Lady of the House Chapt 1 https://www.createspace.com/3937789
“Ah, it is you, Charles,” Charlton exclaimed, his eyes widening in pleasure at the sight of the young man as he opened the door wide to admit him.
“Please, it is a foul night. Come in and warm yourself by the fire, for a moment at least. The others have already gathered upstairs, and I was sent to give you entrance, with all the servants dismissed for the evening.
“You’re late,” eyeing his friend, “I was beginning to doubt your resolve in this matter.”
“My younger sister, Sir. She bade me not to come, thinking I was honor bound to thwart young McHenry’s plans on marriage with her.
“Ever the protective one, I fear I mentioned his father’s name in passing and she thought it her beau.”
“Did you convince them to bring the book?” he asked with a low voice, giving the stairs a quick guarded glance, fearful of being overheard. “Are they aware of what you’ve told me?”
“Those fools,” the older man replied, showing an expression of distain on his face as he considered those who waited for them above, “They know little of anything, mere titled men of substance who gather like this to dabble in the Occult.”
“It is we that shall become rulers of such as them in the world, young Charles,” clapping a hand on his back. “Gold shall be our password. Come now, follow me.”
“It lies there,” Charlton whispered, leading him into the dimly lit room, his nod going towards the small wooden table that had been placed towards the center of the room. “It has taken me all these many months to convince McHenry to bring it from his father’s desk.”
“Here, don this,” holding out a dark robe to him, giving a light cough from the heavy scented incense that now began to waft around them. “We will begin soon, it’s best you are prepared like they are.”
“Do they know what they’re doing?” Charles asked quietly, as he watched the confusing gestures, trying to make sense of the ancient words the two beside the table were muttering as one flashed a sword out before them, the gleam from the blade caught by the candles placed around them.
“They like to think they do,” Charlton replied quietly, after a moment of reflection. “They are like children, playing with fire. They have gathered this evening to attempt a conjuration, a minor spirit,” looking over at Charles from where they stood in the shadows of the room.
“Fear not, boy,” he added, showing a slight smile as his eyes shifted back to the pair still gathered at the table, “It will work, they will hear noises, a shriek of anger at the disturbance of these beings. I have a trusted servant placed near, to ensure they are satisfied,” his smile growing in anticipation of their reaction to the ritual.
“They will thank me for asking that the book be brought forth. They will bask in the glow of their accomplishments as they seek the comfort of a warm fire and brandy.”
“McHenry’s father would curse their stupidity if he was to discover they have brought out his book, for like myself, he is aware it opens a gateway best not entered by mortal man.”
“Not from that bottle, my young friend,” Charlton gave out, reaching out to prevent Charles from pouring the wine into his glass, “That is just for them,” nodding towards the others. “We will need our wits about us, and they will sleep away the hours,” giving the two slumped forms a glance.
“Here,” he hissed, carefully holding up the heavy book to Charles. “Take this with you, and I will be soon on your trail, the proper hour approaches and we can not dally long,” handing over one of the cast off robes.
“Keep it wrapped up, it must not be seen on the journey to your estate. Stop for no one.”
“What delays you?” Charles asked, his eyes widening as the thick, strangely marked book was placed in his hands, surprised by the sudden tremor he felt at its touch, “I thought we were going together.”
“There is a special requirement, if you recall,” he said, glancing around towards the nearby trees that bordered the path. “I must see to our plans.”
“You found a wretch?” Charles asked, giving out a fearful look, “Are we truly going to do as you said?”
“It is what we need, if you want to be rich forever,” Charlton replied, giving the young man a gentle push toward the waiting carriage.
“As we discussed, no one would miss one such as she.”
“So gullible,” he muttered to himself, watching as the lanterns faded from sight as the carriage quickly made its way through the falling mists, heading towards the main roadway.
“How fortunate I was to have found one such as you,” a wicked smile coming to his face, “It’s as if I have help from the other side in the doing of this.”
