Darkness Calling Ch. 15bymadam_noe©
Hugh woke, scared. He had been with his parents when the COM officers had come to their home and taken him away. He'd fought, the guards were two level eights and only one ten, but he had been knocked out with a tranquilizer. As far as he considered, using human technology was simply cheating.
He was scared because of where he woke but that he woke with missing time was nothing new. It had been happening more and more; he would be eating dinner or talking on the phone one moment and the next he woke hours later in a strange place and snow on his boots. Once he had even woken with the taste of burning amber magic on his gloves...the scent of their leader Blackfoot.
For all these times he had never woken in a COM dungeon. Most witches owned computers, drove cars, had cable television, in other words adapted to human technology, but not when it came to prisons. He was in a cell, the floor strewn with hay, the walls wet stone, the only bench hung from the wall on chains. The bars were spelled, a spell he sensed came from five level tens, and the cell walls and dungeon itself had additional barrier spells. He could teleport from one end of the 6x6' cell to the other and that was it.
Suddenly the sound of footsteps and voices came with the rasp of a heavy door opening. From the bench where Hugh slumped he looked up to see four pairs of boots facing him, COM guards in full archaic uniform stood shining their flashlights into the cell. When they were satisfied they parted and between two of them stepped a fine gentleman Hugh recognized as the Lord High Legal Council Kenn Mountaincloud, the chief of police in the capital.
"Hugh, are you clear headed?"
Hugh spat into the hay. "Tranquilizers are tools women use...and level twos, at that." He looked at the guards and sneered. Trained well they did not move, so Hugh turned his mocking smile on Mountaincloud. "Why am I here? I demand a lawyer!"
"Hugh," Mountaincloud smiled and smoothed his long red hair back. "You've been watching too much television. Our laws are not human. Now, will you cooperate, or shall I bespell you?"
"I'm a level ten, you're welcome to try." Before those words fully passed his lips the level ten guard's hand flashed up and he peeled Hugh's power from him.
"Hey!" Hugh cried, standing, and then Mountaincloud's spell hit him.
"Did you try to grab Selene Nightraven, wife of Soren Nightraven, Highest Councilor to our Leader?"
"I don't remember."
Mountaincloud frowned. His spell was powerful and this was the truth, but Hugh was giving the wrong answer. "The night of Samhain, where were you?"
"At the Nightstar family party."
"When did you arrive?"
"Seven, after dinner."
"When did you leave?"
"I don't know."
Mountaincloud frowned again. "What is the last thing you remember at the party?"
"I was talking with my friends and eating shrimp, two hours after I arrived."
"And the next thing you remember?"
"Waking up at home early this morning to the sound of the guards banging on the door."
"And you remember nothing in between?"
Hugh began to shake. "Thoughts, dirty thoughts, my cock...it ached, I want to fuck someone but I didn't really want to. I only watched."
"I only ever watch, and I don't remember."
"Hugh, who could bespell you?"
Hugh began to scream, and at Mountaincloud's signal a guard shot him with another dart and Hugh collapsed on the floor silent at last.
Moutaincloud turned to his secretary. "I believe someone used a compulsion spell on this young man. We'll need to examine his magic which Theodore now holds, as well as his body. Get me Nightraven."
"But sir, Soren Nightraven is the one who raised the complaint."
Mountaincloud slipped his leather gloves back on and sighed. "The elder Nightraven, you fool. He's the expert here. All the same I want to speak with the younger Nightravens."
His secretary closed his eyes and cast a seeking spell, then opened them nervously. "I cannot sense them."
Mountaincloud sighed again, impatiently. "Honeymoooners. I shall travel to the younger Nightraven's townhouse. In the meantime get his father here."
"Yes sir," the secretary scurried after and the guards followed out of the dungeons.
Hugh lay on the floor struggling for consciousness. He felt naked without his power, confused, scared. The name Nightraven struck terror into his heart, but it was no man who troubled him. It was a woman of pure evil.
The next thing he heard was the voice of Desmond Nightraven. The man was known far and wide though he'd never been appointed a political office. It was said he was Blackfoot's backdoor man, his spy, his confidential secretary, and some aid all three.
Hugh lifted one eyelid slowly and saw the aquamarine light bouncing off the walls. Strong hands turned him over to his back.
