Erica rested her hand on the window sill. Her gaze wandered across the waves ahead. She sharply inhaled and tasted the salt air. A soft ocean breeze played with the light fabric of her turquoise dress. She turned her head to the thirteen year old boy at the table. Regathering her patience, she strode towards him.
“Again.” she commanded, while she placed a ceramic cup filled with water before him.
Jake stared at it intensely. It was the fifth one this hour. He placed both of his hands on the table and concentrated. A silver bracelet shone on his left wrist.
Erica quietly picked up a needle from her desk. Jake knew what was coming, but the water in his cup remained, fortunately, still. He felt the soft pinch of the needle in his right arm, where Erica pricked him lightly. Jake’s lips were pressed into a thin line. The water did not move.
A content smile escaped Erica. The boy made progress. Her needle drew soft lines on his hands. She increased the pressure. It drew blood, made scratches on his arms. Not a ripple on the water’s surface. Too much progress, she thought, and she angrily jabbed the needle into his hand.
Jake screamed, the cup burst. Water spilled from the table onto his trousers and the floor.
“Control it!” Erica shouted as she slammed her fist onto the table. Her eyes pierced his mercilessly.
Tears filled Jake’s eyes. Erica’s fist relaxed, her eyes softened. She pulled up a chair and gently sat down next to the boy. Her hands softly cupped his face as her eyes once again found his.
“I’m sorry, darling,” she began, “I’m just worried.”
“You know you’re not suited to wield this power”, Erica went on. “You know what will happen.” She caressed Jake’s bracelet. “This helps, but you have to learn. It’s strong in you. The bracelet is not enough. Do you understand?”
Jake cast down his eyes and nodded once more. Erica knelt beside him and looked at his trousers.
“Look what you did”, she said. Her hand touched the wet stain on his inner thigh. “You’ll have to change and let this dry.”
She captured his gaze. Jake’s eyes had wandered to her chest. Her dress left a large amount of skin bare, the cleft between her breasts highly visible to the boy looking down on it from above. Erica’s hand had idly moved upwards. Tiny traces of steam swirled up from the puddles on the floor and the table. Erica felt Jake’s trousers dry.
She smirked as she stood up and leaned into Jake. Her warm whisper tickled his ear.
Jake shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
“Back to your room now, boy”, Erica said firmly.
Jake instantly bolted to the door at these words of release. Erica’s closeness had called on a strangely unknown feeling he only knew to address with confusion.
The sun coloured the horizon shades of golden fire. Wisps of purple clouds drifted low over the ocean. Silver ribbons topped the gentle waves and transformed to a pearly glow in the ivory foam left on the shoreline as the water accelerated in the surf. Seagulls squawked in the distance. A warm evening breeze left the faint scent of salt hovering over the outstretched body of coral sand. The Academy rose majestically from the overgrown cliffs, a steep sequence of steps carved in the rocks leading up to its gardens.
Jake sat atop one of the lonely boulders that had ages prior dislodged from the rocky formation behind him and crashed to the beach to remain there until time eventually changed the course of the ocean to erode it. First the boulder, then the cliff, in time the world. The Academy would fall, Genesia would drown, and from its death, species of underwater queens and windflower-clad castles would rise to the glory of civilization. This was the tableau of Jake’s imagination.
He sharply inhaled the salty air. The waves seemed to rise and fall to the rythm of his breathing, but that too, he thought, must be his imagination. The bracelet on his wrist gleamed in the final light of day. The puncture wound in his hand stung as if the salt in the air mischievously burried itself deep inside it on purpose and for the first time in all of these years, Jake thought that maybe beautiful things weren’t necessarily the embodiment of the benign.
His mind wandered to Erica, because she too was beautiful, though she was often harsh. He felt a twitch in his groin when he pictured the image of her exposed skin, just like before when the water had turned to swirling traces of fog, and was unsure if she had encouraged it with her actions, or forbidden it with her words.
He squinted his eyes shut hard in an attempt to shake this unfamiliar, uncomfortable feeling. Unsuccessful, he slid of the rock and wandered idly to the cliff. He closed his eyes as he leaned back into a waterfall of carmine fire bells and smiled as he inhaled their sweet, dark aroma. The edges of the leaves tickled his skin, his back pressed against the contours of the rock underneath the carpet of vines. Perhaps sometimes the morality of beautiful things was irrelevant. Perhaps they were merely there to be enjoyed. After all, fire bells were highly poisenous.
Erica closed her eyes and sighed deeply. She lined up her thoughts, cleaned up her emotions. He wasn’t fond of chaos. She gathered her dress and strode gracefully through the corridors of the Academy. A servant girl quickly darted out of her way and bowed her head in respect as Erica passed by, not in the least acknowledging the girl’s presence. Her dress trickled after her feet like water as she descended the stairs. The sheer top layer waved like willow branches in the wind. With her full weight, she pushed against the heavy, ornate oak doors which brought her closer to His chambers. She habitually tripped halfway the last set of stairs. It was the same spot every time, where the stone step bulged and the distance between steps was a bit off. It was also the spot where she rechecked her state of mind before appearing before Him.
Erica regained her composure and knocked slowly, three times, on the final door. The sound fell dead on the stone walls of the underground hallway. His voice bid her to come in. She entered the large throne room and moved towards him with careful, calculated steps, back straight, chin up.
“Master”, she whispered breathlessly as she knelt before him.
He rose slowly from the stone-cut throne. His soft hand gently cupped Erica’s chin. It was permission to look at him. She glared up at his bright blue eyes. His long raven hair perfectly framed his strong features.
“Take it off.”
“M..Master?” Erica stutterd. She hadn’t expected this so quickly. She had been prepared to talk about the boy.
