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Succubus Ardour

City of the Wiccad – Act 1

By Jai Lefay


Smashwords Edition




Copyright 2016 Jai Lefay


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Dedicated to those who are Wiccad and yet to believe it.




The Tale Begins

(Ancient times)



“You wish me to change the narrative?”

“Where it is needed. The story must be changed; our stories must be changed. For safety, our place in the narrative must change. In fact, in part, it might be best to remove us.”

Two women met together in the shadow of the Great Library as the sun set. The hood of their cloaks obscured their faces even from each other but they knew one another too well for it to matter.

Megea had come to find Eistoria, eldest daughter of Mnemosyne, as she travelled from the library to the nearby amphitheatre. Megea came to recruit the woman to her cause, to her place in the Wiccad, and she was asking much of Eistoria.

“Changing the story is easy in this time but how am I to continue this task you set me when I am not immortal as you are.”

“Immortality will be granted to you; your soul will return even if your body is taken and you will find your task again. The truth must be known one day, but for now, for the safety of all of the Wiccad and all who shall come after us, and be born of us, you must reweave the tapestry.”

“You ask much of me, Megea, but I shall do it. I shall be the keeper of the stories of the Wiccad and I shall change the tales that the world shall know of us in this time.” Eistoria knew the wrath she might incur for this, the danger in doing it. Yet she would do it. Megea had explained the truth of the Wiccad and the danger to come at the end of the Second Age. To save the world yet to come was too great a charge to turn away from.

The two women parted and Eistoria changed her direction. She would not be performing tonight at the theatre. She had more important tasks now than singing. The Moirai owed her a favour and tonight she would collect it from the fates. She needed to secure her future thread and her story. They had said her fate was set and now she understood.

Her name would be forgotten, her place in these stories extinguished by her own hand. Then she would live again. The Moirai would make sure of it.


Search for the stories you shall

Along life and through death

Tell the tales you shall

Share magic, death and love

Start at the beginning

Stop at the end

Start in the middle

Tell it over again

The Wiccad await

Across lands

And across time

Tell the story

The time is now


****



Every story needs a teller. Every tale needs a scribe, the pen to describe all that the tales that they wish to share with us; from beginning to middle to end, and my friend, that scribe and pen would be me.

In the beginning, Eistoria was chosen. Sister of muse, daughter of memory. She was tasked to change and tell what had been and what yet might be.

Now it falls to me to share this story. And, oh, what a story to share and to be part of. For you see, spoiler alert, this story will also feature me. I would love to begin there where my story passes through theirs but I fear, you must be patient or perhaps it is I who should find those infamous fairies to grant me that blessing. We would be missing too much of the story if we jumped straight to me and we have so many tales to tell and so many Wiccad Woman to meet as well.

But, I have gotten ahead of myself again, I have not even given you my name.

I am Jaidee. Some of you know me quite well and think of me fondly, I’m sure. Others have not met me before and that is fine, hopefully, in time I will call you a friend of mine, too. For now, it is a pleasure to meet you and to bring this wondrous tale into your life and perhaps into your heart.

Which means I must stop waffling and start. But where to begin with so much to share.

We begin in the middle, well, in a middle-ish place in the complete tale I shall tell. We begin many years from where it began, when Immortals and Gods walked this realm of yours, many miles, of course, from the temple where Megea and Eistoria stood.

We begin in the City. A place of light and laughter, and in equal measure, a place of darkness and despair. For in the City, this place between Heaven and Hell, there are more things than you would dare to think of or to tell, but here they can be found where ever you might look around.

Perhaps we could begin with hell. In a girl once sweet of soul but now with a demon forced within to bring others to pain?

We could begin with a thief sitting up on a roof watching the night sky, unknowing of how her next decision will mean her life will never be the same?

Catherine has another tale to tell, the years since that All Hallows’ Eve have taken more than you can believe, and still there is more to risk and find. Will the fates this time be kind?

Or we can start with the now, a woman of power raising women to embrace their own. Within this house is known the stories of Megea, and here we could begin. Start in the middle and hark back to the beginnings. Yes, absolutely, we shall, of course, begin our journey to the City with the mysterious Miss Maggie.

Right, are we comfortable? Glass of water at hand? Music playing if you are that way inclined (as I am)?

Once upon a storytime…



****




Maggie’s Home For Girls


Margaret Baker was a woman who made an impression. And it was not always a good one; especially when it came to the God-fearing women of The City. Margaret Baker was a lady of independent means who ran a boarding house, of sorts, for select young ladies.

Many thought her the mistress of a brothel but they were quite wrong.

Others thought her a witch and they were closer to the truth.

Margaret Baker did in fact, not give a proverbial rat’s arse what anyone thought, guessed, or gossiped, about her, her home or her workings.

She went by the name of Maggie to her nearest and dearest. Those being namely the girls that resided in her large home. The girls came from all walks of life but had one thing in common: magic in their soul. The kinds of magic and gifts that made life more difficult in a society that took itself far too seriously. They were often outcasts even in their own families, Maggie took them in to help them, teach them. Sometimes that meant teaching a girl to pretend to be normal and hide her talents; for some wished nothing more than to live their lives out as anything but extraordinary. Maggie very much believed in letting each girl choose the life they deserved. Others she helped develop and control the talents they were born with or gifted. It was fulfilling work and what Maggie was born to do.


