What would you do if someone could steal the very memories we hold and treasure as our own most precious of gems and jewelry; those memories that make "us" and then find them all gone. Having known something precious was there and now gone for good. What would you do.
Have you ever looked into a mirrors depths and seen the wonders of the image reflected back? What about having a second and a third mirror close enough to where you can see reflections of the other mirrors in the reflections? Each reflection passing on to the next of infinity - uncountable and unknowable, yet they are as the mind itself -- consious, unconsious (such as controls breathing and the muscles of the heart) and most important the realm of the dreams.
Each experience we have on all three parts of the mind play togeater, forming new wonders and memories combining in infinite ways. This is what makes us "US' the one where I am myself. The lifetime of all we have done, seen, shared, loved and so forth.
Yet what happens if those memories we cherish the most could be rewritten unwillingly by another? Or worse yet, taken away, plucked by one who walks the roads of the mind and steals at will? One who loves terror and all (yes a real nut-case)?
If one could do such, it is akin to more than theft...it is the raping of the mind...and thus it sets the basis for our story tonight...
Let us see how the Fox and the Lion play and dance...
Let us learn some of how Charity has become who she is...
In Stars Rift, the well known and notorious community of planes-walkers, plans, plots, intrigue, and betrayals are to be found everywhere. Constant is the work of the pickpocket and assassin, the tough and the enforcer, yet even among these there is a handful that rise above their other notorious brethren – one who is rapidly becoming the most notorious of them all.
For how can one stop a being who takes that most precious of treasures; the very memories which define who we are, and what made us thus. All that is left behind is a sentient body, whom the very mind of lays shattered into fragments of fragments, disjoined reflections of SELF lost to infinity, the very death of identity.
Alive have the streets become with rumors upon rumors, tales building and twisting upon tales that only bring more notoriety to that being. Bounties have gone forth, ever increasing in size with each theft. Even the vaunted academy, one that no thief wishes to attract the attention of, is being challenged – students and scholars targeted and looted of memories.
For this master of the masters, each and every mind is like a house; with halls and rooms to explore, the vast collection of artwork, furnishings, candelabra and statuary. Books stored on shelves, some empty and blank waiting to be filled by those memories to come, others filled – ancient and new. Almost without fail, this home of the mind – those great and small, extravagant or simple – are unlocked and unsecured. His for the plundering simply due to the fact he is able to.
HE alone is the master of all about, HE selects who will be plundered, or left alone; who will be questioned or ridden of the mind until they shatter completely. To yet others he rewrites a portion of here, or tweaks a bit there – changing lives and desires, driving them from one love into to the arms of another.
The minds are his preparation tables; the chaos resulting his signature, and each gem of a memory he keeps, preparation unto the day he will have enough to transcend, to become more than he is now, and BECOME, a being of purest thought, eternal and unstoppable.
His body shudders in orgasmic, rapturous delight at the thought. Feelings swifter and more pure beyond the physical bliss of two lovers joined in body percolate unto the uttermost fiber of his very being. One more set of minds will be walked tonight; and one in particular does he wishes to dominate and doom.
Tonight shall be the last night for the one called Charity, who’s very existence he sees as a bane – a mistake to be abjured from reality, overwritten as if she never were, and thus it is to be as he wills.
For tonight the Fox hunts.
The gloom builds by the hour, rain constant and steady with howling winds and flashes of lightning further give illumination to the one who studies at the little desk by the window. Books and scribble filled papers cover not only it, but the floor, bed and few shelves that have space left. So much to do and so little time left, to cover each and all references.
Charity though stops as her mind wanders, remembering well this very time of year, so very long ago; it seems as if her studies no longer matter – drifting does her mind do, the conscious focused on the book, while another part walks back into the house of her mind; memories flash by, of a time when love was so wonderfully new and grand, mysterious and simple…and the discovery of betrayal.
Always there is that echo of the past; drawing forth from the recesses long closed off and yet like a ghost it still keeps coming forth from the grave. Fragments come forth in details…some clear and some disjointed, echoes of the memories that she wants so desperately to just forget and never can.
For with that pain of betrayal also came one of her greatest of joys.
