Gender: Male Age: 21 Location: N/A
|Introduction: Not my Storie this storie Belongs to Eric Stome|
When Don awoke, he found his sister was curiously missing from their bed. She was not usually an early riser, and he wondered if something had troubled her. He rolled over and looked to the other bed, to see that Annie was fast asleep, still. He moved quietly out of bed, for once he was awake, he wasn't going back to sleep, and padded to the bathroom.
As he took care of his morning needs, Don thought that things were going to be a little dicey now. Certainly he could not have sex with his sister while Annie was in the room, and he was sure that Annie had no interest in having sex with him, whether or not Kate was in the room. He figured there would be some kind of solution to this problem, somehow. What it was, he didn't have a clue.
It occurred to Don that he hadn't brought his robe in with him to change, and so he had to go back out to the room. He looked over at Annie, and he figured she was still asleep. He quickly took off the pajamas he had "requisitioned" from the castle wardrobe, and then slipped on his magician's robe. He heard a slight giggle as he finished fastening his garment, and he knew it was Annie.
Without turning around, because he didn't want her to see how badly he was blushing, he said, "I thought you were asleep." Finally, getting himself under control, he turned around, and she was smiling at him, sitting up in bed. She stretched, and Don tried unsuccessfully not to stare at her. Annie didn't have large breasts, but they still showed, and when she stretched her body, they showed enough that he was embarrassed that he was looking at her that way.
She got out of bed, and headed for the bathroom. She didn't take her clothes with her, either. Don didn't plan to stand and watch her dress, though he wondered if she'd let him. Still, he wasn't ready to meet the world yet, so he walked out on the balcony. The sun was already over the horizon, or at least the trees said so, since his room faced to the west. He watched a fox chasing down breakfast, or would it be dinner? Foxes were mostly nocturnal animals, so this would be its final catch, if not its only one, of the night. He was fascinated by the way the rabbit twisted and turned in its effort to avoid its eventual captor. It was a strange thing to wake up to.
He heard Annie come out of the bathroom, but he wasn't about to turn around anytime soon. He learned that it didn't matter when he felt her hand press softly against his back.
"Oh, that's gross," she said, when she saw where he was looking. She averted her eyes, and, just to appease her, he looked away as well. That, of course, left him with her to look at, and that still embarrassed him. He looked kind of over her shoulder, at the two ladies who were in the field, collecting flowers.
"Good morning," Annie said, trying to get him to look at her. She moved slightly, forcing herself into his field of view. This was only possible because he was looking down; he was a half-foot taller than her. She hoped he wouldn't decide to look at the sky instead of looking at her.
He didn't. "Hi," he said, his voice still uncomfortable talking to her, even after they'd talked last night. She knew she'd embarrassed him earlier. She hadn't meant to make him uncomfortable, but she'd had a horrid attack of the giggles watching him when he thought she wasn't looking.
"Did you sleep well?" she asked, her deep voice soft and coaxing.
"Not really. I'm not used to pajamas."
"Oh. Well, you didn't have to wear them, you know."
She watched in amazement as his face turned a color to rival a bad sunburn. He turned his head away rather than say anything. Annie wasn't really very good at being around men, and she knew she'd just stepped on a landmine. She wasn't sure how to fix it, so she did the only thing she knew he would let her get away with.
Stepping closer, Annie wrapped her arms around him, and hugged him. Don instantly hugged back, and for just that moment, with the two of them standing like that, the world was right. Don wasn't blushing, or at least she didn't feel any heat from his face, and she wasn't scared out of her wits. That was as close to perfection as she figured she was going to get right now, and she took it for as long as it lasted.
After a couple of minutes, Don pulled away, but she seemed to sense that he really didn't want to. She smiled up at him in a way that she hoped was telling him she liked having him touch her. She couldn't read his look, though, and she was terribly unsure of what he was thinking about her.
"We'd better get down to breakfast," he said softly. "Before Gill eats it all." The last was said with a smirk, and she knew he was joking, and that, she thought, was good. At least he felt comfortable enough with her to take a pot-shot at his friend.
He took her hand as they went into the hallway. It just seemed to fit so naturally there. She stepped close to him as they walked, her body brushing against his with each step. Even Don wasn't so dense that he didn't take that for what it was. But how far did she want him to go? He hated this little game of cat and mouse that men and women played. He just wished he could understand them and be done with it.
His mind settled as they entered the dining room. Gill and Julie looked up to see who it was, but the others were engaged in other things. There was an obvious wall of silence between Julie and Paul, and Don knew that he was going to have to find out what that was about sooner or later. Perhaps he could get Kate to ask for him; the girls always felt better talking among themselves than to him.
Don guided Annie to her seat, and then he joined her, leaning over to kiss his sister good-morning. "I missed you this morning."
"Well, I wanted to help Yarice. She's teaching me to bake. And besides, you had someone to keep you company." Her words were not said with dismay, but with a hint of encouragement to him. He looked her in the eye, but she simply stared at him. What was going on?
As Don began his breakfast, the silence descended back upon the room. About halfway through breakfast, Paul finally turned to Julie and said, "So, where were you last night, anyway?"
Julie looked at him without saying anything for several moments. Finally, she said, "Do you really care?"
"What the hell kind of question is that?" Paul leaned toward her, his face angry. Julie slid as far away from him as she could. She had seen Paul's temper flare before, but not at her. She also knew he was more powerful here, while she was merely more frightened.
"Hey, back off, slick, it was just a question," Gill said, trying to keep it light, but there was a hint of a challenge in his voice.
"Mind your own goddamn business!" Paul fired back.
"This is my business," Gill retorted.
"Oh, and how the fuck is that?"
"Your sister spent the night in our room," Gill said. "Because she couldn't handle you ignoring her anymore."
"And who the fuck made you the camp fucking counselor?"
