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This is a story that I have only recently started working on and I have yet to come up with a working title (I have a few ideas, but none seem to really work all that well).

This story could be classified as a sort of Historical/Fiction Fantasy blend as while I went to great lengths to be as historically accurate as possible, I added magic to the mix which adds the fantasy element.

The setting is Altenburg Austria (not to be confused with Altenburg Germany) in the year 1096 AD. Despite the date, this story has nothing to do with the First Crusade; I just felt it would make a good backdrop for the story.

The main character is a Germanic Baron (Freiherr in German I think... or is it Freifrau?) named Kasimir of Horn (Horn is the region in which the town of Altenburg resides, it is part of modern Lower Austria, I'm not sure if in 1096 they called that region Horn, or if a Baron even ruled there, but I am taking some creative license).

Kasimir, while on the surface appears to be a pious follower of the Church, he is secretly a magic user of skill who is content to keep his facade of piety, while he practices his magic in secret... until of course he gets overly cocky and is forced to deal with a self proclaimed Witch Hunter...

Historical Notes

Austria at this time was a Mark, under the rule of a Margrave ( it was part of the Duchy of Bavaria). The current Margrave would have been Leopold III a member of the House of Babenberg. I spent hours trying to learn about this guy and the Babenbergs, but of course the only history book dedicated to the Babenbergs is in German and has no English translation. I suppose it isn't all that important as Leopold never makes an appearance in the story, he's just mentioned here and there. I do make some assumptions about his character; he seems to be a pretty shrewd guy from what I have read... so yea.

In the story I mention the Abbey of Altenburg; however, the Abbey was not constructed until about two hundred years after the story takes place. I also mention Altenburg Keep, which is a completely fictional construct that never existed... so I created it :innocent:.

Feel free to critique as much as desired, in fact feel free to tell me it sucks if you like, just tell me why, otherwise I learn nothing.

Characters (Viewpoint Characters Only)

Brianna: Brianna is a Scottish Witch that fled England once she was "found out". Now, she is in Austria and a member of the Magicemanus.

Else: Else is Kasimir's teenage wife, he doesn't really like her and she certainly like him so there is plenty of disdain and dislike to go around. She's the spoiled brat, and he's the intellectual snob, woohoo!

Erik: Erik is another Baron, he just rules over the neighboring region. He's an angry man with Leonidas Syndrome, but he can probably kick most people's ass in any sort of physical fight or competition. Once he forgets that he hates you, he can actually be reasonably intelligent.

Kasimir: The main protagonist, as I mentioned above. He's arrogant and too smart for his own good. He was born in 1073 AD.

Old Post Oct 15th, 2008 04:55 PM
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I'm going to have to split this up into several posts since I am over the character limit by a considerable margin...


Kasimir von Brandt of Horn nearly fell on his ass as he threw himself out the way of the onrushing sword blade. Damn.

“God will see me victorious! I will have justice.” His opponent shouted as he pressed forward.

“God does not serve the likes of you!” Kasimir retorted as he swung his own blade at his foe, Erik of Hollabrunn. Erik knocked the blow away and snarled as he charged Kasimir once again. His sword seem to be nothing more than a blur the air and it was all Kasimir could do to keep it from hitting him. Every blow sent vibrations down his arms.

Kasimir stabbed forward and attempted to run Erik through, but Erik was too fast. Like a whip the Lord of Hollabrunn pulled himself back and then stabbed forward; only unnatural reflexes quicker than Erik’s kept Kasimir from getting skewered. He scowled and slashed at Erik’s torso, hoping to land a blow somewhere, but once again Erik proved to be the more skilled. He knocked aside Kasimir’s blows and then suddenly Erik’s blade pierced through Kasimir’s defenses and scored along his arm, smashing the chainmail and searing the flesh beneath. Kasimir gasped and fought the pain that burned up to his shoulder. The wound was not serious, but it still hurt.

“You can not keep up you red eyed demon.” That is true. Kasimir needed to end this fight as soon as possible. He could feel a familiar weakness beginning to creep up through his body; his curse.

“Quite the contrary, I can keep up just fine!” He shouted, hacking at Erik’s neck; as Kasimir predicted Erik’s sword came up and blocked the blow, but Kasimir held his blade where it was. Now, I win.

