Kate slowly woke to the sound of what she could only call someone with a loud drum beating repeatedly in her head. Each pulse of the drum sent waves of pain racing between her ears to the center of her brain. Her eyes began to twitch each time the drumbeat. She had a funny string-like texture taste in her mouth. Kate felt a hand on her waist and another leg draping over her own. Smiling, she opened her eyes, fully expected to find Maverick lying by her side; slowly, she could see she was lying in a bed. Opal was lying beside her passed out, and she had Opal’s long hair covering her head and down into her mouth! She quickly bolted up in alarm, causing her head even more pain at the sudden movement.
The inn’s window opened up. Reeva had a very evil-looking but satisfying grin on her face. “Rise and shine goddess, it is afternoon.”
The sudden influx of light burned like fire into the back of Kate’s head. She instinctively raised her hands to block the pain of the brightened room. “Owee.”
Opal clenched her eyes tightly. “Arcana: Darkness.” the light immediately dimmed. She quickly cast another spell, “Arcana: Silence.” the area around her became soundless. She then stretched, turned over, and went back to sleep.
Reeva laughed, but nobody could hear her. She walked to the doorway and exited the inn’s room.
Kate projected to Maverick, “I might have done something wrong last night. I think I might have slept with Opal. I woke up, and she was hugging me. I didn’t mean to. I am so confused. Did I betray you?”
Maverick returned her thought, chuckling, “No, you did not. I think I would know. You both just passed out from the ale. She likes to hold onto you when she sleeps, like a big warm pillow.”
Torac landed on the now open window, and he still retained the size of a large house cat. Surprised, Kate swiveled her head to the open window, and once again, the pain in her head matched with equal throbbing. She could see the dragon, laughing but not hearing him.
Torac also had a Binding Stone somewhere on his body. Kate never figured out where he hid it, but he can conceal items on his body with dragon magic. She felt his mind project into hers. “Good morning, goddess.”
Kate touched her necklace’s bluestone, “Calling me that is just strange coming from you.”
Torac continued his projection, “It is only proper. Besides, etiquette will be required when dealing with other gods. Most don’t have a relationship with mortals as you do.”
Kate slowly stood, her stomach also gurgled with sicking displeasure. The dragon leaped up and landed on her shoulders, clinging gently to her frame with his claws; he made himself comfortable. Kate bobbled with the added weight, her head still spinning. She walked to the door, turned back once more to glance in the darkened room. She watched Opal for a moment, laying with her head down into the drool soiled pillow, then continued downstairs.
Commons and Comunications
Making her way down the stairs of the Wave Rider, “I should just purge myself; the alcohol is just poison.” Kate had remembered the lessons about how-to cleanse her body of poisons using what Torac and Uncle Jeri called her power. Altering effects in her own body was easier than changing the outside world. She could make small changes, such as changing the poison in her venom sack in her tail to produce new, more dangerous toxins. This control also allowed her to purge herself of poisons; both Torac and Uncle Jeri had exposed her to different types of poisons and drugs so she would know how they felt and be able to mimic the substances. These drugs often made her sick until she was able to purge the toxic substances from her body.
Torac waited a moment before responding, “Well, it is an advantage, us mortals often have to let their bodies purge the poison if they can.”
Kate entered the common room from the stairwell of the Inn. She looked around for Maverick, and he was not here; he had gone somewhere. Ever since her first kiss with Maverick, a feeling that had been locked away had been released. She did not know that a piece of her soul was missing until that point. “Desire, where are you?”
Maverick projected back, “Desire?”
In most of the books she had read on relationships, a man needed to know he was wanted, so she created a pet name for him, something just between them. This helped create an even more meaningful bond with each other. “Yes, I desire you. You are handsome, charming, and strong,”
She felt his feelings coming through her link; yes, he liked that. “Desire it is. Time to get back to work; I am at the Chimera going over the new improvements Rolland and Landis want to do the Chimera. Rolland has already fabricated over half of the parts for his new Black Dragon Balista. Can you tell Opal to get over here as well? She will be required to add some of her magic to the ship as well. Opal had some ideas about what you could help with as well.”
“I don’t know if I can. Reeva tried to wake her up; she spelled the lights dim and made the room silent.”
Maverick projected back, “She’s out until evening then. She gets drunk, and she becomes useless for her magic and any work the next day. Do you want me to come and pick you up? I can be there shortly.”
She projected, “No, continue with your work. I will find my way to you. I got Torac her to protect me.”
Maverick ended his projection with, “Well, see you when you get here, when you need me, just call me. I will come to you just as soon as I can. Goodby Horns.”