“Mother Maggie?”

The sound of a sweet voice drew Maggie from her reading.

“How many times have I asked you not to call me by that name, Bessie?” Maggie asked looking up from her book at the young woman who had spoken to her.

“But you are as a mother to me,” Bessie said and grinned over at Maggie.

“And you make me sound like an old matron at best, a rigid sister of the cloth at worst.”

Bessie giggled and nudged the girl next to her, a girl newer to the house and harder to refuse for it.

“Tell us a story, Mother Maggie, please?” Constance looked up at Maggie with begging eyes. It was quite the look and Maggie laughed at the two of them.

“I think, perhaps, I can manage a story.”

The girls were scattered around the living room, each working on their own projects to unwind. Violet sat in a large easy chair drawing with her charcoals. Bessie next to Constance penning a letter to one of the girls who had left their home many years ago. Constance sat working embroidery into a new shawl that she had made earlier that day. Edwina was polishing a copper bracelet she had crafted as a gift.

Maggie put aside the book she had been reading and settled back in her chair. “Any requests?”

“Tell us a tale of Megea, she’s my favourite,” Bessie quickly replied before any of the other girls could have a say.

“Hmmm. Megea. I believe I might have a tale or two left. Once upon a time,” Maggie began, smiling at the girls, “powerful immortals walked the lands of our world and were called Gods for it. These immortals had children with those of our world and those children had children. And one of these children was a witch named Megea.”

The girls all set aside their tasks to listen. Maggie always began the stories of Megea the same way, explaining her heritage but the girls never tired of hearing it. Each time it was like hearing the story for the first time and getting to know Megea once more.

“She was immortal like her parents, long-lived but still quite capable of being killed if you knew the right way. Megea grew to be a powerful woman, a beauty with a quick mind that she could never fill with too much wisdom. She had magic, a connection to the energy of the world and she could manipulate it at will. She did not abuse that power knowing that every action would cause a reaction. She had learned very early on that all magic has a cost.”

“I bet I know which story that was.”

“Shhh, Maggie is talking.”

“But it was…”

“Violet, hush your mouth.”

Edwina frowned at Bessie and Violet and all four girls flushed when Maggie lifted her eyebrow and looked at them questioningly. They fell silent and turned their attention back to her.

“There was a King of a nearby land who met Megea in his travels to make treaties and source trade. He was immediately smitten by her beauty and her magic and he wished to take Megea as his wife and wield her powers against his enemies. Megea would not submit to his wishes, her heart would not allow her to marry any man, and her conscience would not allow such a dark-souled man to control her gifts. The King was outraged and offended and he decided if he could not have Megea then no one would.”

“Sounds like what happened with the butcher and his wife,” Edwina said.

‘It is similar, Edwina, jealousy and betrayal took them to a terrible place,” Maggie agreed. A month earlier the butcher and his wife had ended up dead because of one stepping out on the other, but that was a different tale.

“Did the King try to kill Megea?” Constance asked in a tiny voice, curious but aware she was interrupting.

“He did indeed, fool that he was. He invited her to a grand feast saying he wished to show her there were no hard feelings and he wished there to be friendship between them. He decided to poison her but Megea was well studied and could smell the herb in her goblet when it was given to her, she knew immediately what he intended. She also knew that such a herb would not have the intended effect on her, so she decided to teach this cruel king a lesson. She drank the wine and pretended to die. When the King leant down over her body to check that she was dead Megea’s eyes sprung upon and she swung out with her hand. She marked his face with her nails and cursed the wounds to never heal.”

“Did that have a cost?” Violet asked wide eyed, her hands on her face. She had forgotten that she had been drawing so she now had finger shaped charcoal marks on her cheeks.

“It did, the darker the magic, the more the cost. Megea was cursed to bear identical scars herself, though luckily for her she did not have to bear them down her face. More than that, the cost called for each of her children and her children’s children to bear the scars as well. Four lines in this form.” Maggie shifted to the fireplace and in the ashes drew four lines. The girls all craned their necks to see what she had drawn.

“It was the cost of using dark magic without thought for the consequences.”

“A harsh cost when she was the victim,” Bessie huffed. Her displeasure so great that she crossed her arms over her chest and sunk back in her chair, her teeth clenched. It was not the first time she had found such unfair punishments distasteful and reacted so strongly. Her disapproval of the punishment, in this case, going so far as to make her forget she had glimpsed such a mark on Maggie’s back.

“She could have killed him after all.”

“She did kill him,” Maggie explained, “and that was the reason for such a harsh punishment. As the wounds would not heal they became infected, the king became very sick and within the month he was dead.”

“Oh.” Bessie twisted her lips back and forth as she thought about it. “He deserved it, he wanted to kill her. She was still the victim.”

“She was but she still had greater powers than he did and had pledged to use them well and wisely. She chose to punish him in that way and she had to pay the cost for it.”

“If we light a flame is there a cost?” Violet asked. She had used her gifts to call forth flames to the fire that night.


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