In the hot dusty world of Raan, there is magic and dark fantasy; there's erotica; there's dungeons and whips and chains; there are strong men and strong women, and the connections that bind them; and hovering in the darkness, there are forces that control them all.
Magic Everywhere tells one story from this world.
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Chapter 1: The Fork in the Road
Salif watched the boy play, his hands moving faster and faster on the drums. It was a consummate show of skill, but there was an unearned arrogance to it. "Ah, young pup..." Salif thought, cynically. "Let's see where you are in five years..." He exchanged a wry look with his friend Ibo D'Souza, who played the guitar in the band. Salif and Ibo were the grizzled veterans of the group. The others were young and innocent and dreamed of success. Salif and Ibo knew better. They loved the music, of course, but they cherished no illusions about the industry. It was long hours, hard work and the odds of success were not good.
The drum solo tapered down, slowed, and now, the rest of the orchestra joined, in a crescendo of sound. Salif's palms stroked the djembe, his hands moving with the ease born of long hours of practise. His voice rose as he launched into song, filling the room with music. He could see the audience sway in response.
The sheet of lyrics in front of him lay, forgotten. As the music filled him, the words appeared in his head, and Salif sang, gathering in the energy of all in the room, shaping it into sound, and releasing it back into the wild as a gift to the universe. He was only a conduit, the melody shuddering through him; his eyes closed, his hands clenched, as his voice rose, higher and higher, the trumpets blaring behind him; the young pup on the drums moving his hands faster, faster, the heads swaying, the feet stomping, the guitars strumming – it all rose to a fever pitch of song. Salif could feel the mad energy dance through his body, his dreadlocks flying everywhere, and he paused to give thanks and praise, as he had been taught, to the glory of it all.
And then, it was done. The audience burst into applause. The young pup was saying some smooth words of thanks, and then, they were done.
Most of the girls were clustered around the boy. He was the star of the night; it was his CD release party. But there were girls to spare for Salif if he'd been so inclined, girls who found his greying beard and his dreadlocks attractive, who would boast to their friends about the musician who had bedded them.
Any other night, Salif would have been tempted. But tonight, the music still echoed in his heart, the ancient magic still flowed through him, and he wanted no part of the shallowness of the women who gathered around him, giggling. He murmured his excuses, left, and a short walk later, was at the door to his shabby motel room.
Can you tell that you are at a fork in the road of life? When you approach it, do you know?
The young woman was kneeling just inside the door. She wore the smallest flutters of fabric, a scrap of fabric accentuating her breasts, another covering her pussy, hinting at the pleasures underneath. Her hair was a mass of brown curls, cascading down her shoulders, reaching almost to her waist. Her skin was the perfect smooth shade of walnut; her eyebrows arched; her face, delicate and beautiful.
The moonlight through the opened doorway shone on her bowed face. Salif closed his eyes in silent despair as he caught a glimpse of her face. The distinctive tattoos on her forehead showed that his deepest fear of so many years had come true.
She was a pleasure slave of Argentia, and her presence there meant his days of running were numbered.
"Speak." His voice was harsh. Already, Salif, the grizzled musician who made his living by playing the djembe for anyone who would hire him was receding. His voice was cold, icy. There was absolute authority in his voice. After many years in exile, a hidden side of him was rising to the fore. The voice in his head was exultant.
I am Salif Al-Hasn. I am the Mage Prince of Argentia.
The girl's voice was soft and musical, as Salif had known it would be. Pleasure slaves were carefully chosen, well trained. This one had the tattoo of the three stars and crescent; a mark awarded to a pleasure slave who had achieved every honour available to one of her class.
"My lord prince." She kept her gaze on the floor. Pleasure slaves were not typically permitted to make eye contact with their masters. The training was long and severe. This one would not make such an elementary mistake.
"I am a gift for my lord prince, and I bear a message from your father, the King. The King commands you to return to Argentia."
"The King can go fuck himself," Salif thought savagely. Salif loathed his father. He'd run away from Argentia when he was twenty-five, and he'd been running for the last fifteen years, seeking refuge in the most unlikely of worlds, surrounding himself with anonymity, hiding in a sea of mundaneness. He moved his hand in a long-forgotten gesture of frustration.
