Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. You might find yourself in there but that is a figment of your imagination or just the fact that you have the power to inspire.
This story is dedicated to women everywhere, who should be encouraged to do their best to be what they wish to be and to follow their dreams and the best means of achieving them. When they are it comes back to the rest of us in ways that just keep that circle going. It's not that they need our help, its that we need each other.Updates
[Updated: November 17, 2013]
The story is currently in a second draft, and I'm piecing together plot lines and cleaning up the story as much as I can. The story with Barris is not over yet, and the ending is going to have an addition to it when I can find some peaceful time. There have been a number of disturbances where I live making the writing process very difficult (it was actually like that for the whole writing process, but it just got a bit more invasive in the last three weeks making it harder to get this done and keep it in the vision I had for it. Maybe there's people that don't like stories about women (and men) with unique powers and talents or maybe its just a bad story). Ultimately there will be a lot more but in a series of different stories as there is a whole world with background that I've devised, that covers many parts of the world and the worlds beyond...
This story is about an artist, her friends, their antagonists and their struggles against their antagonists and one another. It has action and magic in it too. Beyond that it is about whatever you get from the story and there's lots to be gotten from it which is really what the story is about. You came here to read something and I should really let you get to reading it.
A Lady's Prerogative
Mila placed the candelabra on the table and travelled the distance around it to a window near the far end. The table itself was oval in shape, with enough places to seat ten comfortably though only four places were set. No cloth covered its surface, only the evenly spaced place settings, which included an array of salad, shellfish, dinner and dessert forks, spoons for soup and legumes, and knives fit for cutting rolls or buttering them as desired. The center of the table housed the newly placed candelabra which was curtained with various serving dishes that contained sauces and other elixirs.
The table itself was made from a variety of different woods which were each sculpted and carved and assembled by a craftsman. She had custom ordered this table and supplied a large portion of the design herself. Everything in her house was as this table, something that she dreamt of and had made its way into the world by way of her creativity. Taking the idea from a dream to reality always required a skill or a combination thereof that she did not possess in the means necessary to make that dream, whatever it was. Finding the right person, with the right combination of skill, artistry and expression was always the interesting part.
She closed the window, through which the wind pushed the curtain into a dance. This window, about three feet removed from the end of the table, looked out onto a grove that blanketed the property for fifty yards all the way ‘round the house before giving way to a thick overgrown forest. During the day, the odd chipmunk or squirrel would make its way through the grove in order to search for something that may have made its way to the ground from one of the orchard trees. There was no activity in the orchard on this day. Most of the squirrels and chipmunks were well into the task of preparing for winter, or had already settled in for their big sleep. The sun was already hidden beyond the forest and just beneath the horizon. She noted the state of the trees and the foliage that had spread itself onto the floor of the grove. She let the curtain fall back into place in front of the window, its dancing done for the day. It was still too early to prepare for her guests, as punctual and reliable as they were, they never arrived before dark. Besides, there were still many preparations necessary for what was to follow.
She crossed the distance of the room through an archway that opened into the kitchen. The room itself sang with the same atmosphere as did the dining area. Lit well enough for one to see, yet dark enough to be relaxing at the same time. On a large cast iron gas stove, a trio of pots boiled, water frothing but never quite reaching the edges to escape. In the center of each pot, was a second pot, a double boiler as it were. Within each of these boilers were suspended several pieces of string which were tied to a rod stretched across each boiler. Within each, a different coloured liquid simmered, without bubbling, but moving just beneath the surface enough to let one know that something was happening. She proceeded through the archway and over to the stove, reaching for a handle at the end of one of the rods. She skilfully lifted of the rods by this handle and placed them on a rack, where the strings, now covered in this liquid set to solidify.
As they solidified into candles, she tended to the clutter on the stove itself, removing the pots and boilers to the sink. It would take some time for the candles to dry, for these were no ordinary candles. After she had put everything away, she proceeded to the living room to enjoy a bit of relaxation to summon up the kind of energy that she would need. She made her way down the hall to the archway that opened into the room she sought. The living room itself was compact and bodingly dark and the walls were framed by tall baseboards, each etched with a multitude of carvings. The walls were painted in what looked to be a smorgasbord of streamers and confetti in a variety of reds, oranges and pinks which like the baseboard carvings, never repeated or made any kind of pattern.
