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Little Indians

Part 1 [1 2 3 4 5]

© Lostboy

Dear Reader,

In this tale I have borrowed much from the wonderful stories penned by Tabico, Moe, ManyEyedHydra, Summer, 8bit, and others. I hope my use of their ideas is taken as high tribute, rather than as underhanded theft.

I have also taken extra special care to make the convolutions of this plot entertaining, and trust and hope that your thoughtful reading will be rewarded.

I hope you enjoy my story, “Little Indians”, and I'd love to hear from you if you wish to send me some e-mail.


Introduction – Toridé

Helen drifted, half in sleep, half in wakefulness, half dreams, half darkness.

She remembered snatches of her life from before: the archive, the books, her family, her home, her first love.

She dreamed of old conversations with those she had held close, and had impressions of talking to some of them anew, confusion about their changed lives, reminiscences of old events, unfinished business.

There was nothing new in her life now. Nothing ever changed, every day the same. It could have been weeks now, or months, or longer.

How had it come to this?

Her idle curiosity was just a passing fancy, the answer did not matter. She was happy, and comfortable, as if permanently held between worlds, the pleasant lassitude as one is about to claimed by sleep, or in those few, alert, seconds after waking, when the day seems bright and new, before one's problems flow into consciousness like a breaking wave.

She had no problems now.

As she drifted on light pleasure, she had no will to move a muscle, looking forward to the next time she would be taken, looking back on the last with nostalgia.

It would start soon.

Full awareness returned to her mind, and her body, and her muscles, and she stretched, as if in wakefulness, pulling against elastic mystery which held her, but prevented any movement.

There was no thought of escape.

The familiar penetration started as a moist caress at her lips, and it began to slowly, and implacably, force its way into her. Pleasure blossomed in her body, the familiar touch of a lover becoming something else. Grateful at the return of her muscles, she pushed against it, again, and again, deeper, deeper, deeper, until the perfect position was reached, until she was perfectly filled, and it stilled, locking into place, delicate tendrils of pleasure radiating into her.

The hardness of the penetration had achieved its goal in stretching her, in opening her up to what was to follow. It liquefied within her, and so began the familiar feelings of suction, of drawing, of hunger for her essence. She knew that she could control it, that as it spread throughout her centre, nothing further would happen until she surrendered herself to it, completely, and utterly. Resistance would heighten the pleasure, prolong the experience, tease her as she was teased. The stimulation was so strong!

With a long moan, Helen let go, and felt herself gushing into the devouring pleasure. How could she cope with such strength of feeling? The drawing went on, and on, and she wrapped herself around it, embracing it, loving it, squeezing it into herself, letting it gush out again. I could die for this, she thought, and rode it out, giving it everything it wanted, letting it take everything it wanted, grateful to experience this one more time, until, finally, exhaustion claimed her again.

Chapter 1 – New Visitors at Mrs Beale's House

It was Penn Fillis' last year at school. It was high summer, and he was keen to get back. He knew that his work was exceptional, and he thought he had a good chance of being accepted into university. The whole world was opening to him, his sister was proud of him, and his schoolmates impressed.

His twin sister Dee had Penn's brains, but enjoyed life far too much to want to be a bookworm like he was. She was always up to some kind of mischief. She climbed the huge oak trees around town, she stole food from the nearby farms, she explored the dangerous caves which dotted this limestone country.

In short, she was a tomboy.

They both lived comfortably in a house in Gynt, a provincial little village way down south of Solveig, the big town. Gynt supported many farming families, and had everything they needed, and everyone who lived here loved it. The people were friendly, the weather was mild, and there was plenty for everyone to eat.

Tsanja Beale was the teacher who ran the local school, and also the priestess of the local Trinity Church. She was smart, and kind. She kept everyone in the village together, and all were glad to be part of her congregation.

Her mother, Mrs Beale, was the village healer, and a widow. When Dee had broken her leg, very badly, when she was ten, it was Mrs Beale who had healed her. It had taken a whole week, but by the end of her treatment, Dee's leg was completely healed, and strong and supple again.

Gynt was the village in which the healing arts had originally been established, and Mrs Beale lived in the same house as the first healer in the land.

The whole village had been excited when Mrs Beale informed everyone that three visitors from Toridé were coming to stay at her house. Nobody had heard anything out of Toridé for months, as there had been a bridge down, and they were eager for news. Penn and Dee were especially keen to meet them, as the visitors had been staying with their Aunty Helen, and they were keen to hear her news too.

The three visitors threw themselves into village life as soon as they arrived. They made the trip to Church every Saturday, and everyone in town got to know them pretty soon.

Their daughter, Madeleine Andersen, wanted to finish her last year of school in Gynt. Madeleine's mother, Pamela, had a high regard for Gynt's teacher, Tsanja, and the quality of her students. As healers themselves, they were also interested in Gynt's history. They were all welcomed with open arms into village life. Madeleine's mother, Pamela Andersen, was quite a beauty. Madeleine's grandmother, Poe, looked very young for a grandmother, and offered to help Tsanja in her teaching at the village school.

Madeleine was good with school-work, maybe even better than Penn, and had a wicked sense of humour. She seemed to click with her classmates from the first day, although she never seemed to bother with diplomacy, and would fearlessly tell all and sundry what they were doing wrong with their lives. As she was usually right, that could have been especially irritating, but her engaging smile and pretty, dark face was balm for any possible hurt, and, as no hurt was ever intended, none was ever taken.

Madeleine had some skill in a craft she called “choker charms”, which were intricately knotted bands of black leather into which she had crafted a single stone. She made them all by herself, and gave them away to friends, tying each cord around the neck of its recipient. They could be worn with no discomfort, and the stones were very fine. Each one was a slightly different shape, and warm, and smooth, and had a rich colouring, like amber of the deepest red.

The craft was part of the Healers' tradition. Mrs Beale, Poe, Madeleine and Pamela had always worn one, and they would occasionally lend one to their patients to assist with the healing process. Dee had been given the privilege of having one to keep when she broke her leg. However, Mrs Beale's cords were old, and her supply running low.

Madeleine began giving the cords to all of her new schoolmates on her second day at school.

She gave the first one to Penn, and he soon came to treasure his choker charm, as he had taken quite a shine to Madeleine.

He had been feeling concerned about something all of that that day. He still remembered that his disquiet had had something to do with his family. As Madeleine placed the cord around his neck, he immediately began to feel a pleasant sense of comfort, and calm, and all was well with the world. Whatever was worrying him had simply evaporated.

Over the coming months Penn tried, several times, to remember what had been worrying him that day, but Dee was all the family he had in the world, and she was fine.

Life seemed easier and more pleasant after everyone at school started wearing the cord, and soon the whole village was to wear them with pride.

Shortly after meeting Madeleine, Penn realised that he had never had any time for a girlfriend. Being bookish, and somewhat shy with the opposite sex, he'd not got very far with that part of his life.

He knew that there was plenty of time, and valued his friendships with some of the girls at his school. He knew that some of them would have liked to have been more than friends, but were happy enough to share his easy-going companionship and assistance with school-work.

He didn't really know what to do to attract Madeleine's attention and show his affection, or even what to do if she were to return it, but he tried to spend as much time as he could with her.

He always found himself stroking the stone on his cord, and it gave him a sense of contentment, remembering the easy smile she wore when she gave it to him.

Dee, on the other hand, had no desire for a boyfriend. She knew she was different from other girls, but she was happy, and healthy, and, while they teased her a little about her lack of interest in boys, they didn't give her any real trouble. Her brother Penn was as close a friend as she needed.

Before Madeleine had arrived, Penn and Dee would eat dinner around at Mrs Beale's house on Saturday night, after Church. Mrs Beale was a wonderful cook, and such meals were charming affairs.

Tsanja rarely came along, as she had drifted apart from her mother. Dee often wondered why this had happened. She still remembered when Tsanja had been a young woman, and she had seemed quite close to her mother then. Since Tsanja had become a priestess, however, her mother had become quite cold to her.

Tsanja often visited Penn and Dee at home. Tsanja liked to discuss her religion, and knew much of the world's affairs, and was obviously fond of her best pupil, Penn. Even though Dee gave her more trouble at school than anyone else, Tsanja was very fond of her. Actually, the pair were her favourite students.

