Zandra Ch. 01byMrPendragon©
The black smoke of the factories had darkened the sky, so that even during the day the gas lights in the room had to be lit if Zandra was to read something. She sat at her desk, made of a reddish wood that sat by the window that overlooked the back alley. Her apartment was on the third floor, so on certain days when the clouds weren't quite so dark, she could see over the roofs of the city and see the black waters of the Tillman River.
Today was too dark and the air filled with too much smoke to see anything beyond the windows on the other side of the alley. Being a proper, young woman of society she had no intention of curing her boredom by snooping on her neighbors across from her. Zandra decided to spend her day reading letters and doing her correspondences.
A busty, attractive woman, Zandra had many suitors from all over the civilized country writing her letters of proposal. Her red hair, unusual in her part of the world often made her a standout at the balls that she frequented. Her wit and wonderful voice had made her the unofficial Queen of the Social. Indeed, she often felt like royalty as the eager, young men tripped over themselves for a dance and an opportunity to shower her with praise and devotion.
Every letter was carefully read, always with a smile on her full lips. Afterwords, Zandra would write a careful and delicate rejection to their marriage proposals. But in each letter, she always put in a silver lining, a small ray of hope to keep her gentlemen suitors writing her, so that she could continue to enjoy their letters.
One letter in particular stood out. It was from a man named Mr. Xavier, someone she had never met before. Receiving letters from men she did not know was uncommon, but it wasn't unheard of. This letter was unusual in it was an invitation to a social gathering.
"You are hereby invited to the demonstration and exhibition of the unknown powers of Spiritualism," the letter read. "I am new to this city and have heard that one cannot have a successful social gathering without your presence. Thus, it would honor me greatly if you would bless this little event with your charm and grace. The event will be held at my townhouse at 1125 Northbelle Avenue at seven in the evening, October the 5th. Dress need not be formal. Dinner and drinks will be provided. With sincerest gratitude, Mr. Xavier."
"How charming," Zandra exclaimed.
Spiritualism was the latest fad and interest among the cultured people of the city. Debates between learned men had given aflame to a possibility of worlds beyond the physical one. This was an opportunity that couldn't be passed up. With tremendous enthusiasm and excitement, Zandra quickly wrote a response to the mysterious Mr. Xavier, informing the gentlemen that she would most defiantly be in attendance. "I wouldn't miss it for all the world," she wrote.
The parlor couldn't fit another person, the room was packed with eager spectators. All of whom, were the very best and cultured people the city had to offer. There was Lady Victoria, the thirty eight year old wife to the elderly Master Wilkshire and her eighteen year old daughter Annabelle. Inspector Lyndon, the skeptic of the group, sat on the sofa and smoked his pipe. Beside the inspector sat the brilliant young scientist and inventor, Camus. Zandra was of course present, sitting in the chair beside a rising star of the theater, Christina. There were many others crowding the room, but none seemed to be of any importance to Zandra.
In the center of the parlor was a small table, covered in a velvet cloth decorated with strange symbols. An empty chair sat beside it. On this table was a crystal ball and an old, leather bound book. Zandra couldn't get a good look at what book it was from her vantage point. It didn't matter though, as Zandra was having a perfectly good time listening to others gossip and doing a little gossiping herself. In fact, she got into a very spirited discussion with Christina on the subject of Mr. Xavier himself.
"I have it on good authority that Mr. Xavier comes from the east," Christina said. "Where from the east is a bit of a mystery but he most defiantly comes from somewhere that way. I have heard that he can conjure the spirits of the dead, but such a thing must be impossible."
Zandra laughed at the notion of impossibility. "Oh my dear, don't be so silly. In this new age of science and enlightenment, who are we to determine what is possible and what is impossible? I have been in letter correspondence with Mr. Xavier for three weeks now. He is one of the most intelligent and learned man I have ever discoursed with via letter. I have full confidence in Mr. Xavier and his ability to demonstrate the science and validity behind Spiritualism."
From his sofa, Inspector Lyndon shouted "humbug" at Zandra. Coolly, Zandra ignored Inspector Lyndon's comment. He said nothing further in her or Christina's direction. The good inspector elected to keep quiet and smoke his pipe.
