Sisters of the Mists Ch. 04byDarkniciad©
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 anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. © Darkniciad 2007
The villains in this story are truly evil, and their actions prove it. Some scenes may be disturbing for some readers.
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. There's no stroke-worthy sex scenes in this chapter, but I hope the story itself makes up for that.
You should read the preceding chapters of this story in order to know the characters and what is going on. You will find that reading Book I of this story, Danica, will give you a lot of insight into the characters and the continuing storyline.
Ashley jerked her nose away from the strong smelling herbs beneath it, coughing and trying to get her vision to focus.
A woman's voice asked, "Are you okay?"
Slowly, Ashley's wits recovered, and she recognized Danica standing above her.
"That demon hit you pretty hard. I had to use some healing spells on you, because we couldn't get a potion in you," Danica explained. "Do you think you can get up?"
Groaning, Ashley replied, "I don't know. My head feels like it's stuffed full of something." With effort, and Danica's assistance, Ashley managed to sit up. "What happened? Everything is hazy."
Danica steadied the other woman, and related the final events of the battle in the desert. "We finished off all the minor demons, and then the four greater demons appeared. We didn't have anywhere near the sort of success in attacking them. One of them -- the one with the ram's horns -- appeared next to you and slammed you. We decided just to get out of there."
Putting her head in her hands, Ashley lamented, "The vial -- that was my one real hope of vanquishing Rexxus, and now it's gone."
Danica shook Ashley's shoulder, and when the red-haired witch looked up, Danica pulled the vial from her pocket. "I realized this was important, so I snatched it up with my telekinetic powers before we teleported away."
Ashley took the vial, cradling it in her hands. "Thank you. This required a drop of Rexxus' blood, and I don't think he would have ever let me get another."
"Do you want to try to get in the bath? You're still a mess. We cleaned up a little in shifts, but we were more worried about getting you back with us than getting all the demon slime off you."
"Thank you -- again. They do make a mess when they're vanquished, especially the minor demons," Ashley responded.
Celes stomped into the room, muttering under her breath. She nodded to Ashley, and then turned to Danica. "I swear, at least one of them has developed your mental powers, and knew the moment we were all gone from here. Their end of the manor is a disaster area, and the library isn't much better."
Danica shook her head. "We're going to have to make sure not to leave them alone again, at least until they've matured more." Seeing the confused look on Ashley's face, Danica told her, "I'll explain later. Let's get you in the bath, and find something for you to wear. I think you and Andrea have similar sizes, so some of her things should fit you well enough."
"Andrea is keeping an eye on the girls. We put them all in their rooms, and she's making sure they stay there. Marlena is in the bath." Celes' expression softened a little, and she added, "She was already a mess before the demons. Andrea and I interrupted her at a rather bad moment."
Danica chuckled, "I noticed. Who?"
"Brandon," Celes answered. " I'll go fetch something from Andrea's trunks for you, Ashley." Giving a little nod, she turned and left the room.
Sliding her legs off the bed, at Danica's urging, Ashley asked, "Where are we?"
Danica shrugged her shoulders and replied, "Home. We honestly don't even know where it is. A dream led us here, and as far as we can tell, there's no way to reach it except by teleporting." When Ashley appeared to be steady enough to stand, Danica crossed the room to her tub, touching the runes to fill it with water. "Come get in the bath. I'm sure it will make you feel better."
Ashley smiled weakly and walked toward the tub. When she saw it was full and steaming, she looked over at Danica in surprise.
Danica winked, and said, "Magic. I made this place, with a lot of help, and I wanted to be comfortable. This is one of those little luxuries. Every bedroom has one. Get out of those clothes and get in."
"Here's something to put on when you get out," Celes called from the doorway, entering with a bundle of clothing. "I grabbed a blouse and skirt, because I think any of Andrea's dresses would have been too tight in the waist for you. This should fit fine, as you're otherwise almost of a size."
Ashley fumbled with the first button of her blouse, finding she couldn't grip it, as it was coated in slimy demon ichor. Scrunching up her nose, she grabbed the neck of the blouse, and started popping the buttons off it.
