Albiano and the two matrons confront Liope
|Chapter 11 The Three Conspirators
Scene 1 of 11 Pluto with mother, Bedelia and getting ready for tier 3
On Monday morning Pluto got up dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. His mother was already at the table.
"Good morning," she said with her usual cheerful smile.
"Good morning,' her son answered.
"The biscuits are hot and the gravy is delicious," said Climatus. "Have some juice. She got up and began fluttering around….”Let me get your tea. The toast is hot, try some, the butter is soft, just the way you like it. Here, let me get your napkin."
"Mother!" he groaned.
"I know! I know!" she said backing off...."Now tell me what's on your agenda for today?"
“I'll be moving on to the intermediate field. They will be setting up the Tier Three qualification. Tomorrow we will get to do a walk through and on Wednesday we will get our first chance to qualify.”
"Sort of, but the level of difficulty is increasing."
"Who’s your battle partner?"
"A girl I met a couple of weeks ago."
"What’s her name?"
"Tell me about her."
"Not much to say really….except we work pretty good together."
"If you qualify Wednesday, you’ll be on a Rip.
"How do you know what a Rip is?"
"I wasn’t born old. Vladimir and I had a Rip back when I was in school."
"I don’t really expect that to happen."
"If it does there’s going to be a lot of spectators start showing up. Money starts changing hands once a Rip kicks in.
"What about seven straight Tier One Failures…. How does that factor in to the percentages?"
"Nobody will pay the slightest attention to that….a Rip is a Rip…they call it “The Hat Trick."".
"Don’t get your hopes up."
"How good is this partner of yours?"
"She’s exceptionally accurate with the light bow."
"What’s her family name?"
"Woah! I'm late, I really have to be going."
"She’s a Simian Elf, isn’t she?"
Pluto's heart sank. "So what if she is?"
"Don’t take that tone. I’m not prejudging her. If she’s good enough for you then she’s good enough for me."
"Whew! I should have mentioned it."
"Yes you should have... I had to find out from Olivia."
"I should have known."
"What's Bedelia like?"
"Very different from anyone I’ve ever met. She’s extremely telepathic and they say that her mind can reach out four hundred miles."
"Is she attractive?"
"Cute, in a wierd sort of way."
"You'll just have to see her...She carries this doll around mom, and talks to it like its a real baby…it really freaked me out at first."
"What kind of doll?"
"You know, one of those training aid dolls that they issue the girls."
"Yes, I recall what they look like. I really would like to meet her."
"You bet," he replied dismissively, "I’ll bring her by one of these days."
Pluto kissed his mother, picked up his gym bag and walked out the door. On the walk over to the athletic field he was thinking about the Tier Three Scenario. He was worried and began game playing some of the courses of action. Before he knew it he was at the stadium and going up the stairs. When he reached the top, Bedelia waiting for him. She was holding Molly.
"Hey Bedelia," he answered. "Have a nice weekend?"
"I was very busy," she replied.
"I have a suprise for you. Now bend down so I can put it around your neck."
As he did, Bedelia noticed a tightly woven necklace consisting of thick silver threads.
"Wow!" she uttered, touching it. "What it this made of?"
"Mithril," he replied wincing.
"You have to be kidding," she gasped in utter astonishment. "Whats on the other end?"
"A family heirloom," he answered quietly, then changing the subject. "Show me your surpirse."
"Well it isn't much," she replied but it took me a long time to unravel and braid it...now bend over and incline your head."
Leaning over he saw it was a necklace with several fine strands of gold braided together.
"There," she said, "Its only a start but I'll add to it as we go along."
"Thank you, Belinda," he replied, not knowing what else to say. "You did this for me?"
"Sure did, " she answered beaming, do you like it?"
"Very much. He put his arm around her shoulder. "If you want lets say we go over to the Intermediate Course and check out the street."
"That’s a good idea," she replied, "taking hold of his wrist."
As they walked Pluto began feeling self conscious. Bedelia took his hand from off her shoulder and put it to his side. It was not a rebuff, but rather seemed appropriate and natural, and didn't attract attention from their fiends.
"Pluto," she said, "I have something I need to tell you."
"What is it?"
"You know I’m telepathic, don’t you?"
"You know how you signaled Friday, by wiggling your back?"
"Well, that isn’t really necessary…you see I know what you want me to do, at the same instant you think it."
"As soon as you have an idea and form the words, I know it."
"But there's more I can do."
"I can get under your skin and let you get under mine."
His heart gasped, his breath sucked and he stopped dead in his tracks.
"Not sex! silly," she giggled, catching herself on his arm. "It's called mind melding."
