This story is erotic fantasy, set in a world of magic. I reserve the right to be listed as the author of this work, wherever it is posted. If found posted anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. © Darkniciad 2000-2007
I make use of modern weights and measures quite often in my work, because those are the weights and measures of my fantasy world. I know many fantasy readers prefer more archaic terms, and I hope those readers can overlook my use of miles, feet, and other such measures.
Please note that the form of witchcraft in my world is not meant to be true Wicca. Nor is it supposed to follow "Charmed" exactly. No offence or confusion is intended.
You really need to read the previous parts of the story to know the characters and the storyline. This tale follows Danica in her day-to-day adventures, with the greater plot emerging slowly at first. Think of it more as a serial than a novel, and you'll be in the right mindset.
This is an edited version of this tale, making use of what I've learned since starting to post at Literotica, and the services of my tireless editor, Roust Writer.
Danica knelt at her mother's grave, gently stroking the marker stone with one hand. Tears streamed down her face, but only the occasional sob shook her. Her mother's long illness had prepared Danica for this day long ago, as much as anyone could be prepared for the death of a parent.
She laid the flowers in front of the headstone, whispering, "I love you, Mom. I'll miss you." Staring at the stone, Danica wondered, What would you think of me, if you could see me now?
As if sensing her sister's thoughts, Devan lay a hand on Danica's shoulder and softly said, "She'd be proud of you, Danica. She always was proud of you. You were a good girl with an honest trade, and no mother could ask for more. I think she would be beaming if she could see you now, though. You stood up and did what was right, and you did it on your own."
Danica looked up at her sister, "You think so?"
Devan nodded and smiled, "I know so."
Danica rose to her feet, and Devan hugged her, whispering into her ear, "I'm proud of you too, Danica. It broke my heart to see you hiding in my shadow, like it was your place, and not living up to your potential. I didn't know what to do, so I just tried to encourage you whenever I could."
"You were always so beautiful and powerful. I felt like nothing beside you," Danica responded.
"Now you know better." Nodding toward the others, gathered a respectful distance away while the sisters shared a private moment, Devan added, "There's your proof. To them, I'm just Danica's sister, and that's the way it should be. I'm so glad to see you taking control of your life."
Danica sighed, "Zoraster gave me little choice."
"Don't worry about that right now. You can tell me more later." Hugging Danica again, Devan whispered, "I was always jealous of your boobs, you know. I've seen men walk into walls and about knock themselves out staring at them."
Danica chuckled and hugged her sister tighter. They both laughed when their stomachs rumbled in perfect unison.
"I think we both need something to eat," Devan remarked.
"Come on inside, and I'll make us something," Danica's father suggested.
Danica looked over at her father and said, "There's a reason Mom never let you near the kitchen, Dad. You can't boil water without burning it – I'm cooking. You and Daniel are going to take Brandon somewhere so you men won't be in our way."
Daniel exclaimed, "Thank the gods!"
Scowling at his son, Danica's father warned, "I'll remember that, Son. I think I can find your mother's recipe for boiled hay."
Daniel held up his hands defensively and backed away, drawing a laugh from everyone.
Chuckling, Danica's father admitted, "It will be nice to have some real food in this house for once, though."
Danica looked over at Devan and said, "I know you're almost as helpless as Dad, but you don't get off so easy. You'll be running to the root cellar for us."
Devan groaned in response to that.
Danica asked her father, "Do you have any hands helping out right now?"
"We told them to take a few days off, and that we'd send for them, when Devan came to get us."
"Okay, it's just us then." Turning to her assembled friends, Danica said, "Let's go find out what we have and get started. I'm starving."
Ebonar stood in Danica's strangely bare room, staring at the corpse of his Master. "It appears you underestimated those two," he muttered. "I have my instructions – things will continue as you ordered."
"Who are you to take his place?"
Ebonar scowled and turned to face Camilla, who was standing in the doorway to Danica's abandoned room. Staring hard at her, his voice tightly controlled, Ebonar replied, "I am in charge here, Camilla. Allow me to demonstrate."
Ebonar spoke a word of magic and Camilla collapsed to the floor on her knees, screaming and holding her head. The pain lasted for only moments, but it was more than long enough for Camilla to understand that this man indeed held secrets known only to Zoraster.