"You did! When you made it necessary for her to find someone to talk to!" That was as far as Gill was going, and no further.
"I think you need to learn to mind your fucking place!"
Don had watched this whole exchange with rising anger. He watched as Paul paced toward Gill, who was still standing next to his chair. Paul was obviously irate, but he had no place to get this upset over something he was clearly as much at fault for as Gill was. He wasn't about to let his two friends go at it.
Standing up, he felt both of the girls beside him shiver. He didn't know what that was from. He raised his hands and said three words, which were immediately blotted out by the loudest damned clap of thunder any of them had ever heard. Contained in the dining hall, it echoed and reverberated, and all of the girls put their hands over their ears.
Gill looked as if the thunder had shoved him back down into his seat, as he sat there, almost trembling. None of them had ever seen Don truly mad before, and they were wondering just how far he'd go. Paul just looked pissed, like he didn't feel like having yet someone else challenge him today.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Don screamed. He'd noted the sound of crashing dishes earlier, and he was even more pissed that he'd frightened poor Yarice. "I've had all of your bullshit I'm going to take! Get out of here, both of you! NOW!"
Gill stood immediately, and moved to the door, but Paul was far less inclined to obey. Only a look, and apparently a thought, from Carysta, persuaded him to leave.
Don turned his eyes to Julie. "If you move, I'll find you. Right now, I have to go apologize to the poor lady who probably just had a heart attack from my little outburst. Don't go anywhere."
Julie was so terrified at this point, if the castle had started burning down around her, she wouldn't have moved. Kate and Annie shared a look, but no one spoke. The other members of the breakfast group were silent, trying to pretend the kids didn't exist.
In the kitchen, Don stepped up to Yarice, who did appear to be shaking. "I'm sorry, Yarice," he said very softly. "I let my temper go too far. I didn't mean to scare you like that."
Yarice smiled at him, and slowly, her shaking stopped. "It's been a while since Iamor taunted me with his spells. I'd forgotten how terrifying they can be."
"I'm really sorry. Let me help you clean this up."
"Oh, no, no. Master Don, you go take care of yourself and your friends. I've cleaned up far worse messes than this in this kitchen."
"Maybe, but those weren't my fault."
She looked at him for a minute with a peculiar expression. "Very few players are like you. Don't waste that generosity or caring on an old woman. There are others who need you more."
"Generosity is never wasted, ma'am," he said, repeating something his mother had drilled into him since he was five. "And caring is free."
She smiled at him. "True enough, but you'll be in my way. Now shoo!"
Don consented, only because she seemed as if she would be more annoyed if he stayed. He walked back into the dining room, and sat down. He nibbled at his breakfast, and then looked across at the table. He noticed that Susan was holding Julie's hand, as if to give her courage for the storm ahead.
Don's voice was soft, but stern. "Someone had better tell me what's going on."
Julie tried three times to speak, and couldn't get anything to come out.
"Sir?" Susan said, and got a nod to continue. "Julie and Paul have been slipping further apart since we got here. She finally needed some companionship, and so she turned to Gill."
"By 'companionship,' I assume you mean..." Susan nodded before he could say it. "Does Paul know?"
"I don't think so."
"We just slept!" Julie finally cried out.
Don had to take a deep breath. He hadn't really intended to scare Julie, either, but he most obviously had. He looked into her teary eyes. "I'm sorry, Julie. I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at those two for allowing this to blow up like this." Just then, Don noted Carysta still sitting at the table. He wasn't sure what Paul's powers were, but he suddenly didn't trust her. He sat back.
"We'll discuss this later. Right now, we need to take care of other things." He turned to Iamor, who hadn't said a word this morning. "Iamor, Annie is also a magician, well, a sorceress, and she needs to be trained, as well."
"Nonononono, not me, nono. Not her, no." His tone was very final and would brook no further argument.
"She's got to be trained!" Don knew he was pushing his luck, but that was the way his day was going. "And you're the only one here to train her!"
"I said NO!" Iamor cried, his hand outstretched, a bowl of fruit exploding halfway down the table with his spell.
"Oh, that was beautiful!" Don said, looking at him with challenge and fury in his eyes. "I stopped breaking things in my temper tantrums when I was six!"
"Do not challenge me, NO! NONONO! Don't do it, NO! She will not be trained by me, NO! That is the end of it, now GO!"
Don didn't know whether the man meant leave the room or the castle, or his country, but he did get up from the table.
"I can see that you're as useless as most of the other things I've run into in this goddamn place."
Don walked out of the room, his back ramrod straight. If Iamor wanted to blast him into dust, he could, but he'd be damned to hell if he was going to slink away before the miniature martinet.
All four of the girls swiftly followed him. The rest of the diners just looked on in bemused silence.
Annie watched from the lounge as Kate came out of their room and walked down the hall toward her. Even from a distance, she could tell that Kate was not happy. She had her head down and was shaking it from side to side, a look of consternation on her face. When she reached the lounge, Kate slumped down into a chair across from Annie. Finally, she looked up.
"You wanna give it a try? He won't even talk to me."
"Is he angry at you, too? For what?"
"No. It's just when Donny gets mad, he tends to seal himself up and not let any of it out. I don't know if he just likes being angry, or if he's afraid of upsetting someone else, or just what, but he doesn't talk."
"So, he's not likely to talk to me then."
"Probably not, but it couldn't hurt. It certainly won't make him any angrier. Maybe someone he doesn't know so well would have a better shot at getting through to him." Kate leaned forward, pleading with her eyes for Annie to understand. "Anne, I love my brother. I'd be dead by now without him. I can't survive here alone. I don't think any of us can make it out of here without him. But if he keeps up like this, it's going to tear him apart inside. I can't let that happen to him. If there's any chance, any chance at all, that you can get through to him, please..." Kate couldn't finish her statement.