Her favourite chair, a large soft overstuffed upholstered in cashmere, sat a body length shy of the center of the room, with a large ottoman perched before it. She reached the chair and sat upon it, stretching her legs out comfortably on the ottoman. The chair faced a fire place, which like the baseboards, had their own carvings, but of a much different style than those on the baseboards. The mantle piece above the fire place appeared almost as a framed painting or mirror. It’s surface appeared to ever so slowly change shape, and colour in harmonic appreciation of the burning wood, which were dense pieces of cedar, its aroma filling the air. On a table beside her chair, sat a few books that she was part way through reading, although there would be no reading tonight. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the crackling of the fire, drawing its energy in as she drifted.
She was in another place, a street in Alivale, the small township a good many miles from the house. The street was empty, but there seemed to be a festive spirit in the air regardless of the lack of patrons. She was walking down the street, in a clear midday sun, towards a “T” intersection. Across the street at the end of the “T”, was her destination. She looked to her left at a display window. A mannequin stood modelling farming apparel, holding a large pitchfork, its spokes reaching for the ceiling. Hay was scattered around the floor of the display window, making it look like a simple caricature of actual farming life. She looked to the face of the mannequin and thought there was something that just wasn't quite right. She tried to pause in her footsteps but found that she couldn't. She continued her journey, startled as she another mannequin in the following store window, a lady modelling jogging sportswear. None of the mannequins seemed to breath yet they were definitely alive. None of them resembled anyone that she had ever met in her trips to the town, shielding her with a sense of detachment.
As she reached the intersection, she heard the sound of moving water and was met with a cool and misty breeze. The street itself had become a river, the waters seeming to accelerate as she approached. She tried to stop herself from stepping out into the street/river but encountered the same resistance to her efforts that she had experienced at the display window. Her foot met the water, which was moving rapidly, roaring as it did. She braced for cold flow of water over her body, but found that she didn't sink as she stepped out onto the river. The rushing water supported her weight, which felt like mossy tundra under her step. The water didn't stream up her foot or shower her in splashes as she took each step, it merely flowed underfoot. She took her final step onto the curb and turned her attention from the rushing water to her destination. The store had a large display window, which seemed to be steamed over on the inside. She approached the display window, putting a hand to the glass. She peered through the window but was met with a thick grey steam that obscured the display environment. She brought her face closer, shielding her eyes of the midday glare with one of her hands. A face shot out of the steam from the other side and pressed itself onto the glass. The face had grey glowing eyes and a listless expression, its teeth clenched in a grim rictus.
“This year is going to be different Mila!” the face spoke, in a gargling like dialect.
“Just ask the kind Alivale folk what they think!” the face nodded in a gesture pointing out the crowd of Alivale mannequins that had gathered on the other side of the “T” intersection.
Each mannequin still held its canned smile and inanimate expression upon her. The jogger sportswear mannequin backed up to take a run at hurdling the river. The mannequin ran a hard sprint, leaping into the air in a steep arc and not covering the distance, plunged into the river. Mila stepped back against the display window aghast at the mannequin, still smiling as it failed to get a hold of the curb and was quickly swept down stream, tumbling through the water. As quickly as it disappeared, one of the other mannequins stepped forward, in a three piece suit, squatted and projected itself at Mila like a dapper missile. Despite the initial lack of momentum, the suit mannequin was able to launch itself far enough across to get a purchase on the curb. It held on, struggling happily against the force of the water to pull itself onto the sidewalk at Mila. As it managed to get its other hand on the curb, another suit mannequin leapt out of the crowd and into the water, spurred on by the former’s success, accidentally knocking a couple of other mannequins into the water. The first suit mannequin had started to pull itself from the water, Mila watching in horror as it did. The second suit mannequin had leveraged its distance across using the other mannequins that it had knocked into the water as rafts, pushing off from one and catching the first suit mannequin’s leg. The first suit mannequin, unfazed and smiling, pulled itself up onto the curb.
The second suit mannequin, whose wig had fallen off into the water, climbed up and over the first, now already part way onto the curb. Mila, spurred to action by their success moved forward in an attempt to knock them back. Her foot connected with the chest of the second one in a solid blow, knocking the mannequin backwards into the water, where it disappeared quickly. The first mannequin, reached out and grabbed her exposed leg, its hand feeling like cold wax. She screamed, kicking it with her free foot. The suit mannequin held fast, as it reached for her other leg. In her frenzy, she noticed the farm hand mannequin at the front of the crowd, clumps of hay stuck to its feet. It arched its arm back, wielding the pitchfork like a javelin. The pitchfork flew through the air in a deadly arc at Mila. Mila reached for the suit mannequin’s tie, and yanked it to its feet just as the pitchfork reached her. It plunged into the back of the suit mannequin with a chunk sound that made Mila shudder. The mannequin unphased by the wound and still smiling despite, stumbled backwards, if only by the imbalance caused by the pitchfork. Mila pushed with both hands against the mannequin’s shoulders. The mannequin plunged into the water, cart wheeling downstream, still reaching for the curb with futility.
