Danica Pt. 16byDarkniciad©
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 posted anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. © Darkniciad 2000-2007
The sexual situations in this story will be far ranging, and may prove disturbing to some readers. Please be warned that the villains of the story are really evil, and the things they do are not glossed over, or toned down.
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.
You really need to read the previous parts of the story to know the characters and the storyline. This tale follows Danica in her day-to-day adventures, with the greater plot emerging slowly at first. Think of it more as a serial than a novel, and you'll be in the right mindset.
This is an edited version of this tale, making use of what I've learned since starting to post at Literotica, and the services of my tireless editor, Roust Writer.
Danica heard the chime the next morning that signaled someone arriving at the teleportation pattern. Although happy to see Celes, Danica was nowhere near as joyful to see who accompanied her – the thief Telanor.
Danica's scowl must have spoken volumes, because Telanor put his hands up defensively in front of him and said, "Hey – I'm here on orders, and you're going to need me."
Danica snorted derisively at that, but Celes countered her notion. "He's right by me thinkin', Dearie. T' cutpurse'll be able ta see t' traps we're probably gonna be trippin' over where we're goin'."
"We could deal with it with magic," Danica argued.
"We'll be havin' our hands full, Dearie. We better be talkin' 'bout this somewhere t' walls ain't got ears."
Danica nodded. "I'll introduce you to the servants then, and we'll go to my room. I've spent a lot of time making it private, and that should work." Turning to Telanor she said, "You can stay in here – and for your own good you'd better not harass the servants. If you steal anything, Zoraster will be short a thief."
"Like I'd be foolish enough to steal anything from here. I haven't lived this long on the dodgy path by being stupid."
"Don't start now then," Danica responded and led Celes out of the main bedroom. Tari, Rehkmire, and the older woman Yensanamun were waiting.
As Danica introduced them, she heard the mental gasp from Celes and knew it was directed at Tari, who was wearing a new linen gown that displayed her attributes to a very arousing degree. Danica chuckled silently and then absently named Telanor before leading Celes to her room.
Danica touched a rune along the frame of the doorway once she was inside, and then turned back to Celes. "We can talk safely now. It would take strong magic to break through the wards against scrying and the sound dampening magic of the runes.”
Celes blew out a surprised whistle while looking at the complex rune structures. “You certainly haven't been neglecting your studies. This must have taken forever to carve."
Danica smiled. "Not exactly – I'll get into that later."
Celes looked around then and Danica could tell she had slipped into the second sight. "Gods, Danica – complex rune structures and a spell weave that looks like a tapestry. The speed you master magic is beyond anything I've ever seen."
Danica blushed and smiled. "We can talk about that later, and I can show you more. Let's talk about the task. It's always better to give prying eyes less time to break through the protective magic."
"I know that, sassy," Celes said with a smile. "The reason I said we needed to get away from eavesdroppers is because we're supposed to rob a tomb."
Danica's eyes went wide. "Here, of all places, he wants us to rob a tomb?"
"Not only that, but a tomb that was sealed by the greatest priests of the Necropolis, with as much emphasis on keeping something inside as keeping people out."
Danica put her hands over her eyes for a moment. "That explains why you said we'd be too busy to look for mundane traps. I guess we will need Telanor."
"He doesn't seem that bad to me. He has more manners than most of Zoraster's flunkies."
"He didn't threaten to cut your tits off, either."
"I guess I haven't seen his bad side, and I've seen too much of it in Zoraster's other servants," Celes explained with a shrug.
"If he's acting civilized, he's probably trying to rob you. Okay, what do we know then?"
"I can show you the area where the tomb is buried," Celes said while walking toward Danica's large mirror.
Celes cast the spell, and Danica noticed Celes had not neglected her studies either. She used the battle mage technique to cast the spell quickly.
Looking at the image in the mirror when it emerged, Danica saw only a natural rock wall and sand. As Celes moved the focus of the mirror, Danica saw a pair of priests sheltered in a nearby cave. The clerics were certainly close enough to see the first location that the mirror had shown – and to get there quickly.