"Drink this," Nightraven said and helped Hugh to sit, lifting a cup to his lips.
Hugh gulped down the liquid and then Nightraven dropped him like a stone. Hugh watched as the older man waved his hands over his body, seeking magic. At his stomach Nightraven frowned. "Careless bitch, she left a trace," he muttered.
Nightraven extracted from him a spell bred so deep it seem anchored to his organs. Hugh cried out softly, biting his lip. "W-who? Wh-what?" Suddenly his body was wracked by a massive cramp and nausea an he felt as parched as if he'd crossed a great desert. "What was in that drink?"
Nightraven stood and loomed over him. "I'm tired of cleaning up her mistakes, and shamed she used a messenger to do the dirty work assigned her. That is my own potion, one of the ancients. Diluted, it is called sleep. This mixture I call death."
Hugh's eyes widened and the world dimmed to black.
Selene felt a shiver pass over her as they emerged. The small group stood in a stone hallway lined with doors of every shape and size and it seemed to go on forever. "What is this?"
"The meeting of dimensions. Humans can also travel this though it is rarer, and the older ones called it the Gough," Bram replied. "That means the hall of souls, but each door is to a dimension. See the gate to ours." He turned and flourished his hand to show them their reality lay guarded by a wood door with an iron ring and a small slit in the middle filled with a standard rainbow of colored glass.
"Do not leave my side unless by my command and if we do get separated thing the words 'to the hall' while you cast a teleportation spell. They take you to this hall. Come to our door, it will bring you back to the Dark Temple."
Both couples held hands, feeling nervous as he turned back and led them down several doors to a red door that seemed to be made of a brittle plastic, the "knob" for it a simple braided rope of what seemed to be horsehair.
"Here is where we shall go."
He opened it and they stepped into what appeared to be the temple room they had left. Through the windows however the sky seemed to be a pulsing red tapestry of clouds.
"What is this?" Jonathon asked.
Bram closed the door behind them and it winked out of existence. "This is a realm where only creatures of magic dwell. Once there were more than witches; there were werewolves, vampires, others, many, many others. They call it the Dreaming, it is made up of the spark of human dreams from all the realms, here our magic is amplified, good or bad. Long ago there was a war between the witches and a group who possessed dominion over souls, and we won. Now only witches live here, those who do may dwell in any dimension they choose, any time they choose. It is easy to get lost here, so here is where I have hidden my new generation of recruits."
He led them to narrow winding stairs and down they went in a tower, passing by many empty rooms. Here there was no religion of the Dark, just a temple with no one to worship inside. After long minutes they reached the bottom where the cold stone had been livened up with silks on the walls, benches, couches, and pillows, and candles gleamed with magic.
There were about eight witches there, four light, four dark, all of them between 17 and 30, and when they saw Bram enter they smiled.
"I bring new students. My friends, I present you Sigrid and Jonathon Whitebloom, the coup that is Soren Nightraven, and most happily, my own daughter Selene-" He looked back at her to see her preferred last name. Selene squeezed her husband's hand and said with pride, "Nightraven." "-Nightraven!" Bram announced lightly.
There had been great buzzing at the pronouncement of Soren but at Selene the people broke free and ran to them. She lost her grip on Soren as they hugged her, touched her hand, gazed at her in shock.
Selene blushed and tried to gallantly push them off but it was Soren who muscled his way in and put his arm around her. "What is all this?"
"You're the one we've been waiting for, the proof that this works," said one small blond woman, slim and elfin with an easy smile.
"On her own yes, she would be immortal, but her fate is tied to her soul mate's, and he is here to learn the secrets we all have learned."
All eyes swung to Soren. A public figure, he was used to this, but still tired from the ordeal and he could feel Selene shaking.
"We need food and rest, perhaps we can assemble a meeting after?"
Bram nodded to his son-in-law. "I'll show you to private rooms. Filene, prepare meals for our guests." He led them back around the stairwell to a hall. More bright colors and magic candles tried to cheer it up but that this had once been a fortress and this level dungeons was still apparent.
At the end there was a large door, and lining the halls smaller ones. He stopped and opened the lat two before the end. "These lock only from the inside, there are large beds, all you will need. Be careful, your magic is magnified here. Your food will be here shortly. I too will rest and in three hours we will begin our first lessons."
