Sisters of the Mists Ch. 15byDarkniciad©
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 2011
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.
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.
Danica awakened late, but finally felt as though she'd recovered the strength that she'd expended since enchanting Ashley's cottage. A whispered word caused the shutters on the skylight above to open, revealing that she'd slept quite late. Danica sat up and stretched, assuming that she'd probably missed breakfast. She knew that someone would have saved her something, though.
Just as she finished dressing for the day, a silent mental chime and a flicker of light in her peripheral vision let Danica know that something had arrived in the message bowl. With a final yawn, she crossed the room and picked up the letter, instantly recognizing the papyrus paper. The thought of a letter from Harkhuf or Tari brought a smile to her lips.
That smile faded when she opened the missive. Even as she read, Danica nudged open the door with a flick of her telekinetic power, and hurried through the manor toward the lab, where she assumed that she would find Celes and Andrea.
"What's wrong, Dearie?" Celes asked as soon as Danica stepped through the doorway. She knew her friend all too well to miss the look of concern on Danica's face.
"Something's happened in Osiramun," Danica answered, and handed the letter to Celes.
Celes' brow furrowed as she read. "Not good," she ominously muttered, causing Ashley to look up from her map.
"What is it?" Ashley asked.
"Danica headed off a plot by Zoraster's people to throw the eastern continent into war, but it looks like it may have just delayed things." She handed the letter to Ashley, and then turned back to Danica. "I know you're going. Do you want someone to come with?"
Danica answered, "I wouldn't mind the company, but I know that the two of you are busy trying to find us another demon to wring information out of." She smoothed back her auburn tresses, sighed, and added, "Probably nothing we can do, anyway. Tari didn't leave much room for hope that I can see, and she's relaying what Harkhuf told her."
Knowing that Danica had only recently come to a disturbing realization about her previous visit to the desert kingdom, Celes took her friend's hand and asked, "Are you okay?"
Danica nodded. "Yes." She then brought Celes' hand to her lips and kissed it.
"What about Marlena?" Celes suggested.
Danica let out a little chuckle. "If she's not back yet, then she's probably going to be a while. I'll be fine. If anyone wants to come after me, I'll conjure up a picture of the teleportation pattern."
"Good idea," Celes agreed. She then admonished, "Eat before you go. I know you too well, and you'll forget if you don't."
Danica's tummy grumbled. "I don't know about that, but I will. Any luck finding another demon?"
"We're still trying to find a likely one to scry on," Ashley answered.
"If I find out that there are any demons involved in what's going on in the desert, I'll let you know."
Celes made a shooing gesture and said, "Fair enough. Now go eat."
Danica appeared atop the pattern in Harkhuf's house, the smell of incense in the air bringing back memories of her previous visits. The bald priest of Sekmamun walked into the room before she could even step from the circular pattern.
"I expected you would come, but I fear that there is little you can do."
Danica hugged the priest, the feeling of his strong arms around her sending chills down her spine. She fought down her arousal and stepped back from the hug to ask, "What exactly happened?"
"It will be far easier to show you," Harkhuf answered, and held out his hand to her.
She nodded and accepted his hand. His magic swirled around them, and Danica felt the oppressive heat of the desert sun. Glad that she had changed into light robes that shielded her skin from the sun, she looked around. She could see a great deal of activity near a rock-cut doorway in the distance.
"I will need to speak with the priests of the Necropolis before you approach," Harkhuf explained.
"I understand." The enormity of a tomb lying at the center of the troubles in the land was not lost upon her. For a culture with such strong beliefs about the body of the deceased providing an anchor for the spirit in the afterlife, anything involving a tomb would certainly provoke a powerful response.
Danica felt very self-conscious standing in the sand alone, as all eyes near the tomb turned her way. After a few tense minutes, Harkhuf returned. "We are fortunate. One of the ranking priests witnessed your dance for Pharaoh. I expected far more difficulty."