"Spiritualism, is a new form of understanding," Zandra continued. "We have only just begun to explore the hidden world. Think of how much could be beyond our own perception. Mr. Xavier and his like are explorers of that hidden world."
"But there is so little we know about Mr. Xavier. His claims are just so incredible, I can barely wrap my mind around it."
"Which is why we need men like Mr. Xavier, to guide us into these new ideas. I can hardly comprehend it myself, but I trust in Mr. Xavier's authority on the subject. Respected gentlemen should not be doubted, it's uncivilized."
"Inspector Lyndon is a respected gentlemen," Christina said. "But, you doubted his skepticism."
"Intelligent and cultured gentlemen then."
"Do you really intend to put your complete faith into Mr. Xavier's claims?"
"Why wouldn't I? What possible reason could he have to deceive us?"
"There are many reasons young lady," Inspector Lyndon said. "But the subjects of those reasons are not fit for discussion in the presence of women. Suffice it to say, I have known men of the likes of Mr. Xavier. They are not to be trusted."
The room fell quiet and all eyes turned on the entrance way. Mr. Xavier stood at the entrance way, wearing a black robe. His hair was white and thinning, but his beard was full and well groomed. He was tall, fit for being in his early fifties. His head and nose were both narrow and long. His eyes were large and deep, but contained an uncanny power of attraction as they scanned the room. His voice was deep and soothing, his demeanor fatherly and wise. Zandra found herself smitten with him straight away.
"Welcome friends," Mr. Xavier said. "I welcome you to my home and to what I hope is the first of many journeys into the unknown together. I am Xavier. I have traveled extensively through out the east and have been initiated in many of the occult schools. The learned master who I have studied under, revealed to me the mysteries of the hidden world. So now I have come to your city, to do the same for you. Let us begin."
Like a spirit floating on the air, Mr. Xavier moved to the small table with the book on it. His hand darted out in several directions theatrically, while he spoke some words that no one else in the room could understand. Then with an elaborate gesture, he opened the book to a certain page. He raised both hands in the air and called for absolute quite. Not a sound could be heard.
The room darkened. The crystal ball began to glow an eerie, green light. As Zandra watched in fascination, she could feel a chill running up her spine. Christina had grabbed her by the hand and held it tightly. Zandra didn't mind.
Mr. Xavier began reading from the book in a strange, ancient sounding language. As he read the crystal ball's green glow intensified. The brass sconces attached the walls began to shake and rattle. Mr. Xavier's voice thundered and echoed. The light from the crystal ball began turning color, becoming a dark, scarlet glow.
Zandra felt herself moisten at Mr. Xavier's powerful voice. Her chest heaved and her mind was being emptied. She was becoming lustful, suddenly needing the strong touch of Mr. Xavier's hands. As his chant reached its crescendo, she felt herself nearing orgasm.
The sounds of moaning and wailing filled the parlor. The walls and floor shook with a mysterious power. Christina was gripping Zandra's hand so tightly it felt as though it was going to break. Zandra had to bite her lip to prevent herself from howling out in a mad passion.
Zandra gazed into the crystal ball. She saw a galaxy of stars and strange worlds of bizarre architecture and twisted landscapes. She saw the pleasure domes of ancient wizards and the palaces of priests of long forgotten faiths. There was a man with dark hair, his arms stretched out to the sides with his palms skyward. Zandra could feel herself being pulled towards crystal ball, being pulled towards those strange worlds to serve the old masters as their willing slave. Then she saw Mr. Xavier's dark eyes, commanding her to submit.
The colors and the images ceased. Zandra felt as though she was snapped from a dream. Looking about the parlor, she saw that the candles in the sconces were still lit and the room was perfectly bright.
"Was that it?" Inspector Lyndon asked unimpressed.
Zandra grew angry with his dismissive attitude. "What ever do you mean inspector? Did you not see the colors or the images in the crystal ball?"
"Young lady, what are you babbling about? I saw no such thing. All the crystal ball did was blink some green light. A trick easily done by any confidence trickster."
"Perhaps your mind is too small to experience the vast unknown Inspector Lyndon," Zandra said.
"Perhaps you are right. Regardless, it was a nice show all the same."
With that, the good inspector rose from the couch and quit the parlor. The crowd looked and whispered to each other, trying to piece together exactly what happened or didn't happen. Zandra didn't need such consultations, she knew exactly what she saw and experienced.