“Who goes there?” a sharp voice called out as the small dark carriage came up beside Charlton in a rush, blocking his path towards his own waiting transport.
“What is this?” Charlton asked, pulling back on his hood, a quick scowl showing on his face as he recognized the one who had spoken.
“McHenry, what brings you out on such a night. Have you lost your wits?”
“The actions of fools, and thieves,” the old man replied from his position in the front of the carriage, pausing to tie off the reins before carefully making his way down to stand facing Charlton, his anger showing on his face.
“I’ve come for the book, you know which one I mean. I’ll have it back.”
“I have no such book, Sir. I resent the implication in your voice,” Charlton replied, giving a quick nod to his waiting driver whose dark clad figure was standing by at his own carriage, before turning back to face the irate elder man once more.
“Which book would this be?”
“Let us not play games, you and I,” McHenry gave out, his tone of voice becoming stern, his fury bringing a flush to his face.
“You know full well of what I speak. It is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands. You have no idea on what you have. You can set demons loose into our world.”
“If I had such knowledge, I would have been prepared,” Charlton retorted, giving the other man a grim smile, “As it happens, I’m merely borrowing a old book, from a old friend,” motioning back towards the house.
“He lies sleeping there, perhaps you would like to go address your concerns with your addle brained son. He offered no such concerns, old man.”
“I have even gone as far as to ask his fair niece to assist me, keeping things in the family as it were,” his smile growing at the paling expression that raced over the older man’s face as he took in what was being said, “I located the fine maiden in the city last night, already in her bed for the evening.”
“Our Hester? What have you done, you madman,” raging as he stepped up to other man, shaking his fist at Charlton’s face in anger, “Take me to her this very minute, you damned scoundrel.”
“Oh, no need to get upset, Sir. She is but sleeping in fine health, a few feet away,” nodding towards the waiting carriage behind him, a look of satisfaction growing as he turned, smiling at the look of growing dread being given him.
“This is all working out better than I had planned. I can now use the sweet lass for a better bargain.”
“I needed a small vial of fresh blood to open the gates, someone related,” sighing as his eyes took in the elder man’s expression of horror.
“I thought the girl a fine choice, so gentle and of such fine beauty, and being family she is of the proper bloodlines, she my link to the book.”
“Now, with your presence, I have a better plan,” his gaze shifting slightly towards his driver approaching them from behind.
“I can use your blood for the Pact. She can now offer up something else, something improper for me to mention to an elder of her own family.
“I’m sure the demon I conjure forth will be most pleased with my choice. I understand these old ones can be quite lustful.”
“I will have my gold, McHenry,” wrapping his cloak tighter about him as he looked down at the sight as the older man abruptly fell forward to his knees, the blow taking him to the damp ground at his feet, “and that stupid boy Charles has everything prepared for me and the book will provide the rest.”
“These Elder ones are without issue, in spite of their appearance,” Charlton remarked, listening the faint cry that interrupted their conversation, the sound a distant echo that seemed to travel upwards through the wide halls to where they sat, their meal but a fond memory as they now sat back with cigars in hand. “One of the many things I learned in my studies over the years is that they are all action and no results in such endeavors.”
“The ancient tales have always spoken of the one who gave birth to the various demons of the Djinn, but as with the Ifri… the ghul and others of their kind, they are merely creatures of legend. Nothing more than man’s way of putting a face to the unknown.”
“My man will return to take the body away for us, and bury it at the far edge of the gardens,” he added, a faint smile on his lips as he turned to listen to another cry. “I have a carriage driver that I can trust. In fact he is out there now, no doubt discussing the benefits of compost with an old friend.”
“You said it is a creature of deep and dark magic. Are you quite sure?” Charles asked, lifting his glass to taste his wine with a hand that still trembled from the ritual they had preformed together.
