The Wicked Tower Pt. 19
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“Who are you, exactly?” Vel walked over to one of the armchairs and sat by the roaring fire. He did his best to avoid gazing at the mercurial abomination that was Discordia. Hekate was beautiful, but the way she triplicated over and over wasn’t much easier to look at. He turned his attention to the small, strangely dressed man. “What pantheon are you from?”
“I’m from a pantheon in a world that diverged from yours. There, a single god tries to rule all. But he is beset by anger, hypocrisies, and vanity. I am the brightest of angels. The Day Star, kindler of freedom.” Day Star smiled.
“What is an angel, then?” Cassia carefully walked over and stood next to Vel, placing her hand on his shoulder. She dared not sit for fear that she’d leave a puddle of sperm on this deity’s chair. It was bad enough that she could feel it slowly sliding down the inside of her legs.
“An angel is a servant. A kind of… valet. To carry out orders, but not to question. Never to question.” Day Star looked off into the fire in deep thought.
“You sound bitter.” Vel got a sense of Day Star. He’d known others with grandiose opinions but without the station to actualize them.
Day Star laughed. “Well, I have an axe to grind. That is true.” He looked back over at Cassia with a glance of innocent appraisal. “But you should be grateful for that. I know why your mother stands now. I know it is springtime where she cradles the future.”
“What is he talking about?” Vel looked up at his mother.
Cassia’s grip tightened on her son’s shoulder. This creature was telling her that she would have her own son’s child. And that this Day Star was responsible. Her heart went from anger, to gratitude, and then back to grief. She said nothing.
“Enough small talk.” Hekate’s voice sounded like three women singing in harmony.
“I hardly think the duchess’s pregnancy is of small interest to any of us here.” Day Star frowned and leaned back in his chair. “It is a sign of hope and harvest. And, of course, a disregard for the arbitrary rules of love set on high by –“
“That is enough of your pithy chatter, little valet.” Hekate rose from her chair. She was short for a goddess, but beyond even northern standards of height. She stood at nearly nine feet, and her stola flowed down to the ground like water rushing over river rocks. “You don’t need to know everything, but some things you must see.” The goddess waived her hand and azure light filled the room. An image of a man on a throne formed out of the flames in the fire. “There was a man not long ago, the last ruler of the old empire. He accidentally discovered a channel of communication with the gods.” Her trio of voices filled their ears with heartbreak.
“He was a clever man and asked for no boon. Instead, he sought to deceive.” Hekate waved her hand again, and the mercurial goddess Discordia rose up in the flames, ever changing to a new form. “He sought to wrest magic away from the people, and cement his power for eons. He tricked Discordia, playing on her desire to overcome Pax. He helped her defeat the god of order and peace, and sent his ruined form far to the south. But unchecked, entropy and chaos are their own worst enemies. Discordia became ever more unstable, and this emperor tricked her into entrusting him with her power. Magic waned and a great war crashed upon the shores of the Surround. The northerners joined the rebels and the old empire fell.” The fire blazed with the clash of steel and the screams of men falling on the battlefield. “Do you follow me, mortals?”
“The old emperor was responsible for the great drain of magic.” Vel looked up at Hekate. She was one goddess, but his eyes could see flashes of three beauties overlapping each other. She was mesmerizing, but also discomfiting.
“When the new king entered Accipiter Cubitum Palace, he inherited Discordia and Pax’s shrunken and divorced power,” Hekate walked over to Discordia in the corner, but did not touch her. She looked with great pity at the goddess, who was many things and none at the same time. “I am the keeper of magic from times before Discordia and Pax made their truce. I found it was my time to step back into the role. I appeared to the new king and offered to return magic to the people. He declined and had his sorcerer build a tower to contain what he thought of as his magic. The tower was a ruin before it begun, but still he persisted. By accident, his failure crushed his niece to death. Her body happened to rest near the source and she was born as two, containing some of Discordia’s power and some from Pax.”
“So, the queens regent is actually the queen regent?” Cassia could see the pieces falling now. The queens had obviously killed their uncle and others to position themselves for power. It was a wonder they hadn’t killed their brother or the princess.
“They are two, and they are one. But different than I am three and I am one.” Hekate walked back to the fire and flames coalesced into a bahis siteleri rising tower. “They seek to channel their power and complete their uncle’s tower. The old sorcerer left plans that were almost correct. They figured out the rest.”