Three hundred years it has been for me, since that evening happened, when I got dressed in a gown of gold and amber browns. Mother helped me select a sash tied just so, followed by a velvet vest dyed in a weave of fires of color like a opal stone exposed to the light. Even my slippers are made of the softest leather worked in silver trim…we tried high heels until I turned out to be as graceful as a falling tree.
…all the last minute fusses and attention my Mother – she had adopted me, a cat-girl, instead of any human children she could have, and I love her all the more for it. Making sure my hair is braided just so in that style he loves very much… (Reader – a doubled French braid)…
…I stand by the door, pacing so impatiently for the sound of the clock to strike the hour he is to be here with the coach of gilded gold. Mother smiles so at me, moisture clear on the edge of her eyes; somehow I feel she knows our plans despite all my denials. I tried to hide my blush growing while the racing of my heart sounds as if all in a mile or more could clearly hear…
…Minute by minute the time passes, so fast and yet never fast enough; oh to finally be with him tonight, to have all we know is right and love eternal will we share…then as the clock chimes on the hour, his carriage arrives, the horses coming to a stop…his footsteps coming to the door and the solid knock three times fast…
…Our ride across the back wood trails I see before me, wonders of shadows and moonlight. The very first taste of true wine I tried in my life, both of us sharing and soon enough my head began to swoon, as constant was my glass refilled. Sweeter than fine honey mixed with spices, with an aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg in one it was. Oh how I love him, as he draws me into his lap, whispering into my ear the sweet nothings I long to hear…
…That first kiss, sending my giddy mind reeling and soaring like fireworks into the night, tender and strong, soft and severe, burning with heat and passion we went into a second and a third and a river of others next to follow. My arms around him until he started undoing my vest ties; hesitation showed on my face for he stopped and cooed those reassurances that all will be alright. Soon enough our actions have it shed to the coach floor…
…Oh the scents of his body next to mine, so loving did he look to me; giggles and squeals accompanied his flowing hands over my body, areas I never knew before what they could do when touched just so. Then came one moment…clear and fiery as a volcano…the instant he touched my now bared breast and pleasured it with mouth and tongue….such intensity I felt building and flowing, tides of fire and ice, of the storm and the clear, as he raised these senses up and then eased them down…
…At the inn we had a room prepared, and carried I over the threshold inward as grooms do with his bride. Bouquets of roses, primrose, honeysuckle and more that I could not identify are everywhere; and then my heart leaps like a running dear as I behold our bed for the night. Now all slams home with the grip of iron and steel about me, soon what it to occur with him and me…
…So much more drink he plied me with that my head spun so hard and fast…looking upon his face in the light of the moon through the window upon us both…his smile wide and bright as he looked me over. Hands entwine and bodies move one to the other, swirls of fire and heat, lust driven wild into the night…his whispers of love for all of our lives, promises made to show me the riches of his kingdom…
…His body pressed onto mine, setting the pace hard and fast, not listening to my first scream of pain as he did enter into me, taking the virginity I offered. He told me all will be fine, just to lay there and let him do the work, “as it is supposed to be done.” Oh how the hour of that time blurred from the drink save for memories of pain and cried tears…
…How many times did he put his seed into me before I passed out of the realm of consciousness? I do not know, yet I awoke to the first warming rays of dawn upon my cheek. The first dawn of being a woman and no longer a young lass; the dawn of the rest of time I will spend with my true love…until my searching hand finds nothing other than a bed empty…and a letter folded for me to find…
…Somehow I knew what it would say, the words echoing down from time yet to become into my mind. I did not need to read it and still I did…
…Words did he call me – whore, slut, trollop, and such; claiming I had seduced him deliberately and was not a virgin last night (BUT I WAS!!!). More and more words flowed colder and colder, my denial holding back the tears until at last the dam burst – from a sod grew a wail of despair and disgust. So many lies I had been told and believed, so many deceptions just for the game of him being the first to bed me…
…His letter stated clear at the end “You are so like the others, each and every one, weak willed and weak in the mind; you danced to each of my songs thinking I was real, all just to show you how much power I have over all in the world. I did this to you simply because I could and chose to. How heady the nectar of love sundered and shattered can be, of knowing that you dear Charity will never be of value to anyone, for by now I have gone to your home and confronted your family with the dishonorable conduct of their daughter – no more does honor live with you, and their love is now cold and you forgotten as if you never were.”
