tagSci-Fi & FantasyQuincunx Ch. 05

Quincunx Ch. 05


Journey to the center

After a minute or so a robed young man came out and invited us in with a wave of his arm, hand leading to the door he'd just exited. Inside was a magnificent hall, a desk stationed in front of the stairs and half a dozen seats next to it.

I made for the seats and looked at the man seated behind the desk giving us a serious once over as we approached. The leader was standing in front, holding his cap in hand as he stared at us too.

I sat down, letting the ladies sit first and grabbing the seat next to Rash. I leant and stretched to take one of her hands where it rested in her lap, bringing it up to rest on my legs as I held her fingers tightly in mine.

She turned and gave me a flickering half smile and squeezed on my fingers. I smiled back wondering what ordeal we faced here. The wait wasn't long, some other robed individual came down and invited us to follow him through into a high vaulted library, with book lining the walls half way up, leaving almost no room for the windows.

Here we waited a while longer, interrupted only by a tray of snacks and juice brought to us ten minutes into our sojourn. We sat in a love seat arms entwined as she lent her head on my shoulder.

"Do you think we'll be here much longer?" she asked softly, not daring to break the peace in this serene chamber.

"As long as it takes," I suppose. "You've put him in an awkward situation; he's probably reading up on the rules right now."

"If it takes much longer we'll have to stay the night here."

"I'm sure they'll get it sorted out soon," I said, feeding her comforting words. "If we're staying I'm sharing your cell."

My time was dragging as I wished the minute's bye, confident of the opportunity to share her bed later. Miriamni had surprised me by settling in one of the leathered lounge chairs and looked as if she were sleeping, arms crossed below her chest.

We waited at least ten minutes more, Rash beginning to sigh loudly before an old man in gaily decorated robes made his entrance.

"I welcome you," he greeted us. "I am Jacander, Mayor of this little burg." He looked from me to Rash. "You are claiming asylum here, as Princess Rasyondi, daughter of Harould of Skire."

She nodded.

"Tell me your story," he said quietly as he settled into one of the easy chairs.

Rasyondi told a tale that left me astounded, telling of her resistance to her father's wish of a political marriage, how she wanted to live her own life and settle down in Lhamo Dondrub.

"The guard tell me that your servant is a healer, a lesser one if I can judge. And your companion claims some knowledge of magic as well."

"They speak for themselves; both want to return hence they came."

"Woman, yes you, come forward that I might test you." He called out to Miriamni

Miriamni edged out of her seat, rising and crossing to stand before him. He handed her a disc such as the one used to test me.

"Just hold it steady in your two hands," he instructed her.

It glowed with a feeble light; I looked with my magical sight and saw Jacander outlined by a radiant light, a feeling of old wood and wine barrels permeating it. Miriamni had a feint glow as well, so did the spells enchanting the disc she held.

He reached and took it from her. "Here, you have a try." He said proffering it to me.

I took it and immediately felt it warm in my hands, the light glowing brightly enough to make me blink at its dazzling radiance.

"My word!" he exclaimed, snatching it back from me. "What training have you had."

"None master," I replied. "I barely lit it on my childhood test."

"What magic do you have?" he questioned me further.

"I can see magical auras and the magic of spells," I replied.

"You can see my aura?"

"Yes, it stands out about a hands span and is a brilliant white."

"And you see the spells of others?" he asked looking me in the face.

"Oh yes, like a glowing band of words, plain enough to read." I assured him.

He stood.

"Wait, bear with me a minute," he said and turning walked to one of the walls of books, studying the titles carefully until he pulled a thin volume out and began leafing through the pages. He came slowly back to his seat, nose still buried in the book.

It took him a few minutes to read whatever the portion of the book that help his interest, his face studious as he scanned the pages and then more thoughtful as he closed it and laid it down on the low table before him.

"How do you see the spells?" he questioned me again.

"In all sorts of different ways, there are big solid ones like the protection spells embedded in the walls and fuzzy kind of circular ones like on the amulet." I told him.

He glance at the book on the table, thinking for a moment, then quickly back at me.

He put his hand out, as if reaching for the book, but he help it above it and I saw him casting a spell on it with a subtle movement of his lips as the spell materialised, writing itself with words of sparkling light on the cover of the book.