Danica's eyes were immediately drawn to the swell of Ashley's firm breasts when they were revealed, though she averted her gaze quickly. Her eyes locked with Ashley when she did, and she knew the glance had not gone unnoticed. The faintest edges of a smile touched Ashley's lips as she continued to pop open the buttons.
Danica quickly said, "We'll let you take your bath. Just come out when you're done, and we'll all go talk in the study over a snack and some wine."
Ashley nodded and shrugged off her blouse. Danica walked toward the door, getting a good view of the pink tips of Ashley's ample breasts in the process. When she reached Celes, the other woman turned to leave the room with her. They both glanced back over their shoulders at the same moment, just in time to see Ashley bend and drop her skirt to the floor, revealing a rounded, shapely bottom.
Celes let out a quiet purr when she closed the door and whispered, "Not a bad view."
"Mmm hmm," Danica agreed, winking at her friend. "Let's go ahead to the study. You can tell me what happened while I was gone."
"And you can tell us how your trip went," Celes agreed. "We'll get one of the mirrors to watch over the girls, and fetch Andrea too. Marlena should be out of the bath in a minute, and I'm sure she'll come looking for us."
"So much for peaceful studying, huh?" Danica laughed, as they turned into the door of the study.
Rexxus cowered before Meckataur, along with the other three greater demons involved in the desert battle. "There were three witches, and two other magic using females. They were prepared for us, and fled before we could assault them in strength."
"I know what happened," Meckataur rumbled. "Those lost are of no consequence, and the elves remain yet unaware. The Devil lashed out with his mental reigns over his minions, dragging the three silent demons to their feet. "Go. Return to watch the Fey." Turning his gaze toward the grossly obese, gray-skinned hellspawn to the right of Rexxus, Meckataur ordered, "Invade their minds, Kazz'akel, but do so while they rest. Discover anything they may hide, and whether any females remain untouched."
"Yes, Lord Meckataur," Kazz'akel hissed.
The Demon Lord waved his hand, and the three demons vanished in bursts of flame. "Rexxus, the pawn of the Fey will seek you with the potion again. You are too important a tool to risk. Take mortal form."
Rexxus snarled in disgust, but obeyed the order. Wings folded, the bones popping, to be absorbed into the demon's back. Claws shrank back into his fingers and toes, while the demon's prized horns vanished into its head. Rexxus snarled and growled from the pain of the transformation, writhing on the floor.
At last, the panting Rexxus, now appearing as a leanly muscled man with hair the color of flax, rose back up to his hands and knees again.
"Eris, Mache -- come," Meckataur ordered.
Two muscular men emerged from a side portal of the dilapidated Great Hall. Both had dark blonde hair, though one was dressed in fine clothing, while the other wore a mismatched outfit of well-worn garments. They bowed before Mecktaur, not even offering a glance to the nude man kneeling before him.
Meckataur jerked on Rexxus' reins, and the demon stood. "These have transcended. You will deliver them to Ebonar. Then, you shall watch this pretender to Zoraster's empire, and monitor my spawn. Go."
"Yes, Lord Meckataur," Rexxus responded.
The Demon Lord vanished in a roar of flames, leaving his minions to obey his orders. He reappeared instantly, deep in the bowels of the earth beneath his crumbing abode. Here, beyond the dungeons where his prisoners wished for death, beyond the crypts that housed his army of the dead, lay Meckataur's greatest power.
Staring down into the pit, a hole wider than a man's height and filled with a darkness blacker than night, Meckataur waited. A flash of light and the sound of weeping let the Demon know his wizardess pawn had arrived.
The weeping ceased, as it usually did, long before Arleen magically dragged the woman before Meckataur. The weak mortals' minds couldn't bear the presence of the Demon Lord, and their brains simply shut down.
They always awakened in their final moments of life, however, allowing him to drink in their tortured anguish.
Meckataur needed to pull forth more of the minor demons from the abyss, and the woman's blood was the key. The hellspawn maintained a link to their hellish plane when pulled from this portal, giving them greater power. They were the secret to Meckataur's rapid rise through the demonic ranks on this plane, and would be the means through which he would rule this world.
