Feldare Tales: High Society Ch. 04bymack_the_knife©
" " ' ' Wenn stood, looking blankly at the guards. "What?" he asked.
"Sir, we must make you arrest," said the guardsman. He held a three foot rod of some strangely dark metal. "Let us not make a scene of it."
Wenn and Crissa both cringed away from the almost hostile emanations of the staff. By sight other than normal light, they could see malevolence about it. It hated magic, and disliked mages, even without anything magical about.
"Captain," asked Marrat, himself visibly taken aback by the staff's negating aura, "must you wield a wizardsbane so offensively?"
The captain held it downward, in a less threatening manner. "I apologize, but to us, Master Wenn is an unknown quotient, sir."
"I understand that and I vouch for his behavior," said Marrat, giving Wenn a meaningful look.
Mandran nodded curtly and turned toward one guard, who held a large wooden case. The staff was placed within and the lid closed. It was as if a fire had been snuffed in Wenn's mind. He hadn't even heard the buzzing sound in his ears until it was gone. "What was that thing?" he asked Marrat.
"A wizardsbane, a weapon to render mages helpless," said Marrat.
Both of they young apprentices looked at the captain with newfound upset and worry. "Would it hurt us?" asked Wenn, eyeing the casket, but talking to Master Marrat.
"Not in and of itself, but if you tried to use magic around it, it would suck your energies dry," explained Marrat. "I cannot know about Crissa, her abilities are so different from ours and powered differently, as well. It might hurt her.
Crissa gave the box one last look, then turned toward the captain again. "What do you mean that he killed that ass Lentan?" she said. "We just saw him not an two hours ago, and he was hale and hearty and full of piss and vinegar."
"As you say, Mistress Crissa," said the captain, trying very hard to remain professional. "But he is quite thoroughly dead now, and it was known that Master Wenn had accepted challenge to duel him this very night."
Wenn bowed up at this point. "So you call my honor into question by laying claim that I ambushed him and killed him rather than face the cad in a fair fight?" he asked.
"That is the charge, Master Wenn, though the details must come out in the trial," said Captain Mandran. "For now, you are made arrest, please."
"Go with him, Wenn, and offer no resistance," commanded Marrat in a quiet voice. "Do not dishonor us by adding real crime to the charges."
Wenn blinked at the old wizard, then nodded. "Yes, Master Marrat," he said.
Crissa tried to follow them as the guards formed a rough box around the young apprentice. Marrat stopped her with a old, callous, and surprisingly strong hand. "No, dear," he said. "You need to stay."
Her eyes turned to his, wide and pleading. "But he needs me," she said.
"He needs you to stay here, and clear of the confusion that his arrest will cause," said Marrat, gently nudging the doors to his foyer closed.
"You do know he didn't do it, don't you?" asked Crissa, blinking back tears.
Marrat shook his head. "I know no such thing, though I do not believe he did it," said the old wizard.
"How can you say that?" asked Crissa, almost screaming. "You know he didn't do it!" Tears now rolled down her cheeks and she clenched her fists into tight knots.
Again, Master Marrat shook his head. "I fear I cannot say that," he said.
"Then look into his mind and see the truth," she said.
"I cannot do that, my dear, even if I were able," said Marrat, a odd placidity coming over his features.
"You won't lift a finger to defend him?" she asked, her expression incredulous. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Marrat moved toward the library and sat upon a small stool within the massive room. "I cannot take any side in this," he said. "I must remain impartial."
"Why?" she asked. "You are his mentor, you have to take his side."
"Because," said Marrat, taking out his pipe and starting to pack tobacco into the bowl, "as he is a wizard, and I am the senior wizard of the duchy, I must be his judge."
- - - - - - - - - -
"I cannot simply recuse myself, Crissa, you must understand that," said Marrat, sighing. "We are wizards, and held to a higher standard, we must simply become impartial, even if it hurts inside to do so."
"And does it hurt?" she shot back. "You don't seem terribly upset."
"It does, my dear," said the old man.
She turned about again, hammering both her fists on the end of a large bookshelf. "One protect me, I want to throttle you right now," she said.
"I understand that feeling," he said mildly.
She blinked at him. "Who will be his defender in the court?" she asked, a small spark of hope dawning in her eyes. "He is a freeman and such is his right."