"It's getting late," Christina said. "I must retire as I have rehearsals all this week. You must come and visit Zandra, I would love to chat with you some more."
Zandra smiled warmly. "Of course. I can tell we are going to be very dear friends."
Mr. Xavier thanked his guests for coming and promised to see each of them out personally. The guests quickly filed out of the room, except for Zandra who was very interested in the contents on the small table. While everyone was leaving, she walked over and looked over the book. It was written in a strange, ornate style by hand. She couldn't figure out how it was supposed to be read as the symbols seemed rather random in nature.
"Are you interested in the hidden arts young lady?"
Zandra spun around at the sound of Mr. Xavier's voice. Everyone else had left the townhouse, no doubt on their way home. She felt a bit uncomfortable, as it was improper for a lady to be alone with a strange man.
"I find this all very fascinating," she said. "How do you read such a strange book?"
"It takes years of patient study. The book is powerful and can even be dangerous in the wrong hands. It takes an experienced master to explore its secrets."
"Where did you find it?"
"From the ancient civilization of Leng," he said. "It is far to the east, in the darkest of continents. A place of mystery and cruelty. But there was also great pleasure there. The women were the most beautiful I have ever seen. I was sad to leave it, but such mysteries must be shared with the western world. So I have brought these gifts here to Darkwall, for all to share."
Zandra felt herself swoon at his words. How badly she wanted to surrender herself to him. To embrace him in a fit of passion and submit entirely to his power. But she resisted temptation, and gathered her resolve to excuse herself from his company.
"Thank you for the wonderful evening Mr. Xavier," Zandra said. "I really must be going as it is getting rather late."
"Yes that is. If you ever interesting in exploring the hidden world yourself, my door will always be open to you."
"That is a very tempting offer Mr. Xavier. Perhaps I will take you up on it. Good night sir."
With that, Zandra left the townhouse quickly. Once outside, she felt a strange relief as if suddenly freed from invisible shackles. She climbed into her carriage and went straight home.
Several weeks later Zandra was invited for tea at Lady Victoria's home on Hampton Boulevard. This wasn't her first time at Lady Victoria's home, but her visits were not often. The home itself was an opulent mansion, filled with all sorts of indentured maids and servants. Lady Victoria's salon was the most famous in the city. Her guest lists were a who's who of high society. Even the High Lord was a frequent guest of her socials.
They sat in the drawing room at the tea table. The wallpaper was green and the furniture tasteful. Zandra was particularly fond of the rug, a black canvas with ornate gold designs that spiraled and flowered. It was a most beautiful rug and Zandra made sure to compliment Lady Victoria on it.
"My husband purchased it in Sumaria," Lady Victoria told Zandra. "I was unable to travel with him but he told me the most wonderful stories about it. They have these structures there called ziggurats, built in ancient times to be temples and palaces of gods. He also told me that they sell women as slaves there. To be used as harlots and concubines to the lords and rich merchants."
"Isn't it though?" Lady Victoria sighed as she poured tea into both of their cups. "He told me about how they were whipped and sold to lecherous men, who fondled and used them without regards to any decency whatsoever. They were even given to guests as lurid entertainment."
"How could anything so disgusting happen in this day and age? It's revolting."
"Of course my husband did not partake in such things."
"Of course not. A respectable man like him wouldn't think of it," Zandra said.
"Still, the history of it is quite interesting. In a purely academic fashion of course."
"Evidently the culture of pleasure slaves didn't originate in Sumaria, but to our east on our very own continent."
"You must be jesting," Zandra gasped in shock.
"I wish I was. But still, it was hundreds of years ago. Here we are safe and sound in the year of Our Lady 1872 and far from the filthy grasp of slavers. Let's change the subject. What did you think of Mr. Xavier?"
"A most fascinating individual," Zandra said. "I'll tell you, I really experienced something in his parlor. There were powerful forces at work in there."
"I couldn't agree more darling. I could swear that I had seen weird things in that crystal. Annabelle said that she things in it too. As to what they were, she couldn't say exactly. It's foggy now, like a half-remembered dream."
"I'm the same way. I try to piece it all together from memory, but nothing seems right or makes sense. I wonder if Mr. Xavier will hold another gathering."