“I’ve heard tales concerning such demons. I was told McHenry’s father even mentioned it once during the telling of a story, that they are known to exist, and have their own ways about them. They ever seek a son for their own purposes.”
“Wives tales,” Charlton replied as he returned his attention to him, displaying a smirk at his own words. “A wife for the evening, for a creature of ancient lore. Payment for services rendered, nothing more.
“A payment promised has to be kept with such a one as he,” thinking on the beast that was contained below in the thick walled basement chambers.
“She won’t live long, even if such tales had even the dimmest glimmer of truth, they never do. The dawn’s light will find the deed done.”
“A proper shame, this doing,” Charles replied, carefully setting his glass back down, a faint look of loss on his otherwise quiet young face.
“I caught a quick glance, a girl of great beauty, Charlton. The finest I’ve seen, a waste to offer her to him as we did. It seems to me such a terrible price.”
“All the gold in the world cannot repay the debt we will incur,” a flash of worry crossing his face at the thought, “Perhaps it would have been better to offer up one of the old harlots from the village during the conjuration, as you first mentioned when all of this was first broached.”
“To offer him less would have angered him, Charles,” Charlton remarked, his thoughts wandering down to the young raven haired girl he had placed in with the creature.
”I’ll return McHenry’s book to him before he awakens from his slumber, he’ll never known it was missing. Perhaps I’ll offer up one of the coins to him, just to see the reaction on his foolish face.”
At the remark, the expression he had seen on Hester’s face returned to him, as did the swell of his own manhood at the memory of the sight of her breasts, quickly bared to his eyes as he had ripped away at the fine fabric that had made up her nightgown. A hand reached out to roughly caress her form as he leered at the sight.
“There, that should catch his eyes,” keeping his hand in place against the warmth of her skin for a moment longer.
“I have made a pact with the demon, and you were promised,” he had whispered, his eyes on her pale face, taking in the dark haired beauty of her appearance as he quickly repressed a sudden unexpected shiver of guilt for what he was doing.
“The vial wasn’t enough, the elder McHenry had it written down wrong, child,” running his gaze over the bared portion of her form once more.
“He’s been asking, pacing down there, ever since I mentioned a women such as you as payment, in addition to the blood,” still looking down at the terrified girl as he took his hand away.
“I fear I failed to properly tell him of your appearance my girl, my words failed me while under his gaze, thus he’s been most impatient with me.
“I don’t think the creature has ever had a human female before, this should prove most interesting, since I bid one of the oldest to come forth into this world.”
“The creature displays a hefty phallus, so do not baulk at the sight of him. Think of him as your husband, for he intends to treat you as one would a new wife on the marriage bed.”
Promising himself to never mention his own fears aloud, he had used his greater strength to overwhelm her resistance, flinging her through the half opened door before shrinking back to the dark paneled walls of the hall, away from the heavy metal bolt he had slide back upon closing the latch. Fearfully, he had then reached out with a trembling hand to turn the key, trapping her in with the creature.
“The wrath of one such as he is a terrible price to pay, Charles,” his thoughts now returning to the present.
“The lass is by far the better choice to us, in spite of her beauty and youth,” he finally came out with, dismissing his actions from his mind, hiding the slight shudder he felt at the other possibility as he wiped at the sweat now a sheen on his brow, “It would be us he would seek out to appease his rage.”
“It is more your creature than mine, surely he would not prey on me, or my sister,” Charles let out, giving him his attention as he tried to shed some of his own internal guilt for the role he had played.
“I am only providing the chamber below for your purposes. It was at your own bidding that this demon was conjured forth. I do not follow the occult as you do.”
“You stand to benefit, same as I,” Charlton quickly replied, sending a sharp look from bleary eyes his way. “I could not have done the deed on my own.”
“It was your funds that gathered what we required, and by our agreement your estate contains the beast, not mine,” he reminded him. “It now contains all the gold the creature has produced for us with his arcane knowledge.”