Annie leaned over and put her hand on Kate's. "Okay, Kate, I'll try. But don't expect miracles."
"It's a miracle I made it this far. What's one more?" she said, her eyes a little teary. Annie nodded, and got up.
Walking down the hallway, she pondered Kate's words. She'd been shook a little by someone calling her Anne. No one had done that in a long time. Ever since her Dad had called her Annie, it had stuck. Only teachers had tried to call her Anne, and that never worked out. But Kate had been making a point: girls are called Annie; she wanted to convey the message that what was needed now was a woman, not a girl.
Then there was what she had to do: get through to a guy she didn't really know, but she'd had an almost instant crush on. She didn't bother to knock, since it was her bedroom, too, but she walked in slowly. She saw him staring out the balcony doors, but he was still inside the room.
Summoning up her courage, what little wisdom she had, and all the femininity she could muster, she walked over to him. She stepped beside him, and then put her hand on his arm. For quite a few minutes, he didn't move, and neither did she. She had this sense that something was building inside of him, and he was... what? Waiting for it to explode? Waiting for it to go away? She knew it wasn't going away, and she hoped the explosion didn't take him with it.
Suddenly, before she could really react, he turned to her. The pain in his eyes almost made her take a step back, but she held herself right there, at arm's length, trying to do whatever she could.
Don stepped to her, wrapped his arms around her, and literally lifted her off the ground. She was shocked both at his strength, and at the ferocity of his hug. Then she realized that she felt a wetness against her cheek. He was crying. He was treating her like a teddy bear; she was just something to hold onto to let the emotions pour out. She didn't take offense, though she'd hoped for a more personal encounter.
He wept silently, unmoving, for several minutes. She thought his arms had to get tired eventually, but perhaps he was too far gone to notice. After a while, his tears stopped, and he let her back down to the floor. She stayed with him, though his arms were loose enough for her to step away now. He still wasn't speaking, but that was okay; words would come soon enough.
When Don turned back to the balcony, his one arm stayed loosely around Annie. She walked with him out onto the balcony, but neither of them paid much attention to the surroundings. Don was lost in his world of anger, and Annie was trying to pull him back into the world of friendship. She couldn't know how well she'd done on that.
"Gill and Paul are pretty much the only two friends I've got," Don said, startling Annie with his sudden words. "We've been together for a long time. I can't imagine not having either of them around. I'm worried that we're breaking apart, that we can't function as a team. We got into this together, we should only leave together. And what about the others? Kate, and Susan, and especially Julie? We're supposed to be worried about them!"
"And me?" she said, just to throw herself back into his thinking.
"You're... um...." Don faltered with what he was going to say.
"I'm what?" she asked, puzzled by his hesitation. Did he expect that if he said she was a different matter, that would offend her? She was a different matter.
"I can't say it... I don't have the right to say what was about to come out."
That really confused Annie. Doesn't have the right to say what?
"Go ahead, and I promise I won't bite your head off."
He looked at her very skeptically for a full minute before he said, "You're my responsibility, not theirs."
At that moment, Annie thought she'd just fallen in love. She turned to fully face him, and put her hands on his chest. She leaned up, and thankfully, he figured out what she wanted, and leaned down. Their lips touched, very, very gently, and they kissed. Don's hands came up to her hips, to hold her softly, and her hands slipped around his neck. It seemed as if the world stopped for them, as their bodies touched very softly, their lips making warm, sensuous contact.
Eventually, they had to break the kiss, and Annie was the one who let go first. She kept her hands behind his neck as she looked up into his eyes, and she said, just above a whisper, "Thanks."
Don didn't say anything at all. The only other girl he'd kissed was his sister, and the sparks between them had never rivaled this. He held on to this lovely girl for quite some time, not saying anything, trying to sort out what was in his head.
Finally, giving it up for a later time, he looked back into her eyes and said, "Thank me when we get out of here."
Annie leaned up and kissed him again, this one briefer, and more of a promise of something for the future than it was for the now. "Oh, I will. Count on it." She let her hands drop, but she didn't move away from him. The two had been through too many emotions in the last day, and neither knew what to do with them. They knew they enjoyed each other's company, though, and so they stood, together, in silence.
On the other side of the castle, Paul was pacing back and forth in Carysta's room. She had found him in his own room, and brought him here. She didn't think any of his friends would come to look for him in this part of the keep, and she wanted him to cool down, to settle his mind, so that he could focus.
<I can't believe the nerve of those two! Telling me what to do and think and... SHIT! And what the hell is up with Julie, going to him to talk?>
Carysta breathed softly. She had purposely not told Paul what she had heard after he'd left. It would only make him angrier, and that wasn't what she wanted. Also, she knew that, right now, a confrontation between the boys would not turn out the way Paul wanted it to. Magic was easier to master than psionic power, though psionics were usually stronger in the end. Not always, Carysta. Remember that.
<Paul, I know that you're upset, but try not to let it get to you. They have their way of thinking, and it just isn't in sync with your way, with our way. You and I both know that you will be a powerful Master Psionic. Maybe they're afraid of that. Or, maybe they just don't like the idea of you taking the lead. Maybe Don has grown used to bossing you around.>
Under other circumstances, Paul would have immediately defended Don. They had, after all, essentially forced him to lead. These were not, however, other circumstances, and he looked at her for a long moment, without saying anything. She tried to read his face, but couldn't get past the anger still etched across his features.
<That little shit. You might be right. Hell, maybe he's afraid of me now. Gill had damned well better be afraid of me. If he touches Julie, I'll kill him.>
It was at that moment that Carysta was glad she hadn't yet told him of Julie and Gill's little affair. She was sure it would continue, and that was okay with her. It was Paul she wanted. Julie could fuck everyone else in the castle, for all she cared.