"I wasn’t thinking about, sex...."
"What I was doing was sorting through the possibilities, trying to figure out what you're talking about."
"I see, my fault...I should have explained better." but she kept on giggling anyway.
"When you don't speak clearly, my analytical mind consideres all the options.
"My mistake master, my mistake, though I'm not offended and don't see why you should be so embarassed."
"I'm not embarassed and quit calling me Master."
"I'm sorry, OK, I'm sorry." What I meant to say was that I can slip into the edge of your mind and at the same time let you slip into the edge of mine."
"Now that has possibilities."
"I knew you'd see the advantage. When we meld, you know what I’m thinking and I know what you’re thinkin; And there isn't any touching, hearing or seeing needed at all."
"I understand what you're saying but it still souds a bit abstract."
"You want to try it?"
"Ok. To show you how it works, lets pretend we’re dancing. Hold out your arms. Good now I’ll hold out mine….We won't touch but keep this space between us. Are you ready?"
Pluto looked around nervously hoping nobody was watching. Now what is supposed to happen? I don’t feel anything."
"Start to dance."
He started dancing. It was a box step. As he moved there came a sense that she was following his lead.
"He pretended he could see her... In his mind he held her in his arms. Daring a peek he saw that she was moving effortlessly and in consenence with his steps. Wow, she's good, he thought."
Then he noticed that her eyes were closed. He began moving sideways, backwards and forwards and she followed as if she was standing in his shoes. Then he began turning about and she followed with a lilting and effortless grace.
"Close your eyes, you cheater " she laughed gaily, "Close your eyes."
He did, as if he were dancing with himself in a dream, only it wasn't a dream and he wasn't dancing with himself. In his mind she moved before him, turned with him, went backwards and forwards and sideways and twirled around and around, never missing a step. Suddenly she came to him putting his hand about her waist and taking his hold of his fingers. Abruptly he stopped and opened his eyes. She stood before him, looking up into his eyes, poised and smiling.
"My goodness Pluto," she exclaimed, "For a big guy, you're a wonderful dancer."
At the other end of the street Demertrio watched with interest. He was intrigued and scratched his head.
"Must be working on their foot work, he thought to himself.
Scene 2 of 11: Martha and Guiles experiment with sex.
Guiles stood up, unbuckled his trousers and stepped out of his britches. Martha swallowed hard. It was the first time she had ever seen a man's erection. Troubling, she thought. Deep inside, desire reared its head, while in her soul, destiny chortled.
Trying to calm her nerves, Martha thought. This is just like learning a new weapon...get the moves down and everything else will follow.
She lifted her butt up onto a large worktable. She stroked her jaw, gazing intently at his manhood.
"I must admit you have me curious, Guiles."
“About what?" he answered shifting self-consciously.
“It makes me wonder if it’s going to fit.”
“Are you angling to find out?"”
“I'm not angling for anything," she said exhasperated, "Least of all, for a worm like that. All I want, is to see if it fits… FITS.”
Martha pulled off her fencing leathers. She was bare from her hips down.This man is perfect for me, she thought, if I can only guide us, step by step, through the process.
“Just tell me what you want," he answered, sweat running down his forehead.
“Now what do you think I want?”
"You want me to climb up on the table?"
“You're keeping me waiting," she said drumming her fingers.
"Just making sure," he said, looking about for where to climb up.
I can handle this she told herself, in a calming voice...I might be dumb but he's hopeless.
She laid back, spreading her legs...Her finger motioned down pointing to her vagina. Do I have to explain everything, she thought...
“That's the spirit, hut, hut, hut,” Lets see if we’re a match.”
She took a vial of oil, pouring a measure onto her vagina. Rubbing it in she looked at him and smiled.
He put his knee on the edge and climbed onto the surface.
"Now don’t be getting any ideas… I don’t want you getting carried away. Don’t go thrusting deep or anything like that. All I want… is to see if this monstrosity fits.”
“Are you sure?."
"Scootch down lower."
He was very nervous and not much help.
You have to come closer Guiles."
He slid his lower body closer, nudging her thighs with his knees.
Martha reached up grabbing his girth, pulling like a leash. I don’t know about this, she thought, having some last minute doubts.
He lowered himself while pushing up with his arms to give her room.
She pulled the head into her slip. "Oh god!" she sighed as soft tissues yielded to the penetration.
His body was really starting to shake.
"Can't you relax Guiles? Loosen up, don't make me do all the work...you have to push…gently”
As he pushed, it slithered into her sheath. Before he could stop, it was through her hymen and then some.