Mila looked back to the crowd, which seemed to have lost its collective nerve and was backing away from street. Catching her breath, she turned back to the face in the glass, which had disappeared into the display window steam.
Mila sighed, still shaking a little. She had leaned against the store window to keep her balance when a cold waxy hand gripped her shoulder. She turned screaming to see the face of the farm hand mannequin smiling back at her. Her scream filled the air as a loud “pop” from the fire place broke her sleep.
She scanned the living room for mannequins finding none to her relief. The house was even darker since the sun had completely disappeared, and the full moon crept its way into the night sky. Her guests would be arriving soon.
Mila made her way back to the kitchen hurriedly for some final preparations to the special candles as they were an important part of the evening and part of her contribution to the night. She trimmed the candles of their excess leaving a bushy wick on the end of each. She placed each on its own holder which bore engravings lacking symmetry and if one looked close enough at them, they may have noticed a similarity with those on the mantle piece. She paused to admire their beauty as they had turned out perfectly despite the disturbing dream. She took them each two at a time to a hutch that stood upon a buffet in the dining space. They were evenly distributed across three separate shelves where, to an observer they would have seemed more pronounced than the space that surrounded them. Again she admired them within their setting then continued on with the final preparations.
Most of the feast had been prepared by her in the days prior to the date although the feast was not the main attraction of the evening. Every last vegetable, legume, berry that had made its way into one of the entrees she had hand picked. A lost art that was very important to those who understood its value. She retrieved each of the entrees from the stove, which she had cleverly converted to an oven sized steamer. She grabbed each of the serving dishes and placed them upon their place (which had also been considered) on the table. When finished, she paused once more to admire the entirety of the scene before her, inhaling the plethora of aromas. She sighed and made her way up the back stairs and to her bedroom. There she quickly washed her face and donned her white evening gown, which bore her curves in exhibition and yielded to her movement without constricting her. She wore her sexuality with confidence as a mature woman yet retained her personal sense of poise. Intimacy was a sacred form of expression that should only be communicated between those who meant it. She braided her long hair and twirled it into a spiral shaped bun on the back of her head. She was as ready for the night as it was for her.
She made her way down the stairs to the dining room and took her place on the end of the table closest the kitchen. By that time, the air had already begun to move in scattered and erratic bursts making the candles on the candelabra dance. There she seated herself in wait for her guests to arrive observing the show. Each air burst was now accompanied by the presence of a dense dark patch of space that no light could pierce. As quickly as they would appear, they would fade. She jumped as a bolt of static electricity shot from one of the black patches on one side of the table to a point in the corner of the ceiling. The air itself seem to darken as the show progressed. There was a loud POP and another bolt of static shot from the one of the corners of the buffet into a spoke on the candelabra. She jumped in her chair, startled but amused.
The air in the room seemed to fold into itself while the the chairs of the three other settings began to rock and shudder. Mila scanned the room, making sure there was no damage in the fray, when she noticed a butterfly fluttering to one of the chairs, quickly to be followed by another. Yet another followed those two and then one more. Additional butterflies continued to materialize as tiny puffs of smoke until there was cloud of butterflies forming up onto the first chair. The mass of butterflies slowly congregated, taking the form of a combined larger shape on the chair, their wings still beating the air. Mila watched in awe as their wings slowed, while they slowly combined into a human shaped cocoon, their movement continuing under the shell. A moment later, the movement in the cocoon had stopped and the cocoon itself dissolved, pieces floating into the air and disappearing revealing a beautiful woman seated thereupon. She wore a bright red gown, had striking long red hair and lips and deeply penetrating eyes, which seemed to fluctuate in colour, though that may have been the effect of the electrical bolts and puffs of darkness that were still piercing the air full force. The lady sat quietly joining Mila, who was still keeping an eye on the show around them.