Harkhuf gestured, and Danica followed him down to the entrance of the tomb. She could again feel eyes on her, for far different reasons this time. As with all of her other visits to this land, her fair skin, red hair, and generous bosom combined with her resemblance to the goddess of dance to attract every male eye.
Harkhuf paused before the entrance of the tomb and said, "I will use my magic to show you what the priests discovered upon arriving." He then cast his spell, and Danica observed the transparent images, revealing the bodies of the priests and the dark-clad outsider.
"This one is an outsider, a shadow warrior from east of the desert. No one man perpetrated this desecration, but his fellows had no care for him when he fell."
Danica's eyes narrowed as she considered the image of the masked warrior. "Doesn't that seem a little convenient to you?"
He nodded, and then let out a sad sigh. "I fear it is of no moment to Pharaoh, however. This tomb is that of his own grandfather."
"Things will be worse than ever, won't they?"
"Pharaoh will not stop until every root and branch has been destroyed, or he himself ascends to godhood. Even then, his sons and any other who might wear the crown of Pharaoh will continue the war. There is no forgiveness or mercy for such desecration. The sands and the seas will run red with blood."
"So I only delayed the inevitable," Danica sighed. She then noticed the seal on the tomb door, which had been cut through in such a way as to barely touch the inscriptions on the surface. "They took a lot of care to remove that seal, for thieves."
"The priests of the Necropolis removed the seal. Were it not for the appearance of Pharaoh's Ba upon their arrival, they might have assumed that the thieves were stopped here. Some magic allowed them to pass through the door without breaking the seal." Harkhuf gestured toward the door of the tomb. "Your skill with the spell weaving is one of the means I used to convince the Necropolis priests to allow you inside. I thought that perhaps you might be able to discern something of the magic used by the thieves."
"I can try," Danica said with a little smile. She felt a sense of foreboding as she followed Harkhuf into the tomb — almost a miasma of mingled anger and pain in the air. At first, she assumed it was a function of her empathic powers, but she could see Harkhuf wince upon crossing the threshold of the tomb, as well.
It didn't help that the last time she had entered such a tomb in this land, it was as a thief — albeit an unwilling one under Zoraster's command. Her skin crawled as she remembered the obelisk that the madman had ordered her to deliver. The object had brimmed with ominous, intelligent power.
She shook her head and said, "I'm sorry. I guess I was lost in thought." She glanced at the paintings on the walls and ceiling of the tomb, the colorful bas relief images a testament to the wealth and influence of the man entombed here — and this was but the entrance corridor. "I suppose I should start here and see if I can pick up on any lingering strands of the magic."
After taking a deep breath, Danica slipped into the second sight, allowing her to see the aura of magic in the world around her. She then focused that vision, delving into her knowledge of spell weaving to see the individual strands of magical power.
She was surprised to see absolutely nothing. Never before had she failed to discern at least a few — usually hundreds — of naturally occurring tendrils of magical power hovering within sight. A look down the hall revealed much the same.
Harkhuf asked, "You see something?"
"No, and that's what is surprising," Danica answered. "It's as if someone sucked up every ounce of magic here. The only evidence of any sort of magical power I see is coming from us."
Harkhuf's brow furrowed, and Danica knew that he too was slipping into the second sight. "I knew the wards were broken, but this is..."
"Frightening," Danica answered for him. "I can see some of the naturally occurring threads of magic creeping in from outside, but they seem weak, and have barely passed through the doorway. Even a dispell is magic, and you can see the shell of it surrounding the place where magic is dead, if you know what you're looking for."
"This explains why the Necropolis priests have had such difficulty in restoring the tomb." He paused, his right hand curling into a fist. "If those whom Pharaoh now seeks to bring war have discovered a way to destroy magic..."
"Then the whole world is in deep trouble." Danica gestured down the corridor. "If I can, I'd like to look deeper inside."
"Of course," Harkhuf responded. "Pharaoh comes to his love of dance and the goddess from generations of the same. He who rests here would consider your presence a blessing."
