by ”URN My Power“
“Elemental magic is a basic application of natural energy, usually one of the first to be mastered.” Sanna said, sitting a candle on the little table in the work room. A ward circle surrounded them to prevent the magic they were about to tap from causing disaster elsewhere in the house. “Though they can be called upon with incantations and gestures, and almost always are in pop culture, the Order finds it most useful to train its apprentices in calling forth the elements while bound and gagged from the start.”
“As a means of escape or at least revenge against one’s captor.” Charlie added. Sanna nodded.
“We tend not to emphasize the ‘revenge’ part too much, however, Master.” she whispered affectionately. He smiled. “Shall we try fire, Master?”
“Sure. What do I do?” Sanna tied his hands behind his back and his feet to the chair, then inserted a ball gag in his mouth—a new one, not one from Amelie’s collection. He made a mental note to try this with her later.
“Imagine the hottest thing you can think of, and combine it with a burning anger—righteous wrath works best.” she said. “When you have it in mind, project it toward the candle. Take your time and learn to do it first, we will work on speed at a later date. You may close your eyes if you need to, Master.” Charlie did close his eyes. He pictured the time he had smuggled himself to his father’s job by hiding in the trunk, and ended up being stuck there all day. He pictured his first gulp of whiskey. He pictured the time he had accidentally stepped on a hot brand while barefoot during a camping trip. He pictured a mouthful of jabañeros. But what for the anger? Charlie had his faults, but an out-of-control temper wasn’t one of them. He imagined Steve forcing himself on Amelie, but inevitably the common-sense portion of his mind told him Steve wasn’t like that. He would steal a hypnotic pendant, but never his best friend’s girlfriend—and besides, Amelie would quickly transfigure him into an invertebrate if he tried. The thought tickled his funny bone. That would never do. He imagined policemen abusing their power. Close, he thought to himself with a frown. Policemen abusing their power against his family. Tazering Akiko for no reason. Getting closer, he thought. Then it hit him: Cardinal Wolfgang drugging clergy to force them to violate their religious oaths, sending goons to round up Amelie’s former slaves—only Hilda had managed to escape seizure. He felt the magic stirring within, and directed it toward the candle.
There was a whoosh, and Sanna gave a startled cry. Opening his eyes, he made a muffled noise of his own when he found the entire table ablaze. Sanna put forth her hand and put out the fire with elemental ice. “Don’t feel bad, I did the same thing myself the first time I tried.” she cooed, kissing his cheek. “We’re going to need another candle, though.”
Not to mention another table. he thought silently. Sanna untied him so he could rest comfortably while she went outside the circle to fetch the required items.
Claudia’s hips gyrated sensuously, her body having lost its sparkling coverings several minutes ago. She slowly pulled the string on the side of her swimsuit bottom. The music thumped loudly—even if she were deaf, she could have danced by the feel of the beat. In fact, one of her fellow dancers was deaf, and had been since birth. It mattered little to Claudia. She wasn’t dancing for them, or the drooling spong monkeys who threw their money to her at the end of her dances.
She danced for Master, who was watching her from backstage. She pushed the envelope to make him want her and to please him with her take. She pulled the string on the other side of her bottoms to raucous applause, leaving herself standing in nothing but her boots and the prop police belt and cap. She waggled the garment invitingly. Several men reached up to try to grab them, but she gave them to the one who had the brains to offer money. She continued to dance, enticing the men, dancing away when they tried to grab her, winking to salve hurt feelings. The song ended with her in a combination splits/grovel. The money flew and she gathered it up quickly along with her clothes, to make way for the next dancer. She knelt beside Master as he counted the money, then patted her on the head for a job well done. She could see his erection and was filled with the desire to pleasure him right here, right now.
“Let’s go.” he said. “You can repeat that dance in private for me when we get home.”