The second chair, the one across from the red haired lady, continued to rock from side to side, occasionally bouncing off the ground altogether. Mila had observed that the shadows in the room had began to take on a life of their own. The shadows combined, like a pool of liquid, streaming toward the chair from all directions. When the shadows had made their way to the chair, they continued up the chair, and like the cocoon, took on the form of a person. The shape slowly gained dimensionality and the curves of another beauty took form, whose black night gown was somewhat more revealing yet still retained an air of elegance. She smiled with a hidden prudence, her lips as dark as her gown, her eyes even darker. She held her silence, the three looking at each other and then to the remaining chair.
The last chair, which was hopping and rocking around an imaginary point at the end of the table suddenly stopped. For a moment there was complete silence and all of the activity ceased, the room visibly darkened. The three women eyed the room as if in disbelief that the show had ended, the shadow lady pursing her lips feigning disappointment. A low frequency hum began to oscillate, shaking the entire house and its occupants. Mila could feel her insides moving sympathetically to the low frequency harmonics as she fought the urge to gag. There was another moment of silence, then the walls and ceiling disappeared altogether revealing the night around them in all of its glory. A strong wind blew from out of nowhere towards the empty chair, as if the space the chair occupied had become a vacuum. Even the trees of the orchard which were visible to the ladies, swayed against this wind. The clouds themselves had become caught up as well, and had been pulled from miles around, out of the sky in a stream all leading to the chair. Several lightning bolts swept across the sky, followed by the blast of thunder. Mila gripped the arms to her chair as if hanging on for her life. When the cacophony had reached nearly unbearable proportions, a loud boom echoed out from the house, and the walls and ceiling reappeared, the momentum screeching to a halt like the end of a terrifying roller coaster Amazingly, nothing in the room had been disturbed by the maelstrom, though its effects were visible on the faces of the three ladies. While they caught their breath in the silence, they almost failed to notice the last guest.
[March 31, 2013 00:34AM]
[April 10, 2013 9:42AM Rewrite]
Mila paused for a moment and spanned the room with her eyes and senses, and both simultaneously trying to see through a thin veil of mist that enveloped the room and evaluate the room for damage. When she was satisfied with what her eyes told her of the situation she turned her full attention to the new guest. Yirfir, an elderly lady with sparkling eyes alight with the curiosity of someone a hundredth her years, stood in her chair, a mystical cloak flowing from her skin and billowing in motion despite the still air.
"Please, stay seated. I insist." she turned to Mila and her guests, who all simultaneously rose from their seats in unison with Yirfir.
The trio looked on returning to their respective seats.
"Well this is a far cry from what I expected!" she proclaimed proudly like she had been to Mila's abode in the past, though the truth is that this was her first time there.
"How quaint, yet bold in approach. I see you've been busy with the details?" she inquired of Mila, who smiled politely and nodded.
Yirfir was of course referring to the decorative work which ran lightly through the surface of all the walls, though barely noticeable, and especially such in the dim candle light. Mila's cheeks flushed as she was not accustomed to the attention, as she was the sole occupant of this stately manor.
[April 10, 2013 10:00PM]
Yirfir eyed each of the occupants at the table in turn, each obviously a little uncomfortable with her outward enthusiasm, as they had expected someone or something a bit more refined. The prison of age, kept by the young against the elderly. It was always naturally a shock to see someone like Yirfir whom had not lost her spice for life upon reaching her shelf life. Yirfir would never relinquish that spark to anyone, and this is what had gotten her loyal friends, and fierce enemies too.
"The table is set, so let's get the feastivities started" Yirfir exclaimed with intentional pun and punctuating her regard for the ladies' impression of her.
Mila smiled, amused by Yirfir's lively attitude,as she had one of her own, which she kept safely tucked away for the right occasions. This occasion belonged to Yirfir, for she would be the guide for the night's adventure and it was her perogative, a lady's perogative to bare the joy of life in spite of those who thwarted it. Tonight was the real beginning of their journey. A journey that did not always see those enduring its path arrive safely at its destination.
Two Of Hearts
Nelony, the lady of butterflies sat quietly taking in her surroundings. A butterfly perched on her shoulder, fanning its wings in practice of the next step in its simple life cycle. She looked on to Mila, who eye her with curiosity.
"I love butterflies" Mila stated with genuine interest.
"They're pretty beasts, they are. But you must guard they don't make purchase of your lashes" Nelony stated, as if well experienced of her scenario, and as if on que, the beast on her shoulder fluttered to hers, grasping at one, struggling with it a short time and continuing to her crown when it failed to pull it away.
