s eyes open wide, knowing who is coming.

Within moments, Amour, one of her servants of pleasure, opens the door to her chambers. He apologizes to her first. “I’m very sorry for waking you, my Lady.”

“No worries, dear Amour. I am not in the mood to play, which may be to your dismay,” she tells him, rhyming while smiling.

He shakes his head, so deeply apologetic. “Oh dear, no my Lady, that is not why I have bothered you so. I would never wish to presume such action from you.” 

Lady Love smiles over how flustered her servant has become. To calm him, she admits, “I’m simply playing, dear Amour. I swear.”

Amour exhales now knowing he did not forgo his place. He proceeds to inform the Lady, “There are visitors for you. The Duch-”

The Lady knows who visits her, for their presence in her realm have been bothering her all morning. She interrupts to finish her servant’s sentence. “The Duchesses of Desire and Despair. I know they are here. Have they entered the castle yet?”

“No, my Lady,” he informs her, “but they are near the door.”

“Hmm, I cannot meet them wearing what I wore yesterday. Dear Amour, do you mind dearly assisting me? I seem to have woken up tired despite my zealous amount of sleep.” Amour has never been asked to help her change. Desire seems to be affecting her greatly this day. 

Amour nods his head nervously as the Lady sits up from her bed, but proceeds as asked. Quickly understanding what the Lady wants with her gestures to help her stand and undress. He has seen her wear less, but not in this manner. She acts as if a doll as Amour finds her both a dress of green and a blouse of gold to wear over it. Amour worries that the Lady is unwell, when in reality she fights Desire’s push and pulls. This is no time for her to dally with her servant.

When finished, Lady Love thanks him, and begins her trek down below to meet her brethren at her gates. She wonders why they have come, and why they have not visited in so very long. War seems most likely to appear at her doorsteps at random, so it must be something else. 

Eventually, she notices the rain outside, and wonders if it is time to water her valley, or is Despair really so dour. When she reaches the gates Liefde is waiting to meet their guests. The Lady comes up behind her servant, Amour in tow. 

As the gates are being opened, the Lady asks her first maid, “How many did the Duchesses bring, Liefde?” 

“Only themselves my Lady. Strangely, we will not be having as many guests as a usual visit entails.” Liefde then looks to her fellow servant, to see his face still in full blush. She notices that her Lady is dressed, but not by her as usual. 

She asks Amour with a cheeky smile, “Did you help the Lady today?” Amour looks down in embarrassment.

As the doors open, Lady Love shushes her servants, reminding them, “I am as much affected by the Duchess of Desire as any of you. Care to hold yourselves together, at least be wild in private.” This embarrasses both servants as they nod their heads in understandment. 

The Lady Love walks forward as the doors open to reveal the Duchess of Desire as she walks in from the blinding rain. The Duchess’s umbrella closes in front of her, revealing her divine form.

Most praise the Lady’s beauty, but she feels guilty stealing attention away from her closest Incarnation, the most exotic of them all. The Duchess’s skin, a hue of light blue, and her long and flowing hair a dark violet the Lady finds most divine. Her pupils lie black with irises of gold. Her dress, or really corset, presents fullness and curves that many vie for. Her defined legs revealed through slits in the skirt of her dress. 

The Duchess’s lips are glossed purple, and move with bliss. She throws her umbrella to the side to disintegrate before it even touches the ground. 

Her arms grow outstretched as she trots out before her. The Lady walks speedily to meet a most wanted embrace. 

“Lady Love!” the voice of seduction calls out. “For too long I have missed you!” 

As the Lady and Duchess make contact, and the Lady holds her dear friend tight, she whispers, “And I have missed you.” 

Then she looks behind her friend, looking for the other half of the Duchesses two. She pulls back from the Duchess of Desire, hands resting on her shoulder and hip, and asks of the other. “Dear Desire, where is Despair? Surely she is here?”

With a look of boredom, the Duchess looks up and replies, “Oh, she waits outside. Waiting to drown herself in her rain. I tell you, sometimes it is too much for even me to draw her eyes.” The Lady makes a peevish look at the first Duchess and removes her hands to find the other.

Lady Love goes to the tip of the doors, to look into the deep and pouring rain. The raindrops become so numerous and so swift, the Lady has difficulty in spotting her brethren. Soon she lays eyes upon Despair, standing still, as if taking a punishment. 

Against the cries of worry made by her servants, Lady Love races into the rain to the Duchess who does not see the shining Lady until she is upon her. The Lady’s arms envelop the shorter Duchess Despair. She hugs her close as she is soaked. 

“Please Despair, do come inside, do not soak out here.” The Lady’s words prompt the Duchess’s gaze to come to an end so that she may see the light. The Duchesses share violet hair, but the face of Despair is gray in an almost eternal frown. Her own dress drab, and lacking of vigor. A circular hole of black, rotating on its surface. 