<Paul, you mustn't let this affect your training. If you're going to be leaving the castle in a few days, and I don't think Iamor is going to let Don stay much longer than that, then you must learn all that I can teach you as quickly as possible. Let this go for now. Bring it up later, when you might be able to do something about it.>
Paul sat down on the edge of her bed. He left a good foot of separation between them, but she immediately moved closer. The two had spent a great deal of time together, and she felt she knew him well enough to know he wouldn't object. He didn't.
<I guess you're right. You know, Don has been a good friend in the past, but ever since we got here, he seems to think he knows everything.> Paul turned to look at Carysta, who smiled softly at him. <Thank you. You've been a better friend to me than any of them has in the last few days.>
Paul wasn't entirely sure if the look in her eyes was an invitation or not, but he decided to take the risk. He leaned in, and she did not back away. He closed his eyes as their lips touched. Her lips were soft, and moist, and warm, and he wanted to kiss them all day long.
<You're beautiful, Carysta. I've been trying not to stare at you since we got here. I hate to admit this, but ever since I got here, when I talk to you in my mind, I picture you naked. I'd like to see you that way with my real eyes.>
Paul hadn't really meant to say that, but it had slipped into his thought pattern, and of course, he couldn't take it back. His body tensed for a moment, until he noticed that Carysta wasn't pulling away. In fact, her hand came up to the back of his head to hold their mouths together. Her lips parted, and her tongue pressed its way into Paul's mouth. Soon their tongues were dancing against each other softly, as each moaned in pleasure.
Meanwhile, Carysta took Paul's hand in her free one, and brought it up to her tit. She pressed his hand firmly against her breast, holding it there until he started to softly squeeze. She said to him, <If my body is one of the things you want from me, you're welcome to it. It's been a while since anyone has taken an interest in me, Paul. I'm yours for the asking.>
Paul hesitated, though his hand didn't waver in its groping of her tit. <I'm... not very experienced.> In fact, Paul had had sex exactly once in his life, and that girl had made him feel like a fool.
<I understand,> she said, as she pulled him backward with her onto the bed. He was on top of her now, his hand groping her tit more firmly. He pulled her peasant shirt down, exposing her breast. Now his hand caressed far more gently. He was touching her bare skin, his fingers dancing over the surface of her tit, occasionally flitting over her nipple before moving on. Carysta moaned into his mouth.
She broke their kiss and pushed him slightly to the side. Her smile prevented this from being a wounding action. She sat up and pulled off her shirt, for it had become uncomfortable, and it was hard for her to move her arms that way. She turned to him and noticed how he took in her breasts, how his eyes followed her curves. She ignored his tunic, and went straight for his pants.
Paul's pants were held up by a simple drawstring and, after undoing that, Carysta had no trouble pulling his pants and underwear down past his hips. She saw his cock, erect and waiting for her attention. She forgot his pants, and gently grasped his cock. Paul shuddered as her dainty fingers encircled his prick, and he groaned as her tongue danced across the head of his shaft.
He needed no prep, and so Carysta sank her mouth down onto his shaft, her lips sliding softly along the skin, her tongue swishing back and forth to excite him further. She felt his cock reach the back of her mouth, but she kept going, until he was fully inside her mouth. She held him there for a moment, her lips and tongue working to keep him fully aroused. Then, her one hand slipping down to fondle his balls, she began to move her mouth on him, her lips keeping up an incredible suction on his dick.
Paul was lost in a world of pure pleasure. He couldn't have participated in this act if he'd wanted to. His eyes were rolled back in his head, and his hands continued to clench and unclench as Carysta's talented mouth moved on him. He was well past the point of no return, and he didn't know what was holding back his orgasm.
Carysta, however, did know. And when she felt the time was right, she released him, and his cum exploded from the head of his dick. She continued to bob her head and suck as he came, and she swallowed every drop of his cum. Her fingers continued to work at his balls, coaxing every drop of his spunk out of them.
Paul's body lurched through its most intense orgasm ever, until he was finally spent. He figured that they were through, and certainly it had been a wonderful experience, but Carysta didn't stop sucking on him. Paul was amazed to find that he was soon hard again, and as he looked down at her bobbing head, her blonde hair bouncing with her moves, he found he did, indeed, want more of her.
Carysta knew this, and as soon as he was hard, she removed her mouth from him. She stood up momentarily, and pulled off her panties. She still wore her skirt, and she left it on as she knelt on the bed again, this time straddling his hips. She lifted the front of her skirt as she moved forward, and Paul could see her neatly shaved bush. He noted something about it, but now was not the time to ask.
As Carysta reached her goal, one of her hands reached down to hold Paul's dick in place. Then, with an audible sigh, she sank down onto him in one smooth motion.
<Oh, god, that feels so good!> she cried out in her thoughts to him.
Oh, fuck is she tight! he thought to himself.
As soon as she was fully impaled, Carysta dropped her skirt, covering their joining, and then she leaned forward. Supporting herself on stiff arms, she began to move on Paul's cock. Paul immediately started thrusting up with his hips to meet her movements. His hands, almost of their own accord, sought out her tits, and fondled them. Carysta began to pant and groan with her movements.
<Oh, Paul, this is so good! It's been so long. Fuck me, baby!> she told him.
Emboldened by her encouragement, Paul took matters into his own mind. He used his telekinetic power to lift them off the bed, and then flip them over before setting them back down. He didn't want to risk dropping her, or he'd have stayed in the air. Now, he was on top, and he put his hands on either side of her shoulders, and began rutting into her as hard and as fast as he could. They were both grunting and moaning and crying out in passion as their pleasures built to a fever pitch.
Paul kept up his furious pace as he leaned down to her, and their lips locked. He was thrusting into her at a different angle now, and that was just more than he could take. Paul came again, blasting his load deep into her cunt. Carysta, feeling his jism pulse into her, spilled over the edge of her own climax, and her pussy rippled around his cock, trying to pull all of his spunk from him.