“So, they finish the tower and become all powerful?” Vel rose from his seat. It was strange to stand and still look up at a woman. A goddess, he corrected himself. “And you’ve used this little guy.” He nodded at Day Star. “To aid in reestablishing your magic through me. Why use Brynhild? She lies and prizes her own power above others.”
“Do you question a goddess?” Hekate’s one face turned to three, and they all smiled broadly. “Only those that possess some magic can see me. And I needed one as reckless as she. You are mostly right about the rest. Would you like to question my methods further?”
“No.” Vel shook his head and looked to the floor. “So, we must destroy the tower before they become all powerful,” he repeated.
“They are out of balance. I fear it may be worse than that. From that new, wicked tower a chaos may spread beyond my ability to check.” Hekate waved her hand and the fire sputtered out, hissing. Smoke filled the room.
“And what of the other gods? Cannot Jupiter step on the queens regent?” Cassia had a strange feeling about the way the goddess glanced at her son. Hekate was sizing Vel up for something, and Cassia wondered if it would be a suicide mission. How could she wedge herself between one so powerful and her only remaining son?
“We don’t often notice mortals. Our worlds are attenuated. I am here only because magic has been so affronted.” Hekate’s sweet melody of voices danced around the long room. Smoke lingered around her head, giving her an ominous aura.
“Well, that is the how we came to be here. What is the why?” Cassia neck hurt from looking up at the goddess. She was ready to have the deity’s demand out in the open so she could refuse it. She would lose no more family to the queens regent and their mad tower.
“But you must know. The young duke has already said as much. You must destroy the tower.” Hekate almost looked cross with Cassia, her trio of voices harmonized at a higher pitch.
Cassia snorted a laugh. “You would have the Tullius family dashed to the rocks like a helpless wreck. We are not your pawns.”
“It’s okay, Mother. We must.” Vel put a calming hand on her bare arm.
The heat of Vel’s touch diverted Cassia’s alarm. “So, are we to sneak into the palace and frolic in the viper’s lair?” Cassia would not normally have spoken thus to an ancient immortal, but her patience with life’s tragedies had run out.
“You will have help.” Hekate, moved over to Vel, reached down, and reached a glowing arm around his shoulders. “Come with me, mortal. We are needed under the dryads’ forbearing gaze.” She guided the duke toward a bookcase to their right. A door in the shelves opened. The warm radiance of a sunny afternoon fell into the room.
“Wait, what are you doing to him? Stop.” Cassia moved toward Vel, but the faster she moved, the more she seemed to fix to the same spot.
“It’s okay, Mother.” Vel looked back at her and smiled. “Anyway, it’s not like we have much of a choice.” He stepped through the door and the shelves closed behind him.
Cassia put her hand to her belly. Would the life growing there be the last of Vel?
“Oh, don’t worry. He’ll have the time of his life. It’s not many that get to tumble with a god.” Day Star stood from his chair. He was quite short, only about Cassia’s height, if that. “Now, let’s get this fire restarted. We have guests arriving soon.” He bent down on the hearth and fiddled with some kindling.
“Guests?” Cassia tried very hard not to look at Discordia’s abhorrence. She prayed that there would be no more gods in attendance.
“Do you think they’re all dead?” Naevia walked out of the cave. The crashing ocean waves were so much louder out on the beach away from their temporary shelter. Once Naevia had saved them at the wedding, they had dropped right into the sandy grotto, a place Vel and Naevia had spent many days in their youth, up the coast from Ostia Novus. It was the safest place Naevia could think of.
“They would have used arrows if they meant to slaughter us all. If they didn’t escape like we did, your brother and mother are hostages. Torture at the worst. For now.” Dellia pulled her tunic down tightly under her belt. They had spent the last few hours naked in their cave, a side effect of using their magic. The diversion had helped both women, and there wasn’t anywhere to go urgently, anyway. They didn’t know which houses they could trust, and mounting a rescue seemed quite foolish.
“You are a cold comfort.” Naevia shivered as the wind howled past her. “We should find my father. He can help us.”
“Great news, Cousin. Where do we find him?” Dellia hunched her shoulders into the wind. She scanned the beach ahead, and the rolling dunes to their left. Would the red capes send search parties this far out? She didn’t canlı bahis siteleri think so, but what did she know?
“I’m not sure.” Naevia struggled to keep up with her cousin. “We were to signal my father from the east tower if trouble found us. But, obviously, that is impossible. He’s probably not in the city anymore. Knowing him, he’s probably hiding in the wilds. He knows of places to disappear, but he never confided in me or Vel.”