“Oh? You think to catch me so easily? Erik snarled as he pulled backwards; however, he was not fast enough as Kasimir slid his blade down and stabbed Erik’s shoulder, piercing the cloth tabard and rings of the man’s chainmail. Erik cried out as the steel drove through his flesh. Kasimir yanked the blade out; inciting another gasp from Erik as the man stumbled backward, clutching his wound.

“This is God’s justice; however, this is also God’s mercy as well, I could have pierced your heart instead of your shoulder.” Kasimir drove the words like nails. “Do you admit defeat?” The hate in Erik’s eyes was unmistakable, but he nodded his head in acknowledgement.

“The fight has been decided! I proclaim Lord Kasimir of Horn innocent of the charges laid against him by Lord Erik of Hollabrunn. God has clearly shown his intent to us this day.” The voice came from Dieter, Abbot of Altenburg. God had nothing to do with it. Several of Erik’s servants rushed across the yard and took hold of the wounded Lord, helping him over to his tent. Perhaps a fever would take him, or perhaps not, Kasimir very much hoped for the former. He surveyed the rest of the yard and noted the faces of all present: a few wealthy merchants, Erik’s wife, his young son and an assortment of peasants who came to watch the entertainment and break the daily routine of winter.

“God truly favors you Lord Kasimir, despite your sickness; I have to wonder if he has some plan for you, clearly the Lord has shown interest in you.” The Abbot said as Kasimir left the yard and began to walk towards his tent. God has done nothing to aid my health.

“I feel humbled that he has shown such mercy to me, the titles to hurt me though. To be called the red eyed demon causes others to question my faith.”

“Do not let such petty insults disturb you; they are merely the work of those who envy your close connection with the Lord. The curse you carry not need dim the light of your faith.” I wish you would be silent priest.

“Your words give me hope, hope that I can continue to do good work in the name of God. Ah, I see my wife and no doubt she is worried over my health after this affair.” Kasimir told the abbot as he noticed his teenage wife off to the side. The daughter of an important Lord in from a nearby Barony, the marriage had been pre-arranged long before Kasimir had taken his father’s place as Baron of Horn.

“God has gifted you well with such a beautiful wife.”

“Yes Abbott, he has.” Continue to leer at my wife and I just may kill you, consequences aside. A few words to but rip your soul from that waste of flesh you call a body.

“However, it is a shame that she does not seem to understand her duties. I hope you do not mind me for saying, but perhaps you should explain to her what is expected… perhaps forcefully?” I really want to kill you.

“I do not mean to be rude, but I would ask that you leave matters of my wife to me. It is a difficult situation.”

“I will leave you to your business then; farewell.” The priest said as he moved off. Kasimir ignored him and stared at his wife, Else. The foolish abbot was right about one thing, she was beautiful, he was one lucky bastard; however, he was also a very unlucky bastard at the same time. How that figured, he wasn’t quite sure.

“I am glad you are well my husband, rumor has it that steel can be unhealthy for a man.” She said tonelessly. She always spoke in that same voice, the voice of a woman deferring. All of her humor was in the words themselves, usually directed at Kasimir.

“Yes, indeed, steel can be quite unhealthy for man, especially when put into the wrong place. Thankfully Erik only scored my arm with a glancing blow.”

“Then it is well that you avoided such a deathly illness,” Else replied.

“Ha! Like I need another one, this sickness that weakens me is bad enough. The red eyed demon he called me, Erik. I swear-” whatever he was going to say was interrupted as he was assaulted by a series of convulsions as he wheezed dry air; Else was at his side instantly, holding him as he shook, like a perfect wife. Finally the coughing stopped and he took a deep breath.

“Are you alright my husband?” That voice hadn’t changed and Kasimir hated her for it. She was hardly the perfect wife; she was the devil’s daughter, but with bigger ****.

“Do you have, have ack the vial?” He gasped. She nodded and pulled a small glass vial from a pocket in her cloak. The liquid inside was clear as water, but seemed to glow slightly with inner light. My salvation… in a glass vial. Popping the cork he downed the tasteless substance, nearly choking at the end. The weakness in his lungs and heart faded as he felt the alchemical mix flow through his body, quelling his affliction, if only temporarily.

“Is it safe to drink that here?”

“What could they possibly think it is? It looks like water.”

“You take too many risks my husband, come, we should head inside.”