“Oh my god! I don't believe you did that," she said increduously..."Sweet Suffering Sakes! That smarts, it really smarts...What are you doing now?"
He shuddered, out of control, extending himself to the limit.
"OH shit," she berated him," You aren't listening to me."
"I'm sorry I couldn't help it."
At that instant she felt him swell inside and begin squirting.
"What the hell are you doing now?"
"I'm trying, I'm sorry, so sorry. "
“I don't believe you Guiles, Gently, I said GENTLY!… No deep thrusting, now you’ve ejactulated.”
"Where did all this blood come from?"
"Duh! Where the hell do you think?"
"Want me to pull it out.
Yes, this instant."
He fell out from inside her. She pushed him aside in disgust and got to her feet. Stepping gingerly she hopped around clutching herself in discomfort; Her hand was red, and body fluids were dripping on the floor.
“I didn’t mean to.”
“Too late now….you’ve deflowered me….that’s what you’ve done, deflowered me. and if that wasn't enough... you had to go and inseminated me”
"You should be... "What man is going to want me after this?"
"So very sorry."
“Yeah, I just bet you are," she said, limping off to the wash room.
The next morning Liope awoke early as was her custom. Getting dressed she looked down to where the Scarab had been. There was a small scab that still itched but was otherwise, hardly noticable. Putting the ruby around her neck she buttoned her blouse and went down stairs to fix Orin his breakfast. Her father seemed in a hurry and wolfed down his breakfast.
“Remember we’re having Young Jernigan for supper tomorrow night,” she told him.
"I’ll try and not forget." he answered.
With that the Smith put on his apron and went out the door. Liope cleaned up the dishes and went upstairs to make their beds and clean her bedroom. As she was about her routine she gazed her window to the West and from over a mile away, saw three Elven women coming into town. She strained to hear their conversation and could barely make out what they were saying.
"I wonder what would happen if I added the other stones?" she thought to herself. Walking over tho the keep, Liope retrived the pouch. She squeezed it in her hand and was amazed upon returning to the window. She could hear the three talking as if they were right next to her.
"So how do you think we should approach this?" asked Karla.
"Maybe we should first check out the house....you know quietly, to see if anyone's home....? If not we can break in and look around. Maybe the stones are tucked away somewhere."
"That’s a good idea," said Walinda.... If I can get in the house, I can tell in short order where they're hidden."
"How close will you have to get to Liope to determine if she has the scent?" asked Albiano turning to Karla.
"About as close as we are now."
"I don’t like the idea of breaking in," Albiana interjected. "Maybe we should go and knock on the door."
"That works... and if there’s no answer, then we break in."
"We're not thieves you know?"
"That’s the whole point," countered Walinda, "The stones belong to our people, not that girl."
Liope winced... there was something about Walinda she was beginning to dislike.
"Yeah, Morgolic must have been pretty desperate to hand them over to her."
Liope began to have the same missgivings about Karla.
"They would fetch a handsome price at the Emporium," continued Walinda, "She could use the cash for one of those halter bras... you know the ones they make from a horse harness and a feed sack."
"Maybe some soap too," laughed Karla.
Liope flushed in embarassment.
"Stop it! you two," snapped Albiana, "We don’t know what happened between her and Morgolic. Don't forget, it was probobly her mother that saved his life."
"Yeah!" thought Liope nodding her head in agreement.
"We might not know for sure," chimed in Walinda, "but we have a pretty good idea. Don't get so huffy. We're just having a little fun, You’re starting to sound like Uta."
As the three came closer, Liope laid the pouch on the mantel and stepped back to the window. At a half a mile she could hear fine, just with the ruby.
"Why don’t we begin at the corral?" We can check out the house and see what's going on."
"Fine with me...."
"Me too." said Walinda, nodding in agreement.
Liope smiled, as a plan began forming in her mind. "Breaking and entering." she thought to herself with a wry grin…"Well they weren’t going to get away with it. Plus I’m not letting these out of my sight." She pulled the purse strings tight and tied it securely about her waist.
As she fininshed, she heard the voices coming closer. "I'll fix them," she resolved and going down stairs picked up her cape and shopping basket. Going to the back door she made sure it was unlocked.
Albiana and the two matrons stood by the corral, across the street from the Smith's house. They saw the door open and watched Liope come outside. They observed her locking the door and stepping down into the street. Wrapping her cape tightly about, Liope turned onto the walkway and headed towards town. When she passed from view, the three conspirators looked at one another.
"Now’s our chance," said Walinda.
"What exactly do you have in mind?" questioned Albiana.
"Maybe we should start around back."
