"Master Darynn, please be brought forward."
Darynn rose to his feet and allowed his to colleagues to lead him into the moon-shaped circle that was the petition floor for the main council of Mages. Around him sat his thirteen peers, each of whom had heard testimony from himself, Bethsany, and Aimee', as well as additional testimony from several of Bethsany's girls and two of Teltirray's servants. Still, he had to admit, the council saw things differently from most people and he didn't know what their decision would ultimately be.
From the center of the council, Talen Silisto leaned over and looked down at him. "Master Darynn, the court has reviewed its findings and considered your testimony. While it would normally be outrageous for a mage of your standing to defy the wishes of a fellow mage and teach that mage's student something other than what was requested, we find in your case that you taught Aimee' precisely according to the wishes of Teltirray as best as you, yourself, could interpret. If Aimee' sought additional learning from you and your library, as long as her demanded studies did not suffer in the process, that is the mark of a good student, and you, sir, are to be rewarded as a good nurturer of that student." Master Silisto smiled, and Darynn grinned back. "This court finds you innocent of any wrongdoing. Would you please be returned to your chair?"
"I would, sir."
"Aimee', please be brought forward."
Aimee stood and, like Darynn before, allowed herself to be led to the center of the circle. Darynn watched the hold of her head and found himself admiring the strength she was showing, as well as the nervousness locked into her shoulders. She looked up at Mage Silisto, the hood of her cloak thrown back.
Mage Silisto examined her carefully. "Apprentice Aimee', the court has examined your conduct and your testimony, as well as that of your teachers and those who know you, and we can find no evidence of wrongdoing. As a mage, Teltirray had few peers, and in his speciality he had none. As a man, however, Teltirray was more monster than human being, and with your revelations and those contained in his journals, we hereby remove his name from our ranks as an honored member."
"Also, this court has examined Teltirray's last moments in detail. Without formality, this ruling will probably face challenge, but we rule that you and Teltirray engaged in duel, one that he unfairly skewed in his favor, and that you are therefore to be benefitted in the manner of one who has won duel. In the presence of a Will or Deed of Estate, you are entitled to half of Teltirray's estate holdings. Without such a document, you are entitled to all." Aimee's mouth dropped open, and Darynn followed suit, stunned by the generosity of the ruling. Talen Silisto slapped his palm on the wood of the table for silence, and when he got it, he turned to another standing there. "Ricar, is there such a document?"
"No such document will be found," Ricar stated evenly.
"Is there such a document," Silisto repeated. Darynn wondered at why Silisto needed to repeat it.
Ricar stared at the mage, anger written across his mouth. Then, slowly, he smiled. "Master Silisto, I submit to you that no such Will or Deed can be found."
Satisfied, Silisto turned back to Aimee'. "You are now the holder of the title to Teltirray's estates. This is the ruling of this mage's court." Silisto slapped his hand upon the table. "Recorder, let it be known that Master Darynn has been cleared of all charges. That Apprentice Aimee' has been, as well. That the court rules in the duel of Aimee' and Teltirray, that Aimee' is the living victor. And finally, that the Council of Mages grants Aimee' a white card admission to the College, to reside with Master Darynn-- " An uproar started in the audience. Darynn looked stunned, but most of them were beginning to applaud!
Silisto banged his hand on the table. "ORDER! I will have order in here!" He took a deep breath. "To reside with Master Darynn, who has been neglecting his duties as a mentor for far too long recently, until such time as she earned the title of Mage."
The smell of her hair bothered him. He wasn't sure why, or even in what way, it bothered him, but it did. He tried not to listen to his feeling, but they would not go away merely from wishing. "Sir?" she asked gently.
"I wanted to ask you... you said once, just eight months ago, that you were prepared to love me." She turned around, slipping her arms into his cloak and holding him close. Surprised, he looked down at the top of her head, inhaling the soft smell of her hair again. "Would you... are you ready now?"
"I..." He stood, flustered, then finally smiled. "I think so, Aimee'." Much to even his surprise, he felt his erection growing under her influence. As he reflected on her touch, he realized that Bethsany and her girls still held no interest at all for him. Instead, Aimee' challenged him, excited him, because of her talents, her magic. And he wanted to indulge himself in her spirit and her body.