"Not much to see. Once they sealed the tomb with magic, they buried the entrance in sand and rubble and set guards on it. It has been guarded constantly for over six hundred years, if our information is correct," Celes said, dismissing the magical image in the mirror.
"What exactly are they protecting?"
"Themselves, if what Zoraster has learned is correct. The man buried there is supposed to have been a great wizard who was willingly sacrificed and mummified in a forbidden ritual, in order to maintain his power indefinitely. When he rose, the priests who had mummified him were killed and mummified except for the high priest. When they rose, they killed the high priest and the soldiers who guarded the tomb, mummifying them as well. They are likely all the living dead within the tomb still, unless the priests destroyed any before sealing the tomb. Considering how closely they guard the place, I'd say they are trying to keep them in. They're probably still stalking the place," Celes explained.
"Doesn't Zoraster have any dark clerics to deal with the undead for him?" Danica grumbled and sighed.
"They could deal with the undead, but it's probably going to take all our magic and Telanor's eyes just to get into the place alive and unnoticed."
"What are we after? This certainly isn't a normal treasure hunt."
"An obsidian obelisk. We'll know it when we find it, because it will throb with dark magic," Celes informed her.
"Do we know anything else?" Danica inquired.
"Not even the wizard's name. These people obliterate any evidence of offensive people and put them out of their memory. It's supposed to prevent them from reaching their place in the afterlife if they’re forgotten."
"We can't teleport, because we can't see where we're going. We can't use the passwall spell, because it won't work on the sand," Danica said ticking off ways to enter in her mind.
"Odds are we won't be able to use the phasing spell either, because I can't imagine them not warding the place against ghosts and intangible creatures," Celes added.
"We're going to have to uncover the entrance then. This is insane. There's no way we can do this without getting caught, and I don't want to think what will happen to us if we're caught breaking into a tomb in this land," Danica said and punctuated it by throwing up her hands and angrily sighing.
"We'll have to find a way. The madman may not be concerned with how quick we get this bobble, but he's damn sure determined that we get it. I'm afraid if we don't, we won't be the only ones to suffer for our failure this time. There's something different – something I can't explain – in the way he gave me the orders for this," Celes warned.
"Let's go see if you can enter the inner library at the temple of Sekmamun. We might be able to find something there, and it will be a lot easier if we both can get in to look."
As soon as Danica finished speaking out loud, she sent her thoughts to Celes, We might be able to talk about other things there too. I don't think Zoraster will be able to watch us there.
Celes thought back, Good – there are things I want to talk to you about too.
The two women heard someone exclaim, "What the?" from the doorway to the room at that moment. Danica walked over and opened the door.
There, in front of the door hung Telanor, suspended in a magical web. Danica laughed and dismissed the ward by touching a rune on the wall. "You know, eavesdropping and sneaking into a lady's room are both very rude," Danica said as Telanor dropped to the floor, landing perfectly balanced on his feet.
The thief picked at strands of web that weren't there, still feeling them even though the magic threads were gone. "How the hell did you trap me? Zoraster's charms should have protected me."
Danica laughed again. "That will teach you to trust Zoraster's protections too much. You're lucky it wasn't a killing magic I had on this door."
Telanor stiffened for a moment. "I know you're mocking me, but you're probably right. I just said I didn't live this long by being stupid, and a few minutes later I do something stupid that could have got me killed."
Danica shrugged. "Maybe I shouldn't have offered the advice."
"Can't we just let the past be the past? We're on the same side now."
Danica scowled. "We're not on the same side. I'm stuck with you – it doesn't mean I have to like it."
"One little misunderstanding and you get all bitchy. Oh well, at least I got a poke at you first," Telanor said with a lecherous smile.
His smile vanished a moment later, as he started furiously scratching his crotch.
Danica looked over at Celes, who touched her earring a second time. "Ye'd best be mindin' yer manners, lil' cutpurse, or I'll make ye scratch yer pole clean off next time."
