Laresa's World Ch. 19: Seymourbydeathlynx©
Seymour slowly waved the talisman around himself in a circle. A tingle rushed through him at one specific direction. It felt like the soft caress of a lover, spreading outward just under his skin. They had never been able to imitate the effect. They had fashioned numerous stones, through the centuries, that took the place of this talisman but none of the copies ever felt the same as this; the original artifact. He didn't like the feel of the stones, which is why he used the original whenever possible.
He moved slowly through the woods with the talisman held before him. Outwardly it appeared as nothing more than a very well crafted wand, with a raven's feather tied to the handle with a hemp cord. The feather and cord were not the originals. In fact, Seymour knew they weren't integral to the operation of the item. Many centuries ago the original cord had warn away and broken. The wand had remained without the decoration ever since, until he discovered a reference in some of the oldest journals describing them. He couldn't duplicate the exact nature of the original cord, since it didn't describe the material, but the feather was explicitly that of a raven. With thoughts of historical accuracy, he had added back on the decoration.
The tingling grew. He was almost on top of the object of his quest. Seymour's excitement grew in proportion to the sensation coming from the divining wand. Suddenly there was a pulse of energy and the wand grew quiet. He knew from his experiments that it would resume as strongly if he moved it beyond a foot of whatever magic it had detected.
Seymour found himself standing in the middle of the woods and looking down at the groundcover of old leaves, the wand, almost forgotten in his hand, at his side. He was afraid of the final step. If I do this there is no going back. I have defied no rules yet, just tradition. He took a deep breath to steady himself and knelt.
From the lower position he suddenly knew what he was looking for and his heart leapt into his throat. It can't be! If he had asked for a sign for reassurance, none better could have appeared than what lay before him. It may have looked like nothing more than a tarnished gold ring with an amber stone, but Seymour knew better. The ring contained magic; a djiin. In fact, this very genie had helped to create the very talisman which he held. When the agent had taken it, he had mistaken it for the ring before him.
Gingerly he lifted the ring and shook off a few leaves. He held it poised above his finger. To place it on his finger would release him from his previous life. He enjoyed his work. Seymour had always enjoyed research, learning, reading, and just knowledge in general. Working for the Society, he had access to some of the rarest and most well hidden lore the world had ever known. He catalogued everything meticulously and organized the library and, when necessary, authenticated the rare artifact that the handful of agents actually managed to acquire.
That was their problem. The Society of Djiin was small. In total there were maybe a dozen members. Once, the Society had never maintained more than three members and two apprentices at any given time. Through the centuries they had given over to acceptance of the futility of three people scouring the world for the vessels containing genies and begun adding members. Seymour had been the first person brought in exclusively for his talents as an administrator and curator. They were growing quickly and needed the organization. Now that he had finally finished organizing the tomes of information, he felt free to begin what he felt would be the most crucial step for the growing society.
The ring plunged downward. The cold metal met the hard flesh and bone, at the base of his finger, and he gaze it a turn. The motion had been fluid for he didn't trust himself not to back out. Almost at once the ring began to heat, symbolically burning away his former life, the smoke that poured from the ring only added to the imagery. He had now broken the Society's first, most ardent, rule; never use the power of the djiin.
The smoke coalesced into the most beautiful woman Seymour had ever seen. He had read accounts of Laresa, but the mere words refused to do her justice. She had a perfect figure, accented by a gown which hugged her curves and seemed to change colors as it shifted, propelled by some unknown wind. Blond hair, so pale it was nearly silver, flowed slowly around her and moved to the same tempo as her gown.
But it was her eyes that held him. Seymour had always wondered why accounts varied about her eyes. He had assumed that she changed to suit the desires of her master, now he was not so sure. The eyes he stared into seemed to change color constantly, flowing from gold, to violet, to green to blue seamlessly. The robe could have been explained by simple tricks of the moonlight, her eyes could be nothing other than magic.