He caressed her hair slowly, and her hands stroked his back, his fingertips arousing the skin and causing his muscles to tense up almost painfully. "Come with me, Aimee'," he said. She smiled and took his hand. He led her to the bedroom. "Sit."
She sat. He sat opposite her, his hands folded in his lap. "I feel... uncomfortable. I have no idea where to begin with you. And, more honestly, I am frightened of you."
"If you do not wish, sir..."
"No, I have no desire to go back on my pledge. Aimee', this may sound odd, but while I love you, and I feel lust for you, and at my age I should have the wisdom to understand what I feel in here, I do not." He tapped himself on the chest to emphasize his words. "Men... Men are easy, compared to you."
"You taught me, many months ago, not to be afraid of what I wanted or what someone else asked of me. If I could do it, and I wanted, I should." She smiled. "I learned that lesson very well." She rose and removed her cloak, tossing it onto the chair by the bed. "This room has so much magic in it. I can feel it when I breathe."
"Yes," Darynn replied. "I have had many men in this room, and cast many more spells." He grinned. "Shall we perform one, tonight?"
She stopped, surprised. "You would do that with me?"
"It would seem the natural course of action. You are an apprentice. I am the mage. I am supposed to teach you things. Why don't I show you, by example, a kind of scrying I'm familiar with?"
"Please, sir!" she smiled. Darynn reached out and pulled her close, pushing up the cuff on her left sleeve, exposing her wrist. He knew she was watching as he lowered his head and kissed her wrist, gently. The taste of her skin was unlike anything he had ever tasted. It was salty, like the skin of men, but it was a different quality from any salt or sweat he had known with men. He could not even begin to place the differences.
She stood, silently, while he reached out and untied the bows that held her tunic closed in the front. He admired the smooth flawlessness of her body as he exposed it, inch by inch. Her breasts, still growing, were already large mounds projecting away from her body, each nipple pointing away from the other. He quietly cursed himself. For a sex mage, he had damned little vocabulary to describe the beauty of a woman's body. And he did find her beautiful. Her beauty was bound in the way she breathed, in the way her chest rose and fell with the excitement that was building between them as student and teacher, friend and lover, and he hated to admit... man to woman. The raw flux of power between two loving men was one thing he appreciated. Yet the strange flux of power, filtered by the differences in the sexes, made for a kind of magic he had never known.
As he pushed her shirt down off her back and she shook her hair to free it from where it had become caught in the shirtcollar, he ceased cursing himself and smiled. He took her cheeks in his hands, lifted her mouth slightly, and kissed her. And then he laughed.
"Oh, Aimee', what I have been thinking in the past few minutes is just not fit. Are you ready to share the weaknesses of an old man?"
"If they are yours, sir, I will always be ready."
"Very well." He rose and slowly led her to the bedside, encouraging her to get in. She lay down on the covers and, together, they worked off her breeches. "Aimee', I have been considering what a fool I have been for denying myself the special kind of magic that happens not between two men, but between a man and a woman. And then I realized how few people ever learn of the love between man and woman, even when they are made to learn that." He shook his head. "You are the first woman I have loved since my mother, and you may be the last. It is not... It is not that I have discovered women, Aimee'. It is just that I have discovered you."
She smiled and reached up, pulling him down beside her. "Sir, one thing I have not yet had the pleasure of is one of my own kind. But I dearly wish it. I wish to learn."
"I am afraid I shall have to send you to a specialist for that," he mused, laughing. "That sort of thing is beyond my understanding."
"Yes, sir," she replied, grinning. "Remove your clothing, already!"
"I have to prepare for the spell, first. Wait here." Darynn rose and left the room. He walked down the corridor to his magickal pantry, recovered the items he required, and returned. Aimee' was idly stroking her skin, scratching or self-pleasuring, he couldn't tell, and she smiled as he walked in. "I waited."
"I see," he replied. "Come, apprentice. Help me arrange this spell. I will need this powder dripped into the groove on the floor that encircles the bed, and I will need these candles inset into the holders at points 1, 21, 41, 61, and 81. Clear?"
"Yes, sir. Is there any need to care for the colors?"
"Good question, apprentice. No, not this time."
"Yes, sir." He watched, somewhat detached at the beauty of her body but thrilled with the eagerness in her soul, as she placed the candles down and began the slow and rather dull task of encircling the bed with the mix he had given her. He stripped off the plain blanket and put in its place a large, blue comforter onto which were sewn magical runes and sigils. "Aimee'?"