“There is no need for regrets at this point,” settling himself back in his chair, an attempt to ease himself of his own thoughts on what was happening below them.
“Once the night is out, and he’s had his blood payment, he will return to whence he came. It will be done with,” glancing over to Charles again, lifting his own glass up towards him, “and we’ll both be the richer for it.
“Enough gold for twenty life times.”
Looking around the corridor she now found herself in, Hester slowly brought herself to her feet, rubbing her knees from where she had struck the cold stone tiles, clutching at the tattered remnants of her clothing as she stood taking in what she could see in the glow of a low burning candle that provided the little bit of light that drew her attention.
Discovering the door had a latch on this side as she explored it with her hands, she reached out with trembling fingers to give it a quick tug, the metal bolt failing to budge at the feeble attempt.
“Let me out,” she pleaded, trying to reach the one who had flung her, the one with the wide eyes of fear, his breath heavy with the smell of drink.
Leaning against the heavy panels of the door, she brought her panting efforts to a halt, finally realizing that her strikes against the heavy wooden planks carried no further that than a few feet at best.
Stopping to gather her wits, she gave the wide passage her attention, carefully making her way down towards another lit candle as the corridor opened up into a great chamber before her.
Seeking another means of escape as flickers of light from candles sent the shadows dancing around her, she came closer to the great oaken panels set back from the carved stone arches that beckoned one to enter.
With the first soft touch of fingers that quickly explored the sight of one exposed breast, the demon gave out with a low rumbling hiss of pleasure that sent a river of fear racing through her.
Grabbing at her as she had passed the darker of the shadows, the sudden warm touch against her bare skin sent her reeling away with a sudden shriek, attempting to flee the touch.
Letting out a louder cry at the hurried sight of him, she tried to propel herself backwards, fearful of the tall dark form barely made out in the dim light of the larger chamber she had discovered.
Another louder scream echoed around her as she fell backwards at the renewed touch of his hand, his sudden forceful push landing her on the thick layers of furs that had appeared at her feet.
Unable to hold in the flow of tears that came to her face as she then lay trapped under the heavy weight that descended on her, Hester let forth with a low whimpering gasping sound that slowly made its way from her dry throat, startled from her fear by the sudden touch of his rigid phallus against her thighs as the creature pressed itself against her, its hands seeking her breasts once more.
Giving out yet another whimpering low gasp of fear, a shudder of horror swept over her as she realized the creature’s intentions as he tore at the remnants of her clothing, baring the remainder to his sight.
Another lingering sob followed as she felt the unexpected warmness of the creature’s jutting phallus as he then pressed it against her. Her throat tightening up, she could only lie there terror stricken as she felt him find entrance with a sharp flash of pain, his vast strength easily overwhelming her helpless attempts prevent his union.
His growing pants of his hot breath in the cool air of the chamber gently covered her in the subtle fine mist that formed around them as he coupled with her, his own grunts of lust merging with the girl’s weakening sobs, her mind lost to the creature’s actions.
A cry of his own was uttered as he continued to clutch at her, holding her tightly against him with powerful arms, his ever-strengthening movements on her suddenly ending.
The deep sensation that surge through her at his release was the last Hester felt as her hold on the world around her faded, the red eyes staring down from above her, the creature grunting out from his pleasure was the last thing she saw before her world went dark.
Still reveling from feelings that had swept over him as he withdrew from her, the demon allowed himself to sit back from the girl, watching her in the dim light, taking in her scent until the low burning candle on the wall above them finally sputtered out.
As if were a signal of his renewed needs, his desires once swept over him, forcing him to mount her again in the darkness. Only the low utterance he gave out marked the passage of time as he completed his desires with her again.
Delaying his departure, he turned and gave the silent, unmoving girl closer attention. A new, lit candle suddenly appeared in one hand as he used it to take in her finely marked features, a faint smile of satisfaction coming to his face at the sight of the thick blue fluids that now marked her thighs, giving him a deep sense of contentment at the remembrance of how she had felt to him.