The whip slashed through the air, lashing the kneeling girl across her breasts. An angry red welt appeared on her skin, marring the perfect beauty of her globes. She didn't make a sound. Her hands cupped her breasts and held them out to Salif in a silent gesture of offering. Her knees, already spread apart, widened.
I'd forgotten how very well trained they can be.
Salif gazed in shock at his hands, astonished at how quickly the magic had responded to his muted command. Magic everywhere.
You are, after all, the Mage Prince of Argentia. Have you forgotten?
This voice in his head was another forgotten piece of his past. Slightly mocking, speaking with a feline purr. She was always part of him. Raina.
Salif shook his head. No. No. They'd found him, but they would need time to make their move. Tomorrow morning, he would run again. Find another world, assume another identity. They would not find him again; Salif would make sure of it.
His eyes had been unfocused as he made his plans, but now, plans made, he gazed on the girl who knelt just inside the door, her hands still holding her breasts in offering to him.
"Do you have a name?" His voice was steel. How quickly it all returned, the arrogance, the pride, the belief that he had the absolute right to do whatever struck his fancy to this girl.
"Leila, my lord prince."
I am Salif Al-Hasn. I am the Mage Prince of Argentia. You think to mock me with your gift, Father, but I see what you do. You will not best me again, Father.
Salif straightened, his decision made. There was now arrogance to the way he carried his head, his gaze was cold. There was ice in his voice as he spoke the next words. "You may try to anticipate my requirements. When you fail, as you undoubtedly will, I will whip you. You may moan. You may not speak, except to thank me." Salif didn't bother telling her she needed to obey his commands. She was a pleasure slave. Obeying was what she was trained to do.
The girl nodded very slightly, and kept her head lowered. She didn't speak to indicate her understanding of his instructions.
Salif made another slight gesture with his hands. Worlds away from Argentia, and still the magic leapt to do his bidding. Steel cuffs appeared, binding the slave's arms behind her back. Her breathing had quickened very slightly. Salif noticed her knees had parted even wider. Another gesture; and the slave was naked.
She was even more beautiful naked. Her skin was smooth, unmarked. Either she'd never been whipped, which was very unlikely. It was more likely that a mage had disguised her scars. Salif surveyed her, impressed. Whoever the mage was, he'd done a good job. No trace of a blemish was visible.
An extended boot, and the girl bent smoothly from her waist to lick it. Salif swung his belt at her backside, watching with pleasure as a red mark appeared on her skin. He could have used magic, of course, but sometimes, it was satisfying to wield an actual instrument. She marked easily, he realized with pleasure. Excellent.
The girl made no noise of protest as the belt hit her backside. "Thank you, my lord prince," she said, eyes on the floor, as the colour flooded her ass. She continued to lick his proffered boots. She would lick it all evening if that's what Salif desired.
She showed impressive balance, knees spread apart, bent forward at her waist, licking his boots, her hands encased in steel behind her back. Salif felt the familiar stirrings of the mind-lust; kept under control for over fifteen years.
She obeyed without hesitation. Salif unzipped his pants, took his hard, erect dick out. Her mouth was instantly open, ready for him.
She's very well-trained. My compliments, Father.
But this thought was too close to pain, too close to the reason he'd run. Salif shook his head in mute denial. He wasn't going to remember. He needed distraction.
The pleasure slave is for your use, my prince.
Raina's voice, filled with amused mocking. Salif's head spun. It was all too much; everything he'd kept buried for fifteen years was rising to the fore. "Focus on the girl," every voice in his head screamed. He could not afford to remember now. He must wait till he was safely hidden again.
His hands came out to grab the girl's hair, as he thrust in her mouth. Back and forth, barely giving her time to breathe. Pumping in and out of her mouth, Salif used her mouth as distraction, to keep long-suppressed demons at bay.
The girl was very, very good. Even as she struggled to breathe, her tongue automatically slid up and down Salif's hard length. She didn't gag, she didn't protest. She was living up to her tattoos. Her mouth felt like warm, wet silk. Her cheeks hollowed, sucking his cock in, twirling her tongue around his head.
Salif was impressed. He stopped for a second, allowing the girl to gather a breath.