Turning away from the kneeling woman, Ebonar ordered, "Send servants to clean these rooms in one hour. After that, they are to be sealed, and only opened upon my orders. Spread the word that I am calling council for this evening as well, at the usual time. It is time for everyone to know that things will continue as always, under my direction. Close the door behind you."
"Y-yes, Master," Camilla replied, rising to obey the order.
When she was gone, Ebonar lifted his foot from a knife-shaped scorch mark on the stone. Staring at it knowingly, he chanted a spell and caused the blemish to vanish. He then knelt to pick up the contorted body of Zoraster Arias.
"That was a meal fit for a king," Danica's father sighed contentedly, "I don't know if I'll be able to drag myself out of this chair and into bed tonight."
Marlena started to speak, but paused and looked perplexed for a moment. She then said, "It's a bit awkward not knowing your name."
"David," Danica's father replied, "I hardly ever hear it, because the hands call me Sir, and the children call me Dad. Even Dora called me Dear most of the time. I haven't heard David with any regularity for forty years or more."
Devan chuckled and said, "Our family has a thing for names starting with D."
Marlena smiled and said, "I just want to thank you for your hospitality, David."
"Thank him in the morning, because we're staying the night," Danica announced.
"I think I can get up to bring in some beds if you girls will stay the night. It's been too long since either of you stayed, let alone both of you," David said with a wide smile.
"It will be a bit crowded," Devan warned.
Daniel piped up and offered, "Brandon can have my bed. I'll bunk with Dad."
Andrea said, "We don't want to impose."
David gestured to his daughters, "If it keeps both these girls here, and maybe gets me a good breakfast in the morning, I'll consider it a blessing rather than an imposition."
Brandon stood with a great sigh. "It ain't gonna get any easier to move. Show me where the bunks are, and where to put them, and I'll start moving them."
Daniel stood as well, "I'll show you, and I'll help."
Why the sudden urge to stay? Danica heard Devan thinking. Devan obviously meant for Danica to hear the thought, which was the equivalent of a mental shout.
You don't have to shout, Devan, I can hear you. I just feel like staying, and I want to talk to you later. There are some things I need to say to you before I start telling the whole story.
I knew it, you're psionic, you haven't cast any spells.
Later, Danica responded mentally, winking at her sister. She then turned to the other women and asked, "Would you mind helping me with the dishes? We'll cheat a little with our magic, but it will still take a while."
"It's been too long since I've done any honest work," Celes responded and stood up. She then blew out a blast of air and said, "It's been a while since I ate so well too. I don't think I'm in any better shape than anyone else."
Danica's father stood and said, "Well, let's get started moving those beds. My old back may not be good for lifting, but I can surely hold open doors for you younguns."
Brandon laughed, "It's been a while since I was called a youngun.
"You're a friend of my daughter, so you're a youngun," David laughed. "Not so young that you can't share a few tankards with Daniel and I, though."
Daniel beamed, "If I knew you'd break out your cask, I'd bring my friends over more often."
His father snorted, "Your friends aren't so well behaved."
Danica laughed and said, "You just don't know Brandon very well yet."
Brandon affected a hurt expression, drawing a laugh from Danica and her friends. He joined in after a moment, and then followed Daniel to the door. Danica ushered the women into the kitchen at the same time.
Danica yawned, "I feel dead on my feet." She stretched and tossed her bag of holding onto the bed, and then said, "I'm sure Devan and I have nightshirts that will fit everyone."
"If mine haven't been eaten up by moths," Devan muttered, digging into her clothes chest.
Danica asked, "You don't have any in your bag?"
"I keep a few spare robes, and a few pair of panties, but that's about it," Devan answered.
"If you can spare a pair of panties, I'd appreciate it. Mine are falling off me," Celes requested.
Devan flipped open her bag and felt around for a moment, and then withdrew a pair of lace-trimmed red panties, holding them out to Celes.
Celes chuckled and asked, "For special occasions?"
Twitching her eyebrows, Devan replied, "No, I have naughty ones for that."
Danica sent a thought to her friends, I feel like I'm about to pass out, but I really need to talk to Devan tonight. I owe her several apologies, especially for being so judgmental about her being with other women. I feel terrible about it.
