The witch's rage blossoms feral.
The green flames burn the executioner's corpse at her feet, as everyone is fleeing the square, the shock of death embedded forever in their memories. Flora, Fauna and Merryweather have been knocked away from that blast, in various directions, and they are trying to regroup, to rein back hold over the monster unleashing herself,
ravaging whoever crosses her gaze, tearing their bodies asunder by force of will –
The poor soldiers who try to stand up to her, blindly lunging at her form with their spears and swords, they get swept aside with a swipe of her arm, the ground ripped upward in their wake.
"What happened to our charm?" Fauna asks – the faeries are atop the administration building, with a birdseye view of the unfolding horror. "Why didn't it hold her like it's supposed to?"
"We have greatly underestimated her powers," Flora says. "A wolf cornered will find great reservoirs of strength to fend for its life, and Maleficent-"
The waves of destruction radiate outward, Maleficent as its epicentre, and the very ground seems to cave in on itself as the roots of the Earth emerge out, those raw and gnarly tangles birthed, which wrap around and crush the people. It's like a viral infection played out on a macro scale.
"-we've been too careless with her."
"What are we doing, standing by while she's killing our home?" Merryweather goes.
"If we jump in now," Flora goes, "she'll kill us also, and there's nary a thing we can do about it ourselves.. I'm going to call for assistance – you two, you find the royal couple and their child, and you protect them. Get them as far away as you can."
Fauna and Merryweather flutter off, anxiety pent up in their hearts as to whether their masters are even alive, and not caught up in the wake of destruction. They fly higher, their fairy wings carrying them over the blocks, and find the King and Queen lying sprawled by the spires atop the torchlit Notre-Dame. They're unconscious, but at least they're breathing.
"Charles! Odette! Please wake up!" Merryweather skimps over and slaps them on their bruised faces, to no avail, all while the screams of Parisian people echo from the distance. "It's no use Fauna, we have to protect them in the cathedral, where they'll be safe.. where everyone can be safe."
And by the plaza, Flora has her eyes closed, concentrating. Faeries of the World, please heed my call. A great danger has befallen my beloved country – the evil witch Maleficent is consuming the capital from within. Her powers are too great for the three of us to handle alone, and her hatred threatens to consume everything that is good and alive. If she is not stopped, the deaths of millions will lie at our hands.
Her words carry over across the countries, and the other faeries do hear – if they aren't occupied already with an important errand, they start flying over to Paris.
Down below, Maleficent has decimated the entire square, the flames smoking over the ruins, making it look like a museum relic instead of the glory it once was, minutes ago. The visible sewage pipes leak sludge from the broken connections.
Her feet are perched atop the only untouched spot – where she is supposed to be executed. And she kicks the executioner's charred body down into the sludge.
Across the city, the bells toll.
The Notre-Dame cathedral is where most everyone is heading for sanctuary, hoping for the protection of Jesus from the all too real evil they've witnessed. Families, relatives, street ministers and the like who turn to the blessings of the priests for salvation, while the distant rumbles from outside threaten to get closer. A few people flee the city entirely.
Now, as Maleficent aimlessly strides down the lonely streets, inside, she is reeling from the results of her rage. The memories of being tormented as she grew up – being rejected by people, and feeling helpless against it. She could not push back then; it was being coralled into a corner and made a fool of. The names of who, she's forgotten, but their faces, she'll always remember.
How the tables have turned, for now the powers of Hell serve her whims-
She winces. It is a stab of disorienting pain in her head, and she stumbles to a wall, trying to recover. She notices her appendages (arms) throbbing in time to her pulse, as if threatening to give birth(?) – have they always been this.. grown? The little thorns popping out the skin, and the visible veins, bulging, like that of leaves.
Down the street, more soldiers arrive, highlighted under their torches. This time, their forces are comprised primarily of ranged infantry, with some mounted cavalry; their aim is to shoot at Maleficent enough with leadshot to disorient her, so that the lancers can wipe her across the floor.
