The lamp light cast shadows on the caravan wall as Mara dressed in the soft glow. Her skin was still covered in the white paint she used daily to hide her scars, she hadn't bothered to wash it off yet besides tonight was a very special night. She had spent the past week laying low and skirting around the grounds looking at everything that could potentially spoil such a special night, thankfully nothing seemed to impossible to manage. She moved towards the caravan's door the only sound was of her heavy black boots as she crossed the floor. Mara grabbed her red tench coat off the hanger by the door. Slipping it on she let the familiar weight of it hang on her body for a moment before leaving the caravan.
Mara walked down the carnival paths silently while keeping to the shadows of the closed down vender booths her only company the moon and the slight sounds of the sleeping venders and the crickets. The walk was slow to keep her hidden from anyone who could still be awake at such a late hour, but soon the vender booths and the out door stage gave way to caravans just like Mara's own except larger. This was where the circus performers slept far away from the carnival and its rift raft. Mara's form moved from caravan to caravan as silently as she could. None of the closer caravans were the one she wanted, no she needed to reach the biggest and glories one among the circus camp. The search was tedious with only moonlight to illuminate the caravans but after a few minutes of looking she found the one she was looking for, she had found Dorian's caravan.
She climbed up the caravan's steps slowly and carefully before trying the door. Just her luck, it was locked of course Dorian wouldn't have been so stupid to leave his door unlocked. No matter she had something that would do the trick. Mara reached into one of the trench's inner pockets before producing one of Charles's thin bladed throwing daggers. Mara quickly slid the dagger between the door and the jam before jimmying it back and forth slowly as to not make noise, after a few minutes she heard the lock give way and the door slid open.
Mara tip toed into Dorian's caravan the dagger hanging in her hand as the sound of snores broke through the silence. She followed the snores to the back of the caravan and to Dorian's bedroom where she lingered in the door way for a moment before entering in. Standing beside his bed Mara felt her anger spark to life as she watched Dorian sleep. It would be so easy to go the route he had two years ago. Mara scoffed at the idea. No she wanted him to be awake when she made him pay. Mara took the dagger she was holding and trailed the tip up Dorian's exposed arm leaving a light scratch in its wake as she spoke in a soft sing song like voice.
"Dorian...oh Dorian...wake up wake up wake up...DORIAN!"
Mara slid the dagger's edge over Dorian's left cheek when she shouted his name. His eyes shot open as blood started to swell to the top of the cut on his cheek his gaze focused on a smiling Mara.
"Good morning Dorian, I just thought I'd pay you a visit...actually no I thought I'd stop by and kill you for Stephan's sake."
Dorian wiped at the blood on his cheek before letting out a threatening growl. Like a wild predator Dorian leapt from the bed grabbing the ring leader's cane. In that time Mara had produced the rest of Charles's throwing daggers and threw one at Dorian's form while he lashed out with the cane. In only minutes the fight had escalated greatly the bedroom around them a battle field covered in broken glass, furniture, and blood. Mara was aware Dorian had managed to crack if not break a few of her ribs and the pain in her skull from one of the blows seemed to scream concussion. Dorian looked no better as gashes of varying depth covered his skin and soaked his clothing in blood he watched Mara closely. Mara tried to stand up through the pain but her body betrayed her causing her to crumple back to the floor. Dorian laughed as he closed the distance between them swinging his cane in a lazy circle.
"Weak and pathetic just like Stephan. No wondered he was like a father to you, you both were and are pathetic. I'll savor watching the life live your eyes just like I did when I killed Stephan and then I'll do it again to that little fortune-teller you call a friend of yours."
Dorian's cane lashed out and connected with Mara's side the crunch of bone filled the air as pain blossomed behind her eyes. Mara groped out at her side as another blow landed on her chest stunning her but she regained her senses as she felt the slick feel of metal under her finger tips. One last dagger, she had one last chance to avenge Stephan and save Hecate. Mara grasped the dagger and waited for the perfect moment when Dorian was not as protected before throwing it with all her strength before collapsing backwards in a flurry of pain. She almost wasn't sure it had found its mark until she heard the thud of Dorian's body hit the floor and relief flooded Mara. Though the thought of moving made her body scream in pain she knew she couldn't stay any longer and risk being seen.
Mara forced her body upright and in a standing position before retrieving each of her daggers from the floor and walls. Once they were all gathered Mara pulled the one out of Dorian's chest and dropped them back inside the trench's inner pocket before knocking over the oil lamp and picking up Stephan's top hat and cane before limping from the room. As Mara exited the caravan she made sure to hit every oil lamp she could spilling the contents on the caravan's wood floor and body. Once outside Mara pulled a pack of matches she had lifted from Hecate's tent from her trench pocket and light one of the matches before igniting the rest and tossing them into the caravan.
"Burn in hell Dorian, burn in hell."
Mara limped away into the shadows and back to her own caravan as the flames conquered and destroyed the Ring Leader's caravan and all that was inside.
It had been two months since the night that carnival and circus workers were calling Hell's night due to the height of the fire at the ring leader's caravan. The carnival and circus had shut down after that to mourn though it was mostly because of the lack of a ring leader. Now after two months of locked doors Deadman's carnival and Circus was opening up again to the masses under new management. The new ring leader strolled down the customer paths twirling the ring leader's cane while the hat pulled down low on her head hiding her eyes. She strolled onward as the vendors cleaned up their stalls from the rush some stopping briefly to wave before resuming their work. The ring leader stopped outside the cobalt blue tent of Hecate's before entering in.
"Tell me Hecate what misfortunes do I bring with me today?"
Hecate turned away from the trunk she was packing and smiled as Mara pulled the top hat up away from her eyes.
"The same as usual Bitter."
Mara chuckled before regarding the emptiness of the tent.
"Are you leaving Hecate?"
"Yes, you know how much I've dreamed of this and with Dorian gone I am finally free."
Mara nodded, she was happy for Hecate though she herself could not leave not because she was the ringleader but because Deadman's was her home the only home she knew.
"I wish you the best of luck Hecate. In case you don't find what you are looking for out there. You'll always have a home to come back to any time any place Deadman's will welcome you."
"Thanks Bitter...I guess you should be going now it's almost show time at the big top."
"Yea, good-bye Hecate."
"Good bye Bitter."
Mara looked at Hecate for a moment before drawing her in for a hug. When done she let her go and left walking to the big top. Once there she looked up at the sky and smiled, sure her friend was leaving but she had Deadman's to keep her company along with the crowds and the newest skull in her collection she would never be alone. Parting the Big tops flaps Mara walked in her hat pulled down low as the cane twirled and she took center stage. Looking up at the masses she smiled her black painted lips forming into her signature Cheshire cat smile as the sun illuminated her brightly painted white skin. She called out to the masses with glee.
"Welcome come one come all to Deadman's Carnival and Circus! Once you step inside you may never want to leave."