“Yes, Master.” she moaned. She put on an oversized T-shirt and sandals so they wouldn’t be arrested and left the strip club. The neck of her shirt slid down one shoulder, exposing the cup of her breast. Seeing this by dashboard light, Master made a decision. He parked behind a store that had closed shortly after Wal-Mart had opened a super center in town, and they adjourned to the back seat. He pulled her shirt off over her head and dropped his pants down to his ankles, his boxers going down with them. She kissed him as he fondled her breasts and slipped his pecker into her wet cleft. Her hips gyrated in a dance far more ancient than the one she had performed on stage, her eyes rolling as she lost herself in the pleasure of the act. She had several minor orgasms along the way, but it was only when Master stiffened and splashed her insides with his semen that she achieved true release. “I love you, Master.” she sighed and began to kiss his face, his neck, his lips, anything she could reach in this position.
“I love you, too.” he responded. Master froze, as if shocked by the words that had just come out of his mouth. Then he smiled and held her close. It was a powerful moment, simultaneously eternal and heart-achingly brief. They reassembled their clothes and returned to the front seat. She entwined her fingers in his as they finished the drive to the campus.
Master went in first as always, and she waited, as always. When he returned and brought her in, the guard was asleep—the effects of a sleeping powder which would leave him unconscious for ten minutes and leave him with a fifteen-minute gap in his memory.
The smell of smoke greeted them as they traversed the closet gateway to the Spanish manor. “What’s burning?” Master asked.
“It’s taken care of.” Charlie said. “I set a few tables on fire during practice, that’s all.”
“I thought you were gonna be lighting candles.” Master said.
“I tried for a Zippo, I got a blast furnace.” Charlie replied.
“Over-achiever.” Master chided jokingly, punching his friend in the shoulder. He headed upstairs to the room he shared with Claudia, and she followed. He closed the door and pulled her into his arms. “I’m so backwards.” he said. “It used to be, people fell in love, then had sex, not the other way around.” Claudia couldn’t think of a suitable reply, so she just mashed her breasts into his chest and enjoyed his closeness.
Hilda sat next to Charlie as they watched television together. Charlie was summarizing the news stories for a class project, speculating on how (or if) history would remember them fifty to a hundred years from now.
“And finally, the Pope announced plans to display several Vatican artifacts to the public for the first time, beginning with a coast-to-coast U.S. tour.” the anchorwoman said. “Among the artifacts is a sword called Wizardsbane, a centuries-old sword said to be one of three specifically created to hunt those accused of witchcraft.”
Charlie had stopped writing. There, on the screen, was the sword that had taken the head of Tashi Myrdhynn. He could feel the ghost’s rage battering against the wards in the work room where he now kept the grimoire. He flipped to a new page and copied down the itinerary for the Papal exhibit. The tour would stop in Dallas for a week during the Christmas break. That would be his window of opportunity.
For what? he wondered to himself. He sure as hell couldn’t take that magic-scrambling sword with him through the closet gate, and even if he could, he had no desire for that thing to be in the same house with him. Airport security would certainly notice a sword at any rate, so he would have to take it by boat. But where? He wondered about some of the other houses owned by Amelie and Annemarie, but decided against that. But, if he went by boat, there might just be an opportunity to ditch the sword. All he had to do was get tickets on a boat whose course would take it across the Marianas Trench. He went to the work room and spent ten minutes trying to get Tashi Myrdhynn’s attention as he clawed at the wards.
“You’re upset about the sword, I see.” he said when the spirit had calmed.
Wouldn’t you be? Tashi Myrdhynn responded. Charlie related his plan to the spirit, and watched as its angry glow dimmed. You will have to hire a professional. The Pope is no fool.
“No shit.” Charlie responded. “But in case you haven’t noticed, we’re not exactly shacked up in a cardboard box. Amelie and Annemarie are no paupers...AND Amelie has hired professional thieves before. Wizardsbane is as good as sunk.”
I confess, that makes me feel better than I have in centuries. the spirit said, fading from view entirely. I need some rest.
“Yeah, I imagine those tantrums of yours are exhausting.” Charlie said.
If you’re referring to the incident with the Druidess, I felt she was important to your future. I wish I could tell you more than that.
“Still, since our home security seems to be lacking, I hope you won’t be too offended if I keep your book here for a while longer, so nobody else takes it. Especially since we’re thinking about employing a thief.” He left then, crossing back through the wards and sealing the work room once again. Call me crazy, but I like to have a little more choice in who gets added to my harem than I’ve had recently. he added silently to himself. He found Annemarie in the kitchen, showing Amelie how to cook something that didn’t have microwave directions on the package. He seated himself on a stool and watched.
