tagSci-Fi & FantasySisters of the Mists Ch. 02

Sisters of the Mists Ch. 02

byDarkniciad©

Author's Notes:

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.

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. For those who've already read Danica, welcome back to my world.


{*****~~o~~0~~o~~*****}

"Danica?"

Danica sat up abruptly, wincing and yelping as pins and needles shot through her arm which had been under her head as she slept slumped over the table. It took a few moments of shaking her head and rubbing her tingling arm, before she remembered where she was, and realized someone was standing beside her. "I guess I was more tired than I thought."

"It would appear so," Harkhuf chuckled. He gestured to the map Danica had fallen asleep studying, and the notes on a scrap of paper next to it. "You will travel through the desert?"

"I need to get to the capital, and I've never been there. I could use the Hellgate, but I think it would probably take just as long to do that as it would to just go by normal means, and I want to be out of the city as quickly as possible," Danica explained. She raised her arms over her head, stretching her stiff muscles and yawning as she finished. When her eyes opened, she saw that Harkhuf's eyes were drawn to her uplifted breasts.

He smiled and said, "Pleasant memories, which I hope some day to renew. I can offer you an alternative, unless you simply wish to see the wonder of the desert sands."

"I'm not that taken with seeing the scenery, at least not right now. The quicker I can get to the capital, the better. It would be me, and two others."

Harkhuf made a dismissive gesture. "This is no difficulty. There is a portal here, linked to the temple of Sekmamun in the capital. We are but a step away, and numbers have no meaning."

"Can anyone go through this portal? The two I need to take with me aren't students of magic."

"So long as I accompany you to the portal, this is unimportant," Harkhuf replied.

"Good, this will help a lot. I was worried about the trip across the desert, but I didn't really see any alternative." Danica stood up from her chair, wincing again as circulation started flowing through her legs.

Helping her to rise, Harkhuf remarked, "I would think that one of your magical power would find such a desert trek of little concern."

"It isn't the desert I'm worried about, it's who might be coming after me," Danica sighed, bending to rub her legs.

"Then I am pleased to aid you in eliminating that worry. I sense your urgency, so I will be ready to accompany you as soon as you are prepared. I have lodgings in the capital, and they are available to you, should you need them."

Danica's expression brightened. This was turning out far better than she would have ever anticipated. "I don't know how to thank you, Harkhuf, this means a lot to me." Noticing his robe tenting below the waist, Danica pursed her lips in amusement, and then winked. "I suppose I might be able to come up with a proper way to repay you, which wouldn't exactly be unpleasant for me either."

The priest actually blushed, which caused Danica to laugh. He covered his embareassment by saying, "Although no repayment is required, I would be a great fool to refuse such a wonderful gift as that."

Danica's passions surged to a bonfire within her, and she was on the verge of offering the repayment before the service, but managed to get her hot blood under control. "When I return. I'm afraid for Tari and Rekhmire. I want to get them somewhere safe, as soon as possible." Her words were still filled with overtones of passion, which she could not stifle.

"Then I shall pray for the quick completion of your task," Harkhuf responded with a lusty grin. "Go, fetch those for whom you fear, and we shall see them to safe haven immediately."

"I'll be back soon."

{*****~~o~~0~~o~~*****}

Peeking into the open door of Celes' room, Marlena frowned when she found the room empty. She had awakened a little late, and the girls would be up soon. It would already take a great deal of luck to finish breakfast in time, if she could find Celes and Andrea to help.

Andrea's door was also slightly ajar, so Marlena decided to check there before moving on to the lab and tower. Leaning in the door, she found the two women lying intertwined, sound asleep. What bedclothes remained on the bed were a rumpled mess, most of the coverings scattered on the floor – along with the two women's clothing.

Not wanting to disturb them, but knowing she would never be able to prepare breakfast for them all alone, Marlena sighed and stepped into the room. "Andrea, Celes – it's Marlena."

Celes shifted a little and moaned, rolling over on her back out of Andrea's arms. It took a moment to register that someone else was in the room, but Celes started when the sleep-fog in her head finally evaporated enough. Reaching for the blankets, she found it impossible to get ahold of anything that would actually cover her, and finally gave up.