Bram kissed his daughter on her forehead and nodded to the others. The couples broke off, weak and weary, and closed the doors.
Once inside Selene embraced Soren and held him close.
He smoothed her hair and kissed her head. "We'll be all right."
"Thank you," she whispered, pulling back.
She smiled and steadied her nerves. "I understand we are two people in an extraordinary situation. I understand you are a man used to control and I feel very much like girl who has never held any power. Until now it has felt all too often that you took and I gave, but today you gave me the gift of your trust."
Part of him wanted to argue a point or two in there, but Soren was enough of a political animal to know when to keep his big mouth shut.
Good boy, Selene said in his mind, laughing aloud. She kissed him and it was sweet. He knew better than to turn it to passion, even as his body thrummed with need. She tasted to him of sweet spicy jasmine, he to her as the sharp but blunt taste of cinnamon.
Her hands trembled, sliding up his arms, and then a knock came. "Your food," a feminine voice said. The lovers parted, laughing and Selene opened the door.
The blond woman grinned at them and wheeled in a cart covered with silver and flatware. She brought it in as they finally looked around noticed the large bed, desk, and small table, two doors leading to a closet and to a bath.
She stopped by the table and set down plates and flatware, cloth napkins. "Beef stew today, fresh baked biscuits, salad, fruit, and chocolate pudding. We eat simply here, but fully. Humans would call it an Epicurean approach, well those who knew the true meaning of the word."
"Thank you," Soren said.
"Wine to drink, from this realm. You shall not get drunk, drink your fill, the taste is sweet but goes well with the stew. Enjoy!" she bowed slightly and slipped out the door.
Selene was famished and so was Soren. They sat down and served themselves, eating with gusto. "This is delicious," Soren said after his first bite of stew.
"And most welcome. For all that the magic of light and dark can do to heal us there is nothing like food."
Soren frowned at that and Selene finished chewing a bite of buttered bread. "What?"
"What your father has said is true. If you were immortal time and magic would be all you need, but this food...I can feel it helping. I am mortal and I weaken you."
She set down the bread and dabbed at her lips with a napkin before sliding her hand along his on the table. "Soren, this is a choice we can make together. Our fates aligned...we stand together, we fall together. It's not about being immortal; it's about knowing a secret that could save us or destroy us. It's about changing society, re-writing the rules. This is something we must decide together.
"I had a very simple life before I met you. No family but the McPhersons, nothing to live for but the dream of a job like yours, shaping policy. To choose this path means choosing my father, my family, my history...my power. For you it's turning your back on so much of that."
He sighed and covered her hand on his with his other. "It is a lot to think of, and I know I must choose carefully, but when I close my eyes...I don't worry about my job, my reputation, and my family is dead to me now, all but Sigrid. All I worry about is your safety, mine, our happiness."
She smiled. "Let's finish our meal without such heavy thoughts. I suggest we commit to this meeting, this first lesson, but give ourselves time to come to a decision."
He nodded and they ate in silence. When they finished Selene sensed his heavy thoughts still occupying his mind so she sat back and called her animal.
It burst from her chest, still a butterfly, but it was huge, the wings making an audible whoosh with every stroke of their combined 6-foot span.
She gasped and giggled. "We were warned our magic was amplified here."
Soren called forth his and the bunny that came from it was something out of a human cartoon show, sitting on the floor it was almost 6 feet tall itself.
He laughed to and reached out to it, stroking the fur gently and shivering as he tickled himself. "By the goddess this is incredible!"
Selene called her butterfly back and it managed to merge once more with her magic. She pulled a chunk of carrot from the stew and called the bunny.
"Selene, you know it can't eat real food!"
She smiled at him and jerked the carrot from the bunny, instead smoothing both hands over it. Soren nearly jumped. "All magic is intensified," she murmured, and turned her hands to the beast's belly.
He growled and with magic called the beast back. Blinking she found them naked on the bed and Soren was wild. Her mind shut down as he kissed her, his hands almost bruising her with the intensity of his touch. She scored her nails across his muscles, bit his plush lower lip, and bucked against him, begging him to enter her without words.