Cardinal Wolfgang was sitting in his office when he felt a breeze touch his cheek. Turning in his chair, he found a female form in a tight-fitting black outfit and mask. Two swords, one longer than the other, were sheathed on her back.
“I was expecting Yoshida Taichi.” the Cardinal said irritably.
“He is dead.” an icy voice said from behind the mask. “Ten years dead. You need fresher intelligence.”
“The last time I sent someone to Mr. Yoshida’s village, he mailed a piece of him to me from the capitol of every nation on Earth.”
“He taught me everything he knew, and I have learned much since then.” the ninja woman said.
“Then perhaps you and I can do business.” the Cardinal said. He reached into his desk and pulled out a file folder. The woman took it and looked through the pages quickly.
“This sketch is very vague.” she said, holding up a paper with a sketch depicting a Myrdhynn’s robes on a male and female figure.
“Quite deliberate, I assure you.” the Cardinal said. “The primary target is known or believed to associate with members of a certain heretical order with whom those of us still loyal to ALL the Ten Commandments have been in conflict off and on for centuries.”
“What is this book?”
“A grimoire from a member of the Order of Merlin slain by my ancestor long ago. The fool threw the book, in a protective satchel, into the river and it has been circulating these many years, changing hands one step ahead of our agents. You would be surprised at the number of people who ‘kept their hoods up’ when buying rare and unique books in those days.”
“I can’t imagine why.” the ninja responded dryly.
“In addition to the deaths of all those in the folder, I want the book brought to me. It may contain information that may be useful in the annihilation of the Order itself.”
“It will be costly.” the woman said. “A million British pounds a head, and I don’t leave witnesses. The book I will count as ten heads if I have assurances from your Pope that the contents of the book will never be used against any ethnic Japanese. Otherwise, I will simply destroy it.”
“A million American dollars a head, the book counts as ten heads, and you will not fail to bring me the book.”
“This is not a negotiation.” the woman said, her dark eyes narrowing. “I have stated my terms. If you find them unacceptable as they are...” she thumbed the shorter of her two swords partially out of its sheath.
“Indeed you are one of Yoshida’s pupils.” the Cardinal sighed. “You shall have it. Half now, half on completion of the task. And, there is a bonus if you do it before the Pope’s tour reaches Dallas.”
It was the weekend. In the dark of a moonless, overcast night, the house was as silent as a tomb except for the breathing of many sleepers. Chelsea Smithe’s tail hung off the edge of the bed, swinging lazily. Master had given her an illusion-spell that caused those who were not members of his harem to see her as human. A sound roused her, and she crept quietly from the bed. The sound had come from outside—something in the trees which was larger than a squirrel. Her feline ears picked up the sounds like radar dishes did a plane. The night-vision goggles the stranger wore might as well have been a signal flare. Smithe concealed herself nearby. This one wouldn’t get the drop on her like that Druid lady.
The female figure bypassed the Brinks system as if it were nothing and cut a hole in the window. Chelsea’s tail twitched and her body moved in preparation for the pounce. The window opened and the woman slipped inside. As soon as the woman’s feet touched the floor, magical light flared to life, momentarily stinging Chelsea’s eyes. When she was able to look again, the woman was wrapped in an orange glow and stood immobile.
Chelsea sighed and crept back upstairs to awaken Master. She crawled over the other women and licked his ear. “Wha? Chelsea?” he asked, sleepily.
“We have an uninvited visitor, Master.” she whispered.
“Where?” he asked, fully awake now.
“Downstairs in the parlor, frozen.” Chelsea said. “I wanted to pounce on her.” He smiled at the note of disappointment in her voice. “Go make sure she didn’t bring a friend, pretty kitty. If she did, and her friend isn’t frozen, you can pounce on them.” Chelsea grinned and scampered downstairs, diving through the open window and sniffing the air, the shingles under her feet, the branch from which the ninja-lady had jumped, the whole yard and every tree in it. Nothing.