Kate was taken aback and confused. Horns? That did not sound endearing? Desire is lovely, but horns, why Horns? This term of endearment may puzzle her for a while, she might know what goes through his head, but understanding is a different story.
The Temple of Mil-ike
Kate walked down the streets of DunKir, taking the routes that Maverick did not show her yesterday. Today, exploring this new city was what she wanted to do, the sights, sounds, and talking to the people who lived here. Most people were kind enough to her as a stranger, and some looked worried when she spoke to them. Some who recognized her as an infernal shunned her, and these were the more educated and religious trained citizens. This form of rejection and fear is what Uncle Jeri had warned her about, and they would not be able to see past what she was, a demon spawn. Had she been here by herself when she was younger, she would not have understood before and would be more angry and intolerant. Kate could be very damaging to these citizens with her power. Letting her cooler head prevail, she opted not to engage these fearful people. She had entered a more seedy part of the city, the buildings here in desperate need of repair.
Draped around Kate’s neck, Torac, often hissed or growled at the roguish elements, strayed too close. He silently chuckled to himself at this behavior, and he enjoyed himself. Anybody foolish enough to tangle with Kate would get a maul full of dragon. His head would swivel, and his tail twitches when somebody he did not trust approached the two travelers. As he predicted, most passerby’s would stay away, humans he thought are funny and entertaining at times.
One building in the district was out of place, a small single-story granite square, with a symbol of balanced scales in an Octahedron placed on support columns at the entrance. This symbol is of Mil-ike, the Soul Stone of Law. Wide marble stairs led up to a set of closed bronze double doors with an embossment of Ghul the Watcher’s helm. Words that etched into the door caught her attention, “No Mortal Shall Pass.”
A man in simple brown clothing, getting on in his years. His hair had begun to turn grey, and he also had a shaggy, unkempt grizzled beard. A small pushcart stood at the temple’s closed doorway, containing a barrel and other cleaning supplies. He was hard at work with a broom, sweeping the dust off of the stairs and entryway.
Kate moved up to the door, and the man turned to her quickly. “Miss, I would not try and go in there. This important building is the Temple of Mil-ike; this is a place where the gods go to worship their creators. The place is death to mortals.”
Kate faced the worker, “Is that so? I did not know the gods worshiped anyone but themselves.”
His face turned white as a ghost, “You should not say such things; the gods are all important. You don’t want to anger the Spire.”
“I thought this city was free of the Spire’s influence.” She asked him.
He moved his broom back to his pushcart, seating the broom safely into the little slot for the pole.“I am not a priest, but the gods do come here, and when they do, those that do not bow to their will often disappear. Speaking ill of the gods is often one asking for punishment. Just remember they are always watching us, waiting for us to step out of line.”
Kate returned with a grin, “I will remember that. Thank you for the advice.” Returning her attention to the door, she firmly placed her hand on the bronze metal embossment of Gul The Watcher. Runes lighted up and traced a path to the edge of the door, causing the edges to glow with a soft yellow incandescence light, and she felt some of her grace drain from her. “Torac, the door takes grace to open. I think you might want to wait outside. Just in case the worker is right.”
Torac jumped off her shoulders and into the air; he flew up to the roof and perched. “I will wait for you here.” He watched and waited for her to return.
The city worker paused in disbelief that the young black-haired woman with white horns had just entered the Temple. He then understood, she was a god. He started crying, and he just told a goddess without worshiping her, he felt he would die!
Kate stopped at hearing his tears, and she returned to the entrance. He was panicking too much to realize that she had returned. She placed her hand down on his, and she projected her will into his. As a sabuci, she could manipulate emotions and provide new memories or alter current ones. She calmed him first and then spoke softly, “You don’t have to fear me. You have done nothing wrong in my eyes. Continue on your day, bring your family honor, and remember you once encountered Katalina, Goddess of the Hidden Vale.”
He lifted his tear-filled eyes, “I am so sorry, goddess, I did not know who you are. Thank you.”
Kate giggled, “That’s fine. Nobody knows me. Keep it secret for now, well, at least for a week. Promise? If not, I will have to come back and punish you.”
He felt his heart lifted, and he could keep a secret. “Yes, yes, goddess!” He looked into her glowing red eyes.
At that moment, Kate felt her power return to her for a brief moment, and something had just happened. The light in her eyes faded, and her natural color returned. “Now, you will have a tale to tell in a week or so.” She turned her attention back to the temple and walked forward to see what mystery was inside. Kate passed through the entryway, the bronze doors closed behind her leaving her in total darkness.