Lady Torchwood nodded, ‘I believe that will be a good memory for the ages. Though, he did me a kindness that forces me to ask the following question.’
Rod Rambler folded his hands and looks at the good wizard with a wicked gleam, ‘What sort of question or questions makes you blush so? Why could you not use your infamous crystal ball?’
‘Since my task as chronicler is complete, CrIsis, you know I cannot scry upon them or ReSet. The Gods block such things unless they wish to allow the vision to work for their reasons I will not understand. Alas, the King won’t make it known he owns only a few of the Books of CrIsis. He owns the ones detailing any reference to Xerx’ses and the elven women in his life. Apparently, the gaudy and verbose humor among many of the royals of Timiro is…
…A) Is it even possible for him to mate with a human or elven woman? B) Will it succeed since he is now an immortal and some are whispering the phrase Demi-God? C) I hate this one but with the court functions I must attend some whisper about whether he is single? D) How big is he?!?! Can you believe it?!?’
Rod Rambler laughs so hard at seeing Lady Torchwood flustered so, ’Oh my…"
‘There is some charlatan author or authors putting out tawdry novellas – The Minotaur and the Maiden, The Labyrinth of Love – and he, I mean Guy, can’t stop reading them,’ exclaimed Lady Ondemeira of Torchwood interrupting the famous bard!
Few things shock Rod Rambler, so to get a raised eyebrow was to say something impressive, ‘Well good then, Helara’s, pseudonym is serving her and the church well. I hear distribution in the Western Empire’s Khighfalton region outstrips all of Timiro!’
‘WHAT! WHY! UHHHH WHY WOULD SHE, well she is actually not that hard to belie … YOU …. YOU …. !?!?!’
‘Simple dear, sex sells and then there’s the bonus. Oh yes, aside from extra money for the Church, how many coded messages do you think can be smuggled in a dirty book?’
‘Ms. Hoppner you bitch, that’s why…‘a shrewd look came over Lady Torchwood’s face.
‘Now, now, I arranged for some of my work to find its way into her hands. Allowed her to blackmail me, and run her backer through a set of child companies owned by my interests in Karowyn’s Merchant House. Both the – tawdry was it I believe – writer and the Karowyn’s believe they are besmirching the name of Xerx’ses – Osiris’ Unyelding Strength! HAHA! Nothing could be further from the truth! It is doing more to encourage cross racial relations than ANYTHING we have tried to sew peace between the peoples of the world!’
’You’re lying! There’s no way some scandalous book can make that lovable buffoon a subject of erotic fascination!’
Rod Rambler chuckled, ‘Dear sweet Ondemeira did you just not call him – loveable?’
Ondemeira of Torchwood huffed, ‘I also said buffoon.’
’You’re right, and brilliant I’ll have a book done up where the Minotaur is innocent and the – tawdry was it I believe – elf maiden seduces him They will eat this up with a woman in control over a male hahaha!’
‘Mal.. Mr. Rambler! I will not be part of your salacious empire built upon the voyeuristic overtures of CrIsis’ currently senior member!’ A courtly resignation came over Lady Ondemeira of Torchwood’s face, ‘Very well, since those books are not the chronicled journeys then the Church gets all the money and you get an information highway, spies, cloak and dagger, I thought, nay hoped those days were over. Alas, then this request makes sense, now.’
‘His majesty has requested any excerpts of the Minotaur he can say that he got a sneak peak at a Book of CrIsis involving an elf?’
‘Yes here is something I just finished penning for later addition into the books, feel free to copy it but leave the original. It covers the dates from the 28th of Thoth to the 7th of Kym-Nark-Mar’
Lady Ondemeira of Torchwood began to read about what she was sure would become another scandalous book that would the dubbed some lewd title. Then she read the working title Rod had scribbled upon the parchment.
- The Minotaur and the Courtesan -
Xerx’ses was smiling, and frowning on the way to Lady Rhiana’s home. Each moment depended upon whether or not he was thinking of Dame Hannah or Commander Mack. The smiles was actually because he had been wrong! Yes, wrong about his view and knowledge of the Gods of Light’s plan for Master No Name. Shortly after his last ‘missive’ the Grand Arbiter, Nulendar, Voice of Osiris, had arrived alongside the Acamarch and another Cardinal of the Church of Light. It was then Master Rooster spoke up, and showed Xerx’ses the ring. At that moment he could no longer deny the truth, both his friends had died.