Feeling Celes moving about, Andrea awakened as well. She sat up and stretched, covering up her mouth as she yawned. Her eyes popped wide open when the amount of light pouring through the window revealed the time of day. "Oh dear, how late is it?"

"Very," Marlena answered. "We need to get something started for breakfast soon."

Stretching as well, Celes winced slightly. "I'm all knotted up." After a short pause, she added, "And sticky. We probably both should at least rinse off some. Why don't you get some water going for gruel, and we'll get out there after a quick wash."

"It's called porridge, Celes," Andrea argued, and then laughed.

"It's gruel. That's about all we'll be able to manage in time, though. Sorry, Marlena."

"I overslept too, although I don't think I had so good a reason," Marlena teased, offering a crooked smile.

Celes laughed, "Well now, that's a new attitude from you."

Marlena explained, "I'm not as uncomfortable as I used to be, and..."

Andrea guessed, "And you're feeling neglected?"

Marlena blushed, as she nodded her head to indicate Andrea was right. "I'll go get the water heating."

"We'll get out there as soon as we can," Celes said, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed.

Andrea leaned over and kissed the back of Celes' neck, "That was wonderful, Celes. I meant to tell you last night, but I don't even remember falling asleep."

Celes shivered and reached back to run her fingers through Andrea's golden tresses. "I don't either, and you're right, it was wonderful. I think the fact that I'm sticky to the knees says that well enough. Did you have a dream?"

Andrea slid to the other side of the bed, standing up and stretching again before she answered. "No, not that I remember."

"Of course, as soon as we're watching for them, we don't have any. Let's get washed up and go help Marlena."

Andrea walked over to the tub, touching the runes to fill it. "Am I terribly naughty to hope that Marlena stays in her current frame of mind?"

Celes laughed as she looked around for her clothing. She made a dismissive gesture, deciding to just come back for it after breakfast. "Probably, but at least you're not alone."

Andrea's sensual moan sent an electric tingle all through Celes' body. The blonde turned back to Celes and asked, "How long do you think Danica will be?"

The tone of Andrea's voice told Celes beyond a shadow of a doubt what was on Andrea's mind. "Not too long, I hope, now that you've got me thinking about that."

{*****~~o~~0~~o~~*****}

Danica's eyes widened as they exited the portal. The room they stepped into now was easily five times the size of the one that they had just left. Numerous portals lined the walls, and another group of people utilized one of those doors to leave the room just as Danica and the others entered.

Harkhuf chuckled, seeing the wonder in Danica's eyes. He expected the surprise from the couple that accompanied her, but he had not expected Danica's astonishment.

Danica asked, "Do they all go to temples of Sekmamun?"

"To every temple of Sekmamun," Harkhuf replied. "This is one of the god's gifts to his followers, we may all converse in person, whenever we wish."

"This temple must be enormous – larger than the palace in Beniopolis, if I have to guess from the size of this room," Danica mused, stopping with her count when she reached twenty portals along the walls, which was not even half the number of the faintly glowing doorways.

"Indeed it is," Harkhuf acknowledged. "Such would be a great affront, were not the palace here ten times the size as well. Our temple is not the largest in the city, nor the smallest."

Hathortari shook her head, a slight frown darkening her dusky features, "So much effort, for a simple home, when people starve in the villages."

Harkhuf sighed, and walked over to lay a comforting hand on Tari's shoulder. "You speak a great and sad truth of our land. We assist where we may, as do others who follow the gods – and Pharoah puts forth token efforts – but still, many struggle to survive. We must maintain appearances, in order to maintain our standing. Such is simply the nature of our land, and though we work for change, it will take some time."

"You speak openly for a priest, even to we who were slaves and lowborn," Rekhmire observed, approval showing in his slight smile.

Harkhuf smiled at the young man, "In this, we work for change as well. The people, all the people, should be allowed a place in the temples. The inner sanctuaries must remain sacred to the priesthood, but some amongst us struggle to provide a nave for the common people, regardless of their birth."