Mila watched in amazement, still enamoured of magic.
The feast had proceeded and Yirfir held the spotlight, savouring every moment of it. She had attended such gatherings for years before the ladies seated before her could walk, and she hoped that she would continue until she couldn't. Mila tended to the guests, as was required of a hostess of the gathering, a responsibility she relished.
It was an another art form to her and the evenings festivities and the appetite of her guests was her palette. Each morsel of food and droplet of grappa were the paint that she had applied to the mood with the brushes of her utensils cutlery and place settings. Mila was by no means stuck to the trappings of what one would call a home-maker by cliche. She was just another kind of artist, and had taken up all such pursuits with the same attitude towards the activity regardless of what it had entailed.
Whether it was a practice in social etiquette, an exercise in firm regard for her ideals, she had applied her artful approach to the activity. Men had been a part of her life and they too were her canvas, though she had recently started to refrain from social encounters as she had found that she was often drained in her attempts to bond with them emotionally.
She hadn't found a mate that had bonded with her at her level. When she did meet someone, she had a tendency to push them away as she found herself on unfamiliar ground with such men. That was until she had met Ethran at the furniture finishing shop in town. She had ventured into town in order to find the price of finishing some furniture in manor. She had arranged for a sales estimate at her residence as part of her project with the interior design of the manor, something she enjoyed, especially big projects as this one. Ethran had arrived at her place, dressed both professionally and casually, and she had found him quite attractive from the moment she had first laid eyes on him.
He hid his interest in her rather well and fooled even her keen senses while she toyed with his ego, as an artist as herself might. He flinched nought and kept at his estimate professionally evaulating each piece in turn asking her questions with regard to her requirements. Her level of frustration rose as she realized that they were not speaking the same sexual language that she was trying to communicate to him. He hadn't a "ring" nor would she have ever pursued someone committed to another as she had lost her by way of betrayal by her former husband.
Discouraged, she had almost given up and as a last attempt she had lured him up to the bedroom suite to evaluate her wardrobe and chest of drawers. He had played naive 'til the last moment, but when he had seen her invitingly strewn across the bed, her thigh visible up to her privates and her seductive gaze directed invitingly at his, he could no longer maintain his feigned disinterest. They had occupied the room for fourteen hours, emerging only once for finger food, which she brought back to the bedroom for their consumption which swiftly lead to hours more of intermittent love making. He had adored her and he embraced her artistic approach as he possessed his own, and by the weekend's end he knew her better than most had, including her former husband.
This encounter had healed three years of pain she had experienced upon finding her former husband with another woman, in their own bed no doubt. She had left the house quietly that afternoon, tears streaming the height of her cheeks and finding gravity enough to hang drop to her blouse from her chin. Her pain had taken weeks to find resolve and she evicted her memories of him one at time over the following year. The last memory she had of him was of his grovelling, prying away at her holdings as if they were his own. She had agreed to give him the house they had resided in together, though more to cleanse her memory of it and her time with him.
Ethran had made her feel vulnerable in a way that she had only experienced at the hands of her former husband, though Ethran was actually aware of her wholly. She had began to feel for him from their first encounter, and they had many encounters beyond. He would call her and they would meet in secluded, and sometimes public places, and share their need for gratification that could not be found with anyone but each other. Her vulnerabilty had reached a peak when he had called her one afternoon and had arranged to meet her in the evening, at his modest apartment in town. She agreed, her anticipation already superimposing him to her imagination.
When he arrived, and they embraced, he held tight but pursued her no further than her embrace. For the remainder of the evening she felt at odds with him, even distrustful of him. She kept a barrier around her being for the night until they retired to bed, when something different had happened. When they retired to bed, she had made advances upon him as she was at her peak, potent and virile with artistic energy seeking manifest through his embrace. He avoided sexuality and asked her to lay upon him naked, close. She indulged him, not knowing what to expect but ultimately expecting another kinky sexual escapade.
"Line up your heart beat to mine" he asked quietly, her cheek pressed against his chest. She sat still, not sure what he was implying, but when their heart beats synchronized and fell in beat together and their breath fell in rhythm, heaven followed. She lay still upon his chest, breathing him in with every breath as he did every breath of her. For that moment, and the remaining night they were one. No sex or love making. No seeking of her potency for his own selfish gratification. Just two becoming one, a heart beat at a time.