With his own requirements sated, he leaned back on his haunches once more, giving her some thought as a faint unsettling feeling slowly came to him.
His eyes displayed a dim glow as they slowly went from the sprawled girl before him over to the great stacks of gold coins that had been haughtily tossed in piles against the far wall. Heavy woven bags that threatened to burst, freeing their contents in a river of coins across the stone flooring.
Slowly, as he returned his attention on the still form, a new unexpected revelation came to him. His gleaming eyes shifted in reaction as he considered the returning memories of ancient knowledge, the feeling causing him to feel both discomfort and revelation as he felt the subtle shift in the energies around her.
Still pondering on the sight of the girl before him, from a depth long hidden within, an emotion dawned that he had never experienced from such callings over the countless centuries of his existence.
Shifting his gaze from her as he felt the renewed swelling of desire returning to him once more, the creature turned away to rest his eyes on the gold once more.
With a wave of one hand, one of the large coins appeared in his fingers, where he gazed upon it for some time. Many more minutes passed before he moved again, carefully reaching out to place it down on the girl’s abdomen, covering it with the width of one hand.
Speaking slowly, he muttered words of old, giving out a slight sigh as he watched the first dark tendrils of energy come forth, emerging outwards from his touch to race across her bare skin.
Leaving the coin where he had set it, he watched as the small glowing orb formed on her, his eyes remaining on it until it slowly pulsed and vanished, absorbed by the girl’s body.
Giving the coin his attention once again, he reached out for it, his nimble fingers beginning to fashion a thick link of gold as he knelt beside her. As he worked, a strange smile then came to his face from the emotion that quickly passed through him at the sight of the dusty looking sigil that remained on her.
Soon, another coin appeared in his hands as he bent himself to his task, with other coins following, the hours passing as he spun the links together for her. He paused only long enough to bring the dark magic to life in each one.
Finishing, he gave out a low grunt of satisfaction, marveling at his creation. Picking up the gleaming necklace, he positioned it to be placed around the young girl’s neck, bending down to whisper words of power into her ear as he did so, words that caused her eyes to briefly flutter, allowing her to utter a single sentence of response before she once more lay still.
Satisfied with his actions, the creature carefully set the golden links around the girl’s neck, watching her reaction to it with a quiet expression, a gleam forming at what he had done.
Only the slowing rising of her breasts with each breath marked the time as he produced another coin, and settled down to await the dawn as he fashioned a single ring.
“He probably planned it this way,” Charles remarked at the sight of his friend’s sleeping form, his attempts at his awakening hindered by the vast amounts of wine that had been consumed.
“It is up to me to deal with the poor wretch’s body. I, who has to ensure all evidence of this foul night has been removed,” talking to himself as he reluctantly made his way down the stone steps to the chamber below, using his own words to occupy his thoughts, fearful of the sight that would soon greet him.
Bolstered by his reflection on the riches that awaited his eyes, he threw the door wide open, holding the lantern up before him.
Giving out a sharp cry as he was grabbed by the front of his shirt, his eyes filled in sudden fear as he was easily lifted up from the floor by the seven-foot tall beast that had been clad by the shadows, standing silently within as it awaited the proper moment.
The red glow that came to its eyes made them seem to gleam in the dim light as the lantern slipped away to fall with a clatter of metal and broken glass at their feet.
Unconcerned by his reaction, the demon gave Charles a piecing glare, lifting him higher to let his legs dangle beneath him as it brought his face closer.
“You have failed to provide more blood,” came out, a slow hiss of rage following as it’s eyes flared with a dark emotion.
“We… we did as bade,” Charles finally got out, trying not to stammer in his fear as he tried to avoid the damning gaze. “She was placed in here last night. I swear it was done.”
“Fool,” the demon replied, giving him a rough shake while still holding him over the stone flooring. “Do you see me as one of the lesser beings? She is an innocent,” lowering Charles slightly so he would not miss his response.