Stepping toward the only non-magical doorway in the room, Harkhuf gestured and said, "Come, we must leave soon. Unfortunately, reform is slower to take hold here than in the outer reaches of our land. Before we go, however, I would show you all a sight of wonder."

Though the hallway through which they walked was obviously a simple cooridor, and not a sacred part of the temple, the walls and ceiling were still extensively decorated. Remarkably, the entire ceiling was dotted all along the way with stars that appeared to be real silver. The glint of gold and gems also winked from the reliefs within the walls. Danica couldn't imagine how much it had all cost to do, or how much more ornate the main part of the temple must be.

"I am uncomfortable here," Tari remarked, folding her arms before her protectively. "I feel as though there are eyes upon me."

Harkhuf turned to look at Tari with surprise obvious in his eyes as they continued to walk. "Have you ever studied magic? Did your family perhaps revere Sekmamun as a patron?"

Hathortari's voice betrayed distrust as she replied, "I do not know. I was but a small child when I was taken, and sold into slavery."

Raising his hand in an apologetic gesture to his forehead, Harkhuf said, "Please, I do not mean to offend. What you describe is much the same as the sensation I feel every day within the temple. You need not be afraid. If this is what you feel, it means that Sekmamun finds you pleasing, and that is sure to lead to blessings in your life."

"These eyes I feel do not feel threatening, but it is still uncomfortable," Tari responded with a less guarded tone.

They neared some branches and doorways in the hall as Harkhuf said, "Perhaps in time, you will feel less uncomfortable. Ah, here are the stairs. Please, follow me."

The stairs were just as well appointed as the hallway. Danica spoke up, saying, "I don't feel anything when I'm in the temple."

"Only a few who work magic will notice it. It is a call to service, and your destiny obviously leads elsewhere, Danica," Harkhuf explained.

The distrust returned to Tari's voice when she asked, "And you believe my destiny lies where, priest of Sekmamun?"

"Where you wish it to, Hathortari. I believe Sekmamun is offering you a new choice, however."

Light appeared above them, still a great distance away. The distance from where they entered the stairs to the light above gave Danica a good idea of just how tall the temple must be. That judgement let her know it was grand on more than one scale.

They continued in silence, Rehkmire taking Tari's hand to comfort her, and Harkhuf sensing Tari's need to avoid the subject of what she sensed for now. The light grew brighter, and larger, as they neared its source. When at last they reached it, Harkhuf stepped through the portal and gestured for them to step onto the balcony with him.

Danica ascended the final steps and gasped as she beheld the vista before her. The city spread for what looked like miles along the banks of the river, magnificent temples sprouting from amongst uncountable numbers of houses. Farther from the river, there were more temples, enormous sculptures the size of buildings, and pyramids. The pyramids were so immense, they appeared to be truly reaching for the heavens. It boggled Danica's mind to comprehend the amount of men and hours that had to have been spent on constructing those massive monuments.

Harkhuf swept his hand across the horizon, saying, "Welcome to the holy city of Osiramun!"

{*****~~o~~0~~o~~*****}

Ashley removed the weights from the corners, and rolled the map on the table carefully. Tying a ribbon around it, she took it to a shelf, returning it to its place. Reaching into another niche, she removed another map, returning to the table.

Sitting down, Ashley unrolled the map, a closer view of the location her scrying with the previous map had indicated. Weighing down the corners, she sat back, and took a deep breath. Running her fingers through her thick mane of hair, the falling strands revealed their dark red color. Appearing almost black in low light, or from a distance, the unusual shade of her hair never failed to turn heads once someone noticed it. That reaction could be both a blessing, and a curse. Quite often, Ashley wished she could blend into the background, and her hair was but one attribute that made that difficult.

You're stalling, Ashley, she silently scolded herself. Taking another deep breath, she pushed away her doubts and fears. Someone had to stop the creatures, and few possessed the power to do so.

She had to act.

Picking up the scrying crystal, dipped in the blood of a demon, Ashley set it to spinning over the map. Soon enough, she would know where to find the Demon Lord, Mekataur, his minions – and his spawn.