When morning had come around, Mila had forgotten herself and had become lost within a dream that frightened her. She abandoned him in the early morning and sat curled up on bathroom floor crying quietly, trying to rid herself of attachment and the risk it held for her. At breakfast she remained distant, her heart on the bathroom floor, bloated and beating, flushing ice from her system in abundance. He eyed her with delicate sensitivity, trying to breach her pain, but only colliding with her distrust. His heart held onto hers for a long time before their synchronization broke, and they felt it, and they knew it was over.
Mila watched him leave and then started her way back to the manor that morning and never saw him again. That was her last time with Ethran and any man beyond that. She fought back tears and hid from her pain and when it found her again she knew that she loved him, though she'd never seen him from that point on. Mila slowly crept her way from her memories back to the manor dining area.
[April 12, 2013 8:00PM]
Alliance In The Night
Yirfir spent a little time with each of the guests in turn, in order to understand them better, and find them within their shell because they all had one, even Yirfir. Shaela was confident and quaint, and spoke without revealing her intent, making her difficult to read, even for Yirfir. She kept her vigil on the end of the table deepest in the shadows, only slightly visible in flickering vestiges at the edge of the candle light.
"Shaela, you must realize that this is an important night for you. For all of you." Yirfir told Shaela, who only seemed to be half listening, the other half engaged in the conversation between Nelony and Mila.
[April 13, 2013 10:00AM Rewrite]
"I see you have found another interest away from your shadows" Yirfir paused, slightly impatient with Shaela's lack of attentiveness.
Shaela, whose form was almost as that of a shadow and whom would have gone completely unnoticed if not for her striking eyes, immediately focused upon Yirfir. Her voice emerged from her, a dark aural wind from deep within a cave.
"I am interested only in what I need to know to complete this night" she stated, keeping her eyes upon her contemporaries.
Shaela held forth the three mid fingers on her left hand, upon each of which a small flame sprang forth, and merged before her to ball no bigger than a marble. It quickly shot across the room, between Nelony and Mila, who were deep in conversation, and burst into a firework, startling them both as they shielded themselves.
Yirfir, stood watching the show, only slightly amused, while Nelony and Mila were completely caught off guard. Nelony's temper flared and she immediately rose from her chair, her hand thrown forth. She uttered an unintelligible word, and a loud pop like the crack of whip burst from a point near her extended hand. A large hornet, just a little smaller than her clenched fist materialized and sped towards Shaela, directly at her nose.
Time slowed and just before it reached the purchase of Shaela's sellion, Mila gestured moving each of her two extended fingers as paintbrushes across the distant canvas of Shaela's face. Intricately detailed and shaded lines crept their way across Shaela's face meeting in the middle, where a beautiful flower took form: a still life begonia tattoo. The edges of the tattoo curled from Shaela's face and it sprang forth, floating before her face, intercepting the hornet, which oddly enough had become happily part of the artwork. The picture fluttered harmlessly to the floor landing before Shaela.
Shaela looked down at a little shocked, and then looked to Mila, who returned her gaze.
"Keep it. There'll be more" Mila offered, still sounding a little agitated.
"Bravo. Bravo. I am truly impressed. Let us hope that is not all that you have up your sleeves, for tonight you will need more than fireworks, hornets and paintings to help you succeed."
"I thank you Mila." Shaela offered sincerely. She looked over to Nelony and continued.
"Nelonly, this is not over between us".
"You startled us Shaela. How would you have reacted?" asked Mila with a sincere concern.
"A lot harder than she did." Shaela's voice deepened and the room visibly darkened with her statement.
"You don't scare me." Nelony responded, a deep humming sound could be heard from outside, growing in intensity. A humgous swarm of insects, wings, legs and mandibles had materialized outside in the fog laden air around the Manor. They buzzed with the intensity of Nelony's anger, each crawling the exterior seeking entry to the Manor.
An instant later, the Manor and swarm had all disappeared and they were standing in the orchard itself under the stars. Yirfir seemed to grow in size and presence before them, her cheeriness replaced by an omnipresence that terrified the three younger ladies, each cowering together in the grass that occupied the former plot of the Manor.
"If you will not find peace with each other, then you will find conflict with me." Yirfir's presence had become all imposing and deeply vindictive, and the three ladies gained hold of their fear and stood together.
Yirfir's halo in the moon had become that of large and angry beast, easily four stories in height, two glowing eyes peering down at the three ladies, who huddled together momentarily held in fear.
