Liope speaks to her unborn children
|Chapter 25 Catharsis
Pluto was troubled and did not sleep well. Three other women who had worn the scarabs were pregnant, and he had a nagging suspicion that Bedelia would be the forth. The next morning he was up early and looking around for Varnack.
The elves were quartered along the West wall. An enclosure, two stories high ran along the inner wall. The upstairs was reserved for females and the lower floor for the males. In the center of each was a large common room with a hearth and fire place. Tables were scattered about that were used for dining which when cleared after meals, were used as temporary work areas and places to gather in conversation. On either side of the common area were rooms that served as living quarters, baths, a kitchen, storage and arms rooms. Varnack was eating breakfast with his men when Pluto walked in. The Elf motioned for him to join them. While Pluto was anxious to get to the temple he was hungry and knew a good breakfast would serve him well.
This is quite a place said Pluto looking around.
You should have seen it last month. It’s come a long way. Before the reconstruction began we were living in the field and warm meals were uncommon. These days we’re living pretty high.
After downing a tankard of ale and eating some biscuits, honey and bacon, Pluto felt satisfied and hoped the conversation would soon shift to the hike up to the temple. Varnack however had other ideas.
For those of you who haven’t guessed, this is Pluto, Son of the High Councilor, better known as “The Alligator!”
There was a round of applause from the table and for the next fifteen minutes came a continuous stream of introductions of congratulations. Pluto was the first student to ever graduate the home defense course with a record of six straight wins…
Show us the move Pluto, shouted one of the enthusiastic elf’s….we want to see the patented move…
He was referring to where Pluto would grab a Troll, weighing upwards to four hundred pounds, lifting it from its feet and throwing it backwards.
To please the crowd he would often save a Troll for last … as the crowd screamed, “Roll the Troll,” Pluto would take it toe to toe and perform his patented move. Soon everyone at the table was pounding and chanting, “Roll the Troll.” The commotion began to attract attention and three Cisterian Elves muscled their way into the room taking a measure of Pluto.
Ain’t no way that snot faced boy could roll a troll, drawled Boomer, in a derisive tone of voice. At least not any of the likes I’m familiar with. Maybe some midget Listerian holding a training aid, but never a Troll the likes of which I’ve had to contend with. Why he couldn’t even roll me.
“Come on said Varnack, seeing matters getting out of hand. Time we got on the road.”
“Don’t be in such a hurry to leave, continued Boomer. I don‘t weigh near what a troll does… How about giving me a little demonstration about what a bad little school boy you are.
He’s a veteran, whispered Varnack. Don’t let him get your goat.
Maybe we have wonder boy confused with someone else, said Beamer.
Could be replied Boomer, maybe it was the “Monkey Girl” that did all the throwing.
And maybe it wasn’t came a female voice from the doorway.
A silence settled over the room as Bedelia stepped forward. Her features left little doubt as to her identity.
Just trying to get the boy to give us a little demo, said Boomer. No need to take it personally.
She takes it personally said Pluto standing up. Training sword and shield, in the company street.
I was hoping you’d say that said Boomer.
You got some gear I can borrow asked Pluto.
You don’t have to do this said Varnack. Certainly not on account of me seconded Bedelia.
Pluto hefted the shield and swung the sword.
He’s a seasoned veteran.
So were my instructors.
He’s left handed said Bedelia. Don’t fool around with him… no cat and mouse. Take it to him and get it over with.
Yes my lady, Pluto answered. He remembered the advice of Demetrio his Weapons meister. With a warrior it’s a completely different experience. Take his measure, decide what you intend to do and force the outcome quickly to your strength.
Out in the street Boomer was waiting. Come on school boy he taunted, show me your stuff.
Pluto took a deep breath and stifled his anger… a cold determination washed over him and in the edge of his mind he felt a familiar presence.
This guy is good she whispered. He plans to take the offensive. Wait until he commits and then go for him.
This isn’t fair he thought to himself.
It’s fair she answered. You opponent has a hundred times your experience…He’s lost some of his quickness but not his strength. He’s depending on that strength to decided matters. Easy now Big Guy, here he comes.