“Life is too dull without them; they invigorate what is otherwise a boring day.” Kasimir said as he pulled away from Else, disentangling himself from her wealth of blond hair. He glanced around and noticed a few faces that stared at him and Else, but most had left the yard. There was no one nearby except for his retainers who stood silently outside the tent. His seizures were common knowledge, so it was nothing new to them. He ducked into the tent, with Else behind him, in here at least, they could speak freely.

“Lord Erik seemed quite adamant about proving you guilty,” Else remarked.

Old Post Oct 15th, 2008 04:59 PM
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“Well I am guilty, of one of the crimes he accused me of at least. To be fair I didn’t want to kill his brother, but the man knew too much and would have killed me otherwise. It isn’t something I am pleased with; the man did not deserve to die.” Else sucked in a breath and stepped away from Kasimir.

“Did… did you kill him that way?” For once her voice took on a nervous note; very satisfying.

“No, of course not, I used that unhealthy variation of steel you mentioned. I was careless though and the evidence was against me. Thankfully there was an alternative method to the court’s justice, there is God’s justice and God’s justice is far more favorable.”

“You put a lot of faith in that no one will suspect you merely from the outcome of a duel.” Kasimir laughed and ran one of his gauntleted hands through her hair. She flinched and Kasimir laughed again. She knew what a single strand of hair in his hands could do to a person.

“I place faith in that the people will have seen a sickly man, weak of strength and endurance, triumph over a well known and skilled fighter. To them, for me to win could have only been the will of God.”

“So I have seen.”

“Of course there was a certain level of risk that the potion would cause me to have a seizure during the fight, which would have been most unfortunate.”

“If you say so, my husband,” Else murmured; Kasimir grinned and tilted her face up so that they were staring direct at each other. Her blue eyes said nothing of the thoughts behind them. If eyes were the windows to the soul, then she had boarded them up, of course the ***** probably didn’t have a soul to begin with.

“You know I think God must be laughing pretty hard on that heavenly throne of his. I got the most beautiful woman in the world as my wife yet she’s an absolute *****. You continue to blame me for this marriage despite the fact that I had no say in the matter either.”

“If you are displeased with me my husband-”

“Stop! Enough with your mask of servitude; you fail at it. You know how many of my peers laugh when they think I cannot hear? They laugh because Kasimir von Brandt of Horn still doesn’t have an heir because his own wife refuses to share a bed with him!”

“If you desire an heir my husband, than why not merely visit a nice brothel and solve the problem?” I can’t believe this. Kasimir had nothing to say to that. What could he say to that? Nothing he wouldn’t regret later on. He let go of her and ran his hands through his black hair as if trying to rub his frustrations away.

“You know, Dieter thinks I should be more forceful in making you perform your duties as my wife. You should be thankful that I am not him. What if you were married to Erik? It could have happened easily enough, his family would have sought such alliance if possible. Do you think he would tolerate such insolence from you? I am trying so very hard to be the better man, so very hard, but you make it such an unwanted tribulation.”

“Am I married to Lord Erik?” Else asked, Kasimir thought he saw a brief smile touch her pale lips.

“No, you are married to me and I am a fool.” He sighed and turned away from her, ducking out of the tent to motion to his retainers. Quickly they followed him in and bowed, waiting for his command. Every action they made was perfectly controlled and at the same time, seemingly without life. In fact they were not alive at all; they were human shaped constructs, shaped by his hands from the soil of the earth and given life through his spells. Well at least given a semblance of life. They were not sentient in the traditional sense; he had yet to replicate God.

“Help me remove my armor.” He commanded them and they obeyed, helping him out of his chainmail and tabard. Damn, this stuff is always so heavy. A trained knight could have worn it easily, or even a normal peasant, but for him with his body weakened by his unnatural illness, it was a burden to bear. After they removed his armor, he sat down on the single chair within the tent, wincing as his he moved his arm a little too fast.

“Perhaps you should wear lighter armor my husband. That mail seems to sit heavily on you.”

“I’ve been working on that, however I lack the last component to finish the armor. The metal itself is sound and I have already inlaid the spells which strengthen it beyond even the work of a master smith, but acquiring a flawless diamond to hold the spells in place has proven to be, difficult at best. I may have to barter with one of my ‘friends’ for it.” Kasimir said in between removing his greaves and boots, while his retainers removed his wool shirt began to clean the wound along his arm. His skin was pale and unhealthy looking, as if he spent long hours indoors and ate infrequently. Else paced around the tent and stared at her bejeweled cloak, then smiled at Kasimir; she didn’t give a damn how ill he was.