"Ready, aim.." the commander Solaire goes, the musketeers holding their weapons steady. "FIRE!"
The cascade of lead catches her off-guard, and some of it embeds in her torso, while other shots deflect off her thick skin, bruising her still.
With leaden smoke lingering in the air, the frontal flank kneels down to reload, while the rear flank stands by for another barrage of leadshot.
Solaire is a 53-year old veteran of the evil witch – he remembers to his distaste when she brought his troops low in the woods, and made himself piss his trousers at her mercy. He's seen her powers first-hand, and as such, his experience has made him so invaluable as to her defeat. Leave nothing to chance, he preaches this motto to those under his command.
"Ready, aim.. FIRE!"
The backline barrage, Maleficent is quick to react to, and as if acting on instinct, she freezes their lead pellets mid-air, and they poof into little shards which dissipate.
"Now!" Solaire shouts, and the frontline toss grenades (resembling black pots, with primer smoke erupting out the end) into Maleficent's vicinity, while her attention is distracted.
The resulting explosions consume her in searing flames, her skin flaking off, her body halfway splitting in two as she tumbles onto the ground.
The entire street reeks of gunpowder, with the faint stench of the sewers.
A few of the soldiers cheer – it appears they have succeeded in defeating her. But Solaire raises his hand, silencing their outcry. It's not over until he sees she's over. He orders the torch-bearers to toss their torches around her body, to light it.
And to his horror, he sees a life in agony, staring back at him.
The black bile jets out of Maleficent's wounds, as her splintered body is attempting to repair itself, her torso melding back together – albeit imperfectly, for black roses grow outward from the spot, and thorns curl up protectively over her injuries.
"Commander.." One of Solaire's soldiers try nudging him back to action. "What should we do?"
Her face, it's as if the paint has been scraped off the surface, and you can see it is like black marble beneath.
"Commander! Please advise!"
Solaire's lower lip trembles, and he is trying to snap out of his reverie- she spared him once, and.. what was it she'd said? Once, I was a normal person like you, shunned and feared by people, before betrayal has left me corrupted with hate. That was 20 years ago, and the destruction she's inflicted upon his city, the deaths, it is too great a risk to leave her alive.
Besides, he sees Maleficent's eyeballs aglow in green, the irises non-existent – those serpants in the shadow of the fires. They aren't the eyes of a human being, at least, not anymore.
The bells continue to toll in the distance.
"Execute her!" Solaire goes.
So his musketeers walk up to her and aim their guns at her head, point-blank range. Maleficent realises what is happening, and she concentrates on their muskets – overheating the barrels into deformation and detonating their gunpowder, so their muskets explode right in their faces, and their bodies collapse, leaving Solaire's cavalry and torchmen to deal with.
The cavalry ponies are nervous and unsettled by the violence, wanting to trot away, but the lancers nod to each other and kick their ponies forth – either it's killing Maleficent now while the opportunity presents itself, or run away and show how ineffectual they are at defeating her.
They are rushing down the street, in double file, their lances descending towards her centre-of-mass. Their faces impersonal behind their beaked helmets.
Maleficent glances at the ponies' hooves, trotting on the stone pavement, and she bumps up the ground beneath them in cascading fashion – she makes the ponies stumble, and inertia carries their forms forward as their riders skid and roll helplessly, still stuck to their saddles (because lancers have their legs locked to their ponies, so to prevent them from falling off after lance impact), and their legs snap by their knees, bones splintering.
They are in piles at either side of her, moaning.
Solaire only has his torchmen left – and they are already making a run for it, so he is by himself, as Maleficent steps forward, approaching him.
He stumbles on his backside, and urine escapes from his armour. There's grey stubble on his chin, but the gleam of his eyes is still familiar.
For a long time, Maleficent stares at him, studying the man quivering in utter terror. His whimpers into panicked screams, and his hands raised defensively, blocking his view of her like a sort of pleading.
She leaves him alone.