Marrat nodded. "Indeed, it is," he said. "I have sent for a friend from Morrovale to assist in that endeavor, to act as his barrister."
She nodded and said, "At least you did that much."
"I had to, as the judge, it is my duty to ensure he is represented," said Marrat. "I did him no special favors."
"I suggest you go to bed and begin afresh on the morrow, Crissa," said Marrat, picking up a massive tome and carrying it toward his own bedchamber. "You have much to do."
"What have I to do, except watch my lover be tried for a murder he didn't commit?" she asked.
Marrat gave her a weak smile. "I assume you wish to clear his name," he said. "Such things are best done with clear heads and well-rested bodies."
She blinked after him as he closed the door to his chamber.
Crissa could not think straight. Wenn was now prisoner and her life was twisted out of alignment. She stormed up to their shared tower room and threw herself onto the bed and wept, frustration bled as she wailed into the pillow, her heart hurting for her missing mate.
- - - - - - - - - -
She awoke to the sun beaming into her face. The sun did not come into this part of the room till near noon. She blinked at the blinding light and slipped from the bed.
After bathing and donning clean clothes, she walked downstairs to find Marrat sequestered in the library with the massive, heavy doors closed tight and barred. There would be no help from that quarter.
With a massive sigh, she left the house and walked aimlessly down the streets of Norboro. She was unsure where she may be going, but soon found herself standing before the student dormitory at the academy.
She glared at the building, annoyed at it. She thought, for a moment, to see if she could do something to it, using her abilities. Surely, that would help Wenn so much, she thought, then smiled at the silliness of the very idea.
Taking a massive breath, she walked toward the front doors.
An upperclassman opened the door as she approached, holding a small baton in his hand. "Stop where you are, witch," he said, giving her a disdainful look. "We're locked down to prevent further incidents against us by outsiders," he said.
She glowered at him. "I am a student of the Academy, am I not?" she asked.
He nodded. "But you're a witch," he said.
"Which is not necessarily a crime, you ass," she growled, taking another step toward him.
He got a hateful look on his face and his hand, bearing the short, weighted club started moving. She reached out with her mind and wrenched control of that arm from him, he slammed that hand down on the stone bannister and the baton went tumbling away.
The young man began to scream out, but she seized control of his vocal cords as well, stopping it in his throat. He then hurled himself out of her way with a flying leap over the bannister to tumble into the shrubs beside the stairs. She opened the door to see two other upperclassmen fleeing down the long corridor. "Cowards," she said. There were disjointed groans from the doorway behind her. Crissa moved down the corridor of the second story like a lioness prowling for prey. A head would poke out of a room head on one side or the other, only to be hastily jerked back inside with a sound of fear and panic.
There were two determined-looking young men standing before the door to Peris' room. Crissa took control of their necks and bounced both young men's heads off the doorframe behind them. They slid quietly to the floor as she opened the door. "Come Peris," she said, "it isn't safe for you here."
Peris sat up from her bed. "How did you - oh, no, Crissa." she said, eyeing the fallen two behind the tall blond.
"They are unhurt," said Crissa, shaking her head. "Or at least mostly so. They WERE holding you against your will, yes?" she asked.
"Yes, they were," said Peris.
"Then I was justified in the force I used to win your release," replied Crissa. Her voice held a coldness in it that was rather frightening to Peris. "We're going somewhere safe."
One of the young men who had been guarding the door was regaining consciousness. Crissa reinstated his slumbering state by grabbing his head and bouncing it off the wall behind him. One of the upperclassmen had a pendant clutched to his chest that glinted as if of precious metal.
Crissa peered closer and saw that it was a symbol of some sort. She pulled on it, and found it was bound about his neck by a chain. "What's this?" she asked Peris. It resembled a pyramid with a burning hand superimposed on the front face of the triangular shape.
"I don't know, some of the upperclassmen wear them, probably one of their ‘secret societies' the school is full of little clubs and such," said Peris, rolling her eyes.
The tall blond made harumphed and stood, taking Paris' arm. She watched alertly for any movement. If the upperclassmen thought she was coming, they were leaving her an open path back to the street. The lad she had hurled into the shrubs was crawling free of them. "Witch!" he screamed, pointing at her. Another of the golden pendants was about this young man's neck, knocked loose by his flip into the bushes.