Danica followed the priest of Sekmamun deeper into the tomb.
Only the dim magical glow of a scrying mirror lit the small, sparsely furnished room. Ebonar stared into the murky mirror, unable to discern any visible image, but just catching the spoken words of the pair in the tomb. The bright glow of another mirror activating attracted his eyes, and revealed the face of his master.
"It seems our pawns in the region have secrets that they have not revealed to us," Zoraster remarked.
"Which explains our inability to observe their desecration of the tomb. The shadow warriors are known to die rather than reveal their secrets," Ebonar cautioned.
Zoraster loosed a mocking laugh. "Then let them die. I'm quite sure their souls will be far more cooperative, once our necromancers have given them reason."
"It shall be done, my Master." A wide, sadistic smile spread across Ebonar's handsome face. "We may choose freely from our wizards of death, because they have completed their current task."
"Yes," Zoraster hissed. "The wards hold?"
"For now. They will fail in time."
"But not before the dead witch's demonic patron expends much power in breaking them to regain the soul we stole from him."
"Our homely priestess finds much favor with her goddess as well," Ebonar added. "I believe that she will see the inner sanctum of the temple soon."
Master and servant both smiled in anticipation.
The air grew slightly cooler as Danica descended into the rock-cut tomb. The artwork of the corridor grew more ornate with each few feet, and she could see the glitter of precious metal and jewels illuminated by flickering torchlight at the end of the corridor.
When she entered the first chamber with Harkhuf, the sight of the treasures there nearly took her breath away. Everything was adorned with silver, gold, and gems. The furniture and other goods buried with the Pharaoh were scattered about the room, and many showed signs of vandals having pried away valuable decorations. Two bare-chested men in kilts moved things in the chamber, attempting to set it aright again. A third wrote on a sheet of papyrus, and Danica could tell from what he said to the others that he was taking notes about necessary repairs to the funeral goods.
"There is so much of value left here," Danica remarked. "If they were just after treasure, they surely would have taken more."
"Likely, they carried a fortune," Harkhuf argued. "I do agree with you, however. That which they took was well considered. The statuettes of servants that toil for the Pharaoh in the afterlife, adornments bearing his name... Everything taken was meant to cause the Pharaoh the most distress in the next life. What they did not take, they damaged. This was a desecration, not a robbery."
After a quick look around in the second sight, Danica said, "There's no magic here, either. There are several tendrils coming from deeper in the tomb, though."
"It is there that the priests call upon the gods to restore the mummy of the Pharaoh. This too was desecrated — dismembered — leaving his Ba stranded between the worlds, destroying the joining of his Ba and Ka as Akh."
Danica shivered, feeling a surge in the unsettling aura that she'd felt from the moment she'd approached the tomb. "That's what I'm feeling, isn't it? It feels angry — pained."
"Yes. The lack of magic explains why it is so difficult for the priests to restore Pharaoh's mummy. That is paramount to Pharaoh's peace in the afterlife. This, itself, weakens the gods. The great priests and leaders who stand at their side give them much power. The loss of a Pharaoh's Akh is no small matter."
Danica noticed something in Harkhuf's tone and his expression. "There's more, isn't there?"
"The gods seem — for lack of a better word — distracted."
Danica's eyes widened a little. "The entire pantheon?"
"Not just the gods of my land — all of the gods."
Tayetet lounged on her cushions, though the goddess was far from at leisure. As did most of the gods, part of her power and consciousness fought against the breech to the hells. Unlike many of the deities, she also fought to revive a favored servant against a deadening of magic that defied even her immortal power.
The goddess opened her eyes when she felt another power request admittance to her realm. A beautiful smile crossed her face, and an absent thought caused her silken gown to thin, becoming transparent. Her ample breasts and the curls on her mound now revealed, Tayetet let a curtain of her red hair fall over one side of her face, and granted the request.
Her smile widened upon seeing the tented cloth of Sekmamun's kilt, evidence that her display and advances toward her fellow god were not falling into infertile soil.