“What’s this?” Dellia stopped and looked into a small declivity. “There appears to be an open door down there. Did we find one of your father’s sanctuaries so easily?”
“Don’t be foolish.” Naevia caught up to her cousin and stood next to her, looking down. There was a rectangle of a door with unmistakable firelight flickering inside. “But you have found something interesting.”
“Shall we see who is camping out under the beach? Maybe we learn something useful.” Dellia, her question redundant, drew her sword. She scampered down into the small gully.
“Wait, what?” Thoughts of robbers or pirates filled Naevia’s head. But of course, Dellia must have had the same thoughts as she moved toward the door. “Wait, I don’t have a weapon.” She stumbled after Dellia on the loose, sandy decline.
“With any luck, we’ll find you a weapon inside.” Dellia arrived at the door, peered in, and slipped inside. Naevia was right behind her.
“You may sit now, Duchess.” Day Star set the poker on the hearth and moved away. The fire roared once again. He looked over at Cassia, saw she didn’t move, and gave her an enigmatic smile. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll fix the problem.” He snapped his fingers. “There now, dry as a bone. You may sit.”
Cassia rubbed her legs together. He was right, the insides of her thighs were no longer sticky and wet. She said nothing, but sat stiffly in an armchair. Her mind wanted to turn her gaze toward Discordia in the corner, but she kept her sight away from the goddess who was all things and nothing at the same time.
“Can I offer you something to drink?” Day Star moved over to the wall and opened the bookcase next to the fireplace. Mist drifted out of the closet inside. “My world has much that you do not have. Magic is limited, but creativity overflows. I have Coke, Sprite, Pepsi…”
“No, thank you.” Cassia eyed the shiny, colorful cylinders inside the foggy closet with mistrust. “I am not thirsty.” She was parched.
“Very well.” Day Star closed the door and the bookcase was a bookcase again. He found his armchair, sat, and crossed his legs. “So, how are you going to tell your husband about you and Vel?”
“I beg your pardon?” She was being toyed with by this angel. She detested his sort already.
“I thought we should have a game plan. And we need to pass the time while… oh, never mind. The first guest is arriving now.” He pointed to the far wall where Cassia and Vel had entered the room.
Cassia turned and looked, not knowing what she expected to see. Her husband came into view, eyeing the room suspiciously. “Oh, Gallio. You’re safe.” She clapped her hands and stood, a smile threatening to crease her face.
“And you are here. But I’m not so sure about safe?” His eyes focused on the small man in strange clothes sitting by his wife. “Who are you?”
“The wedding, I –” Cassia was cut off by Day Star.
“Let’s cut to it. I am a god of sorts, and all are protected while in my home.” Day Star waved his hand inclusively at the room. “Your wife has something to tell you.”
“Oh, Gallio. Bantia is dead.” Tears burst from Cassia as she let her mind wander back over the last day.
“Oh, brother.” Day Star slapped his palm to his forehead. Over the next twenty minutes, he let the two share about their various adventures, although it seemed Gallio did not share as much as his wife. Which was, of course, quite funny given what she was keeping from him. Day Star also noted that Gallio neither looked at the Goddess of Chaos, nor mentioned her. The small man was quite self-controlled. Husband and wife stood by the fire, several steps apart, and talked. Eventually, Day Star cut in. “This is all well and good, but let’s get all our cards on the table before your precious world implodes.”
“Cards?” Gallio’s eyes narrowed.
“Yes, the things you’re both not saying.” Day Star nodded. “You, past and future duke of Ostia Novus, had an affair with your resident sorceress.”
“He what?” Cassia’s hand went to her mouth.
“I… I…” Gallio stuttered.
“They fornicated all over your castle. It must have been quite the sight. She, a giant from the North. He, a lilliputian man from the Surround.” Day Star steepled his hands with satisfactions at their reactions. How soon they would trade places. “He was so enamored of Brynhild, that he committed himself to freeing the good Princess Minicia at her behest. He was, unsurprisingly, caught. He escaped the palace and fled. That’s where your husband’s been. A man who lost himself in northern pussy.”
“The sorceress bewitched me.” Gallio rarely canlı bahis pleaded, but this was the prime moment. He turned to Cassia. “I was bewitched.”
Cassia stared at her husband, her hand still on her mouth.