In mopish sorrow he released Master No Name from the spell holding him. Master Ursus ended up invoking the fiery wrath of Bennu to the point she manifested to validate the Grand Arbiter! Xerx’ses laughed now in the evening air alongside the two guards escorting him to his destination. Why you ask dear reader? For he had made the same mistake with Isis when he first met her. The bear of a man tried to negotiate with not just Bennu, but an angry, livid version of Bennu! Both Father Indaris and our Minotaur had knelt, awaiting her judgement. The fiery Goddess left the second her point had been made. The Acamarch left the weary heroes to a have a wake and their fireside chat with the new members. Xerx’ses had hugged Master No Name and was teary eyed when he told him it was over. During the wake he slipped out and ordered a cake to be ready at breakfast two day later for Father Indaris’ 2nd year anniversary in CrIsis. Shaman Grignak was really smart and Xerx’ses had to be extra sneaky to just pull this off. Heavens forbid when he would have to sneak off and do Horus Day shopping.
When it had become time to find accommodations our rather tall, newly fashion immortal, horned, wizard had sent a magical pigeon missive to the Lady Rhiana about her invitation to see him once again when he returned to Sekti-Abtu. The reply was nearly instantaneous! Xerx’ses was more than a little giddy to have someone live up to what they said they were going to do when came to something as personal as relations between a male and female. Two guards were assigned to escort him to her manse within upper class areas of Sekti-Abtu. Once he was out of the Treasury he kept pestering the guards about every 1,000 feet with questions about how he looked and he cast a Cleansing spell twice just to be sure. He put the damaged pieces of his armor in his bag knowing they would be healed in a day or two. He could feel his wounds slowly knitting themselves shut. No where near as fast as the Revenant of Khonsu, but effective nonetheless.
‘Fear’ and ‘Excitement’ should have been the names of the guards walking to either side of Osiris’ Unyielding Strength. He looked completely different than during his last visit.
Would she still think the same of him?
Many people in the street would stop and stare making him worried he might step on someone so he would snap his fingers and every few hundred feet a Globe of Daylight spell would appear in the air to light up the encroaching twilight. At his height he smiled because people remarked how he just made light without the funny wizard words!
Sitting in an orphanage dedicated to both of the goddesses, Isis and Apis. Rhiana was finishing with her tenth patient mending a broken bone on an orphaned orc girl. The trio of priestesses that ran the establishment were so grateful for her help. Some children like the orc girl were hard to get them to trust the human clergy, and made treating them problematic. Whenever they could get Lady Rhiana’s help in soothing the mind and heart it made transitioning the care so much easier. Holding the small orc child’s hand she brought the little girl over to a circle of children and helped make the introductions so they might form friendships on their own. A few hours later she had finished the tale of CrIsis and the Lopanic Games. They especially liked how the heroes got the Lung of Osiris back from ReSet when they stole it.
‘Have you ever met CrIsis?’ Asked the little Orc girl in Gobbley tongue.
A young dwarf boy turned and spoke in the same language back to her, ‘Lady Rhiana knows everyone! I am sure she has met all of CrIsis.’
With a motherly smirk Rhiana spoke Gobbley but her accent made the speech seem pleasant even with the harh consonant sounds, ‘I have only met the ones called the ’Seeker’ and the one called the ‘Unyielding Strength.’
Gasps from the circle of children when a magical pigeon with a light golden glow flew into the room and said in a deep voice clearly trying to be soft and quiet, ’Umm, Lady Rhiana, I have arrived from Mount Nimro and was wondering if your offer of hospitality was still available?
All of the children knew of the dread fire mountain and land of the Giants. The fact that someone had returned from the land of the giants could only mean one thing – CRISIS WAS IN SEKTI-ABTU!!! With its message delivered the magical pigeon vanished in a golden burst of light! Before she could blink a dozen questions about what hero was it that gone off to the land of the Giants and returned, alive! She had to calm them all down again and said to listen as she pulled a magical scroll from her shoulder bag. She read the incantation and the children watch in awe as another magical pigeon appeared above the scroll as it burned up into wisps of smoke, this one had a soft blue glow to it. She spoke to the enchanted creature her reply, ‘Yes, Xerxses, the Unyielding Strength of Osiris is always welcome in my home. Will see you presently, Rhiana.’
The children went wild with glee knowing that they knew someone that indeed knew a real hero! She promised the children she would figure out a way for them to meet Xerx’ses before he left once again. The little orc girl thanked her so much she even called her Mama Rhiana. The children promised to be good so they could meet the Golden Minotaur that had won the heart of the world.
Rhiana smiled as her carriage pulled away from the orphanage. When out of the public eye quickly sent 5 additional pigeons to upcoming appointments. Informing them that until CrIsis left Sekti-Abtu she would be at the whim of the scions of light. In thruth she knew she was at his whim and fancy. Rumors had been flooding the bards, nobles, and anyone with access to word from afar that the Golden Minotaur had turned himself into an immortal, and still the occasional phrase demi-god or half-god was tossed about! Many stories said he looked golden now, but she had been unable to get more details than that. Soon she could tell exactly where Xerx’ses was as golden magical orbs began to appear in the twilight sky. She told the driver there was 25 Eastern Crowns to be given to him as a bonus if he beat the lights to her home. The carriage began to pick up speed and soon she was happy she would have to pay the driver.