As the end of that first school week arrived, Penn and Dee knew that their regular dinner at Mrs Beale's house would be special. Madeleine had asked if Penn could sleep over, and Penn was surprised when Mrs Beale accepted her suggestion without demur. After all, the village was small, and a bit strait-laced, and Penn staying at a girl's house would get tongues wagging.

With the addition of Madeleine's family, the weekly dinner became almost a party: Poe was warm, gentle and motherly, and shared Madeleine's sharp sense of humour. Pamela was reserved, but extremely elegant, beautiful in fact, and Madeleine sparkled, happy to be somewhere with so many new friends.

Pamela had asked Tsanja to come, and Dee was pleased to see her back at her mother's house. While Tsanja enjoyed herself at dinner, and enjoyed talking to the new guests, Mrs Beale barely spoke to her.

The meal was excellent, and the company delightful, as always. With Tsanja and Mrs Beale still not talking, Poe and Pamela played hostesses. Pamela talked about Madeleine's proposed study in Solveig, at the Academy. This institution was in a sort of competition with Solveig University, which Penn hoped to attend. Madeleine's Academy taught the arts, and Penn's University science. It was art against sciences, humanity against mechanism.

Pamela teased them both, and told Penn and Madeleine that with two such great minds, it was as if they had been made by the Gods for each other. Madeleine seemed a little embarrassed at being talked about in such a way, so she pulled Penn out of the room with her.

“Come on, Penn, I'll show you where you're sleeping.”

Penn's bedroom was small, and had obviously been set up for guests. Madeleine soon pulled him away from this obvious pretext, and brought him into her own room.

Madeleine's room was larger, and still contained some girlish things. It had a small chair, a dressing table and a lovely old mirror hanging over the bed. Penn imagined that the room had probably been Tsanja's before she had left the village to attend the Grand Abbey for her training. She had returned as a priestess, and had moved into the little house next to the Church and the school.

The table was being used as a workbench for making the choker charms, and Madeleine showed him her collection of stones, and her tools for working the leather.

She picked up a stone, and whispered some words into it, and it glowed for a moment.

“My grandma taught me how to make these. They give the owner happiness, and prevent them from coming to any harm. Our family has been making them for generations now.”

She moved her fingers over the stone in Penn's cord, and held it for a moment. Penn enjoyed the small intimacy. A sense of calm washed over him, and he began to feel warm, and a little sleepy, and, finally, comfortable in Madeleine's presence.

“There, that's nice, isn't it? The stone likes you, Penn!”

Madeleine released the stone, and Penn began to revive somewhat, but still feeling comforted, and pleasant. They played Bézique for a time on Madeleine's bed, and Dee and Tsanja looked in on them on their way home.

Dee spoke to her brother,

“Goodnight, Penn, don't stay up too late tonight, you have plenty of homework to do in the morning.”

It was Saturday, so Penn wasn't too concerned. Dee was just teasing, anyway.

Tsanja poked Dee on the arm,

“You could learn a lot from your brother, Dee!”

Dee never did her own homework. Penn had plenty of time to do the work tomorrow, and had already done most of the weekend's chores.

With the departure of Dee and Tsanja, silence descended upon the house, and Penn made as if to leave Madeleine's room, but she held his arm. She blew out the candles, and the room was lit only by the moonlight falling through her window.

“Stay here a little while, Penn, I want to show you something. I have a secret, so don't you dare tell my mother!”

“I have a magic mirror …”

Penn was a little surprised. He assumed that Madeleine was making some kind of a joke, but the mirror did seem to be glowing with some kind of a misty light.

Madeleine put her lips up to the glass, and whispered:

“Pamela Andersen”

The mist in the mirror swirled, and cleared, and showed a view of a bedroom.

Pamela was sitting at her dresser, carefully cleaning off her face and applying creams. She was taking her time, and listened out, as if she was waiting for someone.

A gentle knock on the door announced Mrs Beale, and Pamela let her into the room

“Hello, Jenny,” Pamela greeted Mrs Beale with familiarity, and she put an arm around her as they both sat on the bed.

Mrs Beale turned to Pamela, and they gazed at each other for a time, Pamela caressing her cheek, very lightly, and they kissed.

“I don't know what we've started,” Mrs Beale whispered to Pamela,

“I don't know if we can stop it.

“It might be necessary, but I don't know if it is right. I can't tell Tsanja, she thinks that what I do is an abomination, a blasphemy.”

Pamela demurred.

“Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, no, Tsanja is a good woman. She will not betray us. It will be beautiful, you'll see.”

They were both wearing robes, and Pamela opened them a little. Penn and Madeleine could see the swell of Mrs Beale's breasts, and they watched as Pamela pulled Mrs Beale to herself. Mrs Beale sighed and closed her eyes.

Pamela manoeuvred Mrs Beale to the bed, and lowered her down, covering her, and they embraced, covered by Pamela's robe.

“We'll all be home soon,” said Pamela gently, and Mrs Beale nodded. Pamela shifted position slightly, and wrapped her arms completely around Mrs Beale, and they regarded each other with smiles. Neither moved for some time, until Mrs Beale's eyes slowly drifted closed, and she turned her head to the side, and slept.

Pamela gently pulled herself up, to blow out the candle. Penn was surprised to see moisture on her breasts, although much of her was hidden in shadow. They could hear the bed-springs creak in the darkness as she joined Mrs Beale on the bed, then silence.

Madeleine waved her hands over the mirror in a gesture of dismissal, and the mists flowed back into the view of Pamela's room, until all was obscured. Giving Penn a brief kiss on the cheek, her eyes bright in the moonlight, she smiled at him, and whispered,

“That was wild, wasn't it? You'd better go to bed now.”

Penn carefully manoeuvred himself off the bed, feeling awkward with his erection, and with a maelstrom in his head. He had heard of Lesbians, but never seen anything like that! Actually, he'd never even seen a man and a woman together, let alone naked breasts, at least that he could remember, he must have seen his mother's though. Did Madeleine know what effect she had on him? Why did she show him such a sight? Did Madeleine like him? Was she just teasing him?

A whole new world was opening up to him, with Madeleine at the centre, and it excited him. After he found his own room and pulled himself into bed, it was some time before he could sleep. When he dreamed, it was of comfort, and drifting, and calm, and acceptance.

And love.

He was in love with Madeleine.

Chapter 2 – Healing

When Dee had just turned sixteen, she spent much of that summer alone. It wasn't that she lacked friends, far from it, but she had grown up enough that she wanted to see her part of the world. She spent her days walking for miles learning the roads and fields around Gynt, and finding her way into each farm's barns, tool-sheds and dairies.

She wasn't brave or stupid enough to venture into the caves which dotted the countryside. Every family had a story to tell of a brave young soul who began to spend time in the caves, becoming obsessed with their majesty, and, one day, failing to return.

Much of the land around Gynt had been cleared, but there were a few majestic oaks still scattered. The limbs of these trees started a way off the ground, and Dee had challenged herself to master getting into every single tree. Once one had gained the first limbs, the rest were easy, and being slight of build, Dee could get into the highest branches, with the lovely feeling of the wind in her hair, the whole of Gynt laid out like a wooden model beneath her.

The oldest, and tallest, oak tree was at the top of the rise near Mrs Beale's house. Dee had taken a long time to muster the courage for that particular challenge, having visited the tree many times without attempting anything. It was an old tree, but sickly, and she would have to be careful with the termites and the rotten limbs. She finally mastered it with a somewhat ungainly shimmy up the trunk. She ascended the next limbs easily, and she was feeling like queen of the world as she stood high in the tree, looking down on Mrs Beale's roof, the smoke from her chimney far, far down.

With the first gust of wind, the limb she was standing on, and the branch she was holding with her hands, both separated from the trunk with a loud crack.

Dee was suddenly falling, and, for a very short time, she felt like a bird, but then was on her back. The wind was knocked out of her, and the branch was on her leg. As she struggled for breath she realised that she had been fortunate, as the grass and leaves under the tree were wet and had cushioned her back in the fall, and the treacherous limb had already rolled away. Then the pain started in her thigh. She knew that her leg must be broken, but she didn't have the breath to scream in pain.