The girls removed what they could from the ninja while Chelsea Smithe was outside investigating. When the cat-woman returned in disappointment and began to groom herself in a corner, Charlie closed the window and searched for the piece of glass the ninja had removed. Amelie removed the ninja’s mask, allowing her long, black hair to tumble around her shoulders. She had a pretty face, though Charlie couldn’t guess her age.
“Can she hear?” he asked.
“Yes, Master, but she cannot act or respond.” Amelie said. “The spell keeps her paralyzed but alive until she can be dealt with. She can’t even breathe, but the spell makes certain she doesn’t need to.”
“Well, we’re not going to get any answers this way.” he said. Putting forward his hand, he cast the spell of enslavement, noticing as he did that it drained more of his reserves when he did it without holding a spell book. The ninja’s eyes glowed blue, but her expression was still frozen as it had been when she had entered the house. Amelie broke the immobilization spell, and the expression faded from the ninja’s face. Her arms hung limply at her sides and her shoulders slumped. “What is your name, ninja?”
“Yoshida Hato, Master.” the ninja replied.
“And why are you here?” He figured he knew the answer already, but it couldn’t hurt to make sure.
“I was hired to kill you and retrieve a certain grimoire in your possession by Cardinal Helmut Wolfgang.” the ninja droned.
Helmut? Charlie thought, stifling a laugh.
“This is serious, Master.” Amelie whispered. “He knows where we live, and he has access to ninja assassins.”
“I know.” Charlie said, the smirk fading from his face. “It’s a good thing you, Sanna and Annemarie spent all day yesterday weaving defensive spells around the house.” He approached the ninja closely, caressing her pretty face. “Listen closely, Hato-Chan...”
Hato vacillated between fear and rage. Fear of what this gaijin wizard-boy would do, rage that she was helpless to resist. Once she was free of this spell, she would...
“...from now on, you love, trust and adore me completely.”
...lavish him with kisses and swear her devotion to him in front of all the gods of every religion! How could she not have seen what a perfect specimen this exotic Adonis was?
“Your mind, body and talents are mine to do with as I please.”
Of course! It was only his right as her Master!
“You are no longer capable of jealousy. Since it is born from fear of loss, you have no use for it, because as long as you are mine, you are never free of me, and will never lose me. I can have as many women as I want. And of course, you will eagerly pleasure them because you know it will turn me on, and make me want to use you.”
She felt dizzy. Her old self was fading away, to be replaced with a new, subservient self.
“You cannot hurt me, or try to have me hurt.”
Why would she ever do that? Who in their right mind would wish harm to her Master, her Owner, her reason for being?
“Though you may call yourself Yoshida Hato in public, your true name is Hato, Slave of Charlie.”
Hato’s universe gave a heave as her fundamental self made the alteration. Yoshida Hato seemed like a foolish dream from her childhood. Hato, Slave of Charlie was the reality, the person behind the mask. The binding was released, and Hato, Slave of Charlie fell face-first to the floor. The other women pulled her up and positioned her on her knees. They arrayed themselves around her, showing her how to show respect to her Master through their example. He spoke, and it was like the most beautiful music in the world.
“Now, Hato, it’s time to introduce you to your new life.” he said, exerting a gentle pressure on the underside of her chin to induce her to stand. He led her up the stairs, the other women following in her wake, cavorting like dolphins playing around a speed boat. She was helped to finish undressing and guided to the bed. The women took turns kissing her, suckling at her nipples and licking at her wet vagina. She felt as if she were drowning in a shifting sea of pleasure and soft, yielding womanflesh, but she didn’t care. Then the sea parted, and Master was there, between her legs. His hard manhood pierced her maidenhead, and she cried out from pain and joy. Then, there was only pleasure. She felt fulfilled. She lost herself in his eyes as she came, feeling his seed spilling into her womb. Adoring nonsense spilled from her lips, shifting between English and Japanese without her conscious control. Her Master caressed her face and body as he settled in to rest, and her newfound slave-sisters joined them in the bed. Her heart overflowing, Hato closed her eyes and let herself sink into bliss.