Telanor scowled and turned, muttering, "Damn witches," as he walked off.
Danica felt a wave of something come from Celes at that moment. It was a mixture of embarrassment, anger – and something else. It was so confusing that Danica couldn't make sense of it. The sensations dissipated as fast as they hit her, and Celes interrupted her thoughts when she spoke a moment later.
"Well, show me to this temple then, and ye can explain things 'long the way."
"We should get you something more suitable to wear. My magic is what keeps this place livable, and it will be hotter than a devil's breath as soon as we leave," Danica suggested.
"Oh bother – let's just go. It won't kill me, an' I've added a bit o' new magic to me robes. I kin keep meself cool 'nuff, I'm fer thinkin'."
Yensanamun approached Danica as she and Celes entered the main room. "I've prepared food and drink for you and your guests, Danica."
"Okay, me belly is rumblin'. We'll get a bite 'fore we go. Thank ye, lass."
The woman laughed a bit at Celes calling her lass, then nodded and went to fetch what she had prepared.
Zoraster reappeared in his inner sanctum, a wide smile of satisfaction adorning his face. He crossed the room toward his scrying mirrors, but sat in the chair before them without bringing their magic to life. Instead, he gestured and a table adorned with a map rose slowly from the floor in front of the chair.
Pointing to a spot on the map he said, "Beniopolis," and a red dot appeared on the map where he pointed. "An outpost has been established, and contact with the temples of Quadesis and Set has proven fruitful. First contact with what passes for the thieves’ guild has also yielded satisfactory results."
Pointing to an island on the opposite side of the same continent Zoraster again recorded his progress to the magical map. "Toshima – outpost established and agents inserted within the upper echelon of the thieves’ guild. Expendable pawns within the palace have also been contracted and will facilitate the insertion of agents within the government structure."
Zoraster's finger moved yet again to point at the upper peninsula of a large island, "Stentoft – Audun is within my complete control and has seized the throne. The fleets of the barbarian raiders are mine to direct as I see fit."
Another gesture caused the table to lower back into the floor and vanish. A hum from one of the mirrors drew Zoraster's gaze to it and he brought its magic to life.
The cadaverous Necromancer bowed upon seeing Zoraster through the mirror's magic. "Master Zoraster, we have replaced the first of the whores in the second brothel. It will be some time before we can replace another without more corpses."
"I will see that more cadavers become available immediately," Zoraster replied.
The Necromancer nodded and Zoraster banished the magic of the mirror.
Zoraster sat back in his chair for moment, raised one eyebrow, and smiled. Calling upon the magic of another mirror, an unkempt face appeared within its frame. The man in the image started, and then bowed awkwardly to the image of Zoraster hovering before him.
"There is a nunnery near your camp at the southern edge of the forest – a large one – is there not?" Zoraster asked.
"Yeah, big place full of orphans and bitches. Nothing worth stealing though, and it's too damn close to the damn city to make it worthwhile," the man replied.
"It is worth it to me. I will ensure the men at arms are sufficiently distracted. I want every woman taken. I care not what you do with the old or the brats. Collect any bodies of young women killed as well," Zoraster ordered.
The man in the mirror frowned and said, "They'll come hunting us like rats."
"Not before tomorrow morning, I assure you. That should be sufficient time to take them and entertain your men with them. I will send someone to collect the bodies and aid you in relocating at first light tomorrow. Have your men suffocate the women when they are done with them and keep the bodies as intact as possible."
The filthy bandit smiled, "What do we get other than sport with the bitches? There's nothing to loot."
Zoraster smiled and said, "You will be compensated, I assure you. Do hurry – I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on a second turn before my agent arrives for the bodies."
"Shouldn't take long to get there," the man mused.
"Sufficient portions of the city should be well aflame by then to distract any who might come to the Nunnery's aid."
With that, Zoraster dismissed the mirror's magic and activated another to set his distraction in motion.
Less than an hour later, a city was in flames and bandits poured into the Nunnery. Zoraster relaxed with a glass of fine wine and enjoyed the chaos of the capture and killing, as well as the delightful music of the Nuns screaming as the bandits repeatedly violated them not long after.