The two writhed for a very long time, breaking their kiss and grunting out loud as their passions washed over them. When they finally came down, Paul was completely spent. He rolled to the side, pulling out of Carysta's warm, wet twat as he slumped onto the bed. He was able to give her one last kiss before he passed out from pleasure overload. Carysta smiled down at her lover, but the smile was not one of satiation.
It was one of victory.
Don and Annie had spent some time together, trying to come to grips with things. Not only was the newly-formed rift in Don's stable friendship upsetting, but now he had to find someone to teach Annie what she needed to know. He hadn't come up with a plan before lunch, and so they went down to eat in the smaller dining area. Lunch wasn't usually a big affair at the castle, and so they ate alone, chatting with Yarice and trying to ignore their problems.
"Yarice... you know what went on this morning, right?" Don asked the cook. She nodded, but didn't speak. "What's the deal with Iamor? Why won't he train Annie?"
"What about them? I mean, he wouldn't speak to them when they came to the castle, yesterday, either."
"I'm not allowed to talk about it. If you want a history lesson, you need to go speak with Bob."
It was clear that this avenue was closed to them, unless they wanted to go speak with the librarian. They finished their lunch, and did precisely that.
The pair walked into the library, but they did not see Bob. The library was a dark and dusty room, and the only light was the one they'd carried in with them. Of course, what need would a blind man have for a light?
"Bob?" Don called out loudly.
"Be with you in a minute!" they heard from well back in the room. They sat down on the bench near Bob's desk, and waited. It didn't take long before they heard his footsteps on the stone floor.
Bob came into their circle of light carrying three heavy books. "Well, what can I do for you two?"
"Uh," Don said, his curiosity piqued, "How do you know there are two of us here?"
"Don," Bob said with good-natured exasperation, "unless you've taken to wearing feminine body powders here in Zemlia Nov, I would guess that it is Miss Annie with you, since Kate prefers a different scent."
Annie giggled at Don's discomfiture. "Oh. Well, okay. You're right."
"So," Bob said, sitting down in the chair behind his desk and placing the heavy tomes to the side, "what can I do for you?"
"We'd like a history lesson."
"Oh? Dealing with?"
"Iamor. And the Elves."
"Ah," Bob said, in a drawn-out syllable. "You're wondering why he doesn't like Miss Annie."
"I'm wondering why I don't clock him upside the head. I would like to know why he won't train her."
Bob chuckled. "You're going to do well here, young man. But try to keep your temper in check; facing off against Iamor isn't as easy as you may think." Bob settled himself back into his chair, and turned his head, almost as if he were looking at something. Then he began to speak.
"Three hundred years ago, Iamor was a young wizard. His father ran Castle Ballor then. Zemlia Nov hadn't yet seen its first outsiders, Dan-Eger was the strongest dragon in the land by far, and both Denonia and Gaphnia were still children.
"Back then, there was no one ruling Zemlia Nov. Each small village made its own rules, and provided its own security. However, Dan-Eger did not have control of the other dragons, and trouble broke out.
"When the dragons started terrorizing the communities, the Elves were the first to step forward with a proposal to band together to fight off the new threat. The other communities, caught unprepared for this, readily agreed. The Elves have always been good fighters, and they were ready to lead.
"Well, Iamor and his father, Randor, disagreed. They said that Castle Ballor could stand on its own quite well, thank you, and that the Elves should not consider them to be part of their plan.
"Eventually, Dan-Gelmer and his clan came here. Yes, it was Dan-Gelmer leading the fight back then, too. Well, to make a long story short, there was a massive battle between Randor and Iamor on one side, and the dragons on the other. They managed to repel the dragons, but Randor was killed in the fight.
"Iamor blamed the Elves for not being there. It's irrational, but he does. He and his father were very close. Ever since then, Iamor has been, well... a little eccentric.
"When the Elves formed the kingdom of Zemlia Nov, Iamor loudly proclaimed his independence from it. The Elves didn't bother to wage war against him; instead, they used some of their magic to raise the hills you see around this valley. It took them fifty years, but eventually, they walled Iamor off from the rest of the land. Oh, he can get out easy enough, but he never does. And no one comes in, with rare exceptions. Most of the travelers like you seem to end up here, though."
Bob paused in his speech, and turned his head back to the couple. "Iamor hates anything that has to do with the Elves. Annie, I'm sorry, but since you were rescued and brought here by the Elves, he's not going to train you. Ever. I know it makes no sense, but that's Iamor for you."
"Why couldn't Yarice tell us all this?" Annie asked.
"Yarice used to be very outspoken. Iamor spent a great deal of energy 'bringing her into line,' as he puts it. She doesn't want to go through that again."
Don's expression darkened. "Bastard," he muttered.
"Most of the time, Iamor is happy and laid back. Only when someone challenges his authority does he grow angry."
"Bully," Annie said. Don nodded in agreement.
"Bob," Don asked, before that would go further, "Is there no one here who can train Annie? I sure as hell can't do it... my training isn't even complete... well, actually, I'm probably done learning from Iamor, after this morning..."
"Did you not know?" Bob asked incredulously. Both of the others answered negatively. "Gaphnia is at least as much a wizard as Iamor ever was."
It took some doing to find Gaphnia, who, it turned out, was out in the garden, rather than in the castle. The couple approached her quietly, not wanting to disturb whatever peace she'd come here to find.
"Good afternoon, ma'am," Don said, sitting on the bench across from her. Annie remained standing behind him. He could tell she was nervous, but didn't know what to do about it.
Gaphnia turned to face them. "Do you know how long it has been since anyone in this castle has wished me a pleasant day?"
"Too long?" Don asked.
She smiled at him. "Yes. Much too long. Thank you. But I assume you didn't come all the way out here just to wish me a good afternoon."