The god sat down upon Tayetet's cushions and stroked his hand over her hip. "You know of my visions?"
"Of course," The goddess purred. Her fingers reaching out to caress his godly phallus left no ambiguity as to her desires.
"I have had another," Sekmamun offered, his hand slipping to her rounded bottom. "One which may give you ease, as well as offer more."
The goddess moaned from his touch, her hand curling around his cock to feel it throbbing with desire.
Sekmamun's fingers traveled again, reaching Tayetet's heavenly garden of fiery curls. "Allow me to show you."
Quivering with desire, the goddess nodded.
Utilizing the magic of her earrings, Danica spoke with one of the ranking priests in the second treasure-filled chamber of the tomb, discussing the possibility of adding runic protections to the guardian magic of the tomb. The stone scribe spell that she'd found in the library of Sekmamun would allow her to do so quickly, and she hoped that perhaps such might help to soften the current Pharaoh's heart. Anything that could possibly avert the onset of war was worth a try.
Danica felt an odd, powerful attraction toward the holy of holies, the burial chamber of the tomb, now only a few feet away beyond two life-sized and life-like depictions of the Pharaoh at the epitome of manly youth. Her feet fidgeted upon the smooth stone floor of their own volition, pointing toward the door, where weak tendrils of magic fought to emerge from the stone to serve the priests tirelessly chanting within.
Harkhuf frequently glanced toward the burial chamber as Danica spoke with the priest, and she paused when the priest of the necropolis turned toward the tomb, his expression blank and his eyes distant.
Still fighting against the tug drawing her deeper into the tomb, Danica turned toward Harkhuf with the intention of using her telepathy to ask if he understood what was happening. Before she could do so, Harkhuf said, "The gods call."
The other priest then scanned the treasure chamber, and immediately walked toward an ornate wooden box. From this box, he pulled forth an exquisite sistrum crafted of bronze, and ornamented with gold. Harkhuf also opened a box, removing an equally beautiful flute. Danica noticed that the chanting within the burial chamber had ceased when one of the priests within emerged. As had Harkhuf and the other priest, this man removed a harp from yet another beautiful storage box.
Danica knew the reason for the instruments without anyone mentioning it to her. She could feel the music resonating through her body, and feel her feet gliding through steps that she'd never performed. Euphoria and arousal flooded through Danica's body, pushing away the dry chill of the air.
The men walked toward the burial chamber as Danica let her robe fall to the floor and shuddered. Her brassiere quickly followed, and she stepped out of her panties as she followed the priests into the final resting place of the Pharaoh.
Danica was dimly aware that the priests within the room had retreated to a far wall, leaving the unwrapped mummy of the Pharaoh upon a table near his sarcophagus. The corpse was dismembered — dark, dry, and alien looking — although still obviously a recognizable man. Some small, conscious part of Danica even noticed resemblance to the current Pharaoh and his sons.
Without instruction, either verbal or silent, she found her mark near the head of the table supporting the body. Also unconsciously, she struck the same pose as a depiction of Tayetet on the wall behind her, creating a living image of the remarkably similar goddess. She closed her eyes, but she could feel her runes coming alight upon her skin without seeing them.
The others in the room saw the pale blue runes, and also observed hieroglyphs in the same glowing hue emerge from the painted skin of the goddess relief behind Danica. As Danica understood her mark, so too did the priests with their instruments know their cue. Harkhuf brought the pipe to his lips, and the song began.
Danica danced, feeling the music permeating her — guiding her. She caressed both her body and the table as she moved with sinuous grace. She knew that her motions were more than a dance. Her fingers, her hands, and then her feet traced runes upon the stone floor, into the air, upon the table, and onto her nude body.
The tempo of the music increased, and so too did the intensity of Danica's dance. Her auburn hair whipped as she moved, her breasts jiggling and swinging from the motion of her body. The Awakening surged within her, making her wet enough to drip down her rune-emblazoned thighs.