People on the street were beginning to stare, and some were talking. She grabbed his arm from him again and balled his hand from a pointing finger into a fist, then he punched himself in the face, knocking himself down. Crissa moved like a draft horse, plowing through the gathering people as if they were not there. They moved aside, fearful of both her power and her obvious anger.
Crissa felt fear form Peris as well, and something else, something more feral. This is arousing her, and it's aimed at me, thought Crissa.
They arrived at Marrat's home and she escorted the young woman up the stairs to the turret chamber. "Listen, Peris," she said, speaking rapidly and pacing back and forth. "I don't like girls like that, so please put that out of your head, it will never happen."
The younger girl looked somewhat hurt, but smiled. "Sorry, I should have known you would see it."
"I couldn't miss it, to tell the truth. You're a girl of strong passions," said Crissa, then sat heavily in her chair. "Now, I need to know all you do about those lads that framed Wenn."
"Framed Wenn?" asked Peris.
"They're accusing him of murdering Lentan," said Crissa, lifting her head from her cupped hands. "You didn't know this?"
"No," she said. "I knew crossing that ass would be bad." Her eyes filled with tears.
"You said there are cliques and clubs and stuff within the students, right?" asked Crissa. "Tell me about that clique."
"Which one?" asked Peris.
"The one that Lentan belonged to," replied Crissa.
Peris thought for long moments, organizing her mind. "Many students are sons of merchants and other freemen and commoners," she said. "Lentan's lot consider themselves above such, as ‘divinely granted' wealthy and powerful."
"He only associates with other noble-born, then?" asked Crissa.
"Yes, except when he sees some use for someone else," replied the little brunette.
"I wish to know what that burning hand symbol is," said Crissa. "I get the feeling they all wear one." She turned to Peris and gave her a hard, icy stare. "Do you wish to help Wenn?" she asked.
"Of course I do," said Peris.
"How badly?" asked Crissa. "This may become dangerous."
Peris lowered her head. "This happened because he defended me," she said. "I'll do whatever is needed to clear his name."
Crissa gave one sharp nod of her head and started digging in her closet. "Get undressed," she told the younger girl.
The young noblewoman blinked at her, but started unfastening her dress' buttons. "What are we going to do?" she asked.
"Find out what evidence the guard holds against Wenn," said Crissa. "And I can't use magic to get to it, else I will be jailed, also."
"What are we going to do?" repeated Peris.
Crissa tossed her an elven-style set of clothes. "We're going to use the other magic you and I possess," she said and started stripping herself.
- - - - - - - - - -
The midnight watch was very dull, and the two guards on the watch house stood at ease, talking to each other.
Peris stood around the corner with Crissa. "How do we get them to take us inside?" she asked.
Crissa gave her a marvelously blank stare, then said, "Just follow my lead, and remember, you said ‘whatever it takes'."
"Oh, One protect me," said Peris, her eyes going wide. "You mean to seduce them."
"I do," said Crissa. "And if you're to help me, you're going to seduce one of them. If you're not willing, go back to Marrat's. I can do this alone."
The icy expression and cool tone of the words chilled Peris' heart. "I want to help," she whispered. "Though I don't know how." "I can help you in that much," said Crissa. "You grant me leave?"
With a nervous swallow, Peris nodded.
"Look at one of the guards, the one you favor," said Crissa, then smiled wickedly. "You're about to lose your virginity to him."
"Will it hurt?" asked Peris.
"Probably," said Crissa, "but you'll be too excited to care."
"I cannot," said Peris, breaking into tears and backing away from Crissa with fearful eyes. "I just can't."
She wept openly, forcing Crissa to pull her back into the shadows of the alley. "Okay," she hissed, "but you will have to do something on your own. Just pleasure him with your mouth. If he decides he must poke something, I'll try to cover both's needs."
Peris' expression moved to shock. "And that's better?" she asked, her voice rising.
"You'll still be a virgin," said Crissa, shrugging.
Peris shook her head again. "I still don't know how," she said.
"One grant me strength," growled Crissa lifting her eyes to the stars. "I didn't the first time I did it either, you know!" she said. "You just take the end in your mouth, bob your head down on it and play with his shaft and balls with your hands. It's not like studying higher mathematics."
Peris nodded. "I suppose not, huh?" she said, then she squared her shoulders and lifted her head to stare directly ahead. "Okay." She had a rather determined look on her face.