…How long I cried I know not, save the innkeeper coming in to see what was what, and provide me the gift the one who so used me left behind; a pouch of coin in a gild purse – the mark of a whore for hire, showing all what I now am…
All of my hopes and dreams shattered that night; for raped me he did repeatedly and played his games with my mind. Even with the travelers and what came later…ruthlessly she shoves this train of thought away. Back to her studies she returns…
Sleep holds different meanings and understandings in each person and culture. To most it is the release from the cares and concerns of the day, the time to dream pleasant dreams while the body rests and mind recharges. It is a time to relive the past, to understand the present, and hope for the future. A state in which all is possible, and reality is what one’s own mind determines it to be.
For those of an iron will, disciplined focus, or awareness that transcends the normal the dreams are a time for contemplation and meditation. Among the third group are the mind mages, masters of the mental Art (as those who practice psionic’s are known and their disciplines are called.)
To gain the knowledge of who one is, to know your own mind, each and every recess and corner; each room and hall, where all is and how to secure it. To explore and open new doors unto heightened abilities, learning how all flows together and fits unto the universe as a whole. No gaps do they desire for the intruder to find and exploit, as they can do in turn.
Still for Charity it defies her, the deep and restful slumber she wants and craves; so utterly exhausted from her days of practice and studies for the academy exams and tests coming, in which she may find at last entry into as a full student and not as a ‘scholar in training’.
A distant thought flows into one more dream of her pain filled past. Behind mental doors of steel, bound and secured they should remain, yet not now in a defense that demands perfection always. For her past is alive, seeing her walking where once she did, and experiences yet again.
His smile perfect in mind and body as he willed himself to intertwine the path of her dream coming forth; one she will live again, and he will experience as well. Mental doors and walls into the home of her mind stood in strength unrivaled; deterring each probing attack.
Yet the sounds of psychic bells and resistance of willpower beyond that ever seen before, defies any and all of his best efforts. Both by blunt force of will, defiance of rage and the subtlest moves of a mouse seeking to wind its way in are all rebuffed.
Except for in one very small location; a hole in a defense that cannot afford to be less than flawless.
Smiling once again at the indomitable and superior building he is, the prizes inside await.
Quick as only the energy of thought itself can flow, he is on the other side; a house built of power pure, true and ancient – surprise indeed for his hunt. At length he does wander, caught in wonderment of the sheer variety of mnemonic treasures precious beyond deion or comprehension. Yet his enlivened senses, enhanced beyond those of mortal beings and many of the Art swiftly draw him to a little used hallway.
Here it ends at a door, beyond which a pulsation comes true and strong; a harmony of mental energy so great and vast as to await his harvest. Head leaning back and eyes rolling in bliss, he breaths deeply in by mouth and nose the scent of power to be savored. Thrills of delight wave up and down his form, shaking and trembling in the communion of memories.
With contemptuous ease the Fox sunders the mental door, dissolving it into a maelstrom of rainbow lights; beholding beyond it the mirror all have hidden away. Each of these mirrors allows the dreams to be lived again in infinity of details and projections, one back unto another into the limitless depths of the subliminal mind. He has plundered this door many a time, and knows how to command it, and to possess it fully.
So it is he now finds before him in Charities manor of the mind; the lion caught deep in exhaustion, defenseless to the one who cannot be defended against. HERE are the deepest secrets, loves, hopes, desires, joys, pains and hates. ALL of these which he hungers for, must hunger for and will have for himself lay there, just at the edge of his reach.
And so with swiftness of thought incarnate, he extends his hand to the mirror, and roars for the memories to be shared with him; As it begins, the mirror flashes and swirls in lights and forms, he knows his will is being done, for as he wills it, so the universe makes it.
The Fox will have his prey, his theft, his treasures; while the Lion called Charity is gone in exhaustion.
Looking among the high peaks lined with winter’s first snows the chill did not bother her as bad as those fellow travelers in this little bundle of pilgrims and wanderers. United by the need for protection and the desire for companionship in this dangerous section of the plane-walkers roads, their goal was to reach a travelers station, a small stone shelter that will allow rest in a secure location, before sundown and the temperatures drop yet again to the point of hard frost.