"So, what can I do for you?"
Don thought of many different ways he could approach this, but he thought that maybe the direct way was best. "Teach us."
"Iamor won't teach Annie because of her association with the Elves. He's probably not going to teach me anymore because I challenged him this morning. Neither of us is ready to face what's out there."
Gaphnia turned her head to look out, past the moat, and into the far field. "Do you know how long it's been since I've used magic? I gave up magic when I saw what it did to Iamor. You're asking me to return to something that has consumed those who have used it."
"Used it excessively, ma'am. Iamor's problem isn't magic, it's his ego."
She turned back with a smile on her face. "Yes, there is that."
"Please. I wouldn't ask you to do something you didn't want to do, but this could very well mean our lives."
She gazed into his eyes, gauging his sincerity and his convictions. What she saw there decided the situation for her. "Very well. But I prefer mornings for magic, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. For today, savor the sunshine."
Don nodded his head in thanks, and then Gaphnia turned in her wheelchair, and rolled off, leaving the two to themselves. Annie finally sat down next to Don.
"I'm sorry I couldn't be much help, I..."
Don cut her off with a gentle touch on her fidgeting hands. "It's okay, Annie. I need her help as much as you do, now."
"But I should have at least thanked her..."
"She knows. Besides, you'll have time to thank her later."
Annie leaned against him, and he put his arm around her shoulders. Across the yard, he saw Kate picking flowers. She looked over at him, smiled, and waved before returning to her task. He smiled, realizing that he had the most wonderful sister on the planet. Whichever planet that was.
At dinner, the absence of Paul and Carysta was quickly noted. Julie looked at the two empty seats with an expression of despair. Gill immediately switched seats with his sister, and then took Julie's hand. She looked at him with tears in her eyes, but smiled.
"Well, I guess we know why he's had no interest in Julie," Don muttered to Kate, quietly enough that Julie did not hear him. Kate merely nodded.
Iamor was not present at dinner, and that was just fine with everybody. The meal went along more or less peacefully, and by the end something approaching a normal conversation had been achieved. Still, the strain in the room was obvious, and upsetting.
Just before bedtime, the boys had decided they needed to have a talk. They met in the lounge area to do so. Kate and Susan sat close to the fire, having a chat. Julie was staring out the crystal doors at the sky, and Annie was sitting alone, thinking.
"All right, Gill, you want to tell me what happened with you and Julie?" They were keeping their voices low enough so as not to be heard by anyone else.
"Shit, man, I don't know what was with her yesterday! It was just after you guys brought Annie up here. Darnell didn't feel like practicing anymore, so I was on my way to change. Julie stuck her head out - honest, man, that's all I could see - and asked me to come in, 'cause she needed help. Well, you know, I'm not one to be rude or anything, so... but when I get inside, I see she's got no damn clothes on!
"Well, okay, I admit, I didn't really try real hard to fight her or anything..." Gill looked down, shame-faced.
"Would it be more like, didn't do a damn thing?" Don asked with a grin. Gill nodded, embarrassed. "So, this whole thing is because the horny little wench couldn't stand being ignored anymore."
"Yeah, I guess."
"You're going to have to work this out with Paul, somehow. If he doesn't want to pay attention to his sister, that's his fault, but this fighting is going to tear us apart, you know?"
"Yeah. I'm sorry, man, I just never-"
"It's okay, I mean, I probably would have went along with her, too." And wouldn't that have made life overly complicated?
"What do you want me to do about Paul?"
"Hell if I know. I've got enough trouble of my own... what's that about?" Don had noticed Annie walk over and talk to Julie, but had ignored it. Now the two were heading down the hallway.
Don watched as the pair stopped at Paul's room, and then, to Don's surprise, they knocked. He couldn't tell if they got an answer or not, but they both went into the room and closed the door.
Julie was only a little surprised to find her room empty. It was obvious what Paul was doing. Annie could see the look of hurt that crossed her face, but it was soon replaced by a look of acceptance. Finally, Julie turned to her.
"So, what's up?"
Annie felt a little uncomfortable. "Look, you don't know me, I realize, and I've got no place to tell you what to do, but I'd like to make a suggestion."
"Well, since Paul's not in here... um, why don't you and I sleep in here tonight? I know that Don and Kate need some time together alone... I don't know about Gill and Susan, but..."
Annie saw the look in Julie's eyes even before she spoke. "Yeah, I know what you're saying."
"I mean, there are two beds here, unused, so..."
"Yeah, okay. Good idea. I don't want Susan to start hating me or something." She gave Annie a hug. "Good plan."
Don watched as the two came back out of the room after being inside for brief moments. They walked back to the lounge, and it was obvious that Annie was waiting for the opportunity to say something to him. He motioned to her with his eyes, and she came over and sat beside him.
"Hey, guys. I was just talking to Julie about something."
"What's that?" Gill asked.
"Since Paul seems to be... somewhere other than his room," Annie said diplomatically, "Julie and I will sleep in there tonight. That'll give you two some privacy to be alone with your sisters, okay?"
A slow smile crept across Gill's face. "Okay. Thanks for thinking of Susan."
I was thinking more of Kate, Annie didn't say. She felt a hand brush softly across her back, and she admitted that the owner of the hand was who she was really thinking about.
"You don't have to do this, Annie," Don said. She could see the sincerity in his eyes. "But thank you."
"You're welcome." She leaned in and gave him a hug and, in consideration for present company, a very small kiss on the cheek. Then she got up. "I'm going to turn in, if you don't mind. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a long day."
Don watched her walk off, and Julie followed closely behind her.
"Nice girl," Gill said, just to have something to say.
"Yeah. Uh, look, I don't want to cut into your time with Darnell, but someone's got to teach her to fight."
"No problem. You know our routine. Bring her down in the late morning, and I'm sure Darnell won't have any problem with teaching her."