When her carriage arrived she could see that the Golden Minotaur was still half an hourglass out from the front of her property. Using an ancient earring she squeezed it and made her intentions clear to the castellan of her primary home. As she entered the inner house she could smell the herbal bath wafting through the air as two female attendants helped to disrobe her so she might bath before the arrival of her auspicious guest.
Xerx’ses made sure to cancel the lights when he left an area that a resident complained. He had to keep reminding himself that running was bad and he shook the hand of anyone that waved at him. Even those that were smart enough to wave from a second story window. More than a few people heard that CrIsis had returned from battling the Giants for an Arm of Osiris! When they asked where he was going he said a friend had invited him to share in the hospitality of her home. There were giggles and now with pink skin and platinum-blond hair when the Golden Minotaur blushed everyone could tell. They said it was only fitting that the hero would get a girl, and more than one woman commented on how handsome he looked. Even a few fathers told their kids they could grow up to be strong like Xerx’ses if they ate their carrots and other vegetables. The hardest thing with Xerx’ses was being addressed as an example of ‘what to do’ because he still was making it up as he went along! He still sympathized with the kids because he had just been trying to do what he thought his parents would expect of him.
Fresh from her bath and adorned in Western silks, Rhiana, stepped into the night air on her balcony. She thanked her castellan for the spyglass she had been gifted by a “Free Captain” from the northern seas. Whispering the words that activated its power she could now ‘hear’ anything within 10 feet of her visual target of the spyglass! Upon gazing at Xerx’ses she nearly dropped the spyglass in shock and awe of how, how marvelous he looked! She could believe the stories coming out of Timiro now about the demi-god within CrIsis! She smiled at how patient and polite he was with everyone. She also saw how nervous he was in his new ‘skin’ as it were. He clearly didn’t know turning himself into an immortal – if the tales are correct – was going to change him like this, not that she was complaining. Tonight was going to be special indeed.
Seeing how fast the Golden Minotaur was moving she arranged herself on her favorite ‘kline,’ the daybed used by the nobles of Lopan at parties, hosting guests, and casual relaxation. She called her castellan, Rodolfo, over to put some flowers in her hair and then make sure to take the ‘Unyielding’ Osirian scion’s things to a room. After letting him see where you stored his belongings then he was to bring him to her. Left alone her focus and determination were without peer as she sat in a perfect pose. Aside from the heaving of her bosom one might of mistaken her for a painted statue of perfect marble. Soon she heard the front door and she allowed herself a brief gasp as she was going to have to work tonight for composure. When the Golden Minotaur had visited before he looked like a brute and now, now he was every bit the moniker awarded to him at the Lopanic Games!
She used her powers of the mind to retain composure as she could hear the footfalls of his chiseled frame coming to the door. Then it opened and she was in glorious awe. Wearing his armor from the waist down, wizard robe off one shoulder as some elven swordsmen are inclined to do. His skin was nearly the same shade as hers and the torches dance with their flickering light across his chest and head of platinum-blond hair! His horns were proportioned perfect and all of his scarring appeared to be gone! His eyes and the tips of his horns were the color of honeyed amber. He was magnificent and she was starring!
‘Look at me Osiris’ Unyielding Strength,’ she gestured at herself running her hand down her frame tracing the edge of her body.
‘I want you to see my eyes look upon you and know this is what desire looks like,’ she tilted her head and smiled, ‘While you are here I will teach you all I can about how to please a woman so when you find your love you will be prepared to make her your queen!’
The Golden Minotaur nodded, in a state of rapture was his gaze locked upon her beauty.
‘Come and kneel before me, take me into your arms.’
Xerx’ses did as he was instructed and when he encircled her is his arms she took his face in her hands and kissed him with all the passion she could muster! It was only minutes, but seemed like an eternity. When their lips parted she stared into his eyes and snapped her fingers
… the room went dark …
After Lady Ondemeira Torchwood leaves, the famous bard begins to write missives to his agents in the companies owned by Karowyn’s Merchant House. Among the instructions to be slowly disseminated to Helara is one suggesting reaching out to Kat’s Dungeon about a juicy story of their ‘brute’ being a member of CrIsis. If he survives a year a backer will pay her to write juicy tales about Grignak.
Book: Minotaur and the Maiden is a photo manipulation by AZ_Rune of the piece of the same name by Magnuson24 of his Maiden and the Minotaur. Labrynith of Love is random Google searches to make the sappy book cover of trashy novela. OMG it was fun to do! HA HA HA!
All other art by AZ_Rune.