I would like to thank all of my readers who have been so adamant about wanting this storyline to continue. For those of you who are familiar with my work, you know that I do not write "sex stories" meant for a quick yank, but rather write a story that has sex in it. If you have read the first 2 parts of this story then you know that this storyline is no different. I am currently working on part 4 of this story and hope to have it up for validation in the next few weeks. Again, thank you all for stopping by. I hope that you will not be disappointed.
My days began to flow smoothly into one another. Vindictus had reluctantly removed my chain after the first week. My ankle had become bruised and raw from the manacle, causing my husband to physically wince every time he set eyes upon the discolored limb. While I was now able to at least keep myself bathed whenever I felt the need, I was still not allowed outside the set of rooms that I had been imprisoned in since my wedding night.
Late one evening I was feigning sleep when Vindictus came staggering back to our room. Thinking me asleep, he went to the far wall beside the window and whispered some garbled demonic incantation while moving his hand over the stones in front of him. To my shock and amazement, an invisible door appeared right beside our bed. Vindictus quickly disappeared through the opening and the wall silently solidified behind him. I sat up and studied the stones of the wall, but I could not discern the door from the rest of the wall. Not wanting my husband to know what I had now learned, I curled up in the bed and fell asleep some hours later. I kept going over and over the incantation in my head until I was sure I had it memorized.
The next morning my husband and I ate in silence. I was very impatient for him to leave for the day to attend to court matters. I wanted to try my hand at opening the hidden door. After what felt like an eternity, Vindictus finally kissed me on my cheek and left the bed chamber.
I wasted no time rushing over to the wall beside our bed. I studied the stones more closely this time, but still I could not distinguish the door that I knew was there from the rest of the surface. I tried running my hands over the smooth face of the stones, still unable to detect so much as a small groove.
I repeated the demonic incantation that Vindictus had spoken only hours before. I knew it was useless, but I tried it any way. While I could repeat the words, the accent was all wrong, the pronunciation off just enough for the spell to not work properly. I knew that without the forked tongue of the demons, speaking the ancient demonic language was a waste of time. Human tongues simply lacked the dexterity that was needed to correctly produce the distinguishing sounds that marked the accent of Demonese.
I continued to run my hands over the rocks, my fingertips brushing across a small bump in a stone that rested a few inches above my head. I could not see the irregularity with my eyes from such an odd angle, but I could certainly feel it. I pressed on the little raised area with my fingers, feeling rather than hearing the tiny click of the mechanism hidden inside the stone. Silently the hidden door rolled back, appearing as if by magic.
I smiled to myself. It would appear that The Dark One had more than a few tricks up his demonic sleeve. The incantation that I had heard him speak the night before had not been an incantation after all. Without my texts from The Order I could not be certain exactly what he had said, but it was quite clear that the Demonese words had nothing to do with the appearance of the door. Instead, it had been a very clever ruse designed to keep my equally clever husband's very human bride from attempting the 'incantation.' What he had not counted on, apparently, was that his former magically inclined bride would attempt to figure out how to get the door open, even though I knew that I could not physically reproduce the words. It would appear that maybe he had underestimated me yet again.
I snatched up the candle from the bedside table and quickly lit the wick, shielding the tiny flame from the draft as I walked cautiously through the door. I almost screamed aloud when the light from the open doorway was suddenly and quietly extinguished. I whirled around, almost certain that my husband had caught me in the secret chamber. I sighed in relief when I realized that the door had shut silently behind me.
I lit every candle that I came to, soon finding myself in a very large room that was filled from floor to ceiling with books of all sizes. I gasped at the sheer volume of written literature that was stacked around me. I walked slowly around the room, running my hands over the crumbling leather-bound books that were coated in dust. They looked as if none of them had been removed from their stone shelves since they were placed there no telling how long ago. As I neared the back of the chamber, a very large glass case caught my eye. I set my candle down and lifted the lid to the case, my eyes going wide at what was held inside.
The book was a good two feet tall, bound in what looked to be some type of animal hide, the hand-written pages so old that they had yellowed over time. The once colorful illustrations had long since faded, the black ink now more of a dull brown in color. I moved my candle closer and was once again shocked to my core to see that the book was not written in Demonese as I had suspected, but a language that greatly resembled Sumerian. Intrigued, I hefted the heavy book from the case and sat down at a nearby table, gathering several candles so that I could more easily read the book.
I studied the writing more closely, realizing that the book was indeed written in Sumerian, one of the many languages that I had studied during my years in The Order of the Black Rose. I was a bit perplexed, albeit quite happy, to know that I could very easily read the words written within the great book. I did not immediately understand why a book in The Thirteenth Gate would be written in a human language, especially a book so old as this one.