Conversations grew in excitement the closer they got, jests and jokes, a ribald and risqué tale or two tossed in for the shocking reactions it would produce. One of their band though, the young cat-girl Charity keeps mostly to herself, doing what chores the group needs help with. No matter the task she is always there, trying to fit in, though distance is still kept due to her mystery and the pain showing in her eyes.
Many wonder is she is a princess in disguise and disgrace; a dragon taken on another form, while some have even speculated she is one who walks between worlds like a ghost, a spirit bound to this world due to some deed yet undone or wrong needing to be righted.
“If they only knew the truth of the matter; how much of a disgrace I truly am.”
“Ah, betrayal of the past, shattered love and hopelessness of self; so much loathing turned inward, such despair, such…sweet nectar this gem contains…heaven itself for me.”
Giddiness swells in his being, as one who has taken a shot of strong moonshine and now feels the warmth flow into his very being. To the Fox this is the headiest and sweetest of nectars, the living ambrosia of the divine in and of itself.
He fails to observe the pair of iridescent eyes floating nearby as one perceives a wisp of a dream; there for one instant of reality and dissipating the next.
Finally arriving, their shelter for the night is not what anyone expected, being accustomed to the stations of the lower hills and such. A low blockhouse of stout stone walls and roof, with one strong wooden door and no sets of windows are seen. Soon enough the fire in the lone hearth is roaring to give warmth unto all and a meal being prepared.
In the preparation of dinner on slender trail rations - mostly a mix of herbs, nuts, berries, dried meat, and some stuff no one really knows what it is – Charity does willingly and with delight, able to forget her cares and the semi-ostracizing practice of her companions save for Douglas. Their love for cooking evident when a chance duty of preparing onions, carrots and peppers led to their swapping of recipes, successful experiments and utter disasters in creations of the ‘perfect meal’ all chefs dream of.
It is in these times she once again can open up for him, telling some of her tale of the first love and its betrayal; his sympathy is genuine, as is the delights in her minor tricks and illusions her basic command of the Art of magic generates. Simple stuff like altering coloration and the perceptions of smells and tastes; complete to the point the others marveled as she came to make simple water taste like Champaign.
The last few days of travel she wonders if her heart has up and gone off for him; as the butterflies keep rolling about her stomach. Sometimes in their work the hands would ‘accidently’ touch causing a knowing glance and smile back and forth; tentative at first, with much blushing and distress on her part, yet becoming longer and easier each time that happens.
Young Douglas they call him, though in reality he is easily twice and then some her years in age; a monk who does guard duty to the companions on this trail. His every motion, she observes, is poetry in control, grace and command of strengths in body and spirit.
The others comment softly among themselves, seeing the way she looks at him tentatively; among the eldest who have many times seen the look of hurt on her face, understanding in part, decide that he may have the best chance of helping her out given the opportunity.
As they have each at one time or another learned that the only thing worse than being alone; is being alone among a crowd.
Into the depths of the evening do the companions sing, dance, and tell tall tales in a contest to determine the truth or legends and lessons behind each one. Knees pulled to her chin and hands supporting her head, she listens in rapt detail to the stories and the HOW each one is told, in nuance of sounds, voices projected or hushed, hands and body of the teller in motion – so much she can learn, and hungers for, knowledge of the greater world she is now moving into beyond the mountains.
As the scene shifts from one aspect to another, one emotion swept and intertwined with the scents of the people and the surroundings – feelings, tastes, sights, sounds mixing into a brew of potency beyond anything he has yet experienced; he plunges both hands into the river like flow bent on experiencing each and every part of it as these become a part of him in turn.
“Such I have never dreamed of could exist in one as Charity.”
He pushes his will forward, seeking the ultimate source for where these memories lay. Fires of the psyche begin to burn as always; forging and tempering his own psyche, greater and greater in being does he become.
For just a moment, two sets of eyes appear, mirror twins of one another. Shifting between green and deepest of blue; then dissipating in a swirl of mists accompanied by the silent laughter like a bubbling brook, heard only by those to who the eyes belong.
In the limited space as people started drifting off to sleep, couples formed up, for the mutual warmth and open companionship of shared travel. Luck seemed to be with her this night, as Douglas asked her to stay with him.
A spread out pile of old blankets and other material as could be found give them a comfortable ‘mattress’ to rest upon, cuddled and curled up one with the other.