"Tell me what that one says," he asked, leaning back in his chair.

"Stay still and closed till I want you again." I said, craning to read the glittering words.

As I read them off my right hand tingled and the words faded, my lips parted and my eyes danced over the book trying to understand what had happened, as I'd read the spell back the words dimmed and evaporated like they'd never been.

The shock and surprise showed on my face, Rash gripped my arm.

"Davor, are you alright?" she asked.

My eyes flitted to the wizard seated opposite as he leant forward, he too was shocked and his eyes narrowed as he stared back at me.

"That's never happened before," I said hurriedly.

"No," he said dryly. "I never expected to see it done in my lifetime."

He slumped back into the chair, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose as he took a moment of time to cogitate.

"You'll have to go on to Lhamo Dondrub," he announced, sitting forwards again and looking at Rash. "This is too big for me to rule on, the whole council will have to meet and decide for themselves."

Rash let out a sigh, her face crestfallen as I turned to look at her. I reached and took her hand, giving it a little squeeze.

"You will of course be my guests tonight; I'll have an apartment in the west wing prepared. And, if you please, I hope you'll join me for dinner."

Rash nodded her head glumly.

"Thank you, we'd be honoured to, a meal and a bath would be a delight after the privations of the journey and a soft bed to sleep in would be a welcome to these bones of mine." I replied, my knob already twitching at the thought of bedding with Rash again.

"Ah," he said. "The bath may take a little time if you want a hot one, I will order the water heated for you but the kitchen is busy with the evening meal for the moment, would after the meal be suitable?"

"Thank you yes," Rash said, recovering some of her poise and composure after her disappointing news.

He stood and picked the book from the table. "Then I shall see you later, I'll have someone show you to your rooms."

As he walked to the door Rash pulled my hand to her, clutching it to her chest as her shoulders slumped. "You'll come with us?" she asked.

"Yes of course if you want me too." I replied, bringing my other hand to her cheek as I turned to face her.

"It's not fair," she continued. "Why does politics have to rule everything?"

"Would your father let a squire decide matters of state?" I asked. "He's taken a judicious view of the matter; there may be more at stake than just giving you liberty to live here."

After a short while a servant in the ubiquitous robe knocked the door and entered.

"My master bids you to follow me, I will show you to your rooms," he announced.

Whilst my thoughts were on tonight's sleeping arrangements a little part of my mind was niggling me about the remark of the wizard, he'd not 'expected to see it done in his lifetime'. The way he said it was a little unsettling, it suggested that my talent was rare or outstanding in some way.

Rash linked arms with me as we were led through corridors and upstairs, finally coming to a fine door decorated with carvings of hunting scenes.

"If you please, would you like any of your things brought up from your caravan?" he asked, standing aside to let us enter.

"Miriamni, would you go down and select a dress for me for tonight," Rash requested.

I looked around the room, we had a sitting room with three doors leading off, while Rash plonked herself down on the settee I walked over to the first door and took a peek inside. It proved to be a private privy; the aroma strong enough to make me hastily closed it shut again.

The second door let into the maid's room. It was a small bedroom with a three quarter bed and a washstand with a chest of drawers alongside.

The other room was the master bedroom, a big canopied double bed with plenty of wardrobe space and a little mirrored dresser with an elegant seat. The mattress, when I tested it, was of soft feather with a fine cotton cover and a nicely embroidered counterpane.

I went back and joined Rash on the settee.

"This is a nice place they've given us," I commented, sitting next to her.

"Mm? Oh yes, it's alright. I'm more concerned about tomorrow and the council," she replied.

I took her hand in mine. "It'll all be alright, they've no real problems in granting you asylum, I'm sure it'll be a formality."

"Oh I hope so," she said leaning into me and resting her head on my shoulder.

I felt her soft short hair on my cheek as I leant my head on hers, her breathing slow and regular, I was going to miss her when this was over.

Miriamni arrived back with the robed acolyte, between them they were struggling with one of the chests.

"Oh good," said Rash standing. "You've brought the clothes."

With the chest on the floor before her Rash knelt and opened it.