Despite Celes' initial push toward haste, she seemed to relax as they ate and talked about where their studies had taken them. They talked for around an hour, and then made their way to the temple of Sekmamun. Harkhuf was there to greet them, and to shake his head in astonishment as Celes was also allowed access to the inner library. Harkhuf sensed that the two women needed privacy, and did not intrude when they entered the library.
Celes wandered around marveling at the magic within, just as Danica had. "Gods, Danica – much of this magic is unique, and there are some very powerful spells here."
"There's something even better. Zoraster can't steal any of it away from us either. The god protects the knowledge, and anybody he doesn't want getting the magic can't even see it. I'm willing to bet that somebody watching you casting the spell wouldn't give them the necessary words or gestures either."
Celes laughed, "Oh, that's wonderful. How did he react?"
"He actually didn't seem too concerned. He's been distracted lately, not that I mind that," Danica replied.
Celes nodded. "Aye, and that's what I wanted to talk to you about. You think he can't spy on us here?"
"I doubt it. Did you feel that odd sensation when you passed through the doorway?"
Again, Celes nodded. "It was almost like walking into the range of a dispell, but somewhat different."
"I haven't learned the spell yet, but it's a ward against scrying that I doubt can possibly be broken or penetrated from afar. It's one of many I've had the scribes here copy and send to me."
"Okay then, let me show you something," Celes said and spread out a map of the world on a nearby table.
Running her fingers over the map, Celes said, "You remember most of your first tasks were close to Zoraster's home base. Almost all of them were within the country of Ferrartene. Most of mine were the same in the beginning. I think he was consolidating his power in the area. Did you know that the King died and has been succeeded by his daughter, the princess Zoraster had you spy upon?"
Danica shook her head. "No – when did this happen?"
"A few weeks ago. I think she killed her father to take the throne, and what's more, I think she did it under Zoraster's influence. She's taken a consort I'm almost positive is an agent of Zoraster's."
"If you're right, he now controls the whole of the country, from the Throne room to the rudest hut," Danica reasoned.
"Ferrartene is a power. They have more men at arms than most of the nations in the region. The new Queen has ordered new conscripts as well. She's building a conquering army, and I have no doubt it will be at Zoraster's beck and call," Celes added.
Danica pointed at the map and moved her finger over an area, "He's also been trying to gain control of trade, in everything, reaching out even farther. He's even taking control of the prostitutes. He had me organize the House of Women at the Forge under his control."
"He's got another ready made army at his disposal too. I heard somebody talking, saying that he's gotten control of Norshelt somehow," Celes said, pointing at an island on the map.
"That means he has a formidable navy at his command," Danica said, remembering what she knew about that land.
Celes nodded gravely and further noted, "And the berserkers, anyone who has faced one of our berserkers knows to fear their battle rage."
Danica tilted her head a bit and smiled. "I never knew you were from Norshelt."
"I don't like to talk about it," Celes mumbled.
Danica lay her hand on Celes' arm and said, "It's okay, I won't pry."
Celes nodded and smiled. "Now, he's got you ranging far and wide, opening doorways for him here on this continent. Marlena has been sent frequently to the North and to Agreseus, and he seems to have a lot of influence there too. He's had me skulking about in Egoria and Freeland."
Danica blew out a low whistle. "That's why he's distracted. He's venturing into dangerous territory there. He’s known in Egoria and Freeland, and not well liked."
"That could change. He's got a lot of agents there. Some places are watched, while others appear to still be secret. I think he's using the well known ones to distract from the hidden ones that are doing his real work."
Danica remembered something that had seemed meaningless at the time, but now felt ominous in light of their conversation. "I think I've seen people in Draxnog livery in the complex."
Celes nodded. "Me too. He's surrounding Freeland and Egoria, and trying to infiltrate from within. He's planning to gain control over the entire continent."
Danica tapped the map over the continent of Nipairo where they were now. "The world it seems."