Fortunately, Mrs Beale had heard the crack of the branch falling, and came out her house to take a look.

With her daughter Tsanja's help, they carefully rolled Dee onto a stretcher. By now she was white with shock, and Mrs Beale could see that the heavy limb had snapped her femur.

As Dee was carried into the house, Mrs Beale whispered reassurances to the poor girl, and told her that she could be healed. She had by now got her breath back, and tears of pain were running down her face. They carried her into the main bedroom of the house. Mrs Beale and Tsanja, very carefully, rolled her face up onto the bed, and Dee could not help but think, morbidly, that it was the one that Mrs Beale had shared with her husband before he had died.

Tsanja was sent off to inform Dee's mother, and Mrs Beale began to explain about the healing process.

“Dee, you have had a very bad break. I can heal it, but it will take some time. Please, don't be distressed, but my healing methods may seem a little strange to you. You are in a lot of pain now, but just let me work, and you will be soon be feeling much better.”

Mrs Beale, very carefully, covered Dee with a sheet, and gently removed Dee's clothes. Each time anything touched her thigh, Dee had to bite her lip to stop herself screaming in pain. Mrs Beale got into bed beside her, and removed all of her own clothes, being careful not to bump Dee's leg, while preserving the modesty of both of them.

Mrs Beale carefully spooned herself against Dee's broken thigh, and held her around the middle.

“Easy, Dee, easy ...” whispered Mrs Beale, her face close to Dee's own.

Mrs Beale's arm was comforting, and her legs twined around Dee's calves. Around her thigh, Dee did not feel skin against herself, but a strange presence. It quickly warmed her, and dulled the pain of her break.

Mrs Beale stroked Dee's hair, and soothed her, and Dee began to feel her leg being stretched, the broken ends bone being moved. The pain should have been excruciating, and Dee kept expecting a burst of pain to return, but, as the two ends of the bone were brought together, she felt only a surge of relief.

The bones felt right again. They were in their proper position.

Dee was held in the bed this way for hours. Mrs Beale continued to pet her, and talked the small talk of life in the village. Dee remained silent, expecting for some time that the bones would shift again, and the pain and feeling of brokenness would return.

Nothing of the sort happened, and Dee was comforted by Mrs Beale's friendly face, and her gentle voice. Dee began to feel a growing affection for her, almost a kind of love.

In the evening, Mrs Beale shifted up the bed a little, and Dee's leg was still held immobile.

“Drink, Dee, you need to keep up your fluids until you are healed. I'll have to hold you like this all the time until then. It will take a good while.”

Mrs Beale shifted the sheet and pulled out one of her breasts. She held a nipple up to Dee's lips, and, although a little disconcerted, Dee suckled. She was rewarded by a trickle of warm milk. It was relaxing, and comforting, and Dee could feel her thirst and her appetite assuaged. It was as if she were a toddler again, and she felt that Mrs Beale was very kind.

As she suckled, images began to enter her mind, and Dee began to fall into a kind of waking dream.

She saw three people, in this very bedroom. One of them looked like a younger Mrs Beale, and there was also a baby, and a man Dee did not know. He was holding the baby, proudly, and Dee somehow could read the feelings on his face. He was in love with Mrs Beale, and also a little in awe of her, but he had an ineffable sadness about him, as if he were about to leave his family on some long journey.

As Dee finished drinking, the images faded away, and she settled back into quietness.

Being held by Mrs Beale was comforting, but at night time, in her dreams, being held became something more. Mrs Beale's face was ever present, and ever smiling, and she began to fill all of her world. As Mrs Beale smiled, Dee felt a strange feeling of pleasure beginning to rise in her. It was like one of those dreams she had started having this year, filled with strange signs and places, in which very little happened, but she felt an emotion that was new to her, a strange, mysterious feeling. It was pleasurable, and it grew in strength, and Dee would always feel that something momentous was about to happen. Each dream ended with a gush of pleasure, just before she woke up. She always felt sticky, and her pyjamas needed changing.

The feeling in her dreams with Mrs Beale was more intense than her dreams at home, it was cloying, and echoes of it stayed with her every day after she woke up. There was also something horrific, something palpable, underneath the feeling, and Dee began to feel that she would do almost anything to feel like that again, to see where the feelings led her. If she were older, she would perhaps have recognised them, and might have attached them to a person, but, being only sixteen, Dee did not understand.

Every day, Mrs Beale continued to hold her, and gave her breast-feeds. The visions Dee saw as she suckled became clearer as the week progressed. The vignette with Mrs Beale's family kept returning, and the baby, who Dee soon recognised as Tsanja, became a curious toddler, and Mrs Beale's husband, for that is who it must have been, grew sicker, and paler.

He was always sitting in his armchair, in this very bedroom, and he kept a cloth close by. He was often overcome with a great, hacking cough, and he spat blood into the cloth, red, fresh blood, and he could do nothing but lie back in his chair, exhausted..

As he sickened, Mrs Beale tried to give him comfort, and keep him alive, but her healing powers were clearly not omnipotent. He steadily grew more weary, and grey, and withdrawn, and began to argue with Mrs Beale, although Dee could not hear any words. Dee perceived that his decline was quite slow, that her daily visions were spanning months of time, and young Tsanja became quieter as she realised that something was wrong with her father.

Some decision was eventually made, and Mrs Beale acquiesced as Mr Beale gave her a final embrace. She opened the large chest that sat in the bedroom, but Dee could not see what lay within. Mrs Beale helped her husband to it, and he carefully used a little set of steps to climb up to the rim.

Mrs Beale detached Dee from her nipple.

“That's enough now, bairn.”

That was the final vision.

A week had elapsed since entering Mrs Beale's house, and Dee's leg was released from its strange confinement. As she gingerly made her way out of bed, she was relieved to discover that her bones had knitted perfectly, and her muscles were strong and limber, and she stretched, and twisted, in joy.

Tsanja had brought some clothes for Dee from her mother, and Dee felt eager to see her family, to return to her life, to start exploring again. However, before she was allowed to leave, Mrs Beale made her some tea, and sat her down at the kitchen table.

“Dee, my dearest, you are a very special girl, and I have given you very special attention. I hope and trust that from now on you'll only come back to my house for pleasant reasons”

“You must forget what happened in this week. Don't dwell on it, just go back to your life. I will give you something that will protect you. It is very precious, Dee, it is usually only given between Healers, and you must never take it off.”

Mrs Beale showed Dee a leather choker, with a red stone woven into it, much like the one Mrs Beale herself wore.

She knotted it around Dee's neck.

The strangeness of the week with Mrs Beale evaporated, and Dee's memories disappeared like smoke. She did not speak of her broken leg, or how it was healed, or her visions of Mr Beale, for a very long time.

Chapter 3 – Philosophy

All of the villagers came to Church every Saturday to hear Tsanja speak. They were a respectful and godly folk, and the villagers liked their priestess very much. She was helpful, she was enthusiastic, and her happiness was infectious.

Tsanja's training with the holy orders also provided her with tools to assist her congregation. With her powers of divination she could predict useful things for the farmers such as weather patterns, rainfall, and even what fashionable delicacies the rich would be eating in the city this season. She knew of little charms to help with all manner of things, and, despite their differences, she would occasionally help her mother with the magic she could not do for herself. As with all priestesses, Tsanja was sworn to celibacy, because much of the magic in the land could only be performed by virgins.

Tsanja's sermons were usually very entertaining, as she confidently talked about goings-on in the village, praising those who had made sacrifices for others, and making epic stories of the legends which formed the basis of their religion, the Holy Trinity.

Soon after Madeleine's family had arrived in Gynt, the weekly sermon did not start as expected.

Tsanja looked quite tired, and spoke uncertainly.

“The religion of our land is based on love. We have three deities, The Teacher, The Mother, and The Sacrifice. The love of a teacher for her pupil, the love of a mother for her child, and, most of all, the all-encompassing love one has for their fellows, and the very human drive to give of oneself, to ease the troubles of others.