"Have they got a flat iron here?" she asked of no-one particular.

"Not that I've seen," I replied, taking another glance around the room. "They probably do that sort of stuff in the laundry."

"Miriamni can you see if you can find one," she said looking up.

"It'd probably be quicker if you rang the bell," I said, indicating the bell pull by the door.

"What, oh yes, Miriamni would you?"

Miriamni dutifully rang.

"It'll probably take a while," I said. "You might as well relax."

Rash straightened and put her hand in the small of her back. "I could do with a lie down, my back aches, too much riding around in that old caravan no doubt."

"Go on," I said. "I'll see to things. Which dress do you want to wear?"

"The one with the blue trimmings," she said, as she walked over towards the small bedroom.

"Rash, the other door," I said, a smile coming to my lips.

I watched her as she walked across and exited, her slim figure framed by the light through the door.

I turned to Miriamni as the door closed. "I think I'll try to find my way back down to the library," I told her, trying to picture the way back through the corridors.

I made it back down to the library with only one wrong turn, seeing no-one on my travels or in the library when I found it. I went to the shelves I'd seen the old wizard examine, hoping that it might give me a clue as to the book he'd retrieved.

The books in that section were all ancient texts, some looking hundreds of years old, most were dealing with the history of the 'Wizards War', something I knew little about, it had been only a footnote in my lessons at home

I took one of the weightier tomes and made my way back up to our apartment, finding Miriamni with a hotstone warming and Rash's dress for the evening laid out over the settee ready to be pressed.

"She's been asking for you," she said as I walked in.

I dropped the book on the table as I walked through, giving a courtesy knock on the door before I entered.

"Yes?" I enquired.

She lay on her front, her dress on the back of the chair and shoes beside the bed.

"Davor, where've you been?" she said stirring and turning over.

"Satisfying my curiosity," I replied, grinning at her.

"Can you give me a back rub?" she asked. "I've got an ache right here."

She put one of her hands to the small of her back.

"Miriamni could do it better than me," I replied.

"She's being grumpy about it," she complained.

I looked at her lying there in her underwear, the thin cotton vest and long drawers outlining her figure, the plaintive look on her face, how could I not agree.

"Okay, I'll give it a try if you want," I said acquiescing.

She turned face down as I clambered onto the bed and knelt astride her thighs, feeling the warmth of them as she parted them slightly to press against my calves. She pulled the vest up revealing her smooth creamy skin.

This was my first good look at her in a good light, the curve of her waist flaring into her ribs, the swell of her hips, were all a delight to my eye. I leant slightly forward and rested the heel of my hand in the dip above her firm tush.

"Oh," she said giving a little jerk. "Your hand's cold."

"Sorry," I replied, withdrawing it.

"It's alright, just unexpected."

I gingerly put my hand back. "Here the right place?" I asked.


She settled her head on her forearms as I applied a gentle pressure, bringing my other hand on top and interlinking my fingers to rub gently over the spot.

"A little bit harder Dav."

I pressed harder, moving my hand over the same three inches, feeling the nobles of her spine riding under my palm as the flesh rippled.

"Mm, could you go a bit lower as well?"

"Your knickers are in the way," I told her, pausing my rubbing.

She lifted her head and brought her arms down to the waistband, lifting her hips to ease them down.

"Better?" she asked, bringing her arms up to rest her head on them once more.

The globes of her tush jiggled as she settled, the crease darkening as they squeezed together, pale white in the light from the window. My knob went from half to full arousal, tenting my pants at the sight of all that tender naked flesh.

I brushed my hands lightly down the slopes dragging my nails across the virgin skin and into the crook of her back again.

"Dav, when you do it can you use long strokes and use your fingers, dig them in and kneed them a little?"

I used my knuckles to rub up and down her spine, then my fingertips to press and squeeze, drawing the fleshy sides to my thumb, making dimples as they closed and inched up to repeat the cycle. She gave out a satisfied sigh, pulling a pillow down and snuggling into it.

I continued for minutes more, finding myself admiring her body, her tousled hair, her taut rounded arse. Miriamni shattered my thoughts, she may have knocked but suddenly she was behind me.