For once he did not hesitate and slammed in. That was when the magic began, feeling so solidly like his mouth was on both breasts and covering her pussy even as he slammed in. She called up her own and felt his pleasure in her mind as he felt her mouth close gently around his balls, ghostly fingers daring to delve ever so gently between his clenched butt cheeks.
They built up fast and hard, riding each other on pure, mad passion. He thrust into her like a man possessed and she felt her body tighten and liquefy, struggling, straining for the shimmering peak, and then it was there. She screamed wordlessly and was almost drowned out by his hoarse shout of climax.
They shuddered as one, locked together, reveling purely in the feel and taste of one another before the energy left them, deflating their bodies, yet the gift of dark magic healed them even as they lay replete.
"Mmmm," was all Selene could think to say, her thoughts echoing the sound.
He stroked her arm, rolling aside he kissed a nipple gently smiling at how it puckered anew. "My thoughts exactly. You're in danger, Selene, more than ever. I know your father has given us promises of immortality but I want you to keep training on dueling. Until I achieve this balance your father speaks of I make you weak. You have to learn how to fight."
She knew what he was saying was the truth but in her heart of hearts she was no fighter. Dark or light magic she was a scholar, a healer.
Soren, privy to her thoughts as the link between them was lazily left unguarded in the wake of passion, frowned. "Sigrid and Jonathon are both scholars, bookworms by their own admission, and yet both are good, strong fighters. It is why I wanted them to instruct you; you share much in common. Violence should always be a last resort but know not everyone feels this way."
"I wish we could stay here. Protected, away from the world. It's' only going too get worse, you know."
"I know, my love, but we're strong, and together we're unstoppable. Now rest for a spell, and when we wake we'll start to work through this and figure it out from there."
They turned on their sides and snuggled close together, nestled like spoons, and she raised his hand and kissed his knuckles before letting it fall back. "I'll do my best to trust the future will take care of itself."
He made no reply and even his mind was silent.
That night they met with the group, everyone seated as Bram talked, and in his robes it all resembled a hippie commune to Selene. When all there but the guests agreed that the transformation was something done alone, Soren volunteered to meet privately with Bram first while Selene trained with the Whiteblooms.
She groaned under her breath and only Soren heard her lamentation in her mind. He patted her shoulder and bussed her cheek before leaving.
The rest of the converts kept staring at Selene and she felt uncomfortable so they decided to find another place to practice.
It was another two hours of peeling magic but harder than before. Here their magic was amplified. Before Sigrid's magic felt like a lake, now it was an ocean. Selene nearly passed out her first three attempts and so they turned to spooling.
Spooling was siphoning off magic slowly. Bram was powerful enough to gift his magic that way, as he had to help her heel Soren, but for lesser witches spooling was done by force. If Selene had attended a normal school for witchcraft as a child she would have spent years learning this, building up her reserve space to store magic.
Here in this dimension it was the perfect exercise. Sigrid's magic was amped up, so was everyone's, and so spooling here was no mere child's trick.
They practiced on and on until Selene felt the link between her and Soren, as small as possible, slam shut.
The energy she had spooled snapped back to Sigrid, knocking her into Jonathon. "What is it?"
"Soren!" Without conscious thought she teleported herself to his side. They were in a study much like her father's back in their own dimension and Soren lay on the couch, crumpled, but breathing, alive.
"What happened!?!" she asked her father and rushed to her husband's side.
"He attained it faster than any other student I have ever seen. It's deep magic, we had to go into the cells, call up the memory of his father's white magic by birth, his mother's dark magic, and marry them together fully.
"He mentioned as a youth before his first manifestation of power it was thought by his peers he was a light witch. Perhaps he had this all along, and I only helped him realize it."
Soren opened one eye. "Bullshit," he muttered ungallantly and tried to sit.
Selene helped him and Bram summoned a glass of water with magic and passed it over. "Drink," she said, flooded with relief when their link returned.
"I never felt anything like that," Soren said after a long gulp. "So that's it? I'm immortal? Selene's immortal? We're safe?"
Bram raised a dark brow. "Safe is relative, you are in anther dimension with the man all witches call the devil. I wouldn't say you're safe. Immortal yes, but we must prove it. You both must take bolts from a level ten. I and a convert will assist and should you not withstand the bolt we will draw off damage to keep you alive. I suggest we wait until tomorrow."