“Love should be given unconditionally, but it is not blind. Life always has its trials, and its pain, and its disappointments. The capacity to love one another, even in the midst of pain, is what gives love its meaning. How can a woman love a boy who has broken her heart? How can a girl love her mother when she refuses to see that she is no longer a child? How can a nurse love the old, the sick, who are angry, ungrateful and beyond help? Why does a man give himself utterly, body and soul, as husband to his wife?

“The answer, my friends, is that love is the meaning of life itself. It is not a rule to live by, in order to achieve heavenly rewards. It is not some kind of currency to be exchanged to gain worldly wealth.

“Love is not a means.

“It is an end in itself.

“Love must be given to all around you, even if it is undeserved, nay, especially if it is undeserved. It is the pain and sacrifice of giving which makes it endure, and shapes our souls, and prepares us for the endless cycle of birth, and rebirth. It is the only way in which the poverty of our lives can seek improvement.”

The congregation was beginning to get a little restless with all of this dry theology. After all, they had all learned it in childhood, and many more times since then. Tsanja had always made it palatable by weaving it into a story, something fun. Why spell it out again, they wondered?

Tsanja soon departed from the familiar dogma, and her audience fell into an uneasy silence.

“There is another kind of love, a secret love, a demonic love that corrupts all it touches. This love is blind, like a worm, it seeks out life, but it infests all with shallow sweetness, empty bliss and broken promises.

“True love is given, to be accepted, or rejected, and raises up all who will let themselves feel it.

“This demonic, perverted love is not given, it takes, it takes everything that it can touch, and it does not let go. It will entwine your life with its own. First it will seduce you. Then it will corrupt your flesh. Nothing can save you then, and it will soon take your very soul.

“If it were to gain a foothold in this world, it would consume us all, until there was nothing left, nothing human, nothing good, nothing strong.

“I have learned to recognise the signs of the demon, and I know of its demonic love. Whole villages have been known to sink into an abyss of corruption and darkness to feed its insatiable appetite.

“Her name is Lilith.

“She is a perversion of nature, she is from outside nature, and she is invading the world created by the Holy Trinity.

“She has invaded Gynt, and with her has brought her followers, the Lilith Spawn. We must be strong, or she will take us all.”

At this, Tsanja hesitated, and Penn used the pause to pass a querying look to Madeleine. She did not see him, as she was staring at Tsanja, her eyes glistening, with some intensity, some strong emotion.

“They are very strong ... watch yourselves, do not let yourselves be seduced by their pleasure, by their evil. Gods, they are amongst us, I wish I could find them, I wish I could know them, and cast them out. Gods, please give me strength.”

Tsanja paused, and recovered herself.

“We are very fortunate that we have amongst us three healers, and they have special knowledge of Lilith and her ways. You all know my mother, Jennifer Beale. She has two new visitors at her house. Pamela Andersen and Palomina Gustafsen have come from Toridé to help us all. They know of charms against Lilith's malign influence. These charms take the form of a choker charm, a red stone tied by a black leather band, and, as you can see, a few people in Gynt are wearing them already.

“You have all heard that the town of Toridé was cut off from the world by a collapsed bridge. The Sisters have warned against travelling there, because the roads are unstable and dangerous.

“I am sorry to say that the situation is more complicated than that. I would like to say more, but all I can tell you is that the Lilith spawn have made life difficult for everyone in Toridé. Pamela, Madeleine and Poe were in Toridé when Lilith emerged, and were only able to escape Toridé because of their choker charms. They did not then have a source for the material to create more.

“Such as source has now been located. Pamela's daughter, Madeleine, has been making them as fast as she is able. Please, I beg of you, go to visit Madeleine at Mrs Beale's house, and she will supply you with your own protection against the demon. Don't worry about money. You may supply Mrs Beale with the usual tariff, if you can afford it, but they will refuse no-one their protection. If everyone in the village wears their protection at all times, the Lilith spawn will not be able to gain a foothold here.”

Tsanja bowed her head, and put a hand up to rub her eyes, which were red-rimmed, and left the altar. She joined Pamela, and the two women stood together, embracing, heads on each other's shoulders.


As it was Saturday, Penn and Dee made their regular visit to Mrs Beale's for dinner, and Tsanja was there once again. Tsanja seemed to be happier than she been had at church, more her usual self, and everyone chatted inconsequentially, glad to be feeling easy again.

Late in the evening, however, Pamela addressed herself directly to Tsanja. It was clear that the whole room was to be her audience, and that Tsanja was placed firmly in the role of pupil.

“Tsanja, I admired your speech in church today. Few people, especially in the Church, know of the Apocrypha of the Lilith spawn, the demon lovers. These false teachings do not contradict the Three Gods of the Holy Trinity, but tell of the end of our world, the ultimate fate of humanity, the true reason for our existence here on Earth.

“Lilith's followers are seductive, and they are strong. We must understand them if we are to defend ourselves from her evil influence, to protect us from harm.

“We must be careful. We have more enemies now than the Lilith Spawn. Tsanja, your speech in Church today will get back to the Sisters in Solveig. They do not like the events in Toridé to be talked about, and they will not like to hear that you have detected Lilith's followers in Gynt. I don't know what the Sisters will do, but they will not be happy.

“I know that the Church has a new weapon against the Lilith Spawn.

“The Sisters have started using magical creatures to protect themselves. I have heard them called fell things. They are said to be immortal, incorruptible, implacable. Whatever they are, they are immune to Lilith's seductions.”

Tsanja paled, and hesitated, while Pamela continued.

“The relationship between the Church and the Healers has always been uneasy.

“The Sisters of the Trinity derive their powers from their own celibacy, but also the god-given institution of Marriage, from the sacrifice of a man giving himself to his loving wife. These selfless acts of love and devotion allow the Sisters to impose order, to preserve peace, to maintain the way of things, as it has been for two hundred years.”

Dee saw Mrs Beale give Tsanja a look then, a look of pure hatred. Tsanja turned away, eyes downcast, and Dee could see that she was upset. Was this the quarrel that was between them?

Pamela continued,

“It is said that the Healers, on the other hand, derive their powers from Lilith herself, and that it is the Healers that are the Lilith spawn. One day, if they feel threatened, the Church may move against the Healers. The events in Toridé may force their hand.”

Tsanja shook her head,

“I would never allow that to happen. I will do everything I can to protect this village, Lilith spawn or no. The Healers are nothing but a force for good in this world, I am convinced of that.”

In a small voice, she added,

“I know I could be punished for it, but if I must hide what is happening here from the Sisters, then I will do all I can, and let us take our chances. And, Mother, I know how you feel about the great institution of Marriage, but, please, I do not think you understand it as I do.”

Mrs Beale hardened her gaze, and shook her head.

Pamela continued.

“Tsanja, today you spoke of love as a trial, as a hardship, a sacrifice, something easily neglected, needing to be tended carefully. To all of us, life is an opportunity to practice love for our fellows, to improve our souls for the cycle of rebirth.

“To the Lilith spawn, the cycle of life is a pointless trial, like that of Sisyphus, forced to push a boulder up a hill every day, only to have it roll down again by morning, or Prometheus, having his liver pulled out of his guts by birds, in excruciating agony, every single day, for all of eternity. All this, for the crime of giving humanity fire, for supplying us all with light, warmth and food.

“What else is a mortal life but a few moments of pleasure, a painful death, and then rebirth into blood and terror, the same pain renewed, over, and over, and over again?

“Of what use is fickle love against such pain?

“The Lilith Spawn believe the Trinity to be incomplete. We know that the love of a Teacher, a Mother, the Sacrifice, they are worthy, they keep Humanity alive, they relieve the worlds suffering.

“However, they believe that the land is not organised around a Trinity, but a Pentagram. The Teacher, The Mother, The Sacrifice, yes. But do not forget the Whore, and the Devourer, or, as the Lilith spawn would have it, the Lover, and the Protector. The urges to mate, to feed, these are older than humanity, they are shared by all creatures, the urge to reproduce, the urge to eat, to kill for their young, and to grow. To the Lilith spawn these base urges are more important than the three loves of our Church. The foundations of our church are seen as an unwanted duty, only used by the rulers of the land, the Sisters, to control their subjects.