Soon enough, he would have the key that opened the portal wide -- the blood of highborn virgin Fey. Sacrificed on the right day, the Fey blood would tear apart the barrier between the planes, allowing Meckataur to summon forth hordes of demons at will. Then, the mortals on this globe would become as cattle for his hordes, as he spread his rule throughout the entire plane.
Savoring that thought, Meckataur grasped the sacrifice, and held her limp body over the pit in one enormous hand. For now, he needed demons to replace those lost, and this woman's life would serve well enough.
Arleen turned away, as she always did, trying to ignore the final, pitiful scream of the victim, and the sound of the Devil literally wringing the blood out of the sacrifice.
Danica hugged Marlena, and congratulated her, "I saw you cast that lightning bolt. I knew you could do it!"
Blushing, Marlena admitted, "Celes helped me with the part where I was making a mistake."
Celes added, "She's studying the permanency spell, too. I think you've finally gotten through to her. Just because she's better at illusion magic than anyone else living, it doesn't mean she can't learn other things."
"That was a pretty impressive display of your telekinetic powers, Celes." Seeing Andrea walking into the room, Danica added, "And a blast of fire that would make a red dragon proud, too!"
Andrea's face turned bright red, though she tried to put on a smug expression, and blew on her fingertips in a superior fashion. She laughed a moment later, unable to keep a straight face.
"It's not really telekinesis," Celes argued, "It doesn't feel anything like..."
Danica raised her eyebrows and interrupted, "You move things without touching them. It's as good a word as any, and it beats moving stuff, your preferred term for that power."
Celes blew a raspberry, drawing a laugh from the assembled friends.
"I don't think we should be too hard on the girls," Andrea said, sitting down heavily in a cushioned chair. "They seem to understand why they're in trouble, and I think they're actually sorry."
"We should probably keep up the pretense for this evening, at least. If we roll over too soon, the lesson will be lost on them," Marlena advised.
Celes sat down in her normal place on the couch, asking Danica, "So, did you manage to get everyone somewhere safe?"
Danica sat down and answered, "Tonda and Jaron are both safe on Darkni's island, and Harkhuf set up Tari and Rekhmire in his house. I got a warning to the Pharaoh about Zoraster's men too. Clexis was the one Zoraster sent there, and I think I've managed to put a serious roadblock in his way."
Celes smiled and said, "Good, that man is scum."
"Come in and sit down," Andrea piped up, seeing Ashley in the doorway. "That looks good on you. You can have it if you want."
Celes turned toward Ashley, as the woman sat down. "Danica told me that it was our scrying that alerted the demons. Sorry about that."
"It's okay, things happen for a reason. You do need a little practice, though," Ashley advised. "You have to concentrate hard on what you're scrying for, or any demon within the circle of the crystal may feel it."
"We're having to figure it out on our own. Our mothers didn't get the chance to teach us," Andrea sighed.
Ashley smiled sympathetically. "I lost my mother when I was very young, too. An older witch taught me. She suffered an injury that made it impossible for her to fight, and bound most of her powers to hide from the demons. She knows her craft, though, and taught me everything I know. I'm worried about her. I don't know how much Rexxus knows about me, and he might try to use Edna to lure me into a trap."
"I seem to be making a career out of hiding people away, maybe I can help," Danica offered.
"I don't know if Edna would even let me hide her away, but I appreciate the offer." Sitting back in her chair, Ashley let her eyes roam to each of the women. "You know, I can't help but feel like you're all familiar."
Rubbing her chin, Celes said, "I get a sense of that too."
Danica could feel an ever-increasing wave of anxiety coming from Ashley, and could hear the source of that anxiety in the woman's mind. The red-haired witch was more worried about her mentor than she was letting on. "Maybe you should go see if Edna is okay."
"I have this terrible feeling she's in danger," Ashley admitted.
Danica asked, "Why don't you let us come along, for backup, just in case? Maybe she could give Celes and Andrea some pointers."
"I'll stay and watch the girls," Marlena interjected. "I don't think it would be a good idea to leave them alone again."
Ashley shrugged and said, "My potion will only take me back. I expected to be alone out there in the desert, except for the demons."
"Let us take you then," Danica said, standing up. "Is there something where Edna lives that you can see in your mind's eye, in the tiniest detail?"