His cock was hard, pulsing with need. The girl's legs were parted, and Salif could see the glistening of her pussy lips. Sudden anger rose to the fore.
"Spread your knees wider. Lean back." His words were punctuated by a slash of his belt on her thighs. An angry red welt appeared instantly on her skin.
"Thank you for whipping me, my lord prince," she said, again, her voice lyrical. She showed impressive flexibility as she obeyed his instructions, her body curving backwards, her legs spreading wider. "She must be in agony in that position..." Salif thought briefly, and then dismissed that as inconsequential. What was more interesting was that the slave's pussy was shaved, and it was moist and puffy with need.
The girl's actually enjoying her punishment. Unexpected subtlety from you, Father.
Salif's fingers snapped in the air. The very air curved to respond to his command, and a flogger appeared in his hand. He closed his eyes briefly. For fifteen years, in hiding from the Trackers of Argentia, he had refrained from using even the tiniest traces of magic. But yet the magic leaped to his bidding. Magic everywhere.
I am Salif Al-Hasn. I am the Mage Prince of Argentia. Magic is my birthright.
The mind-lust rose in him. In an almost-forgotten motion, he raised the flogger, brought it down on the girl's parted thighs. He could see her swift intake of breath, as the pain flowed through her. But she remained outwardly calm. "Thank you, my lord prince," she said, her voice the softest whisper.
The whip rose and fell, again and again. Five strokes, then ten. Welts appeared on the girl's skin. Her breath was quickening, she was struggling to keep still, to present herself in the open position he'd ordered. He moved, striking her breasts, her tender nipples, her inner thighs, her creaming pussy. Her muscles clenched, and he could see her grit her teeth together as she struggled to control her body. She moaned softly.
He had been trained since birth to inflict pain, trained not to care about the agony he was causing. He'd never questioned his training. Until that day... His mind drifted to that forbidden memory.
No. No. No.
But the memory was rising to the fore; no longer content to remain in the background of his mind.
His harem, in the palace of Argentia. Salif, surrounded by his three pleasure slaves. Pleasure slaves are expensive. Three signal immeasurable wealth. Only his father, the King has more.
And now the king himself entering. He watches in displeasure as Salif laughs with his slaves. You are too soft on your pleasure slaves, he roars. Are you a Prince of Argentia, or are you a weakling?
Salif replies calmly, though his body has tensed. He doesn't enjoy inflicting pain; but the pain is necessary to bring out the pleasure. But he knows how far to push each girl. Too far, and the training can be broken.
Fool, the King screams. He grabs a bullwhip hanging from the wall. A bullwhip Salif has never used; one that ends, wickedly, with a curved steel tip, designed to draw blood. Points to Katya, the newest slave. "Kneel," he orders.
The whip rises, falls. Again and again. Now ten strokes, now twenty. The blood starts to pool, but Katya's training holds. She whimpers in agony, but never breaks position. Salif can feel her pain in his mind; this is the gift and curse of the bonding magic. He flinches from her agony. His hands start to move in the complex patterns necessary to shape a spell of protection; a spell designed to transfer her pain to someone else. But before he finishes, his father slashes the whip viciously, and Katya whimpers for one final time.
"Please, my lord prince..." her mind begs. She looks at Salif, her eyes pleading. Pleasure slaves may never make eye contact. And Salif sees in her eyes what she wants him to do, and he closes his eyes, heart-sick, as he probes, understands the severity of her wounds from the bullwhip. She will not ever feel her legs again. There is internal bleeding; vital organs are ruptured; she draws each breath in agony. "My lord prince," she begs again, silently. Salif looks into her beautiful, pain-filled eyes. "Sleep, my love..." he sends to her mind, sorrow in the sending. He moves a hand in one abrupt gesture. Katya will never wake again.
"I'll have to arrange a new pleasure slave for you, Prince of Argentia." The King's voice is cold, but satisfied. The lesson has been taught.
Salif looks at his father. He is still heartsick at what he's seen; what he's had to do. He straightens. His eyes are winter and storm and ice. "I am no more Prince of Argentia." And he makes a gesture, and he is gone, as are the surviving two pleasure slaves, never to be seen again.
Fifteen years. For fifteen years he had buried this memory; his indescribable horror at what his father had done to Katya; what he'd been forced to do in response. He'd fled his home and his world in revulsion, had forsworn the use of magic, and had spent fifteen years in exile.
