By Bailey Dixon
Date: April 2, 2021
Ch. 9III

Slowly, I saw light melt away the blackness of oblivion. Eyes struggling to focus, blurry crystals of coloured light made a jigsaw of the world but piece by piece it came into focus. At the centre of my sight was Wex. His head was hung, eyes darting over my body as his lips moved, feverishly muttering something under his breath. Sight restored, I next could feel my sense of touch returning. Wex’s fingers ran back and forth over my navel, sometimes pressing hard but mostly gliding softly against my skin which was exposed to the air where my shirt had been hiked up. A tickling sensation drifted from my belly button down between my legs where I felt myself becoming wet. I thought it would be nice to stay in this delirious stupor forever. Wex lifted one hand off my stomach and pressed his thumb against my forehead. Noticing my eyes were open, his fingers ceased their motion and our gazes locked. Leaning forward, I brought our lips together and kissed him softly. He kissed me back a little harder and in response I pushed myself up with my elbows, deepening the embrace, but felt a sudden pain shoot through my muscles. Wincing, I collapsed and my head hit a pillow. I hadn’t noticed until then that I was indoors, lying on a bed, and no longer in the meadow.

Aching all over, I felt the pain dull a little as Wex resumed the motion of his fingers on my navel.

‘I don’t… What happened?’ I said, my voice weak.

‘You were possessed. The Shadow that I spoke with at the temple, it must have followed us.’

‘It… wanted my body?’

Once again I tried to sit up but my muscles burned. Wex laid his free hand on my shoulder while the other continue to massage my stomach.

‘Be still. You need to heal.’ he said.

It was then that I saw a faint light emanating from his fingertips and realised he was soothing my pain with magic. While working his fingers over my skin, he continued to speak.

‘When I summoned the Shadow, I was looking for answers, but in return it wanted to find a host so that we could become lovers.’ said Wex.

‘Did you know that I was following you?…’

‘No, no, Naia, you have to believe me, this wasn’t my plan. It was simply tragic timing on your part. The Shadow wanted to go hunting for a vessel and whether or not they were willing was of no consequence. I would not indulge in that, no matter how badly I wanted answers. I refused the Shadow’s offer, and it was furious.’

‘What were you asking about?’

‘My mother… She’s out there somewhere, in the vastness of the Beyond. But a warlock cannot just contact any particular Shadow that they wish. Such a thing is like trying to pull a needle from a haystack. Shadows possess greater knowledge of the Beyond than mortals, but they do not give away such information freely.’

Reaching out to touch Wex’s arm, I ran my fingers along the arc of his bicep.

‘How will you find her?’ I puzzled.

‘Truly? I cannot know for certain. Perhaps her presence would be stronger in Farheim, in the library of my home, where she first appeared to me. But even that is not certain. Summoning is a fine and unpredictable art. Warlocks hear whispers of ways that one might reach the spirit that they seek, though these secrets are either lost to time or those who know them would rather take them to their grave than share their power.’

‘What exactly do these whisperers say?’

Wex hesitated.

‘Have you heard of Ang Morgana?’

‘I have heard myths. A entire city of warlocks hidden amongst mist in the heart of the Edgerealm. But no one, not even the Sanctum, has uncovered any evidence—it’s spoken of as a ghost story.’

‘Well to warlocks it is more like a fairytale. It may be the Sanctum’s nightmare but to us it is a promised land. If there truly are answers about the Beyond such as the ones I seek, then they are to be found in Ang Morgana.’ said Wex.

‘Could such a place really exist?’ I said, my eyes widening.

‘I do not know. But even if I did, I wouldn’t tell a valkyrie.’ laughed Wex, playfully.

My heart sank as reality came crashing down around me. Wex looked at me with concern. Knowing that something was on my mind, he waited for me to speak.

‘Why didn’t you flee?’ I said. ‘I could have bound you once again.’

‘But you didn’t.’

‘You couldn’t know what I would do. You owed me nothing.’

‘That’s not true.’ said Wex, taking my hand. ‘I owe you the truth. The truth that the Sanctum denied you. You want to be free. Just like me. You want to know what else there is. I can show you.’

The warlock’s hand drifted back down my body, passing over the mythril that still snaked around my hips, his fingers stopping just short of my waistband. He looked into my eyes and I nodded.

‘If we’re to begin, you cannot fight your desires Naia, you must forget what the Sanctum taught you. Listen to your body, not their lies.’
His fingers dipped into my waistband and ran back and forth across it teasingly.
‘What does your body want, Naia?’

My head was spinning. I knew what I wanted but I was afraid that I was wrong. Questions raced through my mind—but then I felt a warm glow around my waist. Looking down, I saw the mythril rope moving, sliding free of my hips. Continuing upwards, the living metal push my shirt as it travelled, revealing my breasts. Responding to my unspoken desires, the mythril was whisked into the air where it took hold of my wrists, pinning them behind my head, as the other end of the rope bound itself to the central bedpost. I knew what my body wanted.

‘It’s want to feel you.’ I breathed. ‘Show me.’

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