Ashley nodded and answered, "Her herb cabinet. I could tell you the exact position of every bottle inside, and every scratch and blemish in the wood."
Having reached out with her psychic powers, Danica could see the image of the cabinet in Ashley's mind. "If you don't mind me peeking into your head, I can use that as a pattern to teleport us there."
"You've probably already seen it, I'd wager," Ashley said with a smile, and then added, "Edna is telepathic. That's her primary power, and the only one she didn't bind. I'm quite used to it."
"I'd like to go," Andrea said, "It would do us good, I think."
Ashley flipped her drying hair back over her shoulders and said, "It would get me there quicker. It would take me almost an hour to walk from my house to Edna's, and I'm really worried about her. You might be able to distract her a little, too. When she finds out I went after Rexxus, she's not going to be happy with me."
"Let's go, then," Danica said, gesturing at everyone to stand.
The women gathered in the center of the room, and clasped hands in a circle. Danica held one of Ashley's hands, and squeezed it, saying, "Just think about that herb cabinet."
Edna paced, muttering to herself, and wincing from the arthritis in her knees. "Fool girl, what have you gone and done now."
She'd known something was wrong the moment she awakened that morning, and knew it had something to do with Ashley. A few spins of a crystal revealed the young woman was far away, on another continent entirely. Subsequent scrying attempts revealed no change, until the last one. Ashley had simply vanished, and the old witch had given up in frustration.
A flash of light caused Edna to spin, reaching with her one remaining arm into a pocket of her apron, for one of the powerful vanquishing potions she kept there.
"It's me, Edna. Sorry to startle you, but I was worried," Ashley said, stepping away from the circle toward her mentor.
"You were worried?" Edna scolded. "Do you have any idea..." The old woman trailed off, staring hard at Celes and Andrea.
Ashley said, "I'll explain in a minute, but this is Danica..."
"Andrea, and Celes," Edna finished. She let out hearty laugh when all four women stared at her, dumbfounded. Turning to Ashley, she expanded, "Andrea Trueheart, and Celes Hartwell."
Narrowing her eyes, Celes asked, "How did you know that?"
"An old witch has her ways," Edna replied with a wink, tapping her forehead. "You feel like you know them, don't you, Ashley? I told you that you were meant to do important things."
"You can't mean..." Ashley began.
Edna nodded to Ashley, and then turned to the other two witches. "The two of you have your family books, don't you?"
"Yes," Andrea answered.
"Ashley probably never told you her name. It's Lovehart, and the universe has been waiting for your three families to find each other for ages now." Clapping her hand against her thigh, Edna spun in a circle, laughing, feeling younger than she had in two decades. When she came to face Ashley again, she said, "Let's go get your book and fulfill your destiny!"
Danica laughed a little self-consciously, and turned to her blonde-haired friend. "I think I know how you used to feel, Andrea -- being the only one of us who didn't have magic. Now I'm the only one in the room who isn't a witch, and I feel like I don't belong."
This make you feel a little less out of place? Edna thought to Danica.
Not really, but I appreciate the effort, Danica thought back, with a little mental chuckle.
You have a strong mind. I wouldn't want to have to cross your powers, and I've been doing this my whole life.
"That prophecy is vague, and there are a thousand versions of it, Edna," Ashley said, but she didn't really sound convincing.
"You won't know until the three of you are in the same place with your family books, now will you?" Edna wagged her finger at Ashley to emphasize the point.
Danica smiled, thinking about how much the old witch reminded her of her mother with that gesture. "You may as well stop arguing now, Ashley. You've already lost this argument, trust me."
Ashley looked like she was about to argue, but then her shoulders slumped and she sighed. "Okay, let's go get my book. I'm never going to hear the end of it until I do."
C'seka perked up, feeling the familiar sensation of the female using the Hellgate. Almost immediately, he recoiled, feeling the burning presence of others near the female. Though C'seka didn't know what caused the feeling within him, he knew that those with the female were very dangerous to him.
In the moment he was cowering instinctively, the contact vanished. The sensation was abrupt, and somehow C'seka knew the spell had not terminated. The demon snarled in frustration, having been eager to learn more about this particular female's gate, which called to him louder than any other.