“I hope such bargaining goes well.” She said as she fingered an especially large sapphire.

“No you don’t you *****.” Kasimir retorted as he slipped on far more comfortable doeskin boots as opposed to his plated ones. He gasped suddenly as another retainer began to rub his wound with one of his herbal mixes. It worked well, but burned like hell.

“You wound me my husband, such harsh language is so very rude.” Kasimir smiled sickly at her as the retainer continued its work. He was sure with his gaunt face and red eyes he could have frightened anyone with his smile; however, his wife didn’t give a damn.

“Truth does wound people doesn’t it? That’s because no one wants to hear the truth, me included. You are no exception.”

“Is that supposed to mean something to me?”

“Apparently not, but then, what do I know? Everything you dislike in this world is my fault.” Kasimir said as he put his shirt back on and pulled a fur lined cloak over his shoulders.

“Not everything, just most of everything.” Else said as she leaned down and brushed Kasimir’s hair with her lips. She always did things like that on purpose because she knew he hated it. He stood abruptly, pushing her away; she glared at him before quickly snapping back to the mask of servitude.

“Well I’d better get busy then shouldn’t I? I’ve only got a few hours to daylight left to keep making your life miserable.”

“You are not very amusing, husband.” Else replied neutrally, but Kasimir could see the fear behind her boarded up eyes, he could feel it. If there was only one thing she respected, it was his power and the things he could do with it. He grinned at her and then threw back his head and laughed. It was a rasping laugh, the laugh of a sick man. When he brought his head back down, Else stepped away from him, her breath catching. Kasimir’s eyes blazed red with light. It was only a minor illusion, but Else didn’t know that.

“Else, I would have to disagree, I find myself very, very, amusing… in fact I dare say I’m the most amusing man for miles around. You know why?” She shook her head wordlessly. Kasimir held out both arms wide and snapped his fingers. Tiny flames flared into existence between his thumb and middle finger. He tossed them into the air and began to juggle them as a court fool did knives and balls. “I am amusing because no one can put on a performance like I can.” He juggled the flames for a few seconds more, before letting them fade away along with the glow in his eyes.

“Was that supposed to frighten me?” Else asked shakily, her hands trembled as she clutched them against her chest. It wasn’t that she wasn’t aware of what Kasimir was capable of, but had never put on such a blatant display before, she had pushed him.

“It was a reminder that my patience is not infinite and that I am more than a young sick man, it was a reminder that I have not spent the last eighteen years of my life in study for no reason. If you believe glowing eyes and toy fire is all I can do, think again.”

“I did not think that, I have seen you kill before.” Else replied, she had regained some of her composure now, Kasimir could see the arrogance returning in her eyes. “However, I sincerely doubt you would use that method on me.”

“It wouldn’t work to begin with, that spell requires the target to have a soul, something I’m fairly certain you are lacking.” Kasimir said as he turned to his retainers. “These fellows have more of a soul than you.” Before she could reply he left the tent and looked up at the grey sky. Snow was starting to fall in light flakes, combined with the wind that was picking up, Kasimir shivered. Still it was warmer out here than back in the tent. Devil’s daughter indeed.

Old Post Oct 15th, 2008 05:00 PM
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Chapter 2: The Witch

Altenburg Keep was a terribly unimpressive affair. The walls were wood and the keep itself wasn’t very large. It’s only two saving graces was that it was in good condition and the town of Altenburg Austria was just small enough to make it seem grander than it really was. Personally Kasimir didn’t one way or another, but whenever he visited his Lord’s center of power at Melk, he always felt just that much smaller. Which was why he felt that way now, as he listened to the man before him ramble off about how Leopold III, Margrave of Austria desired that his vassals get along without incident. Leopold the III was shaping up to be a strong ruler, at least as far as rulers went. Only a year had the young Margrave been in power and already he was proving himself an effective administrator. No wonder he has named himself Princeps Terrae, arrogant bastard.

They were in Kasimir’s study, a large room framed by two massive bookshelves that probably could have been combined into one, considering how many books Kasimir possessed, which was a small number. Attempting to procure books and not belonging to the clergy was beyond difficult. Dim light shown through a fogged window and did a poor job of lighting up the room, leaving deep shadows in the corners. Kasimir’s black shirt only seemed to draw in the darkness, leaving only parts of his face visible, which was fine with him. The less attention people paid to his face, then the less they would notice his eyes.