The two walked from the alley and directly toward the guards. The men immediately took notice of two young girls walking in the foggy night, seeming to make straight for them.
"Hello, there, you two lovelies," said one guard. He was a younger man, perhaps in his mid twenties. The other man held his tongue and watched them simply with openly appraising eyes.
"Good evening," said Crissa, swinging her hips widely the last few steps. The younger guard looked up and down her figure, quite boldly examining the long, muscular limbs and noting the absence of a loincloth beneath the elven style skirt. "What can we do for you two ladies this night?" he asked.
Crissa smiled and walked to stand but a foot from the tall soldier. "My friend and I were having fun with a couple of lads who didn't know their limit in alcohol," she said. "We thought, mayhaps, a pair of loyal guardsmen might be sober enough to satisfy our needs."
The younger guard swallowed and looked to his companion. His friend, the older of the two, was examining Peris' figure in her skimpy elven garments. "Aren't you a bit young to be out propositioning men?" he asked quietly, almost paternally.
Peris giggled. "I'm older than I look, sir," she said with a broad smile. "I'm eighteen, so I'm well past allowed, am I not?"
He nodded. "I suppose you are, young woman," he said.
Crissa stepped closer. "You have rooms right here, do you not?" she asked, jerking her head toward the large stone structure behind him.
"Of course we do," said the guard, suddenly very energetic. "I'll be right back, I'll get a couple of lads to relieve us and we can show you our fine billits."
He slipped into the building. Peris was now standing right beside the older guard, actually holding his arm. "I've never been in a guards' billit before, is it interesting?" she asked.
"I'll give you a tour of the place," he said.
"Would you?" asked Peris, "That is so very sweet of you."
The guard, almost twice her age, blushed deeply. "Well, you two are pretty sweet, too," he said, actually scuffing his boot on the cobbles of the courtyard.
The younger guard returned with two other guards in tow. "You so owe us for taking your watch, Willim," said one of the replacements. He looked at the two girls, his eyes going wide. "You owe us BIG," he repeated.
Willim took Crissa's offered arm and escorted her into the massive stone structure. The older guard followed them with Peris in tow.
Crissa looked around them as they passed through passages and closed doors. "Your friend said you two would show us around," she said.
"Did he then?" asked Willim, looking back at his elder compatriot. "Did you promise them a tour Gharen?" he asked.
"Yeah, I did," said Gharen, smiling at Peris. "We should show them about, you know?"
"I suppose that would be okay," said Willim, putting his arm around Crissa's slim waist. Crissa leaned into him warmly, and put her own arm around his waist and hooked her thumb through his belt. She giggled as she put her head on his shoulder. She stood so tall that she, in truth, was at least his own height.
Peris came barely to the older guard's shoulder, she smiled up at him. "I'd really like a look around, this place has always made me wonder what's inside," she said.
They came to a large, iron-bound door. "Well, the dungeon is down there, where we hold prisoners for trial." he said. "We can't let you in there, though, they're a dangerous lot, and two pretty gels like you, well, you know." He shrugged his shoulders helplessly.
Crissa blinked at him, acting stunned. "They'd ravish us?" she said, innocently.
"Yeah, I fear they would," said the guard.
The tall blond leaned into him again, and put her lips to his ear. "I rather fancy being ravished this night," she whispered.
He twitched at her words and a tiny smile formed on his lips. "I'll see what I can do, then," he said, trying to sound professional.
The quartet moved through the building, visiting such charming locales as the confessions chamber. Crissa rather thought it looked like a torture chamber, but who was she to quibble. The guard laughed when she gasped at the rack. "Now, dear, this stuff's not been used in generations, so don't fear," he said. "The stuff is mostly kept about because it's so bloody interesting."
Crissa ran her fingertips over the restraints on the rack. "It is interesting," she said, stroking the steel fittings as if she were petting a cat.
Peris was in the corner, looking at a large contraption with Gharen. "You say they used it to break bones slowly?" she asked, rather horrified, and not needing to fake it much. "Aye," said the guard. "The suspect would be clapped in those irons there, then those bars and stuff would come down to work on each major bone individually. With that crank there, they all can be tightened a tiny bit at a time." He looked at the torture device with awe. "I heard a skilled man could snap all of them in a single quarter-turn."