There was a nodding of heads and the three casually walked across the street before slipping into the alley that ran behind the house.
"Are you getting any vibes?" querried Albiana.
"Nothing yet," answered Walinda.
They continued poking about as unobtrusively as possible. At length they had circled the house.
"I’m not getting anything yet.... but that doesn’t mean they’re not there."
"OK, so what's next?"
"Lets go see if the back door's unlocked."
They went around to the back and tried the door. It was open.
"What the heck," said Albiana. " Walinda you go around front. If you see anyone coming give us a "heads up." Karla you have five minutes to check out the house."
"More than ample," she answered.
Walinda walked outside, down the alley and back across the street. Albiano and Karla entered the kitchen.
"I’ll check the upstairs first," said Karla. "You stay put and listen for any signal."
With that she went up the stairs. After a bit she came back down shaking her head.
Next Karla checked out the kitchen, dining room and disappeared into the master bedroom. It was at that moment that Walinda sounded the warning.
"Liope’s coming back.... get out of there!"
"Quick, we have to leave!" warned Albiana.
Karla rushed out of the bedroom and both sprinted for the back door.... right into the arms of Dumar, the Deputy.
"Don’t be in such a hurry, girls." said Dumar, pushing the two back inside.
Liope walked up to the house and paused. Then she turned smiling and walked over to Walinda.
"I see you Walinda, standing over there... is there something I can help you with?" she asked innocently.
"It's such a beautiful day," Walinda answered, "thought I'd pause a moment and smell the roses."
"If you're in no hurry, why don’t you join your friends inside the house.... and we can have some tea."
Dumar opened the front door and Walinda saw him holding Albiano and Karla but the scruffs.
"Don't suppose it matters now," she said with a deflated look.
Inside, the three conspirators sat figeting at the kitchen table. Dumar was seated on the other side, his arms folded. Liope was making tea.
"Do you like it with sugar?"
The three scowled without answering.
"What’s going on here?" Dumar demanded, suddenly, losing his patience.
"We’re not thieves, if that’s what you’re wondering," said Albiana speaking up.
"You could have fooled me." said Dumar. "What do you want me to do with 'um?" he asked Liope.
"Why don’t you ask why they were breaking in?"
"Yeah! What are you doing in here anyway?"
"Looking for something that belongs to us," answered Karla, self rightously.
Liope walked over with a tray holding the teapot and cups. As she leaned over to serve them, Walinda and Karla gasped together, drawing back. Albiana looked from one to the other.... their expressions told her everything she needed to know.
"And what might that be?" inquired the deputy.
"She’s wearing the evidence around her neck," accused Walinda.
"This?" replied Liope, taking the pouch from beneath her blouse?
"That!" Snapped Walinda..."They belong to us."
"Do they now?" asked Liope. How do you know if you can't even see them. Liope opened the purse and dumped the contents onto the table.
"Now show the Deputy which ones are yours."
"They all are," insisted Karla.
"Then pick them up and take what's yours," said Liope, making what appeared to be a most generous offer."
The three hesitated, transfixed by the beauty of the sparkling gems. Suddenly, Walinda reached forward scooping them up. The look of triumph on her face was shortlived. She screamed in pain dropping them back onto the table. He palm was branded by those that had touched her skin and she rocked back and forth, blowing in great discomfort.
"Well, I guess they don't belong to you," said Dumar in amazement.
Anyone else here care to make a claim, inquired Liope.
There was a dead silence and no one moved.
"In that case, I think I'll keep them, until I find their rightful owners. She scooped the gems back into the purse.
"Morgolic's my brother, " snapped Albiana. "You have no right to what's his, and we'll not abide them in your presence."
"With that Walinda sprang forward reaching for the pouch. Liope was not taken unawared. She extended her arm and as if by some invisible force, Walinda was stopped dead in her tracks. Then the matron levitated upward from the floor and with a sudden "pop!", her neck snapped forward into Liope’s outstretched hand. The Smith's daughter held her thus, arm trembling and eyes smoldered like coals. With a snarl the young girl threw the matron across the room, into the wall. The air rushed out of Walinda as she hit, her head leaving an impression in the plaster. Then she slithered down hitting the floor with a thud.
Dumar jumped to his feet, in disbelief. Liope stood trembling and then bent over holding her stomach. Karla stretched out and took hold of the young girl's skirt, smelling the fabric. The Sniffer's eyes were wide and she trembled looking up at the young witch. Liope slapped her hand away.
"Don’t touch me....you hear? Don ‘t you ever touch me again."
Her eyes gleamed to the heaving of her bust, going from a white sparkle to a fiery red. At length she began to laugh, still holding her belly. It cackled with an evil inflection.