“It is good that you are well Baron Brandt and cleared of those dreadful charges, Margrave Leopold values his vassals and does not take kindly to when such disturbances arise.”

“Of course, I understand perfectly. It was not my intention to cause such a disturbance, but Lord Erik was quite adamant that I was guilty.”

“Well at least it is all over.” Lord Gotthard said as he stood up and glanced idly around, his eyes finally fixing on the one bookshelf in the room. He had arrived in the morning to find out what had happened between Kasimir and Erik and Kasimir found him to be quite the nuisance. The man asked far too many questions about what had happened and poked at things that would better be left secret. However, he was a powerful annoyance and one that Kasimir had to placate.

“I am glad it is over, the last thing-”

“You have some interesting reading material, I wasn’t even aware you knew how to read. It is not a skill that is common for those outside the clergy.” Gotthard interrupted, causing Kasimir to frown. What was wrong with his reading materials?

“Charlemagne believed that education was important, I have always held this belief.” Kasimir told Leopold’s messenger. It was the safe thing to say, who could doubt the opinion of Charlemagne?

“Charlemagne was a great man; it is a shame that that Carolingians had to fall in such a lowly manner, none of them could measure up to Charlemagne.”

“Rare is it that men are possessed of such greatness, it was to be expected, but why speak of the old past?” Gotthard turned back towards Kasimir and then back again to the bookshelf. Reaching his hand he pulled out a book and thumbed it open. Reading the Bible?

“You know the Pope has called for a crusade to free the Holy Land?” Gotthard asked.

“Yes, I am aware of it, rumor says that the Duke of Lower Lorraine and his brothers are eager to follow the Pope’s call. However, I do not see how it is relevant.”

“Oh believe me it isn’t relevant at all, Margrave Leopold has no desire to go marching to the Holy Land, not with the Hungarians right next door. I was just thinking on how curious it is that one speech by the Pope has roused all of Europe into frenzy. Thousands of people are already marching and I am not referring to armed knights, I am referring to hordes of untrained peasants, woman and children as well; all marching to slay the heathens, like a grand rabble of idiots. What satisfaction the Pope must have that he can inspire such a response.”

“The Pope is offering a free path into heaven, quite the prize for the blood of a few heathens wouldn’t you says?” Kasimir replied, not entirely sure where the conversation was going. He didn’t care about the Pope, or this so called crusade.

“Considering your outspoken love for God I would imagine you would be eager to go.”

“Ah, but my illness would make such a journey difficult and most improbable, I instead attempt to serve the Lord in other ways.” Gotthard set the Bible back on its place next to the other books and then turned to leave.
“See that you do, Baron. The Margrave likes to see when all of his vassals serve the Lord well and avoid the wrath of the church. He may be lenient, but the church is hardly so; farewell Kasimir.” The last words faded as Gotthard left the study and Kasimir could hear his footsteps echo on the stone stairs that led down to the ground floor. Your message was clear, keep the church happy and avoid any more incidents. I can do that.

Kasimir stood and snapped his fingers, igniting the candles along the ledge in the room, tinting the room with the dull light. The candles were made of the same substance that he used in the mixing of the potions he used to fight off his illness. The healing power they released relaxed his mind and pushed way his weariness. He had not slept well, but then he never did and there was a dull pressure behind his eyes. Part of him had to wonder if it was because he slept alone. That he slept alone was a constant reminder that he was married to a spoiled teenage *****. It also reminded him of certain pleasantries he had not engaged in for some time. Ideally Else was supposed to solve that problem, but the ideal world didn’t exist. In the ideal world I would be happily married to a woman my age of good breeding that provided me with at least a son. In the ideal world I wouldn’t suffer from an illness that is slowly killing me.

“By god, my thoughts are depressing enough to make the dead weep.” Kasimir muttered. It was true though, ever since he had assumed his father’s position he had begun to see only the negative side of existence. Was that how all those of noble birth began to view the world?

He thought of the book he had been studying the night before, a book he had failed to completely understand, safely hidden in his rooms. Perhaps another try at it will prove more successful, I have nothing else to do.

He walked out of the room and down the stairway that led to the end of a hall on level just below, which contained his rooms. Altenburg Keep was of curious design, with his study being the only room on the very top level, any higher and he would be on the roof. He alone reserved the top two floors, no one else was allowed up here, save for annoying massagers from the Margrave and his wife, keeping Else out was a practice in impossibility. Much to both his annoyance and pleasure, she had avoided him all day since he had frightened her. That probably wasn’t the best of ideas. His anger had gotten the best of him though, something he needed to avoid.