She whispers a quick word of power that brings forth a soft, iridescent pearl of lighting; just enough to show in contrasts the play of light and shadow upon her bared body. And for her in turn to see the soft smile of delight and wonder he has. Not just the smile of one who wants the encounter for the night; it is the smile of one who respects and fondly cares for those who share with them the covers for one night or a lifetime.
Her limited experience in matters such as this leaves her in a mixed state of delight and trepidation; he only smiles and waits her choice. No demands or orders, only a offer silently made unto her.
Piling her cloths on her harness bag, she moved next to him under their shared travel blanket. This close to someone again, along with the sounds coming from all about – the fires crackle, blankets rustling along with cloths, flesh moving on flesh, breath controlled and soft with growing intimacies; brought those same butterflies to her stomach.
Overpowering does her hesitation grow along with the instinct telling her to bolt for the outside, to get away as she could once again be hurt so bad as in that first betrayal; until she sees Douglas’ smile and take her hand into his own, using the other to entwine their fingers.
His hand begins to caress and softly massage her lower and upper arm, ending with the shoulder. The shudder running down her body snaps her back out of her dream, senses heightened and the heat of arousal building in her body. That tender touch continues to stroke her shoulder and neck up and down, side to side, up and down with the backside and palm in alternating patterns. Eyes close and head leans back as the caresses advance to her right cheek.
Until she fell against him her conscious thoughts were swept away into the river of desire, the body enlivened in each moment, muscles twitching with euphoric electrifying enlightenment. Discomfiture obvious at the clumsy way she is responding to him.
No words of rebuke or shame escape his lips.
Only a near silent giggle of affection from both came forth.
Strong arms lift her into his lap, and guiding her to place each leg around his hips to the back. Blushing as he pulls her closer, gently rocking them both, she feels the cover on her shoulders, his hands on her lower back, her hot skin upon his muscle endowed form.
Arms of hers seemly wrap about his neck of their own violation; and she feels the movement of his chest heave with breathing both steady and strong; nipples erect as her breasts encounter his muscles, along with a sharp heave upward in the entirety of being as those wondrous hands find spots on the sides of her abdomen launching her into the heavens.
The strength of that gasp of breath; mixing headily with the fiery heat moving about her like molten iron glowing hot in those foundries furnaces.
Oh so she is learning what her body is able to do!
Once, twice, and two more times after she sails beyond the universe as he touches her just that way; the fiery birth of a new star among the heavens is equal to the stark and raw wonders she now discovers.
Eyes widening in shock from the raw passion and heights of mental energy released by this portion of memory; now this is the purest and rarest of gems he wishes to collect – power beyond anything experienced before and needing to be possessed by him and him alone.
With a rage of fiery born desire and will he pushes deeper into the mirror of memory, deeper than ever he has before; to pull forth all that is and gather them into one. His senses come alive in many ways, chatter of minds and voices untold in count fill the area, while smells and feelings of a multitude of life from the lowest ant to the highest of beings envelop as well.
A cornucopia of wonderment he seeks to draw into his being; each one feeding into himself, and looping out again in expanding waves of consciousness as dose the ripples of a pond. He understands now fully, ALL of those present, reached out to by the subconscious mind of Charity, were recorded in the time she lived this. Echoes captured in the memory, infinite reflections so precious that none save he now fully perceives.
“More,” does the Fox roar to no one in particular, “give me more!”
“ALL OF IT! NOW, give it all to ME NOW!”
That very same laughing of a bubbling brook echoes into his being, some kind of distraction or stray thoughts in the area from other minds. Ignoring them he does – and pushes into the final moment of taking all from her.
Cheek to cheek she goes, rubbing his with hers, reveling in each stroke and cuddle of both together. Her nose picks up the strong mix of odors; sweat of their efforts mixing with manly musk, cinnamon and lilacs from her own. His breath a mixture of sweet fruits, trail rations and fine wine he sometimes partook of. All made her heady with passion, her body moving into the rhythm of their rocking dance.
His manhood swelled under her pelvic muscles, reminding her well there was more to come. She tried to keep the mixing of anticipation and trepidation from showing; and failed clearly upon seeing the look on his face. Okay, so he waits for her move, and so she eases down over and then onto his engorged manhood.