"What is your desire my master?" Seymour released a breath he hadn't known he was holding. He was Laresa's newest master. His fate had been decided, if he was lucky he would simply be discharged from the Society. Some rogue agents had been killed for what he had just done. "Master?" He had spent too long contemplating his choice. "I am..."
"Laresa. I know who and what you are. Please do not try to read my thoughts. I know I haven't phrased it as such but I hope to form a good relationship with you and will not need to explicitly state what is a wish and what isn't."
Laresa was often known for her independence. Seymour didn't have the heart to be a strict or harsh master to her, but he couldn't afford for her to ask too many questions of him. If she ever tried to read his mind, she might become concerned or curious when she discovered his mental shielding. It was also possible that his status as master, his connection to the ring, would countermand his staunch mental discipline and grant her complete access to his thoughts.
"I understand master. I will not try to read your thoughts. This will, however, make granting your wishes more difficult." There was a calculating intelligence behind those eyes. Seymour noticed that her eyes had settled on a light blue, so vibrant they seemed to shine in the near darkness. With those powerful eyes staring back at him, he suddenly became very self-conscious.
"Please, my name is Seymour." He knew he was blushing but couldn't seem to stop. He was a bookworm. He might be large enough that the bullies never targeted him through his education, but he was homely enough that the attractive women never even noticed him. He didn't exactly think of himself as ugly, just slightly less than average.
And now the most beautiful woman he'd ever met wished to fulfill his ever desire. No wonder so many people end up using genies for their own gratification! The look in her eyes proclaimed her desire, no, her need to please him. Too many people would recognize that look only as sexual, but there was more too it than that. Seymour had been in love, what seemed like a lifetime ago, and knew what it had been like to want nothing more than to bring joy to another person.
Then, she had found the one thing he had not been willing to forsake for her. He now recognized that she had systematically stripped away his life in search of something that she could use as a fault in their relationship. Her departure had driven him more completely, more desperately, into his work with the Society. She had driven him to love nothing more. And now, his love for the organization drove him to segregate himself forever.
Laresa's eyes softened. "Please master Seymour! Let me grant a wish. I cannot bear to see such pain in you."
"It's nothing. The past isn't quite as forgotten as I had thought." He looked up and smiled, but it never quite reached his eyes. "There was a cave not to far from here. Could you transport us there and provide some light for us?"
Laresa smiled and it lit up her face. He felt the rush of blood heat his groin, but his heart seemed to fall in on itself. The world lurched around them and suddenly they stood in the very cave he had passed on his way to find the ring. They were far enough back that the temperature was that natural cool that all caves were. The bland walls were lit with the flickering orange glow of oil lanterns.
"Would you like to hear the rules master Seymour?"
Absently he shook his head. "No, thank you, I know them." He had picked up one of the lantern and was already investigating deeper into the cave. "And please, you don't need to call me master."
"How do you know so much about me? You are not the first master with such foreknowledge."
Seymour's eyes flew wide in combination confusion and nerves. He had read every chronicle of Laresa, and there were many, She was one of the most extensively catalogued genies. Never did it mention a master who knew who she was prior to her first summons. Either that meant there were masters who the Society's psychics had never been able to scry, or those events had not transpired yet. Seymour knew that the items containing genies would disappear given certain conditions, to be transported to somewhere else, but did that mean they were jumping through time as well? That seemed a little to science-fiction to him; too H. G. Wells. This was 1953, time travel had been proven improbable due to the issue of paradox.
He answered her cautiously. He knew he couldn't lie to her, but would a partial truth be enough? Would omission be viewed as a lie by the magic that bound her? "There are a great many tales of your activities. You have been a very active genie throughout the years." He waited for her to fade but she didn't. Her magic, their magic, was a much more forgiving judge than he would have been. What he'd said was true, but never explained how he'd come to know the tales. She nodded sagely, accepting the partial truth as her magic had.