Reaching the door to his rooms, he stopped as he saw that the door was slightly ajar. Such a small thing might not make the majority of people notice, but he, who lived under the shadow of the Church, could not be careless. It was bad enough that Else knew, but keeping secrets from her was another one of those impossibilities.

Agnis.” Kasimir muttered as he crept in through the door; as he uttered the word, a small spout of fire ignited in his palm. Using the raw elements was messy and difficult to do, but Kasimir did not have time for a more complex spell. Inside the guest room, all was clear, but in his bedroom he could hear the slight sounds of movement. He crept up to archway and leaned around the corner, hoping to get a look of however was inside. He was greeted to the scene of a cloaked and hooded figure rifling through his armoire Eh? How did he get in here without being noticed?

Kasimir released the energy of the flame and let it vanish before stepped around the corner and into the room.

“I do not particulary care for intruders who would break into my private rooms and rummage through my clothing.” The figured whirled at Kasimir’s voice and in doing so, caused the hood to fall. Kasimir blinked as he saw a flash of brown hair and a woman’s face before she barked out an arcane word and waved a gloved hand at Kasimir. A flash of green light burst through the air and slammed into Kasimir full in the chest before he could react. The spell knocked him backwards and he fell to the ground with a thud. This intruder is a practitioner? It was a scattered thought as he struggled to get up, while the woman ran past him and out into the other room.

Gasping, Kasimir followed after her; his chest felt like it was on fire. Damn it! He rounded the corner just in time to see her about to leave through the open door.

Agnis!” He shouted, letting a blast of flames shoot from his outstretched hand. Energy tore at him as he desperately tried to keep one of nature’s most powerful forces under control. The woman turned and rose up her hands, muttering a spell Kasimir recognized. She crossed her arms and stood firm as if expecting the flames to stop. Fool. The flames slammed into her and just at that moment Kasimir let go of the spell, letting the fire burst unhindered against her. The force from the blast alone threw her through the open door and against the stone wall across the hall. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she slumped to the ground in a heap.

Old Post Oct 19th, 2008 09:49 PM
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“That… should teach… strange women not to enter my quarters… uninvited and start slinging spells against me.” Kasimir gasped as he leaned against the door and gulped air. His chest felt as if it was on fire and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could stand. Smoke drifted in the hall from the woman’s smoldering clothing. Kasimir weakly raised a bony hand and dissipated the flames; he wanted the woman alive and unharmed, not a burnt corpse.

For several minutes he merely leaned against the door and did his best to steady his heart, already weak from his affliction. Faint murmurs drew his attention to the unconscious woman; she was waking.

“Well witch, or whatever you are; do you want to explain to me what you are doing here and why you tried to blast me? By the way, the execution of your force spell was terrible, I am lucky you are unskilled.” Kasimir said as the woman opened her eyes and rolled over onto her back. Her eyes were a brilliant green and her face was pale, as if from too little sun. Not that I can say anything. Kasimir guessed her to be close to his age, if a little younger.

“I have no need or desire to tell you anything.” The woman said as she pushed herself up against the wall. Her voice and manner of speech told Kasimir that wherever she was from, it was not the Empire. He thought maybe she might have been a Norman, but he was hardly sure.

“Well if that is the case then I have no need to keep you alive, in fact I have any number of good reasons to kill you. You know my secret and you clearly know how to move freely within my own keep, two good reasons right there to kill you.” She glared at him, but said nothing. “However, I would prefer not to, I don’t like killing women, I’ll do it if necessary, but I’m not partial to it.”

“Funny of you to say considering how carelessly you unleashed the flames of Lleuw’s eye upon me.”

“Flames of Lleuw? Who is Lleuw and what’s so special about his eye?” The woman shook her head.

“You do not understand, Lleuw’s eye is the sun which gives his life and warmth, just now you stole from him, using his flames to attack his faithful.” Kasimir merely stared at her.

“You’re a pagan I see. Well I say you can take your Lleuw and blather on about him so some dumb fool who actually believes such nonsense. I am far more curious as to know who you are.”

“Brianna, my name is Brianna; you well get nothing more from me.”