We'll be fine, go take care of it now. I don't want a repeat of you and Celes. Andrea thought to Danica, her mental voice still a little awkward, as she had not communicated with Danica often this way.
"Devan – I need to talk to you before we go to bed. Let's go out to the barn."
Devan nodded, and then laughed. "It will be a little odd walking out there together and not being dressed in two layers of clothing."
Danica laughed as well, and then explained to the others who didn't understand the jest, "We used to wear conservative clothing over more daring outfits to get past Mom when we went into town. We always stashed them in the barn."
Marlena blushed and said, "I suppose we all did that."
"We never got caught, though," Devan bragged with a wink.
"Mom knew, she told me, but she still made us go through the motions," Danica told her sister.
"Well, thanks for destroying my illusions about how clever I was," Devan responded, sticking her tongue out.
"Go on, we'll wait for you to get back," Celes said, making a shooing motion.
Danica nodded toward the door, and Devan followed her. The walk to the barn was indeed nostalgic, and Danica found she was smiling despite being a little nervous about the talk with her sister. When they reached the barn, Danica opened the door and led Devan to a bale of hay, where they both sat down.
"Devan, I owe you some apologies."
"Danica, you don't have to..."
"No, I do. I was terrible to you about a lot of things, but one of them has been really bothering me. I'm so sorry for treating you the way I have, because you liked being with other women."
Devan smiled. "It's okay, Danica. I know it isn't the easiest thing in the world to accept. It bothered me at first too, until I realized it was just as natural as being with a man. Why the change in heart?"
Danica blushed, and the reaction told Devan everything she needed to know. She guessed, "Celes?"
Danica smiled, nodded, and said, "Andrea and Marlena too, and a lot of others. Zoraster did things to me while he held me, but I know now that all of it was inside me anyway. I just wouldn't let it out. I think I was trying to be different from you in some small way."
Devan winked and said, "Well, that will certainly make it easier to talk to you sometimes. They're all beautiful women. I'm a bit jealous. Now, I have a question for you. Have you been magicking your boobs?"
Danica laughed and shook her head, and then held up a finger to indicate Devan should wait for a moment while she opened her robe.
Devan asked, "Well, what's that now?"
"I found a woman who makes them, she calls them brassieres. I don't think I could live without them now."
"You're going to have to get me some. I like how they look all pushed up."
"They aren't bouncing all over the place either," Danica said as she closed her robe. "I'm sorry for not letting you know what I was doing when I vanished, too. I know I should have, and all of this probably wouldn't have happened if I had."
"Just don't let it happen again, but you know, Mom always said that things happen for a reason."
"I've been hearing and saying that a lot lately," Danica said with a chuckle. "Anyway, I'm sorry, Devan. I've treated you badly, and it was all for selfish reasons."
"I forgive you," Devan responded, and then yawned, "I want to know more about what happened while you were gone, but I'm exhausted. Let's go to bed, we'll have plenty of time to talk about things later. I'm proud of you Danica, and I'm happy to see you confident and using all that ability you've always had."
"I would have never gotten through it without my friends. Celes, Brandon, Andrea, Marlena – they all supported me in their own ways, others too. I wish I could introduce you to Carolyn, Grant, Heather, Tari, Tonda – so many people have touched me in all those years."
Listening to the love in Danica's voice stung Devan a little. Her relationships were all spurious at best, and she had never really connected with anyone. Hearing the names of so many friends – made under the worst of circumstances – caused Devan to feel more than a little empty inside.
Danica laid a hand on her sister's shoulder, "Are you okay?"
Devan pushed the dark thoughts away and smiled. "Yes, I'm just tired, let's go to bed."
"No need to walk," Danica said and held out her hand to Devan.
Devan took it and they teleported back to their room.
Devan nodded her head approvingly when they arrived. "Now, how did you cast that spell so fast? I know the spell, but that wasn't all the words, or gestures."
"Celes and I can explain it. We picked it up at the Forge."
Devan muttered, "So you were there, then. I almost tracked you down, you know. The only thing that made me decide it wasn't you Cheron was talking about was that she said she had been with you. She's rather assertive, isn't she? I liked it."