As his nerves settled his body once more reacted to Laresa, so much so that he had to turn away. "Seymour, there is more you wish of me. I cannot read your mind to tell for certain, but it is clear that there is." Her voice sounded almost tired. Had so many masters really taken advantage of her desire to please? She moved closer to him, as she spoke, so much so that he could feel her presence like a warmth across his back.
"You are very attractive Laresa, and my body would like nothing more than to have you, but there are other things, more important than lust." He couldn't keep the image of her supple body from his mind, naked and sliding upwards along him. He could almost feel the silk of her flesh pressed against his skin. He shook the thought away as his heart turned to stone within him and dropped. His very soul rebelled against the thought of using her in such a way, as it had of keeping the truth of the Society from her. "My goal in life is to study the nature of magical artifacts. I have one which could aid me on a small scale but I would like more." Seymour pulled out the talisman and Laresa's eyes widened. She knew it. After so many years she remembered the very wand she had helped to create.
"Would you teach me to create such as these?" He finally met her eyes, those shining pools of summer sky. "I do not want you to help me for my wishes. I hope that you will help me for the love of discovering knowledge. Perhaps you will be able to discover more about yourself." He knew that Laresa prized the ability to choose for herself, but that was not the reason he granted such liberties. He understood the American suffrage movement and agreed completely. He was honest with himself and admitted that he was glad his search for a genie had led him to this country, even if McCarthy was proposing his very own "witch hunt."
"You are giving me the freedom to choose to help you?" He sighed, to afraid of her response, but nodded anyway. Laresa smiled and he could feel something in the magic that surrounded the ring shift. She was once more free, if only temporarily, to choose her own destiny. "Thank you Seymour. It is a great gift that you give me and one I would not lightly ignore." She smiled, that radiant smile that sent heat through his body. "I will help you."
Still flushed, Seymour smiled and looked away. "First, I would like to turn this cave into a suitable residence. There should be room enough for perhaps as many as fifty or more people to live here." He was thinking ahead, to a time when the society grew larger still. "I would like to form a school, though I know I will never get that chance. Even still it should be set up to remind me of what could be. Laboratories for testing and studying magic and science commingled."
He barely noticed Laresa was caught up in his excitement. His passion began to transfer to her. "For that many people you will need a large dining room, kitchen and a number of recreation rooms." As she spoke, her magic began to reach out, to touch the very walls around them. At the back of the cave, the rock began to run like water. As it flowed away it began to sink and twist to create a spiral passage further into the depths of the earth.
Seymour had thought long and hard about the base. For too long had the society moved around as locations became available or unacceptable. With so little protections they had lost many of the artifacts they had gained. Both genies and other artifacts had been stolen by magical and mundane methods. "We need a vault to store those things to rare or dangerous to be left in the open. A vault with powerful wards to keep out those who would plunder knowledge for personal gain."
Seymour could feel the space opening beneath him. He could feel Laresa's magic flowing through the bedrock as if it were his own, but he had no magic, did he? He could feel the rock melt away, sliding into the forms he requested. The layout was foreign to his dreams but the placement so logical that he had naught to object. He felt consumed and filled with her magic, adrift as the power raged from the ring to alter the world around him. The psychic had tried to warn him. You will discover more than just your hidden desires if you tread this path. He had feared it meant he would lose his way. He had never dreamt of this.
When the magic began to recede, Seymour remembered one last room. "There needs to be a central office. Within the office will reside a map of the world. Beneath this map I need another talisman like this; one powerful enough to sense great magics across the globe."
There was excitement in Laresa's eyes. This project was not only intriguing but his exuberance must have been contagious. "You can feel it can't you?" Laresa's question shocked Seymour. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. I simply felt some form of connection when the magic overcame me. It always feels as if the connection runs through my master rather than directly from the ring to me, but you are the first who has shown signs of recognition."