Galereon straightened his back, covered his eyes with one hand while letting out an impatient little sigh. He once more looked at Erica, who held her breath as her eyes remained fixed on him, and smiled sweetly.
“Take. It. Off.” His silver rings bruised her jaw when he backhanded her as he shouted the final word. Erica lost her balance and slid sideways across the floor. Galereon’s heavy sanguine cloak billowed behind him as he shot towards her with large strides. He grabbed a shoulder strap of her dress and dragged her close to his face.
“Take it off, or do you want me to cut it from your body?” he hissed. He threw her back on the floor harshly and sat back down on the throne, his legs crossed, his chin resting on his hand, awaiting her reaction.
“I… I’m sorry, Master. No, Master”, Erica hickupped. Her fingers trembled, struggling to unlace her bodice.
“Stand up”, Galereon commanded.
Erica got up a swiftly as her shaking limbs would allow.
“And stop that”, he added.
Erica’s arms fell limply beside her. She was relieved she had finished untying the chords just in time.
Galereon got up. He circled her slowly, nodding approval to her bruised and unstable state. He eyed the unfastened fabric. The iron claw covering his right index finger pushed both parts aside agonisingly slowly.
“Stop crying”; he whispered in Erica’s ear. The claw caressed a nipple. Fear and arousal copulated in Erica’s gasp
Galereon took a step back. Unexpectedly, he grabbed the band of her skirt and ripped it, savagely. The tear reached to her knees. He pushed the dress from her shoulders, so it fell in a puddle around her.
“Now,” Galereon said, seemingly unphased, “tell me about the boy.”
He glared up and down Erica’ stark naked body as she told him about Jake’s progress with surpressing pain. It wouldn’t take long to sever his power from it. Desire, however, seemed to be his strongest trigger. It would take a while.
Galereon didn’t inquire how she came to possess this knowledge. “I’m sure you know how to work with that”, he stated amused.
Erica did her best to hold her torn dress together as she made her way back to her chambers through the broad halls of the Academy. She had laced her bodice back up on the stone steps after Galereon had dismissed her, and now strode along, head down, with her skirts gathered up around her thighs to avoid the tear falling open, exposing her to the staff and students she might run into. Better they see her bare legs than everything else, she thought. She felt utterly embarrassed. She had failed to please the Master, and he had humiliated her for it. He did so regularly, but it was different when he was satisfied with her devotion. He rarely treated her without the merest trace of respect for her position and servitude towards him, but this time he had.
The servant girl she had passed earlier, raised a suspicious eyebrow as Erica passed her on another floor, forgetting to drop her work and bow her head. Erica only realised when she was already halfway up the steps to the next floor. Anger boiled up inside of her. If Galereon wouldn’t respect her, a lowly servant damn well would. She slowly descended the stairs and retraced her steps through the corridor. She locked eyes with the girl that had so boldly stared at her. Erica released her skirts and straightened her back. She strode towards the girl who’s eyes had wandered down and who now gawked with open mouth at Erica’s privates. Erica’s hand shot towards the girl’s throat. She smacked her against the wall.
“What is your name?” she whispered.
“Le.. Leila..” the girl croaked.
“You are now ‘Cunt’”, Erica stated, “as you apparently so much enjoy gawking at mine.”
Leila struggled to breathe.
“Bow!” Erica shouted as she released her.
Leila collapsed to the floor and quickly crawled into a humble pose.
“Who do you belong to?” Erica asked.
“Nobody, I’m free, Milady”, Leila answered, her eyes still averted.
Erica violently hoisted Leila up by the hair and brought her face so close she could count Leila’s little freckles.
“Who do you belong to, Cunt?” Erica asked sweetly.
“Y.. You, Milady?”
“Is that a fucking question?”
Leila quickly shook her head.
“Give me your dress”, Erica ordered.
Leila hesitated. She looked down at her clothes and back up at Erica, as if to verify what she had just been commanded.
“Today”, Erica threatened.
Leila stripped in the middle of the Academy corridor. Erica swiftly slipped out of her own dress and into Leila’s. She handed Leila her torn garments. The girl started putting them on.
“What do you think you are doing?” Erica asked.
Leila’s fingers stopped pulling up the fabric.
“You will carry it”, Erica ordered.
Tears welled up in Leila’s eyes.
“Milady.. there’s a class change…”
“See if I care”, Erica smirked. She started towards the stairs and beckoned Leila to follow.
Leila shuffled after Erica, trying to cover as much of her naked body as she possibly could with Erica’s ripped dress, which she held bundled up in her arms. She let out a loud sob as she heard the heavy wooden door open behind her. A string of boys poured from a classroom and moved towards the stairs on which Leila stood frozen. Erica took the dress from her.
“Turn around”, she whispered in Leila’s ear. “Go on, turn around and greet them.”
Boy after boy noticed the strange scene on the staircase before them. Some stopped in their tracks. They looked over their shoulder to see if their classmates had any clue of what was going on. Others curiously crept closer. One boy had gone a few steps up the stairs. Erica beckoned him closer with a finger.
“Do you know where Class A is, on the next floor?”
The boy nodded.
“Good!” Erica cheered. “Take your friends and tell Class A to wait for Miss Erica, will you?”
The boy cast another curious look at a quivering Leila, nodded at Erica and darted back down the steps. He conveyed the message to the two closest boys. A wave of whispers travelled front to back, while they started moving forward.
Erica tugged at Leila’s arm and made her turn around. The boys walked past her. Leila saw them look back as they climbed the stairs. She felt a sting on her bum. One of the boys had slapped it passing by, and giggled as he ran along.
“Kids these days…” Erica smiled. “They have no clue. Come along, Cunt.”