Charlie looked for all the world like a young Willie Nelson in his stick-on beard and long, braided wig. His eyes and eyebrows were hidden behind mirrored aviator shades, and a fake nose was well-disguised with theatrical make-up. At his side, Hato walked in the guise of a Japanese businesswoman, a pair of small, studious-looking glasses adorning her face, her hair tied back in a ponytail, her body sheathed in a gray women’s business suit with a knee-length skirt and black flats. Photography wasn’t allowed, but they memorized the layout of the museum for later.
Charlie felt the sword Wizardsbane before he saw it. It wasn’t much to look at. Centuries of tarnish had dulled its lethal luster since it had taken the life of Tashi Myrdhynn and who-knew-how-many more sorcerers—both real and accused—before and since, but a feeling from his heel bones to the top of his head, like that static ball that made his hair stand on end, told him this was more than met the eye. No one else seemed to pay it much attention. He moved on, hoping not to draw attention to himself by lingering in front of the least interesting piece in the exhibit.
He left ten minutes before Hato, circling clockwise around the block and crossing the street. Amelie pulled up in the Pontiac, and he got in. They drove to the hotel and waited. Hato arrived in Steve’s car and came up to the room using the spare key he’d given her.
“I could do it in my sleep, Charlie-sama.” she said softly. “If I did, I would of course dream of you the entire time.”
“Why dream when the reality is right here?” he responded, drawing her close. He and Amelie took turns kissing her while the all undressed. Charlie lay Amelie down on the big queen-sized bed, positioning Hato between her legs and his cock at Hato’s entrance. Hato began to lick and suck at Amelie’s cunt while Charlie fucked her from behind. She screamed the pleasure of her orgasm into Amelie’s snatch, and Charlie had them switch places. Amelie moaned as she began to lick the semen from Hato’s crotch even as Charlie made preparations to give her a dose of her own. They fell asleep in a tangle and napped away the afternoon.
Hato arrived just as the night turned full dark. Evading the cameras was the easy part. A flash of memory slid across her thoughts as she bypassed the alarm system, but she could not pause to follow it to its very pleasurable conclusion. As silently as the shadow of the wind, she infiltrated the museum. Four Vatican guards stood watch over the sword. Four needle-tipped throwing darts dipped in a powerful sedative sent them deep into slumber. Soon enough, she had the sword her Master had commanded her to fetch. She went back the way she had come, removed all trace of her passage save the absence of the sword, and vanished like a spectre in the night.
For a rather short while after that, everything a blur of travel by tiny car. Annemarie joined them, and they took turns driving, making it to California quickly, not stopping except to refuel and switch drivers. They met Charlie’s family in San Francisco. Hato and Kumoko became fast friends, conversing animatedly in Japanese, to the chagrin of her husband. Charlie’s parents were delighted that he had managed to arrange a reconciliation between his fiancée and her long-estranged sister—true enough, as far as that went. They boarded a cruise ship bound for Japan. Hato explained that she and Amelie had attended elementary school together, but hadn’t seen each other since, until they’d reunited by means of a classmate-finding website.
“Cardinal Wolfgang is aboard.” she whispered to Charlie as the ship cast off.
“Where?” he asked.
“Two cabins astern of the one above ours.” she responded.
“Has he seen you?”
“Let’s keep it that way, at least until the sword is in its final resting place.” he said. “Unless, of course, you need to physically intervene.” Hato was an expert in avoiding being seen, as it happened, without appearing to snub Charlie’s family.
The day came at last when the ship would pass over the Marianas Trench. Predictably, Cardinal Wolfgang appeared as Charlie preparing to toss Wizardsbane overboard.
“Hello, Charlie.” he said. “I believe you have something of mine.”
“Not anymore.” Charlie said, hurling the weapon into the sea.
“Big mistake.” Wolfgang said, and twelve Vatican guards appeared. Hato jumped down from the deck above, rolling to her feet and standing beside her Master. “You?”
“You were expecting maybe Sailor Moon?” she asked flippantly.
“We had a deal!” Wolfgang snarled.
“Deal? What deal?” she asked, faux-innocently.
“You were supposed to kill Charlie and Amelie and deliver the Grimoire of Tashi Myrdhynn to me!”