"Almost done, sir," she said.
"Join me when you are."
He knelt on the bed, naked, as she joined him. "Now, cross your legs, close your eyes, and hold out your hands."
She did as she was told. He looked at her, naked, vulnerable... and yet, he knew that if he were to arouse her anger, she would prove a challenge, possibly a mortal one. Unlike Teltirray, even if he did not see all of it, he knew the source of her power and he respected it. He reached over, doused the oil lamp, and settled himself before her, taking her hands in his. He closed his eyes.
Slowly, he began chanting, swaying back and forth, feeling the power that was already heavily invested into this room even when no magick was being performed. His soul reached out, examined everything. His hands moved up her arms, and she mirrored his movements, until his forehead touched hers. Their hands roamed, and slowly he felt her open herself to him. For the first time, he sensed her hidden heart, which she had kept protected from Teltirray for all these past months. Her mouth began to move, although no sounds came out. He could hear her breath shaped into words and knew that those words were echoes of his own. She was losing herself to the spell, and that was as it should be.
His hand caressed her breasts, and hers stroked the hardened muscles of his chest. Beneath her soft teats he could feel the strength she had earned through Teltirray's unfortunate "ministrations." He worried that he was being inept, or too rough, to the delicate flesh of her body, but she never said a word other than the whispered spell of scrying they worked together.
His mouth touched her shoulder as they leaned together, and her voice suddenly took form. She took over the speaking of the spell, as his mouth explored her soft skin. Once more he was fascinated with a taste, a texture, a sensation utterly unlike that of any man or boy he had ever enjoyed. He pressed her down to the bed, feeling her body underneath his own. His skin came to life with every inch pressed to inch, and the mana flowed about them in torrents Darynn had shared so few times in his life. His mouth found her nipples. They were not so unlike men's, perhaps a little larger than most men he had been with, but not the largest. He learned to appreciate the feel of her breasts, the wonder and excitement inherent in them. He was fascinated, yet the spell called him on. There was more to do. He kissed her belly. In his mind, the spell wove on and on, and in his ears Aimee' chanted flawlessly words she had not known an hour before. His mouth trailed down to her sex.
The scent was... distracting. Interesting. Nothing to write Thomas about. He lowered his lips to her furred mound, slowly extending his tongue, tentatively tasting her flesh. The words to the spell came a little more breathlessly from her throat. He pulled his head back slightly and looked down, taking in the sight, comparing the pink flesh the color inside a seashell before him with what he knew in his head. He licked where he thought her clit should be, tasting at it. Her legs spread slowly wider, and a small moan ran in the undercurrent of her chant. He looked up and her face showed how lost she was in the magic and the pleasure of power.
He licked at her harder. His jaw was experienced enough with the taste of men, but she was proving difficult to follow. He grinned to himself... his problem was that the target was so small!
He was apparently doing enough, for her chanting changed in pitch and timbre as she approached her orgasm. He decided to let the spell rise with her. They didn't have to be joined at the hips to make this work; he had succeeded many times while sucking seed.
He allowed her to continue weaving the spell; he fed it to her mind even as his mouth fed on the taste and feel of her cunt. He licked with enthusiasm, appreciating the way she responded so fully. It was different from men (he couldn't stop making the comparison), but he had no trouble recognizing it. He pressed his mouth against her cunt, licking her harder. He lay against the bedspread and felt his erection pressing against the rough cloth. Her orgasm was growing; he could feel it in her legs and see it in her heart. She growled underneath the chanted her spell, and he could hear the thickness in her voice that heralded the loss of control. Her voice grew louder as the muscles in her legs trembled and shook. He changed to course of spell from its rotating-growing phase to the outward-seeking phase, and she screamed as she came, the magickal words shouted from her mouth as a cruder lover would shout obscenities.
His vision blinked momentarily, and when he looked again the sky had opened up above his head and the world turned below him. Only one moon was in sight, but it was clearer and more radiant than he had seen it in many a year. He turned around slowly, and Aimee' floated besides him. Her eyes were closed and her chest was heaving, one hand over her breasts as if to feel the air entering and escaping. "Aimee'," he said. "Apprentice."
"Sir?" she asked, blinking slowly and opening her eyes.