"Do you want me to do your trousers as well?"

I paused and turned to her. "Um, actually I could get my city clothes from off the donkey; if they're okay for merchants then they should serve me here."

I shifted down and swung my leg over, sliding myself to the side of the bed. My erection subsiding rapidly as I refocused.

"Oh," Rash complained. "I was enjoying that."

"I'll finish it for you later," I promised.

I went back down and retrieved my pack, my razor and things and gave the clothes to Miriamni when I got back. I also saw the book I'd intended to read, and picked that up to settle down with.

When Miriamni passed me back my freshened clothes I decided that it was time to prepare for dinner, starting with stripping to my underclothes and washing with the cold water before finding my razor and shaving to finish the job.

When I turned to dress myself I found Miriamni absent, probably gone to help Rash. I finished dressing and sat again, picking up the book once more, waiting now for them and the summons to dinner.

Fortunately they came first, Rash appearing like a vision of loveliness with Miriamni still fussing with the hem.

"How do I look?" she asked.

"Too beautiful for words," I replied with a sigh, drinking the sight in.

She gave a twirl, pulling the hem from Miriamni's hands.

"This time I'm going to wear my tiara and necklace," she announced, flouncing back into the bedroom.

An acolyte came to fetch us, taking us further into the heart of the building, showing us into a private dining room insisting on Miriamni joining us as a guest as well. It wasn't long before the wizard joined us and the first course was served.

He asked Miriamni about her talent, she'd been untested, a village girl who was self-taught. He recommended that she look at getting some training and tuition while she was in Lhamo Dondrub. Then it was on to me.

"So, Davor of Pike Manor, what of your life, you are a gentleman by your title and dress?"

""I'm far more humble than that," I replied. "I'm only a second son of a country squire, well down in the pecking order. In a few years I'll be the new farm manager, taking over from my uncle in the family tradition. He's had me on every job in the estate, insisting I learn the work before commanding it."

"So you've had no chance to develop any of your magical talents?"

"No, not really, I never thought much on magic, though my little sister has been gifted with a green thumb."

"Well if my guess is right yours is an extraordinary talent, though you'll need to take care how it's wielded."

"My talent?"

"Yes, you most definitely need training, to ignore talent like yours would be a crime."

"What talent have I, I can cast no spells, nor have I Miriamni's healing or my sister's ability?"

"With training I think you'll amaze yourself, you've the ability to rank with any of our current crop, how you turn out is in your hands, or should I say mind."

I sat, somewhat bemused and yet picturing myself commanding the power of a wizard, mastering spells and walking around in the gaudy robes. Fate was leading me on a strange path, keeping Rash and I together and offering me a new life undreamt off.

Miriamni asked him to tell us of what the land and customs were, a task that lasted beyond dinner. He told us over a much better cup of coftea than our trail stuff, that he'd arranged for us to travel onto the capital in the morning by coach, letting us make the trip in nine hours with an hour's break.

As he stood to take his leave of us he mentioned that the bath should be ready, he'd order up the hot water for us now if we were ready. Rash of course was delighted, clapping her hands and anxious to be off, taking steps even as the door closed.

Rash of course was the first, stripping in the bedroom as the procession of buckets filled the wooden tub. When all was ready she came tripping out, teetering on her toes to the edge of the tub and gingerly testing the water before climbing in.

"Is there soap?" she asked.

I'd put the soap on the table and forgotten about it, the sight of a naked Rash driving every other thought from my head, her figure stopped my heart and induced a yearning in me that stilled all else.

"The soap's here," I replied, turning to pick it.

"Well bring it over, you can help me wash."

I jerked with excitement, to touch her naked body, my knob twitched wiggling the tent pole that her presence had caused. I tossed the soap from hand to hand as I crossed, the barest of smiles hiding the delight inside me as I saw her breasts bobbing in the steaming water.

"Start with my hair," she said arching her back and neck to lay her head in the water.

"I'll just free myself of my coat first," I said, dropping the soap and wriggling out of the sleeves.

She brought her head up as I leant over the tub, water streaming down, trickling over her shoulders her breasts. She edged round and back to lay her neck on the side, leaving me to start to work the soap into a lather.

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