“No is not a valid answer in this conversion unless it is in the context of a yes or no question.” Kasimir said bluntly as he moved closer to her. He gently took hold of some of her hair, grinning as she flinched. “Do you know what a skilled Nigromancer is capable of doing with a single strand of a person’s hair? If he knows the correct ritual he can gain complete dominance over their soul, or curse them to die a wasting death. If he is especially talented he can merely strip the soul from the body. Hair is not necessary for that particular spell; however, it does ease the process. Funny how hair as such power, do you suppose that is why Sampson was so weakened when he let Delilah cut his hair?”

“Such powers are false and forbidden!” Brianna hissed.

“Forbidden by who? Enough, tell me why you broke into my rooms, tell me how you got in and tell me why I shouldn’t silence you now?” Kasimir demanded despite his growing distaste. He did not enjoy this frightening of women, it filled him with a foul feeling.

“You think you are so powerful, Kasimir of Horn, but you are not the only one with gifts.” Brianna whispered.

“Oh? Then-” before Kasimir could finish what he was about to say, the woman vanished as if she had never been. How? Kasimir blinked at the spot where the witch had stood and stared at the wall behind. “Who are you?” He whispered. “How did you do that?” Kasimir shook his head and wondered if he had imagined the entire affair. Has the spirit begun to drive me mad as well? Has it reached my mind? “No, I felt the power used here as clearly as I felt the heat from the flames, this was real.”

Kasimir looked back into his chambers and thought of the spells he had been planning to study, but decided against it. He was hardly in the mood, not now. Too many questions raced through his mind and he only knew of one man with the answers to them. Master. He looked down at the hand he had run through the woman’s hair and looked down at the single strand he had removed. I didn’t actually think I would need to use this.

Kasimir went back into his room, vaguely noting the scorch marks along the stone walls, he would have to fix that later; however, his mind was on something far more important. He entered the bedroom and moved to the armoire the woman had been rifling in. A quick wave of his hand and suddenly the armoire vanished as if it had never been there to begin with. Instead there was a small door with no apparent handle.

“Open.” Kasimir told the door and suddenly it slid open, revealing two small steps that lead into a room about the size of the bedroom. “Close.” He said and the door slid shut behind him and felt a slight tingle that told him the armoire had been phased back to its original position. No one would actually be able to see the door if they merely physically moved the armoire out of the way. It had to be removed from this existence completely. Kasimir would have claimed credit for the system if had been able to, but this work belonged to far more talented hands than his. Not even Else knew of this room.

In the middle of the small room was a table with a tiny bowl of water, along the walls were bookshelves stacked full with various scrolls and reading material, all of which the contents would have sent any priest into a frenzy.

Kasimir took the stand of hair in his hand and gently placed it into the small bowl. Waiting a few seconds for the water to still, he then began to chant in the arcane tongue. Unlike his earlier Pyromancy, what he was about to do required more than a word. Instead it required a solid understanding of how two physical objects were tied to each other on a metaphysical plane. Even though it was now physically separated from the witch, her hair was still part of her on the higher sense and this was how he track her. He was not sure how long he chanted, he never could tell how long it took to perform the more complex actions of magic. However, as he finished, the water stirred and suddenly the image of the witch came into focus.

She was walking through the deep forests that surrounded Altenburg, her dark robes torn and ragged from his flames and the environment. She slipped occasionally in the snow and almost felt at one point. It was clear to Kasimir that she was also freezing. Will winter do my work for me?

“Where are you going little witch?” Kasimir muttered to himself as he watched her straggle through the forest. “Where are you going and who are the friends you clearly seek to meet?” It was clear to Kasimir the woman had a destination; despite her ragged walk, her course was not an aimless wandering, but a consensus choice. He watched her for several minutes before the spell began to waver and he was forced to dismiss it, lest the strand of hair be consumed. Maintaining connections with the otherworld was difficult for any extended length of time.

Kasimir plucked the stand of hair from the water and sat in the cushioned chair next to the table. He stared up at the stone ceiling and wondered what he was to do. I need to speak to Sargon.

“You are a curious one little witch, with a curious talent. If that was a dimensional walk you preformed, than you have some curious talents indeed” Kasimir told the strand, not that the woman could hear, that would have required a completely different spell. He needed to act as soon as possible; his secret was out and that was not something he could tolerate, not someone in his position. Tolerance could prove fatal and painful, two things Kasimir did not want.

Old Post Oct 19th, 2008 09:50 PM
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