Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dark Redemption chapter 41: Witch at Work

Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers and picturesque facade of the City of Redemption lies another city; a community of dark and ancient magic populated by creatures of the night. Dark Redemption is a shared-world novel based on an online role-playing game by James Crowther.

Plucky girl reporter Cassandra True has gone to the home of Belladonna Morrigan, a member of a community arts group, for an interview. But the sweet old lady who sings in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas has a nasty side and Cassandra finds herself captured by Morrigan's sorcerous servants...

Morrigan sang to herself as she worked, carefully removing the silver casting from its mold: "Things are seldom what they seem; skim milk masquerades as cream..." The charm had come out perfectly: A hawthorn leaf, impaled by a thorn, cast in silver. It was exactly like the amulet around her own neck, except that hers was cast in gold and set within an iron ring, of course.

She noticed the girl beginning to stir. That was good. Having her awake when Strephon arrived would provide him with that much more incentive. "Hello, ducks," Morrigan clucked as she threaded the charm upon a fine silver chain. "I hope you had a pleasant nap."

Cassandra moaned and tried to move. She was lying on something hard and cold which rocked as she shifted position. She saw bars before her. She was in a cage!

Morrigan smiled as the girl threw herself against the bars and the cage, suspended from a hook on the ceiling, swung back and forth. "Don't thrash about so, ducks. You'll make yourself giddy, you will."

"What do you want? Why have you done this to me?"

The old crone hobbled over to the cage and prodded the bars with her finger. "You have been touched by the Fae."

"I-I don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't you?" Morrigan rocked back and forth on her heels and let her attention wander to the ceiling. "A great many years ago, when I was young and charming... I was once, you know; as fair and as charming as you are now... I too loved a fae; a handome faerie named Strephon."


Morrigan's gaze darted sharply back to Cassandra. "But he spurned me. He rejected my love. He crushed me. Do you know what that means?"

"If you mean have I ever been dumped before, yes, I suppose I have."

Morrigan grew angry. "No! I am talking of no mortal rejection. He was one of the Fae, and I loved him! But he spurned my love! Ever since, I have sought a way to win him back. And now I shall!"

Cassandra inched back to the far end of the cage.

"I have learned much about the Fae," the crone confided. "I have even managed to capture a few. You have seen my servants, Wisp and Banshee." She held the amulet she had made before her. "My sweet Strephon will come to rescue you. And when he does, I shall make him mine, just as those others are."

"There must be some mistake," Cassandra said timorously. "Your Strephon can't be the same person as my Strephon..."

"He's not yours!" Morrigan snapped. "He will never be yours!" She clutched the amulet tightly in her fist. Then she slowly regained her composure. "True, many long years have passed and I have grown old and grey while he still remains as youthful as ever. He is a Fae, did you not hear me? But tonight... tonight he shall become mine!"

The crone turned back to her table and resumed working on the amulet. As she did so, Cassandra heard her hum a delirious little tune.

"If that is so sing derry-down-derry
It's evident, very,
Our tastes are one;
Away we'll go and merrily marry
Nor tardily tarry
'Til day is done

NEXT:  Reconnaissance Report

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