“It is five loves which define Humanity, the five loves of a demon mother. The Lilith spawn believe that followers of the Trinity, by denying these base urges, have condemned themselves to a life only half lived, a shadow life.

“Lilith desires to spread her so-called love to all of humanity, unconditionally, blindly. To know her love is to know an eternity of ecstasy, of bliss, of fulfilment. How can anything we poor humans achieve compare to that? For all of our lives, we strive for just the merest taste of mortal ecstasy, a few years of companionship, a fleeting glimpse of the terror that comes of knowing one's insignificant place in the universe.

“Lilith has promised a horrible, physical, fascination, eternal pleasure, in return for nothing less than our mortal flesh and our immortal souls. If she were to triumph, she would hold us all in her foetid bosom for all of eternity.”

Tsanja looked startled at this speech, these blasphemous words, coming from the mouth of the beautiful, the beloved Pamela. Again, she looked as if she were about to cry, but weakly, she responded.

“It's just not right. People are not animals, to be corralled, and slaughtered, and driven to their deaths, their immortal souls corrupted and consumed. I don't know what to do.”

Pamela reached over to Tsanja, and caressed her cheek, and smiled lovingly.

“Oh, Tsanja, if only you knew … we must be strong, they are coming”


Penn could not resist asking Madeleine to see the mirror again.

Again, they gazed in admiration, and open desire, as Mrs Beale joined Pamela in her room. Tonight, they did more than just hold each other. As Pamela held Mrs Beale's face in her hands, she shifted between her legs. Mrs Beale wrapped her legs about her waist as Pamela began to push, and gasped with each thrust.

Their lovemaking was long, and Madeleine sought Penn's hand to hold as the scene in the mirror unfolded. When Pamela's motion reached a climax, she held Mrs Beale still for some time, and they both arched in pleasure, their mouths open in a silent scream. Pamela held the limp Mrs Beale for some time, tenderly, then slowly disentangled herself, and blew out the candle.

Madeleine dismissed the mirror, and surprised Penn by kissing him on the lips. Penn responded, holding Madeleine, and giving her a longer, deeper kiss.

His first kiss!

He thought he acquitted himself rather well.

“Come down here,” suggested Madeleine, smiling, and Penn lay down beside her and held her close, his tummy against her back, feeling awkward, but wonderful, and wrapping an arm around her chest, just under the swell of her breasts, unavoidably pressing himself against her.

Madeleine held his hand with her own, and soon settled into a gentle sleep. Penn held her close and still, but could not sleep for a long time.

Chapter 4 – Fripperies

Although sleeping was all that Penn and Madeleine did that night, Penn felt closer to Madeleine than ever before. He spent as much time as he could with her at school. They both worked well together, and spent enough time to joke and play around to keep themselves happy with it.

Their first exam results were excellent. Even Dee's were pretty good. Tsanja didn't seem to mind if her favourite students skipped out of some school. After all, they were almost adults now.

It was the best of times, the best in Penn's life. He had little to worry about until the year was finished, and he could feel his life opening up as he enjoyed his new freedoms.

Tsanja asked him to visit her once a week for private tutoring. Penn didn't really think he needed it, but he readily accepted. Penn had known and trusted Tsanja all of his life, and had always talked to her about his worries, his aspirations. She was like family, but far enough removed from Madeleine that he felt comfortable talking about her.

Penn soon realised the true purpose of these tutoring sessions. Tsanja knew that there was evil abroad in Gynt, but her family was already deeply involved in the search, and she wanted someone to talk to about what was happening, about what she was doing. It was obviously taxing work. Most of all, she wanted to keep herself sane.

She also wanted someone she could trust. Nobody knew what the consequences would be if word of the secrets of village life were to enter the wrong ears, whether the Lilith Spawn, or the Sisters in Solveig.

“It is so hard, Penn. Madeleine has been very helpful, but it is still not enough. Pamela, Poe and Madeleine were living in Toridé when it was taken by the Lilith spawn, by the demon. They were lucky to get out alive. Their choker charms gave them safe passage, but it it was too late for the town.”

Penn hadn't realised that it was as bad as this.

“What happened to the people?”

“They were devoured, Penn, devoured. They are gone now, their bodies eaten, their souls consumed. There is nothing left. I have seen it in my scrying, the town empty, abandoned.

“Those charms Madeleine has been making, the leather chokers, they will protect us. The stone keeps the soul from harm, it holds the soul to the body, it prevents the demon from touching us, it blinds us to her enchantments. But Madeleine is only young, Penn, and I am getting older. It cost me so much to make the choker charms, I cannot do it any more. I have left all of the protections to her to make, I just do not have the strength.

“I have spent most of my energies on deceiving my Church. I have been doing everything I possibly can to hide what has been going on here in Gynt. Poe has told me some of what went on in Toridé, and, I fear, we have as much to fear from the Church as from the Lilith spawn. One woman cannot hide a whole village forever.

“Madeleine doesn't realise that I know, but she has been adding love enchantments, happiness wards, healing spells to her choker charms. These are just small magics, fripperies.

“She doesn't know how much danger we are in, Penn, the Lilith spawn are clever.

“The demon, she cannot touch us, but we are only human. If she can find a way to use our own magics against us, she will do everything she can to seduce us, to talk sweetly to us, to leave us unprotected.

“Everyone in the village has a choker charm now. If only one person were to remove their charm, we would be in grave danger. Lilith may find a way to make us do so, and then we would be done for.

“I cannot find them, Penn. The Lilith spawn are here, making their plans, but they are hidden.

“Trinity magic can only be performed by virgin women, and only those with magic in their soul, and even then only with much training.

“There are only two of us, Penn.

“It is only Madeleine and I that can prepare the protections, perform the predictions, prepare the village for attack.

“It is so hard, Penn, it is so hard, maintaining my love, maintaining my virginity. I have had many admirers in my life, Penn, but I have dissuaded them all, rejected them, cut them out of my heart. I love everyone in Gynt, of course, I have devoted my life to them. But I have also cut myself off from knowing a mother's love, and now that my youth is fading, it hurts, Penn, it hurts like a mortal wound, and I will feel it unto death.

“I know how you and Madeleine feel about each other, Penn, and I cannot stand in your way. But please, Penn, we are all in danger, and I need Madeleine's help. Don't do anything to jeopardise our protection, Penn, be careful.”

This hit Penn hard. Madeleine did not want to become a priestess, she wanted to study, to learn, maybe to teach, or paint, or write. He had not considered how much Gynt needed her virginity intact, and, for the first time, he understood how much Tsanja's sacrifice must have cost her

Tsanja embraced Penn, and kissed him on the cheek, and held him tight.

“It is love that will get us through this, Penn, it will not be forever. When we find the Lilith spawn, we can dispossess them, Madeleine, and I, and the Healers, we can cast them out. Life can be sweet again, Penn, don't give up hope. I will keep my church, and my school, you shall marry Madeleine, if you want her. Madeleine will ensure that your lives will be full of scholarship and sophistication, and children, and all the blessings that the Trinity can bring.”

“When you are to be a husband, Penn, I will bless you, and Madeleine, and set your destiny in stone.”

Penn felt himself rising as Tsanja held him, but she did not seem to notice, and did not let him go. Blushing, he cursed himself silently. This was not the pure love that Tsanja had taught. Finally, as he made to move, she gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek and released him.

Her face betrayed nothing except her usual serene love and respect.


Penn, at home and in bed that night, was frustrated. He loved Madeleine so much, he wanted her, he thought that they were so close to the consummation of their desires. Now Tsanja had blocked him, stopped his fantasies dead with her adult talk of demons, of responsibility, of sacrifices, of that timeless virtue, virginity. Oh, Penn wanted Madeleine so much, but he could not!

Unable to sleep, and alone, he heard Madeleine whisper in his ear:

“Penn, Penn, Penn. Listen to me. If you hear me, say my name, three times.”

It was something magical!

“Penn, I am serious. Say my name three times, Penn, say it ...”

Penn was enraptured: he had seen very little magic in Gynt, but Madeleine had shown him a wonderful trick.

Penn whispered thrice as asked.

“Madeleine, I heard you. How are you doing it?”