"Annabelle and I have been to see him. Several times in fact. Each time I find him and his ideas more intriguing. Annabelle is absolutely smitten with him. Her eyes light up every time his name is even mentioned. I must admit, the thought of the man has a strange effect on me as well. I feel drawn and attracted to him. He has an interest in you as well."
"Yes," Lady Victoria answered. "He said that you have a very powerful spirit and asked me to invite you to become an apprentice to his art."
"Perhaps I should see him then," Zandra replied. The thought of Mr. Xavier asking about her was incredibly flattering. "Still, it would be best to see him in a social setting. Visiting him alone just wouldn't be proper and my gentlemen callers would be beyond jealous."
"I assure you, Mr. Xavier is of the highest moral character of any man I have ever met. He is completely trustworthy."
In mid-November, the frost had come to Darkwall. They hadn't received their first good snow yet, but the sudden, bitter cold promised for a harsh winter. One of the advantages to keeping a small apartment was that it was easier to heat. The furnace was well placed, keeping the majority of the space comfortable.
Zandra had kept in written correspondence with Mr. Xavier, but had not visited him personally since the night she had met him. Each day, she considered going to see him and each day, decided against it. She couldn't help but a feel an incredible attraction to the man and a burning desire to surrender to it.
On the 14th of November Zandra could keep away no longer. She arranged to meet Mr. Xavier in his home as he rarely ventured out of it. The arrangement was set for the afternoon and Zandra set out in her carriage for Mr. Xavier's townhouse.
He was at home as expected and the two sat in the parlor where the seance was preformed last October. Mr. Xavier served her an exotic tea from the far east. It had a bitter taste that Zandra didn't much care for. But she didn't complain since it would be rude, besides drinking exotic tea was a very cultured thing to do, regardless of how it tasted.
"I am pleased that you have come to see me," Mr. Xavier said. His deep, piercing eyes studied her intensely from his the chair he sat in.
Zandra sat on the sofa, with perfect posture. "I'm sorry it wasn't sooner," she apologized. "But you see, I have just been so busy lately."
"I understand. I'm just happy that you are here now. Lady Victoria tells me that you have shown some interest in becoming one of my students."
"Well yes, I find the subject of Spiritualism most fascinating. I would like to learn as much about it as possible."
"That is good. More tea?"
"Oh, yes please."
Zandra hadn't realized that she had drank her entire cup. Perhaps she was becoming accustomed to the taste. Mr. Xavier poured some more of the tea into the cup. When it was full again, Zandra took another sip.
She began to feel a little strange, a bit warmer. Perhaps it was just the room, after all it was filled with the psychic memories of her spiritual experience there. It must be a residual effect in the room, she told herself. Zandra set the tea cup down and tried to focus on her conversation with Mr. Xavier, whose intense gaze was fixed on her.
"In what subjects would you instruct me Mr. Xavier?" Zandra asked.
"In subjects that are suitable for a woman of course."
Zandra couldn't concentrate. Her heard was swimming with strange thoughts and her body was jolted with bizarre sensations. She suddenly felt the need to claw at her clothes, to rip them off her body. Never before had her dresses felt so restrictive, like iron shackles chaining her to a dungeon wall. Desperate to compose herself, she took in a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. Lustful thoughts began to plague her mind, uncontrollable and unrelenting. Corruption was coursing through her veins.
"I must apologize Mr. Xavier," Zandra said between labored gasps. "But I am feeling unwell and must take my leave."
"I'm afraid so. Thank you for the lovely afternoon."
Zandra quit the house quickly and had her carriage rush her home. She burst through her apartment door and closed and locked it as fast as she could. Twilight was falling out of the windows. Unable to restrain herself and longer, Zandra began tearing the clothes from her body. Naked, she collapsed on the bed and started groping herself wildly. Lust and passion had completely taken hold. She had succumbed to the carnal desires and filthy words flooded her mind. Slut. Pussy. Cock. Whore. Fuck.
She thought of a shadowy man, a man whose face she couldn't see. She thought of herself on her back before him with her legs spread wide. In her fevered dream the man was fucking her, raping her, tearing the purity and decency from her soul and turning her into a sex crazed wild thing, yearning to submit.