The Duchess had become overwhelmed with much on her mind before finding the will to step inside. The face of love gives her strength to push on. 

The Lady moves to be alongside the Duchess, and they place their arms around each other in sisterly solitude as Love leads Despair to the castle doors. 

Once they enter, servants envelop them with towels which frighten the Duchess, who does not take to the touch of strangers. To help with this, Lady Love hugs her close and whispers, “You’re here with Love, there is nothing to fear.” 

Speaking for the first time, the Duchess of Despair informs the Lady, “That cannot be true with Dread so near.”

The Lady assures the Duchess, “I do not foresee his presence here anytime soon.”

The Duchess of Desire comes closer, hand on hip, eyes displaying displeasure, and reminds her fellow Incarnations both, “There are reasons as to why we are here, none of them for Despair to be coddled.”

“Why are you being so cold?” the Lady asks the Duchess of Desire, appalled by her lack of patience for her partner. 

The Duchess of Despair informs the Lady, “I despair that Desire grows sick of me.”

The other scoffs, “It is not me who no longer responds to the other’s touch and advance.”

“I am not capable of returning them in my current state. It will pass, simply wait.” Duchess Despair’s pleas go unheard.

With a resounding response, the Duchess of Desire reminds everyone, “I am the Incarnation of Desire, of need and affection. I mean to push forward and indulge. I am not the Duchess of Waiting.
The Lady leads her coddled friend forward, telling the aggressive partner, “Well, maybe you should become such.” 

With the conflict between the Duchesses far from ended, the Lady at least leads them to privacy. Not wanting her servants to witness it, she takes them to her their dining room, but the Duchess of Desire voices for something else. “I fear that secrecy is not as safe in here as it would be in your bed chambers.” 

The Lady senses a different reason on her friend’s mind. “Is that all? Or is there another reason we must discuss amongst ourselves near a bed?”    

The Duchess smiles slyly, and sends a challenge into the Lady’s court. “We can do more after we talk if that’s what you want.” The Lady cannot help but smile as she leads the Duchess of Despair to abide with Desire’s request.

Once there, the Lady takes the time to place the shaken mind of Despair at the foot of her bed. There she encompasses the broken soul in an embrace, and slowly strokes her hand through the violet colored hair.

Lady Love finally has the chance to ask, “Now please tell me, why are you here? As much as I like you visiting, you have never done so unannounced before, least of all without an orgasmal entourage.”

The Lady is then caught off guard when she receives her response by the Duchess who mentally dissolves in her arms. 

“Lady Love, you have us worried! You make us fret! Because of your Lord, all of the Incarnations Dread the days to come.” The Duchess of Despair then begins to shake with fear in the Lady’s arms, which prompts a tighter squeeze.

“All except for King Evil,” the Duchess of Desire adds with a flick of her wrist. “Let’s not give him the credit, he doesn’t care what happens, whether humanity is dissolved or not.” The Duchess wishes to maintain some levity. “Still, we worry what will comr from this game you and your Lord are playing.”
Before the Duchess can continue, the Lady assures them, “Please, my friends, don’t worry. There is still time, and I don’t worry myself. I have no doubt that I will change my Lord Dread’s mind.” When the Lady says her Lord’s name, the Duchess in her arms jumps slightly.

The Duchess of Desire smiles slightly, and somewhat evilly. Then she insinuates insultingly, “My, my, dear Lady, never have I know you to lie.”

Uncharacteristically, Lady Love replies angrily. “What?

The Duchess explains, “There is no chance, simply no way, that you don’t worry, that you have no doubt. Unlike you Lady Love, I’m rude enough to check, and you are too trusting to stop me.” The Duchess of Desire, too has the power to know anything, and is quite venomous about it when the need arises. Unlike Lady Love, and like all Incarnations, she will protect her own mind. “Thus, I know for sure, that you don’t know that you can restrain Dread.”

Now saddened, the Lady dips her head. She sighs, “Why does no one believe in me and my Lord? Why do all always think the worst?” The Duchess of Despair quickly raises her hand to the Lady’s cheek in an affectionate and silent apology, for the Duchess, like so many, cannot bear to see the Lady saddened. 

The Duchess of Desire even feels some regret over her words, but she knows their importance. “Love, my dear friend, I am sorry that I must be this way, but it is important that you know how important it is that you forgo all doubt and pretenses. You must prove Dread wrong. You must. Our worlds depend on it, for if you do not, the loss of humanity is not the only loss we Incarnations may incur.”

With distraught surprise, Lady Love inquires, “What do you mean?”