As they begin their final round of the dance; her eyes close up, scrunching tight, arms crushing him to her as his do in return. Swaying, grinding and pumping she senses in some way what he is feeling in turn.
“My mind has reached out to his senses…”
The coordinated movement and pulsation of all his muscles, body moving in timed perfection of long practice and experience, the empathic understanding of his manly lust brought to the fore – the heady swelling and eruptions of energy and spirit, the legendary Chi spoken of by mystics of far lands.
With infinite patients he works with her, she knows. He seeks only to bring as much pleasure and enjoyment he can to her this night; and this moment. Her mind perceives the echoes of his thoughts, recognition of her own very limited experience combined with curiosity and anxiousness to pass for one more skilled in passionate encounters.
Then her body hits overload and the climatic release occurs bringing her down to reality once more, true shock on her face of what has happened. And yet she also senses that he has not climaxed as well, so in control of all his body it will happen when he wills it to, not naturally like her when driven physically over the edge of control.
Tears welling in her eyes, mouth opening and closing mutely; shows the sorrow and apology to him she is trying to speak. Quietly she nuzzles up next to him, consumed with the way she has acted and ignores the calming gestured from him.
“I used him as my first love used me, to bed me, to take my innocence. I AM NO BETTER THAN THE ONE WHO BETRAYED ME!!!”
So vicious has the pain returned, each thread sharp as a serpents fang; delivering burning pain and shame with what she feels is her fault again. Now her remaining foundations of emotions are shattered once and for all, set adrift and ruined. Shame upon shame she piles on herself needlessly. Only one who has been violated in the worst ways understands, and the demons she now has to face.
“Everything he called me in his letter turns out to be right – trollop, whore, slut, loser, pretender and all the rest, even claiming I was not a virgin when I let him take it from me -“so declared her mind, even though her heart, in the very core of her being knows otherwise, it is overruled.
What she fails to understand in this confused state of passion, lust, heat and sensations so new, is that he wanted to please her above all else. A truer lover could not be found, one willing to share a special bond even if for only the one night.
Her soft sobs carry on into the night, until she finally settles into a troubled and exhausted slumber.
Those of the band are not surprised to see she has gone on her own come the morning; especially as Douglas explains the entire story she murmured about in the night. The betrayal she suffered is greater than anything most encounter; and as one, decide to pay a visit to the betrayer.
Clearly Douglas explains what he has uncovered, how that betrayer flayed her mind as well as the body; for he has seen such before many times. This time there will be no mercy for such as he, and all agree the betrayer will face his final doom no matter what.
The last memory of the dream echoes one clear fact; she was counted a friend and family by them no matter what she thought.
The aphrodisiac of memories and emotions, lived while being stolen made the very fiber and fabric of what is HE, his very being and conscience, all that matters in the center of the universe about him, ascend unto heights beyond the very stars themselves.
“Transcendence, I have now BECOME.”
Of rising beyond all other beings he has achieved in which he is able to sense all about him – the breeze on a thousand thousands of different individuals, thoughts and passions of each isolated and alone while in a crowd, the beating of a birds heart, the delight of a mouse who has been able to discover a cube of sugar…
More he must have of these sensations, more and yet more to the uttermost limits of his new found ability. He will share in all, capture all, and thus become all. The perfect gem he will craft, cut and polished into the infinite mirrors of the mind, iridescent fires alive within each aspect unto the depths of perception and the eternal of time.
These are more than echoes imprinted upon a memory from others about; these are the living memories he can access of all beings at once; the power and knowledge to remake the universe as he sees fit…
His wonderment redoubles upon the discovery of a perfect reflection of himself; the negative image to all he is of the mind and form. Hands reach forth in unity, examining each flawless and most precious of details. Mind links to mind so he may know the consummation of self perfected.
The palms of both touch one unto the other.
Eyes flared wide in the starkest of terror made manifest; a reflection of nightmares echoing across the horizons of the mind, all is reversed to where up is down, left is right, inside is out. Self collapses inward and outward in one instant, a duality of paradox unable to exist within the mind and the universe.
Too late does he understand the trap into which he has led himself.
Soon all of his existence ended, in fire and storm yet he was beyond all comprehension at that point; having now passed beyond the door into the awaiting hands of death, who will escort him to the afterlife.