Seymour looked away in embarrassment. "I did feel something. I felt the power flow through me. It could feel the very walls take shape at your command. It felt wondrous."
"They, this very place, took shape at your command Seymour. You are the master, you are just the first I've ever known to feel the connection."
"Ok, our command. But I should have known I had talent."
Laresa merely smiled and waved his explanation away. "Most people with talent never know." Abruptly, she changed subjects before he could question her remark. Suddenly he realized that might be a blessing for him as to admit the true reason he should have known would have brought him perilously close to acknowledging the Society. "I can make an artifact that can do as you ask but there will be some limitations to it." She began to count the issues on her fingers in a habit that appeared far too modern for his knowledge of her recent activity. "It will be far too large to move easily. Because of the scope of the detection it will only be able to sense the active use of magic. It will be unable, on its own, to bring up a holographic projection of the world."
"Excuse me. What do optical tricks have to do with the magical artifact?" Laresa's eyes went wide with Seymour's question, as it she had said more than she was supposed to.
"I'm sorry, I forgot where I was. What it means is that you will need to supply the map for the magic to project locations onto. It can be as simple or technical as you wish."
"Do you mean like a globe as opposed to a map?" Laresa nodded. "Very good! Would you be able to create a globe for me as well, large enough to read easily and determine locations?"
Laresa crossed her arms and simply stared at Seymour. The look she gave him was very unbecoming but suddenly he understood how he deserved it. Of course she can create one. That would be simplicity in itself. The whole explanation was simply to let me know that the artifact could use any form of map. As the realization dawned Laresa's expression shifted to bemused. He might have kept her from reading his thoughts, but no one could live for thousands of years and not learn how to read body language, and Seymour knew he was far from the best at dissembling.
"Your wish is my command, master." Laresa winked with the last word and made sure he knew she was playing with him. Once more he felt the magic flow from the ring. This time, as the power rode over and through him, he expected it. He did not simply what he was trained to do, but what was natural; he analyzed it. It did flow out from the ring, but it did not spread evenly through his body, instead it first traveled to his head. From there, the power moved straight to his left breast, to his heart. It was only then that it began to spread its amazing touch throughout his body. As his knees weakened he vaguely realized that it didn't quite reach his lower legs.
All too quickly it was gone. When Seymour eyes opened, Laresa was standing inches in front of him and staring intently. Her smile, her very expression, was something completely foreign to him. There was a fire in her eyes that sent blood racing downward. She took a half step forward. He took a full step back in terror. He was prey, that was what the look in her eyes spoke of. His mind refused to accept what he knew that look to mean.
"Documents!" Laresa's face contorted in confusion at the unexpected declaration. "We need instructions for the wards and the new talisman." Seymour was rambling. He knew he was, but he was uncomfortable and his mouth wandered when he was uncomfortable or excited. Truthfully, he knew he was both.
A grin spread across Laresa's face. Her eyes flitted briefly to the ring on his finger, her ring. Whatever had been in her expression before had intensified. Her smile was decidedly feral, even primal. She had cornered her prey and knew it. Seymour flinched as her hand came gently up to his face with a feline grace. "Your wish..."
Seymour didn't quite hear the rest as, once again the power flowed through him. It seemed to grow each time he made a wish. He didn't know if he could handle much more, fortunately everything he needed was here. Perhaps he would only need to ask her to seek out a few of the magics they detected, he certainly hoped that would be the case. His body shook from the overwhelming sensation that raced through him.
All too quickly it passed, only to be replaced by an equally enticing, and nerve-racking one. Laresa's body pressed against Seymour. Her hands were on his face and her mouth was inches from his. He hadn't realized she was taller than he was, but now, with her head tilted slightly forward to meet his and his hard length pressed delightfully into the crease of her legs he was all to aware of her. He was aware to her firm body, separated from his by nothing but a couple of layers of fabric. Of everything else, Seymour was most acutely aware of her gorgeous, vivid, light blue eyes.