"Look at what we have wrought." He reached out for her hand, and she took it. Drawing her close, he turned her so that she looked down upon the world. "We have left our bodies, so important to our pleasures, behind, so that we may see this."
"Is that... that..."
"That is Earth," Darynn said slowly. "We are many miles from it's surface."
"Indeed," Darynn said. "And there are other secrets to be learned from this height. But out bodies will not long stand the strain of suspension like this. It is, perhaps, the strongest disadvantage of sex magic... the tension of ecstasy, if left too long, will harm us. And the pleasures of love make us inappropriate for combat magic." He smiled at her. "Come, we must return."
"It is so beautiful," she sighed.
"It is," he agreed, giving it one last glance. He spoke one more word.
Aimee' screamed louder, her climax sweeping past her as attentions returned to her body. Darynn held onto her with his strong hands, hoping she wouldn't buck too hard and hurt his mouth or nose. Finally, her trembling subsided. "Oh, Master Darynn."
"Apprentice Aimee'... you were most beautiful."
"Thank you," she gasped, lying down on the bed and breathing hard, recovering her breath. "That was... the most beautiful moment of my life."
He crawled up and lay beside her, chuckling. "It was probably one of the most interesting of mine," he admitted. "I did not anticipate your pleasure being so strong."
"You enjoyed it, then?"
"Oh, very much," he agreed.
She turned over onto her stomach. Darynn's eyes floated over her buttocks, so much fuller and rounder than any boy's he had ever seen. "Good," she said, pulling herself over his body and lowering her head to his cock. Darynn trembled slightly as his cock slid into her mouth. He could feel her saliva against his cock, slick and warm when it was under her tongue, cool as it slid down his shaft. He heard his own breath and found he was hyperventilating. She was good, and he appreciated her talent.
She could take all of it, too, and he looked down to see her nose pressing against his belly, his entire cock engulfed in her mouth. She sucked on his cock so well he felt his own climax reaching for him. "Aimee'... I'm going to come soon."
She ignored his warning, sucking harder, applying just the right kinds of pressure to his shaft. His cock pumped a little, releasing a droplet, his body wound tighter than a watchman's clock. A second later, it broke though, making him shake and groan as his cock pumped her mouth full of his come. Yet, she didn't stop! She kept sucking it down, stroking every last drop from his shaft until he became so sensitive. "Aimee', I beg of you... enough!"
She rose up and looked at him. Her eyes were glazed over, tears streaking her cheeks. He recognized the signs of fighting a gag reflex, and smiled, brushing away one of the small streams of wetness with his thumb.
She held his hand to her cheek. "Thank you again, sir. Thank you so much."
He smiled and pulled her close, until she lay atop him. "It is I who should be thanking you," he sighed. "That was wonderful."
"Thank you. I tried my best."
"And you did better than many men I've been with. Which confirms a theory of mine."
"Sir?" she asked.
"I've always thought it was passion and practice which make a good lover, not having a similar body. There's a belief amongst inverts that only we know how to pleasure one another. You give lie to that belief."
She nodded, then laughed softly. "Darynn... When Teltirray was trying to kill me, one thought that kept going through my mind was that if I didn't kill him, I was going to miss class tomorrow."
His laughter joined hers. "Oh, Apprentice, I do love thee."
"I love you too..." She looked up into his face. "...Teacher."
They lay together for a long time, and soon Aimee' had drifted off to sleep, turning over onto her side. Darynn rose and blew out the five candles; most had burned down until they were just wicks lying in puddles of wax. He did one last circuit of his home, insuring that everything was locked down tight against the cold, winter night, then returned to bed, one small lantern his only source of light. As he looked down at Aimee's sleeping form, he wondered at her resiliency, and at his own emotions.
Despite all that had happened, lust was still not in his vocabulary, at least not for her. He would never have sought her out, and he still had no desire to seek other women at all. Instead, he that felt he admired her and sought to protect her. She was so strong, yet so young and vulnerable. One day she would be a great mage, and perhaps that was his eventual legacy. It would be the ultimate irony if his greatest student turned out to be a woman, yet Aimee' had all the natural talent to be the greatest of mages.
He lowered the lampwick and curled up next to her. After dark, he thought, not all cats are grey, but sometimes it doesn't matter what color they are.