Celes said, "I guess you got things out in the open, then. Good, I was having trouble keeping my eyes off you."
"Behave," Danica requested playfully, her face bright red.
Devan laughed and winked at Celes. "We're going to get along just fine."
Danica turned back to her sister and replied, "Yes, Cheron knows what she wants and goes right after it. Where did you meet her?"
"Vladamir's – she's his right hand now."
"I'd like to see her again," Danica sighed.
"She'll probably be there when Darkni calls everyone to come listen to your story."
Danica asked, "Who is everyone?"
"Thakkor, Mindblind, Vladamir – everybody. We need to know what you know, so we can counter what Zoraster started. His plans have a life of their own, and they'll cause havoc even without him directing them."
"It was going to be hard enough to tell this story to someone as powerful as Darkniciad. I'm going to throw up if I have to talk in front of Kings and Dukes," Danica lamented.
Devan waved her hand in a dismissive gesture as she stripped off her robe. "The meeting will be informal – all of them are. It probably won't be any different than sitting around talking to anybody else. I'll get you drunk if you get too nervous."
"You'll be fine, Danica. You remember everything, and you speak so well," Marlena asserted.
"She's right," Andrea agreed.
Devan pulled on her nightshirt and said, "There you go, listen to them. Don't you go back to thinking you're less than you are. I don't think I know half of how much you've grown yet."
Danica took off her brassiere, smiling when she saw all three of her friends glance at her breasts, and then put on her nightshirt. "I still think I'm going to throw up."
Devan climbed into bed and said, "We'll keep a bucket nearby then."
"You're terrible," Danica sighed as she climbed into bed.
"No, terrible would be sneaking out and trying to seduce that handsome Brandon you brought with you, while you were sleeping."
Danica threw a pillow at her sister and then put out the lamp. Devan's mirth was short lived, and she lay awake for more than an hour, struggling with her inner demons in light of seeing the strong bonds of friendship and love between the women who shared the room with her and Danica.
A great deal of whispering and many arrogant stares greeted Ebonar as he strode into the council chamber. Stunned silence replaced the whispers when he sat down in the chair reserved for Zoraster at the head of the chamber.
"I'm sure you are all aware that Zoraster is dead. By his orders, all shall move forward without delay, under my direction."
"And who are you to sit in the Master's chair and speak with his voice," hissed one of the assembled wizards.
"I am his chosen successor, and I suggest you address me with a tone more becoming your station," Ebonar warned.
"We have nothing but your word to affirm this succession," another wizard uttered, but this one maintained a respectful tone.
"Zoraster ruled because he had power," the first dissenter sneered, "I will not follow some puppet who claims Zoraster's favor. I think it is time for a new order here."
Ebonar stood, and a nimbus of crackling energy sprang up around his muscled frame. "Zoraster ruled because he had the foresight and intelligence to do so. True, his power far outstripped that of any in this room – as does mine." With that, Ebonar gestured at the arrogant wizard that had just defied him.
The man screamed as he was hurtled over the table behind him by a hissing bolt of crimson power. When the wizard came to rest, he was unconscious – his robes smoking.
Ebonar scanned the assembly. "I trust there are no other objections?"
The cowed servants of Zoraster immediately tore their eyes from the smoldering wizard, one of the most powerful amongst them, and affirmed their allegiance.
"Good," Ebonar chuckled and sat down, "My name is Ebonar, but you shall address me as Master, even as you did my Master before me. Now, deliver your reports."
Danica awoke to the smell of coffee wafting through the house. She looked around and saw that Devan was already up, washing before she got dressed. The others were rousing as well.
Danica was closest to the door when someone knocked on it, so she went to answer it, opening the door a crack and peeking out to see it was Brandon.
"Your Pa may not be able to cook, but he damn sure can brew coffee. You ladies better get up before the first pot is gone. Have a nice sleepover?" He then tried to peek around Danica into the room.
Danica rolled her eyes at him and shut the door, saying, "We'll be out in a few minutes."
Devan laughed and said, "You should have just thrown the door open." She swatted her bottom with a sharp crack then and said, "He probably would have passed out and then there would be one less person drinking up all the coffee."