Madeleine sounded pleased.

“Oh, Penn, I didn't know if it would work or not. I'm so glad you can hear me. Any time you need to talk to me, Penn, just whisper my name three times.

The two of them chatted about the day, as if they were in the same room together, for a very long time. Finally, Madeleine said she had to go.

“I'll see you tomorrow, Penn

“It's easy to turn off the magic, to say goodbye. I just need to say this:

“I love you, Penn”

Madeleine giggled.

Penn responded.

“I love you, Madeleine.”

He knew he meant it, but Madeleine saying such a thing, just to break the magical connection, seemed like a cheap trick. Maybe she just wanted him to make him say it. He wasn't even sure if Madeleine had really meant it. In fact, he resented being forced to use that phrase as some kind of adolescent game. Maybe this is what Tsanja had meant, with her talk of fripperies. Maybe Madeleine was still just a girl, after all.

Chapter 5 – Little Indians

Most afternoons Penn, Dee and Madeleine used their freedom to roam the village. They found a few houses that were empty, dark, with their doors unlocked. Although they probably shouldn't have, they would just enter them and explore. They looked lived-in, as if their owners had simply walked out one day and never returned. Madeleine wondered aloud about who might once have lived here, and made a game of trying to find a diary, or a journal, or a portrait, indeed, any indication of who had lived here.

Nothing of the sort could never be found, and the residents of each house remained a mystery.

In retrospect, Penn could never put his finger on the moment when he realised that something was amiss. The strangeness of village life could no longer be denied. It did not make him feel ill at ease. On the contrary, these were still the happiest times of his life.

He lost count of the number of times he would see something, or think of someone, or try to do something, only to be pulled up short as his memory of the world was contradicted by reality.

Penn had been used to visiting some of the farms around the village after school … but he could no longer remember for what purpose. The farmer would often feed him, and she would give him fresh milk, and eggs.

Since the start of the school year, he had stopped making these visits, because the edge of the village had now become the edge of his world. Every time he intended to head out, as soon as he stepped past the last house in the village, he realised that he no longer had any destination in mind, and found himself turning around and walking back.

It was as if some invisible barrier came down in his mind whenever he tried to see beyond the limits imposed upon him. He couldn't even remember what any of the farms looked like now, and he couldn't seem to form a picture of anything else outside town. As with everything else, none of this seemed to touch him emotionally.

Whenever a contradiction was blatant, a momentary burst of panic would shoot up his spine. Dee and himself had once had neighbours, he knew that, all the houses in their street had once been occupied. But now, many of the houses were empty. Who were his neighbours? Where had they gone? Why didn't anyone speak of this? The panic never lasted. A feeling of calm would soon wash over him, and he decided that it didn't matter very much. Soon he had trouble remembering the inconsistency at all.

Penn and Dee had plenty of stores at home, so there was no concern yet of either of them going hungry, and they still had Madeleine and her magical family to visit.

As village life continued to get stranger, Penn and Dee continued to have their weekly dinner at Mrs Beale's house. These times were like islands of calm, a slice of village life from before the Lilith spawn had started their strange intrusion.

Tonight's conversation had rearranged itself to avoid the present day, as discussion of village life would inevitably flow towards something that had been lost, and the memory hole would become apparent to all. This usually resulted in an awkward silence.

Penn and Madeleine didn't talk very much at the table tonight. Madeleine had slipped off one of her sandals, and the way she rubbed her bare foot up his legs, and sometimes higher, was very naughty. Penn found it hard to concentrate, but Madeleine hid her subterranean activities very well, except for the odd sly smile which stole in his direction. After Poe winked at him, Penn pushed Madeleine's foot away, but Madeleine's toe was soon back again, creeping up his inner thigh, and he held her foot, and squeezed, hoping nobody else would notice their preoccupation.

Penn and Madeleine crept off to her room straight after dinner. Closing the door, they embraced, and kissed more deeply than ever before. Penn was out of his depth, and spent himself into his trousers almost immediately. Madeleine dropped her hand down, and smiled into the kiss as she felt his slimy moisture, and her fingers played in it. Penn felt chastened by his little accident for only a very short time, and was soon emboldened. He had always worried about embarrassing himself for his first time, but this way he felt a greater sense of control, and his passion was still as yet undiminished.

Pulling themselves into bed, they clumsily pulled off their clothes and entangled their limbs together, revelling in the feeling of so much of their skin touching, and they held each other close.

Regarding each other with the flush of first love, finally won, Penn felt no need to hurry.

Madeleine's skin felt delicious, and he wanted to continue in such a way that this evening would last long, and forever in his memories.

Madeleine smiled at Penn, and kissed him, slowly. She wrapped her legs around his centre, and pushed herself against his hardness. Rolling on top of him, she reached down and positioned him at her entrance.

He gazed at her, loving her, and revelling in her dark beauty.

A feeling of concern intervened, and, quietly, he asked her,

“Do you want to do this, Madeleine? You need your powers. Tsanja has told me how much she needs you.”

Madeleine kissed him again. She didn't want to talk now. Penn didn't want to hurt her, and let her hold him close as she made small movements, which made his entry slow and delicious. She was wet, and there was little resistance until he reached her barrier.

“I love you, Penn,” Madeleine whispered, as she pushed herself right down, and she winced as her tissues parted.

Holding him within herself, Madeleine was overwhelmed with emotion. She began to rock, slowly, and settled into a comfortable rhythm. Their pleasure rose for some time, and Penn began to push back, both of them gaining confidence with the new sensations. Penn felt Madeleine pulse, and she gave a little sigh, then he let go and closed his eyes as gentle pleasure washed over them both.

They held each other tightly for some time, Madeleine not wanting to lose the feeling of being filled, and her new soreness only made the afterglow seem special. It had all been so much more than either of them had expected. When Madeleine rolled off, she held Penn from the back, stroking his hair.

“You know, Penn, when I talked to you last night, in your bed at home?

Penn nodded.

“Poe showed me how to do it, she's a bad old girl, Penn, she likes to see us young people together, she only encouraged me to grab you.

“I cheated, Penn. I added a little charm into your choker, into all the chokers I made.

“If you truly love somebody, you can talk to them, Penn, you can use the choker charms to talk.

“I knew I loved you, Penn, I knew I could talk to you and you would hear.

“I didn't know if you were able to talk to me. I was so scared that you did not love me, that you would not respond. When I heard you, Penn, I almost shrieked, I knew that I had you. I wanted to wake up the whole house to tell them. Oh, I love you Penn, I love you, I love you, I love you, and I want to keep you, I want to keep you forever, so I can play with you whenever I want ....

“I've done everything I can, Penn, and Tsanja has shown me the future. I have seen us both holding our beautiful baby daughters. Our future looks fine, Penn, don't be worried. Do you think you're ready to be a father?”

Penn was happy, and in love.

He didn't feel ready to be a father, but, he supposed, did anyone?

Whispering in her ear,

“I'm yours, Madeleine, yours forever,”

he entwined his fingers with hers, and fell into the deepest sleep he had known for some time.

Chapter 6 – Little Indians Lost

It was when his friends started disappearing from school that Penn could no longer ignore the malignancy overtaking the village. He did not realise this with any sense of horror, and he knew that somehow his emotions, his thoughts, were being manipulated.

He could not muster any feelings for each missing soul, and, shortly after their disappearance, had a hard time remembering their very existence. Intellectually, he knew that something was not right, that children should not go missing, that someone, or some thing, was taking them. Perhaps it was something evil, and some strange mechanism was preventing its detection.

When Tommy Flowers disappeared, his mother also stopped appearing in the village. Penn immediately wrote his name down on the back page of his notebook, which he saw every day, and decided he would enter the name of every missing person. To make sure, he made a note on the first page reminding himself of his plan.

It was difficult. With every attempt to preserve a name, or indeed any memory, and Penn's mind would empty of it faster. He never let the book out of his sight, and kept on forgetting why there was a note in the front referring him to the back page. Somehow he kept this fragile chain of events going, and was continually reminded of those who had been lost. It seemed like the strange influence could not shield all indirections.