Boomer began striding towards him and was surprised when Pluto did likewise. He was even more surprised when Pluto broke into a double time. They closed so fast that there was little time for either to finesse. Instead both braced for the collision. Their shields crashed together and their blades rang at the same instant. They strained into one another, hilt to hilt. Slowly Boomer felt his match and began to give. In doing so, he pivoted to his strong side, hoping to use the young man’s momentum to advantage. With a surge Pluto straightened him back, while slamming his knuckles to the head. The Elf sagged as Pluto dropped low and lifted his opponent off his feet and hurled him backward into the street.
It happened so quickly that those watching were left in shock. Then a ripple of applause ran though the onlookers. Pluto looked down at Boomer,
Enough? He inquired.
More than enough the elf answered… and not so bad for a schoolboy.
After the trial Pluto joined Varnack and Bedelia. Next to Varnack stood an attractive young female.
This is my friend, Albiana, said Bedelia. She and Varnack are engaged and enjoying a sort of working relationship.
I’m glad to make your acquaintance said Pluto, however I would almost swear I know you already. Every third sentence out of Bedelia’s mouth is Albiana this or Albiana that.
I’m glad to meet you as well. That was quite a demonstration. Bedelia is truly amazing… It’s quite an experience to have her sitting in the edge of your mind. It takes some getting used to doesn’t it.
At first it did but now it’s become almost natural.
How did you know I was here?
Varnack told Albiana and she gave me the heads up. I was so excited I left early this morning. I was hoping we could have breakfast and they were supposed to keep you entertained until I showed up. Some entertainment!
We’ll leave you two now, said Albiana. I know you have a lot to talk about. This afternoon we can take a walk back up to the Temple.
At that moment there was a pounding of hoofs down the Company Street and a rider dismounted. Through the doorway came Squire Rogoletti wearing a look that was all business. Seeing the four he strode up and nodded.
Glad to find you here young man. Olivia sent me ahead and will be here within the hour. She wants me to make sure you are around when she arrives. You did bring the…you know what…, didn’t you.
Pluto reached up pulling aside his collar, revealing the silver Chain. How could I ever forget he replied?
The squires eyes darted nervously like there was something on his mind that he didn’t want to bring up in front of everyone.
Why don’t we all take a seat while I get some breakfast, suggested Bedelia.
When Olivia arrives I am sure there are some matters you wish to discuss.
Good idea, responded Rogoletti, amazed at the perceptiveness of the young girl.
As steaming food was brought from the kitchen, Pluto felt Bedelias presence slip once more into his mind.
What are you going to tell Olivia she inquired?
That depends he answered.
First let me bring you up to date. Several months ago there were four happy and healthy blood scarabs, prize heirlooms of the Coven. Today all four are dead and guess what?
Three of the woman that were wearing them were bitten and all three are now pregnant.
Bedelia dropped her fork and with napkin over her mouth began looking wildly about.
I think we need to find the facilities said Albiana. The two girls jumped to their feet and ran upstairs.
I wonder what that’s all about noted the Squire.
We’ve had a lot of excitement here this morning offered Varnack. The “Annihilator“ here just finished a demonstration of his skills out in the street just before you rode up.
Really exclaimed Rogoletti. A pity I missed it. Please fill me in on all the details.
The next morning when Liope woke up she felt an awareness she hand not experienced before. Rather there were two awarenesses.
Good morning children, said Liope, I trust you all passed a good night.
Good morning came a voice in response, I just woke up…what a wonderful nights sleep.
You must be my son. what’s your name?
Name? I have no name.
Then I must give you one… Baltus is a strong name for a boy. I will name you Baltus.
And what about me came a second voice…. I need a name too.
I already have a name spoke a second voice…
Yes mother, I'm Bat spawn.
What a horrible name.
I hoped you'd like it.
Sadly the naming of you both falls to me and the choice is already made. I was torn between BADelia and HATEie and am leaning towards the former. I also considered Rosebud and Sunshine and if you would prefer either of those you need to speak up.
Ahhhhh, Mom, definitely not....Hatie it is
Now that's settled, tell me how you like Lilith….she came and visited you last night.
I like aunt Lilith said Baltus
And so I added Hatie.
And how about Mookey
She has an evil mind said Badelia
She makes me laugh said Baltus. We both like her.
Well I’m glad now that everyone has been introduced.
Since we are mother, said Hatie, won’t you please give Young Jernigan a big Kiss? Stick you tongue in his mouth and press it tight against his palate.