“I can not take the blood of an innocent such as she. Where is my final blood payment?”
“I… I don’t understand,” Charles gave out, trying to control his breathing as he faced the creature, “Charlton is the one, he is the one you want,” he pleaded, trying to escape the grasp.
“I have no answers. I know not of what you need, what it takes to release you of your task. You must ask him,” his voice faltering from the terror that had swept over him.
“I need the blood to leave this world, to end this Pact,” the creature explained, his deep voice carrying as he tightened his grasp once more, drawing Charles closer to him.
“You say this Charlton is the one I need?”
“Yes. Oh, yes, I swear by all that is holy, he’s the one you want, he said the words,” Charles let out, his lips trembling from his dread as he tried to motion back up the stairs with a flailing hand.
“That way, he lies there.”
“She will live a long and gentle life. If you fail to care for her, I will return for you,” the eyes once again on Charles as he squirmed, still seeking release of the hold on him.
“Your fate will be the worst I can imagine. Do you understand?”
“I will treat her is if my very own,” Charles gave out, beginning to pant from his fright of the beast. “I swear.”
“Let it be so. Be it also known then, for all of your life, and for those that follow her,” the demon added, his voice carrying as he set a firm gaze on Charles before letting him go with a slight shove that sent him sprawling across towards the other wall to land in a heap upon the stone floor, “… I will be watching.
“A new Pact has been made between us. You will offer her this in my stead,” the heavy ring his tossed landing on his chest, rolling off with a low clatter of metal. “She will bear the ring of a Lady.”
“I overheard him say he would wed, the very words as I passed,” the servant girl let out, keeping her voice low as she gave a quick glance with excited eyes towards the shuttered hall door, “He’s in with the village elder, still.”
“It’s been long enough in the making of that decision,” the older women muttered, rising from her padded seat to check the cooking once more.
“Her cries of passion have been heard on more than one evening. She’s clearly with his child, and still he walks the halls at night, as if love itself had wrenched his heart in twain.
“I heard the Priest will have his words with him soon enough, if he delays further in presenting her with a ring.”
“A proper Lady in the house, one of great beauty and youth. It will bring a nice change,” Anna, the first girl who had spoken, remarked, her thoughts lingering on what that might be.
“I’m truly relieved that man Charlton he hosted, has not been seen these many months past. He tended to clutch at me as he passed by, his hands often following where his eyes wandered.”
“You’ll cause her to learn how to swing a swift switch for such tardiness,” Matha, the old cook, remarked while shaking her head at the girl’s words, “You best see to her needs,” she added, nodding towards the covered tray on the table.
“As I recall, you came in to fetch that chicken and warm broth to her. Pray she has an easy birth, she seems the nervous one concerning her child.”
“She’s of the nobility,” Ana replied, quickly recalling her task and picking up the tray with the waiting meal on it, “She bears a great necklace of gold, donned each morning with the dawn’s light. A family heirloom no doubt, a bequeathing gift to the first born I would dare say.”
“More likely a token of protection,” Marta muttered, seeing girl off with her tray.
“She clutches at it, where it lies against her breast, with every passing thunderstorm and sudden noise. As if it provided her some safeguard from the unseen.”
“The babe bears a strange mark upon her,” the priest remarked, handing the squirming child back to her mother, his watery, questioning eyes turning to Charles.
“It is just there, well below her waist. As if she was burned by a brand. I have not seen its likeness before during these rites.”
“A family birthmark, no doubt,” Charles quickly replied, sending out a soothing hand to comfort his wife who had taken a step back, holding her child close. “Only her husband would know, but my wife bears it as well. Perhaps it will fade in the passing of the years.”
“Perhaps,” the old priest muttered, his narrowing eyes lingering on the eyes of the dark haired mother for a brief moment, before giving a wave of his hands to those others awaiting his blessing with their own newborns.