"Great. Now," Don said, stifling a bit of a yawn, "What say we follow the girls' example, and go get some... uh, 'sleep'?"
Gill chuckled as he glanced over at Susan. "Sleep is... not what's on my mind. But okay, I'll see you in the morning."
Don just shook his head as he went to collect his sister.
In Julie's room, the two were already disrobed, and were about to settle into bed. Julie paused, and turned to look at Annie.
"Annie? Maybe we should both use one bed. Just in case Paul comes back."
Annie stopped to consider. If he went to the wrong bed under those circumstances... "Okay, that sounds like a good idea."
Julie walked over and got into Annie's bed as Annie was settling down to rest. Annie closed her eyes and was just getting comfortable, when she was startled to feel a pair of warm, moist lips touching her own. She opened her eyes as Julie broke the brief kiss.
"Thanks again," Julie said, before turning over and blowing out the candle on the nightstand. She settled immediately onto her side, and no more was said.
Annie, however, had to figure out the warm tingle in her belly.
Annie's dreams were troubling. They bothered her not because they caused her fear, because they didn't, but because of what they did cause her: arousal. When she woke in the morning, she found that her aroused state was not entirely a dream. She found herself holding Julie, who was in turn holding her, sound asleep. She couldn't move; it would certainly wake Julie if she did. She felt dampness on her thigh; Julie was as aroused as she was.
My God, what did we do in our sleep?
At that moment, Julie began to stir. Annie froze, uncertain of what to do. She was sure Julie would freak. She stared at the face of the girl, waiting for her eyes to open.
Julie awoke slowly, and when she felt arms around her in a soft grip, she snuggled against it. When she felt her tits rub against other tits, a soft smile came to her face. She never opened her eyes, but leaned forward. When her lips touched Annie's, she could feel the other girl hesitate. Julie slipped her tongue out, pressing it gently against Annie's lips. Annie opened her mouth very slowly, and then Julie's tongue was in, caressing the inside of Annie's mouth, and playing against her tongue.
The two kissed for quite some time, and Julie began to slide her pussy along Annie's leg. It felt so good she moaned against Annie's mouth. She was so close to coming. She felt sure that Annie would try to break their embrace, and she needed this right now.
It wasn't long before Julie came, her orgasm short, but powerful. Her body rippled and writhed in pleasure. She broke their kiss and cried out, her head thrown back and her eyes squeezed tightly shut.
Annie held the girl until she came down from her high. She did so more out of uncertainty as to what to do than anything else. When Julie finally came to her senses, she looked into Annie's eyes, and it was clear that she regretted what she'd done.
"Geez, Annie, I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. See, um... I guess I should have told you this, but I'm bisexual. I didn't mean for this to happen, honest, but, well, when I woke up and felt you, and..."
Annie looked into the girl's blushing face, and knew she was sincere. Really, it was kind of amusing, and Annie chuckled. "We must have done something last night in our sleep, because this is how we were when I woke up. Don't worry too much about it, Julie. I've never done anything with a girl before, but..." Annie blushed herself before going on. "I kind of liked it." Annie leaned in and kissed Julie again, more softly this time. She wasn't ready to do any more than this, and Julie understood. Their tongues slipped out to play against each other, and for several minutes, they continued to kiss.
Finally, they broke their embrace. Annie slowly climbed out of the bed, shivering. "Damn, it's cold in here!"
"Annie?" Julie asked. Annie turned to her with an expectant look on her face. She knew what was coming. "If you ever want to... you know, go further..."
"I'll let you know. And... I probably will." Annie turned before she blushed at the admission, but not before she saw Julie smile. "I've got to hurry. I'm supposed to meet Gaphnia for magic lessons today, and I've got to get in some breakfast."
"You take the tub first, then," Julie said. "I'll wait here." Julie's voice sounded dreamy enough that Annie figured she was going to go back to sleep. She hurried for the tub.
Julie lay in bed with a smile on her face. She hadn't meant for it to happen, but damn had it felt good. She knew better than to approach Susan about girl-girl, and she didn't know how Kate would react. She hadn't even thought of asking Annie last night, and it was obvious that her answer would have been no. Still, now that she had a taste of it... and she seemed to enjoy it...
I hope she'll play with me soon...
Annie had rushed through a bath, and met Don and Kate downstairs for breakfast. She explained that Julie was still sleeping, and would be late. The three of them went to breakfast alone. Don and Annie had to keep an appointment with Gaphnia, but Kate simply refused to eat without her brother.
The trio chatted happily through their breakfast. None of the others in the castle, except for Yarice, of course, were even up yet. They expected to see Gaphnia come in while they ate, but she didn't. They didn't know what that meant, but she'd told them where to be and when to be there, so there was little else they needed to figure out.
Once they were through breakfast, they went out into the field behind the castle. They were still inside the moat, but there were no walls surrounding them. They saw Gaphnia waiting for them. Kate kissed her brother, and flew off to fly with an eagle she had spotted yesterday. The bird seemed to enjoy her presence, and Don wondered if that affinity spread to all birds, or just this one bird.
Don turned his thoughts back to Gaphnia as they approached.
"Good morning, you two," the sorceress said to them. She was staring into the sky, apparently looking at a certain cloud. She pointed to it. "What do you see?"
They looked up. Don immediately said, "A violin."
Annie responded, "I see an hourglass."
"So who is correct?" Gaphnia asked.
The pair looked at her in dismay. "We both are, aren't we? I mean, you asked us what we see," Don answered.
"Very good. This is about perception. That's important, because magic is also about perception. How you perceive yourself to be is, in fact, how you are likely to turn out. Confidence, conviction, clarity. You need these things as a magician. Come, you have very much to learn, and probably not a lot of time in which to learn it."