"Out! Out! Get out.... all of you," she ordered, Looking at the Elfs. "Not so fast Dumar," she amended.
Albiano and Karla ran over to Walinda and reaching under her arms dragged her to the door, down the steps and out of sight.
Dumar stood eyes wide, still in shock at what he'd just witnessed.
"Calm down Liope...," he at last managed to say.
"Leave by the front door," she commanded. " And keep this to yourself or I swear...."
"Or I swear I’ll turn you into a caterpiller."
He ducked through the door slamming it behind, leaving Liope trembling, with tears running down her face.
On a hill West of town the two Elven women paused. They had carried Walinda for over a half mile; one by her shoulders and the other by her feet. They were exhausted. Beneath a giant elm they rested
"Is she hurt bad?" asked Albiana
"Just the wind knocked out..., maybe a slight concussion when her head bounced off the wall. But Walinda's tough, I think she's coming around."
As soon as she said it, Walinda began stirring and regained consciousness.
"We could not have executed that more poorly if we'de held a rehursel," Albiana lamented.
Well we found our answers," said Karla, with a weak smile.
"Where am I?" asked Walinda?
"Did she have the essence?" asked Albiana.
Did she ever! replied Karla, "She reeked of it... and something more I can't put my finger on."
"She had the stones too," interjected Walinda.
"That we figured out." said Albiano, shaking her head.
"Did you sense something more?"
"When she bent over holding her stomach I sensed a dark evil."
"Did you see her pick me up and throw me against the wall?"
"How could we miss that?"
"Did you notice I was off my feet before she ever laid a hand on me."
"Did you hear that laugh and see the gleam in her eyes?"
"Yes, we saw and heard everything. We both did."
"As she held her stomach thus?" continued Karla, leaning over and demonstrating. "That’s when I felt a strange presence.... it was strong and full of malice. You need to tell the council."
"Don’t remind me," said Albiano, dejectedly.
"We accomplished the mission," said Walinda
"We’ll be the laughing stock of the forest."
"What do we do now.?"
"We return to the cabin... I must minister to my bethrothed.
"How could we ever forget that, the matrons tittered.
The Council was not amused.
Kulrick: One step forward, two steps back. Pick up the thread Ubo and walk us through it.
Ubocastor: This keeps getting more and more amazing. We have Morgolic running down the Valley of men chased by the Snagar. He encounters, as if by chance, a peasant girl and he gives her the relic and the stones for safekeeping. By strange concidence the peasant girl turns out to be the daughter of Cateyln, Grand mistress of the Nirvana Coven. She returns to Middleton leaving us to wonder exactly what happened. I have no idea as to the source of the essence she bears unless she got it from Morgolic, and I seriously doubt there was time for a courtship and refuse to believe Morgolic forced himself upon her. Imagine if you can... a young witch... in command of the gems that no one else seems able to touch. The ruby alone would give her enormous power and linked with the rest, a potential not know since Orwald swung that sword of his. The evidence shows that she has already begun to experiment, but to levitate Walinda... weighting over one hundred and forty pounds, hefting and throwing her into the wall.... now that’s truly amazing. Let me reenvision what happened though Albiana’s eyes and you can see it unfold..."
"Ouch! "Said Kulrick. as Ubocastor finished replaying the vision.
"But the most amazing part is yet to come.... see her grab her stomach? See her eyes... hear the laughter....An ominous presence from a very dark origin. Who the hell is this girl anyway? Not just any old witch, I can tell you that... She not only reeked of the essence... but a thing more sinister on the one hand and redeemed by a grace on the other. An presence fraught with dark malice, yet reciprocated by goodness and love.
"An intriguing scent to be sure...What do you suppose it's all about..?"
"She’s with child..., that’s what it's all about."
"What else could it be. As crazy as it sounds I agree. It makes me want to cry out with joy and tremble at the same time... What do we do now?"
Find out who the father is... and don't give me any of the Scrab nonsense."
"Shouldn't be too hard to find out. She's a witch. Have you ever seen one that suffered from a want of attention?"
"Well we need to begin nailing things down. "First we confirm the pregnancy. Then we identify the sire, and once we know that we can reflect on what to do next... if this hypothesis follows the path that all the rest, we are in for something on the order of a religious experience."
"Once Morgolic is out of the woods, then we could have the matrons take over the nursing responsibilities. We could send Uta to confirm the girl’s pregnancy.
"After today’s fiasco... what makes you think she’ll let another Elf woman, anywhere close to her?"
"We'll let Uta worry about that.... she’s not just another Elf woman."