The Duchess of Desire retracts to herself quickly. “I have said too much. I apologize that I cannot be fully honest.”

The Lady turns to the Duchess of Despair to ask, “And what have you to say?” The Duchess too, cannot answer, and dips her head in shame. This shame causes her to despair that she no longer deserves the good Lady’s embrace, and makes to break away, but the Lady does not let her, remaining understanding. 

The Lady then seeks to ask for help. “Before, I tried to gleam into your minds to win my Lord’s challenge, but I could not. I need your help, if you admit to him your love for each other, I would win.”

“Love, no,” the Duchess of Desire denies. The Lady does not understand, and develops a look of hurt upon her face. The Duchess tells her, “You must do this. You must face this hurdle. We have already taken up this responsibility before, and asides from a few others own personal errors, we had no assistance. You should not either. You must complete your own responsibility.” The Lady looks away from the Duchess in shame, realizing how unfair it is to ask another to fight in her place.

The Duchess of Desire speaks honestly once again. “Love, long ago, after we all made our pacts with Life and Death, after a war that led to the end of several of our own, we made these pairs. Many thought that Lord Dread should have had a different partner, one who could sufficiently control him. Many were flabbergasted when you sought to claim him, and then were struck with fear when he accepted you by his side. We all thought that once your turn to rule came around, that the world would be over, that you could never hold him back as I do my dear Despair, or even as Lady Justice does King Evil. We all doubted you, and many doubt you still.”

Lady Love tries so very hard to hide her grief, her betrayal, her heart of pain at hearing of this. Deep down she already knew about the doubts her brethren had for her, but she never had to face them, for she had her Lord Dread, and so she didn’t care. Heartbroken, she asks Duchess Desire, “Why? Why do you tell me this?

The Duchess stands straight and she stands tall. She says defiantly, “So that you find it in yourself and your Lord to prove all of us bastards wrong.” Then the Duchess puts a confident smile on her face.

First, heartbroken, now uplifted, energized, and awoken, Lady Love finds herself full of her newfound conviction. This conviction alone, prompts even the Duchess of Despair, to look up at the Lady’s radiance, and smile slightly.

Now the Duchess of Desire admits with her nose to the floor, “That is all. There is nothing else that needs mentioning.” Then in a slight dash and wicked smile, she pounces atop of Lady Love, pushing her back to the bed and away from the Duchess of Despair. “Unless, there was something else you wanted to do.”  

Slowly, the Duchess’s hand creaks up the bodice of the Lady’s dress to then rise to the Lady’s cheek. The Lady feels the Duchess’s presence overtaking her, pressuring her to indulge as she has before.

Meekly, Lady Love brings her hand to the Duchess’s chest to push the other Incarnation away slowly. As they both sit back up on the bed, the Lady explains, “As intoxicating as you are to me right now, I mustn’t waste the newfound conviction you have given me on anyone other than my Lord.” Then more so to keep herself from giving in to the Duchess than anything, the Lady rushes to her door. 

The Lady turns around to see the Duchess of Desire creep next to the Duchess of Despair, who does not notice the other’s head creeping towards her. With a knowing smile, the Lady tells the two, “Feel free to use my chambers however long you like.” 

As the Lady opens the door, the Duchess of Despair makes a quizzical face and response. A resounding, “Oh?” She says so before noticing the Duchess of Desire about to press her lips into the other’s neck.

The Lady then shuts the door behind her, then excitedly and swiftly makes her way to the bridge connecting her castle to Lord Dread’s. She finds herself without a clue of what she is going to do next, but she does not realize to care about such things as she finds herself galloping to be with her Lord.

When she gets to the bridge, the rain has stopped, meaning the Duchess’s recent pit has passed since the Lady left her bedroom.

The Lady is so confident in her conviction, so much in her own world, that she does not notice that when she enters her Lord’s castle, it is her Lord’s servant Crainte, not Vrezen, who meets her. Blinded by her excitement, the Lady does not waste the time to ask the other servant for directions, seemingly knowing the way on her own to her Lord’s throne room. She also misses Crainte’s cry to wait, for she needed to warn the Lady for what awaits.  

Lady Love presses on, magically knowing exactly the way to her Lord’s throne room. Eventually, she sees Vrezen, dutifully opening the door, for whom the Lady assumes to be her Lord Dread. When Vrezen sees the Lady, he freezes in fear, seeing that Crainte has failed to stop the now inevitable confrontation.

It is not the Lord Dread whom walks out of his throne room. It is instead another Lady. One who kills the Lady Love’s excitement, her joy, her confidence, and most importantly, her bravery.