The innkeeper just shook his head in disgust as yet one more mystery happened here at his business. All of the crazy happenings these last couple of months causing worry that his reputation may suffer; yet the business has been booming, though tonight quite literally.
“More expenses to deal out as the bed and mattress need to be replaced yet again.”
Amid still smoking and smoldering cloth and goose feathers, smells of wood smoke along with deep roasted meat and flesh intermingled cause his gore to rise. What is left of the visiting guest, in a lotus position remains intact save for being roasted to the bone, mouth hanging open in horror of one last moment of utter and incomprehensible shock.
The academy necromancer, a fellow who specializes in the dead, explained a spell being cast most likely fired back on the caster – motioning with his hand to the remains. Save for the fact of a final mental echo, the sounds of a laughing brook combined with a wind chime.
The very same sounds they hear coming from one of the gathered at the doorway. Charity as usual, seems to be the source of the chaos about, looking very secure and smug, once again amazing all with the constant wild and untamed flowing of emotions she is.
“When a fox walks into the home of another, often do they think there is not a lion waiting to devour. You must know the SELF before you can beat anyone in their own home.”
Innkeeper and mage look at each other, then to the corpse, wondering just how much more has happened.
Hours later, Charity looks down on a small book filled with sketches from so long ago; a lifetime and more than most will ever live. The page open shows two cat-girls there; the first one is of her about a year later after that night in the station. The second is a youngster, about two years of age wrapped in her mother’s arms.
“Nia how I miss you still after all these years.”
This is the one memory most precious of all in her mind, the all too short of years with Nia, her own daughter that had been conceived of on her first time of ever having sex. Sickness claimed her as with so many others that one season, yet this is one of the few moments which keeps Charity going when yet all seems to be lost again.
Her first betrayer, the one she thought who would be with her for life – the one who knocked her up and sent her off on the maelstrom of emotional upheaval….
“Douglas offered all freely and willingly, if I just would have bothered to look past…no, I betrayed myself that day. Nia’s father turned out to be a mind walker as well, rewriting parts of my own mind to his warped ends; yet for the time she was with me, and now in my dreams…that is the proof good can come out of the worst.”
“The Fox” he had been called.
Another mind walker and a mage as well; his ambitions set the stage for the greatest betrayal of all. For in suspecting he would eventually come for her, to steal and plunder she set forth a trap – a bait of power and echoes of a real encounter tailored to pull him in, his lust for the betrayals others have experienced that headiest of wines for him.
Utterly desired and irresistible for one such as him who is addicted to these sensations.
His own magic required the separation of his mind from the body, the conscience portion moving like a ghost to where he wanted or desired; while the body and the subconscious of the brain remained behind. Once he fell into the trap, she was easily able to follow the paths back to his physical being – left so defenseless from within despite the locked doors into the physical room itself.
The house of his own mind, open and vulnerable was entered; and then annihilated.
Sundered of the body, his very being of consciousness – that portion which is our own life force, which defines who we are, also was destroyed.
The academy tests can wait, as can all else.
For tomorrow she will walk again the memories of her and Nia; to live again and remember what true joy is in life.
For tonight though, she sleeps the slumber of the truly peaceful for once in a long, long time.
Chancellor Storm Dragon stood in the midst of the rose garden alone save for two other beings.
One is his own familiar, the little field mouse bonded to him in ways others cannot understand fully.
The second is the now fading out form of Patches, familiar and friend of Charity; who of his own free violation went to the Chancellor; telling of all that has happened, honest and in all details – even sharing the memories of her encounter – to the one he knows can be trusted.
“Indeed Patches,” he declared while lowering his head, recalling the chain of betrayals that took his one love as well, the cat-girl Felicity. So long ago, he learned who murdered her, and with the help of Douglas and the others sent him to his final doom for eternity.
“I wonder Charity how many more times our lives have intertwined one with another; always separate yet so very close to one another…how many times…and how can I breach this subject; to learn more of one who I am falling for in my heart.”
Suddenly deciding he needed to be in a better mood; hands went up and called to a cloud nearby. All of those who witnessed the display declared a great bolt of lightning shaped as a swirling maelstrom of dragons descended to him; then with the care belying their size and power, gently flew him off to the mountains far to the south – where a cabal of evil mages soon perished once and for all.