Nelony broke the stand off as her temper flared again.
"We're not afraid of you!" she shouted.
"Silence!" Yirfir's voice echoed throughout the orchard.
A moment passed while they stood waiting to see what would happen. When nothing did Shaela stepped forward. The shadow that trailed her cast by the moonlight (Shaela's favourite kind) had grown to the form of a large dark cat-like creature, easily a third the size of Yirfir's beast. Its shadowy snarls and breath could be felt by all three as it stood vigil.
"Don't you talk to her that way!" Shaela demanded coming to Nelony's aid.
"Then I shall deal with the two of you together!" Yirfir boomed.
"You'll deal with us all three!" Mila jumped in front of the other two.
There was a tense standoff, the cat beast roaring and Yirfir's giant lurching forward to meet it's challenge and for a moment, they feared the situation had gotten out of control.
"That's better" Yirfir broke the tension, the beasts faded and the Manor returned along with Yirfir's unimposing demeanor, her glass of wine in hand, a smile crept to the corner of her mouth and quavered a moment.
The tension in the room slowly dissipated, and Yirfir continued, an ecstatic and deliberately slow chuckle emanating from her like the wiles of a lady who possessed the secrets of great pleasure. She basked in the afterglow of her magic, and eyed each of the ladies in turn.
"As you know my darlings, this is an important night. For all of us. For each of you. It will determine your place within our gathering and other gatherings like ours. It will determine your place within society, and how you will serve them both, should you survive. You will need to do so together and not apart." Yirfir spake her wisdom and the three listened intently. She had abandoned her prior aloofness in favour of the age born cliche which at least two of the dinner guests had expected of her. In time they would learn to be aware of what one would not expect from another.
The town was quiet at this time, roughly eleven post meridian and a slight fog had settle over it, blanketing it with mist. The street lamps penetrated this mist and were reflected by the damp roads and sidewalks, giving the whole an eerie and solid glow. The town had stood for a long time, springing forth from the brush as a farming community nearly three hundred years ago. Before that for a breadth of five hundred years, it had been home and habitat to a variety of fauna in its temperate climate, each etching out its existence in the peaceful environment which had become the overgrowth of a conflict over nine hundred years prior to that. That conflict found people fighting over the fertile lands for their value as a potent source of food and sustenance. Before those fighting for claim to the land had found it, it had remained free of any form of civilization for over three thousand years prior to the conflicts of those fighting for claim of its beasts and berries. It is the conflict from that era, almost five thousand years ago that brought the stranger to the streets this night.
He walked slowly down the main street, the same one where Mila had admired the storefront mannequins, before fleeing them in terror in her late afternoon dream. He took notice of the stores, each a small business run by a member of the community, who likely had relatives that went back to the time the town was settled or those whom had come seeking a new start. He had no interest in the store fronts or the pasts of those who kept them though he did admire the perseverance of the people, while he pitied their ignorance. He brandished a walking stick in his right hand, which clicked with each step. His head was furnished with a designer hat, from years before though it gave no indication of whom that designer might be, or what era it originated from. From beneath the hat, stringy strands of white hair dangled to the shoulders of his black knee length long coat. Dressed a gentleman, and elderly one at that, Lasmer strode down the main street, his tall frame of six and a half feet casting an even taller shadow on the fog and streets.
He had come here seeking history, though not the history you might find in books. He was looking for a history that occurred before there were such records of history. Where such tales were passed on by those who knew of them, and only in spoken word, though it was not the words that he sought but something they might speak of. The problem though for him was in finding those who knew those words, and that could be a tricky business, even for someone as gifted as Jasmer. He had in the last sixty years found no less than six people that had known those words, those tales. Getting at each of those people and their tales had been a long and difficult process, but a man of his perseverance and determination made it appear like clockwork, and time was Jasmer's ally. In this evening he needed the seventh piece to his puzzle and he was less than an hundred feet from that piece and getting closer to it with each stride. He smiled to himself thinking "lucky seven".
He tapped the door with the platinum plated head of the cane, which bit at the door with each contact. Jasmer was met with silence, but his patience had met sturdier adversaries and he waited. The locks clacked on the door and the hinges creaked as it opened. A small man peeked out from behind the oak eyeing Jasmer with an expression between suspicion and familiarity. Jasmer smiled deceivingly as it were.
"May I help you? You are aware that it is past the browsing hour?" the small man inquired.
Jasmer smiled and responded as he had for hundreds of years.