However, I knew that neither the humans of the Nedella Outlands nor the demons who resided here would never have come across the written language of my world. They certainly would not have ever come in contact with the oldest known written language of human-kind. Take into consideration that there were also only a handful of people on earth that were qualified to read the ancient texts, and the choice of language for the great book was beginning to make more and more sense to me. After all, what better way to keep all the magical secrets of this realm from your enemies than by writing them down in a language that no one save for The Dark Lord himself was capable of reading.
And me, I added silently.
I had no sense of time as I sat studying the ancient book. Every incantation and spell that I had ever learned were contained in that book. There were also that many more spells which I had never seen nor heard of in my twenty-three years of magical studies at The Order. I specifically searched out those spells that were designed to reinstate stripped magiks to humans. I could only remember bits and pieces of the incantation that Vindictus had used on me before I managed to escape from his throne room several months back. What little I could remember made no sense; something about sin and returned magiks of old. The simple fact that the incantation was spoken in Italian and I was having to translate that into Sumerian, something that did not readily translate very well at all, and I was having an extremely hard time finding the correct spell. There was also the very real possibility that the incantation was not written in the book. Perplexed, I gave up trying to find the exact spell and decided to just start reading the book from the beginning.
For the next few weeks I spent my time scouring the pages of the great book. I had to relearn the most rudimentary spells all over again, spending hours practicing the fine art of candle lighting and the creation of energy balls. I quickly discovered that losing my virginity had made it much more difficult to conjure and control the magic. Thankfully, being in the oldest magical realm of any world in existence kept me from spending years instead of mere hours relearning the old spells.
It took a lot more energy and concentration on my part, but by the end of the first week I had re-mastered levitation and teleportation of small objects. By day ten I could conjure and control spells that had taken me five years of my mortal life to master. Shortly thereafter I could once again control the healing spells and conjure balls of energy strong enough to mortally wound a human. Despite my intensive training, however, I was nowhere near as strong as I had been even at the age of thirteen. I knew that I was no match for even the most novice of warlocks from this realm. The most I could hope for was to defend myself long enough for someone else to rescue me.
It was two days into my third week when my secret studies were cut short. I had been trying without any success to teleport myself into another part of the castle. After the fourth try it dawned on me that the chamber was probably enchanted to stop anyone from teleporting into it and stealing the ancient scripts. I decided to try my luck outside the chamber.
As I came to the secret door, I heard raised voices beyond the wall that separated the secret room from the bed chamber.
"I do not sssee your new bride, Brother." I could hear the heavy footfalls of cloven feet pacing back and forth on the other side of the hidden door. "There isss no bride in thisss room. Ssshe hasss neither been properly introduced to the courtsss nor to your people, Vindictusss. I am beginning to think that there never wasss a bride, only a very poor deception on your part to keep the throne for yourself." I did not recognize the voice, but his reference to my husband as 'brother' assured me that the unseen hoofed demon was my brother-in-law.
"Your accusations are unfounded, Dante. You saw for yourself the ceremonial linens from our marriage bed. The Council stood witness to our union. They declared the marriage and my kingship lawful under the Nedella Creed. If you do not believe my words then you can call upon The Council to put your fears to rest."
Unsatisfied to only hear the conversation, I said a small incantation that caused the door in front of me to act as a one-way mirror. I gasped when I saw Dante. He was only an inch or two shorter than my husband, and just as well muscled. But whereas Vindictus looked nearly human save for his small horns, Dante embodied the very essence of demon. His reddish-brown skin looked reptilian, his calves ending in hooves rather than feet, the horns on his head curving all the way across the top of his skull. The thick tail sprouting from his tailbone twitched around in agitation. His hair was black with streaks of red, his black eyes encircled in green-gold. When he spoke his tongue flicked out of his mouth like a serpent, causing nearly all of the 'S' sounds in his words to sound like the hissing of a snake. A shiver of fear ran down my spine, leaving me cold and shaky. For the first time since I had been snatched from my own realm, I was actually glad that I had been kidnapped by Vindictus instead of his brother. I did not want to even entertain the thought of what my life would be like if I had summoned Dante Invectus instead of The Dark One.
"Now, Brother, I do not believe them any more than I believe you." Dante stopped his pacing and stood facing the hidden door, his back turned to my husband as he spoke. "What I would like isss to meet thisss new sssister-in-law of mine. But asss I have ssstated, I do not sssee thisss mysterious new bride of yoursss. Which ssseems very odd to me. I had heard rumorsss that the two of you were....inssseparable." He looked pointedly at the well kept bed.