He tried to tell Dee and Madeleine of his scheme, but they soon forgot about it, and would remember nothing about it by the next time they met. Penn felt that his hold on reality was becoming tenuous, and it took all of his will to hang on to the loose threads of his past.

On the days that Penn visited Tsanja for their regular meetings, Penn could see that Tsanja looked confused, as she kept coming across reminders of all that had changed. She was tired, and increasingly relied upon Penn for emotional support. As with Penn, Tsanja could not muster any emotional connection to the missing children, and the conversations he had with her were very strange, an objective examination of what had been happening, and ideas about what to do about it, but no fire, no passion to discover the missing children, no manifestation of any instinct to protect those that remained.

She was very affectionate towards him in these meetings, as if holding Penn could make up for the new vacancies in her heart, and she locked her study in the Church while they were meeting, as if she wanted privacy, or didn't want to be disturbed.

Caley Finn was the next to disappear, then John Caley.

Penn also noted a reminder in his notebook to ask Madeleine if they could use her mirror. It had not seen very much use now that they had other things to do in her bedroom.

Before he saw Madeleine again, he knew that he could not recall why it was important, but he somehow managed to convince himself so, and that he should look up his notebook, which he took everywhere with him, and to bring Dee, who somehow seemed better able to cope with the daily assaults on their sense of reality.

When Dee and Penn were sitting with Madeleine on her bed that afternoon, all revising their homework for once, Penn saw the note in his book, and fleetingly remembered one of those who had gone missing. He directly addressed the mirror.

“Tommy Flowers”

The mist cleared, but the image was very dark. Tommy's face was visible in the gloom, but he seemed to be asleep. His head was bandaged above his eyes, and much of his face was in shadow.

They studied the image for some time, but the boy was motionless, and there were no clues as to his whereabouts.

Penn found another entry.

This one was unusual. It wasn't part of the other list he had made, and it was written next to his own name:

“Jane Cameron ♥ Penn Fillis”.

This entry must be old. Pen couldn't remember Jane Cameron at all. And why was his name there, with a heart?

Oh well, may as well give her a try.

“Jane Cameron”

A girl's face appeared out of the mist. She looked peaceful, beautiful, with freckles, and fine red hair, her pale features untroubled. She looked like somebody Penn would like to get to know, but no feeling of recognition stirred within him. Penn was frustrated that nothing was shown of her surroundings. No, that wasn't quite right: It was as if his eyes would not focus on anything but her face.

“How can we find them?” asked Penn.

After some time, Jane's eyes opened, she looked startled, then she smiled, began to breathe more heavily, and her eyes closed again. Penn looked forward, eagerly, but Madeleine dismissed the mirror, and blushed, and asked for the next name.

“John Caley”

Penn realised then that he had seen John Caley only this morning, and he had not returned to class after lunch. It had only been an hour since Penn had seen him. It was fortunate that Penn had entered his name immediately, as his memory of the boy was already fading.

John Caley was sitting, naked, on a small stone platform, quite comfortable. He was lit up by sunlight, but he was surrounded by darkness, and some vegetation. He appeared to be alone, but he was evidently listening to someone, and he nodding, and seemed a little shy. He became quite erect, and blushed, and reached up to remove his choker.

As it was pulled free, he smiled, and reached as if to hold someone. There was still nobody there, but shadows fell across his skin. A look of sudden terror passed across his face, and he made as if to struggle, but was held firm.

“He's in the cave! It must be the one near the old oak tree on the road out of the village!” exclaimed Dee.

There were many caves around Gynt, and people tended to stay away from them. Dee, however, had started exploring the caves after her leg had healed, as they seemed to be places of calm, and quiet, and all of the other children seemed too afraid to enter. Dee could never remember if there was anything to fear about the caves, and she never felt any sense of danger in them.

In recent years she had started to spend more and more time in this particular cave, as it seemed to engender similar feelings in her as had her time with Mrs Beale as she was being healed. Dee blushed guiltily as she considered the strange pleasures she had felt there.

The watched as John stood up, and walked towards the back of the cave, into the shadows. The mirror's view followed his passage, and as he came back into the light again, his eyes drooped and he relaxed. His penis began to bob, as if it were being manipulated. The shadows across his skin now surrounded his whole body, and his head tilted back in evident pleasure.

They each stared for a few moments longer, in horrified fascination. John's penis bobbed, and he thrust into the shadows, his face showing exertion, and the beginnings of ecstasy.

They had to find him quickly. The cave was on the other side of the village, but they made good time. When they arrived, and climbed down into the gap, the cave was still lit by sunlight

There was no sign of John Cameron.

Tsanja was sitting on the stone platform.

She still looked tired, and confused.

Chapter 7 – Time for oneself

Tsanja's face showed relief as Penn, Dee and Madeleine arrived.

“You poor lambs. I know that my children are being taken. It has taken all of my powers to clear my head. You all seem to know something of what is going on. I followed John Caley here after lunch, and left my classes with Poe in charge. He was almost running to get here, and I think I might be a bit out of shape. I saw him climb down, but he seems to have disappeared into thin air. That has been the way with all of them, but I was blind to it, my mind was blocked.

“Help me search ...”

They scoured the cave, but it was not very large. Other than the vegetation and the rock platform, there was little down here. However, the cave was very warm. No, it was something more than that. The four of them began to feel the stirrings of desire, and it was distracting as they fruitlessly covered old ground.

Penn realised that the back wall had hardly been approached, and the strange feelings intensified when he tried to move closer..

“Look, there ...”

“There's nothing, I've looked.” Tsanja exclaimed in frustration.

Penn turned his head to stare at the wall, and it was hard to hold his gaze steady.

Tsanja was right, there was nothing there.

Penn forced himself to stare for some time, and tried to examine, really examine, the wall. The cave was dark, but not pitch black. Was the wall bare stone? Was it covered in moss, or vines? Was it wet, was it dry? There was nothing, he drew a blank. It was like the blind spot in his eye.

While he could not see, he did not perceive that he could not see.

No black, no green, no brown, no colour.

It took an effort of will to approach the wall, and he reached out, and tried to touch it. A moist warmth enveloped his arm. A pleasurable tingle began to steal into his shoulder, into his stomach, into his groin. Still he stared into nothingness!

He pushed forward, and his head passed through some barrier. He saw a chamber beyond the first.

John was here. He was standing upright, quite still, his expression neutral. His chest glistened, and there were red marks on his skin, like love bites. He lifted his hand, as if someone were taking it. His cock still stood out proud, but his skin was indistinct, and kept falling into shadow. He was led deeper into the cave, deeper into the darkness, where there was nothing at all but more shadows, more blindness.

“There's nothing there, Penn,”

Madeleine and Dee pulled him back, and he could see that they looked worried.

Penn felt memories sliding away in his brain, and he was at a loss. If only he knew who, or what, had been here with that boy when he disappeared! If only he could remember his name! The memory of the wall's caress slipped away, until all he could recall was its blankness. Penn was left with a vague sense of loss. He had known something very important, and now it was gone.

All four knew that something was wrong, that their search was useless, that they were being manipulated. They stood in the cave, first, not knowing what to do, and soon, wondering why they were there at all. The humid heat of the cave got to them, and they shifted as unwanted desire stirred within each of them.

Madeleine sighed, breaking the uneasy silence.

“I'm going home to help Poe with dinner. Everyone, come around for dinner with us if you want tonight. You know that you're always welcome.”

Dee stood up, ready to go with Madeleine.

Tsanja spoke next, “I think I need to stay here for a little while. I'll try to find out what happened here.”

Madeleine looked at Penn for a moment, and Penn felt a stab of love and desire for her, right in his guts. The feelings engendered by the cave had only intensified, and he wanted her. He wanted to undress her, here and now, and take her, and if Tsanja and Dee were not here, he might have done it.

He went to join Madeleine to walk her home, but Tsanja held his arm.

“Stay, Penn,”

Tsanja's eyes were downcast, and she didn't meet Madeleine's eyes as Madeleine made to leave. Madeleine blew Penn a kiss, waved, and climbed out, following Dee.

“Sit down, Penn, please sit down. I have to talk to someone, I feel like I'm going crazy.