The long-suppressed memory washed through him, and then, in a movement that was a profound blessing from the gods, the memory washed away. Salif closed his eyes in mixed disbelief and gratitude. For fifteen years, he had kept the memory hidden away. But time heals all wounds. The ache in his heart, the ache thinking about sweet Katya, that raw wound had subsided to a dull throb. His anger at his father remained, but was now a thing of ice and winter.
When he'd walked into the door, Salif had been overcome with despair that he'd been found; his mind almost fracturing under the strain of trying to keep that long-buried memory at bay. But now, the memory had come and gone, and he was no longer in the grips of its power. He started to rethink his initial fearful impulse to run. His father had always been regarded with fear and revulsion in Argentia. Salif was the Mage Prince. He had a responsibility to his people.
A soft moan broke his thoughts; Salif reacted in shock, he has forgotten about the girl. He looked down at her in quick concern. How deep had the mind-lust taken him, had he become his father, uncontrolled, violent, seeking only to inflict pain, never pleasure? He swiftly read the signs.
Thank the gods. The flogger was not the bullwhip. The shudders running through her body were lust and arousal, not pain. He had not yet entirely lost his soul.
He smiled at the girl, the smile reaching his eyes for the first time. "Straighten..." he muttered with a quick wave of his arm to heal her. The welts faded instantly, the red marks disappearing. Another bitter memory there. His father, in his harem. Whipping his slaves, healing them, whipping them again. Again and again, till the slaves were broken, left with nothing but the remembered memory of pain.
I am Salif Al-Hasn. I am the Mage Prince of Argentia. I am not my father.
Another quick gesture of his hand to remove the cuffs. She knelt again, her arms free.
Salif looked around the room, what did he have to work with? The cheap motel desk. That would do...
"Bend over the desk..." Salif said. His voice was now relaxed; his initial anger drained. Now was left only the man who would bring his pleasure slaves to repeated orgasm, spanking and cropping them till they were left teetering to the edge of arousal, so close, till his skillful tongue and fingers would push them over, and over, and over yet again.
She obeyed silently.
Salif watched her with desire in his eyes. Her skin was as soft and supple as silk. His dick twitched as he imagined the warm wetness of her pussy, of the way her buttocks would feel as he spanked them, of the muscles in her vagina clenching around his pumping cock.
"Spread your legs... wider..." His voice was hoarse.
She spread her legs wider, her hands tightening on the desk for balance. Gods, she was beautiful.
"Here," he said, waving his hand. The magic leapt to his bidding; steel bands encircled her ankles, easing her struggles to hold her legs wide apart. "Thank you, my lord Prince," she said softly, genuine gratitude in her voice.
Her pussy glistened with her juices; she was unmistakably aroused by his treatment of her. Salif found the cheap swivel chair, that constant fixture of budget motel rooms, and sat down, pulling the chair close to her. His hands reached out to stroke her clenched ass, kneading and pinching them.
She moaned softly.
Salif smiled, a smile of pure male satisfaction, as he read her body. The arousal was genuine.
He bent his head to inhale her sweet scent; his breath cool on her hot pussy. She smelt wonderful, of the sea, of incense and moonlight, and hot nights of pleasure. She was utterly irresistible. Salif's tongue reached out, took a long, slow lick of her softness, savoring the taste of her arousal.
Every muscle in her body clenched, as she moaned helplessly.
"Do you like that, sweetness?"
Her answer, when it came, was ragged with desire. "Yes... Yes, my lord prince."
Salif smiled again, bent his head into her warm, waiting softness. So wet, so tasty, so responsive. She sighed, the sound a whisper of longing in the still night, a sound sent Salif's cock pushing almost painfully against his jeans.
His hands roamed all over her butt, as his mouth worked on her pussy. Tugging on her lips, flicking at her hard nub, causing her to start to push herself against him, only to catch herself just in time and hold still. Salif shook his head, amused and a little annoyed. That damn training.
"Let yourself feel, little one..." he chided softly. His own pleasure slaves had quickly learned that Salif loved watching them in the throes of pleasure, and had let themselves respond to him. Leila too would learn.