“Mmmmmmm…” Day Star held his hand out and rocked it back and forth like the proposition was iffy. “You wouldn’t be the first man to fall under the spell of a woman’s sexual power. You’re a bit too strong-willed for her magic to influence your mind.”
“How could you?” Cassia took a step back. “Why are you telling me this, angel?”
“There was once in my world a man responsible for raiding a new country. He worried that his men might rather return home than perform the arduous task of murdering and conquering a continent. So, he burned his own ships. People are more apt to focus on the task ahead, when there is no going back.”
“What task do you ask of me?” Gallio frowned, his attention now on the crackling logs in the fire. “You will find I have no inclination for whatever you plan.”
“Oh, I think you will be quite inclined.” Day Star followed Gallio’s gaze into the fire and nodded thoughtfully. “You’re to return to your seat as duke of Ostia Novus. Although, I must confess, this is not my plan. I’m just here for my amusement.”
“Her plan?” Gallio nodded his head in the direction of Discordia.
“A different goddess pulls the strings now.” Day Star glanced at Discordia and then over to Cassia. “But we haven’t burned all our ships yet, have we?”
“No. Don’t.” Cassia shook her head and took another step back from her husband.
“But the former and future duke isn’t the only one to break the vows you two made under Neptune.” A playful smile spread on Day Star’s face. This moment alone was worth the trip. “Can you guess who’s seed grows inside your wife?”
Gallio drew his sword and raised it above his head. He wasn’t sure who to strike first, the faithless bitch or this infernal, gossiping creature. He felt the steel wriggle in his hands. He looked up to see he held a viper instead of his blade. He dropped it to the floor. It hissed and slithered away. He then made a move to throttle Day Star, but the faster he lunged at the man, the farther away he seemed to be. He jumped, ran, and screamed. But only ended up a few feet farther than where he’d started. He eventually stopped, hunched over, huffing and puffing.
Cassia stood stock-still through it all, horror filling her eyes. “Stop, please.”
“You’ll thank me for this one day.” Day Star cleared his throat. “Your wife has fallen for your least favorite child, Gallio. She has given herself to Vel.”
If he was surprised by the revelation, Gallio didn’t show it. He straightened and addressed his wife. “I can see now what this angel means by returning to my seat. I am to vanquish my own son and claim what he has stolen.”
“No,” Cassia squeaked.
“No, indeed,” Day Star agreed. “You’ll be filling a vacancy, of sorts. Vel cannot sit on two seats at once, you see. Oh, and we have more guests arriving. How delightful.” Day Star turned his attention to the far side of the room.
The goddess led Vel by the hand down a forest path. The sun shone gold and green through the canopy above. Bird song echoed from the trees. More than that, a gentle melody wove itself into the fabric of the birch, ash, and oak around them. “What is that song?”
“Birds.” Hekate laughed. Her azure light sparkled with the chime of her giggle.
“The other one, I mean.” Vel’s mind swam through slow waters. The forest was more dream than reality.
“That is the song of the dryads. They eagerly anticipate this moment. It is not often a mortal walks this wood.” Hekate stopped by a small stream. “Now remove your things and let’s see what that strange angel made of you.” Right on the edge of the water rested a frame woven of living saplings and a mattress of velvet moss.
“You want me to take off my clothes?” Vel looked up at Hekate in disbelief. He watched as six arms that were really only two lifted off her stola and bared to him a full, womanly form. Her curves waxed and waned in the most inviting way. He hurriedly removed his clothes and hung them on a nearby branch.
“Oh, my. The angel fulfilled his promise. You are quite lovely.” Hekate’s trio of voices rose in delight. She moved over to the bed and sat on the moss. “I have never lain with a mortal before.”
“Me either.” Vel’s cock stiffened until he thought it might burst. Her beauty hurt his eyes. He could see her pale, bluish breasts brushing her thighs as she leaned toward him. “I mean… um… I never… with a goddess. Well… really only with a handful of women… but… um…”
“First, drink your fill. We must sustain you through the troubles that lie ahead.” She reached down and lifted her right breast, which briefly tripled, and then returned back to one. “Lay here and be satisfied.”
“Yes… okay.” Vel hurried over to the bed, sat next to her, and leaned his head into her lap. The breast she offered him was truly massive. But that, he realized, was because all of her was much larger than any woman on Earth. He opened his mouth, and his lips found her nipple. A gush of hot, sweet milk hit his tongue. He gulped it down. His mind left him for a while.
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