I could see Vindictus' eyes narrow at the implications of Dante's words. "She is not my prisoner, dear Brother. She is free to come and go as she pleases."
I snorted at that statement. It made me wonder what excuses he had been making to the courts for my absence. If Dante's suggestion held any hint of truth, the kingdom was under the very distinctive impression that Vindictus and I were very much in love and never left the bed. It was a notion that Dante quite obviously did not believe for one moment.
"Then pray tell, Your Lordssship, where isss your blussshing bride? I am duty bound to present myssself and welcome her to the family." Dante's hand had moved slowly to his side. It was my turn to have narrowed eyes. I did not trust this brother-in-law of mine. Rumors on the outskirts of Nedella had it that Dante Invectus wanted his brother's throne and would resort to anything to claim it as his own. The demon in front of me was hiding something, but I had no idea what it could be at this point.
"I imagine she is in the study reading up on the history of her new home."
My husband's words caught my attention. The great book that I had been studying held more than just the ancient spells of this realm. It also contained the entire history of the Nedella Outlands. Which meant that my husband not only knew that I had been inside this room and practicing The Black Arts, but he had made no move to stop me.
"Then your liesss have been exposssed, Brother," Dante said as his hand snaked its way into the robe he was wearing. "Your ssstudy doesss not contain any of our land'sss history. You had all those booksss moved to The Great Library more than a century ago."
I saw the movement a split second before I screamed. Had I not caught the attention of my husband, he would have seen it coming before Dante managed to land the blow. Instead, my yelled warning did nothing but distract Vindictus, causing him to look towards the hidden chamber and giving Dante the opportunity to bury his blade to the hilt into the belly of my husband.
"No!" my scream was loud enough to cause Dante to whirl around as I slammed my hand against the hidden switch. The secret door fell back silently on its hinges. Dante stared at me with obvious shock on his face. It crossed my mind briefly that he really had believed that Vindictus had been lying about our marriage.
"What have you done?" I yelled at him as I rushed to my husband. His body lay in a heap on the floor, the reddish-black blood already pooling beneath him. "Vindictus," I sobbed as I shook him in a desperate attempt to revive his still form. His breathing was already slowing, the blood beginning to bubble up in his throat. I kept muttering "Oh my Goddess" over and over again, the fear and sorrow overwhelming me.
I grasped the handle of the sword that was still embedded in his abdomen. Please, please let this work, I prayed silently as I placed my right hand over the massive wound in my husband's body. I called upon the magik, speaking the incantation quickly and quietly as I forced the healing power into Vindictus' nearly lifeless body. By now the tears were streaming unheeded down my cheeks as I silently begged the Powers That Be to save my husband.
I sensed movement behind me, reminding me that I was not alone in the room. "Vattene via da me demone!" I screamed, turning just in time to send the energy sphere into the body of Dante. The ball of light did little more than knock him backwards a few feet, him going down on one knee to keep from toppling over a nearby table. It wasn't much, but it gave me enough time to raise his sword and turn to defend myself.
"You are not going to ruin my plansss, ssssister," Dante hissed at me as he withdrew a small dagger from within his robes. I thought that he was most certainly going to kill me where I stood. Instead, he plunged the blade into his own side. I stood there dumbfounded as he spoke a spell I had never heard of before, causing the dagger to disappear from his flesh. As soon as the blade was removed from the wound, the blood welled up and trickled down his side to slowly soak into his clothes.
Dante yelled, "Guardsss!" I had no idea what he was doing, but I was not taking any chances. I held my ground, Dante's sword held firmly in my hands as I wondered why on earth he would attempt to murder his own brother, the King, and then call for the guards.
Within seconds our bedroom suite was swarming with a dozen guards. Dante removed his hand from the still bleeding wound, pointing it at me as he said, "Ssshe hasss killed our king, Lord Vindictusss! Ssshe hasss tried to kill me. I command you to ssseize her at once!"
I stood over my husband in dumb-founded shock. What the hell was he talking about? "You lying snake! You are the one who plunged your sword into my husband!"
The guards looked at me, still standing over my husband with Dante's sword in my hands, and then back to where Dante stood, his blood still seeping from the self-inflicted wound. Dante shook his head as the guards eyed him suspiciously. "It isss not I who ssstands over my brother with a weapon and hisss blood on my handsss."
I glanced down at my hands and realized what an awful picture was being painted. I was still standing over my husband's motionless form, the weapon in question clutched in hands that were coated in Vindictus' drying blood. I shook my head as Dante had done. "This is your sword. You tried to kill your own brother after you accused him of not being married. You only want the throne for yourself." My voice was shaking. I was terrified of where this discussion was going.