The other Lady walks out, her attire a pantsuit, a jacket and white shirt with a neckline that plunges. A modern attire complete with pants for dress. The suit the color black, to match the soul of the Lady wearing it. Her pitch black hair combing over her left eye, contrasting her skin pale. It’s so much like Lord Dread’s that she could have been mistaken for his sibling, if her facial structure was not the exact same as Lady Love’s.

Lady Hate’s grin sends chills down the spine of Lady Love. The last time they set eyes on each other was when Lady Hate deigned to kill her opposite.

“Love, I am so glad to have caught you before I go,” Lady Hate muses as she slowly starts walking towards Lady Love, who is frozen with fear. When the Lady Hate seems too close, Vrezen bravely holds out a hand to stop her approach of Lady Love, but a purple blaze of hate jumps from the Lady he made the mistake to try and touch. He is blasted down the hall. 

Not acknowledging her assault of one of Lord Dread’s servants, Lady Hate reminds Lady Love, “I remember how I swore that you would suffer by my hand.” Power swirls around in Lady Hate’s now open palm, seemingly in the form of the Spite, her fearsomely large axe.

But before the Lady Hate can do so, Lady Love’s valiant protector is between them.

“You… Dare!” the Lord Dread exclaims with rage. He appears directly in front of his Lady in a swirl of smoke, standing stout and tall, the Terror in hand. Her Lord is so close to her, that instinctively Lady Love wraps her arms around her Lord from behind. 

Lord Dread, unbeknownst to the Ladies around him, wished Lady Love had not done that. Now her arms are revealed and vulnerable to a swift attack by Lady Hate, should she attack his chest. Protectively, he places his free arm across Lady Love’s, acting as a shield.

The rage and power between Lord Dread and Lady Hate is so fervent the castle shakes from their powerful pressures colliding. Both eager to kill, both endless in power and presence, both with their minds set on Lady Love one way or another. 

Then another exits the Lord’s throne room, walking briskly and nervously. A voice of anxious joy and placation, he bravely walks between the two forces of death. He stands between them, both in height, but not in power. He raises his hands meekly between them, and asks, “Please you two, there is no need for fighting.”

With surprise and interest, Lady Love pops her head to the side to look past Lord Dread and see who is the brave soul. In awe and surprise, her eyes lay upon this brave Incarnation. His form bright like her own, his hair a shiny metallic silver, skin a blistering gold. His leather coat performs well to envelop his arms in a light shade of blue, while the neckline of his shirt plunging low, not covering his golden chest as well. Lady Love smiles with glee seeing Sir Happiness.

Sir Happiness reminds everyone with a shining smile, “We’re all a happy family. No need to fight.” She runs from behind her Lord Dread to embrace Sir Happiness, her dear old friend. “Hello, Love.”

Lady Hate behind them, now fuming with what I can assuredly deem to be jealousy and spite, slowly orders, “Unhand him.”   

As she says that, a ghastly tendril of dark smoke spawns from Lord Dread to wrap around Lady Love’s waist. It pulls her back from what the Lord deemed to be the unsafe arms of Sir Happiness. The tendril pulls her to Lord Dread’s side, who wraps his free left arm at her shoulder, his other arm ready with the Terror. 

Upon realizing her new position, Lady Love looks up at her Lord with a mistakenly knowing glint in her eye. 

The Lord orders both the Sir and Lady visitors only once. “Leave our domain. Now, for neither of you are welcome.”

More so at the defense of Sir Happiness, Lady Love questions him with surprise and shame. “Dread? Calm yourself.” She believes her Lord to be jealous of her friendship, but she knows not what the two visitors came to discuss with her Lord. Something that would change her mind about the Sir. 

Lord Dread glances at her, showing that he acknowledges what she says, and also silently communicates to her that she is wrong in her assumptions. Through their bond the Lady knows that something else troubles him about their guests.

Sir Happiness smoothly agrees, “Apologies, my friends. My- the Lady and I will be on our way.” His correction mid sentence was not lost on Lady Love, who grows suspicious of her friend’s nervousness around his own Lady. The Sir turns to face Lady Hate, who gives him an expression of contorted anger. 

His body not his own, Lady Hate orders her Sir, “Let us be off then. Lord Dread, you know what you should do, and what you can reap.” 

Then she proceeds to walk forward, but walks past the side of Lord Dread that brings her next to the Terror and not Lady Love, for that would have been unacceptable to the Lord. Slowly, like a beaten dog, the Sir follows her with a dipped head, and a smile so greatly conceived any human would have thought it real. 

Lady Love finds herself now greatly unhinged and worried for her friend.

As Lady Hate walks to make her exit, she suddenly stops, and smiles. Sir Happiness nearly walks into her. When he believes he will, he nearly looks of shock, but composes himself. 

The Lady has some parting words to the other Lady. “Love, you and your Lord are the definition of a juxtaposition.”

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