{*****~~o~~0~~o~~*****}

Standing on the balcony, continuing to drink in the scene, Danica mused, "It's amazing. I didn't think this many people could live together in one place."

"All built on the back of slaves," Tari sighed.

Harkhuf shook his head. "Only indirectly, though that is no better. The actual construction is always done by paid, native workers. A slave has no reason to excel in their work, save fear. Those who built these structures did so to please the gods. It is because of the many slaves in our land that such is possible, however. Without the slaves to take on other tasks, we would not have enough able-bodied men to undertake such grand projects."

Hathortari turned to Harkhuf, respect showing in her eyes, "I believe you truly do seek change."

Harkhuf smiled, his perfect, white teeth a sharp contrast against his dusky skin. "Yes, and I am far from alone, especially amongst the priesthood. The ruling class resists the change, as do some of the elders in the temples, but it will come to pass, in time."

"I knew there was a reason I liked you," Danica said, with a wink at Harkhuf. Pointing at the largest, most splendid structure she could see, Danica asked, "Is that the palace?"

Harkhuf nodded, and replied, "Yes, that is the central structure. Many of the surrounding buildings are actually part of the palace complex, however. Pharaoh usually has many wives, and children – in addition to the numerous advisors, and hangers on – and so requires a great deal of space. Nearly every Pharaoh adds to the complex, and the main temple to his living godhood."

"It is beautiful," Tari admitted, feeling more comfortable after Harkhuf revealed the forces for change within the nation.

"Yes, it is. Thank you for showing us, Harkhuf," Danica added.

"I admit a little vanity," Harkhuf chuckled, "I was born here, and I am proud of my birthplace. Come, we should go to my home here in the city, so you may settle in."

Glancing down at the building below her, Danica said, "I suppose you're right. It will probably take us hours just to get out of the temple."

Harkhuf laughed. "It will indeed take us some time, especially since we must take the long way, avoiding the inner sanctuaries. We will be forced to fend for ourselves upon reaching my home, as well. I have no full-time servants. I do have well-appointed baths, however."

Danica purred upon hearing that. "You are such a dear – dear man. Let's get going. I hear a bath calling me."

{*****~~o~~0~~o~~*****}

With the girls fed, and now under Marlena's watchful eye, Andrea and Celes returned to their studies. Celes flipped a page in her mother's book, and came across something interesting. "Look at this, Andrea."

Andrea glanced over at Celes' book, and let out a little giggle. She pushed her own book of family spells over toward Celes, showing her that they were both reading nearly identical entries, both on scrying.

Laughing, Celes asked, "Do you think that's a sign?"

"Perhaps," Andrea agreed, adding, "It would certainly be a useful skill. I think we could use a break from struggling with the parts of our powers that don't want to behave, too."

"I have an idea about that, but let's give scrying a try. I think I have some crystals somewhere in my spell components. I'll go fetch us one." Celes stood up from her chair.

Andrea stood as well, and said, "I think I have a chain we could attach it to. It used to have this big, gaudy stone in it, and we might be able to get a crystal to fit in it."

"Good idea," Celes agreed. "I'll be right back."

Both women went to their chambers, retrieving what they needed, and returned to the study at the same time. They crystal and chain proved to be a perfect match, and within only a couple of minutes, they had a proper tool to scry with.

Celes saw that the same spell to bless the crystal was in both books, so she said, "Do you want to do it, or should I?"

Shrugging her shoulders, and smiling, Andrea said, "Why don't we do it together? From what I've read, that should make it stronger."

"I think I vaguely remember my mother saying something like that, too. The more witches who bless an object, the more powerful it is. Good idea. Are you ready?"

Andrea nodded, and they both held up the crystal by its chain. "I'll tap my foot three times, and we start on the third tap," Celes instructed. When Andrea nodded her understanding, Celes tapped, and then the pair repeated the spell of blessing.

To pierce through the darkness –
That it may no more conceal –
This crystal now bless –
The lost to reveal.

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