It was after lunch by the time Don brought Annie down to the practice yard where Darnell was teaching Gill. The two stood and watched as Gill fought Darnell expertly, wielding his sword as if it were an extension of his own body.
"I'll never be that good," Annie moaned.
Gaphnia, who had come up behind them very quietly, startled them by saying, "This, too, is a matter of perception. Gill is as good as he believes himself to be. Certainly training and practice are important, but his mental image of his skill is far more so. Remember, Annabelle: confidence, conviction, clarity."
"Yes, ma'am," she said.
Just then, the two noticed their audience. Darnell broke off the fight, and the two saluted each other before sheathing their weapons. Don and Annie walked onto the combat field then.
"Darnell, I was hoping that perhaps you would teach Annie how to use her sword. You've taught Gill so much..."
"Let me see your weapon," Darnell ordered. Annie withdrew it and, as carefully as she had with Don, handed it over to Darnell.
"The scroll said it was unbreakable. I don't know about that, but I do know I need to learn how to use it."
"Gill, bring me the mace off the shed wall." Gill ran to the weapons shed and returned with a nasty looking studded ball on a thick wooden handle.
"The most important thing, young lady, is that you trust your weapon completely. Come with me." The group followed as Darnell walked over to an anvil. "Gill, hand me that practice sword." Taking the sword from Gill, Darnell used a clamp on the anvil to hold it in place.
Turning to Annie, he said, "Although this is a practice sword, which means it doesn't have a sharp edge, it is otherwise exactly the same as any other sword. It is just as strong. I want to prove a point."
Darnell took the mace from Gill and, raising it high over his head, brought it down squarely onto the blade of the sword clamped onto the anvil. The blade shattered under the impact, and the group jumped at the loud crack of the blade.
"That is what will happen to a standard blade when hit by such a heavy object as a mace. Now, your sword..." Annie was about to protest as he clamped her sword onto the anvil, but Don placed his hand on her arm. He trusted Darnell to know what he was doing.
"Your sword is special. It is magically impregnated to be completely unbreakable. It is known as the Sword of Hollie, for a young woman named Dina Hollie was the first person to wield it."
Darnell raised the mace again, and again brought it down, hard, onto the blade of the sword. Again, there was a loud crack of metal breaking. This time, however, it was the mace which had split in half, its two pieces lying on the ground.
Darnell removed the blade and carefully handed it back to Annie. "As you can see, this sword will not break. You must trust your weapon, and know its limitation. Yours does not have one. Anything you have enough strength to cut through, it will cut through. It will remain sharp forever. Now that you know this is true, you can trust your life to the blade."
"Thank you," she said, "but I still don't know how to use it. Will you teach me?"
The group stared at him.
"No?" Gill said in shock. "Why the hell not?"
Darnell turned to him and said, "Because you are going to teach her." Before Gill could object, Darnell continued. "There is no better way to ingrain in your mind the lessons of sword fighting than to teach them to someone else. I will watch you, and I will correct you, but you are going to teach the young lady how to defend herself. Her life is now in your hands."
"Oh, shit," Gill said under his breath, but everybody heard him.
Gill was in the middle of teaching Annie several different ways to parry when Paul strode onto the field. The look in his face was one of pure menace and hatred. Annie broke off the fight before he got to her, and he gestured her off the field. After some reassurance from Gill, she went quickly to Don's side.
"You mother-fucking cocksucker! How dare you touch my sister!" Paul bellowed.
"I don't recall you ruling her life, Paul," Gill replied with as much calm as he could manage.
Suddenly, Gill was flying backward toward the weapons shed. Don acted quickly, beckoning a spell that stopped Gill's flight. He fell to the ground, but was unhurt.
Paul whirled and faced Don, who stepped away from his friends to keep them out of the line of fire.
"Mind your own fucking business!" Paul raged at him.
"Anything that happens between my friends is my business," Don replied determinedly. He had chanted a short spell, and he could feel the psionic energy building up around him. Before Paul let loose, Don cast his own spell, and a fireball shot out at Paul. Paul's concentration was broken as he dodged the fireball.
Paul screamed in fury, and let loose an energy ball of his own, directed at Don's head. Don waited until it was close enough, and another spell made short work of the energy, dispelling it harmlessly.
Another spell, and Paul was thrown five feet, dropping to the ground. He rolled and was back on his feet in an instant, but Don was ready with another spell. This fight was going much too easily, and that worried Don. What was Paul saving? Certainly this wasn't all a psionic had.
He felt a tug at his mind, an attempt at confusion. Although he was able to cast a ward-off spell, that distracted his attention, and he was soon flying through the air. He was about to hit a tree, rather hard, when his sister swooped down and nudged him far enough to miss the tree. She was quickly back up in the sky, out of reach of the enraged teen.
Don knew he owed his sister for that one, and he stopped his flight with another spell. Now he was angry. He'd hoped to stop this without anyone getting hurt, but Paul's goal was obviously vengeance. Don couldn't believe they'd come so far as this, but he would do what had to be done.
Returning to the field of the fight, Don powered up a massive fireball. He let it loose at Paul, and it surrounded the psionic. Paul was using a lot of energy up to fight off the spell, but he was finally able to throw the fireball off, setting small fires everywhere. It was easy to see the strain on Paul's face; this fight was taking a lot out of him.
In one last, desperate attempt, Paul lunged at Don. Don made ready to fight off the physical attack before he realized that the attacker was an illusion. Paul had not moved, but instead had used the time wisely.
Behind him, a fuzzy area in space had formed, and in the center of that fuzzy area was clearly not the weapons shed, which should have been behind Paul. Instead, it looked like it was inside the castle somewhere.
"I will never forgive either of you for this," Paul warned, and then stepped through the portal. When it was gone, so was he.
Don turned to Gaphnia, who was right beside him now, in her chair. "Now, that," he said, awe in his voice, "was a cool trick."
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