"I assure you I'm not here to browse. You came recommended to me by a close friend."
"Well, we're closed as you can obviously see." the man behind the door extended a shaky hand and pointed to a painted sign.
Jasmer eyed the sign, though more to humour the artist who had constructed it, as he had seen many before and deceived them each.
"No I'm not here to see your sign. I can assure you of that. I want to see your collection." Jasmer smiled, and few could refuse.
Unwanted Dinner Guests
Yirfir eyed the three before her, each a fine lady and each in their own right, but this wasn't about what one could see. She walked the room, her experience one step before her and her wisdom between.
Mila remained silent, the good hostess making sure that the food was present and the drink flowed and keeping herself contained within. Nelony enjoyed being pampered by her friend as she had not often received as often as she was present to give. Shaela on the other hand was there to protect herself and her interests among them, though inside she was just as protective of them all. She had learnt that to care was weakness and this conflicted with her person fiercely and fueled the harsh elements within her.
The anticipation became apparent within the air and though Yirfir recognized it she belayed it before she spoke.
"Ladies, if you would for a moment. I am here to introduce into a world that you've been striving to earn by the expression of your unique abilities each." Yirfir paused, sipping of her wine and savouring it though not letting it savour her.
"You have worked hard your whole life to achieve this night, though never knowing for sure what it may hold for you." She continued, relishing another sip.
Yirfir was about to continue when there was a loud "pop" as if the air in the center of Mila's room had collapsed into iteself to fill an empty space. Before Yirfir stood a tall darkly clad figure, eyes glowing intensely. Yirfir startled for a moment quickly reacted gesturing with her right hand and mouthing a word silently. A grey ambience slowly to encompassed the the darkly clad figure, each portion of their figure being consumed by it and becoming still, though perfectly. Before long it was entirely consumed.
A moment later another "pop!", followed by another and there were two beside Yirfir, one grabbing her right arm. Her wine glass quickly changed form to a spiked glacious blade, the wine falling to the floor. She swung it at her assailant while the newly appeared attempted to grab at the wine glass/blade.
Shaela leapt to action, a blue bolt of ice and lightning climbing the exterior of her arm through her fingertips and arcing to Yirfir's attacker. He cringed slightly as the bolt impacted, his grip upon Yirfir's arm lost, he shielded himself. The first assailant had been completely consumed and stood as a statue before them, Yirfir's makeshift blade narrowly missing him. The blade impacted upon her other attacker's shoulder, forcing him to use the hand he was restraining her with to defend himself. She withdrew long enough to see Nelony firing a barrage of seeds from her fingertips like bullets. They impacted the assailant's forehead burrowing deeply leaving it pocked with seed filled pimplets. He screamed as each seed sprouted to life, a small plant emerging from each entry point. The plants each grasped at his eyes while he screamed.
"Now that's more like it!" Yirfir exclaimed, waving her hands, slowly clasping her fingers turning the cloaked figure's garments into a netted trap tightening around him and constraining him.
The last attacker having recovered from Shaela's bolts redoubled his efforts to constrain Yirfir. He grabbed what looked like a cattle prod from his belt and swung it at Yirfir's unprotected arm. Mila shouted, arcing her hands and rippling her fingers floorward. The outline of a trap door etched its way onto the floor in intricate design woodgrain and hardware, hinges appearing and a latch snapping open. The assailant's cattle prod barely missed Yirfir's arm before gravity took hold and pulled him into the depth's of Mila's imaginary trap door. A scream echoed from the interior before the door latched shut again.
"What'd you put in there?" Nelony asked Mila.
"I don't know. I'd hate to think." she replied.
There was another loud "pop" and this time the assailant appeared ready and from behind Yirfir. He threw a large hood around Yirfir's head, blinding her and suffocating her simultaneously. A moment later there was a loud "thwap" and Yirfir was gone with her assailants all four.
"Yirfir!" Mila screamed, leaping forward.
The air held a misty point of tension where they had vanished. It floated gaseously swirling and eminating an energy, slowly disappearing and closing the only door and clue there was to Yirfir's whereabouts.
If you like what you read so far and would like to purchase this book online, it is exclusively available at Amazon.ca (or your local Amazon regional outlet).
If you are more into the superhero genre, you might consider reading my other book: The Butterfly Dragon (on Amazon.com or your regional Amazon outlet) which is also available in preview form on its official blog at http://thebutterflydragon.blogspot.ca.
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