“I've known for months that the Lilith spawn are here in our village, and that it is being eaten, hollowed out, by a demon, by her followers. I know this, but I am powerless. I still cannot find the demon, I cannot find who brought her here, I do not know why our protections are not working. My powers, my training, Madeleine's protections, she has found some way to get past them. You must have realised already what it is doing with our memories, and with our sight.

“I have dreams, Penn, terrible dreams. I dream of the pleasure which she gives to those who give in to her, and I dream of immortality, trapped in her bliss, in her stagnant hell.

“They are too strong, Penn, too strong. I am getting old, Penn, and whatever becomes of me, I will be barren, useless, my father's ancestors dying alone, with me, who could not even look after the children placed in her care.”

Tsanja sat down next to Penn, and wrapped her arms around his neck, and covered his head with her long, blonde hair.

“I want a baby, Penn, I am sick, I am tired, of serving others, of being a dead end, of waiting for death.”

Tsanja sought Penn's mouth, and kissed him, and her hands pushed up inside his shirt, and she tried to pull it off.

Penn was taken aback. Tsanja was clumsy, she was embarrassed, she did not know how to kiss.

He wanted her, though, he could not deny it, and the strange heat of the cave was not helping him resist.

“Tsanja, no. I love Madeleine, you need your magic, we all need your protection. I cannot do this!”

Tsanja did not release him, and looked him square in the eye.

“I will not take you from her, Penn. You are a beautiful boy, everyone loves you, I have always loved you, from the first day I met you. Penn, we might already be as good as dead, we might already have lost, and love is all we have left.

“Love me Penn, just give me a child. I have seen glimpses of the future. I have seen our child, Penn. She is the only way I can save myself from ruin, from being consumed. I am scared, Penn, I am so, so, scared, please, save me ...”

Tsanja reached out a hand to hold the stone in his choker charm. Penn was held in her gaze. His voice was weak.

“But your powers ...”

“Penn, when life was good, I used my powers to help people. Even then, I could not help anybody as much as my mother did. She uses the power of the demon to do her healing, Penn, you must know that by now. The healers have tamed the demon, turned her to their own uses. Lilith is the source of their power, they have used her for countless generations. My powers, though, have been no use at all.

“The demon is too strong for me, too clever. I know that she can distort my memory, distort my thinking, distort my predictions, and hide from me the black souls of the betrayers hidden amongst us.

“Stay, Penn,”

Tsanja arose, and began whispering, quickly, but Penn could not hear what she said.

Penn felt a lassitude in his limbs, a comforting relaxation. He knew that this was wrong, that Tsanja was enchanting him against his will. His will was draining out of him, along with his strength, and he would not be able to resist her for very much longer. Penn began to gaze upon Tsanja with desire, with blatant lust. Oh, she had always been a friend of his, that was true, but she was a mature woman, and she wanted him, and he began to want her, to take her, to rut with her, to pull her to the ground and use her.

Tsanja began to undress. She tried to sway her way out of her clothes, gracefully, sensually, but she was big, clumsy, ungainly, and she almost tripped on her robes as they finally came off.

She giggled, and brought a sympathetic smile to Penn's lips.

As her full nakedness was revealed, Penn saw that she could be beautiful, if she knew how. Poor Tsanja, hiding herself away in the vestments of a priestess for so many years, giving her all to the village, taking nothing for herself.

Still whispering, she reached down, into his trousers, and wrapped a hand around his penis. Undoing his belt slowly, she opened him up to her.

“Penn, be kind to me. Be gentle. I want this, I want this so much it hurts.”

“Tsanja, please ...”

“Oh, Penn, don't be such a prude. I know you will have many lovers, or marry Madeleine at least, whatever you want, Penn, whatever you want. I will just have you this one time, just love me.”

Her hand was still wrapped around his cock, and it had risen to fullness. She kissed its tip gently, and then took it into her mouth, just a little. She held him, and gave him a cheeky little lick, and grinned.

Penn was surprised at how surely she had captured him. She maintained eye contact as she pushed herself down all all the way, and looked up to his face, and smiled, knowing that she had him. Penn could feel her tongue and throat muscles surrounding him, and was amazed at how much she could fit in her mouth.

How had Tsanja become so skilled at this, wondered Penn?

Penn leaned back and let her continue. Oh, it was heavenly.

Penn had given himself to Madeleine, and thought his promises to her were absolute. He now realised that he was still only a boy. A mature woman was seducing him, against his will, and he could not refuse her.

Would it be so terrible to surrender? All things considered, Tsanja was a good, honest woman, and Penn trusted that she would not stand between Madeleine and himself.

Madeleine need never know.

Penn was about to lose control, and he held her head, wanting to come into her sucking mouth. Tsanja pulled herself free, and kissed him again on the lips. Penn let himself be seated, and did not move as Tsanja straddled his hips. Her lower lips glistened, she was ready. She let her moist lips gently hold his tip within herself, and she spoke, quietly,

“My powers are not worth a lifetime of barrenness, Penn. This is the magic that will save me, the magic of creation, this will save me, I know it.”

She closed her eyes, and exhaled, heavily, as she slowly impaled herself, the ripping hurt of penetration warring with the pleasure of coupling, and of everything it represented.

Penn felt himself fully enveloped.

A ritual as old as humanity, a blessed sacrament taken before every new life begins.

Tsanja enfolded Penn with her arms, and drew him close and warm. The sharp pain of her ripped tissues was fading, but it was more than her blood that trickled from her. All of her training, her Trinity magic, her divinity, it leaked out of her, into the aether, dissipating into nothingness.

She felt the weight of her responsibility lifting from her shoulders. Oh, what a blessed relief! Gods, she wanted to have a baby. She wanted to be a mother.

The Gods would provide.

She rocked her hips over Penn, and her flower suckled and hungered for his seed.

Penn and Tsanja were lost in pleasure as they held each other, and moved, and sweated, and smiled. There was no hurry as the strange heat of the cave warmed their bodies, and penetrated them, and allowed them to give of themselves absolutely, without anything coming between them and their intimacy.

Tsanja was larger than Madeleine, and less sure of herself, but she was so desirable. Oh, Penn loved this. He had known Tsanja all of his life, and felt no little tenderness towards her. He began to wonder if this was a world where breaking his faith need have consequences, if there could possibly be any hurt resulting from such stolen pleasure.

Tsanja flared first, and gasped. Penn followed shortly afterwards, and jetted himself into her, powerfully. They had found perfection on their first time, as each of his spasms was answered by a swallowing contraction from her sheath.

“Oh, Penn,” Tsanja breathed, and they held each other close for a long time.

List of Characters

These are all the people that appear in this story, although some do not speak

Pendragon Fillis (Penn) – Our hero, and Dee's brother

Deepanker Fillis (Dee) – Our heroine, and Penn's sister

Madeleine Andersen – Penn's girlfriend, maker of choker charms

Tsanja Beale – Mrs Beale's daughter, Penn and Dee's teacher, priestess of the Trinity, seducer

Magdalena Fillis (Magda) – Mother to Penn and Dee

Pamela Andersen – Madeleine's mother, healer, beauty

Jennifer Haarlem (Mrs Beale) – Gynt's healing woman, Tsanja's mother

Richard Fillis – Father to Penn and Dee

Helen Glensdóttir (Aunty Helen) – Archivist in Toridé, Penn & Dee's aunt, Pamela's lover

Palomina Gustafsen (Poe) – Pamela's mother, healer to the King

James Beale – Tsanja's father

Paul Andersen – Pamela's husband, Madeleine's mother

Hypatia Sorensen (Sister Hypatia) – Sadistic sister of the Trinity, Tsanja's nemesis, and friend

Jane Cameron – Taken by Lilith, and Penn's girlfriend

Tommy Flowers – Taken by Lilith

John Caley – Taken by Lilith

Caley Finn – Taken by Lilith

Sarah Fillis/Beale – Baby of

Eleanor Fillis – Baby

Hypatia Beale/Fillis – Baby

Felthings – Magical, dangerous creatures

Night-wings – Baby Pendragons

Pendragons – Grown-up Night-wings

Lilith – Saviour of the world, temptress, destroyer, deceiver, demon

End of Part 1 [1 2 3 4 5]

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