In my Once Upon A Time Fanfic, Friendly Shores, Storybrooke and The Enchanted Forest have been flipped upside down and spun to the winds by a curse gone wrong. No one is who they seem and everyone needs to find themselves again. (And please note – I wrote this role-reversal fic over a year before the “Heroes and Villians” finale in Season 4!!)
In this scene, our three princes – Robin, Killian and Archie (along with Archie’s loyal footsoldier, Leroy) have come upon a slaughtered village and its lone survivor…
“Under here!” Killian shouted, gripping the edge of the cart. Robin and Leroy moved to the other side, and together they rocked the cart until it tipped, crashing over to one side and revealing a huddled lump under a cloak. Killian squatted down, reaching out to roll the person carefully over.
“She’s alive!” Robin said, kneeling down next to Killian. Together, they helped the woman sit upright. She squinted in the bright sunlight, putting up a hand to shield her eyes.
“Thank God you’re here,” she said, coughing hard. “Please – do you have water?”
Archie pulled his water skin from his belt, holding it out to her. She drank thirstily, wiping her mouth afterward.
“What’s your name?” Robin asked.
“Emma,” she answered. “I’m the miller’s daughter.”
Killian raised a brow. “Really?”
She looked at him strangely. “Yes,” she went on. “I managed to pull myself under here and hide, but then I got stuck when the cart shifted.”
“What happened here?” Robin asked gently. “Is everyone dead?”
“I think so.” Tears sprang to her eyes. Her hand shook as she brought the water skin back up to her mouth and Killian watched her closely, a frown creasing his brow.
“I’m Robin,” Robin said. “Of Sherwood.”
“Prince Robin of Sherwood?” Emma asked.
“That’s right,” Robin said, smiling kindly. “This is Prince Killian of the Enchanted Forest, and of course, you know your Prince Archie, and his guard, Leroy.”
“Of course,” Emma said. She ducked her head in Archie’s direction. “Your majesty.”
“Please,” Archie said, waving a hand dismissively. “Call me Archie.” He squatted down and spoke to her gently. “Can you tell us who did this?”
“King George,” she said, shakily. “He came with his army in the night. We never stood a chance.” She glanced over at them, her eyes hesitating when she met Killian’s. She looked away quickly. “I got lucky, and managed to hide.”
“Perhaps there are others,” Archie said, looking around.
“You’re right,” Robin agreed. “You and Leroy check the buildings. I’ll look around out here.”
“I’ll stay with her,” Killian offered. He watched the others go, and then he leaned in to Emma, lowering his voice.
“Just so you’re aware, love – I’m awfully good at knowing when someone isn’t who they seem.”
She looked at him blankly, but her fingers tightened on the water skin. “I don’t know what you mean,” she said.
He reached out, offering her a hand and helping her to her feet. She handed him the water skin as Robin and the others returned.
“There’s no one alive,” Robin said.
“I can’t believe he could do this,” Archie said, his tone laced with horror.
“Believe it,” Leroy growled.
“George is a tyrant, but I never knew he could commit this level of atrocity,” Archie said. “He’s been turning to darkness more and more ever since his son…” his voice trailed off. “Well, I would imagine it’s been hard on him.”
“How can you excuse this?” Robin asked incredulously.
“Hey! Lay off him!” Leroy intervened, stepping in front of Archie.
“George is a madman,” Robin said. “A vicious madman.” He turned to address Emma. “Do you have any idea what he was looking for?”
“I don’t know,” Emma said. “My father and I keep to ourselves and – ”
She gave a squawk as Killian moved behind her, pulling his cutlass up and putting it to her throat.
“Killian!” Archie stepped forward.
“She’s lying!” Killian said. “And I want the truth.”
Leroy glowered at Emma. “I’ll get some rope.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Emma pleaded. “I’m just a miller’s daughter!”
“No, you’re not.” Killian bit out, dragging her over to a nearby tree. He held her fast as Leroy tightened the ropes around her.
“What if we’re wrong about her?” Archie asked uncertainly.
“I’m not,” Killian said, keeping the cutlass at Emma’s throat. “And if she doesn’t want to tell us why she’s here, perhaps she can share her tale with the ogres.” He leaned over, clanging his hook against a large, metal washtub that was laying nearby. The sound rang out loudly. Suddenly, the trees began to shake.
“Killian…” Robin warned, keeping an eye on the treetops.
“Please!” Emma said, her eyes wide with fear. “You can’t leave me here!”
“Oh, yes we can,” Killian answered. He turned to the others. “Come on.”
“Wait!” she called out. “Wait!” She said it again, with much more desperation. “All right! You win! You were right about me!”
Killian stopped, then turned back to walk over to her. “And…?”
She gave him a look of pure contempt. “I’m not the miller’s daughter. I was sent here as a spy.”
Robin moved in next to Killian. “Go on.”
“You can start by telling us who you really are,” Killian said.
“My name really is Emma,” she said. “But most people know me by a more colorful name: The Black Swan.”
Robin’s eyes widened. “The Black Swan?”
“Who the bloody hell is The Black Swan?” Killian asked.
“Only the most notorious pirate in all the realms,” Archie said, clearly impressed.
“Really?” Killian looked taken aback.
“What’s she doing here?” Leroy growled. “And give it to us straight, sister! We might still decide that you’re ogre meat.”
Emma eyed the treeline nervously, her eyes darting from it to Killian and back again.
“George sent me here,” she explained. “He needs something – a magic compass. Rumor has it that it can guide you to whatever it is you’re looking for.”
“And what is it that he seeks?” Robin asked.
“I have no idea. George has his own agenda. I’m just here for the money.”
“A compass…” Killian mused. “He’s looking for a magical compass…”
The trees shook harder, and in the distance came a low, grumbling roar.
“Killian…” Robin warned again.
“Did you find out where it is?” Killian asked. “And don’t even think about lying to me – you’re terrible at it, love.”
She gave him a venomous look. “I know where it is. We’ll need to journey inland – it’s a little over a day’s walk.”
“And where are we going, exactly?” Leroy asked suspiciously. “She could be walking us straight into George’s army.”
Killian looked at Emma, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “Robin, Archie and I are prepared to pay you triple whatever George is offering you, if you take us to that compass.”
Emma looked surprised. “Triple?”
Robin nodded in agreement. “I’ll agree to that. If George wants the compass that badly, no good can come of it. Archie?”
Archie twisted his doublet nervously. “We need answers. Maybe the compass can lead us to them. I’ll agree.”
“It’s done then,” Killian said, slicing through Emma’s bonds. “Let’s walk.”
“And don’t think of trying any funny business!” Leroy warned.
Emma rubbed her arms, shaking them to get the feeling back into them, but gave Leroy a glare as he bound her hands. Then she started forward and Killian fell in beside her.
“You don’t have dog my steps you know,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I can’t run very fast like this.” She held her bound hands up, giving them a shake. Killian gave her a slow smile along with an all-to-knowing look.
“Don’t worry, love,” he said. “There’s nowhere you can go that I won’t find you.”