“We’re just as glad she didn’t.” said a voice. From the shadows nearby appeared a man in a more ornate version of the Myrdhynn robes, as ageless as the rest of them. At his side stood a strange girl who was barely wearing anything at all, and what she did wear served more to enhance her nudity than conceal it. Even more strange was that she had a pair of wings growing out of her back, like an angel. Sanna appeared as well, holding the Grimoire of Tashi Myrdhynn. The Vatican guards moved to intervene, but the man froze them with a gesture. “For you see, our brother has grown impulsive in his centuries of confinement. If you were to take hold of his book, I could not vouch for your safety in body or soul.” With that, the spirit of Tashi Myrdhynn appeared, his eyes glowing with rage and hatred. Cardinal Wolfgang backed away slowly, his eyes full of terror.
Why do you cower, O issue of my murderer? the spirit asked. Ali Myrdhynn himself holds me in check. You are quite safe, I assure you.
“Hey, stop!” Charlie cried, but Cardinal Wolfgang tumbled overboard. Ali Myrdhynn released the guards to try to help, and sent the winged woman aloft. Charlie headed to the stern, grabbing a life-preserver on the way, tossing it to the white form in the water behind the ship.
“Why...did you...save me?” Cardinal Wolfgang sputtered between coughs.
“Because I’m not the devil you make me out to be.” Charlie said, allowing the Cardinal to flop to the deck and cough the cold seawater out of his lungs.
Hilda sat with the rest of the harem on the bride’s side of the air-conditioned chapel, thinking that December in Australia was hotter than December had any right to be. The rest of Amelie’s former slaves had been released from Vatican custody by Papal decree, and the magic users under Charlie’s control had spent several days healing the physical scars of their torture at Cardinal Wolfgang’s hands. The emotional scars would remain. The Pope hadn’t taken kindly to Wolfgang’s violation of the sanctity of the confessional, and had bumped him down to deacon and sent him to assist with a mission in Congo.
There, but for the grace of God, go I. Hilda thought to herself. The music started playing, and little Akiko came out, throwing fistfuls of petals on the floor as her parents had trained her to do for the occasion—perhaps a little more forcefully than was required, and singing along with the wedding march hadn’t been part of the instruction, but she made it cute.
Amelie entered, walking on the arm of Ali Myrdhynn, who looked like an immortal trying to look normal in his tuxedo. Amelie took her place at Charlie’s side, and Pastor Brown began the ceremony. Annemarie began to cry as the vows were exchanged—custom vows each had prepared for today so they wouldn’t perjure themselves with the standard ones. Maybe no one would notice that they’d both left out the usual part about forsaking all others.
“That’s my baby sister.” Annemarie sniffled.
“Whom you spent centuries trying to kill.” Hilda reminded her. Annemarie paid her no attention. The pastor pronounced Charlie and Amelie man and wife, and they moved on to the reception. They cut the cake, and Amelie made sure Akiko got a piece. Bride and groom shared their first dance—something Celtic, rather than the usual tear-jerker from a movie, much to the relief of the men present—and they made quite a favorable accounting of themselves. The party continued well into the night, with a quiet room having been found for the children as they dropped into exhausted slumber one after another.
Hilda caught up with Charlie as he was handing something to his younger brother, Thomas. “Don’t look at it in the light, or it’ll snare your mind like a rat in a trap.” he told the youngster.
“Are you certain it’s wise to give that to him?” Hilda whispered.
“I don’t have any use for it, and Claudia’s woman enough to keep Steve satisfied.” Charlie responded, kissing her cheek. Hilda whimpered, wanting him to kiss her lips instead, but today was about Amelie—and legitimizing the children she would bear him. She had come into the hotel room two days ago, squealing with glee and holding a pregnancy test, so they didn’t have long to wait.
As Charlie and Amelie went to the car, Hilda noticed someone watching nearby—someone who hadn’t been at the wedding ceremony. She caught a glimpse of a head covered with burn scars and glaring with hatred before it disappeared into the bushes near the chapel. She shivered despite the heat of the Australian summer night.
“Did you see that weird guy too?” Thomas asked. She nodded. “What do you think it means?”
“Ugly people don’t like to see someone else happy?” Hilda remarked. “I don’t know.”
“There’s definitely something supervillain-level sinister about him.” the boy said.
“Let’s keep our eyes peeled.” she said, and he gave her a tongue-in-cheek salute.