Why should I do that?
So I can pay him a little visit.
I’ve been meaning to talk to you two about that. Did either you put the bees in his head.
I did said Hatie, and his suffering was delightful, especially when he started banging his head into the wall.
Well there’s something you don’t understand about Young Jernigan… he’s my common law man.
We know all that and we know how he lied to fool everybody…our father is Morgolic and he should be your common law man and we're gonna help you set things right.
What you don’t seem to understand is that while Young is not your biological father my mother chose him to be my husband. She will be very annoyed if something bad happens to him. If you haven't figured it out yet my mom is the witch Hecate and is dark beyond anything you can imagine.
Yes I sense her darkness. She has an evil and forboding presence.
If it weren’t for her neither of you would have been conceived…you would have been cat food.
When Uta got up that morning she went over to Dumar’s house. Lilith was cleaning.
How did things go with Liope last night.
I entered into her and went down and put my arms around them. I told them not be dismayed by Mookey’s awful dirge singing and chanting and poetry.
What did they say…
Baltus said she was no big deal after listening to his sister the past four months. By the time Mookey finished they were both fast asleep.
Excellent, we are really starting to make progress in this. Tomorrow however will be a different matter.
What’s happening tomorrow.
Tomorrow Liope will be subjected to some annoyance therapy.
Well after Liope threw Karla against the wall things really settled down with the dark ones. Now however, the malevolence is once more building and we have to give it vent.
How do you intend to do that.
The elves are going to try and annoy her like they did when they tried to snatch the jewels. They are hoping to get her to go off like she did and vent all the dark malice that is building up in Liope.
I’d like to see that.
I was hoping you’de feel that way because I want you to be protecting the boys when itg happens… just like you did with Mookey last night.
I’ll be there.
From there Uta went over to see Liope.
How do you feel this morning?
I slept well last night but I seem to be going from happiness one minute to depression the next.
Mood swings is not an encouraging symptom…I have seen it before.
We need to vent the emotional pressure building up in you.
How do we do that?
Remember how good you felt after your conftontation with the three comspirators?
We need another fonfrontation.
How do you proplose to do that
I have a plan and even though you will know what is happening I want you to go along with it… let the events begin to unfold, in a natural manner, Question what you are being told and let the darkness roll over you nad the anger begin to flow.
What are you planning?
Its better that you don’t know too much….but the opportunity will soon present itself.
I’m aftaid Uta, the last time I almost Killed Karla. This time it will be much worse and I fear the constquences.
Don’t worry about that… we have taken precautions…nobody is going to get hurt….just don’t hold back when the time comes.
When will it happen?
Some time in the next week… don’t try and anticipate..just let it happen and don’t fight it. Just let it flow when the time is right.
Uta departed and went to the Citadel where she found Mookey talking to Beamer. When she came up Beamer excused himself.
Well I see you’ve found a new friend Mookey.
Yes, I can’t believe it…he just came up and started talking to me. I think we share a lot in common.
Do you like it here?
I do… I like it very much.,
What was it like last night?
Those two are so different. Baltus is so sweet and Hatie is the most horrible little girl I ever expected to meet. I think they like me. Haties mind is twisted around like mine. They seemed to enjoy all the music, dirges, chants that I sang and recited. It was so wonderful to be next to them, after all they are only babies and this was the first experience I ever had with little ones, up close and all…and they didn’t cry and Hatie cackled and clapped her hands in delight… and the darker the material the more she seemed to enjoy it until at last they went sound asleep.
Yes but it was hard…
Hatie seemed to suck the goodness right out of me and in its place came a dark malice, darker than anything I had ever experience before, until I could bear it no more and almost became hysterical.
I know…I know… I’m so sorry for you’
No! don’t be… it was the most wonderful night of my life… and when I couldn’t bear it any more Baltus flooded into my awareness and later Young Jernigan walked me back to the Citadel and thanked me for all I had done… and today Beamer dropped by and talked to me. I have never been happier in my life.
I want you to take a rest today but come again tomorrow night
I will Uta…its good to be needed and I do want to do what’s best for Liope and the girls.
Uta talks to Liope: what did it feel like…tells about annoyance plan
Uta talks to Lilith: tells her about the annoyace play. Wants her inside liope to protect boys.
Lt begins planning for snatch.