"That isss not my sssword in which you hold, human. It belongsss to my brother, given to him by our father on hisss deathbed."
Several of the guards murmured amongst themselves. It was then that I noticed the female demon walk through the door. It was the same one that I had attacked in the shower after she had so blatantly tried to seduce my husband right in front of me.
"If you do not believe me, human, then asssk Odonna. It wasss ssshe who wasss the king'sss most trusssted confidant." Dante and the female looked at each other, the evil glint in their eyes an almost tangible thing. That gnawing feeling of dread was growing thicker and stronger inside of my stomach. I was shaking so badly now that I could scarcely hold the sword in my hands.
"It is true. That sword belongs to our Lord, King Vindictus. He has kept it near at hand at all times." The female looked over at me with triumph on her face.
"I have never seen this sword before today," I said quietly. I had the feeling that I was losing this battle very quickly.
"I would think not. Why would My Lord keep a weapon around a prisoner?" the female asked.
"I am not a prisoner," I replied.
The demoness merely pointed to the floor where the chain and shackle were still coiled around the metal ring. I glared at her, tilting my chin a bit higher before I proudly proclaimed, "I am not a prisoner. I am the wife of our Lordship, King Vindictus, and as such I am also the Queen of the Nedella Outlands. As your Queen, I am ordering you to lower your weapons and fetch a doctor or whatever you have around here that passes for such and attend to my husband." I honestly had no idea how the chain of command worked in The Thirteenth Gate. Vindictus had unshackled me, but for all intents and purposes he still did not trust me enough to let me out of our bedroom suite.
Dante raised his hand to stop the few guards who had moved to do my bidding. "You have not been introduced to court nor have you underwent your coronation. Your own husssband hasss not accepted you asss hisss equal. Under Nedella Creed, and by law, you are not the Queen of the Nedella Outlandsss."
My heart sank at his words. If this was indeed the law of this realm, then I was a wife only and had no more rights to the throne than Odonna herself did. My arms faltered for the first time since I had picked up the sword.
"I did not wound my husband," I whispered.
"Take her to the dungeon," Dante ordered, reaching around and deftly removing the sword from my hands. He could have disarmed me at any time, but doing so would have ruined the set-up. He needed the guards to see me standing over Vindictus. Otherwise they never would have believed Dante's story.
I kicked and screamed as two guards took hold of my arms, dragging me out of the bedroom. I heard Odonna hiss under her breath, "He lives."
My heart leapt with joy at the news. "He's alive!" I screamed. "My husband lives! I did not try to kill him. It was Dante! I tried to save him. It was I who healed him!"
Dante walked over to me and slapped me hard enough across the face that my vision blurred. "You are human, not a sssorceresss. Ssstop your liesss. It is a travesssty against thisss kingdom and our Lordssship to lay claim to helping the one you tried to murder!"
I opened my mouth to speak again, only to have Dante rip off a piece of bloodied shirt from his own body and stuff it into my mouth. I gagged on the overwhelming metallic tang of the demon's blood. Tears were once again streaming down my face.
"Chain her to the whipping rack in the dungeon. Do not take that gag out of her mouth. I will not have her ssspreading liesss about my brother or myself." Dante turned back to where Odonna kneeled beside my husband. It was obvious by the expression on her face that neither she nor Dante had meant for the king to live. I had thrown a wrench into their plans by announcing that Vindictus still lived. Even now his attendants were moving him to the bed and tending his wound. So long as he lived there was a chance that he would recover.
"I want the king under conssstant sssurveillance. I will bring guardsss from my own home to ensssure that he not be harmed further." Dante moved closer to where my husband lay upon the bed.
I screamed again behind my gag, fighting for all I was worth to get away from the guards that held me. If Dante was left alone for a single second with my husband then he would surely never see another sunrise.
"That will not be necessary," I heard one of his attendants say. "We have called in The Council to discuss the matter at hand." The old demon looked past Dante at me as he said, "I will stay by his side until this matter is resolved and the perpetrator brought to justice."
He believs me! I thought. For whatever reason, this demon believed that I had not tried to murder my husband. I knew, deep inside, that so long as he was by my husband's side, no harm would come to him. I began crying again, only this time it was out of relief .
"Get her out of my sssight," Dante said to the guards.
The two guards dragged me out of the room, weaving their way down into the bowls of the castle. Soon enough I was shackled face-first onto a giant wooden X. With my hands bound and my mouth gagged, there was no way that I could summon any magic. Right now my fate, and the fate of my whole kingdom, rested on the shoulders of a dying demon that I now called my husband.